Hi there! I'm Tasneem, a PhD student and registered nurse. If you're a Harry Potter fan like me, you'll understand what I mean when I call this blog a PhD student's pensive Pensieve. Basically, a Pensieve is a place to store memories, thoughts and ideas when the ol' hard drives gets full. Revisiting them in a few years' time will be fun, I'm sure! So Join me as I explore the world of research, academia, health care, travel, food, photography, the internet and so much more!
I’m at peace when there are few humans around me. When I’m experiencing the sheer beauty and vastness of the scene before me and it’s just me and the world – a silent yet devastatingly expressive entity. I revel in my existence and my freedom, and feel truly, deeply grateful for being there to witness such a moment.
I recently rediscovered suminagashi, a Japanese paper marbling art, after 20 years.
When I was around ten years old, we had a suminagashi activity in my classroom. I remember quite enjoying the process of playing with dyes, swirling them around in water, and capturing a cool snapshot of that movement.
I made a couple of creations, and took them home at the end of the day. I tucked them somewhere in the back of a folder…and there they stayed – for two decades.
Until I found them recently, still in great condition! I marvelled at how pretty they were. I decided to frame them both, and now they hang in my apartment as wonderfully modern art pieces that I created as a child!
I’ve decided to revisit suminagashi, and rekindle that creative spark!
I purchased this marbling kit, which I will experiment with in the coming weeks. So watch this space!
You know, it’s funny. Sometimes, it takes days, weeks, months or even years to reflect on things that have happened to you and decide whether those experiences were good or not. Nearly three months after the event, I find myself offended and saddened by something I ignored at the time. I was on a cruise, about to begin an afternoon of kayaking in New Caledonia. The French kayak company owner tried to start a conversation with me by asking what I thought was “Are you on the cruise?”
He had a rather thick accent and didn’t fully grasp English vocabulary, so I paused before answering, thinking of other possible words of similar phonetics that would apply in this context. I couldn’t come up with any, so I said “Yes”.
Then later when we had a break, we had another short exchange, and that’s when realisation dawned. He had actually asked me if I was on the *crew*. The ship crew. I didn’t hear him ask anyone else the same question. I was dressed in casual clothes, like everyone else. What was it that made him assume? What was it about my appearance that made me different? Well, I was the only person of colour on the tour. Is that what it was all about? Or am I reading into this too much?
I thought about it some more after learning about these brilliant online tests for unconscious bias and realised that we all have them, and some are more conscious than unconscious! I must say that it’s a sad reflection of the world economy and order that none of the wait staff I encountered on board were Caucasian and yet all of the ship’s entertainment team was, with the exception of one possibly Hispanic dancer (an assumption of my own). My point is this: it’s not enough to admit we have unconscious biases. We have to ask ourselves – why? And what next? Because if we don’t answer these questions, nothing will ever change. And I will never realise my dream of becoming a cruise entertainer!