- I am sorry that I complained about not being able to find parking at campus.
- I am sorry that I said “tomorrow” when my cousin asked if we could go for a run.
- I am sorry that I dreaded driving to campus because there was always traffic on the way.
- I am sorry that I didn’t appreciate going out to eat because it was something we always just did.
- I am sorry that I gave you a one armed hug instead of hugging you tightly the last time I saw you.
- I am sorry that I took family suppers for granted because I believed that there would always be one.
- I am sorry that I was more focused on getting the perfect sunset picture for my instagram highlight instead of simply enjoying the sun set.
- I am sorry that I didn’t pay enough attention during lectures because right now, all I would like to do is hear the professor drone on about present values and strategies.
I am sorry.
I was wrong.
I take full responsibility for my actions.
I will change.
- I promise to enjoy the walk from overflow parking at wits to my lecture even if it’s a one kilometre walk up hill.
- I promise to say “let’s go” when my cousin asks if we can go for a run.
- I promise to just embrace the traffic on the way to campus.
- I promise to be thankful every time I get to go out to eat.
- I promise to wrap you in a bear hug the next time I see you.
- I promise to remember how blessed I am to be able to have family suppers.
- I promise to spend more time watching the sun set than taking sunset pictures.
- I promise to give my lectures the attention it deserves.
I will change.
In the beginning, I was pretty nonchalant about Covid-19 but my perception changed pretty quickly when I saw the stats rising (get constant updates at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), it’s impact especially on Italy, the US and Spain and finally its arrival in South Africa. Our world has changed as we know it. As we start this lockdown, I pray for the safety of our family, our friends, our people and our country. May we all get through this together and come out of it stronger.
Kindness /ˈkʌɪn(d)nəs/ noun: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” – JK Rowling
I think kindness very much extends to the way we talk to people because our words have the power to both, inflict pain and remedy it. We remember the way people speak to us, we remember what they say to us and we remember how they make us feel.
I think the person whose words impact me the most is my mum’s. She is able to comfort me when I’m sad, make me laugh when I’m annoyed and even calm me down when I’m angry. She is also able to make me change an outfit when she says she doesn’t like it even if I love it and she also influences my opinion of other people. She taught me to never say “I know” when someone tells me something that I already know. I don’t know if she realises that she does this but when someone is telling her something and she knows about this thing already, she’ll never tell them that she does, she’ll simply listen and agree with them. She is always kind with her words and my mum is the first person my cousins go to when they have a problem because they know she will sort it out for them and make their father (aka her sibling) see their point of view.
I know that I’m not the only child whose mother’s words have the most impact. My friends agree with me, as do my cousins and my mum says that even today her mum’s words have the power to strike a chord. Please be kind to your children. Listen to them. Talk to them about their fears. Tell them that they’re special and beautiful and brilliant and tell them that there’s no one like them in this world. Find out what they feel insecure about, whether it’s their height or their weight or the colour of their skin or the kind of clothes they wear, talk to them about it. Everyone, especially kids, think they have to live up to certain expectations, they think that they have to behave a certain way, be friends with certain people, wear certain clothes, like certain things and entertain certain situations. Make sure your kids know that they only have to be themselves and that being different is okay. You don’t know how much your words matter, I’m telling you that they matter A LOT.
I know that it’s difficult to be kind every single minute of every single day. We’re all human, sometimes we have a bad day and we snap at someone who merely asked a question or we brush off someone mid conversation or we forget who we’re sitting with and we mention something that is sensitive to them. These are mistakes, I think that it is something that we have to give a person leeway for because we’re only human.
I was speaking to someone and I told them that I feel bad when I’m in a bad mood at home and she asked me “why? Your home is the place where you’re allowed to be in a bad mood, you’re allowed to get upset and not want to talk to anyone at home. But what you’re not allowed to do is come to campus in that bad mood or speak to a lecturer in that bad mood or show up to work and deal with a customer in that bad mood.”
I think that the person you need to be most kind to the most is yourself. Only you hear what’s going on inside your head, so you need to make sure that you are a good person to yourself first. I want you to remember this:
You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak.
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried.
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home.
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of.
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.
You need to be kind to your family, your friends, strangers and animals. You need to be kind to everyone. To be kind, is something I have always strived to be and something I will always strive to be.
“Why are you so nice even to people who are rude to you?”
“Because I, too, have been rude to nice people and I know that rudeness comes from a place of a roaring pain. And only kindness soothes it.”
– By The Word
Dear 10-year-old Radhiyyah
I know that right now you are probably laying in bed reading a book. You’re reading Harry Potter for the first time. Believe me when I say it will feel as magical every other time you read it in the years to come.
You have been blessed in more ways than you can count. You have parents who will do absolutely anything for you, siblings who will make you feel both, a love so fierce and an anger so deep, grandparents who are the best, uncles who are always on your team, aunts who will always help you see right from wrong and cousins with whom you will share many nights of laughter with.
You have firm friends. Two with whom you will always find in your life, no matter how far you think you’ve gravitated away from each other. Two, so unexpected, but you always have the best time when you’re together. Two, far in distance, but close in heart. One of your friends always reminds you who you are when you forget and another makes you so happy every time she messages you.
You will also lose friends, but it’s okay. You will discover what kind of people you want in your life and you won’t settle for less.
Madrassah will be some of the best years of your life. The amount of knowledge that you will gain in the two hours that you go everyday will surprise you when you’re older and you will be so so thankful for it. Your ustaads and your Aapa will hold a very special place in your heart because the bond you have with them will be spiritual and unlike any other.
You will love high school. You will do anything you set your mind to and you will leave high school stronger and better. Your bond with your high school friends will remain, especially with people you weren’t that close to in school and it will bring you an immeasurable amount of happiness.
You will go to university and here you will surprise yourself and everyone else. It will make you do new things and it will take you out of your sheltered life.
You will discover that you really love writing. You will realise that it’s a form of therapy for you and you will do it best at 2am. People are your inspiration, you will come home after being with your friends and you will take out your laptop and type. There’s no better feeling.
Your parents will take you for umrah for the first time. Before going for umrah, you felt a deep longing to pray in Makkah and Madinah. After visiting, you will feel as if you left your heart there, the peace you will feel here will be unlike any other and the longing you feel to go back will be a constant in your life.
Your goal will be to live up to the meaning of your name. Radhiyyah- content, satisfied, pleased, delighted. You will want to be content. You will look and find contentment all around you. You will find it in prostration when praying to your lord, having supper with your family, in sunsets, walking the streets of a foreign place, floating in a pool, drinking iced coffee, watching an episode of Friends and even after a good workout.
You will experience heartbreak. Someone you love will pass away but you will know that he’s in a better place. Friends will betray your trust and it won’t ever be the same again but it’s okay because what is to come is better than what has passed.
Radhiyyah, there is no problem too big that your family can’t help you with, they are always the answer to any of your questions. Don’t spend today worrying about tomorrow, start living in the moment. Always check your intention when doing anything and make sure that it’s for the pleasure of Allah. Don’t strive for perfection, embrace the imperfection.
There will be moments of happiness and moments of sadness, moments of weakness and moments of strength, moments of pride and moments of prayer, moments of elation and moments of uncertainty, impulsive moments, true in every essence. Life is a collection of these moments and we are only a moment so live for the moments you can’t put into words.
Social media plays a huge part in our lives. It’s the place where we share what we’re doing, where we are and who we’re with. A tweet about how sweet your best friend is because she bought you your favourite chocolate, a Snapchat of your healthy breakfast at six am, an instagram picture of your ootd and maybe even a Facebook update (if anyone does this these days) saying you’re flying from O R Tambo International Airport to King Shaka International Airport or maybe in my case an instagram story of the sun setting at the Pan.
But the truth is, all you see is a highlight reel. The best moments of someone’s day, a few seconds showing their best life, nothing more, nothing less. But how quickly are we deceived into thinking “wow, this person’s life is perfect”? I guarantee you this is not true because there is no such thing as perfection. Life is made up of imperfect moments.
I, myself, take 347685764 pictures until I get the perfect snap of my lunch because I, like many of you, need it for the aesthetic. This is absolute nonsense. If we spend all our time trying to get the perfect snap, we miss out on the beautiful, raw imperfect moments of life. I refuse to let this happen to me any longer. I refuse to succumb to the need for the aesthetic. I absolutely refuse. I know that when I look back at any of my favourite days, they’re days where my screen time was low.
I think that we use social media to get validation. We post a picture on our story in hopes of one person seeing it, instead of simply sending it to that one person directly. We sing praises for our significant others or best friends or siblings on an instagram post for everyone to read, instead of telling them personally. We’re very opinionated (and sometimes, on topics we don’t have enough knowledge on) for clout. We remove our display picture when we’re sad instead of talking about our feelings or trying to fix the problem. We post things for other people to see instead of posting because it makes us happy.
My friends and I were having an argument about emojis. Does it make a difference whether a person’s name has emojis or not? If you had asked me this one year ago, I would’ve said “of course” because the first thing I do when I’m mad at someone, is take away their emojis. But today, I will tell you that emojis mean absolutely nothing. All that matters is what you say and what you do because your actions must always reflect your words.
I love twitter, I find joy in sharing random thoughts and then finding out that there’s a bunch of other people who agree with me. I love instagram, I love posting sunsets and pictures of food and I love the touch of yellow in my feed. I love Snapchat, it gives me a glimpse into my friend’s lives and makes it easier for me to tell them good luck for a test and it makes it easier to show them the pretty sunflowers I found on the road.
Social media is one of the greatest tools we’ve been given. With a click of a button, we’re able to see what’s happening in Taksim Square on Snapchat Maps, check the morning traffic on Waze, say hi to a cousin in London and even interact with your favourite celebrity. The problem arises when you don’t see what’s happening down the road, when you don’t go for a walk around the block, when you don’t say hi to your cousin next door and when you don’t interact with the actual people in your life.
Social media is also not a true reflection of life. The candid picture you’re looking at took about twenty tries to get right, it isn’t candid. The actor’s face has been airbrushed and their skin tone made to look a tad lighter, it isn’t perfect. I guarantee you the chances are that nine out of ten dentists did not recommend that toothpaste.
So, stop! Take a minute and reflect. Live your truth. Don’t look at someone’s highlight reel and compare it to your behind the scenes. Be kind. Use social media to spread goodness, to create awareness about things that matter to you and to make someone smile.
Today, we woke up to the Istanbul skyline for the last time. Normally, whenever it’s time to leave a place, I’m very, very excited to go home. I can’t wait to go home to my own bed and my own bathroom. Today, this was not the case. My heart hurt to leave Istanbul in all its splendour. The minute we left the hotel and said goodbye to Istanbul, I began to miss it.
The drive to the airport was about an hour, before we knew it, we were walking through the security checks. Istanbul Airport is amazing. We had Carl’s Jr for lunch, read salaah and then it was time to board.
I spent the flight finishing the Fault In Our Stars and the Netflix series You. We had aisle seats this time so there was no window for me to watch the sun go down.
A granny who was sitting at the window seat saw me looking at the sunset and then called me over to come see it nicely (and also let me take pictures). I was super psyched about this and she made my heart very happy.
So began our six hour transit at Jeddah airport. I alternated between writing blog posts and watching series on Netflix, thank goodness there was wifi!
Once again, my brother got someone to go and buy for us Al Baik for supper and we had Baskin Robbins. I had the brownie bowl (for my cousin, Fati) and everyone else had scoops of cookies and cream, sherbet and cotton candy. Holiday calories don’t count.
We spent the remaining time browsing through Duty Free, the riyal was almost at 4 to the rand so we didn’t shop except for some chocolates for my grandfather.
It’s amazing how slow time passes by when you want it to fly past. I was anxious to board and I counted down the minutes until we’d be on our way home. Eventually, at 1am, we boarded.
My siblings and I spent the flight sleeping and only woke for fajr and to watch the sunrise. Soon after, the pilot was announcing our descent to Johannesburg and with that our holiday came to an end.
At 8am, my Mamajee was waiting for us at Arrivals and I couldn’t have been more happier to see him. We came home to samoosas and pies and viennas and eggs for breakfast by my aunty and grandmother and khari kitchri (which I had been craving the entire time) for lunch. I saw the rest of family for supper when we had Mochachos and then I went to nap. When I woke up, my ten year old cousin had unpacked my handbag that was filled with souvenirs from the trip and she packed everything in its place, exactly where I would’ve packed it.
Friday step count: 11 826
Saturday step count: 5 733
Turkey was absolutely amazing. I had saw everything that I had only ever read in books, saw in movies and were a part of my dreams. I fell irrevocably and completely in love with Istanbul and if you told me right now “Let’s go to Turkey”, I would go online and start looking for tickets.
Thank you everyone for following me on my Turkish adventure. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I see any of you and you tell me that you’re following the posts or that you’re waiting for the next one. If you need any advice on booking your Turkish adventure, I’m more than happy to help and if you have any questions I’m more than happy to answer any of them. The competition closes on Friday at 12pm, so you still have a chance to enter, the competition can be found here.