Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Video: Speed boat ride

Yasmine and I went to the zoo with a few girlfriends and we went on a speed boat ride. Here is the video of Yasmine's first boat ride! We had a blast!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yasmine eating rice cereal for the first time!

I went to visit the pediatrician today and we got the green light to introduce solids. Yasmine eats frequently and so he thinks it is time for a little more food.
So we started her off with a tsp of rice cereal and 2 tsps of breast milk. We weren't sure how she'd like it, but boy did she ever love it!!! She cried when she ate all the cereal and she was using her own hand to help feed her.
We took 2 videos, one of Junayd and I feeding her and the other of aunty Ayesha feeding her.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A question of belief

The question I have is: Should I compromise my beliefs in order to make someone else comfortable, or am I just being stubborn?

I posted this question on my facebook status because I am asked to do things in India that I don't always agree with. I know that a lot of the time it would just keep the peace and doing it would probably make everyone else happy (except me).

Here is the most recent example and the reason why this question even came up in the first place.

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion, and since it is my blog I will write about my own feelings and beliefs without feeling guilty about it.

I dress like a westerner, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters (you know the attire) and most Indians dress in India wear, salwar kameez (click to see image), now when you look at the picture there is a scarf around the girls arms this is called a dupatta, typically this is worn in front to cover the shape of the breasts. Muslims especially wear this and cover themselves. My mother-in-law and SIL both wear this attire and dupatta, at all times. My MIL has specifically asked my husband to have me wear more Indian clothes and to wear a dupatta even if i am wearing western clothes she would prefer me to wear a dupatta over my breasts to cover my shape. My husband has told her no, and that no one was asking her to wear jeans and t-shirt so it was unfair to ask me to wear Indian clothes.

Ok, problem solved right....wrong. Every time there are visitors my MIL asks me to wear a dupatta over myself, so to essentially take a pashmina and wrap it in front over my breasts. Firstly, it is really hot and putting on more clothes makes me so uncomfortable, but I'm not that petty, it's the reason behind the covering myself up that bothers me. Which brings me to my question of beliefs.

Muslims believe (and it states in the Quran) that all men are lustful and can't control their urges, and that the only man who should be able to look at a woman is her husband, father, and son. Which is why a lot of women chose to wear the burqua when outside their home. Now not ALL Muslim women choose to do this, my MIL and SIL don't, but my FIL's (father-in-law) side of the family almost all wear this.

My grievance is that basically if a man looks at a women like me in western clothes and gets lustful thoughts, then it is my fault because it is my responsibility to cover up. He can't help it, he was born to be lustful and it was my fault since I was showing "my curves." I have even heard the argument that there is way more rape in western cultures than in Islamic countries or in India because women cover themselves. Now this is a whole other blog entry, but I have three things to say about that, first, it is never a woman's fault, she can be walking around naked for all I care (although I do not advise this), a man still does not have the right to rape her. Secondly, rape probably happens much more than people think in those countries, but the incidences are never reported. Women could get stoned to death or lose their honour if this would happen. Thirdly, rape is rarely ever about the sex itself rather than the power that comes with raping, so the woman could be wearing snowsuit and still get raped.

So this brings me to tonight. My husband called me on his way to work and I could tell by the sound of his voice he was about to tell me or ask me something I would not like to hear. My in-laws were having visitors over, my MIL's aunt and her son. Now my MIL is pretty modern and her side of the family usually is as well. Getting back to my husband, well he knows me so well and he knows about my convictions. He said, "mom pulled me aside and told me to ask you to cover yourself up tonight when you come down to greet the guests" Without hesitation I replied "no!"
"But Shelley, my aunt is really religious and I know you don't like to wear one."
"Well then your aunt can wear a dupatta, if she is religious then she should wear one. Why should I have to go against my beliefs to make her comfortable? I dress pretty conservatively, and the top i am wearing buttons up to my neck for crying out loud and it's so loose you'd think my body was lost in here"
He was pretty pissed off with me, and I guess I can understand why, he doesn't really see the big deal since he was raised to see all his family dress like that, but I know he understands how I feel, we have spoken about it many many times. I think he feels caught in the middle sometimes. But his aunt's son lives in the United States and she has visited the US several times. I am not the first westerner she has seen!
But the words my mother told me rang in my ears, she said to me after I married him to "never lose who I am or to change anything for anyone because it makes them uncomfortable." She also told me I was an amazing girl and that she knew I would do the right thing, but to never compromise who I am.

I know this might seem petty to a lot of people, and I know a lot of you are probably thinking, just put the damn scarf on and keep the peace. Let me tell you, I have done it so many times for his family even though I didn't want to. And I still do it, I wear Saree's to functions to keep everyone happy and I even wear dupatta's when I am going to other people's homes who are more conservative. But since I became a mother, I want to teach my daughter to stand up for herself, and also that she should not ever have to dress in a tent. There is a difference between flaunting your tatas and ass to the entire world and wearing nice form fitting classy clothes. I want her to know that if a man looks at her, it is not HER fault, it is his fault, and honestly, whoever said that having a guy admiring you for being pretty or having a nice shape is a BAD thing? In Islam it is a bad thing, because the only person who should be admiring you or looking at you is your husband. I mean how archaic does that sound? Women in the west don't get married at 20 and 21 like a lot of the women here, so that would mean a loooong time of no one being able to look at you!
People and sometimes these are strangers, are always asking and telling my husband to "make me wear a dupatta" and i think a lot of the men think he can't control his wife. I will not be controlled. One time while waiting to see the doctor for Yasmine, a Muslim women told my husband in Urdu that he should really get me to wear Indian clothes and speak the language. My husband told me this while laughing, but I know it annoys him too. He has told me several times he loves the way I dress and he wouldn't ask me to change a thing!

I just don't agree with covering yourself up to appease someone is the right thing to do. People stare at me on a daily basis here, a lot of it is curiosity, some of it might be lust, but I think if you repress a society as soon as they see something different (a white girl in shorts or a knee length skirt) they are going to stare. But if more people dressed less conservatively eventually with time it will become accepted and less people will stare. Again I reiterate when I say dress less conservatively I mean showing your arms and legs not walking around half naked.

So I guess my question is, am I being too stubborn??? Should I just do it to make everyone else happy?

NB: People have said on my facebook wall to find a compromise.....and I have. I dress in very loose shirts and always wear a tank top under my tops in order to cover any of my cleavage even though it's 45 degrees here in the summer, when I normally would never do this. I have definitely changed the way i dress in India because it is a different culture. I feel like I have compromised and I am trying to take the culture into consideration. I just hate that I am always being asked to change or do something different because others have an issue with it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Video: Yasmine rolling over

Here is Yasmine rolling over from her stomach to her back! I am surprised I was able to catch it on video, it took some time, but it finally happened!