15 June 2017

being a mipster & other things

There are 2 top questions in my head at the moment. One is about me being a mipster and what it actually means to me. The other one is about what did I learn this Ramadan.

A few nights ago I was Facetiming a girl from Belgium. She wanted to interview me about being a mipster and what's it like to be one? If it's a community? Or if it's just a term. And I was like SHIT I NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT SERIOUSLY TO GET ALL THE FACTS RIGHT. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME, FIRST OF ALL!??!

I've been associating myself with this term for some time now and people on the internet knows me as one. Mipsterz, is an online community for Muslim Hipsters and I came across it about 2 years ago but was afraid to call myself one. I've been dressing modestly all my life and it took me years to finally get out on the internet wearing my shalwar kameez and dupatta (scarf) and be creative about it. 



To me, being a mipster is an idea that you can be the cool kid and keep your religion and culture close as well. And there's nothing I wouldn't do to keep a balance between my religion and things my heart want. Being a mipster is another way of keeping my balance. And this term makes it easier to take internet aesthetic and mix it with my tradition. It's my online identity and I'm so damn proud of it.


 The second one: Ramadan. I love how this month brings all the good things close to me and makes my heart soft. I've been learning the power of forgiving these days.  The darkest parts of my brain are getting some fresh light and it's really helpful to get over some bitter past experiences. It's a nice nice nice thing to let go of bad bad bad stuff.



And I took 50% of these pictures with my baby tripod today and the others were taken by Noor. God bless twin sisters, WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT MINE.





How's your Ramadan going?


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1 June 2017

Karachi, I'm not afraid


Last month I got an email from a girl who lives in Dubai and got a marriage proposal from a guy in Karachi. She asked me about Karachi. How things work here? Where do the Karachiites go for shopping/to have fun? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? And I realised I'd have to explain about my home. If my home is safe. If I'm scared of it. If I'm scared of what roams on the streets. If I'm scared I might get hurt. I know this city has blood on the streets and it can be cruel. But I'm not afraid of Karachi. Even though I've moved to a ghost city Thatta, Karachi will always be "the home".

I was born here. I grew up here. My favourite people are buried here. I know all the roads, from Shahrah e Faisal to Sadar & from Sohrab Goth to University road. It feels like no matter what happens, I'll find my way back to where I want to go in this city. It doesn't hurt me even if it's mean sometimes. I understand what goes inside the city. I've been a part of it's sadness. The only politician I ever cared about was murdered here. I watched her dead body being carried away on tv, about 25 minutes away from the crime scene. 



I know its dirty traffic, too many cars with shouting men. I know its street food, the lemonade stalls, the gol gappay & aloo samosas I'm emotionally attached with. I know the areas I'm not supposed to go alone. I know where to go to find the best clothes and the best fruit and the best meat. I still remember the night of Karachi Eat earlier this year when it felt like half of the city was out to celebrate the night of food, it was bright and everyone was happy. This is how I remember Karachi, brightly lit on a dark night. Not as breaking news on other people's tv channels or a sinking economy. 








We know each other, Karachi & I, by heart. Maybe it knows me as the little girl who was born on the northern side of Karachi on a busy August day when half of the country was still wrapped in Pakistani flags for independence day celebrations. Or as the girl who went to "I'm Karachi" campaign booth to help in making Karachi better. But I remember Karachi as my first home. There's a famous poetry verse in Urdu, "Pahunchi waheen pe khak jahan ka khameer tha" (translation: the dust returned to where it rose from) I keep going back to Karachi and I hope it will also be the last home for my bones one day. 

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3 May 2017

(balance)



Balance and I have never been on good terms. The more I chase it, the more it seems to run away from me. And me, I didn't like it at the start. I still remember when we read a chapter about balanced diets in our 4th grade's science class. It made balance sound boring, like a plate full of rice with vegetables I didn't like. It was my first scientific introduction to balance and I rejected it. I didn't want to eat a balanced diet. But boy I didn't know what balance was going to mean to me.

Balance was everywhere around me. I could see it in the morning and night and how they balanced their existence on the same sky. It was in my religion, in other people's mood, in my mother's voice. It was everywhere but in me. I was falling.

 It was such a small moment when I was on my skateboard and my uncle passed by, saying, "You need to learn balance." He, of course, meant balance in skateboarding but it felt like a sign (I embrace all odd signs).  It felt like I was back in grade 4 all over again and this time I didn't reject balance. It was the word I was looking for in the middle of the chaos of my life. I found the word but I didn't have the meaning.

Months ago, me and my twin sister were watching a tv show (teen wolf) and there was an emotional scene going on between a son and his father (Stiles & Sherrif) The father said something about balancing things in life, it was probably about doing something right if you did something wrong, simplest way to create the balance in life, fixing what shouldn't have been done in the first place. I was so glad to hear that, I later turned it into me personal balance theory. I found it a relief that there's a potential in me to create balance. 

I'm still falling from my skateboard and balance still doesn't want anything to do with me (because of my 4th grade rejection?!?!?) I'm trying to find it within me, in my religion, in other things or I'll try another balance theory and create small fragments of it. My religion teaches balance in life & the time before death, spending money & sharing it, time, praying & working. Balance is in my history. I crave it. 

I've been trying to find a balance between my religion and this world lately, and I have realized it doesn't come peacefully or easily. It tears my mind apart. It's important and it's powerful and it takes all of my strength away. But I'm trying and I will not let go until it comes to me, to stay forever.


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22 April 2017

she's doing it for the internet

I had always wondered how it felt like to write an apology on your blog for not being able to post because you had other things going on or you weren't just feeling (this sentence feels offensive to me) or you probably didn't care anymore (even more offensive). I think writing an apology for that feels awfully sad, but I'm here to do that before I start writing the actual post. I'm sorry to everyone who's been a reader. It's a sad sad sad thing that I took a long break that wasn't planned. I'm back, I'm sorry and I'm full of words. This blog is alive.

My life, since the past year, has been turned upside down because of many reasons. Many of them were cool, some of them weren't exactly cool and a few of them were heartbreakingly sad. Internet is one of the coolest reason. I've been freelancing, making art, working for a magazine (ROOEKIEEE!!!) and enjoying a bit of online fame sometimes. Internet world is a part of my life now. Or my life sometimes.

It was probably my mother or a woman from the family who said she's doing it for the internet for the first time when I was taking my outfit's pictures and someone asked why I was doing it. I heard her words but I had absolutely no idea that those words were going to be the headline of my life. 

I like to say that I have an internet based life and I'm loud about it in public. It is kind of like building your home in one corner of the web world and I'm proud of it. It's something I created for me and I'm comfortable there. What I didn't know that people had the potential to be offended by it. And the phrase she's doing it for the internet would turn into something bitter.

I have done stuff just for the internet. Like drinking coffee one morning with highlighter all over my life and sitting on the grass in my backyard and the sun shining on my face, because it was world coffee day & because I was going to do a sponsored post for coffee. I bought a pair of shoes for pictures. I love them and wearing them feels like I can conquer the world but the thing is I bought them for my instagram. I made a cake on Zayn Malik's birthday that had his picture on it and it looked so bloody instagramable. IT WAS FOR THE INTERNET. I wished he could see it.  

 To me, it's not pretentious anymore. Sometimes, the line between my internet life and my ~real life~ ~offline life~ blurs and it's too bloody normal. It's 2017, I have an online job and I like to spend at least 3 hours scrolling through twitter & tumblr & pinterest. Like a very normal human being of our time. 

So when someone tells me "social media isn't real", it sounds funny. Everyone knows it is not. But here's a respectable fact that some people decided to create a world of their own in this big scary world of internet. I do things for internet. To post on my instagram, to write about it on my blog, to film it for my youtube. It's kind of a lifestyle to me, to people like me. 

Tip: Don't compare your own life to somebody's instagram feed. We're working too hard to make it aesthetically pleasing. Real life isn't about aesthetics and number of likes. It's about surviving and moving forward. Practice that.

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13 February 2017

until you come back home

Home is probably my most used word. Partly because it leaves an unbelievably sweet taste in my mouth & mainly because I don't have a more warm and happy word in my vocabulary yet. There's something so comforting about saying it out loud, lovely but not romantic, soothing, occasionally giving me goosebumps and making me wonder is there's another word that makes me feel safe than this. How can someone say it out loud and feel nothing? Because I'm emotionally attached to it, probably clutching it too hard between my hands and my chest, never letting go of it.

Zayn and Taylor's new song, I Don't Wanna Live Forever, came out a little while ago and even though I had promised myself to stay away from ANYTHING 50SHADESOFGODDAMNGREY (sinister!!! we made a rule to never talk about it, maintaining a little grace) But there's also a rule of never missing anything Zayn does. I played the promos of the song with teary eyes, with the full volume. When the song first came out, fully for public, it was my birthday again. Let me explain, it's just about one lyric & one Zayn.

"UNTIL YOU COME BACK HOME"

I've developed a deep emotional attachment with the idea of going back home and this lyric, this very lyric brings back everything I've ever felt about home. 
Bonus: Areeba's favorite singer sings about her favorite word, making it the best song ever (PUN INTENDED) the kind of song she can spend her last teenage year with, making her the 19 years old happy Areeba.

I'm deeply sorry to say it out loud but this isn't actually the best song ever, no puns intended, even though I love it so much that I've played it for hundred of times, this still isn't the best song ever, for me. I've stopped fangirling over Taylor LONG AGO and some other lyrics are too damn weak (I gave you something, but you gave me nothing - YOU KNOW GUYS, YOU COULD HAVE DONE BETTER THAN THIS) Maybe it's because I'm used to The 1975 + Lorde + Halsey's lyrics that are too bloody meaningful.

But I'm truly glad this song exists.

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24 January 2017

Muslim Artist

2016 was the year I realized I can be a better Muslim if I try harder. It was the same year I realized I can be an artist as well, the real one. And these two clash horribly together in real life sometimes, they could have torn me into pieces if I hadn't pretended to be balanced. 

Muslims and Islam prefer words for their art. I'm poetic sometimes but it's not my best quality when it comes to art. I like to draw. Faces aren't allowed in Muslim art and it can possibly lead to an eternal hell I'm truly afraid of. So it feels awfully weird when I'm being called a Muslim Artist for my illustrations because it's more of an oxymoron. These two words Muslim & Artist don't fit together if I don't behave. And let me tell you how I do it.

I'm a young person stuck between religion & the world. Islam is the religion and art is the world. The characters in my illustrations (the heart shaped sunglasses girl) never have eyes, I either cover them with glasses or draw her with her eyes closed. It probably doesn't make a difference but I'm one step closer to a calmed conscience and a lil balanced life. It helps me be okay with my art. I'm trying my best to create a balance that probably doesn't even exist.

2017 is the year for my art. It started with my art being published in a magazine (The issue came out on 1st January so it's literally the year of my art) 
And recently, I've started to mix religion & culture within my illustrations & journals. It's partly because they're closer to me than anything and mainly because I'm guilty. I'm just Areeba, born a female Muslim and wrapped in culture before anything else. Even the artist in me comes next.

So when people ask me why I blend religion & culture in my illustrations, I tell them that these two are the BIGGEST PART of my existence. I fail to tell them that I'm scared I might be over-stepping my boundaries and wrapping them in culture or religion is of a lot of help sometimes. 

I just hope you and I find the balance we're looking for.

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