Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Y'know, if it wasn't for my passive consumption of media-induced gender & beauty norms, the frustratingly superficial expectation of and infatuation with becoming trophy wives as per the tradition of the Pakistani(/desi?) diaspora, and well-intentioned (??) passing remarks from friends and/or relatives...

...I think I would be 100% okay with my 'curvy' body.

Screw you, socialization!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

[Happy Independence Day!] This is the Pakistan I know.

Despite the 3 Ps, (corrupt) politics, (frustratingly deep-seated) patriarchy and (dismal) poverty, I am forever enamored by Pakistani art: food, music and clothes. Happy Birthday to *my* birthplace and the region of the world that forms one-half of my cultural identity!
Below, the Pakistan that I know.
(yours truly)
Born in a hospital in Nazimabad, Karachi, in 1992, it has been mentioned by my mother I began accessorizing since day 1.

(me, my sister, my Dad)
There it was, too, where I developed a head full of curls, and my sister, a hairless scalp.

(me, my sister)
Sitting pretty; attending an authentic Pakistani wedding (@ age 8.5).

(my sister, other sister, brother, et moi)
Sitting pretty; attending an authentic Pakistani wedding (@ age 8.5)...with more siblings in tow (and now there exists one more Generation Y sibling, aged 6 months m'A!)

(mama dearest, my sister, brother, dad, aunt. top: me, my sis. bottom: cousin)
A true Pakistani venture, shawarmas and lassi (*mouthwatering!!!!!*) at Clifton Beach, Karachi, with all types of family members in tow. Even your uncle's brother-in-law's cousin's son's old college friend.

(sister, me, sister)
Devouring our childhood: days spent being as innocuous as possible: accepting candy from the chauki-dars (security officers), befriending the massis (housekeepers), and riding oont (camels) at the beach.

And celebrating 9th birthday parties on chuths (rooftops). 

The following quotes are by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan (1876-1948). 

“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”

“Come forward as servants of Islam, organize the people economically, socially, educationally and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody.”

“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”

“Our objective should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large.”

“We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.”

“We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play."

.چوم ,چوم

 (kiss, kiss). (bisou, bisou).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer, don't leave white away.

This summer has been the perfect blend of work, play, and all-around general lounging. This dress embodies that to a tee.
When I'm hard at work passively flopping my hands into the hands of manicurists, it's appropriate.
When I'm conjuring up wordplay spontaneously, it's appropriate.
When I lounge around all general-like, it's a little less appropriate. (I prefer to be lackadaisical in clothes that severely lack opulence).
*this is a satirized pose. No one in their white mind (ha) configures their limbs like this intentionally.

*this is a semi-satirized pose.


who what wear? 
  • geometric-patterned dress, $3, thrifted 2. 
  • vintage, tattered, pre-loved sandals, $2, thrifted [my Summer Sandal as of late] 3. 
  • black tights, $4, Forever 21  

[jewelery] who what wear?
  • blue ring: Old Navy (I know, right!?), $3
  • coral & gold necklace: Stitches, $1
  • silver ring: Zellers, $1.50
  • silver bracelet: Pakistan
  • studded bracelet: thrifted, $1.50

Hope y'all are having a fantastic summer! Connect with me, else I seldom know of your existence.
I update very infrequently (#blamethemuslims, am I right, am I right?), so the most active I am in cyberspace is over @ Twitter, dear comrades: http://twitter.com/#!/uroobajamal
Come. Follow me.
(Let me believe I have much ascendancy over y'all. *Wink, wink.) 

*attempt at winking. I refuse to believe otherwise. What! No! It is not an Awkward Face! Awkward phase? Maybe.
Toodles, mere pyarein.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


My plunges into the world of literature as of late have been met with such positive reverberations, it is read-iculous.

It all started with 'Child 44' by Tom Rob Smith. I devoured that thrilling fictitious-but-based-on-true-events-thus-historical-murder-mystery-crime-laden-political…thriller with such vulgarity during finals time, I got a B in Microeconomics. *whimpers*

Still, sacrificing a vivacious future was so worth it.

Like comic relief in a dramatic, tragic play, the following quote, besides being an utterly sweet thing to muster to one’s significant other, serves as ‘romantic relief':

 "Do you remember the first time we saw each other? You thought I was rude, staring at you. I got off at the wrong metro stop just to ask your name. And you refused to tell me. But I wouldn’t leave until you did. So you lied and told me your name was Lena. For an entire week all I could talk about was this beautiful woman called Lena. I’d tell everyone Lena’s so beautiful. When I finally saw you again and convinced you to walk with me I called you Lena the entire time. At the end of the walk I was ready to kiss you and you were only ready to tell me your real name. The next day I told everyone how wonderful this woman Raisa was and everyone laughed at me saying last week it was Lena this week it’s Raisa and next week it’ll be someone else. But it never was. It was always you."

I read a few more books in between (and that I'd whole-heartedly recommend: 'Summer Sisters' by Judy Blume, 'The Blind Assassin' by Margaret Atwood, & 'Bossypants' by *Tina Fey).
*I now have a platonic crush on Tina Fey.

And then I had the privilege of stumbling upon Nafisa Haji's 'The Sweetness of Tears'. It weaves together the stories of individuals from different generations, different timezones, different faiths and toys--nay, beautifully treads--through topics such as religion, war, patriarchy, emotional expatriation, friendship, and love.
I urge you all to give it a read and have your soul shaken! 

This quote was poetic. And heart-breaking, given the context.

"The fact is, Deena, that you and Umar are no longer children. You have gone from sharing fruit to sharing poetry. It is time to set this part of your childhood aside, before you also move from broken bones to broken hearts."

This quote needs no explanation, I hope.

"The only way to rise above is to rise above. The only way to respond with wrong is with right. The only way to deal with injustice is to be just," said Abu.
I told Ma what Abu said. "Hmm. Abu carries a lot of wisdom around in his head. But the problem is that in the real world, wisdom is very hard to detect from foolishness."
"What are you saying, Ma!? That Abu is foolish?!"
"I am saying that most people would consider him to be so."
"Do you?"
My mother sighed. "No, Deena. Don't tell him I said so--but I think he is wise. It's the rest of the world that is foolish."

This quote made me angry, as it reminded me of the cultural misogyny that is so often wrapped under the pretense of Islam and is used to justify the subjugation of women. But I cooled off (sort of--am currently amidst Californian heat!) and went on reading Haji's brilliant words.

"But there's nothing in the Quran that says so!"
"No matter. The interpretation of the learned ones is sound."
"The learned ones! They must all have been men!"
"Of course they were!" he said, shocked, "You think it's a woman's job to determine what the law of God is?"

And this one brought tears to my eye and I have no freakin' clue why. Closet hopeless romantic? (Other passages brought out saltwater from my tear ducts, too--tears actually worth shedding! I am embrassed to have been misty-eyed because of the preceding quote).

"What I saw there explained everything--the reason he had stayed away, why he had come to say good-bye. I can only describe what I saw by its effect on me. Every woman should be looked at in such away, at least once in her life. With a longing that cannot be contained....like the verse of the poem he had read...I felt my face flush and waves of knowing suffused every pore, every cell of my being. ...in that love, I felt beauty--my own....Have you ever felt that way, Jo? Have you ever been looked at with such soulful longing that you are transformed, the object and subject of Love, capital L? You look frightened, as if you didn't know what I was talking about and were afraid of it somehow."

And that concludes my summer reading list thus far.
And yours?
(p.s. new followers-welcome!)
(p.p.s. read a review of 'The Sweetness of Tears' by my cousin, on Altmuslimah--your platform for gender issues in Islam and beyond!:  http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/reva/4361/)

"And never let hatred of anyone lead you into the sin of deviating from justice." - (Qur'an 5:8)