Identifying with All Humanity: Bahrain Story #45
#100 Bahrain Stories is the beautiful brainchild of Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir. As an Australian writer with Indian and Pakistani heritage, Tanzeel relocated to the small Gulf island of Bahrain several years ago and embarked upon a personal project to interview 100 people from all walks of life in her new tiny island home. TCK TOWN is proud and excited to be able to share the stories from some of the 100 inspiring people that were interviewed. The stories have even been published as a book. Take a look at the end of this article to find out where you can purchase it. We hope you enjoy this series as much as we do!
"The Middle East was not unfamiliar to me when I arrived here in 2006 to work as a lecturer at the RCSI-Bahrain. In the 1970s, I had lived in Kuwait for several years with my parents. We were Indian expats, my parents hailing from Goa and Mangalore.
By the end of that decade, our family migrated to Florida, USA. Spending my teenage years in Miami was quite a culture shock for a girl from India via Kuwait. There were no other Indians around us, and I'm sure it was a lonely and sometimes disconcerting experience for my parents raising my siblings and I in a new, unfamiliar culture. Having said that, America was fabulous in many ways. It gave me the freedom to explore who I wanted to be in the absence of cultural limitations. In the States no one cares who you are or who your parents are. I was grateful for the positives, but I never really felt totally American.
I studied neurobiology, physiology and biochemistry and eventually became a scientist. I worked hard, living and breathing science, but during my college days I also became passionate about dance and following a period of chronic back pain, I fell in love with yoga too. The precision and healing qualities of yoga were life-changing for me.
I see science and creativity in all that I do. The practice of yoga is a science. There is a body of knowledge that lays the foundation, but applying that knowledge requires observation and experimentation. At the same time, the field of science can be incredibly creative. Of course science needs structure and discipline, but to make discoveries, you have to be ready to jump in the deep end. Coming to Bahrain has given me pause for reflection and time to appreciate the presence of both science and creativity in my life.
My husband and I became first-time parents after we arrived in Bahrain. Whilst the move provided a work-life balance that I'm not sure I would have had in the States, I decided to leave my job as a lecturer to concentrate on raising our child a couple of years after our daughter’s birth. My husband and I also made the decision to homeschool her. For our daughter, we have adapted a self-directed learning approach and are guided by her interests. We want her to see that there are many ways to learn and that education is a life-long journey. I do my best to be a constant example of this. I have trained in various yoga techniques including yoga for special needs, family and pre-natal yoga. I am also currently pursuing an end of life training course examining the cross-cultural nature of life and death.
We live in Amwaj and it suits our lifestyle. It's a place where I can expand into space, take walks on the beach with my family and enjoy a simple life. I have come to realise that I don't have to decide whether I am American or Indian, or even Irish like my husband. I identify with humanity above everything else. At home I have a little altar where I pay my respects to each faith. It is a recognition of the many forms of God or higher power and a reminder that there exists an ever-present and greater force than myself."
Interviewee: Maharani Lavina Faleiro from USA (via Kuwait), India and Ireland. Living in Bahrain.
*RCSI-Bahrain = Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Bahrain Campus)
The #100 Bahrain Stories book is currently available at Neo Books and Coffee and all Jashanmal Bookstores in Bahrain. If you are not in Bahrain and would like to order a copy, please email: email@example.com.