Author: aaminanizar

Tea, in India

The last few rainy days in Colombo has made me nostalgic for a hot chai.  A good tea for me is my chai from a roadside boutique in India. Maybe it is the size of the cups they are served in. Or the flavor of cardamon. But my love affair with tea began and ended in India. As a child, I hated drinking tea. Often, when served tea I would sip at it grudgingly. I never understood how my parents seemed to not be able to function without their morning and evening cup. Hostel life changed my taste for tea. Faced with limited food options in the mess, the Mumbai monsoons, and the need for something warm in the morning, tea became a staple for the next three years. What I really enjoyed about tea in Mumbai was the shot glass it was served in. Known as a ‘cutting chai’ which was half the amount of your average tea cup. This size was perfect for Mumbai’s rushed life. Each city makes a different chai. Each …

The Qur’an

Most people think that Ramadan revolves around food, or the lack of. However the true significance of Ramadan is the Qur’an. While Muslims do fast from sunrise to sunset, everyday for a month, they are also expected to spend time reading the Qur’an and learning from it.  Interestingly, the first word ever revealed from the Qur’an ‘ikra’ means ‘read’ in Arabic Ramadan is linked to the Qur’an. It was in this month that revelation first started to be sent down to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel and continued for 23 years. The Prophet is the last of a line of messengers extending to the beginning of mankind. The Qur’an is a book of guidance and it’s miracle is in that as a religious text, it has been preserved intact in the form it was first revealed over 1400 years ago. Despite Muslims being of many sects, schools of thought, nationalities and ethnicities, the Qur’an is the one binding factor that unites everyone. In my travels and work I have come across the Qur’an …

My Father

I’ve taken a while to write this post mainly because there are so many feelings that run through my heart. To say my father is my rock is an understatement. There are many ways I can introduce my father. Him as an individual who is forthright, intelligent, just, and kind. He also has a great sense of humour that is a big hit at parties and everyday family dinners. Then there is him as the husband and father, who is sensitive, supportive, responsible and loving. Brought up in the Woodstock generation, my dad was a hippie, a socialist, a history and music buff, whose library included copies of Sputnik and books on the histories of the USA, The Rockefellers, Rothschilds, as well as a copy of James Clavell’s Shogun. A shoe designer by qualification, he studied at Cordwainers  in London, the same design school as Jimmy Choo. Meeting society’s expectations of lifestyle or career did not matter to him. My dad is a modest man, who despite running a shoe business goes to work in …

Sun Aqua Pasikudah

My first trip to Pasikudah was definitely a blissful holiday as I got to spend it at Sun Aqua. The property is part of a Maldivian resort chain and it tries to bring the same serene ambience as the luxury hotels in Maldives are known for. The hotel has around 30 rooms in a chalet style setting. This ensure the space and privacy one needs for a relaxing vacation. The highlight of the room is its large bathroom complete with a plunge pool. This unique feature sets the hotel apart from most of the others on Pasikudah beach. The hotel provides all facilities from three restaurants, a gym, spa, entertainment room and a spectacular pool.  The service is great and the staff is super accommodating. The restaurants serve a diverse menu and have both Sri Lankan and international staples. Their signature dish is this Jaffna style Crab Curry. The hotel has a great spot on the beach and when not using the plunge pool in your room, or swimming pool, the fabulous beach awaits you. Beautiful through out the day. …

Lesley Hazleton

Lesley Hazleton lives on a houseboat, wrote about cars for a decade, and also has a pilot license. A natural affinity for all vehicles, the tuk tuk or trishaw, was next on her list. During Lelsey’s stay in Colombo, I was given the opportunity of taking her around the city. We went to the Kirulapone canal for her lesson, where a friend of mine owns a tuk tuk.  What with her packed speaking engagements, she didn’t have enough time to master it in a few hours.  So she knows it’s a sign for her to return to Sri Lanka some day (well I think it is). Lesley was here in January on an invitation by the Galle Literary Festival.  She also spoke at many other free events in Colombo. In the week she was in Sri Lanka, she inspired people to take up this same spirit of inquiry and challenge their perceptions of religious iconic figures.  In The First Muslim, she writes about  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the book is considered an acclaimed …

MMDA – Misconceptions about the reforms.

Featured image is of my friend Sineen’s nikkah signing in India. The registrar, and two witnesses approach the groom in his section. The registrar says the bride’s name and asks him for his consent to marry her. He says ‘khabool hai’ three times and signs the certificate.  Then they go to women’s section and approach the bride. They ask her whether she consents to marry the groom. She replies ‘khabool hai’ three times and signs the certificate.  In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Assalamu Alaikum Dear Muslims, I would like to address some misconceptions about the reforms for the MMDA (Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act) in Sri Lanka. 1. The rumour that is has to do with with pressure from the EU is a lie. This rhetoric is being used to misinform Muslims into believing that pressure is being exerted externally. Reforms started way back in the 1970’s by Muslim men. I even attended a meeting by the Muslim Women’s Action Forum in 2010, where reforms were discussed. The committee set up to recommend …

Mecca and Medina

Visiting Mecca is always this overwhelming experience, even for secular Muslims.  I’ve seen the Ka’aba (black square building) for years in pictures and on television, and finally seeing it in real life is both surreal and exciting. The layout and architecture of the mosques in Mecca and Medina gives one the feeling of being on a futuristic movie set. Where everyone is in robes, surrounded by the desert, speaking different languages, under high tech domes, and space shuttle shaped canopies.  It creates a sense of the past and future, and makes you feel like you are on an alien planet, removed from the rest of the world. Tomorrow marks Eid ul Adha, the festival that commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. So I thought I’d blog about my first visit to Mecca and Medina on Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) earlier this year.  Umrah can take place anytime of the year, whereas the actual Hajj pilgrimage happens annually between the 8th and 12th of of the last month of the Islamic Calendar. Mecca is where the Prophet was born, …