Another Part of Me

Recently I was chatting to a friend about blogging. We started talking about the many different genres of blogging as well as the different types of bloggers out there. Being of a different ethnicity ourselves, we started talking about about how that affects the way we blog and what we blog about.

Something she said really stuck with me. Even though I come from a different cultural background (parents & grandparents born in East Africa and great-grandparents born in India) and I’m a practising Ismail Muslim, there isn’t much about my blog that reflects this diversity. I have the header graphic which shows me with my family and we have a brown skin tone. There is a brief mention in one post that I like Bollywood movies and can understand the language, plus one Indian meal recipe. Other than that, there is not a lot on this blog that allows you to see into that part of my life.

The Write Balance - logo final

Today I want to change that. In this post, I am going to tell you a few things that you didn’t know about me and that reflect that traditions, culture and ethnicity that are part of my life.

1. I am a Canadian, Shia, Ismaili Muslim. This means that I follow the Quran and we also follow the Aga Khan who is our living spiritual guide and helps us interpret and understand the Quran and our religion in our modern day life

2. Our family prays three times a day. Once in the morning and twice in the evening. It’s basically like a shorter version of the  Namaaz which other Muslims say in prayer 5 times a day.

3. I’m a big fan of Indian and East African food, especially my moms! I love curry, biryani, akni, puri, roti and the list goes on! After having kids, I even learned to make some of it myself because I wanted my kids to enjoy the same food as well.

finished akni1

4. Even though I don’t drink it all the time, I love a really good cup of chai. My mom and my aunt make it best. I don’t really even try to make it because it never measures up. Then give me a good cookie or bread with butter and jam to dunk and I’m set.

5. I have a closet full of traditional indian outfits and jewelry that I wear on special occasions and to mosque.

in a sari

6. My family also goes to mosque, or what we call Khane. It is open every morning and evening for prayers but we usually go once a week.

7. I love Bollywood movies and songs!! I love listening to the songs in the car or at home with the kids. My favourite thing is to turn up the music to an awesome Bollywood beat and then dance around with the kids. This is one of our favourite Bollywood remixes right now.

8. I was born in Niagra Falls, ON but I didn’t speak any English when I entered Kindergarten. At home we just spoke a a language called Kachi and so I never really learned English until I was actually in school!

9. I got married at a mosque in a traditional sari. In the evening had a reception at a hotel with all those weird traditions like my MIL throwing beetle nuts, me and my hubby racing to step and break these little pots and my husband got his tie pulled on for a big gift, all because that’s what we do at our weddings. The dance at our reception had a few western songs but it was mostly Bollywood music (that my husband didn’t really know or understand) but we all danced the night away and had an amazing time!

wedding sari

10. I have never visited my parents place of birth as an adult and it’s on my bucket list. I have been to India for three weeks about seven years ago and it was a pretty amazing trip. To see how we all live in the same universe yet life is so different really had an impact on me.

So there you have it, that’s the brown side of me that you don’t get to read about too often but I wanted to share because my culture and heritage is an important part of me and I hope to be able to do it more often.

31 thoughts on “Another Part of Me

  1. Ok, so I’m jammin’ to the Bollywood mix as I’m writing this! My experience with Indian/SoAsian culture seems to be so thoroughly wrapped up in food. Growing up we had some Hindu friends, and I remember going to their house and experiencing their Mom’s cooking. It was super exotic, super spicy, and super yummy. Bollywood brings back memories of grad school and my favorite Indian restaurant, where they served up the most wonderful fresh naan and played fuzzy Bollywood videos non-stop. After school, I began to have Indian/SoAsian work colleagues who shared with my family and me their traditions, including (you guessed it) more awesome foods and an appreciation of how enormous India actually is. Enormous both in terms of population size, and in terms of diversity of cultures and history.

    It’s really cool that you’re sharing this part of you on your blog. Thanks so much!!

  2. Thank you for giving us a little bit of the brown side. I really enjoyed reading about your culture, especially about your religion. I love that Islam encourages praying 5 times a day. I think prayer is so important… it really helps center the mind… or elevate the mind. Maybe that is what’s wrong with the world… we don’t pray enough… so our minds are stuff on this lowly plane…
    I’m rambling.. but you know what I mean?? 🙂 Kachi… never heard of that language before… learned so much! Thanks for the light, fun and interesting post.

  3. I very much enjoyed that glimpse into your “brown side.” It’s a lovely complement to your blogging side, although I can see that they go together well. 🙂 I only have a white side, really, as all four of my grandparents were born in Holland and immigrated to Canada, but I love how in Canada almost everyone is really “from” somewhere else.

  4. I love that you shared from your heart Salma! I have seen you in sarees and you do look amazing in them. Some of us weave our heritage into our blogs, but like you I tend not to do that …I am VERY proud to be an Ismaili Shia Muslim too, but my topics generally don’t lend themselves there either. Having said that I may now just have to look at things through a beautiful ETHNIC lens and share that perspective when it arises !
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Tazeem. It’s funny how it’s such a big part of our lives but some how we don’t talk or write about it on a regular basis. Like you, I’m going to try and incorporate it a little more.

  5. What a thought provoking post. I’m black American and hardly ever talk about that in my blog either. I mean, it’s obvious, but I haven’t focused my blog around it. I love what you did here! Thanks for sharing and that pink sari is beautiful!

    1. I was saying that to someone earlier, how our heritage and culture is such a big part of our lives and yet we don’t talk or write about it very often. And thanks for the compliment 🙂

  6. I absolutely loved this post – very authentic and such a beautiful glimpse into you. Of course, I can relate to so much of it being Canadian Ismaili, loving Indian food (and akni is our comfort food around here!) etc. I think it’s important we use our craft to build bridges and I think that’s a gift we have as writers. Well done!

  7. This is amazing! I love reading about this part of you. So often our blogs take on a Westernised slant. I love reading about this side of you…. and I love your wedding saree!!!

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