Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Playlist: Anxiety Playlist

The last month has been really hard for me. I've felt so much anxiety in doing even the smallest things, something I didn't feel to this extent ever before. I listened to quite a lot of music to cope with it, and here's the playlist I had on repeat all last month. 

Closer by The Chainsmokers ft Halsey

This song has been my number one, and yes, I know it's very mainstream but because it's so good and it calms my nerves whenever I get too fidgety. Even though the lyrics isn't something I can relate to, I think it's the unfamiliarity that really speaks to me. 

High High from A Gentleman's Dignity OST

I don't know much Korean even tho I watch quite a lot of K-dramas and this is my pump-up song from the last K-drama I finished, A Gentleman's Dignity. I love the fast beats mixed with soothing Korean words, haha. 

Cup of Tea by Kacey Musgraves

This song is about tea, not really but it's about how we're never everything for everyone and I love the message and the tune. It's perfect background music when you're walking, really calms you down. Kacey's voice is nothing short of magical. 

Girl in a Country Song by Maddie & Tae

This is the country feminist anthem and I love it. It talks about all the sexist things in country songs (and if you don't know by now, country is my favourite genre) and it just plays the right vibes for me. Perfect anti-country country song. 

World Shut Your Mouth by Julian Cope

Thanks to this indie (but absolutely fantabulous) series called The A Word, I got obsessed with this song. It's just the kind of song you need when you just want to shut out the world, some days you really need it. 

Kya Khoob Lagti Ho from Dharmatma

Since we first sang this song in a karaoke birthday celebration, I've rediscovered my love for this gem of a song by Mukesh and Kanchan. The original song is lyrically so beautiful and so mesmerizingly sung it just keep your heart happy.

I know this is weird mix of songs but hey whatever works for you, eh. What songs calm you down?

Friday, December 2, 2016

November 2016 in a Nutshell

I've missed blogging, to be honest. I miss writing down things I would later look back on and reminisce over. Last month was quite possibly the worst I've had this year and this year has been a mixture of some good, and mostly bad. Here are some things noteworthy from November.

There were quite a lot of birthday celebrations, which is always fantastic because cake, and also because good company. 

Here's Mick and my cousin celebration cousin's birthday with the cake we made!
Here is us celebrating Bafa's birthday with caaake. Also picture I shamelessly stole from Humadh's snap.
More birthday celebrations! This time Bayyad's with some new friends and old ones. 

There was also some charity/volunteer work because this year I haven't had time to do as much social work as I would like, but it still felt good to give something back!

After the run for charity with some of my futsal teammates. 
With some work colleagues after we finished the Vilimale' clean up event
 I also tried the new Cheery Soda at Meraki, which is absolutely amazing but still don't beat the Red Velvet Latte there.

I love getting mails and tho recently I haven't been mailing much it's still nice to get and send mails, to keep up with people around the globe that I have yet to meet. 

 The end of November had been riddled with sad news, but the little things sure does make it all seem bearable. I hope your November was nice.

Friday, July 29, 2016

July Favourites

I've had a great July so far. Here are some of my favourite products and such. 

1. Freeman Charcoal and Black Sugar Polishing Mask | It doesn't really apply like a mask but is more of a cleanser + scrub which works really well to remove dirt and keeps face fresh and smooth. I love the rubbery charcoal feel. 

2.GOSH multi-color blush | This is my everyday blush and sometimes I wear all four colours swirled together but mostly I love the peach which gives a subtle soft, rosy cheek!

3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur | The illustrations add so much value to Rupi's words. She's writes right from her soul, raw and unpolished yet so poignant. I love this book and have so many favourite poems from it. 

4. Manicare Blush Brush | Ah this is so soft and perfect for applying blush.

5. Klevercase To Kill a Mockingbird Kindle Cover | Ever since I saw this cover on an instagram post, I knew I needed it in my life and I love it more everyday. 

6. Sweet Pea Fragrance Mist from Body Collection | Has the sweetest smell, I mostly just spray the room with it because it leaves a whiff of earthy yet sweet fragrance. 

7. Index Cards | I am an avid index card user. Throughout uni, I made my own index cards from hard paper so imagine my excitement at finding this at Asrafee, I basically squealed and got it.

8. Tealia Strawberry Tea | My very good friend Oppo got this for me and even though I'm not a fan of green tea, this tastes great and the tin is so precious.

Here are some other things I've been loving this month. 

BrainDead S1 | I didn't think I would like a political drama but the bugs angle to it is hilarious and I mostly watch it for the "Previously on" part because it rocks. 

Lush Life by Zara Larsson | I'v been playing this on repeat so much because this song is so nice and it reminds me of some time back. 

BooktubeAthon 2016 | This is my second year taking part in the Booktubeathon which is a week long reading marathon hosted by Ariel Bissett where you just read as much as you can. I love the energy and the fun challenges and giveaways going on as well as the lovely community. Booktube is just wonderful!

What are some of your favourite products and things?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Currently: July 2016

I don't know why but this month's going in a blur. I honestly can't remember what I've done so far except for a couple hangouts and Booktubeathon. I have been reading and watching quite a lot of things. 

Another Period S2 | I've been watching this since it started and loving the satire and the humour. It's basically Downton Abbey meets KUWTK + way too much drama and comedy. The jokes on the era are on point. 

Cougar Town S6 | Last season with the gang. I love the gang, especially Jules and Ellie. They're so much fun and the title jokes never get old. It's crazy but then again, I'm a fan of crazy. I'm going to miss them once I catch up with the season. 

Downton Abbey S6 | I recently finished watching the last season of Downton Abbey and it gave me the shock of my TV show life but that ending was so perfect it mad my heart happy. It was definitely sad to see them finish only through 20's (I was secretly hoping they would continue until 50's, if only just to see the fashion) but it ended on the best note. I will miss the folks of Downton Abbey, especially Lady Edith and Mr. Branson. 

Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie | I honestly got this only for the author cos I've heard great things about her and it's true. Her writing is beautiful and this story is so far extremely close to heart and so rare. I'm only halfway through and it's already filled with so much emotion, I'm slowly devouring this book. 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken | I'm reading this book for two of the challenges of Booktubeathon (read a book after sunset, read a book you bought after hearing on it on Booktube) and so far, it's alright. I'm not that big a fan of the characters but the time travel aspect is interesting. I'm allowing this book to catch me off guard. I've heard way too many booktubers rave on about this book (which was why I bought it just when it came out but for some reason never got around to reading until now)

This is Why You're Single | This is such a fun podcast by the two funny and remarkably witty ladies; Laura Lane and Angela Spera. Each week, they dissect at a reason why you're still single, and as a singleton, I find it so very appropriate and hilarious. 

What's keeping you entertained this month?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Inspirational Women | Hannah Brencher

If you know me at all, then you know I am obsessed with Hannah Brencher ever since I found out about #moreloveletters!

image from HB 
Hannah is the founder of More Love Letters, an organization that promotes writing and sending letters of love and encouragement to those around you and strangers. You can check out her TedTalks below so she can explain what she does better than I could ever. 

She's so smart and wonderful and undeniably kind. I would like to have coffee with her and have deep conversations, of raw emotion and pouring of the heart. She makes it seem that you could be her best friend. She's so talented and she's inspired me to keep going, to put more love out there despite not getting it in return. She's made me fall in love with letter writing all over again.

I've enjoyed being able to share in her journey and to see how far she has come and how many people she has inspired on the way. I haven't read her book yet but I got it as soon as it was out because I knew this girl was fire and I needed to feel her fire. She inspired me to create my Sunday Newsletters which have in return made me so happy and accomplished as well as do humbled to know I'm putting myself out there all vulnerable and ready to accept people. 
She has shaped my life in ways she will never know and I'm so glad to have stumbled upon her blog three years ago because I know my life is better because of it. She's a kick-ass, talented writer and a constant cheerleader, always ready for what life throws around her words are magic. They've healed and given hope. 

She's magic. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


There has been quote a lot of cool stuff happening. Where to start? Hmm.

- Maldivian theater performance at ITB Berlin

This showcases our culture very extensively, from literature and fashion to craftsmanship. It makes me so very proud to have such a diverse heritage that is distinct and have our own spice of everything. We truly under-appreciate the culture and Maldivian-ness of it all. Bravo to Theater Mirage for this wonderful and amazing piece.

- Squad Goals by Space Parade

I will never be not impressed by Space Parade. These guys are hilarious, both in real life and when they make amazing stuff like this. You know you're in for a fun ride whenever they release a video. Don't we all wish we were a part of this squad? hahaha

- Disney Princess of Cinderella's Castle

This mockumentary is delightful and funny. The cast is so well chosen and fits every princess so perfectly and the reality TV spoof style is just what you need, bringing all the princesses and the nostalgia back. It's super short you'll just binge-watch the entire series.

- Me Myself & I / Urvashi Cover by KHS

I was already obsessed with Me, Myself & I and I was in for a fun surprise because it's a Hindi song (I'm convinced I have some Indian blood in me because I get way too giddy whenever anything Indian happens) mashup and this song was so cool I checked the original and I've been playing it non-stop. Of course it was made by A.R Rehman in 1995 and its still so relevant. I just can't deal with all the awesomeness.

- Product X by Aal

Aal is just funny. I've missed his videos. He's such a cool and adorable person it's hard not to love his videos. This video was short but you can see Aal being the weirdly funny guy he is. Make sure you watch his IdenticAals, that's my favourite thing he has made yet. 

What has caught your eye recently that you just had to share to your friends?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Currently: May 2016

I've been on an entertainment spree this month. My reading and watching and listening has actually become improved which ofcourse means I havent properl exercised or worked on my thesis at all. What is a balanced life anyway hahaha. 

A to Z | I am 5 episodes in and loving this entire series, especially Ben Feldman. He was so adorable in The Perfect Man which is my favourite movie ever. Even though this ended only a season in, I think this is going to become one of my favourites. 

The Real O'Neals S1 | The premise of this show is hilarious. I love the quirky family and especially Kenny and his mom Eileen. Its about a Christian family whose son comes out and soon everything is changed. It shows lots of growth and such a wonderful family dynamic. 

The Catch S1 | Yet another series I'm obsessed with. This is a Shonda Rhimes masterpiece that is both thrilling and dramatic, in the right amounts and keep you wanting more. It's about a private investigator and a con artist along with lots of murder, mystery and mayhem. 

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir | This month's Page Turners book club read. I'm halfway done and absolutely loving the story line and where its taking me. It's a dystopian YA novel but has its won elements of mystery and action. 

Devil's Cub - Georgette Heyer | I adore rhetorical fiction and despite how anti feminist it all is, it has its own whimsy and beauty. This book is adorable and funny and dramatic at times and I really should be finishing it. 

No - Meghan Trainor | I actually have been loving Urvashi Irvashi but couldn't find a picture so I'm gonna go with my second favourite song I've been playing non-stop this month; which is NO by Meghan Trainor. I love Megan's bubblegum pop and this song is so catchy and fun and I just sing it in my head all the time so I'm basically saying no to everything in my head, 

What's keeping you entertained this month?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Perks of Dating Caleb Haas

Ever since Quantico started, Caleb and Shelby has been my new favourite ship and I've been loving them on screen. Caleb, especially is so wonderful and would make an amazing fictional boyfriend for the following reasons

1. He's super adorkable

I mean, just look at how adorable he is. *swoon* He's like the American version of Draco Malfoy.

2. Despite his hardcore shell, he's a softie. 

He has this sensitive, protective side which is great when you really need someone to talk to.

3. He'll always be there for you.

Even when you're 5 feet deep in some terrorist shit or your mom's trying to drain you dry, he'll be there.

4. He calls you by celeb names

Who doesnt want to be called Reese Witherspoon?

5. He cleans up really well. 

He looks absolutely amazing in a grey tee as he does in a Calvin Klein suit. Plus, he can pull off anything he wears.

Who's your favourite from Quantico? Apart from Alex, I love Nimah/Raina a lot.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

4 Cool Local Mothers Day Marketing Ideas

Mothers Day has become a commercial holiday thanks to emotional marketing by florists and major brands worldwide.

Last Sunday, we saw an overpouring of emotion on social media and in real life as people bought bouqets, gifts, cards and delicacies to show their moms some appreciation. Here are 4 local advertising campaigns that caught my eye. 

1. SeaHouse
As one of the trendiest cafe's in town, SeaHouse is getting major mom points with this half off offer. Such a wonderful way to bring in more mom time to the already family-friendly cafe'.

2. Medianet

With a local hashtag, Medianet and their photo competition did pretty well showing that if you're out of novel ideas, a photo competition is a surefire way to get some engagement from customers.

3. Le Cute
Le Cute appealed to the last minute shoppers with a complete solution, because lets face it; people always forget till the last minute.

4.  Heat

Heat is heating up the scene with this joint promotion and appealing to a new target market.  

To keep up with trending days and celebrations, its important for businesses to create specific day based marketing campaigns that will appeal to their target market and increase their sales, while proving a value added service. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: Vaashey Mashaa Eky

Dhivehi movies, as cheesy and weird as they are, is an art form. Recently, some of my friends and I went to see Vaashey Mashaa Eky, a film that describes itself as the first romantic comedy of the industry. I'm a sucker for rom-coms. That being said, before going to see the movie, I've heard and formed many different opinions on it. 

1. It was a copy of the English movie "Nine Months". 
2. Jumayyil and Majudha has brilliant on-screen chemistry as evident by their last movie Emme Fahu Vindhaa Jehendhen
3. The movie posters and artworks were pretty nice. 

The cinema experience for Maldivian movies are a form of art in itself. People shouting stuff at screen, random laughing fits, lots of yelling, etc. It's one of those things you have to do once in your life, go see a Dhivehi movie at Olympus. 

image from VME Facebook Page
The plot of the movie is quite simple. Girl and guy meets, falls in love, gets married, guy is afraid of commitment to kids, guy finally comes to his senses and BAM, loves the kid. Pretty cliche' stuff that has been overdone way too much. If you're looking for an original plot or a novel idea, then you won't find it here. The movie is predictable beyond means. 

But what you will find is, brilliant witty dialogue, some well placed references and lots of stereotyping. The shots and how it was done, moving form one scene to another (especially at the beginning) was great. There were lots of not so subtle sexual innuendos that were rather well done.

The songs didn't feel too pushed on you (except for the title song which was slightly weird being force danced on the living room). The best part of the movie for me wasn't even the drama or the main characters, but the friends. Rex was the friend you don't deserve. The actor brilliantly played the goofy friend they play pranks on, but gives amazing advice and is generally such a great guy. Thoabe was a pretty good "shit friend" and of course at the end, he had to be a changed man, we're still talking about a Dhivehi movie. The couple were sensible, somewhat annoying but an essential to the plot and made the movie slightly better. The ex-boyfriend provided  moments of comedy relief in the form of the every douche-y Maldivian guy ever. 

Some of the stereotypes were a bit bland. Maybe it's because I'm just tired of it and distasteful jokes aren't my cup of tea. For instance, the Russian doctor; I was eye-rolling at the screen throughout. The stereo typically "randu enviously gay guy", the guy not wanting kids, calling women Japan fish, etc made me cringe so much. 

The extras and little things were what caught my eye the most. The breaking of the fourth wall with Nimal and Jumayyil was the best. It was so well done. So were the little pop culture references and the cameo at the end, of one guy y'all will know from social media.

Overall, it was pretty funny. There were so many laugh out loud moments from beginning to end. The aerial shots were amazing. The whole cinema was laughing at some points and you can see it was genuinely funny. The extras were great. I had a great time watching the movie. 

If this is any indication of the future for romcoms in Maldives, I'm pretty happy. All someone can want now is that there's an original plot somewhere in the future for us moviegoers. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Impromptu Himmafushi Trip

I've been an island hopper every chance I get and these last two years have been great, traveling to so many amazing local islands. Himmafushi always holds a special place in my heart, it feels like my 4th home and I feel so myself there.

My friends and I just came back from an impromptu one day trip to Himmafushi. I've been trying to get my friends to go for about a month now and finally we just basically went without really planning much. Spontaneous trips are mostly the best, isn't it.

The island is so beautiful with its colorful walls that tell so many stories (hello so many pretty pictures) and its filled to the brim with souvenir shops and so many beach side seats (so that you can always stay by the sea, soaking up the sun) that you and your friends will never get tired of. 

How adorable is this? So many amazing wallart, ahh 

This is Elle, my doll partner in crime. She loves island hopping too. 

We did miss the sunrise because it was too cloudy but it was still beautiful nonetheless. Definitely worth waking up at the wee hours of the morning. 

I have a thing for bicycles parked near walls. I just have to take a picture of them. 

This was the funniest campaign slogan. It kinda sounds like asking bae for a second chance hahaha. 

With exams coming next week this was really the break I needed. I hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend. Stay cool. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

5 Reasons Why Yanew Should Join Twitter

1. Meme Haven

I mean come on! This place is filled to the brim with memes and you will love all the silly GIFS, and puns!

2. Polls



4. You basically will be talking to yourself but others will join even when you dont want them to


lots of pizza

pls join k bye

Friday, March 25, 2016

5 New TV Shows To Catch Up On

I love new TV shows because it means I can quickly catch up with them and the magic of finding new people to adore, new families to laugh together with and new adventures to go is just amazing. I've been watching quite a lot of new TV shows recently and loving some of them. Here are 5 new TV shows that are still in Season 1 so you can quickly catch up with the new episodes. 

1. Crazy Ex-girlfriend

I can't rave about this show enough. It's a musical comedy (juts in time to fill the hole Glee left) about an impulsive girl who moves to a small town on a whim to find love and meets a bunch of funny characters who has problems of their own. You'll love Rebecca Bunch who is smart and funny but completely crazy. The show is just hilarious and each episode has at least one musical number as she moves along finding out who she is and what she needs in life. You'll laugh along and ship her either with Josh, Greg or therapy. 

2. Grandfathered

This is such a sweet and funny comedy about a family (sort of) featuring Josh Peck (from Drake and Josh) and John Stamos (hello Uncle Jesse, and how are you still so hot, ugh) as the unlikely father son duo. So Jimmy is a bachelor who finds that he has a son and a grand daughter and this new family basically brings a lot of changes to his life. You'll love the little girl Edie and all the funny references and guest stars (both Danny and Joe from Full House as well as Drake!). It's lovely and sweet and funny and makes you miss the nostalgia of shows like Full House. 

3. The Magicians

This is Harry Potter + Chronicles of Narnia for grown-ups. It's not kid magic. It's not oh happily ever after and fairy godmothers. This is dark and explicit with gruesome death, sex and consequences. I love this show so much. Every episode is filled with adventure and danger and it is basically the drug we all need after Harry Potter ended. It revolves around the students in Breakbills, a magical school and around Filary which is sort of like Narnia. I don't want to give too much away into the story but it's absolutely addictive and fantastic. 

4.  Quantico

I'm a sucker for police procedure-ish stuff and while this isn't exactly a case by case show, it has the danger and drama of one. As a huge Bollywood nut, I am so happy to see Prinyanka as the lead in this show, she's killing it plus there's a hijab clad girl. Hello inclusion. It's nerve kicking, completely insane at times and absolutely brilliantly told in the most suspenseful manner. I can't get enough of this show and its diverse cast. 

5. Supergirl

I'm not generally a huge superhero fan but I do love a woman superhero. Kara is adorable and funny. I absolutely love Winn and Kara but my favourite is Cat Grant. She's absolutely fantastic and inspirational. Love the romances and ofcourse the ass kicking action in this. 

So, what new TV shows are you loving?

Monday, March 21, 2016

To All the Misogynists I Know (and don't)

Dear all the misogynists I know who are men, 

I hope you're doing well. I hope you are blessed with good food, a caring family and friends because no matter what your beliefs are, you deserve good things, like all human beings. 

Firstly, I can't comprehend how you think women are beneath you when you came out of your mother, a woman who deserves the highest of respect. The mother upon whose feet heaven lies. How is it possible for you to think she's lesser than you or that she does not deserve respect? 

Secondly, did you choose to be a man? No. Did any of the women choose to be women? No. None of this was in our hands, we only live with what we are and so how dare you think that you're better because of some privilege that you didn't even earn? You don't need to think of us as your sisters or mothers to be able to respect us. Why is that we have to walk with our brothers, fathers, or male friends to get you to stop harassing us? 

And you expect to marry a woman. I find that quite funny because you think you are god's gift to women when we deserve to marry someone who respects us and thinks us more than childbearing machines. You don't need a woman, you need a robot. 

You use religion selectively when it benefits you. You justify harassment, rape, violence against women on the account that they were not properly dressed, that they didn't partake in religious activities, or any other reason you could use to try and blame it on anyone but yourself. Your definition of Islam I'm afraid is very different because my Islam teaches me to be humble and kind, to live peacefully and devote my life to good, to pray and recite Quran among others; not to belittle women or to blame them all that is wrong with the world

I am so sorry you weren't brought up to respect woman. I'm sorry your household or part of the society that you grew in didn't teach you to be a wonderful human being. I'm sorry you still fit into "boys will be boys" stamp and you didn't have strong women and men around as examples of how a collaborative and happy family is. I so wish you could have had a childhood where your mother and father took part in household chores, where you father loved and respected your mother and where you and your sisters were given equal standing and taught to be respectful to each other. I wish you could have experienced how absolutely amazing it is to be brought up to respect people of all genders and to see the best in people, not to belittle them. 

I hope you never become a father to a girl, because I fear for her life, for what she would have to go through not only on the streets, but also at home. I hope your daughter never finds out all the terrible things you say about women or what you really think of them. I hope your daughter finds it in her heart to forgive you even when you never apologize. 

You can still change. It's never too late for you. You have it in you, you always had. I pray that Allah bestows you with the clarity and knowledge to know you're capable of being so much more than what you're today. That YOU could change a cycle of vicious hate and smash the patriarchy, that you could let women into your life without feeling emasculated, that you could experience what it feels to think of women as human beings. 

I will pray for you. 

Dear all the misogynists I know who are women, 

Just because in your mind you can distance yourselves from the "other women" and hate them because you think you're more pious, or good than them doesn't mean that's the reality. Neither does it give you any place to judge them.

Maybe it's easier to just see other women as the enemy because it makes you feel better on the inside, that hey at least its not you getting hit on, or not you getting victimized but do you realize how harmful that is? How can you possibly hate your own gender? How do you justify this? Please enlighten me because I can't seem to wrap my brain around the fact that you think it's okay for women to get harassed or feel they deserve less pay for the same job as a man.

I know you get up when a man enters a room, because you feel like you have to. I know you wash the dirty coffee cups that men leave in the sink and think nothing of it. I know you look at women in tight clothing and say she is asking for it. I know you actually think she's asking for it. I know you justify it by saying you won't ever.

You know how it feels. You know what people of our gender has gone through, even though you may not have had to live through it. How could you be a woman and still not get it.

I'm sorry you didn't have empowering women role models in your life to teach you the value of women. I'm sorry you didn't learn it despite being a woman yourself. I'm sorry you were somehow brought to hate other people of your gender. I can't imagine how you can hold do much injustice inside of you.

I will pray for you. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

10 Things I Love About Living in Male'

If you ask anyone from Male' or who's been here, they are all going to have A LOT of negative things to say about Male' and while that is the case, there are some things that are great about Male'. Here are 10 of my favourite things about Male', in no particular order. (All images by local artists, check links in the caption!)

1. Sultan Park
This is my second favourite park in the city and while it's not nearly as grand as Hyde Park, it's cozy filled with trees and any Maldivian would have childhood memories of going to this park. The recent LED garden made for Minivan 50 adds a bit of artificial trees to the already amazing scene making it a children's light up dream. 

2. Republic Square
Image by Joozeen
Several changes happened to republic square in the past 5-10 years but it remains to this day one of the many modern tourist stops in the country as well as a cornucopia of pigeon feeders, skaters, running children and fountain climbers, thanks to the musical fountain. It's a great spot to go out and have a picnic in (if you're okay with everyone staring at you while you nibble on some bajiyaa and kalhusai)

3. Coffee Houses/Cafe's
The recent influx of speciality coffee houses has made Male' a great place for coffee lovers. You can find little coffee shops where they serve great brews along with delicacies. Coffee Culture is Maldives' national pastime, so you can often find young people going to coffees, chain smoking and talking about local politics. I haven't yet been to Meraki or Civil Coffee Society, but my favourite place to get an iced latte is Cafe'ier.

4. National Library
While the collection can't compare anywhere to most national libraries, it does justice to the country. The national collection has all the editions of Faiythoora and the most prominent Dhivehi novels as well as a nice collection of fiction and non-fiction for all ages. The Children's Multimedia Library has all of your faovurite classic children's books as well as learning materials. You can often find students, tourists, young couples reading or doing their homework. Plus, the staff and guards are super duper nice. 

5. National Museum and Cultural Places
Image by Izaja
The national Museum (Dhaarul Aasaaru) is filled with reminders of our ancestors and artifacts that tell the story of who we are and where we come from. The new building is beautiful and sparse making it very easy to tour the place in your own time. There are also so many great little spots of cultural importance such as Munnaaru and Medhu Ziyaaraiy which are always nice reminders that despite all the chaos, there are still places that stand still, a testament to time and history. 

6. Art Gallery and Art Gatherings
Image by Mahin Fayaz
Male' is filled to the brim with so much talent you can't contain it. From cool street graffiti to photographers lurking in every corner, you are bound to find inspiration even in this concrete jungle we call home. Art Gallery is a great place to visit, especially during art showcases to see Maldivian talent and whenever there are music festivals and art gatherings, you will find yourself immersed in great company, fascinating stories and an air of content which is what life's all about. Fannu Ge Dharin is one of my favourite consistent art gatherings where you can find cool new talent and enjoy great music. 

7. Food
Image by Nattu Adnan
Maldivians are known for our spicy food and our fish paste. While there are specific islands that specialize in the best kinds of food, you can find a mixture of all kinds of great food in Male'. From hotels and cafes selling Bodumasroshi to harbour cafes serving strong black tea, you can fill your gastronomic desire. I love Olive Garden's Maldivian breakfast and Zeeba's brownies, as well as Nashee Cakes Butter Cake. You can also find a mixture of Indian, Thai and Chinese Cuisines as well as Western food in most of the cafe's around. Nothing beats mum's homemade theluli rihaakuru and bashi mashuni tho. 

8. Walks around the City
Once you are able to maneuver the crowded roads, you will often find that Male' has some nice city walks. The beyru magu (outer road) is great for walking with your friends or going out on a date. You can see boats coming in and going out, hear the hustle bustle of the city and buy a kurumba from one of the gaadiyas (get two straws!) and make a day out of it. While the swimming spots aren't nearly as great, the hedhi bileiy and kulhi majaa will make you forget for a little while about how completely untidy and noisy this place is. 

9. Shopping Scene
Image by Masrahphotography
Male' is filled with boutiques and corner shops. Everywhere you turn, there is a shop which makes shopping experiences a workout. You start from our home, and head to the north and to the south, then west and east and by the time the shops close, you have an idea of what is available and then the next day you can go and buy the things you saw, it's really a workout for both the find and the body. I love going to places like Revenge, Closet and Finesse they have really cool clothes and shoes. Shopping on feet is definitely better than driving around because you will hardly find parking space. 

10. All the Urban-ness
image by Ashwa Faheem
Yes Male' is pretty shitty (for the lack of a more sophisticated word) and there are so many problems. It's over crowded, pollution levels are off the roof, there's nothing to do and it's dirty! It's the most densely populated capital city and also probably the smallest. It's extremely urban and you will find good phone network, you can get wi-fi and 3G almost everywhere and there are things to do for those of you who are interested in more than just coffees and shopping. Inside this little place you will find people whose dreams are bigger than the thousand plus islands, who are all trying to make a better life for themselves and if that's not every urban city's dream, then I don't know what is. When you are out with your friends, sipping your third vanilla tea cup, or out on a date with a nice girl at Salt, looking over at the beautiful harbour area you will see that despite how terrible it all is, Male' is still home and it's where you have so many memories. You'll come to appreciate the Male' life but still hope that it was better than this; that is the beauty of Male'.

Okay, after writing and reading through this several times I've realized that all this sounds great for tourists but for actual people living in Male' it might not. Sigh. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Art of Taylor Swifting

I am and have been a fan of Taylor Swift ever since hearing Love Story ages ago, when I was barely a fresh-faced teenager worrying about the big bad wolf of the world. The stages of becoming a fan of her was slightly slow but growing up, I felt like she was the older sister I never had; giving advice on love, finding a place in the world and learning the highs and lows of it. 

I'm normally a very critical fan of things, people, etc. I hardly feel like defending things/people I like but with Tay it has not only become difficult, but times it's just impossible not to. How big she has grown as a brand in the music industry is no news to anyone, and on the way she has collected many a fan, and also ultimately many a "hater". I'm not generally a fan of the word hater, it seems too vague and too broad.

image from GQ
Most of the time, I am very biased towards whatever Taylor does because it all seems so nice and "inspirational". Examples of this are her sending Christmas presents to her fans, learning the ways of Tumblr and replying back to people, donating money to charities, lifting up spirits, etc etc. As a celebrity, she has amassed the critical eye of too many people, and everyone seems to have an opinion on everything she does. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't 

From fashion critics who used to talk about how her curls were her signature and how they were getting tired of her sparkly dresses, some people accusing her of only dating people to write songs about them and all the drama about her love life is excruciating. Most recently, there has been a LOT of articles about her labeling herself as a feminist and about her "squad" of thin, mostly white celebrity girlfriends and her use of feminism to fend herself against other women or to start a twitter fight between other artists; and ofcourse we can't forget her continuous "fights" with celebrities such as Kanye or Katy Perry. The power of Taylor Swift is evident. You can't escape her. 

Being on the public eye makes it easy for people to expect so much from her, to pick and dissect every single thing she does and to place accusations on where her intentions lie with every single decision she takes. 

I've seen a lot of her fans dwindle overtime, perhaps because she is no longer the all-American-dream-girl country singer with her guitar, blonde curls and cow-boy boots. I've seen her growth as seeing someone I know grow; leaving behind things she no longer likes and moving on to things. I see it as a human feature. Haven't we all moved on from things, developed better values and learnt how ignorant our younger selves were? 

Ofcourse, I personally do not agree with all the decisions she makes; in fact I'm very actively against her pitting women against other women (eg: The whole Amy/Tina fiasco) and as her using the analogy of coming from humble beginnings and being the underdog, and her using feminism when it seems relevant to her. I'm not going to decrease the negativity of any of this by saying she's human. As part of being the public eyes, there is a huge responsibility to carefully analyze your actions before you do something; it's the ultimate price of fame. 

What I'm most proud of is that she's growing and learning from her mistakes and she's trying to do the right thing. From the gloss-wearing bright eyed teenager singing about Drew not noticing her to the music sensation who can get Apple to change their policy, to the girl who despite all her fame still manages to stay best friends with her freshman classmate, she's an inspiration. 

Her music has been a very important part of my life, and I feel like it will be in future too. I'm not idolizing her. I accept her as who she is, with flaws and all. She's merely one of the many inspirations for me to be a better person, inside and out. 

and that is the art of Taylor Swifting. Realizing that you can be a fan of her even if there are things she does that personally don't match your value system. Taking her as an individual and not someone who has to always do what everyone expects her to do. It's learning that maybe one day I'll outgrow her and probably won't be a fan anymore but for now I'm so glad for her. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thoughts on being 24

I just turned 24 yesterday so perhaps this should be thoughts on not being 23 anymore. 

I've always felt like I was growing up too fast, being with people 2 years older than me most of my life. It never dawned on me how much of an impact this had on my life. Being 23 felt like going through a roller coaster of everything. One moment, it all seems like you have your life figured out and the next it's as if you don't know anything anymore. 

You will lose a lot of people you were close with, it's inevitable. Maybe your values don't match or maybe you just don't feel like certain people are needed/wanted in your life anymore and it doesn't bother you anymore. Sure, you see them on Facebook getting on with their lives and you feel content knowing they are doing good but you don't feel the need to actively participate in their life. You're an onlooker and it doesn't affect your life anymore. 

You will gain a few new friendships. It's slightly harder to make friends as you get older because you realize the value of developing and nurturing friendships and sometimes you just don't have the time or energy or will to start a fresh foundation. You might still find people who click and makes it easier to include then in your life. 

Image from Tumblr 
You will realize that people can't be there for you all the time. That thought will first haunt you, then make you feel miserable but you will understand it when a friend asks you to accompany them somewhere but you can't because you have work and despite all that sayings that talk about how you should take time off to be with people who matter, you won't do it; and for a couple minutes you will feel bad but you'll realize there will be times other people will do that for you and that friendships are not always about sacrifices. You won't feel disappointed when people can't make it there for you sometimes because later they will surprise you by being there when you need them the most and you'll do the same. 

You will still carry regrets of everything you did in the past and I wish I could tell you it will be easier; it won't. On the bright side, you will be cautious. You will give people second chances because you'll no longer believe that people are only good or evil. 

You will learn to take more chances. You will take risks and you will be more open to things and people. You will also be more cynical and think a lot of negative thoughts about people's intentions and the world. You will find yourself hating on things just because other people do, but you'll also find yourself standing up for things you believe in. You'll learn to deal with bullshit by showing absolutely no grace. You will yell and fight for the right things.

Image from Tumblr
You will look at love either as something so far away, or something that hurts a lot. Or maybe somewhere in between. Everyone you know may look like they have it all figured out but you know that's not true. You will try to find less faults in people because you will realize the version of your future spouse for your 13 year old is not the same person you will think of now. You will laugh at how silly your 13 year old self was. You will start to accept that people you love has their own loves and it won't bother you anymore because you yourself has songs that remind you of past loves. 

You will value family but start to realize that they are not what your 8 year old self thought they were. You will realize they are also human and that they have their past regrets and mistakes and they were shaped by their generation and there will be things you don't like about them but at the end of the day those will the learning goals for you. You will start to accept them with faults, not as perfect human beings who will do no wrong. 

and lastly, you will think of yourself a lot more. You will try to always look out for you. You will learn to forgive for what and who you've been. You'll prioritize yourself gracefully and matter of factly and you won't feel sorry for it anymore. You'll learn how important self love is. 

Being 23 was not an easy feat but once you're 24, you'll realize, it's just one more year gone by. You will stop counting things in terms of years but in terms of how it made you feel and how you grew as a person. You'll learn to appreciate everything more. 

Here's to being another year older and hopefully wiser. 24, bring it on. I'm ready and I have all the fire I need. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Currently: February 2016

In between work and classes and other gazillion things I like to do, I seriously have been lacking in reading or watching but compared to last month I've actually been catching up to my fav shows and reading more books so that's pretty neat. 
Here are what I've been indulging in lately. 

90210 S5 | It's bittersweet because the series is ending but at the same time I'm glad its finally over, all that drama. After Gossip Girl, this was my drama fix and I really love Naomi and have been only following this show for her. Definitely enjoy all the excessive drama. 

Maleficent | Yes, I know. I've only recently gotten around to watching this magnificent movie and it was a blast from the start to end. Angelina was absolutely wonderful in her role and I LOVED the whole thing. I'll probably re-watch it because I can't get enough of it. 

Crazy Ex-girlfriend | I have been getting into a lot of new series and this is one of current favourites. Rebecca is such an adorable person and I love the music numbers in the series. The characters are quirky and funny and it's such a delight to watch this. 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | For Page Turner this month, we are reading this book and so far I think it's average. I'm still not too into the story but I like how it's going. The back and forth and lack of answers/world building bothers me a little. I hope it will pick up pace and excitement. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah | This was last months book club book and I wasn't able to finish reading it but even the start of it is intriguing and I can't wait to finish this wonderful and nice book. I also adore Hannah's writing style. 

Sanam Teri Kasam Soundtrack | This movie isn't out yet but very few movies makes me want to check their soundtarck before the release but after seeing the trailer and sort of falling in love with a song in it, I had to get the entire soundtrack and all the songs are absolutely a joy! I have been playing this non-stop. 

What is keeping you entertained?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Re-reading Orwell with Context

Hi all. The following is a brilliant piece of writing by my Level 4 friend Mahid. He's a Conan loving typical engineering student with a penchant for using big words and is most known for his big hair. 

Image from GeckoandFly
I first read Animal Farm when I was 18 years old. I was unaware of George Orwell’s work and its lasting significance in geopolitics of the modern world. I also did not know anything about the Russian Revolution which is so wittily and meticulously satirised in Animal Farm. After having recently read a book by Abraham Ascher on The Russian Revolution I decided it was time I revisited the book.

With the second reading of the novel came the realisation that the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon were taking the roles of the revolutionaries Trotsky and Stalin. The former was a strict adherent to socialist ideals of Karl Marx, represented by Old Major in the book, but as his party gained power, he made devastating compromises on his ideals to the extent that the first principles were almost forgotten. Trotsky is described by Ascher as a remarkable orator and capable of uniting the agitated and the disenchanted. Stalin, after the revolution, climbed the ranks of the Bolshevik party through cunning and manipulation despite lacking any noteworthy charm. It was his brute that came in handy as he staged show trials and disposed his political rivals by exile or execution.

The Russian Revolution which began as a bold experiment to instil true Marxist communism after the removal of Tsar Nicholas II (Mr Jones of the Manor Farm), was disfigured into a Bolshevik obsession to gain ultimate and lasting power over the empire where dissent was deemed treason and dealt with using bayonets. Marxist doctrine was altered and reinterpreted to fit the Leader’s vision of a utopian state. In fact Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, published posthumously, were suppressed in the post-revolutionary Russia. I doubt that the Stalinists appreciated the irony.  

In 1984, Orwell describes this as the infection of socialism with the vulgar utopianism. Utopia, almost by definition, is a soulless notion. Promises are made about the absolute eradication of all human suffering, leading to infinite happiness. By assuming and imagining a future where there are no more grievances, it becomes possible to justify any atrocities committed in the apparent pursuit of that future. In essence this was the philosophy of the Soviet Union and the provisional government that preceded it. Ironically the end result was in effect the recrudescence of Tsarist Russia where Stalin, the Leader, ruled with an iron fist and an elite class enjoyed a hedonistic life while the peasant majority starved. The pigs and the farmers had become indistinguishable.

"By assuming and imagining a future where there are no more grievances, it becomes possible to justify any atrocities committed in the apparent pursuit of that future."

While the novel does not tell us what became of Snowball, Trotsky found refuge in Mexico after he was exiled from Russia. Stalin not content with having his colleague exiled, and attempting to tarnish and diminish him further by issuing revised writings of the revolution, used the Secret Police to bribe a Mexican communist who attacked Trotsky in his study, hacking him to death.

Both Animal Farm and 1984 draws a lot from the Russian Revolution. The former has been described as satire on the period, solely because the totalitarian nature of what came out of the revolution could only be satirized by removing it from the human experience.  Any personal account of life under a totalitarian regime is bound to instil crippling fear –as 1984 does - rather than induce laughter.

Unlike the Stalinist Russia, what the Big Brother of 1984 achieves is far beyond the collectivisation of food. It is the collectivisation of thought itself. All music, poetry, and literature originate from the top and is distributed to the lower parts of the hierarchy. The result is the utter decimation of individuality, personal aspirations and thought, while flooding the society with faceless, nameless entities who speak not with the brain but with the larynx, as the novel describes. The mind becomes so disjoint from reality that it cannot be convinced that it is oppressed let alone asked to stand up against it.

The law that was passed not long ago by the Majlis, stating that all literary content should first be vetted by the government before being distributed or published, was very reminiscent of everything we would describe as “Orwellian”. The Youth Ministry (we will never find out how the onus fell on them) later issued a statement saying that social media was conveniently exempted from the law. I can only suspect that this exception was less of a testament to the government’s leniency but more of a realisation that the law would be impossible to enforce on the internet.

"You are asked to love the cruelty dictated on to you by the regime, leaving us with the the ugliest doublethink one can conceive and the worst form of denigration and abjection of the human spirit."

In essence, 1984 is about love. The snatching away of genuine love to be replaced by compulsory love, extorted from the subjects under the threat of torture and humiliation. You are demanded to love the Big Brother, while simultaneously fearing him. You are asked to love the cruelty dictated on to you by the regime, leaving us with the the ugliest doublethink one can conceive and the worst form of denigration and abjection of the human spirit.

Thank you Mahid for so eloquently putting this into words.