The D-vitamin Movement!!

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Let me clarify at the very outset, I’m no doctor (for those who haven’t read “about me”). But having a chronic and severe lack of D vitamin in my body I know a thing or two about D vitamins.

Being a woman and not just any but a Norwegian-Pakistani woman I got dealt some weak cards as far as health was concerned. With 2/3 of the elderly Norwegian-Pakistani women having diabetes type 2 I have a thing or two to worry about. My mother being one of these doesn’t make it any easier. Not only that, many of our mothers also live with severe chronic joint and muscle pains. I know, because I have experienced it first hand. My mother have them all. She is a beautiful, strong and graceful woman. She had a strong and slim body most part of her life. She never suffered from any pains or illnesses when she was young. Contrary to me!

The last couple of years I have been struggling to find out why I have been having all sorts of muscle and joint pains, a weak immune system and higher pain sensitivity. I got all my answer a while back when I got to know that my D-vitamin values were nearly zero!

Being true to myself I took the news in a nonchalant manner. Knowing nothing about this vitamin I went about my life as usual, taking the prescribed d-vitamin pills every now and then. But with time I had to pay attention to what my body was trying to tell me. I googled a lot on d vitamin and what i found was not a pleasant reading.

Lack of D vitamin can cause some serious and even fatal illnesses. Research show that the horrible Multiple Scleroses is a illness getting more common in immigrants in Norway, especially women. There is also ample research showing a clear connection between lack of d vitamin and many kind of cancers. The most common symptom however is severe muscle and joint pains and even depression.

Norway, the land of midnight sun is not that sunny at all. Over half of the year you hardly get any sun exposure. Vanity keeps the Norwegian Pakistani women from getting sun on their face and body as most of them prefer being pale. Sun is the main source of vitamin D, followed by fish. Naturally the body does not get to produce the required amount of vitamin D.

The consequences of your body being deprived of vitamin D are so severe and effecting so many desi women that one can’t sit idle and watch what’s going on. Myself and X-plosiv has therefore started the D-vitamin movement. Main objective being information about vitamin D and how one can get it and what a lack can do to your body. We want everybody to know that this is a serious health issue effecting all the desi women in Norway and can not be taken lightly.

I know take my vitamin D pills religiously! It is devastating to be a young mother of two and have to battle aches and pains in the entire body due to a lack that can be fixed easily. I just hope I am not too late. And my strongest wish is to make everyone aware of it make them take responsibility for their health!

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Death of a journalist – The sorrow of two widows

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On the 14. of January a Norwegian delegation to Afghanistan came to experience the horror of terrorism way to closely. The foreign minister was on a visit, staying in a luxury hotel in Kabul. With him were the usual brigade of people, journalists, advisers and co-workers. The terror attack on the “safest” civil building left the foreign minister shattered, as it took the life of a highly regarded journalist, Carsten Thomassen.

Carsten Thomassen, a father of two beautiful girls aged nine and four. Thomassen was a journalist par excellence. Highly regarded, a master in his craft, well known in all the circles of the government and the ministers. He was always looking for the truth. For the reasons behind the happenings shaking the world. The public grief and the sorrow of ministers, government and media personalities is unprecedented. Carsten Thomassen was gunned down in the lobby of the Serena hotel, his journalist friends did whatever they could to save him. After his death two of his colleagues went to Kabul to bring their friend home, he wasn’t suppose to take that journey by himself. On the airport in Oslo, Thomassen got a honorary reception. With ministers, media moguls and a devastated girlfriend Ellen the mother of his children. Every thing was beautifully executed with great honor and respect. The newspaper with which Thomassen worked, Dagbladet carried all the stories naturally enough extensively in their paper. His collegues paid respect and the website was filled the minute to minute detail.

On 14. of January and terror-attack was carried out at the Serena hotel, taking 7 lives. In addition to Carsten Thomassen six Afghans were killed, one of them was Aziz, a security guard at the hotel. Like Thomassen, Aziz was a man doing his job. On the 25. of January Dagbladet carries a story about his widow Parwin.The story comes the day after Thomassen’s father reminds everyone in his funeral that their was not just one victim of this horrendous attack. Other innocent lives were takes as well, and that we should think about them as well. That is what Thomassen would have wanted.

The story about Parwin is similar to that of Ellen, Thomassen’s girlfriend. Both mother of two children, suddenly finding themselves in utter grief and devastation. Their lives ripped apart in matters of minutes. But the similarities end their. While Thomassen was helped by everyone around him, Aziz was left laying on the ground for an hour. While Ellen and the Norwegian public could follow the drama minute by minute, Parwin couldn’t take her husbands last call on her cell-phone because her telephone card was empty. While Thomassen got a honorable and respectable farewell from everyone in his country, neighborhood, king, ministers and dignitaries, Aziz and his widow just became a statistic. No one has bothered to console Parwin or honor her husband.

Up until Dagbladet yesterday wrote about Parwin, no-one was bothered to think about the other victims. Thanks to Dagbladet for bringing in an important aspect albeit a little late!

Ellen will have to deal with her grief the same way Parwin has to. But Parwin has not only lost her husband and children their father. With Aziz’s death they have lost their sole provider! Parwin doesn’t know how to feed her kids, their future is forever changed for the worst. Ellen wouldn’t have to worry about things such as money, education for her children, security and freedom!!

With the death of Thomassen it has become all to obvious to me that their should not even be one Ellen or one Parwin in the world. Women who lost their men to the cowardly acts of terrorism. The terror in any way, shape or form should  never be tolerated. It is high time for sustainable peace and justice in the troubled region of middle-east and the subcontinent. No-one, wether black or white, rich or poor, muslim or christian is safe until the world is a safer place!!

Sicilian meatballs with pasta blanco

Scicilian meatballs and pasta blanco!

After days of depression due to the venomous out-pore in the media regarding desis and immigrants here in Norway, I have had enough! What better way to get out off depression then to eat 🙂 That one always works and makes me happy. I enjoy both cooking and eating….

Well I made these meatballs and pasta, and it was absolutely wonderful!

The meatballs are the size off a tennis-ball each. Cooked in the oven and with tomato-sauce.

You need a kilo of ground beef, two tins off excellent quality canned tomatoes. (high end grocery-shops always carry a variety of canned tomatoes. I would suggest Smartclub for those who really want to find the best canned tomatoes). The meatballs are simple to make. Have the ground meat in a bowl and add herbs and spices (e.g. salt, black pepper, a little chili, loads of Parmesan, basil and breadcrumbs). Make tennis-size meatballs. Put two cannes of tomatoes in the baking tin, add salt and pepper to it, place the meatballs on top and cook for 30-40 minutes.

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Serve with the wonderfully simple pasta blanco (pasta with EVOO, garlic, Parmesan and freshly grounded salt and pepper)!

I made these for the first time and this is now a permanent addition to the dinners I make frequently…..

Did I mention I love Italian food? :-))

Bon appetite!

Living in Norway, a price to pay!

 

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NOTE: Made 27. august 2011, original post made jan. 10th 2008. 

(I assume you want to learn more about living in Norway, and that is how you found my blog. Please visit www.blendmag.no , which is my magazine Blend, Norways largest multicultural webmag. Use google translator. It will give you an idea of how it is to live here from a diversity perspective). Thanks!

ORIGINAL POST:

Show me desis living outside their native countries who have not experienced envied looks from people back home. And whom have not gotten thoroughly irritated when it has been implied that money apparently grows on trees outside Pakistan.  Further more, how extremely lucky we are living in Norway. Well we are lucky and cause of envy for some, but money certainly does not grow on trees over-here! For the life in safety, peace and prosperity we are extremely lucky and should feel utter gratitude. But there is a price to pay!

From time to time the media in Norway goes haywire over crimes committed by desis (or immigrant in general). Well they occasionally have good reason to. There are too many desi brothers involved in less proper things. Besides ruining their own lives they do a good job in making lives of innocent desis uncomfortable. With passing times the Norwegians are becoming more and more sceptical and even hostile towards non-ethnic Norwegians. The most common and frightening opinion is that there is no racism in Norway and that desis/immigrants just complain for nothing!

It is a well known fact that desis/immigrants have the highest rate of unemployment. Even higher education and university degrees do not help in some cases. Many immigrants are over-qualified and under-paid for their jobs. The evil circle is complete as low income leads to ghettos, low-class diseases, social and economical problems. These however are facts that ethnic-Norwegians in larger and larger extent do not consider anymore. The only thing they see is more and more “black” people in the city. Oslo specifically.

A new report shows that 48 of Oslo’s schools have a majority of non-ethnic children. The same day the news breaks there are several opinions in media on how to tackle the problem. Everything from the basic human-right violation of prohibiting people to live where they want to, to transport children to schools with less non-ethnics etc. The blame is solely given to immigrants who can not seem to live outside “ghettos” and who do not choose to live outside Oslo. Chat-sites and other forums are filled with Norwegians pissed of on the facts of the study, and who just have had it and want their country “back”.

Politicians and especially members of the Progress-party (Fremskrittspartiet) come with cheap and populist solutions to the problem that arises when the majority on a school is non-ethnic. There is no doubt about it, it is not an optimal situation as the Norwegian language suffers in schools where there are all kinds of different background represented.

How one would wish that instead of looking for short-term solutions, the authorities would realise the challenges our generation is facing. There should be made stronger efforts to break the basic evil circle!! First of all, employers should stop discriminating non-ethnics. It is a shown fact that this happens, but still many immigrants are accused of being lazy and corrupt. There have been a proposal of allocation of non-ethnics in governmental jobs, on the basis of merits. This proposal has been shredded to pieces as many politicians believe this is discriminating to the rest of the public! That non-ethnics should not get any advantageous due to their color. This is seeing things in a totally romantic and naive light. When immigrants are discriminated on the job-market, how can one actually tackle the problem?? Especially when many Norwegians feel there does not even exist racism?

And how can one expect desis to live outside “ghettos” when these are the areas they can afford to live in due to their poorly paid jobs or unemployment? How do one motivate desi children for higher studies when many with higher education drive cabs or the subway? How do one achieve a healthier spread of colored children in Oslo-schools when their parents can’t afford to live on the west-side of the city? Last but not least, why can’t people see value it is in having colored children in schools? That teaches children of colors to co-exist in a peaceful way, and they learn from early on that people come in all shapes, sizes and colors and culture. They learn how to handle that. That is something the Norwegian community can not brag about.

It is times like this that give your life some perspective. Yes we are lucky to live in such a beautiful county in safety, but we pay the price. The price of being considered different by some, the price of being an equity and not an asset for some. The knowledge of the fact that my children, third generation immigrants, will always be seen as different and maybe not have the same opportunities due their color. It is a heavy price to pay!

When Shazia discovered ABBA!

This happens rarely. Me having time off, from my adorable children, home, job and other must-dos. For the first time in my busy but not so adventures life I got to travel abroad on my own. Well not entirely on my own, my super girlfriend came along. This was a true crazy-girlfriends-on-vacation adventure.

We didn’t go that far, nor did we venture into tracks less beaten. We leave it for our next trip, tracking and climbing mountains.

Our trip went to London, and not just any time off the year. No sir, if I was to go on a trip by myself I was gonna spend my money the fast and the furious way. We arrived London on boxing day, which means the boxing day sales! Sure we have our “rom-juls-salg” and “januar-salg” in Norway, but there are no comparisons here. I have not used this much money on clothes and myself as I did in one evening on Oxford street on the 27. of December! And I might as well confess it outright: I LOVED IT!! Though I was almost killed in the near-stampede experience, and the underground wasn’t that fun I LOVED London-shopping 🙂

Well, must not go overboard with my shopaholic mind! The thing that was even more fun then the shopping on sale, was “Mamma Mia”. I am not heavily into musicals, operas and theater. But my wonderful friend gifted me a ticked to the bizarrely successful “Mamma Mia”. A musical based on the music by the legendary ABBA.

I must be very young when ABBA broke up, because I don’t have any clear memories of ABBA songs. Nor have I ever interested me for the music or the ABBA, Elvis Priestly era. I went into the West End theater this evening with my friend with no expectations, rather slightly sceptical. Give me any bollywood kitsch, escapist cinema any day. But musical?

 

From the curtain went up and the last note of last song was played I was hooked. I totally loved the musical, but even more…. I discoveredABBA!!! I cant believe I never bothered to listen to “Waterloo”, “money money, money”, “mamma mia” and so on. The music is incredible! And on the last two songs I was on the end of my seat on the verge of just throwing all my inhibitions overboard and dancing som true blue bhangra! A pity that everyone though vigorously clapping and cheering, stay put in their seats. The musical deserved some solid bhangra dancing and “siti’s”. The musical “Mamma mia” has a wonderfully funny story about a young girls quest to find out who her father is, by inviting the three possible ones on her wedding. The mother of the girl and her two friends totally steal the show with their comic timing and great singing. Strange that bollywood hasn’t copied the musical yet!

Well, from now on I am a die hard ABBA fan who loves to do the housework with ABBA playing in the background. And some fantasies running in mind about what to buy on London sales next year 🙂

Beef Tenderloin with lemon and rosmary potatoes!

Shazia’s Beef Tenderloin with lemon and rosmary potatoes and mushroom gravey!

First of all, A very HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

Each year on new-years eve we have been to my mom’s house and had a wonderful last meal of the year. This year my mom is not in the country so we changed the tradition! Instead of a new-years-eve dinner I made a dinner for the first day of the new year 🙂 This was what was for dinner today:

A wonderfully tender oven-backed beef Tenderloin with lemon and Rosemary potatoes.

I got a gorgeous piece of beef tenderloin (cost me a fortune). Covered it with freshly ground salt. Took 2 tbs of whole black-pepper, roasted it in the pan for a few seconds and grounded it on to the tenderloin. Some fresh or dried Rosemary to top it all. Put some EVOO in a pan on high heat and roast the beef on all sides so that it gets the golden color and the juices are sealed inside it. You then put the whole tenderloin in the oven on 160 degrees Celsius with a meat thermometer in it. When the thermometer shows 60 degrees, you have perfectly cooked medium tenderloin. Tenderloin should never be made well-done as that “kills” the wonderfully tender meat.

 A medium done beef tenderloin

Peal and cut the potatoes. Take a big skillet and boil plenty of water with salt added. When boiling put in the potatoes together with whole garlic cloves and whole lemon. Let it boil for 10-12 minutes. Discard the water. Put the potatoes in the same pan you roasted your tenderloin. Add EVOO and rosmary and mix well. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes. HEAVEN!!!

With the tenderloin and the potatoes I have made mushroom gravy and pepper-sour-cream. Use the beef broth after cooking out the pan you initially roasted you beef in. Put this in your gravy…. together with mushrooms.

This was an amazing start of an hopefully amazing years! Cheers!!

Redefining Bollywood – A masterpiece!

tarezameenpar.jpgEvery once in a while you are taken aback by a movie. It is a rare experience, especially coming from Bollywood. Bollywood and kitsch go hand in hand. Bollywood fans love it for it’s larger then life characters and the color, dance and music explosions. When walking into a cinema theater, that is what you expect.

Aamir Khan’s “Taare zameen par” (stars on the ground) is a different experience altogether. The movie is one of the best ones to come out of the Bollywood factory.

I was totally mesmerized by the sheer honesty of the masterpiece. Those little and ingenious moments captured wonderfully on the camera. Aamir Khan has outdone himself with his directorial debut. Never before have you travelled into the world of a child this special. Darsheel Safary, the boy playing Ishaan in the movie is absolutely brilliant. So brilliant that equally brilliant Khan had no qualms about putting Safary’s name first in the credits of the movie. This boy deserves all the best actor awards, if not an Oscar!

The only thing that worries me is the length of the movie. It is 170 minutes long! I am saddened by the fact that this might effect the viewing of the movie for foreign audiences. That would be a huge shame!

There were several occasions in the movie where i cried my heart out. (Not strange actually, i am a crier). But what was a first timer for me was my husband shedding some tears himself during the movie. (He NEVER cries). The song “Taare zameen par” made every one in the cinema-hall emotional as did several other gut-wrenching moments.

I obviously do not know Mr Khan personally, but my respect for him has increased manifold. Can you imagine, a superstar who can make whatever movie he wants, chooses to work his heart out for a movie with a message? Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan are polls apart. “Om shanti om” and “Taare zameen par” prove my point!

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