If You Tell The Truth, You Don’t Have To Remember Anything

Last Saturday seems like forever ago, like a dream. Yet it did happen and it was wonderful. I went to the Reference Library as per my regular Saturday routine, and then got back around 5 PM to walk around Harbourfront and catch the Flamenco show presented by the Esmeralda Enrique Dance Studio, where I have previously taken flamenco dance classes. It’s been so long and I’m hoping to get back to it this summer or in the fall. This was the atmosphere at the Harbourfront:

Pretty chill huh?! There was lots of yummy food, including this paella which made me wish I ate meat.


There was an Aboriginal festival going on at the same time, and I approached just as an Indian chief started to speak about the seven spiritual directions. When they pray, they offer their prayers to the seven directions: East, South, West, North, Sky, Earth, and Here. The very last one struck me as he explained that the seventh direction is inside of you, the centre of your own heart. My heart has always been my greatest strength. Here is a woman performing a traditional dance – I love her movements and the drumming!! Dancing has a way of liberating your spirit and connecting you with the earth. Ok the video doesn’t seem to be uploading, I will add it another time.

I walked along University and eventually to Yonge where I encountered an awesome party for gay pride in the little park off Isabella street. It felt surreal and I was entranced by the energy and the vibe.

Got to Balzac’s where I read from Veiled Threat. It’s been hard for me to concentrate lately because of everything going on and all the uncertainty in my life so I actually have no idea what I read, but I’m sure it was inspiring and informative.

Upon leaving Balzac’s, I saw these flyers for Raja Yoga, the type of yoga that Neesha teaches. I have my whole summer to explore different things, so I’m going to try it out and let you know how it goes. I wish I could join the children’s choir to be honest. It encompasses my two favourite things: children and singing! Lately I’ve been starting the day off singing every morning, to Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One and The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez. I wonder if everyone on my floor can hear me. I hope I sound good!! It would be the worst to start your morning off listening to bad singing.

Flyers at Balzac’s, Yonge and Bloor

I went to Chapters after and read a bit from Joan Collins daughter’s book about her mother. I love this quote (image above) by Mark Twain: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” So true! In my interview with Cota, I was totally myself and just talked about my own personal experiences and volunteer work. I made jokes and even teared up a little. I never would have dared to “just be myself” before – isn’t that funny? Isn’t it funny that we find it so difficult to do what is completely natural – to communicate, be authentic, and express love. It is amazing how it’s been flipped around in this world where it feels more natural to hide your true self and conform to what others expect you to be.

On my way home I walked through Queen’s Park which was lovely at night as always and there was a Happy Canada Day Tribute by the Chalk Chick. She also did the Beaver – so very Canadian!

As I passed through Nathan Philips Square, I was so happy to see the TD Jazz Festival was still going on. I caught the tail end of Joe Jackson’s concert. He is a British musician who now lives in New York, and is known for his hit single “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” which he wrote in 1979, the year that I was born. Here is a clip from his performance:

I also ran into my friend Charlot at the end, which was quite a coincidence since we had decided to meet for lunch the following week. He said that the camera loves me. I guess it’s true; since I was young I have always loved to pose. Which reminds me, I need to get some headshots done – I want something good for my LinkedIn picture. I was really inspired by Sherry’s headshots awhile ago. It will be my intro back into the corporate world.

Me and Charlot, TD Jazz Festival

Finally made it home – what a day!!


No Sleep For The Lucky Few

Monday was an incredibly hot day. I think it must’ve been 40 degrees with the humidity. I woke up early and went to the Starbucks at 525 for a couple hours to work. I’ve been doing that lately to get myself back to a morning routine. Hopefully the right job will come along soon. I interviewed at Cota Inspires last week and the interview went pretty well – they will let me know next week if I got it. The job is an Executive Lead to lead a campaign to provide 20,000 homes for Toronto’s homeless by 2018. It is an exciting job that I would be honoured to be a part of.

I sat outside on the benches at SickKids and read the morning Metro. There was a study about sleep deprivation and how there are certain people who genuinely don’t need a lot of sleep – only a few hours will do. Sadhguru is always talking about how little sleep is required for those who are vibrantly alive and get their energy from life energy. There are yogis that can survive just off coconut water because their kundalini is activated. I’m definitely not one of those people – I love my beauty sleep!


I walked through the MARS Centre and came across this white board filled with suggestions on who people would like to see come speak at MARS. I agree with a lot of them – Obama would be amazing! And Drake, Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk.


I started reading Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women in Afghanistan. As you can tell, I’m obsessed with Afghanistan. And Islam. And Women. Not to mention I love author and journalist Sally Armstrong. I saw her speak at a GenNext event at Spoke Club one time and she was so inspiring. She was one of the first journalists to report on the crisis that women were facing during the Bosnian genocide. She said that since then the media has come a long way in terms of giving attention to the atrocities women face, especially during times of war. She thinks that Facebook is instrumental in gathering forces and providing a platform so that everyone has a voice. The book profiles extraordinary women, like Dr. Sima Samar, who is a doctor, activist and a natural storyteller.

“Let me tell you a story,” she began. “A sixteen year old came with her parents to my clinic. She was six months pregnant and terrified. She had been raped. The law, according to the extremists, is that a woman who is raped must have four male witnesses to prove that she didn’t cause the rape. Naturally, no such witnesses are ever available. Without them, the family is obliged to kill the girl to protect the family honour.”

I made it to Balzac’s where I did some work, and then went to the ROM to get a refund for some tickets I bought for Friday Night Live and didn’t end up going to. I asked to use the bathroom (which they normally don’t let you do because it’s inside the museum) but they let me so I took advantage of it and saw the exhibits for free. There is something so calming about being in the presence of a Buddha statue.

Buddha statue at the ROM

Then I met up with Marissa from my Toastmasters club so that she could help me with my interview preparation. She is the director at AIS (Accomodation, Information, and Support) and is very knowledgeable about homelessness and supportive housing. We met at the Toronto Western hospital. She quizzed me on a few things like what my first steps would be in implementing changes described in the consultants report, and why I was good for the role.

On the way home I stopped by the jazz festival and caught the rehearsal of a jazz ensemble that was performing later that evening. So talented!!


Afghan Fried Chicken

I’m so happy to be writing this blog post right now. It’s been a crazy week. I did my walk on Monday (Victoria Day) and it felt especially lonely since there was no one out since it was a holiday, and my parents had just left and were having lunch with Roshni and Chris and his family. The only thing that got me out was knowing that Balzac’s was still open (although closing early at 4PM) so I headed out around 2 to try and get there before close.

I headed up University and it was gorgeous weather! I had my sunglasses and scarf and was enjoying the hot sun and the sound of the birds chirping. I thought I looked pretty cool!


I walked up Yonge and I think I stopped at a bookstore, although I can’t really remember. I really just wanted to get to Balzac’s so that I would have at least an hour there. I came across this lively band close to College and stopped to enjoy the rhythms.

I made it to Balzac’s a little after 3, and they were out of my favourite English breakfast tea, so I ended up having a decaf latte and a walnut biscotti. I read about Madonna, and her tribute to Prince that was not very well received. How great does she look at age 57?! It’s pretty amazing how she never misses a beat.

On the walk back I stopped at Queen’s Park and read from the Underground Girls of Kabul, while watching three guys play a game of Frisbee. I shared a bench with two girls who were probably in their twenties, who were deep in conversation. It is taking me awhile to finish this book, as you may have noticed, but I don’t mind because it is so intense and it takes me awhile to absorb it. Chapter Nineteen, “The Defeated” is one of the most powerful chapters. It is about Azita, a politician who fails in her reelection bid, and constantly eats to numb the pain. She is dejected because not only has she lost, but her husband has reunited with his first wife, and she feels humiliated at being seen in public as a second wife. She doesn’t know who she is anymore, without her work, her status, her money. She feels like her life has no meaning. The scene at the Afghan Fried Chicken at the end of the chapter feels ominous; it’s as if she has accepted her fate, that she is now a stay-at-home mom and second wife. Her hopes and dreams have been dashed, yet she still manages to find some meaning in it, or she just lives it because she has no choice. Her youngest daughter, Mehran, who is a bacha posh, is feisty and spirited – however the first wife is crushing her spirits with her constant disapproval. She doesn’t think it’s appropriate for a girl to behave like a boy. She should be focusing on household skills and attending to the men and preparing herself for marriage.

The first wife has also taken to reminding her husband that his youngest daughter needs to be cultivated into a decent marriage material. If nothing else, her current loud and talkative manner will grow into a problem later on. She is already hard to control. He should not let it escalate, she keeps reminding him. “She’s a girl, and you have to treat her as one.”

On the way home, I stopped at Nathan Philips Square where I fell asleep on one of the concrete benches. This isn’t me, but I was in a similar position.


After that I encountered a man carrying snakes as if it was just the most normal thing in the world. Freaky!!




There’s A Whole Lotta Rhythm Going ‘Round

Today I went to the Vegetarian Food Festival at Harbourfront. I’ve gone pretty much every year since I’ve lived in Toronto, and it’s such a treat every time! The hippy music, the kind-hearted, compassionate people, the amazing food. My favourite place to eat is Zen Gardens – they serve ‘meat’ skewers, drumsticks, dumplings, and other delicious meat-like items. Didn’t get a chance to attend any of the talks, but it looks like they had some great speakers (including my friend Tushar who gave a talk on nutrition).

While I was at Harbourfront, I picked up brochures for the upcoming International Festival of Authors and The Word on the Street Festival. I was excited to see that one of my favourite authors/journalists, Asne Seierstad, will be attending. She wrote The Bookseller of Kabul which I read not too long ago. It’s about a well-known bookseller in Afghanistan, Sultan Khan, who sells books underground during the time of the Taliban. Asne stays with his family for three months (post-Taliban), and documents their way of life, feelings, hopes and dreams. I couldn’t believe what I was reading most of the time (my jaw literally dropped at some parts). Far from an unbiased account, Asne is honest about her fury and judgment while witnessing how women are treated. She says that never in her life has she been as angry as she was during those three months.

In the afternoon I went to City Hall for the 50th anniversary celebrations. I was excited to see Jordan John play – I’d first seen him years ago when he opened for Aretha Franklin. He’s not even 30 and already an amazing blues musician. His father is Prakash John (legendary Canadian bassist). It was nice to see people out celebrating and enjoying live music on this cold, rainy day. He ended his set with “We want the funk” and we all sang along and danced.

You’ve got a real type of thing going down, gettin’ down
There’s a whole lot of rhythm going round.