Sunday, December 20, 2015

Across The Arid Lands

Last month, I finally saw Saudi Arabia. I say "finally" because not a day goes by in the house without mentioning this country. My parents-in-law have called this country home for many years now. Mom and Dad stay in Dammam, which is in the eastern province of the country. And since the day I became a part of the family, Mom wanted me to visit Saudi. It was with her insistence and persistence that my passport was processed. 

Az and I went to Saudi Arabia for two weeks. A road-trip was planned in the first week of our stay. We were to visit Medina and Mecca. The route planned was Dammam--Riyadh (1 night stay)--Medina (2 nights stay)--Mecca--Jeddah (2 nights stay)--Dammam. As much I enjoyed the entire trip, it was the drive across the country that I enjoyed the most.

Our route
We drove around 3160 km in the round trip. It was Mom, Dad, Az and myself. The men shared the driving. Anyways women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Coming from India, Saudi highways seemed like drivers' paradise.

I had never rode through a desert before and so I was pretty excited. I was fascinated by the camels. I had always known that camels are of brown colour. I was amazed when I saw black and white camels out there. On both sides of the highway, camels grazed with their herders nearby. It were those areas where there were sparse vegetation. One time, we stopped by the road and there were camels near the fence. I went down to the fence to look at them closely. They were the white ones. Two of them came over to me. May be they hoped to get some treats from me. They lunged their long necks over the wired fence close to me head. I wanted to reach out to them with my hand. But I feared that my hand would go into the mouth! I managed to click a few candid pictures. The poor camels were disappointed about the treats. Dad called me to get bananas for them from the car. By the time I was back with the bananas, they had moved on.

The Smiling Camels

At one point of time, the sand looked golden brown in the late afternoon sun. And there were black camels who specked the sandy horizon. It looked so mesmerizing. Unfortunately I couldn't capture the view in a picture. Nevertheless, it will always be etched in my memory.

There were also dates farm by the road. So much green at once stood out immensely in the brown arid terrain. 

A Dates Farm
Then there was stretch of rocky hills. They were bare except some sparse grass. It was dusk when were crossing them, and the setting red sun played hide and seek with them. It was beautiful.

Apart from the smooth roads, another thing which made the road-trip comfortable was the availability of amenities at regular intervals. Wherever there were fuel-stations, there were mosques, restrooms, departmental stores and eateries. Except a couple of them, all restrooms were clean. We had a steady supply of fluids and munchies. Good music and a portable internet device kept us entertained and connected.

There were check posts from time to time. As we approached them, we would turn off the music, I would cover my head and roll down the driver's window. There were also speed detectors along the highway  and the speed limit for private vehicles was 120 kmph. But of course vehicles were running at greater speeds. And whenever one vehicle would spot a speed detector box, it would blink its lights to warn the others. Such empathy!


The Symmetric Hill

When I look at the map now, I realize that we drove ened-to-end across the country horizontally, from the Gulf of Persia to the Red Sea. Sometimes I enjoy the roads more than the destinations. The Saudi road-trip was definitely one of those times. Looking forward to more.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The "Good" News

Ever since I got married, "Any/When's the good news?" has become a FAQ.

Seriously, why do people have so much of interest in other people's family planning? As if relatives were not enough, leg-pulling friends and random people have hopped onto the bandwagon as well. Sometimes I wonder if the sole purpose of getting married is to be become a licensed child-producing machine.

In my opinion, whether to or when to have a child is a very private matter. But unfortunately, it is, too, a private and most interesting topic for all the Aunties I encounter. How irritating is that when you meet some random Aunty for the first time and she asks in a chirpy voice, "So when are you giving the good news? Are you planning or have you not thought about it at all?" My silent voice says, "Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh". Usually I say, "Not planning now." But off-late I am giving different responses. I flash my best smile and say, "No comments!" or "I can give you a good news right away but depends what kind of good news you want to hear!" And sometimes I respond in an astonished tone, "Good news? What good news?" 

Sometimes such a Aunty (sometimes a Uncle too!) would point to a child and say, "You also  bring a tiny one like this." And my silent voice says, "Yeah, next time I shall bring a random child along. After all, I just need to "bring" a child". Aunties-in-law say, "We want a little one to play with. You just give birth, we will look after the baby." My silent voice now (along with silent eye-rolling), "As if!!!!"

Then there are the young and new mothers. They would huff and puff with their crying bundles, share their owes and then ask the FAQ with a sweet smile. My silent voice then, "Oh! They are just jealous that I am not miserable with crying babies." Off-late, my friends (yes, the guys too) have started to mime the FAQ.

So what's the good news? The good news is winter is here. The good news is I took a vacation. The good news is I am doing well professionally. The good news is I am reading an awesome book. The good news is I have been blessed with an amazing family. The good news is I am happy today. The good news is it's weekend. As far as the good news you want to hear is concerned, "NO COMMENTS!"

A version of this post was published in Women's Web on 16th May 2016.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Kitchen and the Magic Sink

Maa had always warned us about the kitchen. She says that once you enter it, you cannot come out of it easily. After getting married, I finally realized that she could not have been more right.

Apart from Az, I share my marital home with his two siblings and three cousins. And when seven people use the kitchen you can imagine the length of disorganization. Initially I tried to keep the kitchen stuff in order and organized. But alas! It is not possible. As the saying goes. "Too many cooks spoil the broth", I say, "Too many undisciplined users mess up the kitchen". Everything in it is everybody's business but end up being nobody's business.

In the initial days, I tried to keep the kitchen neat and tidy. The fact that I was not working for some time allowed me to do so. Well, frankly I don't like cleaning up after anyone and things did irritate me, and sometimes they still do. But after almost three years, things are much better now. Given that the other members of house always had their mothers and aunts to clean up after them, they have come a long way.

Oh yes!
The kitchen sink intrigues me the most. When you think that you have done all the dishes, a spoon, a bowl or glass magically appears in the sink. It was made clear in the house that each of us is supposed to clean the dishes we use and the members do not fail to follow the mandate to the tee. The existing dishes in the sink are not done except the self-used! Used tumblers, plates, etc. lying around the house are seen but not picked up. Filial love goes for a toss when it comes to dirty dishes. And magically enough, we mostly don't find out is responsible for the dirty dishes. Also excuses like "I was getting late", "my sleeves would get wet", "I had to study" or "I would do it later" are given to leave dirty dishes in the sink. So it is actually a couple of people who end up doing most of the cleaning and scrubbing. I feel that the kitchen sink is absolutely magical for it is seldom empty for long.
The kitchen is seriously a time-consuming place. But, of course, only to people who want to see it in order. I have put up my white flag to the fact that I cannot have kitchen or the house in the order that I wish to. But I can't see it in a mess either. So when I can, I try to straighten it up. But it is a never-ending task! The worst part is the process results in a foul mood. And every time, Az says that I should not enter the kitchen. But I am unable to explain my fear to him that being the woman of the house, the blame of the untidy kitchen or house is on me. To a person who visits us, it is immaterial that the house is full of men, or that I am working or that I was never responsible for such a household before. I feel I am under the scanner all the time. Being a married woman is such a domestic responsibility in our world. I am sure all young married ladies would relate to the way I feel.

To have a spotless kitchen (and a home) is every woman's dream; or rather you can say we are socially conditioned to have this dream.  But it is exhausting as well as frustrating for any single person to clean and scrub everything. Food is important and essential to everyone but the kitchen is not. When every family member understands the significance of a clean kitchen and is empathetic to each other, only then the kitchen will become a magical and loving place to be. 
On a closing note :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Metro Tales#2: The Mad Rush

Delhi Metro has become the popular means of public transport for Delhites. It is keeping thousands of commuters off the roads. Just imagine if all those who commute by the metro start taking the roads, what would be the traffic conditions! But traveling by the metro during the peak hours is a mini battle too.

While commuting to office, I travel partly by road and partly by the metro. Currently, I need to travel only for a few stations, but getting in and getting out of the coach is no ordinary feat. When the trains are running on time and the train frequency is higher, the crowd don't accumulate on the platforms. But even if a single train is delayed and the crowd builds up at the station, the rush becomes cumulative. On bad days, the queue at the entry gates (yes, main entrance to the station) goes up to the footpath outside. On other bad days, you have to skip train after train because they are already over-stuffed to get in. On such days, the passengers on the platform would actually plead with those inside to make some space for them as they had already skipped several trains.

As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I always prefer traveling in the women's coach. Here I don't have to worry about inappropriate body brushing or inappropriate glances or stares, however crowded the coach is. While commuting to office, I need to board by one door and  de-board by the opposite door. So as soon as I get in, I start to make my way to the opposite side. Even doing that sometimes takes a couple of stations! The other morning, it was a case of delayed trains and the crowd was slowly building up. Luckily I could stuff myself inside the coach. But at every station, the doors were closing, reopening and then again closing several times, indicating that few or more doors were not closing properly. The reasons are again various. There might be some passengers standing next to the doors and their belongings are obstructing the doors. There might be someone who is trying to squeeze inside through the closing doors. There are even some desperate passengers who try to push apart the closing doors to get inside. That day, I believe, all of these were happening at every station. At one station, the driver actually came out and started to shout, "What the hell are you doing? Are you insane? Move away from the train!"

During the peak hours traveling in Delhi Metro is a competition. Everybody is running, pushing and shoving. "Me first" is the motto. Let me share a few things that passengers do to board the train first:
  1. They will try to bypass the queue and put their bags first on the scanning belt--On several occasions, I have fellow passengers shooing away such intruders rudely and effectively.
  2. They will try to bypass the queue at the entry gates after the security check--Here also I have seen such intruders shooed away.
  3. They will not stand in queue at the marked entry points to board the train on the platform. Even if queues are formed, they will not be respected--There was a time when I used to see queues but no more. Now it's only a crowd of people ready to push and shove. Even the security staff are not able to control crowds while boarding trains. In most stations, such staff are missing on the platforms.
  4. They will stand beyond the demarcated yellow line on the platform--If you are standing at the yellow line, come lady would come stand ahead of you which is actually beyond the permitted area. They don't understand that that are jeopardizing your own safety.
  5. They will not allow the de-boarding passengers to come out, but shove them back inside so that they get in first.--Once during Diwali season, I could not get down from the train at a station where I needed to change trains. Ultimately I had to get down at another station and take the road. It is continuously announced that passengers waiting on the platform should allow the passengers to de-board first. But the pulp-brains don't get it that they will have space only when passengers get out!  
Everyday I wonder when will most Delhites start traveling in the metro rail in a disciplined manner? We need to understand that we need to facilitate the smooth running of this service especially during the mad rush hours. If we obstruct the closing of doors on time, we are only contributing to delays and consequently to more crowd. Do you have any such mad rush metro stories to share?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

3-Day-3-Quote Challenge (Day #3)

Fellow blogger and dear friend Madhusmita from Dreamz and Clouds nominated me for the 3-Day-3-Quote Challenge. 

The rules of the challenge are to post a favourite quote for 3 consecutive days and pass on the challenge to one blogger each day.

I came across the above quote few weeks back and it really struck me. In reality, how many women can actually be herself? Some way or the other she is "tamed" to behave in socially acceptable ways. What do you think?

Today's nominee: Choki Gyeitshen at Journey With Choki G

Read Day #1 post.
Read Day #2 post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3-Day-3-Quote Challenge (Day #2)

Fellow blogger and dear friend Madhusmita from Dreamz and Clouds nominated me for the 3-Day-3-Quote Challenge. 

The rules of the challenge are to post a favourite quote for 3 consecutive days and pass on the challenge to one blogger each day.
The above quote is from Winnie-the-Pooh series. And it is the quoted by the boy character 'Christopher Robin'. I find this quote very motivational.

Today's nominee: Namrata at Wrapped Up In Thoughts.

Read Day #1 post.

Monday, July 27, 2015

3-Day-3-Quote Challenge (Day #1)

Fellow blogger and dear friend Madhusmita from Dreamz and Clouds nominated me for the 3-Day-3-Quote Challenge. 

The rules of the challenge are to post a favourite quote for 3 consecutive days and pass on the challenge to one blogger each day.

The above quote is my current favourite. I could not find the original author of this quote. Truly said, isn't it! In pursuit of becoming important, people often forget to be nice. I believe if you are nice, you have already become important.

Today's nominee: Pratikshya at Magic Moments.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Fading of Handwriting
Sometime back, I started noticing that my handwriting has worsen. More importantly, I realized that my hand seems rigid on holding a pen and it refuses to move across the page lucidly. I literally have to force my hand to make my cursive right. My hand stiffens as I try to write as if it were a freezing winter morning. The curves sometimes become sharper and sometimes more slanted. It is even becoming difficult to put down my proper signature on official documents.  And this really worries me.

When was the last time you had written some long notes by hand? Personally I don't really remember when I did. All that we really write these days are small notes here and there. We don't even use a pen in several days together. All day long we can find ourselves tapping away on the keyboards of our desktops/laptops and smartphones. Previously when I had to go shopping, I would scribble down a list and place it in my bag. These days I make that list on my phone. The culture of writing by hand is definitely on the downside. My imagery fears that one day mankind would no longer know how to write by hand and typing would become the new handwriting.

The same fear made me 'google' the issue "Handwriting vs. Typing". Let me share a couple of interesting articles I found on the same:

Whatever be the pros and cons of hand-writing or typing, I believe hand-writing is so much more humane. Remember how in school, we were rebuked for our clumsy handwriting! Additional marks were given in tests for neat handwriting. I studied in a missionary school and was taught to write in cursive. About a year back, I saw a lady writing in a specific cursive handwriting similar to mine and I couldn't resist asking if she did her schooling from a missionary school. And she indeed had!

Then who can beat the charm of a handwritten letter! When Az was away abroad for a couple of years, email and phone-calls kept us connected. But still I would write him a letter on special occasions. I believe handwritten letters are so much more romantic and intimate. As a kid, Namz and I would write a lot of letters and wait in anticipation of their replies. Nothing can beat the sheer joy of opening and holding a handwritten letter. (My old post 'Days of Letters') And what a joy to open a yellowed letter after many years!

With the ease of technology to tap away words, it needs conscious efforts to use more of pen and paper. I try to write to-do notes everyday, that being the only things I actually have to write down. When I feel like writing a post or an article I do that virtually as it gives me the ease of editing and rewriting without leaving scratched out words or sentences. It becomes the fair copy without actually having to make one. Until a few months back, I was maintaining a personal journal. That at least had me writing long notes from time to time. Now I am not even doing that. Most people today maintain e-journals, once again eroding the age-old charm of handwritten stuff. 

In the present day, where kids are learning to use technology first and the alphabet later, handwriting seriously seems to be fading away. With that, I wonder, what will become of sciences like graphology and arts like calligraphy. How will we scribble notes on the margins of books and personal work to leave a trail? Shall we be curbed of the three-dimensional freedom we have with a pen and paper? Shall we limit the use of hand movement (while writing) like we have done to our legs?

The fading of handwriting saddens me as well as scares me. How does the same make you feel?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Humbled By Fasting

Today is the 19th day of Ramadan. During this month, the most frequent question that I am asked is if I, too, am fasting. When I answer in affirmative, the next immediate question is "Why?"

Now this "Why?" is a tricky as well as an important question. Tricky because the questioner tries to find out if I am being forced to fast (most of them think that); important because I feel responsible to present the correct picture.

A very few people actually believe me when I say that I am not forced to fast and that I fast because I like or want to. Most of them even blurt out that my husband should not ask me to fast, that I should be allowed at least to drink water. My poor husband. Well, I seriously fast because I like to. No one in my marital home, including Az, has ever asked me to fast. In fact Az's relatives are surprised when they learn I fast too. 

In a Muslim home, Ramadan is a festival. We enjoy fasting together. Our plans and routine revolve around it the entire month. Even the members who are not fasting don't really feel like eating much during the day. So it is really difficult not to want to fast. Also, once you observe the fast in the proper manner (eating just before sunrise and breaking fast at sunset), the body gets habituated and the fast becomes doable. And when you finally break your fast at sunset, the feeling of gratitude humbles you immensely.

Funnily, when I am not fasting I am again asked "Why?". This question, too, demands a responsible answer. Most non-Muslims have varying notions regarding Ramadan. Many believe that all Muslims have to fast during Ramadan, or that if they start fasting they have to continue the entire month. So I need to provide the correct information. Well, one may not fast on various grounds like traveling, health issues, pregnancy, etc. Exemptions from fasting and means to compensate have also been clearly defined. (Click for details)

Fasting during Ramadan is not a burden (Read my post The Gift of Ramadan). It is not just about physical fasting. It is about self-restraint and abstaining from all things negative. It teaches us to appreciate everything that we have been granted. Last but not the least, it instills in us empathy and humility.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sharing Love

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Madhusmita at "Dreamz and Clouds" nominated me to 'Share Love'. It was early April and I was doing the "atozchallenge 2015" the whole month. I promised her that I would take up her nomination after that but it is already one and a half months since then. Sorry girl!

Once I accept the nomination, I need to do the following:
  1. Write about LOVE in ten lines of 4 words each
  2. Share my favourite quote on love
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers
My ten lines on love:
"With a little love
In our hearts galore
Let us go on
In this beautiful world
And beautify it more

Love is the reason
We're alive and kicking
A smile, some kindness
Love is the stardust
In our languid lives"

I absolutely love the following  lines by Robert Browning:

“Grow old along with me! 
The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. 
Our times are in his hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, youth shows but half; 
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” 

My 10 nominations:

Friday, June 5, 2015

An Equal World

We always talk and dream about an equal world for men and women. Maybe, we should start with boys and girls. An equal world is not built overnight, but over generations.

I am often termed a feminist. The reasons are the obvious. I am opinionated, I am vocal about my thoughts, advocate gender equality and believe that women are in no way inferior to men. I am said to be biased in my views about women. Yes, and I am unabashed about it. In this men’s world, it is really hard to be a woman.

Gender inequality is not new. From time immemorial, women have been made to believe that they are inferior to men. That they are just objects of desire, created to satisfy men. That women are assets, just like land and wealth. That they are meant to be ruled and possessed. These thoughts have been embedded so deep into our culture that it has become a part of our social DNA. And this culture is the foundation of all crimes against women and several social evils like rape, honour killings, domestic violence, abuse and molestation, dowry and female foeticide.

I am thankful to God that I was born into a family that never saw daughters as a burden. I am grateful to my parents who educated my sister and myself, and enabled us to be financially and mentally independent. I am so happy that they brought us up like sons. But sadly there were relatives who had questioned their decision to educate us to higher levels. Many at times, aunties have expressed their shock on finding out that we didn’t have a brother or my mother did not have a son.

I am not looked upon kindly when I say that just because I am a woman, it does not mean that I should love to cook and clean. I am not applauded when I say that men of the house should share the household chores. I am told that kitchen is my temple and cooking for the family is my worship. The fact that I don’t like cooking causes many people to choke. At work, I am looked at negatively when I refuse to work on holidays and say that I have family commitments. When I say that as a married woman I need to balance work and home, unkind eyes look at me as if to say, “Why the hell are you working then?”. In interviews, I am asked if I am planning to start a family. In my society, most men view their wives’ jobs as a pastime, rather than a necessity. A friend recently had a baby and when I asked about her career plans, her husband said, “Now, it is not feasible and later, it would be her wish. Anyways, what is the need!”

When I got married and was leaving my job back home to relocate, one of my seniors told me that it is tough for a married woman to balance work and home, and that many people don’t understand that. And he wished me luck. I wished more men thought like him.

Sadly, it is also women who make lives of other women miserable. Instead of becoming allies, we often become competitors and fight for attention and power. At home, instead of teaching equality between her children, a mother teaches her son to be tough and her daughter to be submissive. A mother-in-law rebukes her son when he tries to help around the house and insists that the daughter-in-law takes care of everything. It is preached that family and home is the only career of a married woman. At work, instead of coming to each others’ rescue, we waste our time pulling each other down. Stay-at-home mothers do not leave any chance to taunt working mothers about their children’s well-being. We have to understand that it is only together that we can move forward to a world where men and women are truly equal. We need to watch out for each other and take care of each other.

From the time we are born, we are taught to behave in a certain way. Girls are taught to be soft-spoken, well-behaved, coy, love the colour pink, play with dolls, be submissive and homely, not to have opinions, not to speak their minds and to feel inferior to boys. Boys are taught to be tough, make decisions, be the breadwinners, hate the colour pink, play with cars and swords, not to do any household chores and to be superior to girls.

So, to achieve gender equality, it is not just enough to teach girls that they are as good as boys. It is also necessary to teach boys that it is okay to cry, that it is okay to not be tough always, and that it is okay to like the colour pink.

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” ― Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

I have said this earlier, and I am saying this again; it is not just enough to bring up our daughters like sons. Nothing will change until we start bringing up our sons like daughters. And only then, an equal world for both men and women would become a reality.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Metro Tales #1: Specky

Ever since i arrived in Delhi, I have always preferred Delhi Metro Rail to any other public transport. I usually travel in the designated women's compartment (Read my post 'The Pink Zone') and one can see all kinds of dynamics at this place. However, there are interesting things happening all around in Delhi Metro.

A few days back, as I was commuting to office in the morning, I was standing near the door which would open at my station. Once I board, after a couple of stations the opposite door starts to open at the stations. At the same door, a girl wearing spectacles was sitting comfortably on the floor, engrossed in the book that she was reading. She must be traveling from a distant station as the same door have not opened for quite some time now. At the next station however, the door was going to open. But I guessed, she did not realize that it was time to get away from it. Suddenly, I heard a voice behind me calling out.

Girl: "Hello! Excuse me! Hello Specky!" Specky finally looks up from her book.
Girl: "The door is going to open at the next station." Specky gets up hurriedly, brushes off her back and gathers her belongings. And then suddenly she reacts.
Specky (angrily): "By the way, what did you call me? Specky? Very smart huh!"
Girl (sarcastically): "Thank you. I was trying to call you. But you could not hear me."
Specky (rudely):  "By the way, that was sarcasm. But you could not understand."

I could not help but smile inwardly thinking who was the one being sarcastic and who was the one who could not understand. And instead of being grateful that the doors did not open against her back, Specky tried her hand at being sarcastic.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Share The Load

The last week had been a busy one. Az (my husband) and I were visiting my parents in Assam the previous week. So office last week was quite hectic with workload. Plus it was six days working for me. Each day I wished I could sleep a little longer in the mornings. So I was truly looking forward to today, the coveted Sunday.

But in the morning, somebody rang the doorbell. It was the newspaper boy with the bill. Az took care of it. After that he could not sleep and so decided to get up for the day. But he let me sleep. He did the laundry while I slept. He took care when one of the brothers got up. I finally left the bed half an hour before noon and made his cup of morning tea. He likes my tea and it had been sometime since I had made him some.

I cooked lunch while he helped with the dirty dishes. In the late afternoon, I tended to my plants. I had to change the soil and it is difficult for me to carry down the heavy pots from the balcony slabs. So Az was there, ready to help me. He even fixed the loosened plant shelf which he had made on the side wall. Finally it was he who did all the cleaning up.

After freshening up, I went off to cook dinner. And after sometime he was there again to help me in the kitchen. He finished off by scrubbing the kitchen sink, clean and shiny. Thanks to him, I finished off my chores fast and I am writing this post before the deadline.

I am not writing this post to declare to the public how sweet and caring my husband is. I am just sharing an example as to how sharing the household chores can help bringing about harmony and love in our homes. 
Sharing household chores puts the family members on an equal footing and leads to more quality time with each other as well as results in success for the household. Sharing household chores is also another way couples can spend more time with each other. The act of sharing also results in increase of love and respect towards each other. The act itself expresses love and care.

There is absolutely no shame in men sharing household chores. A man helping with the housework is nothing but sheer manly. It shows that he cares. It shows that he respects. And such a man gets immense love, respect and care in return.
I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association with Ariel.

The previous posts for the same activity:
  1. The Official Laundry Officer
  2. Sharing the Laundry Job

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z for Zainul

'Zainul Abedin' is the name of one of my husband's dearest friends. Although they are from the same neighbourhood, they became fast friends only during their graduation days. We all were in the same college. And today, he is no longer just a friend but a brother and family.

It's a boy name.
Meaning: Ornament of the Worshipers/Best of Worshipers (of Allah)

I am taking part in the Blogging From #AtoZChallenge [April 2015].