Archive for June, 2012

Rainbow Cake!

I made this cake for my sister’s birthday. I was inspired by this and wanted to make this… but due to time contraints (ok honestly.. due to me being lazy) I ended up making the first one and I was so very happywith the outcome that I want to share it with you! Below is the recipe and the step by step in pictures.

1. Plain cake mix (I used lemon cake mix)
2. Eggs, milk and butter (as per cake mix)
3. Icing sugar and butter (as per any frosting recipe)
4. Round cake tin (lined with baking paper)

1. Make the cake batter according to instructions on the pack
2. Seperate the batter into six even parts
3. Mix food colouring into each part and mix thoroughly
4. Pour a dollop into the cake tin and follow with another colour (looks nicest if you go by the order in the Rainbow)
5. If you want you can give it a slight run with a toothpick
6. Bake as per instructions on pack
7. Cool, ice and eat!

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Casula Powerhouse Museum is holding an exhibition titled No Added Sugar on now till 8 July 2012. Last Sunday as part of the exhibition the musuem, JAAN teamed up with the exhibition and hosted a Women’s performance event which was a great success. Women of all ages, races and creeds got together to celebrate the great diversity of art and drama which makes us so unique but also unified.

One of my oldest and closest friends, Asma Yusra, who is also part of JAAN (remember the reading circle blog I wrote? JAAN organised that too!) had a crazy idea that we should bare our souls in a daring drama performance! (daring because neither of us has ever performed anything before!)

It actually went really well and so I’ve decided to share the script below. Yes its corny and lame but you know what, I’m confident we arn’t the only ones to have hit such a rock bottom at one point in our lives. So .. I hope you can relate!

Synopsis: This piece is about two intelligent, empowered women who are in control of everything in their lives except their wayfaring hearts. It shows them hitting rock bottom and then standing up tall again

Scene 1 – Afternoon setting.

(Phone rings)
A – Hi Gary have you submitted those process flows yet?
S – They were due last week, I don’t understand what the hold up is
A – I’m giving you the rest of the day, have them on my desk by 5pm
S –  My company prides itself on meeting deadlines and keeping our clients happy so chop chop
(Phone rings)
A – Yes Mum, whats up.
S – I’m kind of in the middle of something, can I call you back
A – I can’t really talk about my divorce in the middle of work mum
S – I know ma, I saw his picture and the 15 emails you sent me. I read them. I am thinking.
Both – I need more time
A – This isn’t a decision to buy a dress or a pair of shoes! A divorce doesn’t have a return or exchange policy! You raised me on your own when Dad left. I don’t need a man in my life either.
S – I understand you want the best for me but I need more time! I know you think I’ve ‘studied too much’ and ‘no one wants to marry and overly smart woman’ but this is me! I need to forget ‘him’ before I can marry this amazing man you have found for me’
A – I’m tired Mum. Can we please talk about this later.
S – Even after four years of trying to get over him I can’t stop comparing him to every guy I meet. You think I don’t want to get married? I’m 26 Ma and I know as an Indian Muslim woman I am ‘past the due date for marriage’ and you’re worried sick.

A & S (looks to audience) – I am 26 and my life is nothing like I’d planned. If my 22 year old self were to meet me now she’d kick my ass for being so pathetic.

A – I just need time mum. I’m broken.
S – I’m stronger than I think? Thanks ma. I wish I believed that.
A – I will talk to you soon.
(Hangs up phone)

Scene 2

(Looks to audience. Hand gestures, walk around)

A – 26.
S – Unmarried.
A – Getting a divorce? This isn’t how it was meant to be. I married early. We brought out the best in each other. We defied all odds and graduated, worked on our careers. We travelled. We made it. So why choose her?! After how much we had to fight for this. I had a line of guys waiting for me before he came along and that line will still be there, so his loss! I swear he doesn’t deserve me!
S – I knew what I wanted all along. A great career. A fast car and all those friends I made along the way. I saw the world and made my place in it long before you came along and ill be damned if he gets to unseat all my hard work.
A – 18. We were young and you didn’t have that paunch which made the sex that much better. But whatever. Any guy can make me feel that good… Right? I brought him home and fought long and hard to show everyone he was mature enough to take care of me. He’s not like Dad. I built my life around him and now my whole life’s just collapsed.
S – Yeah I missed a body to warm my bed all these years but men could wait. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to fall in love but watching mr darcy and Elizabeth made me want .. not just love for today and tomorrow but true love forever and ever and for that … I was prepared to wait.
A sings: Could’ve been your princess, you’d be a king. Could’ve had a castle and worn a ring, but no you let me go. You stole my star. La la la la…
S – (Starts talking as La la la starts) 23. I thought my wait was over when I met you. You had the potential to be my Mr. Darcy. You swept me off my feet… No one had called me their shooting star before.
A – 25. Honey moon period is over.  I remember your face when we got the news from the doctor. I wonder how you would have reacted if we were told it was your fault. I can’t have children. Does that make me less of a woman? Is she more… complete than me? 
A & S – I should have seen it coming. You were too good to be true.
S – Why is it that men always move on to another woman when we finally… totally give ourselves up to you.

Scene 3 – Night time setting.
A is on the phone and S logs into Facebook. Stare at profile pic of ex.

A – We’ve been married for 8 years… please… don’t throw it all away. We can make it work. We haven’t tried EVERYTHING.
S – There’s nothing left.
A – I sacrificed my LIFE for you. I put your dreams before my own. You promised me…
S – Stop living in the past.
A – What am I going to do without you? We planned everything for our life together. Remember Rome? Remember Paris? Remember the way you held me. 8 years love, 8 years. I don’t care about her. We’ve got 8 years DAMN IT!!! What happened to ‘first and last’? What was all that? Just bullshit? What?! How could you say that to me!!!! What do I tell my family, my friends? I’ll stay here, I’ll wait for you. I’ll wait…
S – So much drama. It’s so annoying.

A  Slams down the phone
S–Slams laptop shut.

A sings Set me free/Leave me be/I don’t wanna fall another moment into your gravity/Here I am and I stand so tall/Just the way I’m supposed to be/But you’re on to me/And all over me

Scene 4
Stand looking at one position. Throughout the poetry, we’ll be standing facing the audience. Eye contact, body language and hand gestures at play. Don’t move around or audience will lose focus.

A –          How do we say the harshest things to each other
After wishing we’d grow old together
After saying we’d stay forever
Like a Street Fighter we just keep knockin’ each other down‘til we’re K.O.
‘Til we’re oh no… damage has been done.
Rage takes over (pause) And at that split moment my insides sync with the crying moans
Of the cat next door
My hand doesn’t reach fast enough to close my ears
My teeth don’t clench hard enough to stop my tongue
Could the nights we shared of laughs and smiles
be enough
To recompense our bruised egos and broken hearts
Men walk in and out of my life and offer the world to me
Friends come in and out of my home
But home to me is being wrapped up in a blanket of you

Pause loaded with emotion

S –           There was a time where you and I cherished being Us
A time when you would scan the world to protect me
To fight off any danger that threatened us
Baby I remember when you took my hand and called me your shooting star
My heart is yours and the world is ours
And Nothing can stop us but us!!

A –          Now I open my eyes and you are no longer here.
In the silence you have left behind all I have are Fragments
Bits and pieces of who I was before you

S –           Fragments of our soured memories I wish wasn’t real
Fragments I’ve been trying to piece together.
Both – If only we could swallow our pride and appreciate each other

A –          We’re no longer adolescents
                Selfish beings who require self proclamation
                When will we learn that this is unacceptable.

Both sit on the floor. Helpless.

S – I am Wondering where I fit. In the shards that I have left.
A – I have no more love to give. Bound by the shackles of my own emotions.
S – Now – I will finally welcome this feeling of absence.  Just now.
A- Each cell in my body will summon every tear of rejection, every sweat drop aching in disappointment. Here. Now. Alone.
S – Still… I miss you.
Before you I was Spinning dreams from romance novels.
Watching others love and lose
I sat patient, sometimes impatiently
Waiting for the unseen knight in shining armour
I chose you.

A – Petals wilted and the leaves they darkened and fell
On a short sharp winters night
We first clashed – then met
And I chose you.

S – Time would not let us mature
Love soured and I tasted bitter anger
Separately we cried – turned away
Still I chose you.

A – Sitting alone while the years have passed
Wondering where all that time has gone
Everything I gave you – my hope, my heart
As the first tears fell –

Both: I regret that I chose you. Love without God is like air without oxygen.

Lights out.

 Both: Love without God is like air without oxygen. Life without God IS air without oxygen.

Both lie down on a pillow/cushion/table and sleep.

Lights still off. Sad instrumental music.

A – It’s me. Love isn’t what sustained our marriage. It’s respect, it’s loyalty… it’s… look. I don’t care if I’ll be a divorced woman at 26. I can’t do this anymore. I am coming over.  Have the papers ready. We will be divorced.

S – Hi Ma.. it’s me. I am ready to meet him. I deserve someone to treat me right. I’m coming over. We can talk about this.

Scene 5 – Bus stop, it’s morning. Birds chirping, sun’s out.

 A – And in the alteration of day and night… are signs for those who reflect. It’s a brand new day. I decide to clear out the space in my mind that I used to obsess over you – to leave it a vacuum – for God to place His love there.


 S – I look up to the blinding sun bursting through the leaves
A new bud burgeons with the promise of a bloom in the morrow
A morrow of hope renewed, of life without you.

Both – I chose you once, not anymore.

A – The sunlight warms my battered heart
Falls on my skin and winks at me with promise
Today – here and now
Both – I choose Me.


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I nearly fell today. I am notoriously bad with shoes. Besides my ancient Fila sneakers which are tattered to the nth degree, I have not a single pair which fit perfectly. Some are too tight, some are too loose, some are fancy but not practical, some practical but not pretty … anyway! Back to my story – there I am walking to work in the morning across wet slippery asphalt and suddenly my Diana Ferraris fail to land properly and in one split second I feel my right foot slide out under me and my brain goes into a panic.

In hindsight I marvel at the awesomeness of the human mind. There I am foot sliding out under me and while half my brain is in a panic, the other half starts damage control calm as you please. I hear my brain instruct – spread your arms out, shift balance to right leg and prepare right foot for landing attempt two. And of course my right leg’s second landing attempt was just fine and I continued walking and this whole business was over in a few seconds. But what fascinated me was that split moment in which my heart sprang to attention and my brain went into a blind panic for fear that I would fall. This wouldn’t have surprised me as I tend to fall or spill something on myself every time I wear white. But again, I digress. This isn’t about my near fall. No dear reader I wouldn’t bore you with such inane banter. It is however about jerks. Kneee jerk reactions in particular, which are sometimes caused by and cause ‘jerks’ both in the adjectival and verbal sense.

Have I lost you yet? Let me explain. When I was about to fall, my brain did two things simultaneously, panic and damage control. And the logical damage control side of my brain won and restored order. My brain then, at its basest and most primal is quite a smart cookie! It did not deny the panic but rather accepted it as a natural reaction which happened in the background as logic and order were restored in the foreground. This led me to wonder why it is that so many of us deal with loss and grief in such stilted and negative ways. When our brains and bodies at their basest are equipped to deal with our panic, grief or loss and help us do damage control and move on. A toddler falls down so many times in a day and gets up and walks about after a short cry at most. Why can we not then as adults train ourselves to overcome obstacles as easily?

In my opinion – it is because as we grow older our ‘falls’ become bigger. We go from falling over a lego block to the pain of unrequited love or the loss of a loved one, or rejection or job loss. The more negativity we experience, the more it builds up inside us because in our fast paced environment we do not take the time out to deal with the negative energy produced by our circumstances. As a result our egos play more and more an integral part in making decisions which override the baser more logical instincts of our brains. Eckhart Tolle talks about the ‘painbody’ in his book ‘The power of Now” and it’s a very interesting concept.

He says, ‘There is such a thing as old emotional pain living inside you. It is an accumulation of painful life experience that was not fully faced and accepted in the moment it arose. It leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain. It comes together with other energy forms from other instances, and so after some years you have a “painbody,” an energy entity consisting of old emotion. It lives in human beings, and it is the emotional aspect of egoic consciousness. When the ego is amplified by the emotion of the painbody, the ego has enormous strength still — particularly at those times. It requires very great presence so that you can be there as the space also for your painbody, when it arises”.

This matches up with my readings in another book I am finding so very helpful to my peace of mind called ‘The purification of the heart” by Hamza Yusuf. This text addresses the same issue from a Sufi/Islamic perspective and both of them agree that it is only when you accept your ego, accept your painbody, accept that moment or moments of blind panic and let it occur that those moments, that energy can no longer feed on you and detract from your baser instinct to react logically.

Our kneejerk reaction to being hit, is to hit back; to being stood up is to get angry; to being rejected is to feel depressed and unloved. We tend to displace our emotion regarding a situation to a person and attribute blame on ‘jerks’, ‘losers’ and ‘morons’. There is a primal urge in us, our subconscious voice which tells us that it is ok to react, to feel pain, but it also tells us where to draw the line, tells us what is classed as ‘overreacting’ or when to ‘calm down’. But I find that the older I get, the more egoistical I get and the more I let my ego and my pain body do that talking, more importantly, I let it override my baser common sense and overreact in an intense, unwelcome and regretful way. This causes my painbody to grow as it feeds on the negative energy I am producing and it is magnetically drawn to the painbody of others. And unlike mathematical equations where negative plus negative equals positive… two painbodies do not equal positivity. They equal a big kaboom. I say this because my pinbody has had its fair share of ‘takkars’ or collisions and I am tired of the negativity sapping my personality.

These two books have been such a great help in dealing with the negative energy around me and how I deal with it. I am learning to take a step back and watch my painbody react, let it react in the background while my logical baser common sense remains in control in the foreground. I was reading my previous blog post Tears of Joy the other day and it reinforces what I have written here… our actions as children, pure and unaltered by the hard knocks of life are the best actions and reactions we can take and make. It isn’t easy to revert to being as carefree as we were as children, but the more I try the more I see why kids smile so much more than adults!

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