Hasina Suliman – ZA


You can’t hack life

There is a difference between setting a goal, and setting an ultimatum for yourself.

There are a million and more challenges on the internet, like this fitness challenge in the picture below:

You can't Hack life
We decide to follow some challenges – because everyone is doing it. I posted the above picture on my facebook profile as motivation for myself, because my current fitness regimen is flickering and dwindling. It was an ultimatum for myself 🙂 Yet it has spurred on some reflection and pondering about crowdsourcing and the current stream of technological ‘hand holding’ and aspirations of fitness .

There are awesome pictures which we share over our social media platforms as an attempt to help us ‘Live better’.  People surf more than they read. Headlines need to be catchy and the current fad of writing articles consisting of Hacks (tips and tricks to make everything simpler) is a ‘go-to’ at this point in time. Food hacks, hijabi hacks, wardrobe hacks, cleaning hacks, organizing hacks, garden hacks… everything previously without a shortcut now has one, and is renamed a ‘hack’.

Life has been tweaked for optimized functionality.  Lets hack life and do some challenges?
While many people are filling up their pinterest boards, with hopes of grandeur  – Online visions boards of baking the best cakes, making the healthiest meals, being the best mom, planning the perfect wedding, having the the most amazing house – Some of individuals stare at the screen wondering ‘Will any of this actually reach a point of fruition?’

Have we upgraded our daydreams to a platform that is now more visually tangible to share with others? Or are we now peeking into the daydreams of other people and crowdsourcing from them?

Set a goal for yourself. Learn a skill. Step outside. Get your hands dirty. Unplug from the Internet.
Turn off your smartphone – It will not kill you.

But it seems that before many go off on an adventure, they look for a way to derive the maximum output by finding a hack as an adventure pre-requisite.

Newsflash : you can’t hack life. But information makes the world so much kinder to live in. It curbs the anxious insecurity of the unknown.


onion tears1

Brilliant debut Novel, Onion Tears by Shubnum Khan was launched at Exclusive books, Gateway on 6 May 2011. The book sees alot of interest piqued from the muslim community, who attended the launch. Khan is accompanied by her mentors who do much justice to presenting Khan’s talent as well as her book to an eager crowd.

Kobus Moolmen asks ‘Why do we reach out? What do we reach out for?’ which highlights one of the base elements, of searching for ones identity,  that is embedded in the book. ‘Desire is an engine’ says Moolmen as he speaks of a novels desire to be tangible. Moolmen addresses those who have walked the road with Khan, being caught in the current of her inspiration and those who have stood beside her. It is very touching, with a personal tone as Moolmen has chosen to read a letter where he addresses Khan, her journey and her talent a writer.

Again Khans journey of talent from student years and into a published novelist is mapped out by Lecturer, Zoey Molver, who chooses the teacher approach. Highlighting the multi-talented Khan’s forward thinking, media tenacity and aspirations as a cartoonist gets many surprised smiles from the audience.

Khan shares a peek into the struggle with having a voice, and her way to cultivate it that began with a private personal blog. Yet, contrary to this sneak peek, Khan strings together a brilliant presentation of Onion Tears, drawing the audiences in to the multi-layered novel.  As the launch nears a close we discover that the Protagonist ventures to India late in the novel which highlights many amusing antics and struggles, with language, cultural identity, personal identity as well as the embedded theme of journey. There are aspects of Indian patriotism, Muslim identity, culture, wealth and stereotypes that surface as Onion Tears examines culture. Excerpts from the novel are very catchy, afew stand out proudly.

‘People were all the same, they all bled red’

‘The differences mattered’

“Do you want to be a ripe mango, or a raw onion?”

‘There are many trains of life – not one’

onion tears 2

Onion Tears showcases many elements that we as South African Indian-Muslims struggle with, finding that balance, the cultural dynamics, the questionability of society and many more. Khan manages to weave together a very catchy story that’s guaranteed a good deal of laughter, generous smiles and appreciative nods. Given our experiences of culture and societal interaction, one is bound to find some of the characters to be close to home – in the metaphoric sense of course. As if to say, keep an eye out for the lady next door, you might find her in the novel.  All in all an excellent read.

Free ebook: What Matters Now

It’s that time of year again, holidays are looming, people are reflecting on their achievements or contemplating their goals for 2010. Life does not exist in a vaccuum, different things matter to different individuals yet wholistically we’re all reaching for the things that matter to us. We’re hoping for happiness and success, wealth and even the different levels of self actualisation.
what matters now seth godin

There are so many avenues to the ‘self’  from education to dignity, social elements and even our actions and consequences.

Seth Godin’s blog features a freebie ebook:

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

I would recommend this ebook for everyone. Direct pdf download here.

It is brilliant reading topped with motivation, inspiration and some awesome ‘aha-moments’ … the type of book designed for everyone to gain benefit from. Be sure to share it with your friends

Launch: Memoirs for Kimya

Media is ever evolving bringing with it a new set of industry jargon, with the likes of blogs, blooks, podcasting and a host of others.
Memoirs for Kimya is a blook – Yes that’s an actual word

Blog (weblog) that has been turned into a book. Hence it is a blook.

Bo-kaap Kombuis – featured as a place with a view to make angels weep -was the best venue to launch this book.
memoirs for kimya (2)

The mountain stands tall in the background as day descends to dusk and night. The venue is framed by city lights and the shadows of naturememoirs for kimya (4)memoirs for kimya (3).Memoirs for Kimya is released to Cape Town on 18 October 2009, boasting an anthology with light reading pieces that are layered with depth and natural imagery.

The Contrast of venue elements weaves together a pleasant ambiance for the themes in the book. Add a few Proudly Cape Town writers and bloggers to the event; and it makes for a great meeting of literary minds.

Shafinaaz Hassim has her book signing. The table carries her latest book.

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Socializing intermittently with the audience, schmoozing  punctuated with words like

blogs, poetry, writing.

Nazia Peer , author of House of Peace, reads an excerpt called ‘CUT’

Life can cut you. And like an open fruit, you will be at some point, left bare; revealing the glory of guts to the elements. But this gross cut is a blessing in disguise.

Why? Because it is at precisely this moment that it all starts to make sense.

For the first time, you are one with everything that ever was, everything that is, and everything that ever will be. Open to all that is, you will feel life flow through you. And you begin to get the idea that inspiration exists, because you do.

Read the original here

The book has a considerable amount of poetry, but also some short narratives. There’s something  in the book for everyone – thoughts, feelings, life, reality, humility, vices, and lots of natural soulful imagery.

memoirs for kimya (6)

Pictures are taken. Shabbir Banoobhai is present at the event. Nielfa, the book designer and typesetter, was also amidst the attendees. Undoubtedly seeing your work in its finished form holds the  joy of personal achievement.

memoirs for kimya (7)

Shafinaaz reveals tidbits about the behind the scenes of the book, its origins, the typesetter, the inspiration that has fueled it to fruition.

I particularly liked Shafinaaz’s speech on society and writing, that the readers should choose the type of stories they want to read, and this should not be dictated by publishers. “There’s a book in everyone” – however some people just don’t possess the adequate skills to present it in a literary form to an audience.

The event draws to a close, with yummy delights – fruit juices, light savouries and deserts.

Congrats Shafinaaz,

Yet another rung on the ladder of success.
May you be balancing on a pile of books in years to come.


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