How “One World Film Festival” Raises Awareness About Global Issues

Canadian youth and adults are challenged by a fast-paced system and a politically charged environment where many are aware about the need to promote awareness of relevant international and local issues. A film festival like One World Film Festival (OWFF) thus plays a pivotal role in shaping opinion by empowering citizens. People who are dwelling on Planet Earth in today’s world are pressured to absorb information fast, which is how the new generation is being shaped to work and think more quickly by retrieving data from various stimuli and resources.

One of the very first films that I watched—in grade 11, I think—to learn about issues surrounding mental and physical health was Tennessee William’s “The Glass Menagerie”. This fiction movie shares the story of Laura Wingfield, her brother Tom Wingfield, and their mother Amanda Wingfield. What struck me as stunning about this movie was the fact that Laura limped and was also mentally fragile; and, the use of a glass menagerie to symbolize Laura’s refuge in her imaginary world as well as her sensitive memory. I remember feeling very moved after watching this picture; and, I promised myself to keep learning through such expressive broadcasts. As I grew older, I became more familiar with the world around me; and, finally found a festival that helped me fulfill the promise I had made many years ago.

One World Film Festival (OWFF) is Ottawa’s longest-running documentary film festival that seeks to use media and performing arts to educate people about several global issues including women empowerment, identity, migration, indigenous rights, social justice, human rights, and environmental issues—specifically, it connects marginalized communities and Third World population with Canadians. Its a very historic event! Its interesting to see how One World Film Festival’s poster has changed over time. See Past Festivals – 1989 to 2016.

Nowadays, people have access to many learning platforms including social media, open learning services, and free libraries. So why would someone want to spend their money to watch films? My experiences with the world of movies have taught me that motion pictures teach faster because they offer multi-sensory and collective experiences where one may feel one’s emotions as well as those of the audience and movie characters; learning can be completed in an incognito and relaxed environment; and, it becomes possible to focus on multiple issues and literary techniques and not just one or two. Now imagine going to the One World Film Festival (OWFF) and being bombarded by many educational pictures!

Come join this memorable adventure! One World Film Festival (OWFF) is coming to Ottawa again this year. Don’t forget to support their 30th Anniversary by donating to their crowdfunding campaign. Hurry Up! Campaign ends on June 2nd—they have only 7 days left to raise funds.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved. 

Lassi, An Affordable Summer Drink

Lassi is a very tasty drink that is made by mixing yogurt, cold water, and sugar. But the trick here is to make yogurt at home.

How To Make Yogurt At Home

Indian Sweet Lassi Recipe

Lassi reduces body heat and heals the body by roviding vitamins and improving metabolism and digestion. You can crush mangoes or strawberries; and, add them in the Lassi to create better flavour.

I just made and consumed a tall glass of lassi. Several minutes after finishing this tasty treat and licking your lips, you will still feel the yogurt on your tongue. Scrumptious! And, it is super-affordable given that you make your own yogurt.

Now go and make your own lassi and then boast about it to your friends.

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer.

My Favourite Treat: Achaar With Roti

I was introduced to Achaar when I grew old enough to eat spicy foods. As a kid, I used to steal and eat mangoes that my grandma had painstakingly cut and dried for the achaar. Achaar refers to a miscellaneous collection of spices, vegetables, and fruits; it is made in oil and spiced with several spices including chilies and fennel. It is also possible to have only one ingredient as achaar. For example, the Mango Achaar is made up of mangoes that are still young. Watch YouTube video “Aamb Da Achaar” to see how this one is made. If you love history, then view article “A Brief History Of The Humble Indian Pickle” to learn some of the complicated history of achaar.

Roti is one of the staple foods of Pakistan and India. It is made by using water to knead dough from floor. Then, you just need to roll the dough into a desired shape—I like square and round shapes. Sometimes, people use oil to make the roti; other times, roti can be filled with yummy ingredients like potatoes, chilies, or sugar. Check the video “How to make roti in 3 minutes” to learn how to make it.

Usually, we use the plain roti for eating achaar. I can eat a large roti with lots of very salty and spicy achaar without feeling anything other than joy. Sometimes, my nose starts running due to the spices; but, I believe that’s part of the fun. I know that a lot of people especially Westerners cannot eat loads of achaar; they usually keep one pickled carrot, mango, or lemon on plate. In contrast, I can eat like 3 to 4 servings in one day—by one serving, I mean a large spoon. You should try this treat too! You will notice that you will always want a little more of this, which is exactly what’s expected of you.

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I am holding my favorite treat: Achaar on Roti.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

 

Why I Love Singing

I started singing at an early age; but, I received my only formal training when I was in a Pakistani high school. We had a small girls-only choir; and, we were required to sing for all the morning assemblies and school parties—I was also heavily involved in the school’s official girls-only dance team.

I have not been to Pakistan in 20 years now. Whenever I feel down, I sing along by using some of my favourite songs—I have lots and lots of lovely ones. Singing activates some sort of odd effect inside my brain. I stay focused on my singing like a drug addict; then I dance like a hasheesh infested woman—so you must have realized that poetry is doing something even stronger than that. After a day or two have passed, my mood stays very optimistic, hot, sexy, and sensational.

Listen to some of the songs that I have sung under the title “Songs Sung & Written By Someone Else“. I will slowly add more clippers of songs here.

Here are some benefits of singing.

  1. According to Kay Norton’s “Singing and Wellbeing: ancient Wisdom and Modern Proof“, Singing brings groups together by breaking down barriers. Even very religious people who are traditionally labelled as dull sing eloquently and just like macho drug addicts.
  2. According to the article, “Music and Drugs are the Same to your Brain’s Reward Centre“, Music is like drug to the brain, which is another way singers feel high enough to sing for their audience. 
  3. According to article, “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Singing“, singing improves the posture. I have to sit or stand a specific way in order to sing. Then I have to move my hands and arms in order to guide my singing. 
  4. According to the aforementioned article, singing also strengthen confidence and communication skills.
  5. The last article also indicate that singing lower stress levels, improve alertness, and create better sleep. My brain adapts so quickly to singing that nobody ever notices that I was down just a couple of moments ago. Singing and music is how I survived teenager trauma.

When I get a crush on some guy, I experience the most stunning effects inside my mind. One such really intoxicating feeling is the need to sing and dance—it pays to be aware of the 14 phases of love. 

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

I Love Teas!

My love for teas began when I was a teenager. My mom used to eat lots of healthy food; she would drink a lot of Chai (traditional Pakistani tea) every day; and, herbal teas used to make her go crazy with delight. As a teenager, I wanted to experiment less with other teas because I was too used to the Chai. Every morning, I used to drink the Chai my mom used to make for us. During the evening, I would ask some other elders to make me the same tea. Its a fact that although I was addicted to this tea, I still did not enjoy the ones that were made by other elders. Over time, I started noticing that I was unable to be fully happy throughout the day if I missed my morning Chai. This proved true for my adult version as well. I think I fell in love with the Pakistani Chai because of my mom’s touch.

I have never drunk alcohol in my entire life simply because I am a Muslim. Before I start discussing all the teas I have drank so far, I must comment that I believe that my taste buds are smarter because I don’t drink. I developed a taste for herbal teas as an adult when I started managing my need to have only the Chai my mom makes. I mean, I cannot depend on this tactic at all since my mom is pretty old now; and, my bladder does not like caffeine anymore.

Saying all this, here is a list of teas that interest me a lot:

Over time, I will learn more about other teas. So far, I have enjoyed the Indian Tea Culture, Pakistani Tea Culture, Canadian Tea Culture, and Chinese Tea Culture. I even have a full Chinese Tea set─I think its Porcelain, but I don’t know for sure.

I definitely recommend that everyone tries lots of teas every now and then. I have blocked a certain time of my day, which is when I drink and experiment with teas. I try this at home; at a friend’s place; or at the mall. This is a part of me that I don’t want to ever lose. Obviously, I have tasted a whole sorts of yummy yogurt juices as well; but, these still don’t beat the teas in flavor and variety.

The genius of teas is that just adding an additional ingredient creates an entirely new flavor. For example, the Chamomile tea is very different than the Chamomile and Rose Bud Tea. Drinking the later version makes me feel a certain strong almost sticky feeling on the centre of my tongue. That’s because of the Rose Buds. This odd feelings actually lasts for pretty long.

Can you sense how cool this experience really is?

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Pickled Mangoes and Potato Tikkis

Because I am a lucid dreamer, my choice of foods is different to begin with. I pick things that I love; people who have seen me around my favourite foods tend to discuss my reactions for pretty long. Here I will discuss two of my favourite foods.

Mangoes

I have always loved mangoes and I have always eaten all sorts of mangoes including pickled mangoes. When I was younger, I did not knew why I felt like this. We did not had Internet in the Pakistani city I was living in at that time. So I couldn’t have just researched this online. When I moved to Canada, I used the net to find out that mangoes actually improve dreams. I was picking on mangoes by using my gut feelings. Stupendous! Check out this story from my childhood.

Grandma had spent an entire day peeling and cutting raw mangoes and spreading them on Charpai. “They will dry in several hours from now,” she told herself as she walked away from the courtyard. She felt delighted and upset at the sight of her two grandchildren who seemed to be waiting for someone or something at the entrance of the courtyard. The boy was dressed in a red-stripped ironed shirt and brown knickers while the girl wore a light pink cotton frock and matching hairpins. “Two of you should go inside now. Courtyard is not for you now,” Grandma warned them sternly since she was aware of their rebellious ways. But, they managed to crack a tired smile on her old face as they gave her that wide-eyed innocent look, the one they had reserved for special occasions such as brainwashing opponents. “Please don’t go in there. I am drying mangoes there. It’s for food, and we will eat it later,” Grandma felt compelled to explain herself to her kindergarten grandkids. “Ok Grandma! We won’t go there,” the girl promised her and smiled at her in hope that she would let her and her brother off the hook. “Heaven knows what they are thinking,” Grandma huffed and puffed and went inside the house.

“Let’s go inside. I don’t want to upset Grandma,” the boy told his sister as he tried to drag her back. “Please, I want raw mangoes. I want them. You should try them too. They are so tasty. Please!” the girl decided to cast the final stone of uprising that will most assuredly create mutiny on board. “OK! Hold my hand. I will help you get them,” the boy finally gave in to his younger sister’s wishes.

Holding hands, they ran away towards the courtyard. Upon her brother’s instructions, she hid herself under one of the Charpais. He scooched right next to her and comforted her. Bravely, he extended one of his hands out and examined the Charpai for some ripe raw mangoes. He snatched two pieces and gave one of them to her sister. They both enjoyed the sour mangoes peacefully as its taste made them imagine themselves to be as rich as the Ruassian Tsars. Without realizing, they had finished several of Grandma’s precious raw mangoes.

They had been hiding and eating there for around an hour and now their tummies had become slightly upset. The girl started crying,”How are we going to come from underneath the Charpai without being seen? The courtyard is so big and it is surrounded by so many rooms. Somebody might see us coming out from our hiding place. Mom is going to be angry when she finds out that we got cold while sitting under the Charpai,” she sobbed slowly as he hugged and comforted her and ignored that mild headache she sometimes gave him. “We will make a run for it when nobody is watching us,” he promised as he stealthily stepped out in the open. Nobody was there; to his surprise, the courtyard was deserted. “Come out, we are safe,” he reported to his sister who was very pleased to see his safe smile. Then, they made a run for it again while the girl peeked over her shoulder for Grandma who might attack them with pickled mangoes like a ferocious Terminator: Grandma loads mangoes in the rifle and fires. Bam bam bam. ‘Tis cracks their bums. K.O.

“What happens when Grandma finds out that we emptied almost half of the Charpai?” the girl whined again hoping that her brother will fix that too. “She will think a storm came or some animals ate them,” the boy laughed heartily as he took his sister safely inside the house. And thus, their rather scary and thrilling adventure ended.

Potatoes

I have always been in love with potatoes although my mom used to complain that potatoes can ruin your figure. I could not help her at all when she would say this because my mind used to go out of control at sight of potatoes. When I left Pakistan and got into Canada, I researched this as well. I found out that potatoes have vitamin B6 that boost dopamine and serotonin production. Thus, potatoes relax you a lot and can cause great dreams.

We had some servants who would take care of us. One of them was Amma NZ who was usually busy taking care of the kitchen and food—we used to call some of our female employees “Amma”, which means “Mom” because they were also our nannies. Amma NZ was an old woman who used to pray a lot and still looked really beautiful despite all the wrinkles she had. Here is how I used to request her to cook me some potatoes.

“Amma, Amma”, I screamed after I got home from high school. I was so stressed because the equatorial heat was too much for me to handle. “Amma, make me something from potatoes”.

“Oh! You aren’t even breathing properly. Slow down! Maybe you are really tired. What happened? Drink some water Arzoo. What happened?” Amma tried to calm me down once she saw me in pain of some sort.

“Amma! Just make me something from potatoes”, I requested in a stubborn manner just like a child would have.

“Sure! What do you want to eat Arzoo?” Amma asked me in a gentle and loving tone.

“Amma! Just make me anything. Potato Paratha, Potato Tikkis, or French Fries. Please! I just want potatoes”, I told Amma as fast as I could.

“Please be quiet Arzoo! Hush, Hush. You ate potatoes yesterday,” Amma tried to quieten me as she cooked the lunch for the family.

“Amma! Don’t worry too much. Make me something easy to cook like French Fries,” I begged again.

“Arzoo! You have no shame, child. You ate potatoes yesterday and then day before yesterday. How many potatoes do you want to eat? Oh God! I think you are going to finish all my potatoes,” she complained in a frustrated tone.

“Amma! Please! I have known you for so many years. Please negotiate something. How about one and a half potatoes?” I tried to make an easier demand so that she may comply.

“Negotiate? Where did you learn this word from, my child? From dad, did you? You are using this new word to bug me, aren’t you? I know that your father sits in his office and talks like this. You must have caught it from there. OK! OK! Sit down and don’t worry. I will iron the clothes and then cook french fries from only one and a half potatoes. Not more than that! Then, don’t come in the kitchen and ask me for extra goodies. Seriously! Your mom is going to be so angry when she notices that the potatoes have gone missing,” Amma screamed the last sentence in anger.

“Amma NZ! Thank you! I love you so very much,” my mood brightened as I hugged her.

While Amma NZ was frying fries for me, I went back to the kitchen and jumped at her from the back. She screamed in surprise because she got scared.

“Now what Arzoo? Why are you not leaving the kitchen to me? I cannot believe that you are back. I am not going to make your chips like this. You bug me too much,” she fired another set of complaints at me.

I got so worried that I won’t ever get my french fries from her and that she would be annoyed at me. “Amma, Amma, please let me see what you are cooking so far. I could smell these from my room. I couldn’t resist the smell so I came to check. Aha! They are almost golden brown. Please put some red chilies and salt in there,” as usual, I protested for spices.

“Waaaah! Arzoo! This is sounding so unhealthy to me. You have no shame. How much spices do you eat, Arzoo?” Amma tried to make fun of me so that I  may feel ashamed and forget about adding flavour to my fries.

“Amma! Amma! Stop! Stop! Please just do what I ask you to do. I will leave the kitchen then,” I decided to stick around and bug her further. It was so fun connecting with her. I loved her a lot; and, she was so beautiful and funny too.

“OK! I will throw a handful of spices in there. You are forcing me to give you spices. I cannot believe this! OK! You can have these. Please, be happy about this,” Amma NZ commented as she cooked like an expert.

Soon, she threw a plate of golden brown and spiced french fries in front of me. “Here! You just eat this. You are probably not having lunch now. I made lunch for you as well. Now that is going to get wasted,” she grumbled again as she lovingly gave me a tissue paper to clean my hands.

As a result of this drama, Amma NZ was angry all day. And, I just ate my potatoes and burped a lot. I slept really well after eating fries; and, I think I missed my lunch.

After a couple of days, I came back to bother Amma. “Amma! I want more chips,” I said as I drank some water and eyed her carefully.

This time, Amma started laughing. “Your fun isn’t over yet, I think,” she replied as she stared at me dotingly.

“Thank you Amma. I love your laughter,” I held her arm and paid her a compliment to make her smile again.

“You know, I just checked the rest of potatoes. There are really less left and some of them have worms on them. I need to throw the bad ones. Forget it for today. Eat an ice cream instead,” Amma immediately made an excuse and tried distracting me with ice cream.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Old is New! Part 2

I wrote the post “Old is New” to compare Pakistani singer “Mehdi Hassan” and British band “The Boyzone”. Because I am so attracted to music, I sometimes sit and compare songs from different countries.

Here are two songs that are somehow similar. I say, “somehow similar” because these artists belong to different cultures and countries; and, I have no idea how they are sounding like each other. In both songs, the singers are asking the one who is addressed to read into their thoughts so that they may feel content. Both are somehow putting the one who is addressed lower. Indian singer Lata says, “you are already so scared and we haven’t even started anything yet”. British singer Gordon says, “the ending is too hard to take”. In both cases, the singer is trying to impress the other person by talking about things that only the singer knows. Both singers are trashing the other person but in a very beautiful way. Lata is trashing the other person by offering a higher mental space and Gordon is trashing the other person by lowering him/her. While doing so, they are both sounding very unsettled. Despite all these similarities Lata’s song is romantic and Gordon’s song is about a breakup. Moreover, the songwriters have written the songs in such a way that they end up appearing like ghosts to their beloveds. Lastly, there is some similarity in how the musical instruments are being played.

O Mere Dil Kay Chain by Lata Mangeshkar. English Lyrics.

If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

How I Beat Stress

Coping with stress isn’t an easy thing to do especially when you are changing into a mature adult. It requires patience and persistence as well as an understanding about your mental and physical needs, which change as you age. I must comment that as a psychic, I have to dodge a lot of negative energy and embrace the positive energy. There are times when I am sitting in a place where there is so much negative energy that my sponge-like brain absorbs all of it; and, then it can retain and replay it back for several years. This is why a lot of my stress relieving activities involve managing my energy levels.

Here are some stress relieving activities I employ to beat stress:

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Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

Old is New!

Ever heard songs that are on a different scale? You don’t quiet realize why but there is just something about those songs that click you the right way.

I used to sing “Jab Koi Pyar Sei” by Mehdi Hassan when I was a teenager. This song was originally created and sung in 1976. Compare this to Boyzone’s “No Matter What“, which was released in 1998. And, if you listen very carefully, you will feel the similarities between the way these songs were sung; the intended meaning behind them; and, the voices of the singers. No wonder I feel for both of these songs! I think my high levels of stereodepth vision allow me to somehow figure out the similarities in both songs although I have not been formally trained in Music or Singing. So I believe that singers of band Boyzone are like Mehdi Hassan. LOL! I feel so wickedly tickled!

I feel so much in love with something really grand when I hear these songs. They are somehow different than the rest or at least that’s the way I see them. My atraxia!

The video of “No Matter What” shows you the lyrics in the captions. I couldn’t find the translation of the song “Jab Koi Pyar” so I translated it below. It’s easier to see now that their line of logic is same.

Mahdi Hassan’s song “Jab Koi Pyar Sai” or “Whenever someone will call you with love”

Whenever someone will call you with love
You will remember one guy (me)
You will learn the meaning of pain
When you will be separated from your beloved
When your heart will know no rest
You will remember one guy (me)

Your lips will say the name of your love
Candlelight will make you feel jealous
Whenever a star will sparkle
You will remember one guy
Whenever someone will call you with love
You will remember one guy (me)

You will bear the pain of this life
While your heart will vainly seek comfort
When the pain of your heat will bother you
You will remember one guy (me)
Whenever someone will call you with love
You will remember one guy (me)

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved except for the translation of the lyrics of  Mahdi Hassan’s “Jab Koi Pyar”.