Archive | July 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2

First of all… WOW! This has been a rip-roaring roller-coaster ride on flaming flight. It has been long since I have last had such an adventure; well, almost five years ago, also in Berk. It has wonderfully carved the characters from teenage to adulthood, in a soul searching saga unlike most film franchises out there.

As I myself have had my fair share of life changing events through this half a decade; I found myself relating to this movie as a mother. In theory, we grow up seeing ourselves as the heroes of our own stories, with a center point of focus on our quest amongst supporting sidekicks that seemingly serve our purpose. In reality, those ideals are shattered the first moment you put a little person’s needs ahead of your own, slowly creeping into the shadows. Believe me, though we may not admit it, most of our identity-crisis as parents stems from this somewhat selfish feeling.

With Valka, I have seen a mother who might have gone too far for what she believed in; losing hope of change of her people and burdened with guilt towards her son for those controversial choices. However, she meets an accepting and forgiving Hiccup whose confusion had now been resolved that as a dragon master he is “like mother like son”. A reassurance to all us parents with our small mistakes that we’re doing okay (just don’t try this at home).

SPOILERS ALERT: Yet is not all dancing and dreaming with this emotionally-resonant story; for I have felt more for Valka’s loss of Stoick more than anyone, it makes us learn how time is gold with loved ones. That moment only makes it ever harder for her to accept those twenty years of absence, no matter how justifiable her choice not to return then might have seemed.

In the midst of political turmoil; the deep messages ring through the halls. Evidence of peace has been the moral of the first film, yet a more pivotal point is that of forgiveness. Drago the Bloodthirst’s backstory of pain and loss may sound all too causal, yet in his name lays the reality of vendetta that blinds with power. Why should his vengeance of destructive dragons fall as wrath upon opposing people? A question that shows how the most eloquently spoken of oppressors justify their ways. And a true test of friendship was when Toothless fell for the Alpha’s command; “Good dragons under the control of bad people do bad things.” I can only imagine a powerful youth growing with such messages as opposed to lame damsels in distress of the 50s cartoons; where now evil should be differentiated, negotiated, persuaded, pardoned and finally fought at the top. Times of tyranny may be over if they can no longer divide and conquer.

That and a whole handful of positive representations of disability, female heroines, family and friends. I can’t wait to enjoy it again.


A Very British Eid!


Last Monday marked the blessed festival of Eid-el-Fitr. Somehow I have grown fond of the English translation of “festival” much more than “holiday”; it holds this childlike colorful description of heartfelt festivities. Though the Ummah might be aching or your heart might be breaking for whatever hardships or losses that might be upon your way; this is a day to rejoice and celebrate the countless blessings of Allah upon us. Come to think of it, it is a culture of gratitude no matter how little you have, that you have completed the holy month of Ramadan.

I have traveled far and wide in my young age, spending Eid across three continents. Although the taste of Eid is not truly the same missing family and friends and feeling homesick; there was a new meaning I had yet to feel this Eid…

Paper bunting and Smarties cookies sounded all too weird to the traditional Egyptian “ka’hk” yet it was not about making do, but making new memories. At times I feel that happiness on that day is a grace in itself as well as a choice; nostalgia can be deadly if you dwell upon the lost rather than focusing on the found.

The visit to the Masjid must have been the highlight of the day; as it truly should and is meant to be. The smiles of sisters of every color and every hue, hugging and greeting without previous acquaintance and sharing their chocolate “Celebrations”. If I think of the origins and nationals I might make a list of a 100 countries; no kidding. Everyone is well dressed and groomed in their own culture, a kameez, an abaya, or even matching fabric for the family of four; only the best is reserved for the Masjid. It may sound subjective, but many a times I’ve attended Eid prayer in Egypt you’d only see sleepy heads in old prayer clothes. I most certainly don’t mean whomever is struggling to make ends meet; but those who are better off, but just don’t want to “ruin” the new outfit saved for the better outing. You see, it was here that I felt the Masjid was indeed a Mecca to the diverse different peoples gathered under the flag of faith. There was no room for prejudice, only a beautiful unity of humanity.