Working at the Olympics (London 2012) – Those little Accomplishments!

The summer of 2011 took my life though a complete twist. The set plan, around which my life revolved, was completely eradicated bringing about a complete transformation. Throughout this year many things around me changed, bringing with them a stronger resolve and new-found confidence in me which I lacked before today.

One of the things which I discovered is my absolute love for writing. Through my written words I have found the courage to express myself completely and without hesitation. Writing has caused that uncertainty to slowly fade away,bringing out with it the new-found ability to verbally express myself and genuinely capture people’s interest while conversing.

Call it lack of confidence, an absence of self-esteem or maybe a mixture of both, but before my twentieth birthday I never would have imagined myself working at the London 2012 Olympic games,let alone being able to get through an interview and express myself without going red in the face and causing myself ample amounts of embarrassment and unease.

At the end of my first week working at the Olympic and Paralympic Games,I was asked by the University of East London to write an article, sharing my thoughts and experiences to help motivate other students to take part in such activities.This was to be published on their blog created especially for the Olympics.

Located around twenty minutes from the Olympic Park, UEL have been at the forefront of the whole event.They had a brand new sports dock and gym built-in specifically for the Olympian athletes to train and practise during the games,and are also providing their premises for the athletes to stay in.

So here’s my humble little attempt at doing justice to my summer job, my experience and the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with.Click the link below, this will take you directly to my article.

UEL Student works at Capture the Event , London 2012

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So Immature!

Our life is like a charade of events, one after another. Like the pictures of a movie, following each other in such rapid succession that at times we are left at a loss of what’s happening. Over time, we go through a constant transition not only physically but mentally as well. We may pass through phases of complete confusion, lack of self-esteem, emotional upheavals, depression and every so often complete disregard for life. With each passing year our understanding of things changes. We begin to see life differently. Certain viewpoints begin to appeal to us which previously seemed like a complete waste of time.

We gradually come to a stage in life when everything seems to suddenly make sense. It is as though a veil has suddenly been lifted from over our once-clouded intellect. We begin to see the world through new set of lens, so to speak. I believe this is the gradual onslaught of maturity.

According to the modern dictionary, the definition of maturity is “Fully developed in body and mind,a state of sound judgement”.

But that’s what the dictionary says. Each and every one of us has a unique understanding of the word ‘mature’ and what it entails.
Overtime, we regularly alter our definition of the word. This alteration may be dependent on a series of events,simply an effect of our surroundings or a change in our mind-set. But none of us can accurately fit the mould of a completely mature individual at all times.

“What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.”
Dave Barry

Constantly being aware of oneself and realising one’s faults is one of the best ways of self-improvement. However the problem arises when we start to judge other people, categorizing them into stereotypes of our own accord. We consider ourselves worthy of making an analysis, casually observing them, hence forth labelling them as mature or immature.

This one just made me laugh! Ever heard kids say this to each other?

This one just made me laugh! Ever heard kids say this to each other?

We are told by society that certain actions will deem us immature. Or acting in a particular manner may be inappropriate for our age group, hence if we were to carry out that act, we would undoubtedly be placed in that “immature” circle, allowing others the self-proclaimed right to label us immature and childish. If we are to go by the dictionary’s definitions, i.e. being of sound mind,body and judgement,  we are most often immature. In fact if we were to categorize people by this very meaning of the word, most of us would truthfully be as immature as those very individuals we ridicule as being immature.

So if we are all as immature as each other, what right then to we have to classify and label people as though they were a herd of animals, incapable of sound rational and beyond reason. 

Being confident and sure of your own capabilities and true to yourself and people around you is what counts.  That’s the secret!  If that makes me immature, I’ will except it without an ounce of shame and you know what, so should you!

Recognition-How divine!

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the simplest of things can make you smile, and turn a completely lousy day into just the opposite.

The exact thing happened to me a couple of days ago. Being bogged down with work, sleep deprived and completely exhausted I was in no fit state to be looked upon. I logged into word press during my lunch break and was surprised to find I had been nominated for a beautiful blogger award.

My happiness knew no bounds. It’s been awhile since I’ve got any kind of recognition and the very fact that fcg has not only taken the time to read my random thoughts, but has also nominated me is extremely flattering. Here I must take the time to really thank her. You really made my day!

Check out her blog for some very amusing, interesting and hilarious posts!

The rules, as I’ve been told here are that I must:

a) Write seven interesting things about myself, b) Nominate other bloggers who I feel deserve this award, c) Let them know about the nomination!

So let’s get cracking! Prior warning: You might want to stop here. I in no way claim to be an interesting personality in any way, shape or form. In fact I bet you could almost fall asleep after the first few…

1- People tell me I have a knack for photography. Personally I find this absurd and always point out how the pictures only come out as good as the image itself. I love to take pictures of nature, especially the sunset. Each day ends more beautiful than the last and I stand there watching the sun set, phone in hand ready to capture the end of each day.

The sunset-from my bedroom window

The sunset-from my bedroom window

Another sunset- also from my bedroom window

Another sunset- also from my bedroom window

2- I appreciate people who don’t always feel the need to fill the silence and keep chatting. As a quiet person myself, I’m completely content to let others talk and just sit and listen.

3-I love the idea of travelling, enjoy reaching the destination and seeing new things but absolutely detest having to sit in an aeroplane just to get there. Part of the reason for this is that I have this sudden urge to throw up as soon as I enter the plane. I guess it’s this psychological thought of flying that makes my stomach turn inside out along with that strange aeroplane smell.I have never completed a plane journey without vomiting. Not puking while landing or taking off is a skill I have yet to master!

4- I grew up with a very bad obsession regarding my height. Though I’m not particularly short, being a couple of inches over five feet, throughout my childhood I somehow always ended up being in a class full of exceptionally tall girls. Also my sports teacher liked rubbing salt in the wound, making me feel like a midget despite me being quite normal. Thankfully however, this obsession dimmed overtime and I am not completely at ease with myself. What helps, is knowing a number of people who are actually quite a bit shorter than me. (So ha! Take that sports teacher).

5- I love fruit. Be it any fruit, with no particular favourite. I am in absolutely no way a food conscious person and I’d rather not have salad with my dinner but when it comes to fruit, I can never say no! To some it may seem odd, but I guess it must be something to do with my genes, for you see my dad is big as a fruit lover as I am.

6-I can never ever remember the titles of books I read. In fact I often read a book and end it without even knowing what it’s called. Since I love reading, the author’s name or summary at the back of the book suffice whenever I pick them out. The disadvantage of this is that when people ask me to recommend books, I’m at a loss of what to suggest.

7- I’m a very light sleeper, waking at the slightest of sounds. I also have very strange dreams of people I barely know, friends and family. In fact I tend to dream almost every night but always fail to make sense of what they were about.

If you’ve made it to the end of this, then very well done to you! I may not be that hopeless after all!

Now for the fun part, I must nominate other blogger I feel deserve this award. Below is a list of blogs I enjoy visiting, in no particular order.

Awakening

Write2escape

Thoughts,Literature and more..

Zainab Khawaja’s blog

Dreamers never die

Life in Marrakesh

Hunting for bliss

Muslim Reverie

Our Life in 3D

The simple life of a country man’s wife

What an Amazing World

not yet grounded

The scribblings of a random mind

thanks for the blues

Just a thought

All these bloggers each have something beautiful to say and their writings have touched me. Some have inspired me to be a better writer. Also I can’t forget the blogger-fcg who nominated me and many others who have spent the time to go over my articles and leave their comments. I really do appreciate all the feedback, criticism, likes, follows and reads!

Taming of the shrew in Urdu-watch the complete performance!

Back in May I had this fantastic opportunity to attend a play. It was an adapted version of “The Taming of the Shrew” and was in Urdu. The performance was a part of the Shakespeare’s Globe festival which took place in London.

The stage from another angle

The stage from another angle

Shakespeare’s plays were performed in around 30 different languages from around the world as part of this festival which was held in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics which are currently being hosted by the UK.

You can read all about my experience that night here: The World Shakespeare Festival & my experience of “The Taming of the Shrew”.

Rustam (Omair Rana) and Kiran (Nadia)in action-Epic performance!

Rustam (Omair Rana) and Kiran (Nadia)in action-Epic performance!

Many of you were dying to watch and could not attend. However there is still hope, for a complete recording of the play has now been uploaded.

Of course nothing beats the magnificent sensation of being present in the theatre and watching it live. However this is just as good. Click on the link below.Enjoy!

http://thespace.org/items/e0000hx6

Cries, cuddles, laughter and my pocket full of sunshine…

It’s been a long summer. Quite the contrary to the usual summers most of us look forward to in terms of the weather. Horrible wet days throughout most of the summer months, gloomy, grey skies and that never-ending rain always top the charts for a holiday ruined.

Looking out onto a wet street and grey sky from your bedroom window day in and day out is really not my cup of tea! *sigh*

Looking out onto a wet street and grey sky from your bedroom window day in and day out is really not my cup of tea! *sigh*

I spent a couple of days each week working at a Montessori for the whole of July. Montessori education basically entitles disciplining very young children in the gentlest of manners while at the same time treating them as young individuals, helping them to discover their skills, instead of ooh-ing and aah-ing over them in typical fashion.

The Montessori education concept was proposed by Dr. Maria Montessori and is in popular demand nowadays especially in Britain owing to the fact that most working mothers need a place to send their very young children during their work hours. Montessori’s are often known as child care centres in simpler terms and take children between the ages of 6 months and four years.

I started off eager and excited about the whole prospect of being able to spend so much time with little kids. Here I must mention that I absolutely adore children. Maybe it has something to do with being a woman, and the natural tendency present in us all to adore and cherish those tiny little beings.  I instantly seem to be able to connect with kids in a very easy way which is often harder when it comes to people my own age.

The first day was very hectic. I spent most of the time running around after the kids, cleaning snotty noses,  drying tears, giving cuddles, reading stories and trying to entertain around twelve babies between the ages of one and three. There were around four other women helping out in one room. But let me tell you one thing, spending an entire day from 9 a.m. till 5 p .m with a bunch of babies, trying to keep them entertained, feeding them, cleaning up after them and at the same time making sure every single one of them is pre-occupied and not up to any mischief is one hell of a task. Here I take the time to applaud every mother out there, along with my own for carrying out this task so willingly.

I came back home, aching all over, completely exhausted and wanting to strip back all my sticky clothes. Never wanting to see another child for as long as I lived. I ended up showering for an hour and later sleeping as soundly as a baby.

Thankfully the next day was a holiday and though my arms and legs still felt like a block of lead and ached from the exhaustion of picking up babies the day before, evening came and there I was, already missing those adorable faces, knowing I was looking forward to going back and working the next day as much as I had on day one.

Over the course of my job, I had the chance to work with these children and observe them collectively and on an individual basis.

I loved watching how Tummi, this little African boy would come running to cuddle me with a beautiful toothless grin pasted across his innocent face as soon as I opened my arms. Or how Azan’s olive green eyes sparkled with curiosity every time he asked me a question. Or how little Aniv would smile at me in recognition as soon as his mother dropped him off, and hold out his tiny chubby arms for me to lift him up off the floor. (He is the youngest child there, only a year old).

How could I forget naughty little Jennai, with his tiny two front teeth, cute dimples and chocolate coloured flawless skin. He is approaching his third birthday and because he’s extremely cute and knows it, he would often get out of trouble with a tactful little response such as “But I’m sorry miss. Aren’t I your baby Jan Jan?”  Upon hearing this he would of course be showered with kisses instead of being made to sit in ‘time out’-Sending the kids to sit by themselves in a corner of the play room, for ‘time out’, and explaining to them that they had made a sad choice and how it had hurt their friends, is a form of discipline which is an integral part of Montessori education.

I have come to the realization that all children are beautiful no matter what. Every child is precious. Born pure and innocent and has every right to be cherished and loved deeply.

Despite being a great form of interaction and a character building platform for the little kids, I still happen to disagree to sending children away at such a tender age be it only for  nine hours per day. A child learns the most in its first three years, and this is the age where they need that parental love and care most. If the only time they see their mother is just before bed time or get a mere glimpse of her in the morning, how then will that special bond be formed between them?

I remember how Sofiya, a shy little girl with rosy cheeks and gorgeous brown ringlets used to come up to me with this mournful expression on her face and ask me “Mummy coming? Daddy coming?” to which I would reply, “Yes darling your daddy will be here soon”. She would then go off to quietly play and come back half an hour later, repeating the same statement yet again, as though not only  making sure of it by asking me again and again but also silently re-assuring herself. Every day, as soon as she would spot her daddy at the gate she would go running, jump into his arms and start sobbing while clinging tightly to him.  She had been coming to the Montessori for quite a long time. However she always seems unsettled. Waeel, another favourite little boy of mine, was also unusually quiet and always seemed aloof, wary of all the other children and only talking when he wanted more food.

In my opinion children shouldn’t be separated from their mothers until they reach the age of three at least. By that time they are past the initial cranky phases of teething and are generally toilet trained. Apart from this they are old enough to talk properly and express themselves.

One day during the baby’s nap time, I went off to help out in the other playroom. Here the age-group of the children is between three to four years. As soon as I entered, I was surrounded by a dozen kids. All of them asking me my name and a million other questions and then carefully assessing my answers. Kids are so curious. The questions they ask and the things they seem to notice are just amazing.A little girl called Helena came up to me sat in my lap without a moment’s hesitation. Even then I admired her guts. She then asked me to read her a story which I did.

My particular favourite was a little boy called Augustia. He has these huge green eyes, golden hair and rosy checks. With the looks of an angel this little guy could knock any girl off her feet. The little charmer took over my role as teacher and began holding up these sign boards with the numbers on it. By the time we reached 13 I wasn’t paying much attention. Also the other kids around me kept calling me, wanting my attention just as much. Augustia, being the cute little charmer that he is, began reassuring me that there were only a couple of numbers left so I shouldn’t worry. I just about managed to keep my composure and thankfully completed the task without laughing.

I can also never forget these two polish sisters,Natasha and Nicola. They both silently observed me for the first twenty minutes when I entered their playroom, finally coming to the conclusion that I was harmless, they trotted up to me each one taking my hand and lead me to the table to show me their colouring. I then sat with on the floor with each one perched on each of my knees for the next half hour just enjoying their company.

All in all it was a great month. A wonderful experience and though I hated to leave, it has left me wanting to one day work with little kids. There’s no denying the fact that one of the best feelings in the world is watching a child smile and knowing that smile’s meant for you. Or that one of the most beautiful sounds is the joyous ring of children’s laughter.