Friday, March 30, 2012


 I talk to myself. I dream my life out loud.

I sit on the plane, seat 16D, and I see a little boy playing a game on his phone as we sail through the skies. But I’m not really watching him play…instead I’m seeing myself living inside that game. I’m scaling castle walls and hiding behind corners, anxiously waiting to pounce on my enemy. I feel powerful and invincible as I slay dragons and save princes.

I blink and look out the window.

I see cumulus clouds for miles and miles, with bright sunlight filtering through. I imagine laying on the soft grass with my very best friends, shaking with laughter, brimming with joy, overcome with happiness. I don’t even know what we’re laughing about, and it doesn’t even matter.

The sunlight breaks.

I see your shadow in the distance.  I am drawn to your aura. Mesmerized by your persona.  I feel myself float to you, encouraged by curiosity, yet assured by your calming presence. I peer into fawn-like eyes, struck by the honesty behind your gaze, as you boldly reach for my hand. A sense of peace envelops me. The anxious rhythm of my heart drops to a steady beat that is perfectly timed with yours.

As we turn, I walk tall with the knowledge of battles fought, my ears still tingle with lingering laughter behind me, and I only feel possibility ahead.

I talk to myself. I dream my life out loud. I don’t know what it means. But it is who I am.  

This post was inspired by one of my favorite poems, that I have loved since I was thirteen. Dream Variations by Langston Hughes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Mostly mine, a few borrowed from friends, and some found online; yet all experienced by South Asian women everywhere…these are brown girl problems.

Having curfew in high school. #whitegirlproblems. Having curfew till marriage. #browngirlproblems

Hiding in your closet because it’s the only way to talk on the phone at 3:00 a.m. #browngirlproblems

Walking around with an umbrella in the summer so that you don’t get any darker. #browngirlproblems

Smelling pakoray everywhere you go. #browngirlproblems

Craving chai in the middle of the day when all you have is coffee at work. #browngirlproblems

Voicemail from mom on Eid: “Eid Mubarak! Don’t do batameezy at the masjid.” #browngirlproblems

Your parents buy you clothes that are too big so you can grow into them and wear them for years to come. #browngirlproblems

Getting a 98 on a really hard test only to be lectured on how it wasn’t a 100++ (which doesn’t even exist). #browngirlproblems

Being asked what your in-laws will think, even when you don’t even have a fiancĂ©. #browngirlproblems

Being on a first name basis with your eyebrow and waxing lady because you see her weekly. #browngirlproblems

When watching TV with your parents, you change the channel as soon as you think there may any hugging or kissing. #browngirlproblems

Having to serve chai to people and realizing that they might be your future in laws. #browngirlproblems

Shaking hands with all your guy friends because you’re not allowed to hug boys. #browngirlproblems

That awkward moment when a teacher tries to pronounce your name and the entire class stares at you... #browngirlproblems

Learning how to dance in a sari. #browngirlproblems

Teaching your mom how to email so that she can send your bio-data to other brown aunties. #browngirlproblems

Trying to explain “no chemistry” when saying no to your aunts bestfriend’s cousin’s son’s rishta. #browngirlproblems

Knowing that the only one checking you out at brown parties are other brown aunties. #browngirlproblems

Your mom saves for your wedding before she saves for college. #browngirlproblems

Losing your chapals at the masjid. #browngirlproblems

When you start rhyming things that shouldn’t or don’t rhyme…chai shai, party sharty… #browngirlproblems

Growing up, my mom told me not to talk to boys. Now she keeps asking me why I'm not married yet…#browngirlproblems

Disclaimer: I do not advocate or condone any of the stereotypes associated with the statements listed above…but I will say they happen. Ask any Brown Girl ;)

Oh and a special shout out to the awesome friend who recommended this topic. Your #unsolicitedsuggestion is greatly appreciated :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So if you’re an avid Sex and the City junkie, like most of my girlfriends and me, you already know what SSB is...(season 4, episode 13, circa 2002). But for those few of you “unenlightened” ones, let me explain: Secret Single Behaviors would be those things that some of us indulge in without the consent or knowledge of anyone else, especially significant others. It’s those uncharacteristic behaviors that take place in the hidden corners of our rooms, doors locked, unknown to the outside world or our inner circle. Simply put, it’s things we do that we want no one else to know about because its either too embarrassing or its just more fun when its shh! a secret ;)

Ok so I can’t write this post without divulging my SSB. No, I don’t stack saltines like Carrie or eat tubs of ice cream in front of the tube, watching KKUWTK. But I do blast Natalie Merchant while pouring over wedding websites like and endlessly search youtube for gems like this (<-- click on link!), which by the way still makes me tear up every time I watch.
But as much as I’m in love with Love and Weddings and Bollywood Endings, I think I may be more in love with my secret single behaviors. Or rather having the luxury of indulging in them completely at my discretion. And I have to admit, as a single twenty-something-year-old, I love my life exactly how it is and consider myself blessed every single day.
I’m not saying that I don’t want to share myself with someone else; I most certainly look forward to that part of my life.  And I’m sure whenever that does happen, we’ll have some wonderful married behaviors (WMBs) as well. Still, what I love most about SSBs is that they’re not only things you do by yourself, you do them for yourself. Comforting little rituals or indulgences, just idiosyncratic enough to raise an eyebrow, but innocuous enough that they can’t really be explained—which is perfectly acceptable.
They do say that one day, when you least expect it, you’ll meet that one person who will change your life forever. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t, that’s all in God’s capable hands. But for now, I’m perfectly happy hairbrush in hand, belting some Ms. Merchant, alone in my room :D

Ps. I’d love to hear all about your secret single behaviors, I know they’re slyly hidden away ;)

Friday, August 5, 2011


If it looks like a duck, if it waddles like a duck and quacks like one too…it ain’t a peacock

Why is it so difficult sometimes to accept the situation for what it is, to see the person for who they truly are? Sometimes, as human beings who live and love, I feel that we fail to recognize things for what they are and instead only focus on how we want them to be.

a bubble of comfort.

The thing I’m coming to recognize more and more each day is that most people show you who they are before you even realize it. Sometimes we just want someone to be something so badly that we fail to take them at face value—both in good ways and bad. And in the end, it only brings us disappointment.

evasion of reality.

If he says he's gonna call but never does or only texts instead, he's just not interested. If your boss tells you they really want you to grow in your professional career but never offers those opportunities, they don’t mean it. If that one friend only reaches out when they need something, they aren’t as good of a friend as you think. And honestly, that’s ok. It is what it is and there’s not much you can do about it.

c’est la vie.

Ok so I know this all probably sounds a bit gloomy…and a little unlike me. I’m most definitely the “I see good in everyone, we are all happy, shiny people” kinda of a person. But more recently I’ve been questioning why I do that, is it really a good thing, and where it’s gotten me so far.

I’m not saying lose all hope. I don’t advocate lowering expectations just so you aren’t disappointed. That’s not realistic. We are people. And people have expectations. But I do believe in aligning our expectations with the truth of the situation at hand.  So that disappointment doesn’t hit as hard. And joy is more pure.

When you start to form a more realistic view of the world, based on realistic expectations, the highs becoming higher and hope takes on a new meaning. When people surprise you, they really surprise you and it’s a good thing. No, it’s a great thing! You learn to appreciate and cherish the authentic relationships, the true friendships, the “do what you say, say what you mean” kinda people in your life in a whole new way.

And you become that for other people too. Accountability, responsibility, commitment all become such true concepts with real, lived meaning. A meaning found in expectations, grounded in reality.

On most days, there’s not much you can do about the things that happen to you. But you can control how you react to all that is happening. For me, that starts with being more aware of myself, understanding the expectations I place on people and situations, and trying my best to see things for what they truly are.  Only by working on myself and focusing on what I can control, will I get to a place of greater understanding and appreciation.  

Good intentions, a pure heart, yet eyes always wide open. Just so I can tell if it’s a duck or a peacock ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011


Warning: I am THAT girl.

Yes, I am the girl who loves Valentine’s Day and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I’m the girl who wears red on February 14th every year. I am the girl who stays up late the night before baking up a storm of heart shaped cookies, pink frosted cupcakes, and sprinkled everything to give to anyone and everyone who may cross my path on the day o’ love. And yes, I am the girl who secretly makes plans to watch all the awful, sappy romantic comedies that make me sigh and send my heart a flutter.

In fact, I would even say that I love Valentine’s Day more than my birthday. I’ve always loved it, for as long as I can remember, regardless of my “relationship status.”

I love Valentine’s Day because for me it represents one day when you can unabashedly, unequivocally express all the mushy, gushy feelings your heart desires. Just thinking about telling those nearest and dearest to me how much I care about them makes my heart happy. And yes, I know I have 364 days to do exactly what I do on February 14th but something about one day solely dedicated to honoring love is just so powerful and contagious.

Now, I know what the naysayers declare. Commercialization, blahblahblah. St. who yaddayadda but I say so what?! For one moment, look beyond all that and just think, just think…all across the world, people from all walks of life, in a million different circumstances are united in the knowledge that February 14th is for love. And whether you share with your partner, your parents, or just your pets, that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you care about someone, and are cared for in return, just can’t be beat.

So on this day of love, stop to not just smell the roses but to give one to someone you really care about. Trust me, you’ll make their day and feel pretty great about yourself too.

Like I said, the spirit is contagious…let’s all help it spread.

Ps—I know this post is extra cheesy but it’s Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Lately, I’ve been feeling very stuck in my reality. Everything just feels routine. A good routine, a happy routine, but routine nonetheless. To be fair, I have a great life. I like my job. I heart my friends. My family is awesome. And I feel the love daily. But in all goodness, I still feel restless. My mind constantly wanders, my inner being feels no peace, and the sense of complacency is constant.

In fact, the deeper I dive into these thoughts, the more apparent it becomes to me that this restlessness is something I experience every couple of months. Doesn’t matter what project I’m focused on for work, who I’m hanging out with, or even if my mom has finally (finally) stopped pestering me about The restlessness is always there, despite external stimuli.

Come to find out, a lot of my friends feel the same way as well. Maybe it’s the curse of the twenty-something, career-driven woman who is never satisfied with the status quo. Maybe it’s why the quarter-life crisis is the newest phenomena. Whatever it may be, the epidemic is definitely spreading across Houston, Texas.

BUT I think I’ve found the answer. Or at least a solution that’s working me.

Enter: The Four Agreements & #besomebody blog

Since my sophomore year of college, one of my mentors (slash one of the coolest people I know) has been telling me to read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This year, one of my friends actually made me read it; and I’m so glad that he did.

The Agreements are simple: (1) Be Impeccable with your Word (2) Don’t Take Things Personally (3) Don’t Make Assumptions (4) Always Do Your Best. But integrating them into my life has been challenging. I won’t go into too much detail because I think everyone should read the book on their own, and decide what it means to them. I will say, however, that the Four Agreements have been instrumental on this journey of personal growth, and transformational in the understanding of my “restlessness.”

The second solution that has impacted my road to growth is the #besomebody lifestyle, created and founded by good friend and global superstar Kash Shaikh. (*insert bbm thumbs up here*).

To be completely honest, I initially though the idea just sounded “cool.” I didn’t really immerse myself into the philosophy and I definitely didn’t live the lifestyle. Yet somehow, it all just snuck up on me and it’s practically impossible to ignore once you are enlightened.

Anytime I want to quit my workout early, slack on a proposal at work, or even try to get those extra ten minutes of sleep knowing it’s gonna make me late, I tell myself to #BESOMEBODY and run longer, work harder, not be lazy.

Every time the result is a new, empowered sense of self. It doesn’t matter that I feel better because I worked out harder, that my boss is happier because the proposal is damn good (which it is), or that my day is ten times more productive because I’m not late--that’s all just icing on the cake. The REAL reward is that I did something even when I thought I couldn’t or didn’t want to; and in the end I feel the most satisfied with myself.

And that sense of self-satisfaction has been the CURE to my restlessness.

I used to think self-discipline was the hardest to master; I know now it’s actually self-satisfaction that’s hard to come by. I realize that my restlessness is not about anybody but MYSELF. It’s not about a job or a significant other or even friends. Rather, it’s about my ability to make myself happy and be content WITHIN myself. And once I achieve that (which I’m obviously still working on), I feel that I won’t have much to feel restless about.

I know what you’re thinking--what is this random
fung shui nirvana crap, Henna? But I really do believe in all of this, and I know it has the power to transform my life because it forces me out of my comfort zone in every single way. The journey, in fact, has been pretty challenging. This process has called for a lot of self-discovery. Asking painful questions and accepting even more painful truths. It’s realizing that it’s not always about me to truly focus on what is important. And the diving deeper, probing futher has never and will never cease.

But above all, it’s about ACTION. Question, challenge, explore, do it all. But realize the growth only happens when you DO something with what you learn.

Words to actions.
Actions to lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes to true personal growth.

And hopefully, restlessness cured along the way.

disclaimer: i'm definitly a work in progress, the resltess monster still pokes its head around here and there, but i'm getting there, slow and steady...rather be the turtle than the hare right? ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010


Thank you, thank you, thank you! all you wonderful people for taking the time to read my random reflections and sometimes disjointed thoughts. aka the BLOG.  I really appreciate the texts, facebook messages and gchat convos full of support and encouragement. But most of all, I love the wonderful comments you leave with your own thoughts about what I write. It’s like finding that $5 dollar bill in the pocket of a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in years. Ok, it’s even cooler than that.

Just wanted to update you on two new things I want to try:

Topic Suggestions
I would love to hear what you all want me to write about! So if you have any particular topics or issues or crazy ideas (my fave), let me know and I will blog my little heart away for you.

On a separate and completely unrelated note, it does get a little challenging to keep thinking of interesting topics that haven’t been done a million times already. So for the longevity of theheartofhenna, topic suggestions are highly welcomed.

Guest Authors
I’ve thought about doing this for a while because I know I have so many, many talented friends who have much more interesting things to say than this girl here. I also know that sometimes the thought of starting a whole entire blog can be a little daunting. (I mean it daunted me for a while). Sooo if you would like to contribute a post or just need a space to share your thoughts, I welcome you to my blog! Just shoot me an email ( and we can go from there.

And in closing, go forth and spread sunshine. Every day. That is all.