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Nada Badran -AKA- Wander With Nada

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October 26, 8:15am • • part of a series on Transit

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Coming soon is the video, images, and podcast from October’s event with Afra Atiq.


By Shivani Mathur

We all inadvertently seek muses. Many of us are muses to others and we don’t even know it.

Muses are powerhouses that source inspiration.

As language and literature developed, poets like John Keats, Robert Frost, and William D. Sargent normalised taking to nature to embellish metaphors and use as a muse.  

Some people’s muse is a babbling brook (I’m looking at you, Alfred Lord Tennyson) while the likes of Karl Lagerfeld look to beauties like Kristen Stewart for inspiration for a specific season.

For many, muses change with time. Others fixate on one for eternity, or at least until the end of their own days. Gianni Versace always said that his sister Donatella’s position as his muse will never be time-sensitive, as did Paul McCartney, about his wife Linda.

Muse is a word often used by creatives, but consider this: everyone and everything looks to muses to model after. Very thought-provoking of me, I know.

As dramatic as this parallel may sound, the societal hierarchy in colleges is literally modeled after the glorious food chain (subtle reminder to do your part in climate action, the world’s last male white rhino died last year, let this be the alarm you need today to plant a tree or recycle).

While Gen Z is changing the traditionally one-dimensional nature of these tropes, this is how the structure has almost always been.

At the risk of offending someone who identifies as one of these trope-y categories:

Right on top, the apexes: jocks and dancers are the prideful, majestic lions while the merit-list preppies operate as sharks

debate club nerds are the fiercely independent black bears that progress with autonomy autonomy of thought, and often, autonomy of action

wallflowers are the worms in soil that enable others’ stories as well their own but are seldom noticed

drama club stars stand out like peacocks with their theatricality and showmanship

musicians are the wolves that choose comradery to stay on top

Educators are the plants in this analogy – they hold classifications within themselves and you may find some of them deadly, but they’re there to support the institution and prevent anarchy.

Given the amount of pressure put on earning a worthwhile college legacy, university isn’t just about survival, it’s about the hunt for opportunities too, and speculators are constantly observing just how astutely you seek and grasp these opportunities.

Every system and ideology has a muse.

Or maybe this is all just me, I’ve recently graduated from university and may just be suffering withdrawal symptoms of classrooms and hallways, plus I watch too many nature documentaries.  

To see what the founder of Shaikha Al Qassemi’s muse is, attend the upcoming installment of Creative Mornings on September 17th at the NEST.

Stream Creative Mornings Dubai’s custom made playlist for this month, here.

Image by @2ndlightphotography.

WOW, Samir brought CreativeMornings to life in June talking on the theme of WONDER.

We had a wonderful playlist for the month and here is the link you want to visit to replay lots.

You are certain to want to see what went down in the NEST so here is a link to our Flikr Photo Album.

And last but not least here is the link to the video of the event!

We are back in September, see you then!







Graphic by 2ndLightPhotography

June 19th is our next event!


By Shivani Mathur

Depending on your parenting and teaching philosophies, methodology, and techniques you might encourage or discourage your child or student to consistently seize actions that are consequential to their wonder. “Curiosity kills the cat,” they say, but I’m here to tell you otherwise – from the viewpoint of a mentor as well as the learner.

Curiosity can breed jeopardy but that’s what insurance is for. Even at the most rudimentary levels dictated by the laws of biology, evolution has enabled our bodies to withstand a great deal in case our wonder gets the better of us and paves way for any calamity; our neurology is wired to generate the required responses for protection when danger is close.

A majority of risks you take have some form of safety net, and the ones that lack one (such as potential heartbreak) are often the ones that are even more worthy of taking. Risks and ramifications are the other side of the same coin as curiosity and wonder. Deciding how dramatically you flip this coin is that profound element in your youth that can prevent a midlife crisis later on.

Mind you, I’m not preaching recklessness in the name of exploring wonder, I’m just saying that no one likes a bitter old man or woman who’s so obviously salty about the many paths not taken. A rebel without a cause is quite outdated, but a social justice warrior opening minds to revise existing norms and rewrite (not throw away, note that I said rewrite) the rule book is quite trending – rightfully so.

All the greatest discoveries were made as a fruit of investigating curiosity, that’s an omnipresent fact. But let’s raise a glass to the iconoclasts across history: the painters, sculptors, poets, writers, philosophers, filmmakers, musicians, and recently, community leaders, who create art and propel difficult (but much needed) conversations.

All these artists took a leap of faith on a nubile idea and converted their wonder into action. Speaking of community leaders, attend the June installment of CreativeMornings Dubai at the NEST with transformational coach Samir Geepee, founder and curator of Awesome Walkers, a community-based meetup for people craving intellectual conversation in this post-social media world littered with frivolous conversation and the slow decline of language.