Here's something else I've not done for ages: spend the morning on a High Street wondering aimlessly around. Well, I had some stuff to return to Next but I did that straight away. However since I had driven up to the Exchange with my folks so had to wait around for them to finish up.
So, iPod in hand I spent a couple of hours just listening to music and strutting around, sometimes window shopping but mostly with no aim at all. Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U were, ahem, interesting though with lots of new models on display*. Waterstones was also nice as it's been ages since I last spent quality time in a bookstore.
The funny thing was that it didn't even feel like a waste of time. I mean it's not like I had anything to do at home; I woulda probably found some mundane and redundant task to do while listening to the same music. I guess there's different ways of whiling away a couple of hours. Some just happen to be more fulfilling than others!
*Yes I know. A pretty tenious euphemism, but it is still early. Sorry.
Saturday, December 31
Here's something else I've not done for ages: spend the morning on a High Street wondering aimlessly around. Well, I had some stuff to return to Next but I did that straight away. However since I had driven up to the Exchange with my folks so had to wait around for them to finish up.
Friday, December 30
Bheegi Yaadein - Atif Aslam
One of the two "original" versions of Woh Lamhe from the Zeher OST, this is the more upbeat yet edgier of the three versions. The history of the song, and indeed the album Jal Pari (that's a pun, see?) is pretty interesting actually. More here. Incidentally this also made the AN Top 100 (more later), which is strange seeing as it was released in 2004.
Woh Lamhey - Jal
The second version, and probably the one that Bolly aped with theirs. I'm still not sure which I prefer, but they're all different enough to coexist on my playlist for now.
What We Do - Kray Twinz Feat Twista, Lethal B and Grappy Ranks
Been around for a while and it was The AN's Top 100 listed today that prompted me to get it now. It's good to hear Asians come out with non-Asian stuff (I still think Hot Like Fire is a tune), and a shame that despite that this is still a desi track.
Kaho Ek Din - Ahmed Jehanzeb
Another classic song taken from the Top 100 (it's been around since 2003, so I'm not sure what it's doing in this year's list). Somehow manages to be both charged and relaxing simultaneously.
This morning I exchanged a pair of jeans I had bought from Gap on Tuesday with a darker pair (which may even be more comfortable. I spent ages in the fitting room trying to figure that out).
I also bought a stripey jumper from Next. To be honest it was a bit pricey, but I do like it. Perhaps I'll send back the green or turquoise in it's stead...
Wednesday, December 28
Le Mein Teri - Yaraan Naal Baharaan
It's in Punjabi so I have even less of an idea of what's being said. Still though, a nice fluttery ballad.
Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa - Waisa Bhi Hota Hai
Bit of an oldie, and one you may have heard already. Yeh they overuse the vocal machine a tad, but it ends up sounding powerful rather than pap.
YOU MUST ALL WATCH THIS.
It begins on Five in January. Yes, it's C5 but still. Trust me.
EDIT: Ok, looking back I agree I've not said much. The thing is apart from saying it's about, erm, a prison break there's not much more I'd could without taking away from the show. I will say that the acting isn't all that, neither is the direction nor production values... But what it does have in buckets is that certain magic that some shows seem to nail so easily.
If you want to know more, then Google is your friend.
Tuesday, December 27
Sale time, and again I decided to hit Lakeside. £77 today, along with the growing feeling that the sales are drying up year by year. There was a time when it was too easy for me to spend up to £200 on good, real, sale items. Now the whole thing is a sham and ironically I blame the fake sales of Next (and more recently Gap too). Anyway, this is what I got this time:
- A pair of dark blue (although not quite as dark as I wanted) jeans from Gap
- A brown patterned pair of moleskins from Gap
- A brown "medium thickness" top from Gap
- A 100% wool turquoise top from Next
- The same as above but in light green, again from Next
Actually looking back, that's not a bad haul for under 80. The jeans I actually needed, whereas I think the brown top from Gap may become slightly redundant in my wardrobe. The tops from Next are officially my risks of the day, but I think they'll be ok. I still need some shoes, but we have Oxford Street planned for sometime this week so there's still a chance for that and more stuff.
Saturday, December 24
A Japanese rhythm-action game about male cheerleaders? Yes, and despite the obvious kitsch value (I'm not a fan of kitsch, y'see) I love this game.
It did take me a while though. A deliberately slow start fooled me into thinking that pressing dots on the DS's touchscreen in time with music playing was not that enjoyable after all. However, five or six levels in and it's become easy to see how it cannot be anything but.
Of course, fantastic as the gameplay mechanic itself is, it's not only that aspect that makes Oeundan! such a joy to play. Other factors include the cool music, the sense of achievement completing a level and the (entirely Japanese and therefore unreadable by me) comic strip plot.
I even feel cheered up by the characters within the game after I've played! Great stuff.
Friday, December 23
It's my company's kids Xmas party again and this time they seem to have gone all out. Whereas last year we just had a grotto and a couple of consoles, this year we have Santa, a magician, a chocolate fountain (sigh), facepainting, and Xbox 360 (oooh) and a dance machine. Oh and we have millions of kids running around too.
All this means I get to doss and leave early, which is great. Of course I'll need a go on the Xbox first...
Thursday, December 22
Today I did something I hadn't done for a very long time: loaf around Leicester Square past my bedtime on a weekday with a bunch of mates. OK, so I cheated a bit; I have a late start tomorrow morning so can afford a late night now.
It was nice to have a laugh while, ahem, checking out the "atmosphere" care free like we used to during college/uni (albeit with a different bunch of people). We even parked up in Haymarket and wandered around The Troc. The only bit missing was us not getting the obligatory Haagen-Daz fix (it had shut early on that particular day. Stupid Murphy). But that's ok, we handled.
Some things never change I guess. I almost believed that I was a teenager again. Is that sad? I Dunno...
Monday, December 19
By popular demand here are all of Spammy's rules recorded in one place for your reference. Bear in mind that these are extremely general and even Spammy accepts that there are exceptions to them; which probably includes you reading (since all of my female friends are unique and special and great).
Consider these a work in progress, with rules to be added, edited and deleted. Oh and if you don't know please don't ask who Spammy is. It's not important. Anyway, on to the rules:
Spammy's Second: For any woman, her looks multiplied by her personality equals a constant.
Spammy's Third: All women, on some level, are gay.
Spammy's Fourth: For all women in a relationship, most are in one with a guy for whom they are too good for. This is a result of their inherent insecurity.
Spammy's Fifth: All women hate to be stalked. Unless the stalker happens to be cute and/or has biceps as big as their waist.
Spammy's Sixth: All women spell the pronoun "you" as "u", refuse to use "I" and seem unable to use an exclamation mark in isolation.
Spammy's Seventh: A woman will laugh at a guy she finds funny. A woman will laugh at another woman whether she finds her funny or not.
Spammy's Eighth: Women only want guys who are broken. This is so that they can fix them, and ultimately implies that nice, perfect guys do indeed finish last.
Spammy's Ninth: Despite the incredulity of it, treating them mean will indeed keep them keen.
Spammy's Tenth: For a group of women partaking in an activity, the chances of them succeeding is inversely proportional to the size of the group. (Added 2009-04-18)
Spammy's Eleventh: All women think that they can dance, of which less than 5% actually can. (Added 2009-08-23)
And of course,
Spammy's First: A woman is more likely to agree with Spammy's Rules if she's told she is an exception to them.
Sunday, December 18
Have A Nice Day - Bon Jovi
I've mixed feelings about the latest album from Bon Jovi. I recently wrote about Crossroad, their greatest hits and how great I think the band are.
Have A Nice Day seems to be a pale imitation of what Bon Jovi used to be. There are some good tracks, including the song of the same name, Last Man Standing, Unbreakable and These Open Arms, but none of them are classics and I don't seem them lasting on my list for too long. Still at least their old stuff hasn't yet expired.
Anyone know? I hate it when that happens.
It all started with us going to the dentist. In Queen's Park. An hour away on the tube. Only in the Shaikh family, folks.
Then I shopped. Or at least I was supposed to; I bumped into some friend and managed to waste away a couple of hours with them before returning to my planned itinerary.
The shopping itself was fruitless, myself not buying anything after four hours, and then for some reason choosing to walk up and down Leytonstone High Road four times.
Still, at least I managed to get home for an hour or so before having to go out again for dinner. Which was pretty nice - it was another with the Arabic Language lot, this being the farewell for one of our ex-teachers.
Hmm. I guess I've answered my own question.
Saturday, December 17
This year's three-hour-potential-classic-epic is Peter Jackson's take on King Kong. More or less a faithful remake of the original, 21st century CGI and special effects brings it into... erm... the 21st century. Hmm.
Is it any good? Yes it is. Is it amazing and great and the best thing ever? Well not quite. It probably is the best film I've seen in months, but to be honest cinema has been kinda lacking recently anyway. There are a few scenes in KK that I wouldn't mind seeing again and, ok, I'll admit having had sweaty palms (in anticipation, fools) by the end of it; but it didn't fulfill that expectation I had of it being a truly great film. Like PJ's last three did, for example. But hey, maybe I'm being fussy - objectively this is one to watch.
Oh and that thing at the beginning was supposed to be the sound of a 25 foot ape. Just so you know.
Wednesday, December 14
For whatever reason, I tend not to take part in office dos. I don't think the reasons are that important it just doesn't happen. However the Christmas Party is something I suspect we're all expected to attend and therefore there's a chance that not doing so may have an affect on our respective working lives.
Overlong and wordy sentences aside, in short this means I had to come in a suit today, wearing shoes that hurt (not entirely true since I've cheated and am wearing trainers during the day). What's the point of forcing people to do this? Next there'll be a mail going around saying how we MUST enjoy ourselves. I mean, just read it: "Formal parties" - isn't that a contradiction in terms? Tch.
I managed to complete this morning's Metro game in just three stops (which is a record for me since I usually don't finish it by the time my stop comes) and it was then that I realised how much I like playing Sudoku. I don't even have to complete a grid since filling in a single column or row or subgrid brings its own joy.
It must have started sometime during my recent time abroad where I had lots of free time and the game itself installed on my PDA. It may not be that surprising to some that know me though; it's a game of logic and methodology which a few (incorrectly in my opinion) have accused me of having an abundance of.
Having said that, there is a dangerous side to this obsession. I've repeatedly found myself peering over the shoulders of others while they were doing their own grids (some of whom may even be pretty and female; is there anything hotter than a pretty girl doing Suduko properly? I think not), tutting under my breath when they make a mistake or miss an obvious fill.
Thankfully so far I've resisted shouting "NO NOT THERE YOU FOOL" but I suspect the time will soon come when I forget myself. I just hope it's not a pretty girl I say it to...
Monday, December 12
Sunday, December 11
Haven't had one of these for a while either.
No points for guessing what DVD I was watching tonight.
It was actually pretty tough finding a piccie of her for this blog, y'know. Google returned images that were mostly either a) bad shots, b) bad quality or c) risque enough to pass as soft porn. I'm sure that doesn't imply anything about our Ayesha though.
Saturday, December 10
How long has it been? Well, now that my music collection is finally organised (damn you iPod) I can resume adding to it:
To Be With You - Mr. Big
I recently had the need to listen to this again. Always a favourite.
Your Game - Will Young
One of those songs I thought was great but never got around to putting in my music collection. Gospelly stage showtune thing.
Halka Halka Sa Yeh Sama - Chocolate
Bollywood has been strangely lacking these past few months. Here's one of the few that caught my ear. Makes me walk with a spring in my step, possibly even like Emran Hashmi.
Halla Re - Neal 'N' Nikki
Another Bolly track, this time from the originally titled Neal 'N' Nikki. I have no intention of watching this film, no matter how little Tanisha Mukherjee wears in it. Honestly, Kajol shoulda taught her better.
Truly Madly Completely - Savage Garden
It's surprising how many Savage Garden tracks I adore - I didn't realise until I had their greatest hits compilation in my hands. Like I said there are quite a few, but my favourites are probably Truly Madly Deeply, To The Moon & Back, Affirmation and I Knew I Loved You.
Bole Chudiyan - Khabi Khushi Kabhie Gham
Like the Will Young track above, I always got excited when this would be played. And now I get to hear it on demand. Hooray!
On the way home from the film today I noticed a smartly dressed woman muttering under her breath as I got on the Eastbound Jubilee Line train that she was already using. I thought she had given me eyes too, but I put that down to my inherent paranoia.
But then her stop came and with it even more mutterings, all the time becoming more coherent. "... Come into our country and freeload...". Of course, I took that as challenge; she was looking for a fight and while everyone else tried their hardest to avoid eye contact with our resident racist, I tried to get her attention.
I got it eventually. "You do realise I probably pay more tax than you do right?" I asserted. "I very much doubt that" she retorted. "No, really I do. How much do you earn?". "Erm. Look, just go back, ok?". "Have a nice day now" I offered as the doors closed, not bothering to explain I was going home to East London.
Of course I looked around the (majority non-white) carriage expecting the response that such a hero deserves, but instead all I got were blank faces. It seemed that most of my comrades didn't even notice what had happened. Still, I must admit I was taken aback slightly... My own prejudice of what a racist should look and act like was blown into the dust today.
Frankly, I think the Narnia books were great. Short and to the point they didn't hang around trying to be great, but ended up being so for precisely that reason. So yeh, I was, and still am, a fan.
Which may explain why I felt so short changed by the first translation to film of the series. I'm not sure what it was but TLTWATW seemed both shallow and rushed and in some places quite the insult to the book itself.
Perhaps we've been spoiled by the recent amazing renditions of the LOTR and Harry Potter books, both series showing exactly how books should be brought to film. Whatever it is, it's a shame. Still, at least there are six more chances to make a great Narnia film rather than a passable one.
Thursday, December 8
Another trip to the doc's this evening (7.20pm - isn't private medicine wonderful?), this time an ENT specialist. Part of his exam was to stick that scope thing up my nose, and then down my throat. It didn't hurt but was strange - it was as if I had a big booger and then something stuck in my throat. I could still breathe easily, but for some reason all my glands opened up; I was both drooling and weeping like a baby.
Unfortunately it was one of those scopes that was not attached to a telly so I couldn't see my chords myself; my mother was cowering in the corner with her eyes covered at this point (which, frankly, I thought was a wasted opportunity). Oh, and the doctor didn't find anything unusual (thank God), so it's back to waiting and seeing.
It just occurred to me that I'm a 27 year old who still, at times, goes to the doctor with his parent(s). Of course it's more for their sake than mine, and I don't care either way, but it's still quite amusing.
Tuesday, December 6
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag hoe
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag crak hoe
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag crak hoe pussy
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag crak hoe pussy gay dyke
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
xxxx: skany skag crak hoe pussy gay dyke laalla
Shak: i know you are but what am i?
The following message could not be delivered to all recipients:
i know you are but what am i?
Sunday, December 4
"I always find it surprising when I go to these things and see a girl in a hijab standing on a chair waving her hands at the artist on stage" a friend was telling us last night at dinner. We were discussing the next day's "Global Peace" event and exchanging past experiences of similar things.
"Why? I think it's great. What's the problem?" I asked.
"Well, you know, you see a girl in hijab and assume she's modest. And then she goes acting in a way that doesn't befit the hijab... It's wrong."
"But a girl wearing hijab is normal too right? The fact that she doesn't let the hijab define her should be applauded, not criticised. Erm. Right? And you shouldn't really be assuming anything about anyone, let alone a girl with a hijab..."
At this point I got shouted down by the rest of the table, which at that time consisted of another guy and two girls (who happened to be wearing hijabs at the time).
Ok, now I know that it might be a bit of an unconventional stance, this one of mine above. I dunno, maybe I know what it's like to have people assume things about your character and lifestyle based on a narrow view of how "religious" you appear - I've had comments thrown at me in the past regarding how I am able to, say, reconcile the fact that I pray with the company I keep.
Sounds crazy, right? And yet we're willing to do the same for a girl in a hijab at a concert. The fact that we interrupted a freely mixed dinner to pray Esha salaat shows how hypocritical the comments made above were. Sure, it's better for a girl not to go crazy at a concert; I have no disagreement with that. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily worse for a girl to wear a hijab while doing so.
One of the things that puzzles me often is how some people claim that they don't pray, or don't wear the hijab, or haven't been on Hajj because they're "not religious enough". For me, it's a bit of a circular argument. You don't practise enough to practise? If you think you're leading an incorrect lifestyle (and I'm not saying anyone is), then surely that's a reason to add, however slowly, elements to that lifestyle that would correct it, even if that's just a bit?
We should stop seeing girls with hijabs (or guys with beards, or any other prejudice we keep) "going wild" and instead see someone going wild while also wearing a hijab. The difference is subtle, but it's there. I mean, surely the fact that she's wearing a hijab at all is a good thing?
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: hi
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: lovely
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: can u go on cam
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: my name is
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: aamir
i am a true lesbian and i love woman uhuhuhuhuhhhuu sex is need in life i can provide you: bayat
Saturday, December 3
So there I was, catching my train and pulling out my DS to play a bit of Sonic Rush. It was the first time I was carrying my DS (I prefer to read), and it felt a bit strange playing in front of random people.
But then before I knew it, the guy next to me pulls out his DS too and starts waving it at me. "Coo wanna play something?" I asked, "Do you have Mario Kart?". "Yes" he replied.
And so we played. Unfortunately we were only on the same train for five or so
stops so it was pretty short lived. But it was fun playing someone I didn't
know and didn't even find out the name of.
And yes, I pwnd him too.
Wednesday, November 30
xxxx says: salam
xxxx says: im missing yyyy
xxxx says: lol
Shak says: ngapls..... we dont need women
xxxx says: yeah
xxxx says: especially ones that dont let us down
xxxx says: ngapls ?
Shak says: nevermind.... even ones that dont let us down... dont need any of them
xxxx says: but how would life be without them
Shak says: we're doing ok as we are right???
xxxx says: yes
xxxx says: and marriage is a fard not a sunnah
Shak says: see we've been brainwashed into thinking we need a partner etc....
xxxx says: i mean not a fard but a sunnah
Shak says: exactly! im not agasint marraige... but better to stay single than to marry the worng person right??
xxxx says: yes i agree
Shak says: hi five!!!
xxxx says: what that
Shak says: hi five... innit. bachelors for life
xxxx says: yeah
xxxx says: bro u 100% serious about not getting married
Shak says: uhhh. yeh. sure. erm. are you?
xxxx says: no to be honest
Shak says: jebus
xxxx says: that dont mean i diagree qith a lot of what u said
Shak says: you coulda said that before
Shak says: ok fine. i'll get married. but only cos of you man.
Tuesday, November 29
Imagine that the office's token fit girl has been sitting next to you for the past few weeks after being given a change in role.
Now imagine that this doesn't usually matter to you since you're one of the few in the place that isn't actually that interested.
Now imagine that every now and then you need to let one rip, and don't have time to either direct it into your seat or take a walk around the office, and that today is such a day.
Now imagine that sometimes this flatulence is quite stinky.
Now imagine that there happens to be no one else around to blame.
Now imagine that said token fit girl pulls out her smell spray and gives it a few squirts around the area.
Now imagine that the Earth hasn't yet opened up and swallowed you whole.
What do you do?
Monday, November 28
Also picked up with the aforementioned DS since it was cheap, this is just Sonic on the handheld system. The same old stuff here, except now Sonic has all manner of new moves and even a frikin power bar to charge. The 3D bosses are a nice innovation though.
For me Sonic was about the purity and I'm not sure that I like Rush that much.
Everyone knows how great Mario Kart is - great enough to get me to buy a whole new system to play it's latest iteration on anyway. I've only played a bit, but it seems to be the most accessible MK to date and I was powersliding all over the place within minutes.
The addition of local wireless and Internet play are what makes this game super though. Mario Kart has always been a single player unfriendly game but usually you would only play multiplayer when you, well, had other players available. Now though you can play strangers and friends alike at almost any time that's convenient and while watching TV, lying in bed, or even sitting on the bog. Fantastic.
The best Mario Kart ever? Quite possibly.
Sunday, November 27
Saturday, November 26
The best Harry Potter movie yet? Well apparently, but I'm not convinced. It was really good and polished and had good scenes and a good story... However it lost major points for skipping so many pivotal moments in the book. I mean, what, no Sphinx??
Of course it was always going to be tough squeezing Rowley's biggest HP book into the same 2.5 hours as the last few. The thing is, as I've explained before about this brilliant series, is that every page of the book counts toward the story. Like a good mystery, the reader is able to figure out the end if they want to. However, the film cuts too many out for the viewer to do the same.
So no, at best this was just as good as the past three films. Which isn't a bad thing. And hey, if it happens to be the most accessible of the four for those who aren't particular bothered about HP, then that's no bad thing either.
I thought that a museum would be a pretty odd place to meet a few friends over lunch; not in a bad way, but it's not like we'd have dinner in a zoo either. I was curious though especially since I had never visited the British Museum before.
Thankfully I arrived a good 40 minutes early. Now most of you know how I hate running late (whether it's me or someone else), but these 40 minutes gave me a chance to have a quick look over on the place - since salaat times are short now it would have been difficult to wander around after lunch itself.
Personally I preferred it to places like the Natural History Museum and even its sister the Science Museum (which had and always will be a childhood favourite, if only for the periscope). There's something about real history and witnessing objects from a time long ago that's almost romantic for me. To be in the presence of something that old kinda links us to the same people that built it.
Anyway, there are a few random piccies on Flickr anyway.
Lunch itself was great, again with my "mature" friends. And I honestly mean that as an endearment - at times I feel that I only have friends younger (and sillier) than I am (which is great btw), and having access to an equally wonderful bunch of people who I can instead talk about religion, politics, other boring stuff while also having a laugh in other ways brings a certain balance and completeness to my social circle.
Pretty lucky, that.
Friday, November 25
Well this is a first. A sequel to a film I've already blogged about? Well it's been just over a year since Saw came out, so I guess so.
This was more of the same. And when I say that I mean that if you liked the first one then you'll like this too and vice versa; there is still enough freshness here to make it good in it's own way.
Due to the nature of the film, I can't really say much about the plot and stuff. Just know that there are "OMG, NO WAY", "NOOOO DON'T DO THAT" and "WHY ARE THEY SO STUPID" moments a plenty. So I guess I'll say what I said last time: Go watch - just make sure you don't go watching alone.
Wednesday, November 23
hey guys how are yous
right this is very important information
ok i have to lines now one for you t-moliers and one voda
i have an orange sim to recieve calls only ok
for those orange users send me a sms and ill switch the sims
ok thats the last number change i promise
I mean wtf? Hey look I'm all for redundancy but this is the second time this week that someone has given me an alternative number on which to call them. Not only that, but it's like they were doing me (and the many others they probably spammed) a favour by gracing us with yet another set of digits to store and manage.
Now, I understand someone having to change their number under certain circumstances (and no, getting a free phone and/or texts IS NOT one of them. Cheap ass), but doing it often and then for a trivial reason is both selfish and inconvenient - suppose my next of kin has an old number of yours for emergencies that suddenly doesn't work when needed? And do you really think it's better for fifty people to change their numbers than for you to spend a few extra pennies? Here's a clue: It's not.
Oh and doing it just so you can receive free evening minute booty calls from your new boif/goif isn't a justification either. If you're talking that much with them then you should be using a landline anyway. Or be married. Better still, dump them; why are you going out with someone that cheap anyway?
So do me a favour. Get a number and stick with it please. I don't want to check the time, date or phase of the moon to figure out which number I need to dial to get into contact with you. Maybe that's lazy but hey. Oh, and the first person to claim that I don't call anyway gets a slap. That's not the point.
IC Bans Hoodies and Hijabs
It's pretty astonishing considering the mindset of the university while I was there. It's hard to believe that anyone who manages to get into IC in the first place has time to be a terrorist too (alleged Babar Ahmed was an employee), but this just smacks of a knee-jerk Daily Mail reaction. Even more surprising is that IC is the first to implement such a rule.
Sunday, November 20
There are three types of Bollywood movies for me. First, the unmissable classic that contains all the magic that Bolly has to offer - a pretty cast, a decent script, good songs and emotion-wrenching plot. Second, you have the Salman Khan films which should all be sent to hell. Finally you have everything else.
Shaadi No 1 doesn't star Salman, but neither is it a classic. A good example of what is wrong with Bollywood, Shaadi is little style and even less substance. Bad songs, a ludicrous story, and... well just nothing interesting to note makes this yet another empty Bolly release. The one saving grace is the eye candy on offer (Esha Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Ayesha Takia, Riya Sen, Aarti Chhabria, with Ali Khan looking especially better than she usually does) but even that got boring after a while.
It's a shame, since it demonstrates that there really is a gulf between the good and bad in the world of Bollywood. In my opinion the market would be a lot more accessible if there was more in the middle. But hey; at least I didn't have to pay to watch today.
Thursday, November 17
Monday, November 14
Since I'm officially ill and all that, tradition dictates that I'm supposed to lounge in front of the television wrapped up in a blanket. Nothing unusual about that, except I just realised that the blanket I use for this purpose has been mine for almost all of my life:
It's purple and pink (of course) and synthetic. It's also way too small for me now. But that hasn't stopped me from sleeping with it every day (that I'm at home at least) for the past 25 plus years. And like me, it's showing it's age; it's only my love for this blanket that has made it last this long.
Now, I'm not a hoarder and I'm not usually sentimental about material objects in this way. I wouldn't even describe it as a security blanket (despite the title above). On the other hand I wouldn't voluntarily give it up and I certainly will not allow particular nephews to inherit it (while I'm still breathing anyway), so there must be some kind of attachment there.
Why oh why do people leave half written cryptic and ambiguous messages on their MSN PMs? I'm talking about:
Tom - I agree 100%
Dick - HAHA You're so funny I can't believe you did that :):)
Harry - Yesterday was the best I ever had, but I'm not telling anyone or they'll want to know the details and ask me what happened even though that's precisely why I'm writing such a mysterious and ambiguous message. Haha I'm so smart, go me.
Honestly, they're worse than putting up famous quotes from history (but only just).
Why do people do this? Well maybe they feel it's they're being humble for allowing a friend to open the conversation rather than themselves. Or perhaps this way they get as many people to ask "OMG What the heck are you talking about? I want to know all about it and I'll be your best friend" messages and so get a good ego massage in the process. Or maybe they just want to be the centre of gossip because without this self marketing no one would actually care (when in fact that's usually the case anyway when others finally get the not so exciting details).
And yes, I'll admit that I sometimes too fall in this trap also, but I do change it as soon as I've realised and I humbly request that you all do too. In the meantime help me fight this transparent tactic of self promotion by keeping your curiosity in check and not taking the bait when you see one.
Sunday, November 13
Although I wasn't too concerned about having been admitted into hospital, the place obviously made me think about life, mortality and whether I would die a virgin. Not because of the weekend's events, no, but in this busy world one can so easily fall under a bus, be involved in an air accident or fall into an industrial sized meat grinder. Ok, maybe not that last one but you see what I mean.
And of course, I don't mean that virgin thing literally. Well ok I maybe I do, but I'm also talking about everything that goes with a deep, full and meaningful relationship. I mean I've managed to do quite a bit in my life, perhaps even more than a lot of others. But a human's life is finite and it's impossible for everyone to experience everything or even just the things they want to. And I'm not even saying that everyone deserves to get what they want, just that it might suck for them if they didn't.
But hey. I'm sure when everything comes to an end we'll have bigger things to worry about.
Saturday, November 12
So I'm finally out of hospital. Some of you know the details and I don't think it's appropriate to blog them.
Although I'm haven't been completely cleared I am well enough to be home (but not allowed to work. Damn). Which is good since I was becoming well bored over there, even if I had Smallville and OTH to watch.
Finally, thanks for all the attention; my mobile has never been busier. Sniff.
Wednesday, November 9
Have now been posted - please ask me for the location.
- The rush at the Makkan Jummah.
- A virtual tawaf.
- Progressively busier tawafs from various angles.
- The technical features of the Prophet's Mosque.
- How people from Leicester act on planes.
Fantastically funny and also inspiring. Probably because it's all true, from the way fellow Muslims in congregation want to dismember your little toe to the people who insist on using aa, iA and mA in IM conversations.
Very similar to the now defunct Not-A-Fatwa! but not as in yer face and critical (possibly since the author has decided not to hide behind anonymity), I think the site goes a long way to show how human Muslims can be. Amen.
Thanks so Shar for the heads up.
Monday, November 7
Based on the quickly canned yet in my opinion great Firefly, Serenity is a sci-fi flick that delivers on content rather than visuals. Of course that may mean it's only for the fans (since people in general are shallow tut), but it's worth checking out if you're into things that dare to be different.
If you are a Firefly fan too, then you may find that the series works better than the film. This isn't surprising since film spinoffs are not usually better than the shows they are based on (see: ST:TNG), but the flick does sit well with the series and ties up a few loose ends in the process.
Saturday, November 5
There's something positively final and possibly even poignant about airports. After all they are where holidays both begin and inevitably end; there is no turning back after you pass those departure gates. Sigh.
The flight home from Karachi was via Jeddah. As it turned out we were three of ten passengers on that leg which was quite humourous and needless to say I made use of the five seats that I had allocated to me: at this point I had had around 4 hours sleep in the last 48 hours.
The flight from Jeddah to London was less empty. In fact it was pretty full. And that, full of people from Leicester. Now no offence to any readers from Leicester (ahem) but I suspect that this was the first time many had used an airplane. Honestly I thought they were from Pakistan at first, running around like headless chickens not knowing where to go or what to do. And while searching for their seats some of them even had trouble counting and I swear they were struggling with their alphabets. Bless.
Otherwise, our approach to London was during a clear day and so we got to see Canary Wharf and a couple of other landmarks. I had forgotten that it was Guy Fawkes Day and it was quite surreal seeing fireworks explode from above!
And so we arrived. I always love that feeling going from the plane, past Passport Control and customs and on to Arrivals. Man, am I glad to be home.
After Jummah I went to see a few other relatives after finally coming home to shower before heading off to another chacha's house for Eid Dinner.
All my dad's siblings and their families (bar one) were there. This equates to around 150 people and it was very busy and packed and is something I'd never experience back in the UK. Totally random it was like each room in the house (and of course the roof) was a mini party of its own.
Despite the amazing evening I did feel that there was something missing. I think that I was expecting more of a buzz or vibe on the streets of Karachi - like Green Street but bigger yet more decent. Sea View and Clifton were probably alive in this way but we didn't get a chance to visit these places; the guys usually do all that on the day after Eid. And for those who are not keeping track that's the day I go home.
Friday, November 4
So it's Eid. And I'm still not engaged to be married. And here's why:
- As explained before there were no girls arranged beforehand for me to visit.
- Apparently ten days is way too short to arrange anything on the fly. This is so even though a friend of mine did it and got married to boot in six days.
- It being Ramadhan doesn't help.
- The three of us actually massively totally absolutely suck at this marriage thing. Scrap the above. This is the only reason that counts really.
But this is good, see. This trip has finally made us all realise we have a problem here, and now that we've admitted that much we can now try to tackle it.
And so my folks have said that they'll try harder back in the UK. And I will too - online matrimonials will be revisited, leads chased and new friends made like mad. And if all this sounds desperate, it might just be 'cos we are. But again, that seems to no longer be something to be ashamed of.
Jeez. Don't you all just hate hype? Ho hum...
I've just come back from Jummah and am knackered as hell. After failing to get an early night, we had to wake up for Fajr as usual after two hours sleep. However instead of hitting the sack after that we had to attend the Eid salaat.
It was the first time I've prayed in an Eidgah (a field specifically set aside for Eid salaat), but it was a wonderful experience; I've never read with that many people before, around two thousand or so. It was also surprising how punctual it was - they said we'd start at 745am and 745am it was. In the UK we'd delay at least 15 minutes.
After that we decided to visit the graveyard as is traditionally done on Eid day. This is where my grandmother had been buried, although I had already been to see her this trip. However this visit was tainted by the horrendous traffic coming in and out of the graveyard - typical Pakistani mentality and lack of organisation made it chaos.
Then we went on to do the whole family visits thang. This isn't something we get to do in the UK since we don't have much family there, and it was nice doing the rounds with quickfire ten minute visits to all the relatives.
Oh and on a final note... The girls have definitely been out today. I knew Karachi girls were hot, but I didn't realise how much till today. Woot.
Thursday, November 3
Eid Mubarak to all that are celebrating today (or tomorrow if that's your thing).
We've just sighted the new moon ourselves here (Thursday night), so we're not too far behind. My flight back is on Saturday morning, so I'm thinking this is my last chance to get any kinda sleep before then. Eeep.
It's been an interesting Ramadhan for me this year. So much has happened and on the one hand it seems to have passed so quickly and on the other hand it feels like ages since the start. Of course you'll all read about it soon enough... Consider my bulk blogging a belated Eid gift for you all. Snigger.
Tuesday, November 1
The last time I visited Pakistan they had a total of 6-7 channels ranging from news to The Cartoon Network. This time, although the place I'm staying at had not television at all, there are now a good 60 odd channels available to those that subscribe. MTV, Channel V, two pretty good movie channels, Sony, SET Max and two B4Us are amongst the choice now. And all for 200 rupees a month? Bargain.
Faced with this choice has made me realise how much of a channel hopper I am. I can't just sit on one channel without knowing what is showing on the others, just in case there is something more interesting to watch. I'll even switch over something I'm thoroughly enjoying just to make sure I'm not missing out on other things.
Does that make me fussy? Am I the kind of guy who needs to check all of his options to be totally satisfied? It's not possible to always explore every choice, so will I ever be content?
Am I even talking about television anymore?
Monday, October 31
Last night we returned to the posh part to visit a shopping centre in Clifton, the beach area of Karachi. This is one of the places where the "burger families", relatively rich and wannabe incognoscenti hang out. If you look really hard you may even find the Karachian equivalent of the chav.
I found it in quite amusing to see people trying to converse with each other and shopkeepers in English (yaar), especially as a native English speaker wearing a cheapo shalwar kameez and BOY slippers. Snobbish I know, but they're the ones pretending to be something they so aint.
Sunday, October 30
Last night (around midnight) we went to a place called Sea View, a nice little floodlit stretch of beach situation in an area called Defense. Now, some of you may know this as the posh part of Karachi.
It's where all the rich people live and the quality of life there is better than many parts of London. The houses there cost around 5-6 crore (50 million) rupees, which converts to around 5-600,000 pounds, putting them out of the reach of even many of us here - and this would buy you a much better house than the same amount in London. Apparently it's all corruption and dirty money that pays for it all.
Its pretty interesting to see the class divide. We live in one of the more poor ghettoey parts of Karachi - Federal B Area on the opposite side of the city. I know which part I prefer though, Fed B is definitely where it's at. Keeping it real and all that y'know.
Friday, October 28
My dad has 13 siblings consisting of 5 sisters and 9 brothers (3 of whom have either died or gone missing), so there are quite a few aunties and uncles to see and first cousins to hang out with (37, I think. 32 of whom reside in Pakistan, 27 of whom I'm relatively close to).
Unfortunately it's Ramadhan at the moment which means all my cousins are out working in various shops till late (4am or so), so I'm not seeing them as much as I'd like to. Still, we'll all be getting together on Eid so that's some consolation, I suppose.
Having been put under the impression that there was a wide range of girls here for me to see, it was a shock to discover that there was in fact none. I asked about the reconnaissance that my grandmother had supposed to have completed earlier on in the year. Apparently of the three girls she met:
- One was cross-eyed.
- One had a family history of some kind of skin problem.
- One had already been engaged before. Three times, in fact.
So of course all three had been prefiltered. Which is all fine and dandy, except it meant there wasn't actually anyone left for me to see.
Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.
Just went to visit my dear Aunt Khulsum. She's worth blogging about because a) she's great and b) she's spectacularly placed in my family tree.
See, she happens to be my mum's khala (my mum's mum's sister), or the sister of my maternal grandmother. She also happened to have been married to one of my dad's brothers. The more astute of you will realise that this isn't as crazy as it sounds and is as acceptable as two brothers marrying two sisters - the 40 year age range between my dad's siblings kind of crossed a generation.
Anyway, this means that my mother and I share first cousins (her through her khala, me though her husband, my now deceased chacha). Which is actually great since when we're around them it puts me on the same level of respect level as my mum. It does throw a few things out of whack though - do I call these cousins brothers or uncles? And my dad is my mum's khalu's brother. What does she call him? And am I my brother's uncle or not?
I was taken out on a bike today (we've been using cars more for a few years now). It really is one of the best thing about Karachi - riding at high speeds with the dirty, smoggy, muddy wind in your face dodging the oncoming traffic as you cut across lanes and take roundabouts in the wrong direction.
I don't think I'll ever get bored of it. I love it.
Thursday, October 27
I finally managed to find a DVD player today and so dug into the series I brought over from the UK. And quite frankly it's terrible the stuff we watch: I'm finding I have to be so careful about the stuff happening on the screen.
Take today. I thought Smallville would be a safe choice. But no. Clark decided to pop his cherry. The rest of my collection (Despo, OTH, OC) will prolly be just as bad. Even the safest bet ER scares me.
So yes, like I said in the title Western telly is filthy.
I had a bit of a debate with my parents this evening, and it's totally thrown the whole rishta situation out of whack. I told them that I needed a bit of choice, and that as well as looking in Pak we should really be giving the UK more of a chance than we had.
I'm not too sure what's happening right now. I may still see some girls and I'm still open minded about marrying here, but if nothing happens I think we'll become a bit more proactive back home when we return.
Wednesday, October 26
Like in Saudi, we've settled into a routine here too. Unlike the previous one, this one is slightly more sane:
- Wake up at 1230pm for Zuhr.
- Doss around till around 4pm. This includes watching the DVDs I brought from home.
- Get ready for Iftar which was being held at one of my dad's siblings house (a different one each day).
- Go to read Tarawih at a different mosque each day depending on the host.
- Get picked up at around 12am and go out till Sehri.
- Get back and sleep till Zhur.
So I've finally managed to find a connected PC after heaven knows how many days. I've actually got loads to blog but don't really have the time now, so if you're interested in knowing almost all about my time in Saudi keep an eye out for that.
56k Internet sucks though. Otherwise I'm loving Karachi as always.
It's my second sehri here and it's really cool how the muazzin of the local mosque announces over the tannoy how much time is left till sehri ends 20, 15, 10 and 5 minutes before it does. It saves you having to look at a clock at all.
Monday, October 24
- Distance to Kaba: 2000 miles
- Time for Tarawih: 2 hours
- Distance to Kaba: 0 miles
- Time for Tarawih: 3 hours
- Distance to Kaba: 300 miles
- Time for Tarawih: 3 hours
- Distance to Kaba: 1740 miles
- Time for Tarawih: <1.5>
I've just got off the plane and suddenly realised exactly how much I love Karachi. I've had nothing but a big grin on my face on the way home from the airport.
It's got me thinking that if anything happens here regarding a wife, it would probably increase the chances of further visits to Pakistan. At the moment I only go with my parents (I so wouldn't handle it on my own), but I can't rely on them for company forever.
It's something to think about; I might be wrong but there aren't many people in the UK as keen on the subcontinent as I am, and it's likely that any partner found there would make it more difficult for me to visit Karachi.
The Jeddah-Karachi flight is quite packed, as anticipated. This should be interesting... I wonder who'll be the first to sit in the wrong seat?
I've just realised that I've had around five hours sleep in the last three days. What's surprising is that I don't feel all that bad.
We're all packed and about to leave our hotel room for the airport. I'm really looking forward to Karachi now, and I feel like I've had my fill of Saudi this trip.
Further I don't think I'll be coming back for Ramadhan anytime soon, if at all. I know it sounds really bad but on some level it feels as if a whole bunch of barakah was missing. Perhaps it was just me, but that doesn't really make a difference.
Would I advise others to go? Well yes, of course but be prepared. As for me I've had my fix and it'll be off-peak from now on.
Saturday, October 22
I think I'm looking forward to leaving Saudi. Ten days have been more than enough and I'm slowly becoming more and more wound up by the people pushing and crowds. The worst thing is how it has changed me; you have to push back otherwise you don't get anywhere. It's a depressing inevitability.
Friday, October 21
Is there one? Hypothetically speaking the last thing I need right now is a crush, so it would be handy to know what to do if I happened to find myself with one. So if anyone knows how to get over one, post it below.
So what is it with Hijabs eh? I mean I'm looking around here and I know it's totally dodgy me saying so but some of these women in full nikabs look kinda, well, hot. Now there can't be that many beautiful women so obviously covering up is making some women look more attractive than they actually are.
So that's my take. Hijabs and nikabs are only for pretty women. Ugly women shouldn't wear them otherwise they'll tempt men and make their eyes wonder. Or perhaps I'm just a perv.
(And just in case you didn't realise I'm joking. I'm not telling anyone to remove their hijabs, and especially not ugly people.)
I always thought I was different, but here I am. It's almost like I'm that guy from Bride And Prejudice - y'know the "No Life Without Wife" fella that goes back home to find a wife.
Maybe that's what hurts the most: how I tried my best to be different and not like other guys. Instead of being one in a million, I'm one in the 1000 or whatever that go to the subcontinent each home to get married. Delusional or what?
Just got a text message from a friend who just got engaged. And although I'm really happy for him, it still makes me feel a bit like Bridget Jones.
Will this new development force my hand in Pakistan? Who knows... Well, I do since I'm typing this retrospectively, but it's so exciting anyway. Oooooo.
Thursday, October 20
Something that took me by surprise here was how as Iftar approaches these random boys grab and try to persuade you to attend their "patch" for breakfast. It's really flattering too - sometimes they even jokingly fight with each other over a guest.
My dad says that it's all goodwill but I remain cynical. I await to see if they ask for any money afterwards. Ahem.
Arrived in Madinah this morning. I think I've always preferred Madinah to Makkah; it's more peaceful, quieter, the people are more friendly and it's less harsh than the latter. I think it's always been this way since the time of the Prophet.
Having said that, this visit seems to be even more busy than it was during my Hajj visit, and I've also noticed a bit of shoving.
The Mosque itself is also more logically organised than the circular one in Makkah (which is understandable considering their respective proximities to the Kaba). You can also see the "layering" of the mosque as each extension had been built over time - it's kind of like the rings of a tree in that respect.
Oh and Makkah gave me a leaving gift in a split toenail which was nice of it. At least I'll have something to remember it by.
Wednesday, October 19
I managed to finish the Quran today before our final Maghrib in Makkah, which is good.
It's the final Tarawih now and everything is coming to an end. We're leaving after Fajr tomorrow, so trying to make the most of it, I guess.
It might be good timing actually 'cos I'm beginning to lose patience with the people here including my parents and even myself. It turns out I don't like big crowds.
Tuesday, October 18
We've kinda settled into a routine now. It's goes something like this:
- Wake up at 4am for Sehri and Fajr. We have to go 30 mins before Fajr adhaan to secure a place; my mum has to go even earlier.
- Come back and be in bed by around 6.
- Wake up at 11, get ready and leave for Zuhr in around an hour later.
- Return from that and shower and rest for a while, perhaps get some shopping done (but probably not since it's too hot)
- Leave for Asr, again a half hour before adhaan (at 4pm).
- Remain in the mosque till Iftar and Maghrib (6pm or so), usually reading Quran for the two hours till then.
- Get out and try to find some food; return to the hotel to eat by around 645pm.
- Leave for Esha and Tarawih at around 720pm (adhaan at 8). Do a Tawaf after that's done.
- Leave the Haram at around 1030pm at which point we finally get some free time to walk around the area and do random stuff. We may even eat some more.
- Get back to the hotel and in bed by around 2am for two hours sleep before Sehri.
Basically the whole day revolves around the five prayers, which is probably unsurprising. What is frustrating is how each salaat takes an hour longer during this busy period than it would otherwise due to the need to arrive early to get a place. Still, waking up to a live adhaan is wonderful and beats an alarm clock anyday.
Monday, October 17
One of the good things about having Iftars in the mosque is that you have them with total strangers. Like today, we opened them with a bunch of Turkish fellas. I had no idea what they were talking about but it was nice anyway.
I timed myself reading the Quran (as you do) and I managed a sipara in just over 40 mins which I think is a record for me.
I'm still worried about whether I'll complete the Quran in Makkah or not. At the moment I'm about to finish the 22nd sipara which means I have to read four tomorrow and another four the day after which is a bit higher than my current rate, but Godwilling I'll manage it.
Sunday, October 16
Saturday, October 15
It's amazing how selfish and disorganised some of the people in Makkah are. I'm not talking about the mosque authorities here, but more us, the guests.
An example was when we sat for Iftar today. Now we didn't know this at the time but we unintentionally sat in the "free food for the poor" section (which was pretty nice actually). Now the men's section was fine, but over on the women's side they were grabbing and fighting over a crate of food parcels like a bunch of jackals - really, that's the only way I know how to describe it.
Later on during the Tarawih (which we read behind Shaikh Sudais - always great) prayer the men showed us how they could be just as bad. These people guard their territory like it's their home (even lying while doing so), even if there's plenty of space for one or even two more people.
Something I realised during Tawaf was this habit of people pushing you "preemptively" just in case they have to. That sounds weird, I know, but if you imagine a busy train or platform and how you can navigate one without having to touch anyone else you may know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's a language/culture thing where a shove takes the place of an "excuse me".
I suppose it just shows the state Muslims as a people are in. In theory it shouldn't be like this at all, but then human nature does come into play in a crowd this big. God willing they'll be a time when none of this happens at all.
Friday, October 14
Right or wrong I have taken some. And a few videos too. I'll have a selection available on Flickr and the others via Hello, but if you think I shouldn't have taken them at all don't look.
Man I wish I had had R1N before I left. Oh well, these'll do.
Flying out at 9pm for a 6 hour flight isn't fun. I've written before about night flights, but this was worse since the travel time was short enough to get us to our destination at an insanely early time in the morning.
Still we managed to check in at Heathrow before Iftar and so avoided the rush and got good seats. The journey itself wasn't delayed and I also had pleasant company on the plane - apparently Leicester does have more than one person worth knowing. At Jeddah, immigration and customs were both a breeze.
So yes so far so good. But then we hit the atrocious tour agency allocation process. See, for a couple of years now we've no longer been able to privately book flights and hotels for Umrah or Hajj; it all has to be done via agents. This is a good thing in theory since it guarantees that all the right bits are in place, but the way it has been implemented on the Saudi side is unbelievable. And at such an early hour in the day, frustrating.
Despite this, we arrived at Makkah earlier than we had excepted to. Since it was Jummah, we had planned on doing Umrah after the Friday prayer, hoping that it would get less busy then - instead we took a gamble and decided to do it there and then at 830am allowing us to get out of Ihram that much earlier. It was still hot at that time of the morning and still very busy and tiring. The only reason we didn't fall asleep was 'cos we were so thirsty.
We finished the rites of Umrah at 1030am, two hours before Jummah. This was plenty of time for a shower - or so we had thought. An hour later we realised how wrong we were.
Now I've been Hajj and have seen how busy the Haram can get. But this was bad. I managed to find a few inches in which to pray inside the mosque, but my parents (with whom I had split up with by that point) had to pray outside in the sun. Thankfully the considerate imam kept the khutba and prayer itself short. After that, I made my way back to the hotel where I had another shower and 2 hours sleep before we had to get back for Asr. By now I had never been thirstier; it actually felt quite dangerous.
I wrote this two hours before Iftar, which I expect to be the most satisfying breakfast ever. My only consolation is that the rest of the trip will be much easier compared to today!
Thursday, October 13
- This is the first Ramadhan I'll be missing a night of tarawih (both at a mosque and at all) in 16 odd years.
- It's also the first time I'll not be in the same place for the whole month.
- It'll be my first Eid without my brother.
- It'll be my first trip to Pakistan and Saudi without the same. Hence the 11 episodes of telly and pocket Suduko I'm taking with me.
Wednesday, October 12
... To find me a bride, or even offer me yourself.
All proposals can be made via my Hotmail address, by telephone, or if you're really brave as a comment below.
Do not forget to include contact details and to attach a recent picture and any relevant proof of age and status.
And yes, I'm kidding. Maybe. It all depends on the response really. Aha ha ha.
Tuesday, October 11
(Based on a comment I made elsewhere)
As I get older and see the situation I'm in I find it harder and harder to recommend any particular kind of lifestyle let alone a "good" one to the few young 'uns that I know and may have an influence over. On the other hand, I don't condone anything else either and so absolve myself of any responsibility. Yes, it's pretty comfortable sitting on this fence of mine.
On the contrary I tell people to make mistakes (although not to intentionally make them), and to even get certain things out of their systems (and then only if absolutely necessary and provided they know what the consequences of their actions).
I guess the question is whether principles and morals should exist purely for their own sake or instead to achieve an ultimate goal. The thing is that the latter isn't guaranteed whether you have principles or not. In fact you can have a still have a good result regardless of how you live your life. So what use are morals and principles then?
The only real reason to have a moral code is for your own self and not for anything in return. That's probably the most selfless, and so purest, form of having them. Still, I can't help but feel it's a tad unfair. I mean you're told that if you act good then good things will happen to you, but then that's totally contradicting what we've said above and so can't be true.
Nah, the way to do things is to have principles if you want to, but then to not expect anything in return. Your goals have to be achieved by other more practical means - unless of course these other means break your principles in which case you're probably almost totally screwed.
EDIT: After reading this back I've wondered whether perhaps I've not been clear enough. I mean hey, I'm all for being thought provoking (aha ha), but it's also worth being clear every now and then. Anyway, I thought of an example that kinda illustrates what I mean.
Back during my Deutsche internship I met quite a few new friends. Amongst them were a couple from Cambridge, the then typical Hindu-Muslim pair. I managed to get close (or maybe presumptuous) enough to ask them where they were going, and back then their reply totally baffed me. They said that they both knew the score; that the relationship had one, maybe two, years max left in it before they both would mutually end it. It would be hard, but it was inevitable and they both understood that.
I was stumped. Why would anyone put themselves in this situation? I mean what was the point? Sure they were happy in the short term but you could see them both anticipating the pain of big day when they'd have to say goodbye. Don't get me wrong; I've no problem with mix-religion relationships, but if the relationshipees themselves can't accept it, why even begin one?
Now though it makes more sense. It's not the details themselves that I understand; this isn't really about religion. No, this is about the risk and reward. I now understand why one would, and possibly even should, go ahead and have these experiences anyway (and I'm not just talking about relationships here. The same applies to jobs, education and almost anything else), since you'll almost always end with something even if it doesn't appear so. Just because this couple weren't gonna get married or have more of a long term relationship does not mean what they had was worthless.
If there are no regrets and if you become more of a fuller person afterwards then it's not a mistake or error in judgement. No, it's just learning how to live your life.
Sunday, October 9
That was Idris's mantra this morning while I was cutting his hair, while his grandparents were holding him steady. Now Idris is (and I suspect will always be) a bit of a cry baby, but what he didn't realise was that I didn't really care and further that no number of tears would have made me stopped what I had started.
Anyway, he immediately calmed down after receiving his new die-cast Harvey and Harold. Really it was almost multiple personality disorder the way he switched: "Thank you chachu for cutting my hair", although this was probably more to do with him getting the aformentioned toys than a brilliant number three. Total player, I tell you.
With such a large UK population of people from the region, and at last count 18,000 people being lost, I'm thinking it's difficult for a lot of us to not know someone who has been affected by the disaster in Pakistan over the weekend.
A friend just said how she couldn't believe how many disasters we were having one after another. They've been pretty spread out too, without any kind of prejudice.
Who knows? If this carries on like it's doing major disasters might not even be recognised as being unusual anymore. Now that would be strange, being desensitised to such massive trauma.
Saturday, October 8
Or maybe not. So today I had my first taste of broadcasting, and I thought it was fab. It was another one of those things that once you start becomes not as bad as you thought it would be, and before I knew it I was comfortable in my role.
Yes, there were umming and erring, a bit of dead air and timing issues, but I reckon that's to be expected from people cutting their teeth on radio speaking. I was glad to have had as many listeners calling and emailing in as I did (and if you were one of them then thanks!) and it was quite amazing how fast the hour went.
The one thing that I thought I failed on slightly was representation; the debate seemed to have been heavy on the state/non faith school, and during feedback I was told by the faith school teacher that he felt it was kinda one sided. This might have been because he was on the phone and not in the studio and so was neglected slightly. Still, it was our job to bring him in more often and bring balance to the debate and I may have lacked in that.
Anyway, I'm not sure of how much of a good job I did but I had fun doing so and it's definitely something I'd like to try again. It's a shame I won't be around for the rest of Ramadhan though so I'll miss this session.
Did you tune in? If so what did you think?
Friday, October 7
I woke up this morning to a barrage (well ok quite a few) texts wishing me, erm, good wishes. So thanks to all for that; you have probably realised that I'm NOT gonna text back.
And just so you know you don't have to prefix your messages with "I know you don't do birthdays, but...". I mean, come on I'm not that bad. And for the record I'm 27, not 30.
Here's a little toy I wrote between busy periods at work. It's actually the first thing I've released for people other than myself (and possibly the odd brother or friend), so it is a bit of a landmark app for me and my gift to you.
The app sits in your system tray (with the default icon, naturally), and allows you to save and recall personal messages that display on your Messenger after your display name. It's pretty straightforward: use a right click to add, edit and delete personal messages, and a left click to recall them in a handy context menus.
There are bugs, but nothing serious (however it comes without warranty, so if it formats your system drive, do NOT blame me) and I have a few more ideas to add (like integrating the PM timer you might have seen me use over Ramadhan). But still, please do email me at my Hotmail address if you notice any bugs, have any suggestions for improvements or even if you decide to download and try it at all.
Anyway, check it out here: MSNPMS.exe (56k)
Thursday, October 6
Just received my new UGC cinema pass... Except it's now a Cineworld cinema pass! UGC cinemas nationwide have already been rebranded the same way, but it still left us wondering whether or not the pass would be restricted to ex-UGC screens or taken away altogether. The idea that we'd be able to use it at Cineworld seemed a bit too good.
But that's exactly what's happened. Now ordinarily this wouldn't mean anything - The WIQ UGC is still going to be my preferred place to watch films. What is brilliant, though, is that I now have unlimited access to Ilford Cineworld, home to all things Bollywood.
So yes. Look out for many more Bolly reviews. Woot.
In what is almost a consolation prize for being rejected by Auntie, I've been asked to co-present The Education Show on Radio Ramadan this Saturday. It'll take the form of a debate regarding the involvement of Muslim parents in their child's education, and I'm pretty excited to be taking part.
I've also had to produce and have been researching the issue and contacting people in the field for the past few days now. It's been pretty hard work, not least since my day job decided to be busy and it being Ramadhan. This preparation might be overkill (an hour being a pretty short time), but I'd like to do this properly. I've been taking notes off The Sonia Deol Show too, so if I sound familiar you'll know why. Ahem.
So will I crash and burn? There's only one way to find out: the hour long show is from 11am-12pm, Saturday morning, and is available to all those around the East London area - like Newham, Redbridge and Ilford - on 87.7fm. Alternatively you can listen live by following the link above.
Wish me luck, but whatever you do, do not call in to heckle. Faking a parent criticising schools for failing Muslims might be ok though.
Tuesday, October 4
So Pakistan still haven't sighted the moon, meaning that their first fast will take place on Thursday. This is bad news. In a nutshell, Eid in Pakistan may now be on Friday 4th or Saturday 5th, the latter being the day I fly back.
Obviously I don't want to spend my first Eid-ul-Fitr in Pakistan on a plane. Now, our only hope lies in the fact that the previous two months in Pakistan were both thirty days long, implying that Ramadhan will have to be 29. But that's logical and I've given up on that now. It will of course totally suck if Eid isn't on Friday.
As an aside the ugly issue of division in the UK arises yet again. It seems now to be pretty well split between the traditionalist and younger mosques (ardent followers of Saudi, btw) instead of along more arbitrary lines like it used to and even though I took the word of the latter this year I do think they got it wrong. Pakistan isn't the only source starting on Thursday; I hear that New Zealand is too and the MCB have also announced Wednesday for their start. Apparently moon charts prove that there was no visible moon on Monday night (even though the same charts also prove the new moon had been born).
Personally, I think that following Saudi, although commendable in its intent to create a single definitive global source for sightings, lacks a bit of credibility, especially when UK Islam has developed enough to allow us to form our own. Love 'em or hate 'em, the MCB seems more of an appropriate source to blindly follow.
But anyway. None of this changes the fact that I'm flying back on what may turn out to be Eid in Pakistan. Oh man.
Monday, October 3
Well Ramadhan has been announced by London Central Mosque and so far the majority of my mates say they're fasting tomorrow too so that's good enough for me. Ramadhan mubarak everyone.
This year marks a change since we now return to Noor Ul Islam after the two years since we moved from Leytonstone. We do this because for the first time in its 17 year history it has finally opened doors to women. Now it's not the first time I'm reading Tarawih with my mother present (the mosque local to my current home has always allowed women), but it is special because Noor Ul Islam will always be my first mosque - I doubt I'll ever spend as much time in any other mosque as I did there. It's also mosque to my mamu and khala (and their families), so for the first time the majority of the men and women in our family will read tarawih under one roof.
The reason why they've allowed women this year is due to the acquisition of the middle property between the previously owned two; this means that there is now contiguous space for the fairer sex and also a single main jamaat (as opposed to the four mini ones they've had the past few years). It's probably the biggest single jamaat in the locality and so another reason to return.
Ramadhan is also creeping later in the day as the Islamic month moves into the Summer. This means we're looking to return from the mosque at around 10-10:30pm which is later than we've been used to for the past seven years or so. How much of an impact this makes on our lives I won't be sure of till we've tried it a few times, but I already feel tired.
EDIT: So we made it back by 10:40, which is a pretty good time considering the teething problems faced; it'll probably be earlier tomorrow. The new hall was blummin' impressive though and totally something to be proud of. I'm still tired though, and the 11pm it is as I type is well past my bedtime considering the sleep disruption we're to endure. Zzz.
Managed to cram this before Ramadhan starts, but a pretty good cramming it was. Set over much of the last century, the book is about a terrible sin made by a young girl, and how she and her family deal with it over the years.
Plot aside (which was gripping enough) what makes this book for me, again, is the characterisation. McEwan has a fantastic talent in getting the reader to relate to the characters (well, as much as you can to a white English family living during the time). There are many examples of how he does this, but the one that comes to mind now is how Briony, a thirteen year old, wonders about her body and its relation to her soul simply by wondering what makes her fingers move. It's a simple exercise that we've all completed ourselves and so immediately gives this particular character depth and brings her to life. Other examples include the various manifestations of Robbie and Cecilia's feelings for each other, or the daily routine irrelevances in the life of Briony's mother.
Each part (there are four in total) seem to start off slowly, making you wonder whether the best writing was saved for the previous part. But before you know it you're drawn in and surprised and sad even when each part ends, before realising that it had at exactly the right point. More kudos to McEwan.
It almost feels like this was written for the person reading the book at the time. Of course that's silly and is just more evidence of McEwan's talent and is what makes a good book good. Much recommended.
It just occurred to me, two days after the event, that I was actually in Bali in the July of 2003. That was less than a year after the first bombing, and we were witness to the struggle that the Indonesians were going through in order to recover from that. We even saw the location of the bar that was bombed (which was going through reconstruction by that point). I couldn't help but think that since it's happened once, there's no way it would happen again. But hey, I've been wrong before.
Bali is pretty nice, but I wonder whether it will recover after this later attack? The benefit of the doubt has been given once before. To be honest I'd go back, but then I'm kinda pragmatic in that sense.
Saturday, October 1
Simple, straightforward and violent. I liked this film. I didn't even mind the times when it dragged; you realise soon enough that even the few boring parts lead to something more exciting and so bear with them till the payoff. Not much was irrelevant in this picture.
I can't really say much more about a film that is so pointed and even "clean". Go watch it - even if you end up not liking it, you'll know exactly why.
Friday, September 30
Today was quite hectic. Two things that needed to be completed urgently came up simultaneously. Most of you will know that this isn't usual, but despite me having to, ahem, pull out all of the stops to get the work done, I found myself actually smiling at the end of it.
It's probably normal for those of you with tough occupations (including studying, parenting and the like), but there is a certain pleasure one gets from doing a job under pressure and doing that job well. It hasn't been the first time I've received such pleasure, but the difference this time is that I've realised I can call on this on tap; merely by keeping myself busy.
I now know why some find so much happiness in throwing themselves at our work, and why they spend such long hours and even weekends doing so. I've called them nuts before, but it's making a weird kinda sense now. I'm not sure why this is the case; indeed at first glance I'd say no one likes to be exhausted or made to do work. However perhaps we feel good after achieving something in our day? Or maybe we need distractions from the things that are not keeping us in our natural and default state of happiness?
Of course, it doesn't really matter why. Just remember that if you suddenly find me too busy to talk you now know why.
Tuesday, September 27
Although my nano is still going strong (although not least 'cos I am taking particular care of it), I know of more that are not. It beggars belief that Apple can release something that can be so easily tainted, especially after the other stylistic iPods. Harder plastic or even a metal face (mmm, brushed aluminium) would have been much appreciated, man.
Monday, September 26
Just caught sight of the UK top ten chart:
1. (1) Pussycat Dolls feat. Busta Rhymes - 'Don't Cha'
2. (-) Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx - 'Gold Digger'
3. (2) Sean Paul - 'We Be Burnin''
4. (-) Franz Ferdinand - 'Do You Want To'
5. (-) Katie Melua - 'Nine Million Bicycles'
6. (5) Daniel Powter - 'Bad Day'
7. (4) Mylo vs Miami Sound Machine - 'Doctor Pressure'
8. (3) Gorillaz - 'Dare'
9. (-) Kelly Clarkson - 'Behind These Hazel Eyes'
10. (8) Rihanna - 'Pon De Replay'
I've not heard any of these in full, and only know about the Pussycat Dolls in passing. I don't even know who Daniel Powter are Mylo are. I know these things are inevitable, but I must admit to being a bit miffed anyway.
Sunday, September 25
Personally, I think I find zombies scary due to their irrationality and lack of general direction in life. Anyway, highly touted as The Master Romero's latest zombie masterpiece, I couldn't help but fell that Land of the Dead fell short of the mark.
Unlike Dawn Of The Dead (which I thought was pretty superb), I'm thinking Land lacks a bit of oomph. The zombies aren't that thoughtless and thus not scary (when they're not jumping out of dark corners, I mean), the people who are yet to be infected are well armed and the heros generally lack charisma. The plot is pretty developed for a zombie film, though perhaps that was the problem. Like its main bad guy, zombie movies are supposed to be mindless.
A so-so flick at best. Half dead in fact. Bdum tish.
I was shown a mosque in Soho last night during dinner. We needed somewhere to pray Maghrib and a friend knew of a place around there. And yes, as you've probably guessed by now, it's amongst the brothels and sex shops of the area.
It's actually great news since there have been many times I've been stuck in the area (that's Piccadilly/Oxford Street/Leicester Square and not Soho) with no place to pray. And now I won't be.
Anyway if you're interested it's located on Berwick Street next door to Jessica's (who happens to be young and supple, apparently). Just remember to keep your gaze strictly down. Snigger.
After the now normal way-too-long period, the IC massive had another one of its get togethers. I can't remember the last time we were all together; in fact it may just well have been in university itself.
Dinner was ok and short, the latter of which is strange for us lot. Having said that I didn't stay for the bar visit after, so maybe it did turn out to be the usual affair after all. However, a definite new twist this time was how many plus ones there were joining the core group. A fleeting thought was whether any partner of mine would be able to mingle as they did, if at all she attended (let's just say that we are quite the interesting bunch).
Related to this was the comment "Of all the Asian/Muslim guys I know of, you were the last one I thought would go back home to marry" made during conversation. It's not the first time that this has been said and of course I always take it as the compliment it's intended to be. If anything I kinda agree with it.
It's funny how easy it was to get us together though. I think we had four, maybe five, days notice and it only took an hour to decide on a venue. Perhaps we all got lucky, or perhaps this was given a priority since it was long overdue. Whatever the case we now have precedent to how easy it can be to organise so hopefully it'll happen more often.
Saturday, September 24
Come On Over - Christina Aguilera
Just heard this in the gym this morning and wondered why I ever got rid of it. Very pop and with a video that's more a Gap ad than anything else, but it still a tune.
Tokh Tokh Ke - Aman Hayer Feat Lehmber and Gmoney
I think I like Gmoney. A nice follow on to Tharte Hildi (which personally I think was the track off of Groundshaker, and yes, that's over Dil Nai Lagda), this has been taken from Aman Hayer's latest Gettin' Serious album. Wasn't it just a few months ago that Groundshaker came out? Well, nothing else off the new album caught my ear anyway.
Friday, September 23
But this one was kinda weird. It had all the standard bearings of an Asian wedding: the late start (the hour late dinner was forgivable as the venue was like five minutes from my home); the now boringly fashionable segregation (although having said that... ahem if you know what I mean); the army of man clones all with their hair set in exactly the same way speaking some strange code (all of whom, depressingly, probably had a better chance of catching an aunty-ji's eye than this poor blogger). I swear one of them described the biryani as being phat.
But then there were the surprises. Like the dhol player banging away the arrival of the bharaat. Or the bright blue and ribboned 4x4 carrying him. I'll even mention the clichéd chocolate fountain, but only 'cos it looked so out of place opposite the ice sculpture (filled with fruit, but of course). Try-too-hard, much? Whatever the reason, the whole deal was pretty surreal (and thankfully short lived due to the aformentioned close proximity of the venue to my home. It's not often that my father and I get to leave my dear mother at a wedding early. Needless to say we took our chance this time; she's still there as I type, bless).
Yeh I'm hating. And what? It's my blummin' blog.
I picked up part of a conversation a schoolgirl was having with a granny on the bus this morning. Something about her wanting to become some kind of designer when she comes to picking a career. This got me thinking - despite dreams not usually panning out anyway, I'm not sure if I wanted to be anything in particular when I was growing up. I mean there was no ambition to become a footballer, doctor, popstar, pilot or anything.
I remember we were once told in English class to write down where we hoped to be in twenty years or so. I wrote that I wanted to work in an office, live in Leyton and drive a mid-sized Ford, while making enough money to keep my family comfortable and happy. I guess that was my ambition then and was the reason behind my studying hard and living how I did while growing up; that was enough to drive me, and I like to think it drove me well.
Of course like other dreams and plans this has not gone quite the way I planned it. It seems that this was all as ambitious for me as becoming a doctor or race-car driver might be for someone else (which is ironic since I had enough smarts to become at least the former). The effects are the same though; there are times when my drive wanes and I wonder what the point of having a good job and relatively sensible lifestyle is and whether I should have bothered in the first place.
Of course this is all silly as fatalistic as one who regrets never making it as an astronaut or actor. And there are good things that come from this apparent failure too, like the various projects and activities I find myself taking part in instead. I just wonder how the schoolgirl on the bus this morning will handle her possible failure at achieving her dream of becoming a designer, 'cos despite us having that failure in common if she does, I think I'm doing pretty well handling mine.
Thursday, September 22
So my beard trimmer ran out of juice tonight. Half way through trimming. In their infinite wisdom, Philips decided to disable the device while it's being charged i.e. you can't use it straight off the mains. I mean, what the hell is that about?
Yes, that's right. The BBC have finally gotten back to those that didn't make the cut in their recent search for a new radio presenter. As the title suggests, I didn't make it. But it's ok. I didn't want the stinkin' job anyway.
Man. And I had so many "Radio Shak, literally!" puns planned.
Off the radio this morning, when they were fielding for "good life rules". Amongst the "work to live, don't live to work"s, "you start with nothing end with nothing but have everything in between"s and other clichés, I spotted this gem:
Dance like you're not being watched, and make love like you're being filmed.
Gave me a chuckle anyway; and it's probably true too. Not that anything other than the first part is relevant to any of us...
So dodgy Saudi agents (in the last few years or so ANY Hajj or Umrah tour must be booked with a hotel, and that means even UK agents need a counterpart over there) have been doubling and even tripling hotel prices due to unprecedented demand. This is in spite of however early one might have booked.
In short, this means that unless we get the same trip at the same price (or at least without too much of a financial hit) the whole thing, Pakistan included, will be cancelled. I hope not 'cos I was well looking forward to it all... Although if I am honest a tiny part of me might be relieved if the bad happens.
Monday, September 19
I find it fascinating how some people complain about guys going back home. Y’know to marry. I mean, why? We’d all throw our arms up at someone who insists on only marrying a doctor or something so why don’t we do the same when the restriction is instead a British passport?
These men are free people and so have that free choice to do so and in many cases it’s not like they wanted this to be the way things play out. The fact is that, for whatever reason, they’re not finding what they want in a wife here. They’re told that in real life people have to compromise, that they’ll never find the perfect partner and if that’s the case, surely it makes sense to be objective about the whole deal as opposed to being, quite frankly, nationalistic about it.
Consider a potential wife from the sub-continent. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone who'll fulfil their domestic role, would be subservient, kind, tolerant, won’t complain and will get on with your folks (well yes, since they had input in choosing them). They’ll be someone who’ll concentrate on making the family work rather than on the more superfluous things that distract us from daily life. It almost sounds like a no brainer to me - or at least a more attractive proposition than choosing or waiting for someone "you can communicate with and is on the same wavelength" or whatever excuse some people give for picking locals over those from back home.
I know what you're all thinking and no, there is no projection or self-convincing going on here. Nervous twitch.
Saturday, September 17
Y’know, I’ve found it pretty hard finding an in-depth, non-wishy-washy (and I don’t mean non-liberal by that) book on Islam. The few I’ve recorded on this blog have either been too much of a reference or socio-political (here, here and here). Which is fine, of course, but I think there is a need to balance these with something a bit more literal and straightforward.
Part one of eight (the others covering Angels, Jinn, The Messengers, The Final Day and Destiny) this book covers the concept of God according to the Quran and Sunnah. Specifically this means the evidence of God’s existence, the sign’s of His actions, the oneness of Him, the history of Aqeedah, and then a comparison with the concepts of God as held by other people (that is, non-Muslims). Despite the size (450 odd pages), weight and at times hard English (it actually has been translated from Arabic) of the book, it did feel like it got through it pretty quickly and easily.
I actually took this from our own bookshelf at home, which was lucky since it was actually close to what I was looking for. There were some things that made me roll my eyes a bit – things like the proofs (which, as someone who thinks that a full proof of correct faith isn't possible, sometimes seemed a bit circular) and the comparisons with other faiths. Having said that, the reader should be able to appreciate both and use them as a start of any further research or debate.
I’m guessing that God and Aqeedah will be the hardest of the topics that this series of books cover, and so I am kinda looking forward to reading the other (less sizable) volumes. Hopefully they won't disappoint!