Hello year 2023! I hope you bring health and happiness to everyone around the world. I am grateful to year 2022 for amazing memories with friends and families, for my emotional well being & mental space; to be able to recuperate and find myself again. As I filled in the diary with a list of resolutions yesterday, I realised I was getting bolder with my ambitions and positively confident of the future; there was almost a moment of ecstasy when I felt for the first time in many years the haze in mind had completely gone. For the past few years, I had been feeling like I was walking just on muscle memories following a repeated routine, like there was a fog in my vision, there was a mental block in my clarity. And irrespective of the days and hours I took to repair my thoughts, to put them in words, to study myself under a magnifying glass, to self heal, to be in-charge again; it felt as though I was patching a leak over and over again. Waking up in the morning of 2023, I feel like a fresh new tire, ready to roll.
At some point in my life, I started to develop this tradition of reflecting on the last days of the year. Looking back at my last post on the blog, I recalled some conversation I recently had with my parents about the rights of women. ‘It is wrong’, I had said while watching another news report of an Iranian activist walking on the street in protest for abuse against women. ‘You shouldn’t concern yourself with this’, my dad had said. ‘It is wrong. Yes. We all agree there is a culture of domination against women in certain countries but you also have to understand that these women are used to wearing hijabs and to their places at home, mosques and in society. For years. They were in acceptance of the restrictions implied to them. If it is in their religion, you and all people should learn to respect it.’ I didn’t understand why there was a question of respect raised here. I didn’t personally agree I was disrespecting anyone or their religion. So I was commenting to my dad ‘No, I didn’t mean…’
But in the middle of the conversation, my mom stopped me. She said, ‘I hope it works out for them. But compare an arabic woman, Iranian lets say to a western woman here. Decently dressed to one with a piece of rope between their bottoms and walking on the street. She may say, she didn’t intend to grab attention but oh she will. Dressing provocatively like that. Too much freedom, a dress like that if it’s even a dress speaks for itself speaks for her attitude. It makes a woman lose her values. Between those two women, who do you think has my respect? Who do you think I will stop to think again before I say anything or speak to? Religion is respect, it grounds you to society and its values’. ‘Mom I understand that, I am not saying walking naked down in public is okay, I am saying…’ ‘Stop’. Both of my parents made a face which over the years I have come to understand means ‘no further discussion from here’. When I was a kid, any further from this would have got me some whooping, now I am an adult woman. Still, I keep quiet.
It’s hard to explain the frustration I felt, the discrepancies I felt of women’s value there, in parts of my country and here. There I used to feel like saying, ‘Oh come on, step up, fight for yourself’; here I feel like saying ‘Oh come on notch it down a little’. I was not surprised mom shut me down, but a little disappointed that she did. When she taught me my whole life, never back down what you believe in. Without saying, ofcourse, how you dress matters. But one should be able to wear whatever one is comfortable with. It would be nice to walk in shorts without having 1000 eyes on you when it’s hot and sweaty and sticky inside pants and it’s 29/30 degrees outside. Everyone has legs, it is only legs. I have just recently got back from my holiday in Nepal. Not that I didn’t know, but it hits different. Re-acknowledging the truth of how different people’s attitudes are in the world there and here. I wouldn’t feel safe walking alone at 8pm there. Here with our work rota, I used to have to walk 2am in the middle of night at home. And it still felt safer than there honestly.
Half an hour down 2023, Ukraine has been attacked by Russia, miles and miles away. While most people in most countries are at home enjoying a feast, young adults are hanging out at pubs and teens are partying at the clubs; nuclear weapons are being tested and military troops are getting organised somewhere else. An impending doom is looming over everyone’s head ,‘world war 3 is coming’ like Trump says. It has been a constant hum on the background in our routine lives for most part of 2022 I suppose. I hate what these world leaders are doing but again, wasn’t it inevitable? Looking at how the world was running for many years? There was a power play, mostly on one side. Scavenging for resources. Like every force in nature, balance needs to be restored and eventually nature will find a way. It is sad, for humans, they are their own predators. Knives, Bombs and guns. Only humans can slaughter millions of themselves in one go. A rampaging elephant could have only murdered 5-6 people at most. She has found her perfect tool. Although wouldn’t you say, did hail plenty fury on us this year? With floods & droughts, wildfires, earthquakes and storms. Videos of the great blizzard of 2022, Buffalo New york are still circulating. Hope and pray, she calms down. And 2023 will see none of those.
AS for the war, it should not be the way to go ahead. But I salute men who have lost their lives for their countries. I salute even Putin for standing in his corner. There is honour and pride. Maybe this is military blood on me. But the world will hate him and Zelenskyy like I will, if we lose our lives & our loved ones all around the world because countries of 2 leaders could not come to an agreement in their dispute of a territory and could not shake their backs off & free their hands off the puppet masters. Ego is not the same as pride. Especially after the years we had in 2020 and 2021!
Restrictions are again being imposed by numerous countries on international travellers from China where cases of COVID have rapidly risen again after Covid quarantine & rules were lifted in the country. After 3 years of lockdown. Cannot believe how people there were coping with it? If you have followed my diary, without a doubt you know, I was in shambles. It was sad watching updates on social media platforms showing people screaming out from their windows in apartments from one block to another, the drones constantly hovering around on the watch, people being forced to still remain inside. Thought finally it was getting over and here we go… Good news is ‘living with covid policy’ seems to be working here in the UK. Even with patients in hospital admission, most of those who have tested positive are usually incidental. I am more worried of a flu than COVID now. Honestly 🙂