Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of Madonna and Me in Used Furniture Review

 Judy Clement Wall reviews the anthology 'Madonna and Me' for the Used Furniture Review. She really loved it and has great things to say about all the essays. I am of course thrilled at the following little bit
"Every generation does it with different pop heroes but Soniah Kamal captures what is strikingly consistent – our moments of discovery: “We were three excited girls perched on the edge of a green velvet sofa, waiting for a cassette to rewind, not knowing that when the world changes, this is how it happens, in ordinary living rooms on ordinary afternoons.”
I am thrilled that my essay was mentioned, but I am also thrilled because I actually chose to keep this line after it was nearly edited out. But I could not let this line go. yes its whimsical but it perfectly captured what happened that afternoon: an afternoon that began like so many others, but, by the end of it it was something else. If you haven't read the essays in this anthology yet then do: I'll bet there is that one special essay that will speak to you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Advice from a mother to her ten year old daughter.

Loving Advice from mother Lindsey Mead Russell to her ten year old daughter Grace (it can transfer to sons too)-- I wonder what the Desi mother would have added: definitely a few caveats about getting married, how to get married, and who to get married to. I'd like to add a smiley face here, but also a very very sad face.

"Grace is rounding the curve to ten.  I am not sure how this is possible. I feel ever more aware of her girlhood and looming adolescence, and of all the things I want her to know, as if I could somehow instill values and beliefs into her, like pressing a penny into soft clay.  I know I can't; the best I can do is to keep saying them, keep writing them, keep living them.
Ten things I want my 10-year-old daughter to know:
1. It is not your job to keep the people you love happy.  Not me, not Daddy, not your brother, not your friends.  I promise, it's not.  The hard truth is that you can't, anyway.
2. Your physical fearlessness is a strength. Please continue using your body in the world: run, jump, climb, throw.  I love watching you streaking down the soccer field, or swinging proudly along a row of monkey bars, or climbing into the high branches of a tree.  There is both health and a sense of mastery in physical activity and challenges.
3. You should never be afraid to share your passions. You are sometimes embarrassed that you still like to play with dolls, for example, and you worry that your friends will make fun of you.  Anyone who teases you for what you love to do is not a true friend.  This is hard to realize, but essential. read rest here"
And here is Lindsey's blogpost about that Huff Post Article up above

"That my article on The Huffington Post, 10 Things I Want my 10 Year Old Daughter to Know, resonated with readers was immensely, heart-fillingly gratifying.  I am hugely honored and deeply humbled.  I was buoyed all last week and weekend by the knowledge that my words – the deepest wishes of my mother heart, at this particular point in my daughter’s life – had burrowed into the thoughts and feelings of even perfect strangers.
And the comments on the piece blew me away.  I realized there are things in that piece I passionately wish I’d said differently.  Many of the comments were kind, and I cried as I read them, sad for the people who said they wished they’d had parents who had spoken to them like this and deeply touched by people who told me I was a good mother.
See, the thing is, I was never really thought of myself as a mother.  Early on in our childhood, my sister and I took on roles within our family.  I’m not sure exactly how this “taking on’ occurred, because I am certain it was subconscious on the part of all involved.  But as stories and beliefs about a child sink into family lore they likewise seem to saturate our very cells.  I was not particularly maternal, it seemed.  I never babysat.  I wasn’t very interested in dolls.  I had literally never changed a diaper until I changed Grace’s.  The fact that I adored being a camp counselor belies the assertion that I wasn’t especially interested in children, though it’s true my charges were teenagers and not in fact that much younger than I was.
An endocrine specialist told me when I was 23 that I would never get pregnant without significant intervention.  I remember that last experience vividly: I walked away from the appointment feeling grateful to finally understand what was going on with my body, but also with a chilling sense of an emotional instinct being confirmed by my physical body.  I wasn’t focused on being a mother, and now it seemed that my body didn’t know if it ever wanted to be one anyway.
And then I got into business school and at age 24 threw myself headlong over the cliff towards the world of Career.  It’s not that I didn’t want kids, not at all.  I did always assume I would have children, but truthfully I never thought very much about it.  I never defined myself through the future children I would have, never planned for that life.
And then.
read rest here"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Overstatement of the century: Scott Disik about Kim Kardashian

 "Is this normal behavior?" a befuddled Scott Disik asks his wife Kourtney Kardashian regarding Kim Kardashian during the 2012 Keeping Up with the Kardashian episode Wigging Out. Kim, in a red wig, is pretending to be Russian spy Natasha and thus is playing hide and seek behind walls and windows.  Which prompts Scott to ask 'Is this normal behavior?' Wow-- Scott-- it took you a few years but you finally got to it. Now you may ask why am I keeping up with the K's if I'm going to be oh so snarky? Because it's still amazing to me that there are three sisters on TV who look Pakistani.
One day many many years ago I was flipping channels and missing home when, suddenly, the TV rested on three girls with black hair, black eyes, and wheatish complexions:  Were they Indian? Could the be Pakistani? Probably Irani?  Turned out they harkened back to Armenia.
But finally someone who looked like us on TV-- so I was hooked. Kim's recent stupid marriage did turn me off. But I require my 'Pakistan' look-a-like fix every now and then and so it is: normal behavior or not!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Good American by Alex George

Alex George's debut novel 'A Good American' follows several decades in the lives of a German couple who immigrate to rural Missouri and their descendants. The novel starts out a bit slow but gains momentum as the narrator takes the reader through prohibition, WW1, WW2, JFK's assassination and all the way to our internet age. I enjoyed best the story lines that delved into racial issues and wished there was more of that. Alex raises some very interesting questions such as what made an American good back in the good old days and what makes a good American in this day and age?  I must say I loved the Author's note-- it has a wide eyed, innocent appeal to it that made me think of the novel's founding father, Fredrick, if you will and the singing genes he passed down through the generations. Good read especially if you like seeing characters playing out pivotal  moments of American history. I recently had the pleasure of attending a Barbar Quartet concert and I agree with Alex: stupendous and unforgettable!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ten 'Things I Hate About Me' by Randa Abdel-Faatah

No. This is not the teeny movie 'Ten Things I Hate About You' starring Julia Stiles. This is the novel by Randa Abdel-Faateh set in Australia about high school, racism, finding your own identity, and more importantly once you find it being proud of it no matter what. 'Ten Things I Hate About Me' is a smart and quick read. The main character's voice is funny and sassy and will carry you along through important  themes without ever being preachy. She's living a double identity, her sister is a feminist in a hijab and really that is not an anomaly, and their brother is allowed to date and get away with everything accept choosing his own career. Add to this mix a loud but lovable father. And I must say for once a hijab on the cover works all too well!!