Sunday, 16 February 2014

Valentine Thoughts

This week, was to a large extent, depressing as hell.

"I'm going to be alone on Valentine's! No one likes me, I just want to die in a hole."

"Ughhhh, I'm so ugly. No one will ever want me."

"Oh GOD, Valentine's…what the hell do I get her??"

"I seriously hope he doesn't do anything big for Valentine's."

I think it's obvious that the main focal point all week was the fact that Valentine's Day was approaching on Friday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday preceding would be buzzing with a mixture of excitement, dread and denial.

This really saddened me. Not only because Valentine's had suddenly turned into something for most people to dread, but also because of the general feeling that one is obliged to spend a small, 24 hour holiday with a partner or someone they're sexually attracted to. If a holiday specifically is about love, what stops you from spending it lightheartedly with friends and family? Nowhere is it written that Valentine's means cards, roses and sex. It really doesn't. As lovely as I think it is for couples to spend a day devoted to one another I don't think one holiday should be so widely hyped.

It is mostly down to society and consumerism that we are taught to celebrate things a certain way, and I honestly feel we should start to understand the real meaning behind days such as Valentine's and spend it with loved ones, whether or not that is a partner, friends, or family. I hope most of you did in fact have a lovely day, whether or not you spent it with certain people!





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Friday, 31 January 2014

Brain Room: Adam



During one of our free moments at college, the question of "what would your brain look like embodied in a room?" came up. And so, my friend Adam and I took this as an opportunity to write. I am considering writing more of these and compiling them, so do let me know what you think! Happy Reading!


Perhaps it’s Adam’s incredible ability to process multiple thoughts in his head at once, or his ability to memorise flawlessly a passage from a book with so much as a thirty second glance, but the first thing that came to my mind when visualising Adam’s brain was….cogs.

Yeah, those. Like the back of a watch, Adam’s mind would be a workshop at first glance. Of course, the walls, ceiling and beautifully crafted lamps illuminating the mind would be made out of constantly rotating, ever-working cogs. They’re ticking away, each wheel supporting the other, gleaming. In tune, and in synergy with one another. There is never an error, never a stir, the system is faultless, and Adam wouldn’t allow for it to be any other way. Should he find himself worried or stressed about something, the cogs will speed up or slow down, giving Adam time he needs to focus and think. There is a certain rhythm, a certain musicality, a quality to the gentle clicking and whirring of the cogs as they go about their business. They have a charm about them. This of course, is only the d├ęcor of Adam’s mind, complete with a beautifully polished dark mahogany floor. Please be careful when walking across it, it makes for an unpleasant slip. Adam seems to be the only one who can walk across it smoothly and without even the slightest jolt in his movements.


It is of course the accessories of the room that make the mind what it is. In the centre of this little cave of cogs is Adam’s chair. Please don’t sit in it. It isn’t for you, and even if it was, it isn’t built for you to sit in. It’s an armchair, made of only the finest patent auburn-coloured leather. It is lined with small gold buttons, all across the smooth, tight surface and the wooden frame the leather rests upon. It is steadfast. The chair remains perfectly balanced exactly where it is, and if moved, the entirety of Adam’s mind would look somewhat distorted. The chair is the very core, the very centre, of the room. It is where Adam ponders, where his ideas are formed, where his pulse beats to the rhythm of the cogs around him, and where, when he indulges himself, he picks up a book from his enormous shelf, and reads.

Adam's bookshelf is a peculiar thing. At least, it is for you and I, but we are not particularly welcome here. The bookshelf is divided into two. Leather bound manuscripts of classical literature and colourful paperbacks, overflowing with science fiction, fantasy and everything else one could possibly think of. The shelf however, is never full. Adam's mind is never full. There is a constant thirst to keep on learning and to keep on reading. When a book is read, it generates pixel by pixel onto Adam's shelf as each page is turned. The collection continues to grow, and won't ever stop. If you're lucky enough, you may even find some of Adam's own manuscripts on the shelf. You have no hope in hell of reading them though. They're in Gallifreyan. 

Galli-what?

Don't ask. See, we may have covered the foundation of this room, but we haven't looked at the details. This is Adam's mind we're looking at, you can't have expected there not to be a small eccentric surprise hidden somewhere. With each idea Adam has, it is noted down immediately in Gallifreyan (language of Doctor Who and the Time Lords apparently). You know, to prevent idea theft. And up onto the shelf it goes, ready to be brought out whenever the time is right. Nothing is scattered on the floor of Adam's mind, it is clean, organised, and spacious. There is no room for anything unnecessary, clutter is not welcome. A large window can be seen on the north wall amongst all the cogs, with an opaque black-out blind at the top of it, to be reeled down and allowing Adam's mind to be lit only by the old Victorian wall lamps attached to a few of the cogs. This is usually whilst Adam sleeps. The warm lighting is enough to knock you out. The window otherwise remains open, and the light is too bright for us to look at directly. No one but Adam knows what can be seen through that window, only he can see through the incredibly sharp white light and out into the distance.

And now, there are only two other things for me to show you here. The first, is Adam's computer. Don't go near it, please. It is locked, locked over, and locked once again. If somehow you managed to get into it, there would be a database filled with games, an endless flow of Tumblr posts, and of course, all of his comic books, ready to be printed and read whenever he feels necessary. Sherlock, Doctor Who, Dean Winchester and others sit quietly in the screen, waiting to be marvelled over with Adam's childlike excitement. Alongside the computer on the desk are a pack of neatly stacked playing cards, a small pocket watch, and a leather-bound notebook. We're not allowed to know what's in there, but assume it's something unique. Perhaps you'll find out soon when you go to the "New Releases" section of Waterstones.

The final thing I'd like to show you is on the other side of the room. This is my favourite bit. It's small. You may not see it. In the corner, alone, stands a small, varnished table. Three ornate legs hold up a small circular surface upon which a small, deep purple vessel stands, with room enough for one flower. A rose, coloured so deeply it may remind you of divine stained glass in cathedrals.

The crimson flower is undying, and sits quietly in its own solitude, perfectly content, ever so gently turning towards the window for light when it needs to. It doesn't like noise or disruption. Much like the cogs surrounding everything, it carries on perfectly without any disturbance. This, my friends, is where Adam's personality lies on an incredibly personal level. His loyalty, devotion and charm embody themselves in this sharp, piercing, intensely complex flower. Once you've taken a minute to study the folds of each petal, and the point of each thorn, it becomes only more attractive in its manner and appearance. It needs time though, it'll always need time.

A rose is only ever appreciated once you see past the thorns it uses to protect itself. Remove that, and you're left with something beautiful.



Twitter: @aishacm96
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Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Value of a Human Life

"If you're going to live somewhere like that, you have to be fatalistic."

I'm sitting at the table looking quizzically at Mahir as he's speaking. He's a family friend from overseas, and he's busy talking about his lifestyle. I put down my fork into my plate. Suddenly my potato salad doesn't seem quite so interesting in comparison to the conversation.

"You mean you're used to that kind of dangerous living?"

Mahir looks at me, deadpan.

"I've lived there all my life. Moving isn't a financially feasible option for me in any case. It's home, you just accept that this is the sort of place you're living in. It's not surprising when you hear of someone having a gun put to their head and threatened over there. You say, "Oh, no", just as you would here if you heard someone's dog died."

It's true. Mahir very casually mentions stories of people getting shot, mugged, threatened for money, just as you would if someone had tripped over and broken a tooth. It perturbed me somewhat, and the conversation got me thinking about it more. When relating it to a friend, he didn't look surprised, and just said, with complete assurance -

"We're just lucky, Aisha. Life is cheap in some places."

Now, I could take this idea literally, but you know, I'll let Hank Green from the Vlogbrothers go into that for you. I guess if you're not in the US like me you can currency convert!



It was a wake up call for me. The upsetting thing is, it's true. I've never thought of it in such a way before. In some places, life is just not valued the same way as it is in more developed areas. The shootings that we here about in the news and this constant terrifying criminal activity in places like Mahir's hometown means that you have to just live every day like it's your last. It's not just a funny little philosophy people go by, it's a rule, because the chances of you getting into serious trouble the next day is extraordinarily high in comparison to other countries.

I'm interested in hearing people's opinion on this. It has opened my eyes greatly, and has had me thinking now for a few days. I hope at some point we live in a world where the horrible things we hear in the news lessen, but I don't think it's possible for it to all go away, there will always be conflict, and there will always be bad people. 

A serious post this week, Readers, but I think it's an interesting, if not depressing, idea to explore. 

Twitter: @aishacm96
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Monday, 2 September 2013

Travelling: Greece

Hello! I'm back!

I basically spent a month travelling around Greece and relaxing in Italy, so of course, that means it's time for photographs. It feels amazing to be back feeling revived and refreshed, ready to go back to everything in September. This week and next week's posts will cover some of my photos from Greece and I'll follow the next one up with Italy before moving onto a bit of proper writing. I'll also of course be uploading things onto my other two blogs as well, so keep an eye out on Twitter for updates.

Anyway, without further ado, let's move on to the photos.


 Just outside of Athens - a temple on Cape Sounion - breathtaking - little did we know there were so many more amazing ones like this to come - I was almost intimidated by it.


Athens wasn't what you'd really call a nice place. Poverty ridden, yes. Crime? Yes. And yet at the top of the hotel the sky looked beautiful. I thought it was a sad sight.


 This was on the side of a building. I wish I could have found an explanation for it. If anyone has one, let me know for sure!


View from the Acropolis. Awe inspiring. 


 This is one, if not my ultimate, favourite temple. Known as the Erectheum, it's built with small rooms on different levels, very mismatched. The caryatids (the female figures acting as pillars) are beautiful too.

I was so excited to see it I had to run over for the photo. Clearly another woman next to me was just as excited too. 


The one and only Parthenon. Absolutely enormous, I don't think it's possible to comprehend its size until you arrive. 


This was taken in a museum later on in Delphi. The first Ancient Greek signs of musical notation. I didn't get a chance to code crack unfortunately!


The Delphi Charioteer - One of the bronze sculptured I studied as part of my course in college. I plan to write a few more pieces on particular sculptures, so if you're interested in any particular ones let me know. I love the techniques used here, the drapery and the movement of the reigns. Wonderfully, the sculptor added small iron eyelashes to the face of the charioteer. Unbelievably thoughtful and detailed. 


One of the intense views in Delphi as we clambered around looking at ruins. I would have sat there all day if I could! 





Twitter: @aishacm96
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Monday, 3 June 2013

Poetry

I've always liked poetry. 

Now with the weather improving, and the sunlight filling my bedroom, I've pulled out some of my anthologies and decided to share with you just three short poems I love. So here we are, enjoy. I'd love it if you commented, emailed or tweeted me your favourite poems as well. There's something great about reading new poems for the first time. 

1. Carol Ann Duffy - Anne Hathaway

'Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed ...'

(from Shakespeare's will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
where we would dive for pearls. My lover's words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights, I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love -
I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
as he held me upon that next best bed.


2. Pablo Neruda - Sonnet 17
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. 

3. WH Auden - The More Loving One
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Not bad, are they? Hope you enjoyed them, and please get hold of me for any queries or suggestions!




Twitter: @aishacm96
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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Announcement!

Hi guys!

I promise, there'll be a formal post later tomorrow, however today I am super excited to introduce my third, brand spanking new cookery blog! I'm a food junkie, which is something that runs through both sides of my family. I've been wanting to share recipes for quite some time, and finally I'm going to be able to. There'll be new posts up every week.

The links to everything you'll need are right down below, but if you want to go directly to my other blogs there are tabs up in the left corner that you can click on. I cannot wait to see how this all progresses!

Love,

Aisha

Beauty Blog: www.glowingandglamorous.blogspot.com
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Saturday, 25 May 2013

PDAs - My Issue With Them

Glad to be back! I was up in central London today, and it was there I got the inspiration for this week's blog post.

So my inspiration. Was it the culture rich environment? The architecture? The buzzing atmosphere?

No. It was bloody PDAs. For those of you who don't know the abbreviated term, all it means is Public Display of Affection. I have no issues with public displays of affection between couples. An occasional hug, kiss, hand holding. However I've noticed more and more that these public displays are escalating to a new and uncomfortable level.

And the reason why central London triggered this rant of mine off was actually to do with the train. I had the misfortune to sit opposite a couple who seemed to be enjoying a wild and exciting game of tonsil tennis, their jaws interlocked in a wet, moaning, face-eating embrace. It wasn't particularly easy to see whose hands were whose, their arms were wondering at a rapid pace. Moany, struggling sounds could be heard amongst the sound of their jaws clicking.

It was thoroughly unpleasant, and I wondered whether or not these two people were conscious of how unpleasant they looked and sounded. Not to mention the fact it's just an irritating sight. What drives people to do all this in a public place? Surely there's a perfectly good private area to do this in? At the very least, a less crowded one? Perhaps people feel this is a good way to express to the world how in love they are one with another. If any of you are culprits of the perturbing situation I just described, let me tell you now - you don't give that impression. You give the impression that you are two highly impatient and aroused people, who disregard both the sanity and sight of other people around you.

The worst PDA crime, in my opinion, is people who get up to this sort of thing in the company of other people. It doesn't necessarily have to be facial slobbering, but even cuddling up together so tightly and not allowing yourself to sit amongst other people is irritating, as it means you're perpetually attached to your partner. They may be your other half, there's no need to take it so literally. The inevitable result of this is the loss of conversation. The number of conversations I have with certain friends has decreased as a result of them being too busy cuddled up in their boyfriend/girlfriend's arms with their eyes shut or their mouth otherwise engaged.

You know who you are - and I don't want to lose you because your need to orally engage with someone else's mouth is more important than a regular conversation!




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