Lets Talk About Sex, Shall We?

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Sex, god forbid, even at this day and age where promiscuity is the norm for most societies turns out to be a bit of a ‘taboo’ subject to talk about in this country of ours. For some people, sex is something that needs to be carried out in the darkness of the night, never to be talked about, shrouded in a bit of mystery and perhaps more than anything else procreation the sole reason behind the act. In other words a means to an end.

The reason behind this post is not in any way to advocate for and promote promiscuity and indecency amongst the masses. My intention is to highlight on a subject few women even at this day and age are comfortable enough to talk about and perhaps be bold enough to ‘demand’ their rights as an equal partner who has as much right as the man to achieve satisfaction in a sexual relationship.

If someone were brazen enough to broach the subject of sex and the intricacies involved in it, most would view the person, especially if it were a woman with an aghast look in their eyes all the while thinking, ‘Oh, here is the type of loose woman my mama always warned me about.’ Let me tell you, opening my mouth a few times in the ‘wrong’ sort of company has earned me this look, so I definitely know what I’m talking about. This is not surprising given the fact that Maldives being a hugely patriarchal society even today tends to view women in the light that they are just there to serve one and one purpose alone, i.e. to slave away all day and night to the man they are tied down to for the rest of their life.

A cynical viewpoint of marriage and sex for a woman? Yes, it may be. But then its nothing further from the truth. Lets ask this question to the general populace of women in this country. Women who are bold enough would answer without a moments hesitation, but those who shy away from such conversations in the first place might not want to state the truth out loud, but that doesn’t make it any less of a truth. Ask most women whether they are sexually satisfied with their partners, whether their partner takes the time to really please them or whether it goes more along the path of a ‘wham-bam-thank you maam’? I bet my life on the outcome being that more than 50% of women would state the answer to be in the negative.

So why is this so? In these advanced times of information globalization and outreach, its definitely not the case of the partners involved being totally clueless about the hows and whys of sex, but rather its a case that is more than repeated across the globe, even in those countries where we all agree to be ‘developed’ in every sense.

In Maldives, there is the aspect of religion to add to this, where ‘religious’ scholars tend to scorn a woman who stands up for her rights, who believes in there being equality between the husband and the wife. If you look at the life led by the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) you’d understand just how wrong and sexist most of these ‘scholars’ are, who do nothing more than marginalize women and make them feel inferior in every single way.

For a man, there is nothing worse than a woman questioning his prowess in the bedroom. Maybe the sexual chemistry, the ignition factor was never there to begin with in the relationship, or maybe, just maybe the man involved is actually selfish enough to keep the woman always begging and wanting for more. Perhaps the thought of empowering the woman in the bedroom makes the man break out in hives, gives him palpitations at the thought that it might embolden her in areas outreaching the bedroom.

Men always have this tendency to quote their number one reason for straying from their matrimonial vows as being the fact that they are no longer sexually satisfied in their marriage. Well, let me clue you in on a worldwide ‘secret’; what you give is what you get, i.e. satisfy the woman in the bedroom and see how things work out for you. You can’t expect insert pin A into slot B within the first 5 minutes to work every single time. There is something called exploration, foreplay which is mighty important when it comes to a woman. And its not just you who is no longer satisfied if one were to keep a scoresheet. Its because society still raises their over judgemental eyebrows at women who dare to come out and seek a divorce from the highly sexist judiciary of ours that most women for whom the relationship no longer works continues to stay around. After all, the neighbors, your ‘friends’ and family would go into titters if they were to find out that you are leaving the man who makes you feel like a cold fish in bed.

Its no secret that men and women were created by God in such a way that the physical and emotional differences between them attract and complement one another when you meet the right fit. I know that if men were to honestly answer the question of how much time they take in a day to really talk to their partners they would be grappling around in their memory to come up with a truthfully accurate answer.

Though sometimes the physical act alone is enough to satisfy most partners, for a woman, her needs border on a different level. She has to be in the mood and the feel of things to really enjoy the moment and give it her all; in other words, emotional wellbeing of both partners is important to really get it going. A woman cannot just turn off her emotions and be there in the moment like a man does. So a little bit of work to get her there every now and then would be more than appreciated?

The first phase of a relationship is exciting on so many levels. The newness of it all, the need to really make a long lasting impression on top of everything else makes even the sex for most couples an adventure of sorts during this period. So why does it all head South as the relationship progresses? For some it might have never been there, but for others I guess its a case of life happens, a case of hoping that things would change one fine day in the horizon.

At the risk of sounding like a harlot, this is a thought that crosses my mind at times. That there would be some women out there who’d never ever taste the beauty that is sex with the right partner; a partner who takes the time and ensures that the woman reaches fulfillment before taking himself to that point. That there would be women out there who’d think that there is something wrong with them that prevents them from ever finding pleasure in an act that should wholly be about pleasure and increasing intimacy between partners. Different things work for different couples, its all up to them to explore, seek and find out what works for their partners and what does not. If you don’t have the interest nor the inclination to give pleasure, in my opinion you don’t deserve any in return.

For men who just don’t try at all; you don’t deserve a woman in your life. It’d be much better to live your whole life with your left hand and a stash of porn for company rather than subject some poor unsuspecting woman to an act that becomes a burden more than anything else. For that small percentage of men who try and succeed no matter how minute that figure maybe, I applaud you for having the guts and being secure enough in your masculinity to keep the woman at home satisfied in an aspect that few men do. For those who are in the middle ground? Keep trying. You just might at last make your woman fly.

And my advice to women? Never be afraid to seek the pleasure that is as much your right as his. Sex might not be everything in a relationship but it does account for a lot. For a harmonious and long lasting relationship, setting off fireworks in the bedroom just might shed enough light to tackle the rest of the problems that occur along the way.

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The Simple Things In Life…

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A conversation I had yesterday at tea with two of my colleagues whom I happen to be very good friends with made my brain whirl around a bit today on those simple pleasures of life that we usually take for granted. Perhaps it is because we lead such busy lives today, always engrossed in something or the other, or maybe we have just become too ‘complacent’ with the way things are, or we have gotten too desensitized to really take a moment to think and reflect on those things that just simply makes us happy.

Our conversation bordered around about how things were when we were kids, not having the latest toy or gadget in the market at hand, but nevertheless never actually ‘wanting’ more than our parents could afford to provide for us.There were no techno gadgets to go gaga over, not much of TV channels to watch in order for us to be ‘brainwashed’ into wanting and yearning for those things that were, simply put, out of reach back then unless of course your parents or family were super loaded.

Its the norm today to see parents go out on a limb to provide their children with all sorts of the latest gadgets and whatnot because at this day and age, a kid without those things in hand is one dare I say left out of the group of the “in kids”? I watch in awe these days when parents get their kids ready to go to school each year. Of course, every parent wants to provide the best of what they are able to for their children, but then I still think people take things a bit overboard, maybe more to do with ‘peer pressure’ than anything else. It has to be a certain type of bag that should be taken to school, a “theme” to which the book covers should be prepared and the list goes on. I remember a time when plain brown paper and a roll of cellophane got the job done, but then I guess I am just “ancient” in the way I think.

Back when I grew up, we tended to not get fussy when we wanted something that was way out of the price range of affordable goods. I don’t remember (maybe my memory is faulty here), about pestering my parents to buy me something just because one of the kids whose parents were lucky and able enough to afford it tended to have it. But it is quite the norm today to see kids throw tantrums of gigantic proportions because their parents have the gumption to say that at the moment buying the latest version of the iPad is not feasible when the child already has a vestige of such articles at his or her disposal.

Sometimes I think that the more you tend to ‘have’, the more jaded and dissatisfied your soul becomes. How on Earth is one to treasure, savor and take pleasure in what he has when the next thing he fancies comes into his possession without much ado? It is when one learns to be content with what one has that the art of appreciating and taking pleasure and happiness in what one has becomes the norm.

I still remember bits and pieces of my childhood with the fondest of memories. The earliest memories of myself as a child is one where I played on this little ‘hill’ of white sand at home, mostly some toys of the construction variety (I tended to be a bit of a tomboy), whiling hours away, engrossed with doing whatever it was that fascinated me about it in the first place.

bikeClose at heel comes the memories of taking walks early in the morning. I am someone who used to go on long walks, all by myself, back in an ‘era’ when drug addicts and all sorts of junkies high on the latest drug didn’t crowd the streets and made walking alone on the roads a living nightmare. Neither were the streets of Male’ that crowded with vehicles and let me not forget, people who sometimes makes the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other on the overcrowded streets something of a challenge today.

Next comes the memories of my dad trying to teach me how to ride a bicycle. I still break into smiles when I recall how he used to get a little impatient with me because as soon as I saw something or someone coming my way, my bike refused to head in any other direction apart from what was coming or standing in my way. Needless to say, bike riding was something I barely mastered and in spite of that, sometimes I wish to go bicycle riding in the wee hours of the morning even now.

And last but not the least comes the memories of how my love affair with reading began. I used to and still lose myself in the pages of a book for hours, now it should be the digital pages on the iPad; such that my mom used to ‘scold’ at me for burying my nose in a book so deeply such that nothing that went around me registered on my mind. I used to practically gobble up books, reading two to three books in a day and going back to the library almost every single day to get new books to replace what I had already finished reading.

And I would be remiss if I were not to point out the delights of the simple yet filling fare that graced our dining tables then. The short eats mainly “Saatanuge gulha“, “Husnooge bajiyaa“, the “gulha” sold at Dharaage – all made by Maldivian hands I must add; and of course the “Bodu Biscoadhu” and also the very delectable “Kudhi Biscoadhu“. Oh and the “Juice Petty” and the lollies that we used to rush out to buy on blistering hot days; nothing even comes close to the feel and taste of the cold sweetness bursting into the mouth and taking away with it the thirst that begs to be quenched. And I should also mention the “Garudhiya” bowls that come from fresh fish, with everything from the liver to the “Dhon Bis” to the head of the fish that leaves a long lasting smell on the hands but nevertheless makes for very enjoyable and memorable meals. Food certainly seemed to taste better then, maybe the quality of products accounting for one of the reasons why everything used to taste better then. lollu

To fill up the idle hours playing tag, hopscotch and the infamous dodge ball games that used to amuse us kids for hours are still memories I hold dear to me. Sometimes I wonder, where kids of the current generation are going to find memories to smile upon in perhaps 30 to 40 years time. Would they have anything simple as the contentment of taking a walk early in the morning, the fun of going for bicycle rides on the roads in the wee hours of the early morning and perhaps most of all, simple Maldivian food that I still recall and taste on my tongue if I close my eyes and concentrate on it just that much harder.

I sometimes find myself ‘pitying’ kids who grow up today, their days so mired with going from one tuition class to the next, engaged in earning the highest scores in the exam, passing time engrossed in the social media that hardly teaches one how to interact with each other in society etc that just sometimes seems to hint at a society that continues to distance itself more and more from the forms of interaction that enables us to feel, empathize and perhaps become better people along the way.

Kids today, if I am being whimsical enough about it, have no time on their busy and gadget infused schedules to stop and smell the roses, point being no one takes the time teach them to take five and just simply be. The pleasure of simply being, standing still for just a couple of seconds perhaps could be the beginning of learning the art of taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

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The Empty Vessel

We calling ourselves a 100% Muslim nation is a ‘joke’ that most Maldivians don’t get. That being said, those who still believe in Islam, its tenets and the fact that it is to Allah whom we return when our short & brief journey on this Earth ends; they not practicing the religion they ‘believe’ in is the ‘joke’ that I don’t get.

This post is not intended to preach, nor does it intend to criticize anyone. It just aims to explain my bafflement with a generation that refuses to bow down to their Creator given that they do indeed believe Him to be their one and only God.

I meet a lot of people in my work life as well as my forays into the realms of the world of social networking. And no, I am not at all surprised by those who have turned to atheism and elsewhere in their attempts to apply logic, philosophy and every man-made subject matter onto the one thing that cannot be explained through any of that i.e. faith.

Faith is defined in either one of the following ways. “A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.” OR “Complete confidence in a person or plan etc” OR “An institution to express belief in a divine power.” OR “Loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person.” I see a commonality in all of the above definitions. There is the aspect of belief, placing trust, alleging loyalty and having the confidence that something or someone won’t let you down. Trying to apply logic to faith is as good as trying to explain the hows and whys of falling in love, the emotion that even the most cynical of us have succumbed to once in our lifetime.

So that brings me to the bunch who actually believe in the faith they place in God and always quote one aspect of the religion they so firmly believe in when it comes to criticizing the other person for their behavior. The funny thing when it comes to them is the fact that these are the very people who don’t see much point in bending down to their God and Creator 5 times a day, the very people who take the one thing that differentiates us Muslims from the rest of the populace who follow a religion so lightly that they don’t even remember half the time that they are supposed to pray 5 times a day.

Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA) reported that a man asked the Prophet (SAW):  “Messenger of Allah, what action is dearest to Allah Most High?” The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Prayer at its proper time. The one who does not pray has no religion. Prayer is the main pillar of the religion (of Islam).” (Baihaqi). This Hadith alone bears witness to the importance the Prophet Muhammad PBUH placed on the 5 daily prayers we Maldivians of the Muslim faith take so lightly.

I remember vividly a part of the lecture notes in the subject Islam when I was doing my A’Levels back in 2001. There is this bit which tries to explain the concept of a person who doesn’t pray 5 times daily being like an empty vessel that is aimless and has no real beacon of hope that guides them through the murky waters of life. At that time I never pondered overly much about it. But older and perhaps a tad wiser 11 years on, I now know exactly what the phrase was intended to express. It perfectly explains so many of my friends and acquaintances. Restless, seeking all the while something to guide their way, trying to place the blame of the calamities or the difficulties in life that befall them on anything and everything but themselves for not being strong enough to stick to what a true Muslim who believes should never stray from – the 5 daily prayers that brings one closer to Allah and lets us seek from Him the contentment that we all want and hardly find in this life.

The power of prayer is a miraculous one as I have experienced time and yet again. Prayer has been the one source of contentment and peace in my life. I experienced my own little ‘miracle’ as I love to call it the one time in my life I despaired enough to understand the true meaning of being utterly and severely alone. And prayer, yes, prayer was the one thing that saved me from the deep abysmal despair I would have found myself in otherwise.

At this time and age, when a man who practices his faith, especially if it were to be Islam gets ridiculed and labeled as an extremist, it is ‘easy’ to lose one’s way from the path of the righteous, particularly easy in our case because of the lack of proper foundation knowledge we have received when it comes to Islam. I would always forever be grateful for my father for instilling a love for the religion and teaching his three daughters the essentials of Islam and trying his best to educate us and show us the right way when we were young. And even now, he is the source I turn to when confusion hits me, when people with varying ideologies bombard my thinking process from time to time and it gets all murky. I know that most of us are not lucky enough to have a father like him, but seeking out Allah’s forgiveness, his bounty and eternal love is something all believers can, must and should try for. For after all, we were placed on this Earth for one thing and one thing alone. And that is to worship Him, to bow down to Him and seek from Him in all our affairs as we walk the path of life.

I try to refrain from being “preachy” when it comes to my friends who share with me their problems in life. But if you ask any of them, the one thing I’d always remind them of is to pray and seek Allah’s help when they lose their way. Whether it be heartbreak, problems with the family, discontentment with life in general, there is no other being that can provide for His creations as He does, and yes, that is why I would always say, if you are a believer, pray, seek and ask from Allah. Always remember, it is to Him that we would all return to when our life here ends; for death is the one common destination that all living things share in this life.

Where Did the Romance Go?

Hard as it is to accept the fact for some of us, there are those subtle and the not so subtle differences between the male and the female of a species that draws them together and in turn complements one another. One such difference between man and woman is the fact that while most women crave and want a bit of romance in their lives, men tend to be more physical in their wants and desires. However, as with everything else, the status quo seems to be slowly shifting, but even then the majority of the female population would agree that no matter how hard they might tell themselves otherwise, there exists that little ray of something that yearns for happy endings of the type that we see in movies and read about in books.

This post came into existence in my mind upon a question posed to me by a fellow twitter friend of mine the other night. He commented on the fact that since I am someone who reads a lot of romances (which I unapologetically do so), what would I think to be the most romantic thing a guy could ever do for me. Now this question coming from a man who used to secretly court his one and only by leaving flowers on her bike some odd 10-15 years back, to this date which she has no clue whatsoever that it indeed was him, struck some forgotten chord deep inside of me and got me thinking.

As soon as the question struck my brain, my thinking cells went into a bit of overdrive to come up with a suitable answer, not that I’m a perfectionist – its hardly that. It’s just that I was oddly surprised and moved just a little by the fact that a guy of all people would come out and ask such a question, something to this day which no other guy has ever asked me – which I believe would be the case with most of my fellow female friends, if I ever were to ask them the same thing.

So immediately to my mind came the response that I would love nothing better than to be taken out on a date, doesn’t matter where as long as the guy knows what I want and is not afraid of giving me what I want. I am not talking about the physical aspect of the date but rather the one where every other sense is fed, cosseted, petted and stroked to my heart’s desire. Now this can only be done if my date were to realize the type of person I am, what pleases me and what it is that makes me happy. I’m a simple girl at heart, though not when it comes to my gadgets mind you; apart from that I am someone who doesn’t require much to keep myself occupied and dare I say the word, happy?

But in essence what this question made me realize is the fact that, somewhere along the way, romance in its truest fashion had bid farewell on us and died a long time back. This is not to say that there aren’t those rare souls like the guy who posed the question, who continually thought up of ways to surprise and woo his wife time and yet again that just makes me smile inwardly at the mere thought of it all. But for the majority of us, and maybe because of the way society has evolved, romance and the heady feelings that goes along with a proper courtship is no more. Gone are the days when your significant other would turn up on your doorstep with a bunch of flowers, not because of some special occasion, but because you were on his mind. Never will we get back those days where the simple act of hand holding would suffice, where a warm smile from your partner would light up your inside and it was enough, way more than enough back then.

One reason why romance has died this death and left ‘cynical’ romance lovers like me mourning its death is the fact that everything in life has just become too darn physical. These days, most relationships begin at the point where two people sleep together, where physical intimacy is experienced prior to the emotional ones. Now, the girl if she doesn’t agree to having sex by the first date is labeled as someone who is too frigid for societal norms and most probably will find herself become a disappointed idealist who either would bow down and conform to what the current society dictates to be the norm or go in the exact opposite direction.

In the end, maybe romance as everything else we have lost is as precious and rare as the most expensive of diamonds. Maybe there are souls out there that dare romance their partners, woo them as they are deserved to be and give them some of the best memories that would be treasured for time to come and then some. For me, I think I would continue to skirt the edge of hope and mostly retreat back to that cave of mine where I refuse to be tempted by the thoughts of being romanced, because romance in my honest opinion is an aspect of life that has died a true and sure death a long time back and reviving it in its truest form is a cause better left alone.

This post is dedicated to the Twitter peep who posed the question, someone who inspires and encourages me to pursue my passion of writing and my love for the English language. I thank you from the deepest bottom of my heart for the continued support!

Tragedy, Does it Make You Stronger?

Everyone talks about how emerging from a tragedy makes one stronger. A tragedy definitely changes one’s life in seemingly inconsequential ways but its a change that the person has to adapt to in order to live through the rest of the days of their lives.

The year 2009 would always be remembered as the year that tragedy struck my life. I had led a seemingly sheltered life up until that moment and the phone call that came at 7 am in the morning of the 6th of September is one I would never forget. It still gives me chills up and down my spine and palpitations to even think about that moment when everything in my life just came crashing down right in front of me.

The succeeding rush to the hospital and the hours that followed were one of the toughest hours of my life. The one thing I guess I did wrong was that I never let myself grieve as my body wanted to. I wanted to break down and cry, I wanted to just sit somewhere and let it all out. But, no, I had to be strong, I had to be the one whom he could turn to in his hour of need. I was never so grateful for Almighty God’s mercy until the moment I knew his eyesight had been spared, a miracle, the Pakistani doctor informed me because the electric spark could have totally blinded him for life.

Then came the most exhausting period of my life. Taking care of my husband when he was at his weakest. A time that tested my patience and the love that I have for him. A time during which I even managed to surprise myself. Because lets face it, I am the type of wife who wouldn’t win any awards for being domestic and neither am I the “proper” wifely material that is the expected norm in our society. But nevertheless, I managed to do what needed to be done, drove myself to the brink of enervation and back again, until almost 10 days passed without seeing the light of the day, holed up inside the room of the hospital before he was released after his surgery.

Soon afterwards started my own little nightmare from which I have been struggling until quite recently. Maybe because I didn’t grieve and maybe because of the stress I had been under, I found myself  on the receiving end of panic attacks, which at first I didn’t even identify as anxiety and panic attack symptoms. It was scary that anything and everything could trigger a chain reaction that sent fear coursing through my body, that practically paralyzed me into non-action until a lot of willpower and praying on my part seemed to alleviate the symptoms. Regulating my sleep cycle and medication for a course of 3 days seemed to help until I returned back home where the symptoms escalated until I had to seek medical help once again.

I would forever be grateful to Dr. Azeez for not brushing aside my fears, for never belittling what I was feeling or going through during that time and being the doctor that I have always esteemed him to be and treating me for my symptoms rather than saying that it was all on my mind. Dealing with anxiety and panic is a life debilitating “illness”. Those who have never felt the fear of a panic attack would never understand what the person goes through and most of the time ridicule is what the person receives. I had my fair share of that as well, some from those who should have understood and stood by me when I was going through one of the most difficult periods of my life.

There were bad days and good days. Some days were so bad that it was a challenge to stay till the daily shift at work was up, battling with my nerves the whole time. A simple thing as the ring of the telephone could set me off and I had a hard time settling down once it set off the chain reaction. And then there were the days that everything seemed to sail smooth, when I could forget that a panic attack could be triggered the very next minute itself. Stress and disoriented sleep cycles seems to make things worse and since then I have always tried to regulate my sleep patterns, eat at regular intervals and even God forbid, exercise!

Exercise certainly helps a lot. And that is saying something since I am the kind of person who would rather not move an extra inch than that is necessary. But since I have discovered the wonders a brisk walk can do to my body and emotional wellbeing, I am a total convert and have been “preaching” the benefits of just that to friends who seem to have similar issues. Anxiety and panic attack syndrome is far too common in our society than anyone would like to think. Most of the time a person doesn’t even know what he or she is going through and I have come to be pretty good at identifying that in people and helping them out in anyway that I can.

Apart from exercise, praying and meditating does wonders. Knowing that you aren’t alone, knowing  that you can turn to your Creator in the hour of need, that He would be there always regardless of whatever you are going through is a feeling that brings relief every single time. People who don’t believe in religion might scoff at the idea, but I take comfort from where I can and my religion is an area of comfort and strength in equal doses.

It will be 3 years to the date on September 2012 and I remain standing on my own two feet, though I get shaky every now and then. Tragedy did strike my life and I was a blubbering mess until very recently. But throughout I have never wavered from the need to see myself get better, to be able to live my life on my terms, not to be crippled with fear every time life throws an unexpected curveball my way.

Tragedy might not make you stronger in the sense everyone means it to be. But it does teach you that life is unexpected, to never lose hope and faith and to rely on people who will be there for you, no questions asked. And I believe through the tough and difficult  times that I have weathered through, I have found those that I can count on and those that I can’t. I have found that somethings aren’t worth trying to change and to fit into your life. And that life as usual goes on and awaits you to walk its path as long as there lives a tomorrow.