Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Modest Proposal

It's 11:39 PM. I should be sleeping at the moment because I have an 8 AM class tomorrow and I haven't gotten much sleep over the last couple of days on account of finals coming up. But, like so many other nights, I'm not sleeping. I'm contemplating.

So this is an issue that I've thought about for a while and something that I think is worth discussing. And that is the divorce rate in countries like the US. It seems like the couples that you think are for sure going to work out, don't. I mean, I for sure though J-Lo and Marc Antony were going to be together forever. Not to mention Demi and Ashton. (That one killed me).  While these may be  superficial examples, they still makes a point. If such power couples couldn't work it out, what hope is there for the rest of us? Yes, it's disheartening but it's not about that; what I want to know is why?
Why is the divorce rate for Americans so high? I think I have the answer. America is centered around the culture of dating in which you find someone through a series of uncomfortable and awkward encounters until you find someone you want to be with forever (possibly). This type of thinking sets people up for failure. Think about it. You go through all these people who may or not may be "the one." Often times this concept of "the one" is so blown up by Hollywood movies, self help books, and reality TV shows, that NO ONE can ever live up to those expectations. Then, everyone wonders why they're still not with someone or is unhappy in the relationship or divorced.

What people need to realize is that this romantic, showy aspect of "the one" does not exist. Instead, I believe a person can be with person A, B, or C and be equally happy. I know what you're thinking. How presumptuous of me to even suggest going for someone you don't "love." But hear me out. For example, if a girl is looking for someone whose is nice, kind, smart, and loves to read books about alien conspiracies,  she can be compatible with any guy who is nice, kind, smart and loves to read books about alien conspiracies. It doesn't have to be ONLY Jim. Tim and Andrew have these qualities too. (Sorry for my unimaginative names). In other words, the world is a big place; there are many people out there that could meet your expectations, given that those expectations are realistic.

Researcher Dr. Helen Fisher has studied the concept of love and falling in love over countless cultures and countries. She has found that those countries that have arranged marriages tend to have less divorce rates than those with "love" marriages. Though there are probably many aspects that contribute to this, there are some things we can learn from this. First, people should go for what they NEED in potential partner instead of what they WANT. To sum this up, I will allow a Japanese saying to take over:

"You Americans marry the one you love. We love the one we marry."

Now, if you're thinking I sound totally insane right now, think about this. When a couple falls "in love" , it's an intense biological reaction. Believe it or not, Fisher actually found that our brains are hardwired to become obsessed with the person we are infatuated with. This makes sense evolutionary; in the beginnings of a relationship, these feelings are needed to keep the two people together. Fisher also found, however, that once couples get married and have children, those intense feelings go away, and are replaced with a different kind of love; more of an attachment than an obsession. This again, makes evolutionary sense. The couple need to be less involved with each other to focus on the children.

However, I believe this is American couples' downfall. They expect that love "high" to stay there throughout the whole relationship. When it goes away, replaced by the more mature attachment, they think "Oh the spark is gone...this must mean my wife's not "the one." (That attachment is why many couples who get divorced are miserable afterwards--they still 'love' their spouse, just not as intensely). Not only is this type of thinking impossible, it is unpractical. It is chemically impossible for our brains to do so and it's just exhausting. Imagine feeling intense obsession for something 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It would consume you.

So if you're totally depressed right now, consider this: that feeling of attachment is not a bad thing! It's good and healthy and will allow you to not only be a good spouse, but also a good parent. It will lead to a life of content. Everyone needs to get this thinking of "true love, love at first sight"blah blah blah crap out of their heads and be happy with the one they're with. Because truly, they are "the one" because YOU made them "the one."

I'm not suggesting that arranged marriage is for everyone and I am certainly in no position to give marriage advice. However, I do think more American couples need to realize that marriage is not something to be taken lightly. Once you tie the knot, you are completely committed until you kick the can. Divorce should never be the answer (unless, of course, extreme circumstances). I think these days, it is a permanent fix to temporary problems.

Just something to think about!


P.S. Also, If you know what the title of this post is a nod to, you're super awesome!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I am Dead to my Ammi

Hey guys! This month, I would like to introduce a very special guest blogger, my daddy. His name is Ashraf Saeed and he has some very touching moments to share about his mother, a.k.a. my dadi. Show him the love, people. Peace, Hera.

It was a cold forenoon of January 9, 2011 when I left my brother’s home in Aligarh to come back to my home in USA with a heavy heart. My mother, Ammi, is 75 years of age. Like most past 70 year olds in India, Ammi was old, dependent, and frail. Ever since Ammi turned seventy, I tried to visit India almost every year to meet her, even if it was only for few days. However, this time I visited after two years and I could see the difference that little of time could make.

Two years ago in December of 2008, I travelled to India and was very excited to meet Ammi; I wanted to see her as soon as possible. She lived in Lucknow with my sister at the time, a city that is an overnight train journey away from Delhi. I landed in Delhi at night and luckily had a place to stay at my brother-in-law’s. The next morning, I left for Aligarh, a neighboring city, to see my eldest brother who was accompanying me in my onward journey to meet Ammi in Lucknow. Even though it had been only a year since she last saw me, she was impatient to meet me. Several times during the road trip, my sister called us, on the insistence of Ammi, to find out how far we had gotten.   

In the afternoon we finally got to Lucknow and took a taxi to go to our sister’s home. As I entered my sister’s home, I saw Ammi’s eyes pointed at the door waiting for me. Right after seeing me, she started a quietly sobbing within herself. Seeing her wet eyes, I got close to her and put my arms around her shoulders. She started crying as usual and we stood still in that mode for the next several minutes. I greeted the rest of the family and started telling them about my usual plans about my trip.  I only had ten days and many places to visit.  By the time I finished all the travelling; I had visited everyone on my mother and father’s sides of the family. It was time to head back to the US, where my wife and kids were eagerly awaiting my arrival. As my time to leave India came closer, Ammi became more and more quiet. Her eyes followed my every move. I took Ammi with me back to Aligarh, where she intended to stay for next few months with my brother. Finally, the time had come and I had to leave her. I sat next to Ammi and tried to comfort her, saying I would be visiting her again soon, God willing. 

“Don’t come alone next time,” she told me, “I want to see your whole family.” she said. 

“Yes, I will bring the whole family,” I replied. 

It was around 9:00 AM when I heard the taxi that would take me back to Delhi honking. As I asked for her permission to leave, she hugged me and started crying. Several minutes went by and she was still crying. I freed myself from her grip and said, "I have to go now.” She followed me to the door, still in tears, and would not take her eyes off me until I was inside the car. She watched the taxi drive away in the distant. This moment reminded me of the time when I last saw my father. I knew then that I had to come to India again and visit my mother for my and her sake.

Time went by quickly when I returned to the US and all the memories from my trip to India started fading. But I knew I had to go back to India to see my mother again. As December approached, I started planning my trip back to India again. But sometimes things do not go as you plan. The company that I work for announced a possibility of laying off thousands of people in a couple of months. Under the cloud of job uncertainty, I could not plan for any expensive trips. “Well, my mom is in fine health I can postpone my trip to next year,” I told myself in comfort. Three months passed and I got the good news that I had survived the cut announce by my company. That was a big relief for my family and me. These three months were very long and I could not think of anything other than my job during this period.

It has been now almost two years and I was ready to visit Ammi again. During these two years, I spoke almost every week to Ammi. I told her that I was coming with Zaid, my son, to see her.  She expressed her happiness about it on phone.  Finally the time came and I left Indianapolis to visit my Ammi. Not any different from my previous trips, I came to Aligarh from Delhi where my brother joined me and my son to Lucknow. The six-hour train ride from Aligarh to Lucknow went smoothly. My brother-in-law came to pick us up from the railway station and in about half an hour we were close to home.  As always as I got closer to home thoughts of my last visit ran through my mind very quickly.  I was making myself ready for that warm hug from my ammi and for her tear filled eyes.  

As I entered home, I saw everyone’s happy faces but my eyesstarted searching for Ammi and unusually did not find her.   

My sister read my face and said, “Ammi is in next room.”   

“This is odd. It was never like this before,” I thought. 

As I entered the next room, I saw Ammi sitting on her bed. Being aware of us entering the room, she looked at the door. I saw her smiling face and eyes welcoming us but I felt there was something missing. I saw emptiness in her eyes and a question on her face trying to work out who I was. I got close to her and hugged her but this time it was my eyes that were wet not hers. I did not lose my mother but I realized she has lost me.  I was dead for her.

For the next fourteen days, I did what I used to do on my every visit, taking my mother with me wherever I went. My family was trying to remind Ammi that I was her son.  Sometimes I felt as if she remembered me but the very next moment I realized she didn’t.  The rest of my days in India were a seesaw of contrasting emotions. It was time for me to get back home to Indianapolis. I left India with heavy heart with a hope to see my mother again. I do intend to come back and see her again. Although I may be dead for my Ammi, she is still alive for me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The thing about living in Evansville is that it's not exactly the fashion capital of the world, or even the US for that matter.  When I first got here, I was dying to always dress up but felt like I never could. It's awkward to wear a blazer when most people around you are in sweats or pajama bottoms. I've gotten my fair share of double takes (I'm not sure if that's how I'm dressed or because I'm foreign--probably both.) But I suppose it's like my roommate says, thats's not just Evansville, it's college life in general. Several weeks ago, I decided it wasn't for me. So now I wear whatever I want to. Even if I do get strange looks

tie up heels-charlotte russe
denim bubble blouse-forever 21
tan blazer-forever 21
glasses necklace-forever 21
lipstick-MAC: Jazzed

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You seemed to have stumbled upon our blog.

We're Hera and Naz. Both of us are full time biology majors at the lovely University of Southern Indiana. When we're not out doing nerdy school stuff, we enjoy shopping, drinking slushies, and of course, writing on this awesome blog.

'What Makes the World Go Round' was started in August of 2011 to be a catch-all for our thoughts. We try and update as much as we can, depending on how hectic our lives. So bear with us. :) Please feel free to browse (by clicking on the cloud tabs above), comment and/or subscribe. We love hearing what you have to say!

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