The Lingering Legacy of Colonialism

For the past twenty something years of my life I have led a high-spirited life, living in different parts of the world and experiencing modernity like how it should. Yet one insignificant soul, working a mundane 9 to 5 job in a local bank that could hardly be called an accomplishment, managed to remind me of how I cannot indeed ever be a ‘Miss Bertram’. If any of you do not know what I am referring to, it is actually a line from ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen, where the patriarch of the household, Thomas Bertram, when accepting an impoverished girl to live in his house who happens to be his very own niece, is quick to remind his family how Fanny Price, the unfortunate girl in question must never be given the idea that she can reach the level of a Bertram. Fortunately I am only joking, as I do not believe one person can give me an inferiority complex when having lived in a Western society, I have managed to boast my South Asian background with joy. I am a ‘British’ as they call it. What happened in the bank was a case of a missing nationality which I went to sort out because I received a call from my bank, so I went. I have been with this bank for six years, and you’d think they would know my personal details by now, but as it happens, one ignorant man can change that idea. I think it was a rare case of pathetic haughtiness whereby I am speaking to this man in a fairly ‘posh’ English accent (so people have said) and the man does not do the obvious and ask whether I have a UK passport, instead he goes on the assumption of me having come here as a ‘foreigner’ on a Visa. To make it the funnier, he proudly speaks loudly when choosing the option between ‘English’ and ‘British’ that ‘it’s not English, but British’, and that ‘I am now ‘British’. Maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe its company policy to ask about Visas first and to speak your thoughts loudly. But when I think back at history, I can’t help but judge. Instead of the irritation I should feel at this man’s clear gracelessness I actually feel a little let down by myself. Here I am a young girl, proud of my heritage unlike most people I know who want to run away from their seemingly inferior identity, I am still conforming to Western ways, of being a British. It is this glamour that the West has that you want to be part of. These former colonisers are still so powerful, and quite heartbreakingly the colonised are still in a poverty-stricken state, aspiring to one day be like the West.

It doesn’t bother me that this Bank man still has domineering attitudes towards race and class. No that does not bother me, as one person in ten would probably have those qualities. What bothers me is how hard it is for me to swallow the ease with which Colonialism operated, injuring whole nations and entrenching them into deepened poverty, whereby the reliance of these poor countries for the West grew even more. Though on paper the abolition of the slave trade did occur it seems it did not do anything to liberate Africa in particular. Instead, the incapacity of Africa to take action and rebuild their country was a good way of the West taking control again, through tourism and raw material grabbing. It was rather mean to first promise autonomy and then not even give that much space to allow it. Of course like in a relationship, if one cannot take charge, the other has to take it in his or her hands to control the situation. But it was also quite absurd how the colonised did not even have that much of a choice to break free, but indeed waited until they were granted that much freedom of at least not being treated like a lowly third class citizen. And this continuous relationship between colonised and coloniser has persisted, where the coloniser maintains links with former colonial states for the sake of maximising wealth as they reap with benefits of abundant resources and labour.

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The simple idea of outsourcing labour is indeed a strategy not unfamiliar. Like plantation farms were outsourced to Africa, call centres are now outsourced to India. And many big clothing businesses have come under attack for outsourcing labour to make their clothes. It’s a little wonder how former Colonial mechanisms have today comfortably perched themselves on all these aforetime Colonial states. Similarly tourism is quite atrociously the Colonial power being relived. What do you think of when you want to go on holiday? Do you want to go to exotic idyllic places where you can relax under the Sun and get a good tan. Antigua would be a nice place to go, where there is plenty of sand and plenty of Sun. It should be absolutely luxurious where you do not have to worry about money spending. In an eery way, you become an ignorant, ugly and elite class where you go for your own comfort, and that is what a country in Africa is catering for, to please the needs of an elite class with a tonne of money who go to splash it out on a relaxing holiday. Again this does not seem unfamiliar, as some decades back, that is exactly what Africa was doing, catering for an elite class. The only difference was that they had a status, and quite harrowingly an identity of a slave. In this day and age the same system occurs without classing anyone. And most devastatingly the usage of resources on countries like Africa is having an environmentally damaging effect on these countries, already battling with droughts and famine.

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Ultimately this is all for wealth and the acquirement of wealth. Thomas Bertram is a character full of pretense in disguise. His arrogance is determined by wealth, and how much he can gain from his plantation farm in Africa. So morality is a grey area and the exploitation of human beings is rampant. And quite sorrowfully that is being endured at present. There are people being exploited for the gain of a Western Ideal. Impoverished people in India are used for scientific experiments as guinea pigs and labourers are forced to work in horrific circumstances for the West’s desire for diamonds in Africa. My worry is that Colonialism has left a stain which is unremovable. It should not have occurred in the first place, because once power is unleashed, the egocentrism never goes away. If there is one superiority, it should be in character, whilst being in complete oblivion, as that is what genuinely makes the world a better place.

How Fasting helps me control my Weight

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So I fast. Being a Muslim I fast during the month of Ramadan, but I also fast outside Ramadan, not just to make up for the ones I have missed during Ramadan, but also because it is actually the most fulfilling feeling for me. Fasting is essential in Islam because it not only brings us closer to God, but it disciplines us in a kind of way that is necessary to function in everyday life. In other words it organises our life for us quite naturally. But to simply fast, without having religious backing for it, would seem strange. Most non-Muslim friends I speak to find it a preposterous idea to wake up at the crack of dawn to eat, and break the fast at sunset, and they most immediately assume it the most arduous task for me. I don’t know how convincing I sound but I always hope I try to be as assuring to them as possible as to how it is necessary to me for my health.

When considering health and wellbeing, there are some things that need to be taken into account in order to successfully achieve the best results. These are mainly what you eat, how you sleep and how active you are in your life. I can safely say that when fasting, I can quite easily nail these important aspects of good life. For years I have tried to regulate my diet plan to balancing everything and getting the best nutrients possible, and while fasting I manage to do that. It is the perfect equilibrium. So while I fast, I have all good foods, which make a week much more balanced and I get to maintain, if not increase my energy levels. I achieve this my eating healthy low-carb meals. For example, at breakfast I would have something light like muesli with skimmed milk, and a handful of mixed dried fruit and nut and yoghurt, and for dinner I would opt for something like grilled fish, mixed salad, brussel sprouts with a dash of crushed potato. And for drinks I would consume as much herbal tea as possible, which for me would be a good 3-4 mugs of either green or peppermint tea. This makes my non-fast days easy for me to choose what I eat, as I can compensate by having more carbohydrate inducing foods like creamy pasta, fried meat, and sweet things like cake with a small scoop of ice cream, as long as I control my intake and maintain my herbal tea drinking. And I do not feel the need to eat more than I need to. As my weight has decreased I have noticed a decrease in my stomach size as well, which means my stomach gets full up much more easily, and I feel extremely satisfied. I find this definitely effective for myself. Drinking herbal tea, especially green tea has helped to increase my metabolic rate and complement my pattern of eating.

So eating is fairly organised, but what about sleep? Some people think sleep is disturbed because of fasting, but on the contrary, sleep is extremely regular, and I sleep early, and rise early. In fact the best thing about fasting is how it regulates your sleeping pattern, and it is invigorating to wake up in the morning, fresh and ready to start the day. For years I have been quite a night person, sleeping late, and waking up late, to find my whole day gone and I feel a sense of loss, of having wasted the whole day. But since I have frequently started fasting, my sleep has got much better, and I feel better.

And though most people would think fasting causes lethargy and sloth-like feelings, it is untrue. On the other hand, fasting does not stop me from going about my daily active day. I behave as I would if I were not fasting, so, not only are you cutting down on eating, but you are sustaining your active life. This I manage to do by eating wholesomely during my non-fast days, so I do not find the need to change my daily habits of activity, and I actually feel energised. Some may say that this on and off way of fasting is attainable, but what about during a whole month of Ramadan, where it is continuous? In this case, I carry the same intermittent pattern of eating, where some days I eat light, healthy meals, and some days I incorporate more fatty foods to keep that balance going, and it really does help me to keep a steady, healthy weight. It is delightful to see the results of fasting, and I know from personal experience that doing so manages weight wonderfully.

The Absurdity of Pride

It’s strange sometimes when you feel a happy kind of pleasure at hearing something positive being said about a thing or a matter remotely related to you. Its a funny emotion, actually quite hilarious. I was talking to an architect friend of mine and he commented on the sturdiness of the building I am living in. Though I am solely renting, and my stay here is merely contractual, making it the least personal, I suddenly had the inner me whispering ‘Why thank you, so nice of you to say that, well…what can I say?’, and it kind of made me giggle immediately at the amusement of how I had subconsciously taken ownership, making me feel satisfyingly proud! It is like saying, ‘dude you have such fantastic internet speed man’, and you feel elated at how you’re being liked for a service that has simply been provided to you by your accommodation. Lets see how fast your internet is when you have to buy it yourself!

But then its the choice you make. Studying English Literature at the University of Manchester is good, but knowing that the Engineering department is fantastic is what excites you. What difference does a good Engineering department make to you, if you’re a student of English Literature? But that inner you whispers again reassuring you with ‘good choice man’. It is feeling worth something, and a feeling which is a must for positivity. One must keep searching for this burst of pride in order to avoid periods of feeling low, or depressed, and it is most definitely an ego booster.

Most egotistical people stay quite happy in the ignorance of pride, even if their importance is only minimal in the grand scheme of things, but its their thought and assumption of self worthiness that makes them feel important, and takes away any pain, or in actual fact, they may not even feel pain, because of the positivity.

As funny as it sounds, I noticed this whilst watching the American version of the The Office, and Steve Carell’s character in it; Michael Scott, is very much a selfish person, and most people hate him in the office, but there is something innocent about him that keeps him going. He does not let anything affect him in the least, and if it does, he finds ways to make himself feel better, whilst being so utterly unaware of his own personality and its response from other people. And that is what I find so positive about his character.

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I wonder how watching something that is seen as being brainless can make me conclude so many lessons about life. There is a scarcity of good TV these days, but when you find it it is nice. I can safely say that The Office is probably the only comedy worth watching, better than the ones that are on these days, and they are well and truly witless. 

I feel that sometimes an ego is needed in order to avoid the torment of things that make you distressed, which I feel is on a high in this day and age. An ego gives you a burst of confidence, and lets face it, makes you feel elated. I think we have misinterpreted the meaning of ego and it is seen in a very negative light. The definition is feeling self-esteem and self-importance, and everyone deserves that in order to function in this world. An ego is a driving force for assertiveness in many areas like work and study, therefore if one did not have an ego, there would be no point in working hard, because one would not feel that satisfaction in knowing what you are doing proves your abilities in certain areas. Therefore when ego is applied positively, then egotism will change to confident, positive productiveness, where the act of being conceited will be accused of, rather than the act of feeling proud of ones abilities.

9 Things To Do In The Night For A Night Owl

I have always been quite an insomniac when it comes to sleeping at night. Or rather, I have always procrastinated going to sleep. Of course if I plonked myself to bed and tried to sleep, like most people, I’d imagine to fall asleep quite easily. However distractions became my habit, and so as it happens my body clock has turned nocturnal. The only thing I can then do is to find things to do! And whether you like it or not, the night-time is the most peaceful time to do all those selfish things you really would like to do but do not ever have the time or get the chance. Here’s my list of the amazingness I get up to dead in the night!
1.Play Cell Splat
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I discovered this game whilst downloading ‘mum’ friendly games for my mother for her new iPhone and since I have become an addict! Now my family and I have night matches to see who can get the highest score and it just gets one hooked! The game is quite simple, There are a number of shapes in different colours as the image denotes and you have to zap the specific shape in a specific colour according to the target shape at the top. It is very entertaining to play and it is also a test on how quick your mind can think, with the quick reactions! The night can just fly by with my self competition!
2.Make A Virgin Mojito
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It’s probably not the healthiest thing to be having so late at night, but hey it makes me go a little Emma Stone whenever I decide to have it! It’s one of those satisfying drinks, where you just sit back and take in the refreshment with delight. The summertime is when my craving for a Virgin Mojito increases and having made it so many times I sure can fix a splendid mojito, experimenting with different ingredients. I sound like a loner.
3. I will be lying if I say that Taking Selfies is not fun! It is actually quite a lot of fun! Then there are all these new and wonderful photo editors to play around with like Instagram and Snapseed and you never know when time flies by. Who would have thought that taking selfies can also make you feel shy. Eugh!
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4. Paint with Water Colours
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This is a newfound activity that I engage in quite often at night and only that baby above can describe how it makes me feel!
5. Brush My Teeth for as long as Ten Minutes
The satisfaction one gets in leisurely brushing away all the dirt in your teeth. Let’s be honest, how many of us would actually spend more than one minute in brushing teeth. To have such clean teeth is bliss.
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6. Do A BBC Austen Series Marathon
The only reason why I write Marathon is because once I begin, its rather hard for me to switch off, and I am sure a lot of romantics can relate. This puts me in a mood detached from the rest. I am in a little Austen world, of beautiful countrysides, witty banter, and romance. If someone were to catch me off guard, there would be some embarrassment.
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7. Drinking a big mug of Horlicks is probably something I’d do if I were wanting to feel warm and fuzzy, especially on a winter’s night. I don’t know if a lot of you have had Horlicks but its this malt drink you have with milk, and it is mmm…
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8. Do Pretend Online Shopping
This is extremely time-consuming, as I go from one online website to another, adding things in my basket. And it is as if I am going to eventually buy all these hundreds of items, to then simply click the X button, closing the tab. I must admit it is very enticing building up the basket like that, but once reality hits only one feeling is felt.
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9. Sell your Unused Items on Ebay
This can be enjoyable, but a lot of the time I find myself questioning whether I need to sell something, even though I have hardly used a certain item. Because it is an amusing pass time I end up selling more than I should, but my possessiveness always gets in the way of making some useful money.
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