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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Henderson

Finding Strength in Adversity: A Journey of Self-Discovery with Farah


Meher and Me
A Journey of Self-Discovery

The Unveiling of Farah's Journey:

The podcast episode kicks off with a warm welcome from host Michelle Henderson, introducing Farah as the day's remarkable guest. Farah's journey in the banking industry, starting at the age of 18 in London, takes an unexpected turn when tragedy strikes her family, leading her on a profound inward quest for healing. Listeners are invited to explore the unique blend of cultures that shaped Farah's identity, making her a British national with an Indian heart.


A Journey Through Grief:

Farah opens up about the life-altering moment she received a call about her mother being shot, plunging her into a rollercoaster of emotions. She shares the challenging 25 days her mother fought for survival and the profound impact of the loss on her life. The conversation delves into Farah's coping mechanisms, including the therapeutic practices of baking and yoga, which became instrumental in her journey through grief.


Baking and Yoga as Healing Practices:

The discussion explores Farah's love for baking, tracing its roots to her grandmother's influence and its evolution into a therapeutic outlet for her. Baking becomes a creative process through which she finds solace and a connection to her memories. The podcast also highlights the significance of yoga as a moving meditation that provides both physical and emotional strength.


Lessons of Resilience and Forgiveness:

Michelle navigates the conversation towards Farah's ability to forgive, asking her about forgiving those responsible for her mother's tragic fate. Farah shares her perspective on forgiveness and the importance of letting go to find peace. The podcast also touches upon Farah's grandmother's wisdom, encapsulated in the philosophy of "Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta" – good thoughts, good words, good deeds.


Words of Wisdom and Inspirational Closing:

Michelle asks Farah for advice for those experiencing loss, and Farah emphasizes the importance of finding a support system, engaging in physical activities, and cultivating practices that bring joy. The podcast concludes with Farah sharing her source of inspiration and expressing her desire to meet Oprah Winfrey, envisioning an inspiring interview under Oprah's famous tree.


Connect with Farah:

Listeners are encouraged to visit Farah's website, FarPress.com, where they can explore more about her life, view family pictures, and find links to purchase her book on Amazon. Farah is also active on Instagram as @FarPress, where she invites listeners to join her journey and share their feedback.


Closing Remarks:

As Michelle wraps up the episode, she extends gratitude to Farah for sharing her powerful story and offering insights that resonate with listeners. The episode concludes with a message of inspiration, encouraging everyone to find strength in adversity and embrace the lessons life unfolds.



Transcipt of Episode:

Michelle Henderson (00:11):

Hello everyone. Welcome to Michelle's inspiration Hour. I'm your host, Michelle, and I'm here to ignite the spark of hope, joy, and motivation in your life through the incredible stories of our guests. Today, we have a remarkable individual joining us. Farah Farah's journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit born in London, but raised in a culturally rich landscape of North India. She's a British national with a Indian heart seamlessly bringing cultures in continence. Her career in the banking industry spans over three decades, starting at a trainee in London at the young age of 18. However, Farrah's personal journey took an unexpected turn when tragedy struck her family in the face of an unimaginable loss and lives, profound mysteries. She embarked on a profound inward quest through practices like baking and yoga. Farra channeled her pain into a positive force, ultimately finding emotional stability and calmness. She is the author of the book, mayor and Me, join us as Farrah shares her compelling story of self-discovery and strength, leaving you with valuable insights to apply to your own life. So it is my pleasure to bring Farrah on. Hello. Thank you so much for joining me.

Farah (01:52):

Hey, Michelle. Thank you for having me. Really happy to be here with you.

Michelle Henderson (01:57):

Absolutely. And I want to tell you your book. I read it, and not only did I learn a lot about your relationship with your mother, I mean it was a wonderful memoir for her, but I also got to learn a lot about you. And to me that was so important because I was able to resonate with a lot of your experiences as a child that you went through. And I know it's very difficult to do that because you're kind of being vulnerable, showing people who you truly were, but you have really changed as a person, and I loved reading about that. But my first question is, and I love this, I'm going to see if I can get through this, I got to get my cheat sheet. It says, born in London, raised in North India, educated at a Catholic convent in a Muslim city surrounded by Hindu mythology, and now you're British National with an Indian heart. So again, your book also talks about all these different cultures, but how did you decide, my dear, what was the factor that said, you know what? I'm Indian at heart. What really changed you in that culture activity?

Farah (03:21):

I was going to say, I'm glad you had your cheat sheet because that's a mouthful, right? I think people ask, I think as an adult you think about it very logically and literally, but as a child, you're a sponge and you're just absorbing whatever environment you're thrown into. And it's natural because you don't know any different. I think perhaps going to India was not obviously of my making or my choice. My mother took me there. In retrospect, I think it was the most culturally rich sort of childhood I could have ever had or imagined as an adult. Today, I think the heart part comes from my value system. So my values are completely Indian and aligned to the Indian culture, if you like. So that's where my heart is. But for all intents and purposes, I can straddle whether I'm in India, I feel at home. If I'm in London, I'm at home, I live in Dubai, and I've lived there for 20 plus years and I'm at home. So I think what my upbringing gave me was that ability and that very wide lens to appreciate different cultures, to be able to move through different cultures with ease because I have a base understanding of the context of the reference points, of the sort of practices that I can blend in more easily. So I think

Michelle Henderson (04:50):

Oh, absolutely. Oh my gosh. And that is one thing that, like you said, we can't choose where we're going to live, where we're going to go to school. Our parents have a lot of decisions that they have to make for us. And I think your mother was a wonderful testament because to me, she was such a strong lady that really fought for women's rights. And so I'm going to go ahead and bring up the picture of your book, and I absolutely love this picture. How old is she on this cover of the book?

Farah (05:27):

She's in her twenties here. So it was a picture walking through Regents Park in London, and it was sort of sunset and the sun sort of setting and that dappled light. And I just love this picture of her. Every time I see it, I smile sort of in reciprocation of us smile. So yeah, she was in her twenties. Yeah.

Michelle Henderson (05:47):

Oh absolutely. Now, and I know it's very, very difficult to talk about, again, your beginning of your book, you're talking about your family life, the things that you have gone through. And then I just cannot imagine when you get that phone call because everybody thinks that we're going to be together in relationships forever, and then it's very difficult to go through the grieving process when it's a sudden tragedy in your family. Can you kind of talk about with our listeners who have not read your book about the tragedy that really turned your life kind of twisted it and where you really had to go through the grieving process?

Farah (06:31):

Sure. So for your listeners, obviously they know I grew up in India and my mother lived in India and I had moved to the Dubai in 2001 after the birth of my daughter. And I was in the Dubai that particular day when it occurred, which was in 2006, and it was the middle of the night. So my day had been pretty normal, gone to work, come home, been with the kids, my husband now my ex-husband at the time was traveling for work, so I sort of left my phone ringer on just in case he needed to reach me for any reason. And in the middle of the night, the phone rang and it was my stepfather, and it means I was groggy, obviously in deep sleep pulled out of it. So I didn't register that. It was strange that he would call me because we didn't have that kind of relationship.

Normally my mother would've called me and he said, your mother's been shot and you need to come home as soon as possible. So obviously your brain goes into overdrive. But it wasn't the time to say how or what or why. It was just there was panic. You just need to get home. So then you go through the motions of, I need to book a flight. I need to make sure the kids are safe. I need to call my husband, make sure he books a flight to come back, go into the office, tell them I'm leaving, and all of that logistical sort of aspects of it. And through the days the day, because my flight was later that same day in the afternoon after my husband would return, I'd been to the office, pack my bag, and people would just call him because no one expected mom to get through the day even. And they didn't want me to not get the chance to say byebye to her in a way.

But I made it through. I got to the other side. I got to Delhi where my mother had been brought into. She had been now lifted from luck now because the medical facilities in the hometown couldn't cater to her injuries. And I walked into the hospital and there were the people were already there, friends, family, there was news reporters outside. And you walk through, and I'm still intellectually I know what's happened, but I think emotionally I hadn't quite absorbed or processed what I was going to see or what it meant, I feel. And then when I walk in and I see my mother strapped up to all the machinery and the doctors and she's in ICU, and you go through the motions of scrubbing hands and putting on your gown and your shoe covers and your hair hat, and you go through and as you're going through those motions, the severity or the seriousness of the situation starts becoming more apparent.

And you walk in and you see her, and that's when you realize, okay, this is life and death. This is not just an injury because for me, it doesn't matter what's happened, my mother's that strong that she will get through it, she'll be fine, we'll get through it, we'll figure it out. And that moment in the hospital when you see and you realize, okay, this is not a small thing, it's a huge big deal. And that's where the journey begins. And mom survived that gunshot for 25 days. She was in hospital. Her mind was very, very alert for the first couple of weeks she was on a ventilator, but she was mouthing and gesticulating and talking and communicating. And then towards the end there was internal injuries and bleeding. And she passed from that because they couldn't identify the source of it. So it was a tough 25 days.

It was a rollercoaster of hope where you think, okay, she's going to be okay. And yes, there will be some physical impediments, but we'll deal with it to then the realization that, okay, she's not going to make it where she said to me, this is the end. And that sort of gets me every time, even if I read it today. And to her passing and then the journey of figuring out how do things like this happen to people like us or to people at all. Why do things like this happen at all? And where do we go from here and where does she go and what do I do and how do I get on? So it, it's been a long process. I've had the years to figure some of it out, not all of it, and deal with it and still remember her, but not how she passed. Define my memory of her. My memory of her is the bright, vibrant, vivacious, larger than life personality. How she went is just one part of it.

Michelle Henderson (11:11):

Absolutely. And I absolutely love that, that you remember how she was and how vibrant she was and how strong she was. And then you had to go through, even though that experience. Well, let me back up too. I love how your mom said that we are here to learn lessons. And I think is that kind of what you got you through all the grieving process as well, just knowing that this is another lesson that you, and to me, when she's in the hospital and she knew that she was about to pass away, I mean, to me that is so spiritual. It's like she's saying goodbye to you, and a lot of people don't even get that. But through your grieving process, I love that you found that baking and doing yoga. Yoga does a lot to the soul. Now, did your mother teach you how to bake or was this a natural thing that you learned?

Farah (12:16):

So I think baking actually skipped a generation. So it came from my grandmother. So my mother loved cooking. Food is part and parcel of a culture of family. It's very much a topical conversation all the time. So my grandmother used to love to bake. So I remember baking brownies with her or sponges or making lemon curd. She taught me how to make mayonnaise from scratch. So granny was a baker, mom loved cooking, not so much baking. And my baking, I have a little bit of sweet tooth, but never enough to tell me to make a whole cake to have a piece because in my head I'm thinking, I can't waste the whole cake. Grandmother taught us you don't leave the dining table till you finish everything on your plate. So I couldn't waste the cake. And then when my daughter was born, and we were in London and it was cold outside, it was winter, I was in the house with a newborn, not going very far at all.

And while she slept, I would experiment with recipes or make the meal for the family or whatever. And I started experimenting with recipes and biscuits to begin with. And they came out quite nice. And with biscuits, you can make the dough and you don't need to make huge quantities. You can make a small quantity, keep the dough and make a fresh batch. So that appealed to my sense of I am not wasting, it's very organized. I'm prepared with the newborn. I had to be prepared. So it started from there, and then my love just grew. And for me, it's not that I enter the kitchen and think I want to eat something, it's more just I want to create, I want to be with my hands. I want to almost zone out for a minute in terms of any other thoughts. And I'm focused on what I'm making, which kind of gives me a moment of pause between all the circular thoughts or at the time when it was grief or anything else. Even if I come home from a busy day in the office, I go into the kitchen to create. And that's process just, I find it de-stresses me. I'm sure that people listening who going, I can't think of anything worse than going into make a cake, but to each their own. Yeah,

Michelle Henderson (14:23):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I love how you said that you're creating something because you, the more I learn about cooking, the more I didn't really realize it's all scientific because things change the chemistry, and I'm going, wow, there's a lot more to it than what I thought. But I went to your webpage and you have recipes that you're sharing with everybody.

Farah (14:48):

I am.

Michelle Henderson (14:49):

Your spreading the love.

Farah (14:50):

Absolutely. And that's kind of what I do with the baking, because I bake, my kids are grown up and gone to uni. So whatever I bake goes into the office and I share it with my colleagues or friends will say, if you're coming over, I really want by the chocolate or a fruit flavor or cheesecake. So that for me is how I show my love as well. If you say to me, I really love blueberries and I really love cheesecake, I'll rock up with a blueberry cheesecake for you. It's how you share. And there's so much joy in food, I feel. We congregate around the dining table. You congregate around food. It's a shared, it brings people together.

Michelle Henderson (15:36):

Hi, if you are being inspired by this episode, please share with somebody that will also be inspired. We are here to change the world. All right, let's get back to the conversation. Absolutely, absolutely. And I just really feel so inspired with your story again, because you found something that kind of helped you through the process of grieving and everything. So you found something creative that you can share the love and everything and found yourself in. And plus yoga. I mean, how can you not go rock with yoga? Yoga is wonderful.

Michelle Henderson (16:19):

Yes. And it really calms.


Farah (16:22):

Yeah. Sorry, go.

Michelle Henderson (16:23):

Oh no, you go. You go.

Farah (16:26):

I was going to say it's a moving meditation for me. I am not so great at sitting still. So I find the moving the movement helps me calm my mind down, and that's kind of what meditation's meant to do. Plus it helps you physically get a little bit better balance and just resilience and just helps your body cultivate strength as well.

Michelle Henderson (16:49):

Now, if somebody, and I know there's so many people that actually do go through the same type of situation, if somebody came to you and said that they're going through it and they just lost a loved one, what advice can you give to them?

Farah (17:07):

First, I'd give them a huge, big hug. Like losing anyone's means we all lose people, but there's no metric for it. There's no measure for it as to how grief takes each person and each person's journey will be different. I'd say find a support system, whether it's therapy, whether it's friends, whether it's one friend or a few friends, whether it's family, somebody who is there. Because some days you just want to be in your PJs and you don't want to see the world, but you just want someone to sit next to you, hold your hand. You don't even need to speak, but you just want someone there. So find that support for yourself when you are ready to start doing some sort of activity. Like I say, yoga, you might prefer swimming, you might prefer walking, you might, anything else that you want to do, you want to go to the gym, which I do as well.

Just some sort of physical activity that moves the body because then it allows the grief to move through your body as well. And it sort of helps you just get a little bit unstuck if you like, within as well. And find something that sparks joy for you. However little, however big, whatever it is that gives you joy, try and cultivate that practice. Because even in the darkest or the saddest days when you do that, there'll be that little glimmer of joy that'll hopefully keep building and take you through. And grief is a process, so you do have to allow it, the time and the space to allow you to come through it.

Michelle Henderson (18:44):

Absolutely. And a lot of people think, once I get through all the stages, then I'm done. But sometimes you get triggered and the feelings and the emotions come back, but you've got to be able to forgive yourself and go through that. And that's one more thing I want to bring up is forgiveness. Okay. And you can be as honest as an answer here, but have you been able to forgive the, was it a gang that shot your mother? Okay. Have you been able to forgive them?


Farah (19:21):

I think hand on heart, I'd say yes. And I don't want to come across as all holier than thou anything, but I don't hold any ill. There's no resentment left because none of that is going to bring mom back. So mom's gone. And if I want to be at peace with myself, be at peace with her memory and remember her in her full glory, then I'm not focusing so much on the end and I have to let that part go, which includes forgiveness or just letting go kind of thing. So maybe less of an act of forgiveness, more of just a passive, do not present it, do not hate kind of thing. But yeah, it's just letting it be and letting it pass and yeah.

Michelle Henderson (20:10):

Well, thank you so much for sharing that. I know that's a difficult to answer. So I did want to bring up something that is in your book, and I want you, if it's okay, I love to hear you say this. I don't want to mispronounce anything.

Farah (20:27):

That's okay. It's hum. Which is good thoughts, which is good words. And hta, which is good deeds, which as you've mentioned at the start, I'm Empire Sea by Faith. So as a Austrian religion, which is an ancient Persian religion, and it's a philosophy of the religion. So my grandmother would always say to me, if you start with your thoughts being good, then your words and your deeds follow your in alignment. You are acting with integrity. You don't wish anyone harm. And it's almost good thoughts is what we say today, right? The power of now, it's manifestation, it's aligned. Make sure you are thinking the thoughts of where you want to be and what you want to come into your life rather than what you don't. So that it's only the universe aligns to your thoughts and your energy. So it's the same sort of philosophy, just packaged a little different.

Michelle Henderson (21:20):

Oh, I love it. I love it. And that's at the very beginning of your book. And I went, oh, I love that. And I love how you pronounce it. It just sounds so good. You need to do the recording of it.

Farah (21:36):

Okay.

Michelle Henderson (21:37):

So I want to ask you, so if you are able to go back in your childhood and say something to yourself as a child, what would you say?

Farah (21:51):

I had reassure that child that is all going to be okay in the end, because that child was displaced. That child didn't know where it belonged. I'd moved from London to India at age 4, didn't speak. The language, looked a little bit different, was always a little bit different. And so there was this huge sense of, I think there was low self-esteem for a long time. And there was the sense of, and to the point you made right at the beginning, was I British? Was I Indian? I wasn't Indian enough when I went back to England, I wasn't British enough. So there was always a sense of who am I and where do I fit in? So if I could say anything back to that child would be, it'll be okay. And you'll grow into your skin and you'll find your tribe and you'll find your way.

Michelle Henderson (22:42):

Oh, absolutely. What is one lesson that your mother taught you?

Farah (22:52):

Another, so, yeah, no, but my mom was pretty unconventional in her life choices where I'm probably the differences in similarities. I'm a little more conventional, perhaps Korea and banking did the marriage and two kids and all of that stuff. But when I was younger and because I wanted to fit in, I would say to my mother, could she conform not come to my school in trousers smoking cigarettes? Could she wear something a little more traditional for the day? And mom would always say, people are always going to talk. No matter what you do, people are going to talk and you cannot stop people talking any more than you can stop talk. Sparking sounds a little bit harsh, but that was what she was saying. And she said, just live your life. Just be who you are and the right people will gravitate towards you. So that really stays with me today. Whenever I'm doing something that I think, oh my God, what are people? I'm like, it's okay. I cannot stop people talking. As long as I know I'm acting with integrity, I'm doing the right thing, then I'm not too invested in everyone else's opinion.

Michelle Henderson (24:00):

I love it. I love it. So is there anything else that you want to talk about that we did not talk about?

Farah (24:06):

I think you got it all. You got to the heart of it.

Michelle Henderson (24:11):

Thank you so much. Well, and again, I just love the book because it really talks about what you went through, everything that you went through as a child, what you learned, and then the relationship with your mama. I think it is a beautiful memoir for her.

Farah (24:27):

Thank you. It is. It's a labor of love. It's a legacy. Yeah.

Michelle Henderson (24:33):

Alright, are you ready for the last question?

Farah (24:36):

Wow. I don't know.

Michelle Henderson (24:39):

It depends on the question.

Farah (24:40):

Yeah, let's see what comes up. Let's see how ready I'm,

Michelle Henderson (24:44):

And you'll be able to see it better whenever it stops and see what the answer hopefully. Oh,

Farah (24:53):

Okay. This is a funny story to tell. So when the book came out, and I've got a couple of ladies who are helping me with the marketing of the book and setting me up and on Pod match as well where we've met. And I remember I reached out to one of them and I said, do I need any kind of media training? And she was like, don't worry about it, Farah, you'll be a natural. I was like, what if Oprah comes calling and invites me to meet her? I think I need media training. So she was like, yes to Oprah, but you'll be a natural. So that would be who I'd want to meet.

Michelle Henderson (25:33):

Oh, right. Oh, I think they need to set that up for you. And are you talking about the ladies over at Presstinely?

Farah (25:41):

Yes, they are. .

Michelle Henderson (25:45):

Yes, I know them very well, so we can do a plug for them. They also helped me as well.

Farah (25:51):

Amazing. Okay.

Michelle Henderson (25:53):

Amazing people. And they also introduced me to Pod Match as well. Yeah. But yeah, Oprah I think would be fabulous for you. So you definitely, we need to set all the vibes up.

Farah (26:08):

Yeah. In my mind, I know she does these interviews under this tree in her garden where the chairs set up. That's what I'm visualizing. So the good thought are being set. Gosh,

Michelle Henderson (26:22):

How could you go wrong? Being under the tree for an interview for that? I think that'd be beautiful. Okay, so where can they reach you if they want to know more information and where did they get your book as well?

Farah (26:35):

So on the website, there's a website which is fairly easy far press.com. Your listeners can see some pictures of the family, get a view of the world. I'm talking about the recipes that you've referenced, and there's a link to Amazon where they can buy the book or any of the online retailers that they might prefer. I'm on Instagram as well. Again, Farah Press so they can come see, join the Journey, would love to hear their feedback and comments and what they think of the story. And I hope it helps them.

Michelle Henderson (27:11):

Oh, absolutely. And again, I think it will because you really brought out a lot of wonderful things and if people go through, it's so interesting how people are all the same. We go through the same experiences and just again, I was able to really resonate with your childhood and I'm going, oh, it's me, it's me, it's me. She's going through the same thing. Alright, I am going to ask you one more thing before we say goodbye to everybody. Is what inspiration can you tell somebody just to be inspired?

Farah (27:49):

Oh, inspired by inspiration strikes at the most unusual places, right? I'm inspired by the odds. So I love reading, I love music, I love art, I love dance plays. Anything of that. If people love, I would say do more, listen more, hear more, and you'll be inspired.

Michelle Henderson (28:18):

Absolutely. And I think that's one thing we don't do is stop and listen. I love it. I love it. Alright everybody, I hope that you find some inspiration in her wonderful life story and I hope that you have a fabulous week and I will see you next week.


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