A Little Bit About Me
Assalaamu alaikum, I am currently a graduate student in the Midwest but I frequently visit the Pacific Northwest, where my family lives. I'm an old soul and enjoy a quiet life near close friends and family - yes, sitting near a fireplace, story-telling, drinking hot cocoa, all that jazz. My ideal vacation is visiting mountains with bubbling brooks with a group of friends but for me it's not about reaching the destination but about soaking in the sights and sounds along the trail. You will find me stopping to take a photo of a sun-dappled flower bed or a bizarre gnarly tree.
Growing up, I loved board games like Scrabble and Pictionary - a little competitive fun never hurts! Medium-sized gatherings are the best because this way I can connect with a number of individuals and also enjoy the occasional break of brouhaha fun where everyone comes together as a group for a good time (halal way of course). In those occasions, I like to withdraw a little and enjoy hearing people talk. There is no single topic of conversation I enjoy the most, as long as it is intellectually stimulating and the people in the conversation are being kind to one another. I really don't like debates where the ego takes over and there is "more heat than light". That's why I am often wary of public discourse where there is more posturing than a genuine interest in understanding one another. I have found small intimate conversations, where there is less risk of public shaming or the need to show off, to be much more constructive.
Friends have commented that I hold orthodox views on social matters but this has never gotten in the way of me befriending people with a wide range of perspectives because to me things like shared worldly interests, sense of humor and kindness are also important factors in making friendships. So I have friends who support BJP, the Occupation of Palestine and Gay Marriage. This has never meant that I agree with them on everything but I am able to compartmentalize my personal believes and my social relationships separately, though if one starts to conflict with the other, I will definitely prioritize my deen.
I really enjoy cooking but it becomes less fun as a chore (especially since I've been living alone for the last three years). I recently discovered that I make quite good shrimp biryani (or birani, as Bengalis call it) but being a health fanatic, I prefer light meals. I am one of those weirdos that prefers making everything from fresh produce and avoiding processed foods (both for religious and health reasons - the two are often identical, aren't they?). I loooove grocery shopping. Looking at the different colored produce and checking out the "ethnic" or "international" aisles is like a holiday to me. If other shoppers weren't around, you'd see me gliding on my cart, with a wide grin on my face.
I do smile a lot and I think this is why I look a decade younger. Everyone will say "but that's a good thing!" but it has its downsides, especially when you teach undergraduates. At least in terms of teaching, the problem subsides over time because my demeanor is a little on the serious side with students. With friends, I am more light hearted and am known to crack jokes a lot. One of my favorite things to do is make people laugh and I don't think I'm too bad at it :) But those closest to me know I have a contemplative side to me as well. Okay I think that's enough for you to chew on!
What I Am Looking For
I am looking for someone who can challenge me but also raise me to new heights - so that balance of commanding respect through his intellect but not being so cocky about it, but rather being very eager to share his knowledge and make me grow in the process. I tend to like reserved guys who are not too talkative but who are capable of being very affectionate and reliable when it comes to duties and responsibilities. I especially admire men with knowledge about finances and/or technology since those are unknown territories for me (I am more passionate about history and social behavior).
Of course deen should be his utmost priority but not in a zealous manner. I would like a spouse who is engaged in both the temporal and spiritual world - someone who is well attuned to the current discourse in Western society but also having a profound appreciation for the wisdom of our religion. I am wary of people who are too eager to emulate modern lifestyle - rather those who don't get swept up by trends and instead stand firm on their beliefs whom I truly admire. At the same time, I have also been frustrated by conservative but less enlightened men who will blame everything on non-Muslims and think in very black and white terms. It is no coincidence that Allah (swt) sent us a nabi (saw) who excelled both as a temporal and spiritual leader - someone respected by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.