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.