Flame|Fragrance

e61fcd411f59803130449ed7cce17729

Last few months have been super intense. I had to draw upon all sorts of coping mechanisms to manage stress levels. For some reason beyond my understanding, the stress that I managed to keep locked behind doors, seeped through the cracks & crevices, until I realised that it needed to be embraced. So I’ve started to embrace it and not let it phase me. Haven’t mastered the technique as yet. The mental training is still very much work in progress, but I’m getting there…slowly.

One of the surprising calm-me-the-hell-down techniques that worked for me was burning candles every evening. You can say its a ritual in my house now. It started with tea light candles and then to aromatherapy ones. I have always been a candle lover, more for the aesthetic prominence rather than therapeutic benefits. Lighting an aromatherapy candle daily, I realised that its not just the mesmerising flame that relaxes the senses, its also the subtle fragrance that soothes the environment and relaxes mood.

So guess who is candle obsessed these days. Yup. That’s right. Moi.

My main Pitt stop to replenish candle cravings has been at Dusk – 100% Australian company with a focus on provenance, purity and passion for candle creation.

The stable Dusk fragrances burning in my house mostly all evenings are usually one of these:

  • Dusk Signature Range – CalmPerfectly balanced infusion of Lavender and Rose.
  • Dusk Signature Range – Spirituality – Opulence of flourishing Rose Geranium and musky Sandalwood .
  • Dusk Signature Range – Harmony – Beautiful combination of soft Lavender and Geranium.

If you are ever up at Blue Mountains, I would recommend to stop over at Leura for a sensory delight at Moontree – 100% Australian made & owned candles. My personal zesty favourite here is:

  • Moontree Fragrant Candle Range  – Lemongrass – Enduring scent of fresh cut Lemongrass is uplifting and cleansing.

Stumbled across Circa Home soy candles recently and decided to test it out. I purchased a small jar of ‘Jasmine & Magnolia’ for some night time burning. What a delight to the senses, crisp & sweet scent that totally relaxed my mind just before bedtime.Not only are these candles amazingly fragrant, they are great for the environment (non toxic) and burn longer!

My personal weakness:

  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Jasmine & Magnolia – Tender balance of Jasmine and Magnolia brushed by hints of Frangipani and Ylang Ylang.

On my get-it-soon list:

  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Mango & Papaya – Cocktail of Mango, Orange and Passionfruit laced with Jasmine and a touch of Vanilla.
  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Cotton Flower & Freesia – Fresh blend of Freesia, White Rose, Cucumber and Musk.
  • Circa Home Scented Soy Wax – Pear & Lime – Invigorating blend of zesty Mexican Lime, Anjou Pear, warm Vanilla and Sandalwood.

Happy Fragrance Flaming Folks 🙂

© as|fa 2016

Melbourne|Destroyed

9c91255d44c2c4588822845e352d7f03

The concierge advised us not to come back until we had completely destroyed Melbourne. I was amused at his interesting choice of words. We destroyed Melbourne nonetheless – with our infectious laughter. You can imagine the kind of fun instigated when 8 good friends gather together for a weekend of contagious fun & frolic…

Of course the chit chats started as soon as we all boarded the plane. So any passengers that planned on a peaceful 1 hour and 15 minute flight to Melbourne were greatly disappointed. We all copped looks of amusement from the fellow passengers. They didn’t really have any choice – we weren’t in the mood to zip it and no one was going to stop us from talking nonsense..

Coordinating these series of rendezvous was a pretty challenging endeavour. Free guesses to the lucky lady who landed the coordinator job. Yes, yours truly. Though I think I may have self appointment myself due to my OCD planning (slightly controlling, only slightly though) issues.

We literally had to create a project plan, develop a schedule, highlight and socialise the plan with stakeholders, identify dependencies, assign resources, determine financials and plan for risk mitigation. This coordination exercise had uncanny similarities to my day job – which to me was not amusing at all. But the power of divide and conquer worked wonders. We all contributed to turning this trip into reality – it helped when we had a few key skill sets within our collective repertoire – a Mathematician, the Analytical Thinker, a Project Manager, a Social Event Coordinator, a Life Style Expert, the Sarcasm Subject Matter Expert and the Doc. We all took a sigh of relief once all the planning was done & dusted. We were eagerly anticipating the trip..

11220823_10155542600510203_7150560426965061432_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

Once we reached our destination, it was just 3 days of guilt free fun, fabulous shopping plus sight seeing and culinary (over) indulgence. Its amazing how just a weekend trip away with the girls can make you forget the daily grind – it was like we were on another planet. Totally therapeutic.

I loved the colonial rustic architecture meshed with the modern artsy cultured feel of Melbourne. The streets of Melbourne were an absolute delight, from the cute tucked away cafés in little alley ways to the vividly Gothic art adorning the streets – it was such a different feel to Sydney.

 

1471324_10155543606525203_5996394172131522583_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

49

Image: Copyright as|fa

Within the tightly planned schedule, I managed to sneak in an early morning walk along the Yarra with my walking buddy – I’m glad we planned that walk in and packed appropriate shoes – the Yarra is beautiful in the morning – the sleeping city looked exceptionally glorious at sun rise.

11233509_10155542601240203_4957283221903454612_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

Lucky we were up early enough. The intent was to walk to the infamous beyond belief cafe, The Hardware Societie @ Hardware Lane, so we could beat the crowd and have a piece of that scrumptious brekkie everyone raves about. We must’ve got there around 8.15 am (after almost waking the entire city with our loaded chit chats and giggles) and the place was already packed !! A colourfully quirky staff member, with painted nails and a big flower brooch attached to his shirt (who by the way could smell Versace on a customer from a mile away) was taking down names for table allocation.  I cant recall how long we waited. It helped when our mathematician friend was glued to the colourfully quirky staff member, making sure he allocated us the next table. The breakfast was just mouthwateringly sensational and the coffee was straight from heaven. Totally worth the wait. Added to the must visit again list.

 

11230594_10155542599585203_167683394280628505_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

We visited plenty of places and they all deserve a mention, like the impromptu visit to a rooftop cigar bar, St Kilda markets, a quick shopping pit stop at Melbourne DFO,  a horse ride across the city,  or the jazz inspired, quirky Thai restaurant and of course, Crown casino (which we all unanimously concluded wasn’t for us). This blog would be pretty damn long if I penned down all the experiences that we packed into those 3 days.

11150275_10155542642210203_2068727205516130832_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

One deserving highlight is of ‘our last supper’ at 400 Gradi, Brunswick. The winner of the World Pizza Championships. Although we had reservations, the wait was extra long, or maybe it seemed like eternity as we were famished! The staff were conversing in fluent Italian, and their behaviour was wickedly Italian too – so it was not surprising when our table was getting extra attention. We soaked it all in, who would say no to free entrées and of course the pizzas did not disappoint. Yumm…

10986454_10155542603035203_5923573503951931172_n

Image: Copyright as|fa

It was definitely a memorable trip – one that all 8 of us will reminisce often. All of us have our own favourite moments & highlights, the best thing is that every single one of us was going with the flow, relaxed, chilled and just plainly interested in having a good time. No doubt that we destroyed Melbourne – it was such good therapy. Locked in our memory bank. Forever.

© as|fa 2016

Happy|New|Year

HappyNewYear2016

I had imagined I would start a New Year Blog reflecting on the predecessor year and anticipating the outlook for the year upon us, but clearly it didn’t go according to plan for 2016! Even though I’m almost two months late, I figured that since I like going back and reading through my notes, it’s better to pen the Blog than not!

From a year in review perspective, 2015 challenged me (and I mean this in a positive way) post to pillar from a career front.  My plans literally fell on my lap. Actually, it seems like an easy journey, but trust me, at the time, my levels of anxiousness were uncomfortable. If I had to derive learning from it, I would say that when embarking on a challenging journey it always seems overwhelming and somewhat unachievable, but that feeling is only momentary, because once you jump in, you must swim. And we all swim. We have to. Quitting is not an option, especially for me as I like to follow my commitments through to the very end.

2015 was interesting year at the home front. Sporting commitments took over most of our weekends, ranging from Tennis, Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, Netball, Swimming and Futsal and additional physical activities for hubby and I. Sports seems to form a big part of our lives, which I really appreciate. I find it’s beneficial for the kids to play a variety of sports, it good for their physical & mental well-being as well as giving them energetic choices of social activity for the rest of their lives..

Apart from sports enthusiasm, we hosted plenty of get-together at home for family & friends. I’ve lost count! Hubby’s cooking never fails to draw a crowd. He has creatively cooked up some exceptional delicacies. To say that I’m lucky is probably an understatement. Feel free to be envious 😉

Having a good circle of friends with whom you deeply connect is important, not only for the adults, the kids too. 2015 has reaffirmed that time is of the essence; to spend it on superficial friendships is neither meaningful nor logical. Connect with the friends that share your values, have similar interests and future outlook as your family.

The reason I say this is that our kids are watching our every move, our every social interaction; they are observing our behaviours towards others and our reactions over incidents and circumstances. As we are raising the next generation of humankind, it is our social and moral obligation to inspire these inquisitive little sponges in absorbing good ethical values. So the learning here folks is – choose your friends wisely 😉

On a side note, Netflix came into our lives in 2015 and since then, numerous TV Shows have been devoured, which conveniently will be discussed in a future Blog!

There are no specific plans for 2016, but I am anticipating more reading, and significantly more writing, the definitely aiming for weekend walking to continue as its progressed exceptionally well. There are a couple of big family milestone dates this year and it would be wonderful to plan a family getaway before the end of 2016 to celebrate.

So here we are, waved goodbye to 2015, year of the Sheep and hello 2016, year of the Monkey.

Wishing you all, pleasant reflective thoughts for the year passed.

All the best for 2016. Don’t let any mischievous Monkeys waver your plans!

© as|fa 2016

The dignity of a refugee

Take a moment to be thankful for our lives, our privileged lifestyles and our beautiful innocent children – we are lucky to be born in a privileged society – the refugees in crisis have not a shred to call their own. Their homes, their families, every ounce of security and comfort they had built over the years has been brutally ripped from them – and yet their optimism remains strong, it is not shattered. They are refugees, not beggars, not criminals – these people have been displaced from their homes, they had dreams and plans for their future that will not materialize if the current situation persists. These people are seeking refuge – open your eyes & heart to help them – if you can’t help them then say a prayer – but please don’t thrash them by questioning their motives or validity – it is demeaning – we must promote compassion.
Sharing a BLOG recently published by my most dearest friend Saneeya – struck a few chords..

Saneeya Qureshi

I must preface this blog entry with a caveat: I am neither an activist nor a political person by any measure. The text contained within this post is meant solely to capture the multitude of emotions that I have experienced in a short span of time. It is not meant in any way as a comment or interpretation of the politics or policies of any nation.

I am fortunate to work in a job which I not only love, but also one for which I travel around the world. I am currently in Budapest, Hungary. Although the past week has been spent attending various sessions and meetings for work, this weekendI have had the privilege of being able to volunteer for a whileat the Keleti train station before catching my flight back home.

Having grown up in countries that are oft touched by violence and bloodshed, although upset by the…

View original post 639 more words

Milestone|Ivory

Marriage2

Image Courtesy – Pinterest

We celebrated 14 years of marriage this month. In the scheme of things it may not seem like an awfully long time, but for a couple that met and married within 3 months, that too, in their early 20’s – is nothing short of a miracle. The 14 year journey has been incredible, and we attempt each year to take stock of it all. It is therapeutic to reflect back in time, reviewing our timeline, accomplishments, our kids and mostly our evolution as an individual. We are certainly not the same person we were 14 years ago.

So the anniversary got me thinking about relationships and marriages, which led to discussions with friends/colleagues on the very same subject – leaving me no choice but to Blog 😉

Relationships at the core are all similar, everyone encounters the same types of problems – finances, career satisfaction, raising kids, sharing household chores, misunderstandings, jealously, intimacy, over protectiveness, snoring… (The list is endless, need I add more? I’m sure you got the picture.

There are always going to be differences, because the reality is that we never get attracted to our mirror image – that would be so ridiculously boring. What makes relationships unique is how each couple address the issues encountered along the way.

I think all this discussion must’ve really stirred up some currents in my brain because for some bizarre reason I started analysing marriage/relationships against a team development sequence model created by psychologist Bruce Tuckman back in 1965, which I learned during my MBA. The model identifies stages of development for a team leading it to achieving unified goals through high performance.

Now if you stop for a moment and think about marriage – it boils down to team work, common objectives and performance, doesn’t it? Teamwork is at the centre of a relationship, because there is no such thing as a fairytale, consistently agreeable, always loving, relationship. Wake up folks – that fairytale love story with Princess and Prince Charming does not exist! Successful marriages requires continuous work.

high_performance

Image Courtesy – Pinterest

So, coming back to my interesting model, the famous stages documented by Bruce Tuckman was “Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing”. And here is my crazy attempt to align it with marriage:

Stage 1 – Forming: I’m calling this the Lovey-Dovey phase where couples are excited about the life ahead, extra polite and caring towards each other. Learning something new about their better half, enjoying each others company. It is the stage where couples are open to entertaining possibilities of the words ‘compromise’ and ‘accommodate’.

Storm

Image Courtesy – Pinterest

Stage 2 – Storming: The honeymoon, Lovey-Dovey phase ends. Now this is there stage where the storms, hurricanes and tornadoes cause havoc. Couples are pushing against the boundaries, resulting in conflicts due to their differing personalities, styles and approach. Storms are inevitable, its how you manoeuvre through them that matters. This is the stage where most relationships either make it or break it! It may seem easy to walk out of a relationship at this point, but remember, that you will eventually have to follow the same pattern all over again with another person – so if it didn’t work out the first time, then what makes you think it will be different with someone else?

Marraige1

Image Courtesy – Pinterest

Stage 3 – Norming: This is the stage where couples get to know each other from the core, start to understand and successfully resolve their differences, appreciate each others strengths by developing mutual respect. This leads to them defining their objectives and commitment to a unified goal. This is an interesting phase, while couples achieve normalisation, there is a risk of regressing back to storming phase if new variables are introduced in the marriage, for examples, a baby, or mid life crisis or menopause! So what I am trying to articulate, perhaps not so elegantly, is that there needs to be commitment to fix issues, to take your marriage from a storm towards normalisation and subsequently to performing – as a team.

Stage 4 – Performing: The ideal stage which I like to call “auto-drive”. This is the stage where couples are so in tune that you finish each others sentences, pre-empt each others needs, collaborate to achieving your family goals. This stage is comfortable, but don’t think its permanent, because remember the fact that fairytale marriages don’t exist? Yep. So while you may be performing at times, this model is circular and will keep taking you back in motion to the previous phases, depending on the challenges that come your way and the circumstances you are in.

Couples should understand that it is arduous teamwork and commitment that develops successful relationships.

As long as you are married to a good human being with a strong moral compass – make every effort to keep the love & respect growing.

Who said commitment was easy? 😉

© as|fa 2015

Limbic|Resonance

LimbicResonance

Credits: Pinterest

“Limbic Resonance is the theory that the capacity for sharing deep emotional states arises from the limbic system of the brain. These states include the dopamine circuit promoted feelings of emphatic harmony, and the norepinephrine circuit originated emotional states of fear, anxiety and anger.” (Source: Wiki)

Many years after divorcing Foxtel, we subscribed to a trial version of Netflix and got hooked. Never before have I watched back to back episodes of TV Shows with such commitment and intensity, that too, advertisement free! Now you know what I’ve been upto for the last couple of months – absorbing information from informative (mostly) and mindless (sometimes) shows. The addiction started with House of Cards, moving on to The Following, then The Returned (French Version) and most recently a Netflix production “Sense8″.

Credits: Pinterest

Credits: Pinterest

Sense8 is a play on the word Sensate, referring mainly to the feeling of awareness and heightened sensory perception. The first cryptic episode of this show called “Limbic resonance” is what captured my attention and subsequently landed me on the couch, ignoring household chores, glued to the devices at every opportunity to devour the 12 episodes of Season 1. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my household) the show only has one season so far.

Sense8 plot revolves around eight strangers from different parts of the world (Chicago, London, Mexico, Mumbai, Berlin, Seoul, Nairobi, San Francisco) who suddenly become mentally and emotionally linked. The main characters are called Sensates and all are exactly the same age in the show, sharing the same birthday, August 8. The plot magic starts when the eight characters become aware of their cluster, starting emotional interactions and trying to unravel the many mysteries unfolding in their minds…

I don’t want to share spoilers as it will tragically ruin the impact of the show. Watch it for yourself if the unexplained science fiction and paranormalish kind of shows excite you. This show was totally up my alley, although I must provide appropriate warnings – the show has very disturbingly graphic content at times – a typical Wachowski production.

© as|fa 2015

Capital|Redemption

16295-true-redemption-is-seized-when-you-accept-the-future-consequences

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran succumbed to their doomed fate on 29th April 2015. Capitally punished in Indonesia for drug trafficking. Executed by firing squad, just past midnight, after nearly 10 years of actively pursuing redemption.

They were guilty, without a doubt. Their intentions tipped off by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) which subsequently led to them being caught red handed by the Indonesian police. Narcotics trafficking carries the death penalty in Indonesia. They knew the risks. They knew that death would be the ultimate end, if they were caught. They carried on with their fallacious plan, ignoring the consequences. Their young blurred brains greedily excited about financial gains. Lots of it.

I’m sure they did not once consider the impacts that heroin would unleash to the community. The devastation it would cause families. The lives that would be lost as a result. Whether they were naive or conniving, we will never truly understand their intentions. They have taken those intentions to the grave.

The public is heavily divided in their opinions on whether Chan’s and Sukumuran’s fate was justified. The fact is that their fate was sealed the minute they were caught. It was just a matter of time. Indonesia was not going to change its laws for 2 Australian citizens. President Joko Widodo wasn’t going to miraculously grant clemency for two measly drug traffickers. I’m sure there is a huge drugs epidemic in Indonesia, more so than domestic violence, sexual assaults, murder and paedophilia. The fact that drug trafficking carries a capital penalty in Indonesia cannot be changed. There is no room for discussion on whether death penalty for drug trafficking is warranted. It will be challenging to determine the scale with which trafficking supersedes other heinously criminals acts in Indonesia. Those statistics are not easily obtainable.

Putting aside all these unchangeable Indonesian facts, and leaving out of scope the school of thoughts around Capital Punishment serving as punitive measures. I don’t support the execution of Chan & Sukumuran.

I get it. They perpetrated the crimes for which they justly should be punished. Drugs are killers of our society, killing our youths, eradicating sanity of our families. Yes, I agree with all of the above. BUT. I believe it was inhumane to execute them. Especially since over the last 10 years they had worked tirelessly towards redemption. That they had demonstrated change from within their core. That they had adjusted their life’s trajectory onto new tracks. They were remorseful and had apologised for their actions to all those they had personally affected. Prison had rehabilitated them. I believe in second chances. They should have been given a second chance. Their life should have been spared. Maybe they would’ve made positive contributions to our society. Who knows maybe they could’ve been another Tim Allen or Mark Walhberg or even Michael Coutts-Trotter. People change. 

I couldn’t help but feel sad for them and their families. They endured for the last 10 years. Its a long time to suffer, especially when the outcome was inevitable. Andrew Chan and Myurun Sukumuran have truly redeemed themselves as they faced the consequences of their historical actions. I hope that their execution was not in vain, serving to deter future drug traffickers.

© as|fa 2015

One|Voice

Had many discussions recently, some constructive and then some heated, regarding optimism and positivity, specifically around tolerance of cultural diversity. I’ve noticed many around me, unreservedly lashing out at other nationalities, cultures for various reasons. Reasons that are undoubtedly trivial and egoistically glorified, to say the least. The magnitude of hate being harboured in peoples hearts stuns me.

I truly understand patriotism and loyalty towards ones own nation and its citizens. What I don’t understand is the collective venom in the hearts of people and how that transposes itself as personal attacks on social media.

Being the voice promoting respect, demanding tolerance and displaying a reflective mirror on those brimming with venom  is hard.

The venom sprays on me occasionally. Making me reflect (sometimes question) on whether this cause of positivity & optimism is worth its while. Recently just like magic manifesting itself in my universe, my thoughts and beliefs were validated. This sensational & inspiring video of the raconteur Barrack Obama is about the power of “one voice”. One voice has the power to change a nation.

So to all that are reading this – remember that voice is a powerful weapon – use it for a worthy cause and most importantly for worthy humans.

[Please watch the video]

© as|fa 2015

Cricket|Conjecture

AdelaideOval

Image Courtesy – Danial Mausoof @ Adelaide Oval, India vs Pak, World Cup 2015

Don’t be surprised to read this Blog post on cricket. It was inevitable. Some of my comments are one-sided observations only. If you happen to be an emotional Pakistani, carrying rant on sleeves, refrain from reading any further 😉

——————————————————————————————————

Would you believe that my first ever cricket match was the India vs Pak World Cup in Adelaide Oval on 15th February 2015. Never set foot on a cricket ground before this event, mainly because I have never really been interested in cricket. My interest developed once our daughter started playing girls cricket leagues two years back, then our son got involved in Milo cricket, soon after the backyard family cricket sessions were in full bloom and before I knew it, I was hooked. Let me clarify that my “hook” is exclusively as a spectator only. I’m not keen to step foot on the pitch for bowling or fielding. Batting, maybe you can twist my arm for that 🙂

The experience of attending a live world cup match boosted my interest levels significantly. I had no idea that cricket spectating would be so much fun, especially as a family and more so in a group! Adelaide Oval was beautiful, though I cant really compare it to any other stadium, but those who can have confirmed it certainly is one of the best. The atmosphere in Adelaide Oval was electric and buzzing with supporters donned with Green & Blue jerseys. Mostly Blue jerseys though as the population of India outshines Pakistan by far 😉

Our World Cup trip to Adelaide was with a group of Pakistani and Indian friends. We were all prepared with our team jerseys and plenty of face paints to support both the nations. I was clearly supporting Pakistan on the day, however I’ll be lying if say I didn’t struggle with thoughts on cricket team loyalties leading up to the start of World Cup. For some the choice of supporting a team is a no-brainer. But for me there were multiple layers of considerations to assess. Fret not. I have made the complex assessments and I’m crystal clear about my alliances – and there are a few 😉

#1 Team Bangladesh:

There is no dispute in my mind that Bangladesh would be my first preference. Its the country of my birth and honey like mother tongue. My heart will forever harbour a sweet spot for Bangladesh and of the vivid childhood memories playing in the patio of the red brick house that belonged to my maternal grandmother, nestled amongst the two remarkable coconut trees that are forever inscribed in my thoughts. There is no denying my love of Lychees, Jack fruit and my absolute worship of Rice & Daal – how could I not be a Bengali by blood.

The Tigers have come a long way in cricket, they have proven themselves as international level contenders, still the underdogs, but they have the courage and ability to come back guns blazing. Hats off to all the Tiger supporters for being so positive and optimistic about their team. My Team #1 all the way!

#2 Team Pakistan:

There is strong bond with Pakistan, it is my fathers homeland and the country where I spent most of my secondary school age. It is the country that taught me patriotism. The memories associated with excitement of plastering the Pakistan Flag all around the house to celebrate 14th August – Independence Day is priceless. It is the country where I developed my culinary love for Biryani, Haleem, Nihari, Bun Kebabs, Kulfi, and Kheer. The list is endless. I can carry on forever.

Supporting the Pakistani cricket team is like harbouring a constant heart attack. Regardless of their inconsistencies and fallacies, the love & support for them is undeniable. I only wish that all the Pakistani supporters keep their emotional outbursts at bay on social media. It is heart wrenching to see Green supporters thrashing their own team players. We, the supporters need to uphold our country’s honour and support the team regardless of the outcomes. There are many variables beyond our control, however the one variable totally in our hands is positive support & respect for the nation. We all need to ‘play the ball not the man’. We are the ambassadors for the nation fronting the world on social platforms. To be absolutely & honestly brutal, Pakistani supporters need to contain their emotional outbursts and work on social media etiquettes. The team did exceptionally well considering their circumstances. Wahab Riaz’s performance was exceptional. He is certainly a gem, his capabilities needs to be exploited further. Looking forward to Team Green taking on board the learnings from this World Cup, work on their short comings and bring back the passion and pride in their game.

#3 Team India:

I’ve never set foot in India, but I feel very connected to this country. It is the homeland of my ancestors. In fact, my maternal family still reside in India. I’ve never in my heart felt any rivalry with India, thanks to the upbringing of my parents, especially my mother. She was a woman so open to cultural diversity, always surrounded by friends from all parts of the world. She taught us to appreciate people on face value regardless of cultural and political boundaries. Maybe that is why the core of my heart is devoid of contention. Out of respect of my many Indian friends and the fact that we share the same soil, Team Blue is definitely worthy of my support. It also happens to be my favourite colour 🙂

Team India is definitely in form and a strong contender to take home the cup! I’m banking on them to get to the finals. I have to mention that I’m mostly impressed with the Indian supporters. They have this undeniable passion and conviction in their team. Love the spirit and positivity. Good Luck!

#4 Team Australia:

My adopted homeland, my home. I love Australia. I wish I could say the same about the cricket team. My only bone of contention with the team is the fact that they are so stuck up and racist. This is the only point that holds me back from giving them unconditional support. No doubt they play amazing cricket, but they have to work on gaining my empathy & alliance. Of course I will never discount them, as I’m truly patriotic to Australia, but I will continue to support other Australian sports until the cricket team learns to appreciate cultural diversity… 😉

So there you have it. My new found love of cricket and the sequence of my cricket team support. No doubt that sports instils passion, drive and courage for the players as well as the spectators. Team spirit is electric and contagious. Wishing that all the cricket supporters display positive behaviour and remain optimistic of their teams for the remaining world cup games. Remember that words are powerful. We all should use them to drive positivity.

The most deserving team will definitely take the cup.  My bet now is with Team India. 

© as|fa 2015

Wynyard|Homeless

Image Courtesy - Pinterest

Image Courtesy – Pinterest

She must be dead.

It’s been nearly two years. Ever since I changed my work route and mode of transportation into the city, we have not bumped into each other. I walk on the west side of York St now due to the train station proximity but my eyes continue to sift through people on the east side, at the bus stop right across Wynyard Park.

Every day for two years as I made my way up from the station onto work, my eyes canvassed across the street in vain, looking for a familiar figure hovering around the city bins. Just in case she was there, sifting through the rubbish like it was an obstacle course, looking for newspapers she could recycle for some dollars in return. Her method of survival. Her breakfast, and sometimes if she was lucky, her lunch for the day. She never begged. I assumed, her mind was concious of rectitude.

She must’ve been close to 90 years of age, or at least that is what my perception concluded after reviewing her appearance. I wondered whether it was homelessness or a difficult life that had aged her beyond her years. She was a frail little old lady, slightly hunched, her thin hair was steel grey, like clouds pregnant with rain. Always tied up in a small frazzled bun.

The first time I offered her money she looked at me for what seemed like an eternity. She was hesitant and I got uncomfortable at my gesture. I could feel the cogs in her head rotating at the speed of light. I encouraged her to take the money for breakfast. Finally, she gave me a toothless smile and thanked me. I will never forget that smile.

This incident set off the ritual for the next 4 years. I never spoke to her after that. It was a silent agreement. I would give her my change whenever I bumped into her and she would take it and give me a toothless smile in return.

I copped a bit of criticism from those I shared this information with. Some said I was fuelling the homeless druggies, others that I should be diverting my funds to registered charities as opposed to a homeless from the streets. In fact, someone raised the point that my virtues would not be considered by God because the homeless woman potentially did not share my religion.  I heard all those that placed their concerns on the table. BUT, it did not deject me from continuing my ritual. I knew in my heart she was not a drug addict. I cared even less about her religious beliefs. Or whether my act of kindness would be considered a virtue or a sin in the eyes of God.

We humans are made up of countless stacks of configurations. We categorise ourselves (and get categorised by others) into racial factions, religious factions, political groups, countries, continents and the list is endless. When you unpack and unstack all this categorical/factional bullshit, the only common denominator remaining is humanity.

I helped that little old frail homeless lady for the sake of humanity.

© as|fa 2015