REVIEW TIME | Malis Cosmetics | TRYING OUT A NEW SKIN CARE LINE

Malis Cosmetics is a new Pakistani brand that has launched it’s skin care line that contains a German formula in its products. Surely I am the first one trying this out & reviewing it. I was contacted, offered the products & sent in mail by the company. I was sent their daily use cleanser & the weekly use instant glow set.

Product Name(s): Malis Facial Cleansers (For Daily use) & Malis Instant Glow Set (For Weekly use)

Ingredients: Vitamin-C, Kojic Acid, Licorice Extract, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Vitamin-E & Fruit Acid.

Price: PKR. 1800 (For daily facial cleanser & weekly instant glow set)

CLAIMS

  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Hypo-comodegenic
  • Brightens
  • Instant Shine/Glow
  • Remedy for clogged pores
  • Remedy for uneven skin tone
  • Remedy for excessive sebum
  • Remedy for dull complexion

MY TAKE ON THESE PRODUCTS

The product packaging is pretty descent. I love it’s aesthetic.  The packaging has all the directions of use & ingredients printed on it. The best thing about the product is that it has a pump which makes the use hygienic. Since, I don’t really like the idea of a product in which you are supposed to dip your fingers into the package to get the product out. Well, this depends on everyone’s personal preferences. Besides, the product packaging says “for the glowing skin you deserve” which indicates that the product is suppose to brighten & glow. Basically, I am crazy for anything that says “brighten” “glow” “shine.” I am all about such products. Plus looking at the ingredients mentioned, makes it a to die for product.

1. Malis Facial Cleanser (For Daily Use)

You get about 50ml of product inside the facial cleanser container. The product has a liquid  consistency & comes out in a  foamy liquid form. It is a hypoallergenic & non-comedogenic product which means neither this product would cause any allergic reactions nor it would clog facial pores. It is a must have for people who have a dull complexion, clogged pores, uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmented skin, excessive sebum (oily T-Zone). As mentioned earlier, the product is supposed to open & clean the clogged pores & brighten the skin making it look fresh, bright & youthful. I gave this cleaner a fair try of about 7 days straight away. I noticed a visible difference in my skin tone & its texture. Every time I used it my skin looked extra clean & my hyper-pigmented areas looked less visible than they normally.

Malis Instant Glow Set (For Weekly Use)

You get 2 bottles of product inside an instant glow set. The packaging on each bottle directs “Step-1” & “Step-2” for ease. Each bottle contains 30ml of product.

  • Step-1: The product is creamy & white, which smells sweet & resembles the scent of Vitamin-E. A thick layer of product is suppose to be applied on to the face for 2 minutes, massaging it gently into the skin, until it is absorbed. Let it sit for 2 minutes & work it’s magic then finish by washing off with normal tap water, patting dry. After 2 minutes of patting dry the face, step-2 needs to be applied.
  •     Step-2: It contains a transparent gel that is the double action cleansing gel which smells like fresh fruits. It is suppose to be applied in the same way as Step-1. It contains Vitamin-c & Fruit Acid.

I gave the weekly instant glow set a good try of 2 weeks. Since it is for weekly use, I used it once each week. I used 2 pumps of each. Immediately post usage my skin felt baby soft, cleaner & tighter which means it deep cleanses the skin making it feel softer & look pinker, giving it a healthy glow & plumping effect. It provides skin the hydration, it loses in the daily pollution. The thing I loved about this set is that it can be used when you have some where important to go, where you need to look fresh & glowing in no time. My family complimented the skin as soon as I used it which is the sign of a visible glow on my skin. Literally, it takes less than 10 minutes to apply the entire set. I loved the results. It really is what it claims to be & really does what it claims to do. I love its fresh & sweet scent. Anyone who is all about brightening skin care range with a plus of natural & fresh scents, will definitely love Malis Cosmetic. I 100% recommend Malis Cosmetics & I will surely buy this product once I am stocked out. This is my new favorites & in the list of must haves.

My Rating & Recommendations: A 100% Pass (10/10) Loving it!!!!

P.S. Thanks to Malis Cosmetics for sending their line for reviewing. I loved the entire collection.
#ShoutOutToOurPakistaniProducts #ShoutOutToMalisCosmetics

 

THE BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE

The mysterious death game “Blue Whale” also called as “Blue Whale Challenge” has become a sensation these days. The game based on alternate reality (mixture of reality & virtual reality). Some people believe these are just fake rumors whereas some believe it to be true. This game isn’t new, it dates back to 2013. It was released in Russia with “F57” a leading social media registered death group of the VKontkate social network. VK is a popular Russian social networking site. There used to be an online pressure group with the name of F57 on VK social network which had depressive, self-harm & suicidal content. Many teenagers joined that group & it kept gaining popularity within such. The 1st case of suicide was reported in 2015 in Russia. Mother of Rina Palenkova – the 17 years old deceased girl wanted to know the reason of her suicide. She started investigating her social media accounts & contacted some professional social media investigation agencies who found out that the girl was an active member of F57 & she shared depressive content on her VK profile via the F57 online community. Rina got to know about the game “Blue Whale” from the same group. She has posted a status saying “goodbye” & her photo on her VK profile before jumping in front of a train.


Rina Palenkova’s last photo before jumping in front of a train.

It was later discovered that more than 130 Russian teenagers committed suicide due to this group & game. This group has been put down now.

Philipp Budeikin, a 22 years old Russian formerly a psychology student is said to be the inventor of this game who had been a victim of child abuse in his childhood. In an interview he said, “There are people & there is biological waste. Those who do not represent any value for society. Who cause or will cause only harm to society. I was cleaning our society of such people. It started in 2013 when I created F57 [online] community. I’d been thinking through this idea for 5 years. It was necessary to distinguish normal people from biological rubbish.” He calls the players of this games as biological waste who is happy to die.


Philipp Budeikin the master mind of the sucidal game “Blue Whale Challenge” in the court.

The game has killed so many teenagers so far. Moreover, this game is not publicly available. The administrators strictly control who can gain access to it. Recent reports suggest that the admins identify their victims & send them the link via social media, which once opened on their phones or computers copies every single data from their devices to the administrator’s & also tracks the victim’s location & activities.

What makes youngsters self-harm & even kill themselves?

The game consists of 50 tasks, .i.e. 50 tasks for 50 days. The tasks in the beginning of the game are easy & interesting. As the levels proceed, the tasks start to become more tough. The administrators of the game provides a new task everyday at 4:20 a.m when the mind is at it’s weakest. The tasks are to be performed on daily basis. A photo or video recording is necessary while doing the given task, since the curators see the photo or video, also they have the access to the player’s phone where they get to see the way those tasks are performed. Once the game is registered, it has to be played & completed. In case, someone denies to perform the given tasks they are sent threat messages by curator. Even the players are told that they’ll kill their parents & family. Therefore the players are forced to play the game even if they want to leave & they end up killing themselves. According to the statistics teenage girls have been effected the most.


The kin dof tasks performed by Blue Whale Challenge players.

According to an international newspaper, Budeikin the ringleader of the Blue Whale game had been jailed in July 2017 in  Kresty Jail in Saint Petersburg Russia where he is being held for 3 years for inciting young people to kill themselves.




The dilemma is constant whether imprisonment of the master mind of this suicidal game will actually bring this death game to an end? Or will this continue to spread like wild fire & take lives of more teenagers?

IMPORTANT POINTS FOR ALL:

  • Similar games like Blue Whale have been created named as, “A Silent House, A Sea of Whales, Wake Me Up at 4:20, Popcorn Carnival.”
  • Do not click any link(s) sent to you on whatsapp, facebook, twitter or any other social media. Even if the link is sent by a friend.
  • Parents should keep an eye on their children & their social media accounts & their gadgets & the games they are playing.
  • If you find anyone playing this game, immediately seek attention to it & report the case.
  • There is no shame in asking for help. If you feel that you are being attracted to this game or you feel like playing this game, talk to someone about it. You need counselling.
  • Sucide Prevention Helpline Number for Pakistan created by Sukh Chan Club: 042-35761999
  • Suicide Prevention Hotlines for other countries can be found here.

May Allah (S.W.T) save us all!

 

JOURNEY AS A CEO – BEHIND THE SCENES

One year back, this day, The Words Craft was launched & was made functional. This is why 1st September is so important to me. Today when I look back & try to remember how it started, it seems so dramatic & I feel sentimental. The idea of having my own blogging website popped up during a phone conversation with a friend come brother. We often have long conversations about life & ideas & other creative stuff. I told him that I wanted to write. He was well-known of my writing skills as I wrote some content back in 2013-14 for his online magazine. So he gave me the idea to start my own blogging website. I was like “Yes! I can do this.” Immediately after the phone call I started jotting down the important points that he told me. I still have that notebook & that is very special to me. I made a list of things & ideas that were needed to materialize. I made a budget plan. Next I thought of a friend who has the similar interests. I called her & told her about the idea. As expected, she was by my side. Next, I started thinking of names for my blog.



At first I decided to name it same as my previous blog which I had on eblogger which was “Pen With Me.” Due to some technical issues I had to come up with another name. “The Words Craft” was the name I finalized & bought the hosting & domain on 19th July 2016. According to the list I made the next task was to design a logo. I sketched a few logos on my notebook but I wasn’t really satisfied. After several tries, the task was given to a professional designer who designed the logo for us. People ask me why I selected such a rare theme colour. The answer is, I wanted the theme colour to be purple as it represents youth, sophistication, royalty & spirituality. By the grace of Allah everything was happening the way I wanted it. Issues began arising when web-designing started. The launching of website was scheduled for the 2nd week of August, which got delayed for some reason. Everything seemed nearly impossible at that time. My morale got totally down & I stopped working, thinking that I won’t be able to do it. Meanwhile, a motivating conversation with my father gave me the courage to keep going. There was a change in plans, web designers, etc & the website got redesigned within 15 days. The test article was uploaded on 26th August & on 1st September 2016 The Words Craft was launched officially. Thanks to ZeeshSoft for being a lifesaver & making the impossible totally possible. Thanks to my besties Humal & Faraz, for being there since the beginning to this day. This one year has been incredible. We have a long way to go. I wish my entire team good luck & best wishes!

REVIEW TIME | Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipsticks Vault of 12 | TRYING OUT DUPES

We all are familiar of a famous makeup brand known as “Huda Beauty” created by a famous makeup artist “Huda Kattan.” The brand is quiet expensive. For those who love playing with makeup & colours & those who crave brands can not afford it. Currently, “The Dupe Trend” has changed the game.

Why buy expensive brands when high quality dupes are available?!

I was offered & sent Huda Beauty Dupes in my mail by a facebook page “She Means Beauty & Business.” Tbh I was surprised to see the vault & the product’s quality. I swatched the liquid lipsticks on my arm. Moreover, I wore the liquid lipsticks turn by turn to test for the claims of 24 hour wear time to check how much water proof & kiss proof they are. Surprisingly, my take on dupes totally changed as I tried this.

Product Name: Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipsticks Vault of 12

CLAIMS

  1. Matte finish
  2. Maintains lips’ hydration
  3. Light weight
  4. Transfer-free finish
  5. Long-wearing
  6. Transfer-proof

MY TAKE ON THIS PRODUCT

The vault is extremely attractive & eye catching. As shown in the photos on internet, it is black in colour with product branding on the top.

She Means Beauty & Business” placed a note inside the vault which said “Dear Ayesha, We hope you like the product. Looking forward to a healthy
relation & a positive review. Keep shopping with us! Team, She Means Business! XO” The best thing about opening the vault was seeing this note waiting to be read, which was placed over the colourful liquid lipsticks.

The liquid lipstick container is made of frosted arcylic container with a doe foot applicator which was neither too stiff nor too soft. The doe foot applicator picks up moderate amount of product from the lipstick container.

When it comes to the liquid lipstick claims most of them are true, surprisingly even with these dupes. They have a matte finish. They are long lasting, water proof, transfer proof, light weight. There was something more that I noticed. These liquid lipsticks are scented. They have a sweet & pleasant scent. Whereas, I did not find these liquid lipsticks to be very hydrating as I already have dry lips which makes matte lipstick application alone, without any top coat or clear gloss uncomfortable for me. Since I face this issue with every other matte lipstick I use from whatever brand, therefore I am not counting on this issue much. Other than this I love the versatility of the shades. Ranging from nudes, pinks, purples, reds & browns.

I applied all the 12 shades on my arm for swatching purpose. Here are the swatches along with the shade name mentioned accordingly:



The swatch marks lasted for straight 48 hours. I used soap, cleansers, loofah & everything except makeup removers to check how long they stay. The colours definitely became dull as I used loofah but they were bright enough.

Something I heard about dupes was that they are not same as the original. They are sticky & smell like chemical. They taste bitter. They cause sores & infections. I had the same things in my mind & I was reluctant to try out dupes. But this experience has totally changed my mind & views about dupes. I would love to buy & review dupes. I totally agree with the statement She Means Beauty & Business mention regarding their product saying they are “Highest Quality Dupes at Reasonable Prices.” I totally agree with this statement. Moreover,  I would recommend people to buy dupes from She Means Beauty & Business.

You can also get upto 10% discount on your purchases by using the discount code “THEGLAMLIFEBYAISHAIQBAL” on your purchases from She Means Beauty & Business.

P.S. The video is sponsored by SHE MEANS BEAUTY & BUSINESS.

 

THE BEST REVENGE IS NOT TAKING ANY REVENGE

In life, the best revenge is actually not taking any revenge at all. It is not even holding on to any anger at all. It is moving on with your life. It is showing them that life is so much better after they are gone. It is easy to blame those that have wronged us, for just about everything that is wrong with our life. If it was not for them, I would be happy. If they did not do this, I would be where I want to be.

Most people get so caught up in blaming that they continue to blame & sabotage their own life, long after the person is gone from their life. Most people hold on to the blame because it is easier than moving on. Having an excuse or story of why they are not where they want to be gets them sympathy from others. The victim role gives them comfort & it is much easier than taking responsibility & moving on with their life. However it is not & will never be a happy place to stay happy.

Those who take responsibility for their life & are wanting to move one & put their past behind them are much more likely to gain freedom, success & happiness. There are horrible people in this world that have done wrong by others. It is not condoning other’s behaviour. It is taking back the power they have from you, when you are the one suffering long after they are gone. Who wins if you keep blaming them? Who wins if you move on, forget about them & create the best life & success you could ever imagine?Who wins if you move on? Who wins if you forget about them? Who wins if you create your best ever life, full of success & abundance? YOU WIN!!

Take back your power. Blame them for, what they have done, but do not blame them for what you have not done. Blame them for what they have done, but bless them for making you even stronger, for making you better. Blame them for what they have done, but thank them for showing you exactly what you do not want. You can blame the world for bringing them into your life, but then grateful for all the lessons it taught you, all the strengths it gave you, all the perspectives it gave you. Know in your heart that if they knew better they would do better. Know in your heart you do not need to take on any of your negative energy. How good does it feel to take that baggage off your shoulders? To focus on building your future. What a blessing! LET GO! MOVE FORWARD. NEVER LOOK BACK.

The best revenge is not taking any revenge.
It is simply moving on with your life, creating the best version of yourself.

THE BENEFITS OF CASTOR OIL

Castor Oil is derived from the seeds of the castor bean plant Ricinus communis. Records show that many years ago the plant was referred to as the “Palma Christe” because the shape of the plant’s leaves were said to resemble the palm of Christ.

Castor Oil can do wonders for your skin & body.

  1. Castor Oil is used for Warts, Skin Tags, Acne, Dry Skin, Moles & Cellulite.
  2. Castor Oil contains Ricinoleic Acid that kills Germ & Bacteria.
  3. Castor Oil contains Omega-6 Fatty Acids that soothe cracked & dry skin.
  4. Castor Oil contains Vitamin-E that fights Free Radicals & Skin Aging.
  5. Castor Oil naturally boosts immune function & speeds up healing process.
  6. Castor Oil increases white blood cells & the count of T-11 cells that acts as anti-bodies that help kill viruses, fungi, bacteria & cancer cells.
  7. Castor Oil helps balance hormones & improves fertility.

The following essential oils can be added to Castor Oil for added benefits:

Castor Oil & Tea Tree Oil for Warts

Mix 1 teaspoon caster oil, 1 tea spoon baking soda & 2 drops of tea tree oil. Apply the mixture & cover with a band-aid & leave overnight.

Caster Oil & Rosehip for Dry Skin

Mix 1 teaspoon castor oil & half tea spoon rosehip oil & apply on dry skin twice a day.

Caster Oil & Lavender for Acne

Mix 1 teaspoon of castor oil & 2 drops lavender oil & apply after cleansing of affected area.

CASTER OIL & COCONUT OIL

Mix 1 teaspoon of castor oil, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil & rosemary leaves & apply on scalp for 2 hours before shower.

REVIEW TIME | Tarte Skincare | Scrub Clean Set

Product Name: Tarte Skincare | Scrub Clean Set

The SCRUB CLEAN SET Contains: Cleansing Cutie Scrubber, Deluxe Deep Dive Cleansing Gel, Travel Frxxxtion Stick 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

Price: PKR. 1900-2500

DEEP DIVE CLEANSING GEL Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Propanediol, Sodium Coco PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyquaternium-10, Fructosyl Cocoate/Olivate, Sodium Chloride, Glyceryl Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Cocoyl/Olivoyl Hydrolyzed Oat/Wheat Protein, Potassium Sorbate, Allantoin, Panthenol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Sodium Glycolate, Hexylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Cocoyl Hydroxyethyl Imidazoline, Methyl Alcohol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Algae Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Taitensis Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Linalool.

FRxxxTION STICK Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Diatomaceous Earth, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Quaternium-90 Sepiolite, Charcoal Powder, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Quaternium-90 Montmorillonite, Kaolin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Benzoate.

SCRUBLET is made in China.

Formulated Without: parabens, formulated without mineral oil, formulated without  phthalates, formulated without sodium lauryl sulfates, formulated without gluten.

MY TAKE ON THIS PRODUCT

The Tarte Frxxxxtion Stick is a 3 in 1 exfoliating cleanser/scrub/mask. It is a twist up black solid product containing micro beads. The product gradually pops up as the base is twisted. It is applied on dampen skin for best results, where it converts into a gel consistency. It feels cool on the skin. It is best for sensitive skin types. I applied it on my dampen skin & let it dry for some time & then I massaged it with the scrubber. The product is said to remove the dead skin. And really it did. I left it for 15 minutes on my face & then washed it off after a good massage. My skin felt so clean, cool & even. I could see a visible difference in my skin as I have hyper-pigmentation issues. My skin looked & felt better. The packaging is simple & cute, plus it is travel friendly.

The Deep Dive Cleansing Gel comes in a cute little blue packaging with pretty flowers on it. It feels cool on the skin as I have a very sensitive skin. I use it usually when I am home after a whole day out in sun. My skin literally burns if I’m out in the sun for too long. Applying this product after a long, hot day on my skin literally feels like heavens.

Overall I love the Tarte Scrub Clean Set & I will definitely buy the complete Rainforest of the Sea Set.

My Rating & Recommendation: Pass! (10/10) Love it!

ORDERED FROM: Mum'z World
Mum'z World provides original cosmetics & skin care products shipped directly from Sephora. I 100% recommend ordering products from there.

 

REVIEW TIME | Max Factor Max Effect Gloss Cube | Hot Aubergine | 12

Product Name: Max Factor Max Effect Gloss Cube

Number: 12

Shade: Hot Aubergine

Price: PKR.950

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Polyisobutene, Mica, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, CoperniciaCeriferaCera, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tin Oxide, Linalool, Geraniol, [+/- CI 15850, CI 19140, CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77499, CI 77492, CI 42090, CI 45380, CI 75470]

MY TAKE ON THIS PRODUCT

The shade Hot Aubergine is a brownish-maroon colour. There are 10 different shades in total. The product packaging is simple. The name clearly reflects that the packaging is transparent cube shaped which makes it easy to see the product colour inside the container. You get a doe foot applicator with a thin wand for an easy application.

The product is itself quite thick & shiny. The best thing about it is that it does not feel sticky at all, as most glosses have a sticky feeling. It has a miniature glitter in it. The glitter is not tacky, which is a plus point. The gloss is high shine. It is not highly pigmented. Even the wear time is not that great. I was highly disappointed by the wear time which has less than 2 hours. I have an oily skin & I do not expect glosses to stay long on my lips. But this was very disappointing as there was no stain, no moisture left, literally no signs of gloss after 2 hours of application.

My Rating & Recommendation: Pass (6/10)

ARE YOU LEFT BRAINED OR RIGHT BRAINED?

THE LEFT BRAIN

Our left brain is characterized mainly by “verbal skills” & “logical thinking.”

Individuals who are said to be left brain dominant are more “sequential” & “rational.” A person with a dominant left brain is inclined to gain understanding of a situation by rationally or logically sequencing pieces or individual events together or by basing their thinking on individual pieces that make up a whole situation. This is entirely the opposite of a person who is right brain dominant who tends to process his/her thoughts by viewing the situation through instincts & visual pictures as well as by observing things in a more global/holistic perspective before even trying to analyze the minute details thereafter.

KEY TRAITS OF A LEFT BRAINED INDIVIDUAL

  • Responds well to verbal instructions/ guidelines
  • Handle issues or solves problems by analyzing by reason – and looking sequentially at the different parts of things
  • Understands information by consistently & successively considering each component of things
  • Analyzes differences in things
  • Prefers definite & established information
  • Is structured & planned
  • Prefers ranked authority types of structures
  • Prefers multiple choice questions/ tests
  • More comfortable with words whether through speech/talking & writing
  • Has a distinct ability to controls his/her feelings

THE RIGHT BRAIN

Individuals who are said to be right brain dominant tend to be more “simultaneous” & “intuitive” as opposed to left brain individuals who are more sequential and logical.

To help differentiate the more dominantly right-brained individual from a more dominantly left-brained one, here is an example: either one type will have a different way of describing directions to a certain location…

A right-brained individual will more likely to give you this kind of instructions or directions: “Follow Road 15 until you get past the mini-mart & shopping mall on your right side. Next, you will pass through 2 traffic lights & then see a blue office building on your left side—that’s Sycamore Street. Turn in that spot then go a couple of blocks more till you reach a gas station with a yellow & white sign with bold red letters. Turn left from there to Church Street & go to the second house on your left, the green one with white shades.” – A right brain person will give you this kind of visual image description to help vividly guide you to your destination.

On the other hand, a left-brained individual will more likely tell you these kind of directions: “Go eastward for 2.3 miles on Road 15 & then go south to Sycamore Street for three blocks. Next, turn west on Church Street & stop at the second house on your left.”— A left brain person will definitely give you this kind of detailed & factual information, which will be a great descriptive direction for another left brain person.

KEY TRAITS OF A RIGHT BRAINED INDIVIDUAL

  • Responds well to demonstrative/visual/vivid instructions
  • Is spontaneous & more fluid
  • Attracted to elusive or uncertain information
  • Settles issues with their “hunches” and in accordance to revealed patterns or configurations
  • Lumps things together according to essential connectedness
  • Sees likenesses or correspondences
  • Analyzes similarities
  • Comfortable with or prefers collegial-type of power/ authority structures
  • Prefers open ended questions
  • At ease with drawing or manipulating things
  • Free with expressing feelings & emotions

BENEFITS OF UNDERSTANDING THE LEFT & RIGHT BRAIN

The truth to all these matters is that every person needs to utilize both his left & right sides of the brain (each working with one another) in order to come up with the most accurate kind of mental processing or best thinking skills.

We can credit the development of these distinctive differences between the 2 brain hemispheres to the studies of Dr. Roger Sperry, a psychobiologist, who carried out extensive research on the subject during the 1960’s. Because of his findings & discoveries, he had been awarded in 1981 the honors of a Nobel Prize; & now, we can use these information to help us know not just our weaknesses in certain areas/aspects for growth, but also help us determine which areas in our lives or in which types of profession we may excel in with our innate capacities.

The main benefit of understanding which part of our brain is more dominant will assist us as well as empower us in developing some of our weaker processing styles – those that are not too characteristic of ourselves. Of course, we do not have to feel inferior about these qualities that we may not be excelling in, but rather, by being simply aware of them, it can help us more in dealing with our daily interactions.

  • In any case, even if there are uniquely awesome qualities for each type of left & right brain hemispheres, knowing which traits you can develop more, as well as being aware of the activities you can do to help train the other (less developed hemisphere) of your brain, will provide you great assistance if you want to live a better, more fulfilled & well-balanced life.

FORCED MARRIAGE

When I was a kid, my only goal was to get a good education. I dreamed of attending Harvard or Stanford & planned to become a doctor one day. I was the eldest of 4 daughters in a Pakistani Muslim family. We lived in Ruwais, a small town in the United Arab Emirates, where my father worked in an oil plant & my mother was a teacher. At school, I always stood out among the girls in my class. I was brash, clever, outspoken. I took pride in acing every test. When I brought home top marks, my father would celebrate by handing out sweets.

One day, when I was in Grade 10, I was in my bedroom doing my math homework. My mother walked in. She told me I had received a marriage proposal. I laughed. “Mom, what are you talking about?” I asked. She didn’t crack a smile & I realized she was serious. “I’m only 16,” I said. 
“I am not ready for marriage.” She told me that I was lucky. The offer came from a nice man who lived in Canada. He was 28 years old & worked in IT. His sister was a friend of hers. The woman thought I would make a perfect match for her brother—I was very tall & he was 6″2. “They are going to look so great together in pictures,” she had said to my mother.

For weeks, I pleaded with my mom not to make me go through with it. I would sit at the foot of her bed, begging. She would tell me it was for my own good & that a future in Canada would give me opportunities I would not have here at home. She assured me that she had spoken to his family about my desire to continue my education. “You can go to school in Canada & we do not have to worry about you being alone,” she said. The next thing I knew, his parents were measuring my wrist for wedding bangles. The date was set for 5 months later, in July 1999.

My friends would talk about their own dream weddings—the gowns they would wear, how they planned to be dutiful wives & homemakers. When I told them about my doubts, they thought I was crazy, that I was a fool, that Allah would punish me for being ungrateful. Marriage was their ultimate goal in life. But I didn’t want it. I just didn’t know how to get away.


Samra Zafar at top centre, at age 7, shown with her father & 3 younger sisters at their home in the United Arab Emirates.

For the next few months, I had recurring nightmares about my impending marriage. In my dreams, I was trapped inside a house, watching from the window as students made their way along the sidewalk to school. I would wake up sweating & scared in the middle of the night. My mother would try to calm me down, telling me I was being hysterical. One night, when I woke up screaming, she decided to do something about it. She phoned my future husband in Canada & allowed me to speak to him for the first time. All I knew about him were those few details my mom had shared with me the night he proposed. When I picked up the phone, I was meek. I only had one question: “Will you let me go to school?” He reassured me: “Yeah, yeah, I’ll let you go to school. Don’t worry.”

The first time I saw him was on July 22, 1999, the day before the wedding, at his family’s home in Karachi. As we sat sipping tea, I snuck furtive glances at the man who was going to be my husband. I felt dwarfed by him.



Samra Zafar was just 16 when she learned she would be marrying a 28 years old IT worker in Canada.

The next day, we were at my grandfather’s house for the wedding. As my mother adjusted my gown, I pulled back. I told her I wanted to run away. “Don’t be silly,” she said. “All the guests are here.” Someone put the marriage licence in front of me, I was told to sign it & I did. Later we held a celebration at a high-end restaurant in the city. Strings of lights & red ribbons decorated the room & 200 of our parents’ friends came. There were piles of food & everybody laughed, sang & danced long into the night. I wore a long red lehenga sari. I was told to sit there quietly & look down at my hands, playing the demure bride.

This was the first of 2 ceremonies—we had to make it official so that my husband could apply for my sponsorship in Canada. The second ceremony was still months away, as was my wedding night. In the meantime, I continued to live with my parents & attend school. My new husband stayed in Pakistan for a month. We saw each other a few times, but never for long & usually with others around. One evening, we went to Pizza Hut with his older brother & his brother’s wife. It was my first date & I was so shy 
I barely spoke. We talked regularly online, over MSN Messenger & occasionally on the phone. Slowly, I grew more comfortable with the marriage. Nothing about him struck me as special. He was not smart or funny or warm, but he was a normal enough guy. He told me how pleased he was that his wife was so smart. He suggested university programs I should consider in Canada. He agreed to wait to have kids until I finished school. He said all the right things.


Samra Zafar on her wedding day at age 17.

When my immigration papers came through in August 2000, we both flew to Abu Dhabi for our second, smaller celebration. After it was over, we slept together for the first time. I was petrified. I knew nothing about sex or birth control & neither did he. My aunt had told me about ovulation, explaining that I could not get pregnant if I had sex on certain days of the month. I thought our wedding night was one of those days. I had never even seen a condom before.

Later that week, we flew to Canada and I moved into his two-bedroom condo in Mississauga. I missed my parents, my friends, my school. I was so unhappy that I stopped eating & I spent most of my days watching TV while my husband was at work. I stopped getting my period right away. At first, I thought it was because of the move, the abrupt change in environment. But a month passed, then another. I was getting sick every morning. My nausea was so severe that I was afraid to go outside in case I fainted. Finally I told my husband that I needed to see a doctor. I sat in the doctor’s office, listening to him ask me if I understood what being pregnant meant. All I knew was that it meant I could not go to school. This can’t be happening, I thought. This isn’t happening. I was only 17.

During the first few months of my pregnancy, my husband was kind & thoughtful. He took late-night trips to the grocery store to satisfy my cravings. He would call a couple of times a day from work to ask how I was feeling & every night we cooked dinner together. I discovered an adult learning center near our condo & enrolled in an ESL course. I thought our marriage was going well. Then, 2 months before our daughter was born, he told me his parents would be moving to Canada & staying with us. He had planned for them to live with us all along, but this was the first I had heard of it. We moved out of the master bedroom into the smaller one so his parents would be more comfortable.

Everything changed when they arrived. My husband & I stopped spending time alone together. His mother got upset when he paid attention to me, so he did not show me any affection. When I would ask if I could call my parents in Ruwais, he or his mother would tell me we could not afford international calls.

In May 2001, I gave birth to our daughter. When we returned from the hospital, my husband slept on the couch while I stayed with the baby in the second bedroom. I had never felt so alone. I fantasized about stealing money from my husband’s wallet & taking a cab to the airport, calling my parents & asking them to buy me a plane ticket home. But I did not want to leave my daughter behind.

When she was a few months old, we bought a 4 bedroom house in Streetsville with his parents. I was rarely allowed to leave. I never had a penny to my name. My mother-in-law gave me her cast-off clothing to wear. I did not have a cellphone. I was not allowed to go to the grocery store on my own. If I did not iron my husband’s shirts or make his lunch or finish my chores, he & my in-laws told me that I was a bad wife who could not keep my family happy. I walked on eggshells all the time. If I asked my husband something, he would reply, “Bitch, get out of here.”

2 years in, the abuse got physical. He would grab my wrist & shove me around. I would be sitting on the couch & he would slap me upside the head, or grab me so hard on my upper arms that my skin would bruise. Once he tossed a glass of water in my face; I slipped on the floor & threw out my back. Another time he punched a hole in the wall next to my head & told me, “Next time, it’s going to be you!” On several occasions, he picked up a knife & said he was going to kill me & then himself.

I was having suicidal thoughts all the time. I was convinced my life was over. One time, I took a razor blade into the shower & thought about cutting myself, stopping only when I heard my baby cry. I believed my unhappiness was my fault—that the secret to perfect wife-hood was eluding me. 
If I had just done the dishes better, been quieter, anticipated that he wanted a cup of coffee or a glass of water, then none of this would have happened.

When my daughter turned 3, I learned about a parent drop-in center called Ontario Early Years, funded by the Ministry of Education. Located in a Streetsville strip mall, the space was bright & cheerful. My daughter would make crafts or play with Play-Doh & the parents would gather in a song circle with their children & recite nursery rhymes. My husband took my daughter & me there a couple of times. Eventually, he let me walk over on my own. I looked forward to those 2 afternoons a week, when I would be allowed to step outside by myself without fear, when I would feel fresh air on my face.

The woman who ran the center was Pakistani & she recognized some of the signs of abuse even before I knew what to call it. She saw how jittery I would get if the sessions were running long, or how I would have to ask permission from my husband if there were any changes to the schedule. She let me use the phone to call my parents. I tearfully told my father what was happening, that I felt imprisoned & helpless. He was horrified, but advised me to wait until I got my Canadian citizenship. “That way you would not risk losing your daughter,” he said. So I waited another year. Throughout this period, I resumed my education, taking high school courses by correspondence. I applied to university several times. I was always accepted, but my husband would never pay the tuition.

In 2005, I told my husband that I wanted to go home to visit my family for 4 months. It had been 5 years since I had last seen them. When he told me he did not have the money, my father sent plane tickets for me & my daughter, who was 4 by then. On my way to the airport, I asked my husband for $10 to buy myself a coffee & my daughter a snack. “Bitch, go ask your father for that too,” he told me, as he dropped me off at Pearson. When my parents picked me up at the airport, they almost did not recognize me. I had lost so much weight I looked skeletal.

My family were shocked. The bright, confident girl they knew had been replaced with a skittish, scared young woman. It took a couple of months for me to realize I could go to the mall on my own, or to the grocery store. These were small triumphs, but they helped build up my confidence. By the end of my visit, I was resolved not to go back to Canada. As soon as I delivered the news to my husband over the phone, he unleashed a flood of apologies. He told me he would never hurt me again. He promised we would move out of the house, that we would live alone together like we used to.

He wore me down. In August 2005, I returned to Canada. We moved into a new apartment & my husband was paying both his parents’ mortgage & our rent, leaving little money for anything else. 
At first, he was kind again. But within a few months, I got pregnant with our second daughter, & the abuse resumed. I needed an escape plan, so I began tutoring & babysitting children in our apartment building, slowly saving money for 5 months until I had enough for my daughter & me to fly to Karachi, where my sister was getting married. This time I was not coming back.

My father had been diagnosed with kidney failure before I had arrived in December & over the next few months I watched helplessly as his condition deteriorated. One day, I sat with him in the ICU. “Papa, if something happens to you, what am I going to do?” I asked him. “Realize the strength you have inside of you,” he told me. “Go back to Canada & find a way to get out of your marriage.” He died 2 days later. My husband arrived in Karachi that week for the funeral. Sex was the first thing he wanted. It was not until he had finished that he asked me how I was feeling. I said I was fine, got up & walked to the bathroom. I turned on the shower so he would not hear me cry.

When I asked my mother what to do, she told me I should go back with him. After all, she had 2 more daughters to marry off, she said & she did not have the money to support me. I could not work. I had no education or experience & I was pregnant. Resigned & defeated, I went back with him. While I had been away, he had moved back into his parents’ house. This time I got a small room in the basement, with bare walls & a little window in the corner. My daughter slept in her crib in the room next door. In June 2006, I gave birth to my second daughter. I was miserable.

And yet my father’s words had ignited something in me. I knew I was smart & I knew the only way out was through school. I studied in my room every night, finishing the last course I needed for my GED, a Grade 13 economics credit. A few months after my younger daughter was born, I earned my diploma & decided to apply to university again. I knew my husband would never let me leave the house to earn money for tuition, so I resurrected my babysitting service, telling him I was earning money for the family. I co-opted my mother-in-law with the promise that she would earn easy money taking care of kids & my husband even let me buy a van to drive my charges around. I was making between $2,000 & $3,000 every month & though I had to turn over my earnings to my husband, I managed to sock away a few hundred dollars here & there. It took me 2 years to save enough for 1 year of school.

In 2008, I applied to U of T’s economics program. I was accepted. Nothing was going to stop me from going. “Who’s going to pay for your tuition?” my husband asked. “I am,” I responded. My in-laws were so angry about my decision that no one in the house spoke to me for 6 months. I did not care. This was my chance to get out. It had taken me nearly 10 years, but I had gone from victim to survivor.

My first day of school in September 2008 was one of the best of my life. I got to school 15 minutes before my class started & walked through the Kaneff Centre at U of T Mississauga. After everything I had been through, I had finally achieved my dream. I sat in the hall, tears running down my cheeks. If only my father could have seen this, I thought to myself.

I thrived in my new environment. I aced every class & other students gravitated toward me, asking to study or socialize. My success changed my thinking. If I was the scum on the bottom of my husband’s shoe, like I had been told all these years, why were my marks so high? Why did classmates want to be my friend? I could feel vestiges of confidence I had not had in years. One day in October I was walking to the campus bookstore to buy textbooks. Just around the corner, outside the health & counselling center, a flyer on a bulletin board caught my eye. On it was a list of questions. “Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel like you do not have a voice? Do you feel like you have lost your identity?” As my eyes ran quickly down the list, my brain screamed over & over again: yes, yes, yes. “Come in & make an appointment,” the poster read. I opened the door & walked inside.

few days later, I sat across from a counselor, describing what was going on at home. “I don’t know what to do,” I told her. “I am trying to keep my husband happy & I am still not good enough. He keeps telling me I am worthless. All I want to do is fix it.” She grabbed my hand. “It’s not your fault,” she said. It was the first time anyone had said that to me. As I continued my counselling, I realized that what had happened to me was wrong. My agency had been stripped away. I learned about the cycle of abuse that characterizes so many unhealthy relationships.

Our marriage was becoming more toxic every day. He once bought me a cellphone as a present, but installed spyware on it so he could monitor my calls. He kicked me in the stomach. He kept threatening to kill me. A year after I started counselling, I told him I wanted a divorce. “What are you talking about?” he asked me. “I love you. I can not live without you.”

One January night in 2011, he picked a fight. I was not doing enough housework, he said. As he loomed over me, tightening his fist, I picked up my phone. “If you touch me, I am going to call 911,” I shouted & then he spat out the word divorce, in Urdu, 3 times: talaq, talaq, talaq. According to some Islamic scholars, uttering those words means the marriage is over.

I thought I would be thrilled when he left, but I was terrified. I had never lived on my own & I was bracing myself for the shame I believed I would bring to my family. He sold our house out from under me, leaving me & the kids with 3 weeks to pack up. We had nowhere to go. I even registered at a couple of shelters, expecting to be homeless. One day, I was at the U of T tuition office & a woman overheard me lamenting my situation. She suggested I look into campus housing; luckily, the university had one family unit left. 2 days later, I had the keys to my very own shabby 3 bedroom townhouse.

I could not afford movers. I packed all my belongings into garbage bags & made 10 trips back & forth every day for 5 days, in the van I used to drive the kids who attended my home daycare. I used my last $100 to pay a couple of students to help me move my furniture. I was relieved not to be out on the streets. I slept in 1 room with my youngest daughter. My eldest had the second bedroom, with enough space just for a single bed. I rented out the third room to a Pakistani student who watched my girls while I worked in the evenings. It was tiny, but it was ours. That year, I juggled 5 jobs to stay afloat. I worked as a TA, a researcher with the City of Mississauga & a student mentor. I did night shifts at the student information center on campus. I even ran a small catering business out of my apartment.

One day it dawned on me that my husband was a man willing to put his own kids out on the street to teach me a lesson. I drove to the police station & reported everything. I gave a 3 hour long videotaped statement, offering as much detail as I could about the decade of abuse I had endured. The officer said he likely would not be able to lay charges because there were not any bruises on my body. But it did not matter. Just telling the authorities was a huge relief. It was my way of acknowledging everything to myself, of finally saying, it was not my fault—none of it was my fault.

The officers interviewed my doctor & counselors, and 2 days later they arrested my husband for assault. He pleaded guilty. We finalized our divorce & he got joint custody. My older daughter refused to see him, but my younger daughter visited him every other week.

There were many times over the next year that I thought I had made a mistake, that I could not do it on my own. I thought the shame would never go away. After my marriage ended, none of my old friends would speak to me. My mother refused to tell people back home. I had no family in Canada, no friends at school who knew what was going on. I was completely isolated. I had always been told that women are responsible for upholding the family’s honour. A woman living alone is a sin. A woman travelling alone is a sin. When everybody around you says you are in the wrong, that your dreams are not valid, you start to believe that & there were many times that I would fall into those sinkholes.


Samra Zafar graduated from U of T at the top of her class.

Education was my only refuge from my dark thoughts. I focused all my energy on school. In my fourth year, I was promoted to head TA. 
I worked as a senior mentor for the school’s first-year transition program. I carried an 8 course load & earned a 3.99 GPA. One day, I got an email from my department advisor. In it was a description of the university’s highest honour, the John H. Moss Scholarship, a $16,000 award that’s given to an outstanding student who intends to pursue graduate work—the Rhodes scholarship of U of T. My advisor encouraged me to apply. No one from U of T Mississauga campus had ever won it, she said. The deadline was only a few days away, but she convinced me to hustle up the paperwork.

A few weeks later, I got an email saying that I was one of five finalists. I arrived for my interview on February 6, 2013. The committee ran through questions about my academic record and leadership experience. I had written about my abusive marriage in my application, too & at the end of the interview, the panel asked me how I go on after everything I have been through. My polish wore off in that moment. “Every day I feel like giving up,” I told them. “But I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that being abused is normal.”

45 minutes after my interview concluded, I got a phone call. John Rothschild, chair of the selection committee & the CEO of Prime Restaurants, was on the other end of the line with a few other panelists. “Congratulations,” they said. “You are our winner this year.” I could not believe it. I grabbed my daughters’ hands & danced wildly around the house with them. I wanted to tell the whole world. Since then, John has become a friend, a mentor & the closest thing I have to a father figure. He taught me how to believe in myself again. He says if I ever get married again, he wants to walk me down the aisle.


Businessman John Rothschild funded her NPO for abused women.

In September of that year, I started my master’s in economics. By the time I graduated, I was surviving off OSAP & my debt load was piling up. I wanted to stop borrowing money as soon as possible, so I decided not to pursue a PhD. Instead, I accepted a job at the Royal Bank of Canada, where I work today as a commercial account manager.

Around the time of my graduation, I was named the top economics student at U of T. At the award ceremony, a journalist introduced herself to me (her daughter was in my class). I told her my story & she published an article about it in a Pakistan newspaper. As my story circulated through the community, I received hundreds of messages from women all over the world trapped in forced marriages & looking for help. So many of them sounded like me 5 years earlier, isolated & helpless. Women who show up at shelters or call assault hotlines or leave their homes find themselves completely alone. Without any help, they return to their abusers or fall into new relationships that are just as bad. Once, while I was TA-ing at U of T, a father barged into my office yelling. “You are pushing my daughter to get her master’s degree!” I could not believe it. To me, it was natural to offer encouragement—his daughter was the top student in my class. “She’s supposed to marry a boy in Egypt. Stop poisoning her with your Canadian bullshit,” he barked.

Years ago, a woman wrote to me asking if we could talk on Skype. She was a Canadian university graduate whose parents forced her into a marriage in Pakistan after she finished school. Brutally abused for 3 years, she returned to Canada to have her baby. She wanted to leave her marriage. After we finished talking, I drove to her house & encouraged her to do it. “No one will ever love me again,” she said. 3 years later, she graduated from a master’s program & got a job working full-time in Toronto. I realized I could not stop abuse from happening. But I could offer friendship to women in similar positions to my own. I started a non-profit called Brave Beginnings that will help women rebuild their lives after escaping abusive relationships. John Rothschild, my mentor, provided our start-up funding, and we are piloting the project this year.


Samra Zafar lives with her 2 daughters, age 15 & 10, in a condo in Mississauga.

For the past 3 years, I have lived in a 3 bedroom condo in Mississauga with my 2 daughters, who are now 15 & 10. I serve as an alumni governor at the University of Toronto & I speak about my experience for organizations like Amnesty International. I m happier than I ever imagined I could be. I want women to know that they deserve a life of respect, dignity & freedom, that it Is never too late to speak up. It infuriates me that many women are expected to uphold their family’s honour, yet they do not have any themselves.

Last April, I called my ex. I wanted to help him repair his relationship with our older daughter. It had been 4 years since we had spoken in person. I decided to meet with him. Despite everything, I believed that my girls deserved to have their father in their lives. I sat in a coffee shop at Eglinton & Creditview Road, desperately hoping that I was no longer scared of him.

I saw him walking across the parking lot & waited for an avalanche of fear to hit me. It never came. Sitting across from me, he was just another person. To my surprise, he apologized. “I cannot believe after everything that you are still willing to help me repair my relationship with our kids,” he said. That day in the coffee shop, I finally felt free.

A few weeks ago, I lay in bed cuddling with my youngest daughter. Every night, we snuggle for 10 minutes before she goes to bed, just the 2 of us, unpacking the day. Out of the blue, she said, “Mom, I think Daddy’s family picked you because you were only 16. They thought you were just going to do whatever they told you to do & they would be able to make you into whoever they wanted you to be.” And then she paused. “Man,” she said. “They picked the wrong girl.”

 

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