By Fareeha Qayoom
Miles to go before I sleep
So much to do and so little electricity!
Time management gurus should come and visit Pakistan. All their productivity spiel would grind to a sudden full stop. The rules don’t apply to Pakistan. In fact, we might have to reinvent the book on how to be productive in short bursts (one hour cycles).
It’s very frustrating. Everything runs on electricity these days directly or indirectly. Procrastination becomes the way of life and then you lose momentum and eventually your motivation to do anything.
Projects grind to a halt if you don’t have UPS or other alternative power arrangements; cost of even doing routine work also keeps rising. On top of that, it’s so hot that you don’t feel like doing anything anyway except sit in an air conditioned room and vegetate.
I wish the world and his wife would plant some trees! How hard can it be? Don’t they say ‘Prevention is better than the cure’? Did they go to a different school or was I the only one listening when they taught that?
Why spend millions on cure when you can fix this with a few thousands? Besides, it’s ‘Sadqa Jariya’ if you are a Muslim and majority of us are Muslims in Pakistan. We should do useful things for our future generations and at the same time bag some good deeds for after our deaths.
Planting a few trees in our gardens and sidewalks shouldn’t tax our resources …and while we think about that – why don’t we go one step further and plant some useful trees like apple, orange, lemon, guava, pomegranate while we are at it? I am all for aesthetics but I believe in functional design. Things need to be useful as well as beautiful.
I have been campaigning at home and even took the first step by bringing home saplings of lemon, guava and pomegranate last year. Hopefully, in about a few years, they’ll start bearing fruit.
My sister also contributed to this effort by saving up seeds of dates from Mecca – now, we have a couple of thriving date palms in our garden as well. She even donated one date palm grown from seed to DHA for their odd shaped vacant lots recovery plan, (we have one near our place) – however, they let it die.
I periodically save seeds from half eaten fruit to plant in my garden but usually, it never works but who knows, one day I might develop green fingers like Shela. I am the eternal optimist. I wish we had more space to grow some more useful fruit trees like Apple, Orange and peach and maybe one grapevine.
I am also thinking to do some indoor gardening, but that’s another story – though, I have started research on ‘how to grow organic vegetables in containers’ and how much investment of time and money would be required to make growing salad vegetables at home? May be I can grow some of them on our kitchen counters as well. I got inspired by our office guard. He grows a few vegetables on a small patch of land on the adjacent vacant lot. Well, this is only on my wish list right now but I might get around to doing something about it when I am done procrastinating and put it in my mental to do list for this year!
I had a dream of using our roof and terrace to create a container garden but apparently, you need a degree in engineering first to figure out if your roof and terrace can actually bear the weight of all that soil and the potted plants. I have shelved this idea. May be somewhere in future when I have loads of cash to reinforce the roof and terrace floor, I might utilize that wasted space for couple of more gardens…
Think green – ECO fashion
I like God’s style. Nothing goes to waste. Everything but everything gets transformed in one form or another. Nothing is ever thrown out. ‘Recycling’ is one of the fundamental features of nature in action. It’s actually not a new idea. It’s as old as time.
Nowadays, I am obsessed with researching ideas on how to create new stuff from old discards – yes, I am learning to sew and garment de-construction and construction is all part of that. There are many DIY ideas that a beginner can tackle on the net – here’s a list of key words to start your search: resize. Restyle. Repair. Recycle. Revamp. Reduce. Reuse. Refashion.
During the course of my research I found out I might have an appearance of a ‘hippie’ without knowing it. You know, I love flares and still wear them when the current on trend is skinny jeans only, I love wearing tunics and ethnic jewelry and I am into organic fabrics and don’t mind wearing really old pieces mixed with new. I am also learning how to sew and have recovered a few old pieces for their fabrics by restyling them into simple easy to sew waistcoats. That’s another thing. Apparently, waistcoats were a signature piece of the ‘hippie’ look – not to mention, flat sandals like Birkenstock. I have a couple! Boho- shappy-chic is apparently very hippie. Yes, I draw my inspiration from the style icons of the 1960’s (my inspiration board) but give me a break – Hepburn, Monroe and Kelly were hardly hippie!! Anyway, there you have it – you might not know what your clothes are communicating to the world while you simply wear what you like! (Forever in blue jeans).
Here I was thinking I am a conservative dresser who wears ageless pieces like a timeless tee, paired with ageless straight, slim, boot cut or flare or an occasional skinny jean, with another classic cotton vest (waistcoat in UK) or a cotton jacket with flats – all these cuts have been around since the last century. Go figure.
God, the frustration of not being able to go through my reading list quickly enough; luckily, the down-time between projects helps at home and at work; I have taken to carrying loads of eBooks on my laptop and smart phone. And where books from my nightstand are concerned? Short bursts of productivity. I read them in short 15 to twenty minute breaks between activities at home. I have finished a few this way – can’t describe the relief of crossing out this particular item from my mental to do list! I just finished a few “how to” books – “Journalism – how to survive” and “how to say what you mean and mean what you say” and “how to be creative” to name three books from just last week.
We prefer meat and potato menu to cucumber and eggplant…I had downloaded this book on no cook green cooking – you know, eating your vegetables raw…after numerous failed efforts, I have taken a breather – no-cook cooking is not as easy as it sounds!
I created loads of exciting salads but a single off ingredient like raw beetroot or too much lemon juice or synthetic vinegar or not enough pepper or putting sliced boiled eggs with raw greens and red vegetables would render my efforts to just okay instead of the masterpieces of culinary delight I visualized when I concocted them. I have not given up but I might need to study “how to cook” some more. I have yet to learn to create exciting dips, seasoning and dressing to make my salads really exciting…practice makes perfect.
Divorced from reality?
No, I am not acting schizophrenic. I have consciously decided to play ostrich. I ignore all the bad, bad, and real bad news coming from all over the world. I actually catch the occasional newsflash – ‘so and so dead in a blast’ or ‘drone attack’ or ‘war’ or ‘ measles’ or ‘accident’ or even a ‘military coup’ but I mean how long can you take this stuff and still manage to stay human? Eventually, you would turn numb and then become a psychopath – I actually looked up the meaning of this word – it’s a person who feels no empathy. Well, a couple of my favorite TV shows have psychopaths as their lead characters – Dexter (last season) and Twisted (first season). When you start sympathizing with psychopathic behavior, it’s time to get worried.
No, I still feel empathy so I am no pshycopath. Bad news still makes me wince. I might not know how to express my sympathy and indeed empathy adequately but I still feel – thank God!
Yes, men’s fashion weeks have come and gone and currently couture week is in progress in Paris for women. Yes, I still have to write my post for my blog but I shared a few photos gleaned from research with one of my colleagues at work the other day. We had a good laugh about some of the men’s trends like ‘red’ espadrilles and ‘floral’ suits and manly ‘curls’ in store for men’s grooming for this coming spring/summer 2014-15, not to mention the zebra skinny pants ! I love ‘Ombre’ (dip dye) trend. In fact, I might try that myself. But that’s another story. I’ll keep you posted if I can successfully dip dye a few old t-shirts.
Gotta go, more later…