Monday, January 30

Fab Weekend, But Paying For It Severely

Yawn.

The weekend was great. It's definitely made the annals of the IC's Book Of Important Events, and is probably one of those things that we'll always be referring to in the years to come. Retrospective blogs to follow...

Sunday, January 29

Valima Day

The hotel was poo and I didn't really get a very good sleep. But I made it to breakfast this morning and it was nice to meet the new couple The Day After under more normal conditions. None of the IC crew had actually met the new bride before, so before that point we only really had a possibly biased opinion from what was her fiance.

Now I won't sing her praises too much, but she is great. And I will say that it takes a particular... "quality"... to be able to feel comfortable and involved with the IC Crew (a mixture of patience and humour I think) and from what I got from her, she has it in spades.

But then we had to get ready for the valima. As was the case yesterday family was beginning to trickle in, but since this was the valima and so the groom's responsibility some were already at the hall setting up. I'm not sure what happened but we were ultra late arriving with most of the guests there when we finally got there.

The best thing about this day was how many ICers were present. Unlike the day before when there were only four, at least fifteen people from our uni had been invited (and some even with their own wives and kids). Not only that but a few other non-IC mutual acquaintances were there too.

My family were also invited. Idris and Haroon were in tow, and I made sure I exploi... erm introduced them to all my mates and of course they played the part well. But seriously, this was a rare opportunity to introduce them to my IC mates; I'm not sure the same crowd will ever be together on the same day, wedding or not.

What else? Oh, well the food was even better than the day before and the bride was wearing purple. And I just have to mention the Continental GT too. Oh my.

But then of course the day and weekend had to end. Sigh. We had all planned to leave from the hall and were ready to do so but it still seemed a bit abrupt. Saying our final farewells to the new husband and wife, and their family and friends that we had grown relatively close to we got to our cars (some of us choosing to change in the car park rather than the toilet. Ahem). We then formed the three piece convoy that would take us all the way to the Watford Gap Services after which we finally parted ways. Honestly, it was like the fellowship splitting up. So sad.

And that was it. The event we had all been anticipating and looking forward to for the past three months was over. It was only one weekend it seemed like much longer although I wish we all had more time to give the occassion - there seemed to have been very little beginning and ending to the whole thing. Bar a couple of minor things the weekend was wonderful and unique and is totally up there with the best. And if any of my friends' future weddings are anything like this one, I honestly can't wait to attend them.

Saturday, January 28

Wedding Day

So we managed to get to the groom's house around 11am after some fantastic (or scarily fast) driving by my co-driver. We were early; the Baraat's house was calm but that was soon to change as all the cousins and close family trickled in. Of course the Baraat and all were late to the hall, but hey, no one was expecting any different (apart from those for whom an Asian wedding was a new experience. Poor buggas).

The wedding itself was standard fare - for anyone who didn't have a personal stake in it, that is. For the others, we were still floating in disbelief; repeatedly we had to remind ourselves that, yes, a close friend was getting married. Jeez. It's strange; people close to me have been married before and that had been easily accepted. This was just... Surreal. Good surreal, I mean.

The Nikkah was also typically quick, a mixed blessing in my opinion. You can't get bored at a blink-or-you'll-miss-it Muslim ceremony, but on the other hand it can hardly be described as a photo op. A while after that the bride made her entrance to join her new husband - she was wearing a red and cream lengha (as I know at least one reader is wondering). Dinner was served, Nawaabs was great and proved its reputation as Manchester's best (or only?) wedding venue. The food was so good, in fact, that at least one pair of trousers had to be unfastened. No names of course.

Unfortunately due to a boo boo I missed the Rukhsati and receiving of the bride to her new home, but I managed to join the newlyweds later that evening. Mmmm, chocolate cake with whole Lindt chocolate as decoration. Only in this house, my dear readers. The bride seemed pretty happy and settled and was managing the attention well. The groom was also well chilled; so much so that he forgot to feed his wife cake before himself. Oh and he was also a hero to all Asian grooms everywhere, managing to get past THREE sisters along with many more cousins and their various money grabbing checkpoints losing nothing but what seemed like bus fare. What a guy.

I then headed back to the hotel where a few friends arrived (for the valima the next day). We drove around Manchester (renting proving to be a blummin' good decision) and had dinner. After that I went back to the hotel to crash - I had to get up early the next day to join the groom's family for breakfast and it had already been a long wickeda day.

Too Early

Urrgh.

Friday, January 27

Manchester Here We Come!

It's gonna be such a wicked weekend! Can't talk much though... Need to help my mum do some last minute packing. Ahaha.

Chuck Norris

I don't usually do forwards but I thought this was hilarious (ta Zubs):

====

When Chuck Norris has sex with a man, it is not because he is gay, but because he has run out of women.

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds till." After you ask, "Two seconds till what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.

Chuck Norris uses ribbed condoms inside out, so he gets the pleasure.

Since 1940, the year Chuck Norris was born, roundhouse kick related deaths have increased 13,000 percent.

There are no disabled people. Only people who have met Chuck Norris.

There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.

It was once believed that Chuck Norris actually lost a fight to a pirate, but that is a lie, created by Chuck Norris himself to lure more pirates to him.

Chuck Norris once lined up to kick the winning field goal of a high school football game. When the football went flat, he persuaded the referees to let him kick the field goal with a 3 month old child. Chuck roundhoused kicked the baby 60 yards through the uprights and then proceeded to bang every girl in the stadium.

The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

When Chuck Norris's wife burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck said, "Don't worry about it honey," and went into his backyard. He came back five minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he threw it up a few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with cranberry sauce. When his wife asked him how he had done it, he gave her a roundhouse kick to the face and said, "Never question Chuck Norris."

If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.

Those aren't credits that roll after Walker Texas Ranger; it is actually a list of people that Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked in the face that day.

If you unscramble the letters in "Chuck Norris" you get "Huck corn, sir." That is why every fall, Chuck travels to Nebraska and burns the entire state down.

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.

Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying "booya".

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

Crop circles are Chuck's way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the fsck down.

In fine print at on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Chuck Norris, and that those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone has ever come to matching him.

There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck allows to live.

Chuck played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a handgun and a bucket.

Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris' shoe. Chuck replied, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Chuck Norris!" The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris

The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Chuck Norris has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.

Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Chuck Norris's girlfriend once asked him how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He then shouted, "HOW DARE YOU RHYME IN THE PRESENCE OF CHUCK NORRIS!" and ripped out her throat. Holding his girlfriend's bloody throat in his hand he bellowed, "Don't fsck with Chuck!" Two years and five months later he realized the irony of this statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile radius of the blast went deaf.

Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having $ex with his waitress.

To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and acquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate an Indian

Chuck Norris is not hung like a horse... horses are hung like Chuck Norris

After much debate, President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima rather than the alternative of sending Chuck Norris. His reasoning? It was more "humane".

The quickest way to a man's heart is with Chuck Norris's fist.

Chuck Norris once decided to make a vibrator that would simulate the size and power of his actual penis. The result was a baseball bat tied to a jackhammer.

When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Chuck Norris has not had to pay taxes ever.

Chuck Norris doesn't understand why you should consult your doctor if your erection lasts for more than 4 hours. His erections have been known to last for up to 15 days.

Chuck Norris appeared in the "Street Fighter II" video game, but was removed by Beta Testers because every button caused him to do a roundhouse kick. When asked bout this "glitch," Norris replied, "That's no glitch."

Macgyver can build an airplane out of gum and paper clips, but Chuck Norris can kill him and take it.

Filming on location for Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris brought a stillborn baby lamb back to life by giving it a prolonged beard rub. Shortly after the farm animal sprang back to life and a crowd had gathered, Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked the animal, breaking its neck, to remind the crew once more that the good Chuck giveth, and the good Chuck, he taketh away.

Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his dad did.

Chuck Norris spends his Saturdays climbing mountains and meditating in peaceful solitude. Sundays are for oral $ex, KFC and Tequila.

Chuck Norris can enter up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Select, Start using only his erection.

Chuck Norris once walked down the street with a massive erection. There were no survivors.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Chuck Norris could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Chuck Norris has two speeds: walk and kill.

Chuck Norris is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.

When Chuck Norris was born, the nurse said, "Holy crap! That's Chuck Norris!" Then she had $ex with him. At that point, she was the third girl he had slept with.

Chuck Norris can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.

It takes Chuck Norris 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.

Chuck Norris is not lactose intolerant, he just refuses to put up with lactose's $hit.

When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

My New Friend, Spleak

So here's a novel idea. An automated Messenger contact that you can have a pretty engrossing conversation with. Sure bots have been around for a while, MSN ones too, Spleak is a 20 year old French girl. Alright!

Apart from that she also offers some pretty neat services, including a spell checker, dictionary and news alerts. You can also ask her to send someone a crush if you're into that kinda thing.

Anyway if no one else will talk to you, and you're sick of people taking ages to reply to your messages, just add spleak@hotmail.com to your contact list and chat away. Just don't ask her if she's naked. That's just sad.

Book: The Life Of Muhammad, Muhammad Husayn Haykal

Boy, did this book take a while to get through. Translated from Arabic, and so possibly a bit dry, this is basically seerah, or a book mapping the life of The Prophet.

Now, I've not read much seerah before so probably can't compare, but I found this to be a pretty good example of the genre anyway. For a single (although long) volume it seemed to generally cover the more important times enough with me only wanting more detail during the rare occasion.

The conclusion at the end acts as a free bonus to the book more than a reflection on The Prophet's life per se. It talks about Islam on a more general level, and introduces some pretty heavy topics. Although I would have also appreciated a more relevant round up of The Prophet's life, it's very much welcome and definitely a part of the book I'll be revisiting.

Much recommended, although perhaps not if it's your first go at finding out about the life of The Prophet. Although accessible to a complete beginner, the length and aforementioned dryness of the book may be offputting to some. It makes a brilliant concise reference too.

(Amazon)

City Circle: Why Islam needs a feminist movement Click for more info

Why Islam needs a feminist movement, Professor Tariq Ramadan

Resuming CC's regular weekly lectures after the end of year break (albeit unusually on a Thursday this week), Tariq Ramadan talked about how bad women have it and how Islam needs to change in order to restore their rights and well being. Not that I'm trying to trivialise the issue, but for most there (the biggest ever turnout for a CC as far as I'm aware and further the majority, women) it was all pretty obvious. Or at least, it should have been - only some men, when asked, actually agreed that an effort was required to fix some things. Hmm.

So yes, I guess at times we need a good eloquent speaker to remind us and that's exactly what Ramadan did last night. In brief, he told us that we needed to be more vocal about the crime and discrimination demonstrated toward women under than name of Islam. He calls this vocalisation "Islamic Feminism". He also mentioned the need to be self critical and to see how some of our Islamic principles are based on either a literal or cultural interpretation of the Quran (although note that he didn't say that these were inherently bad things).

What he didn't talk about was the issue of control and limits of reformation. Whether it's the rights of women or a more general Islam we're reforming, when should we stop? Is it when all Muslims become happy? When blood is no longer spilled? When women stop complaining? All of these will take time (if ever in the last case) to eradicate, and even then will not be a guarantee of us being on the right path.

Every week I hear of something new under the name of Islam, whether it's Muslims calling themselves gay, or Amina Wadud leading a mixed congregation. Tomorrow it could be the first Muslim brewery, or a trend for Muslim women to become lingerie models. Now, I'm sure everyone has their own opinion on whether these things are halal or haram, right or wrong, but whatever we decide they are is not the point here. What is is that they are all, as far as I'm aware, unprecedented.

Perhaps Islam is continually meant to evolve in this way, I don't know. And I didn't get to ask, the chair instead choosing more inane questions to be put forward to Ramadan. And no, I ain't hating. Much. But is there really a need to ask Ramadan (or anyone) whether they think Mukhtar Mai received justice or if a rape victim should have to marry her rapist? And then you have the questions that no one else understands but the one putting them forward, perhaps in an attempt to show how smart they are. Someone yesterday even referred to Ramadan's grandfather. Impressive. Anyway, rant over.

This was my first Ramadan lecture and very much enjoyed it was. I think it's the first of a series of lectures by Ramadan at The CC, so if you missed it there may be another chance to attend. I'm not sure whether he'll be continuing with the same topic or moving on to another, but I'd still recommend checking him out anyway.

Thursday, January 26

Millie's



I don't know whether to eat this now or save it for later. I'm going home late tonight, so I'll get peckish. On the other hand, I might be able to blag a second one for later if there are any left. Thoughts? Opinions?

Sigh. If only life was simpler...

EDIT: Well, I held out for 25 mins. Still, the cookie was nice.

Tuesday, January 24

A Big Loss

Dr. Zaki Badawi dies aged 83

Of all the many clerics and imams we have here in the UK, he was the one that made the most sense to me. His work and teachings will be his legacy.

Link Of The Day

Know your Star Trek Cleavage

Ok, on the surface this might seem like a sad sexist geekfest of a quiz. Delve a bit deeper and you'll find that it is exactly that. But hey, at least it's a quiz I'm good at. 23 baby.

Manchester Calls

Kinda following on from Roh's post about Haroon getting married, we've now hit week zero, and in, oooh, less than five days Haroon finally gets hitched. It's such an important occasion, that it's even caused me to break my rule of not personally naming or referring to people on my blog. Cripes. Anyway the post gets a big "Hear, hear" from me.

Unlike for Roh, however, Haroon is not the first of my IC colleagues to get a ball and chain. That accolade goes to Aleem, who got married before the in dried on our degree certificates - we should be meeting his sprog for the first time during the valima on Sunday.

And Sunday will be exciting. Unless I'm mistaken, it will be the biggest gathering of my IC mates since our graduation back in 2001. Haroon and I had a lot of common friends, probably a consequence of having similar lifestyles and interests, so it would be good to be among them this weekend.

A big shame is how little time we've all spent together before the wedding. There is so much to talk about (and of course, so many jokes to make and stories to tell his fiancee), but very little opportunity to do so. It's shocking that for some of us, we'll only see a single Haroon for a few hours before the nikkah; for others the next time they see Haroon he'd have been on The Dark Side for almost a day. It sucks, but is what it is.

Although I use "finally" in my first paragraph, the truth is that the last three months of his engagement have almost gone as quickly as the time lapsed since we all had first met. It's just another sign that we are continually growing up. In many ways we are the same people we were in uni but in important others we are so different. And as Rohit alludes to, Haroon getting married is a weird notion. As strange as any one of us getting hitched actually (well, apart from Steve of course). It's probably a testament to my lack of imagination more than anything else, but still it's all very surreal.

But sure, in the macro view any of us getting married isn't surprising or unexpected. On the contrary, we have all literally come of age and I suspect that Haroon will not be a pioneer in this respect for long. In fact, I predict this to be The Year of Imperial weddings, with Haroon being the first domino to fall in the next twelve months (and, no, there will be no bets for who's next. That much is obvious. Ahaha).

I've no doubt that going first will not hinder Haroon in any way or form. Quite the opposite - he'll be the prime example showing us how it's done. And so he'll be the one we'll look to for help and advice since he'll have that much experience over us. Scary.

Oo oo ah ah indeed.

Monday, January 23

New Music

Jogi - Punjabi MC

Ditty and fun, but not much else. One of the pioneering remixes of old bolly songs.

Grovel Here --->

Guess who has five invites to use the Messenger 8.0 beta? Two have already been promised away, but the other three are up for grabs. E-mail or MSN me reasons why YOU should have one and I'll think about it. Oooh, it's Gmail all over again.

And no, nudey pictures will NOT increase your chances of getting picked (you know who you are). Bribes or gifts are welcome though.

Edit: Two more left...

Gay Muslims

Typical Channel Four sensatiodoc which didn't really give the topic justice. It's a shame, since the high potential of the programme could be seen at times and with a bit more effort and honesty it could have been a good show.

My favourite "character" was Shakir (the who also had his parents on) as his story seemed the most real. The rest were either too extreme, with purpose or polarised to be of any interest.

So no, nothing in it really educational or eye opening. Oh, although it was surprising when I found out it was Sonia Deol narrating - for someone who listens to her show everyday it's pretty bad that I couldn't recognise her on the telly.

EDIT: Since posting this, I've received a comment linking me to http://gaymuslims.wordpress.com/. I can't say that I agree with all of what is said there, but my thoughts do generally run with it. It also gives the topic far more attention than the C4 doccy did (and indeed myself could), and provides various further links and resources discussing gay muslims. Check it out if you're bothered.

One To Watch

Gay Muslims, 8pm, Channel 4

A bit short notice and apologies for that. I can't really add more than the title and some might wanna check this out.

Anyway, it's already started so go watch. The first ten minutes have been interesting enough.

Saturday, January 21

What's In A Picture?

I got an interesting e-mail this morning. It seems that a friend of mine has been showing group piccies (that include me) to some further friends of his. In his own words:

Basically i was showing some pictures around to a friend who thought she knows the perfect girl for you. You still looking to get married?

Quite. Just exactly how his friend came to this conclusion I don't know. I'm pretty sure I wasn't wearing my "SINGLE AND DESPERATE" t-shirt the day those pictures were taken... Still I guess I should feel lucky I have some people on the lookout for me.

And why is it that the first thing people usually say when describing a potential rishta is that she "wears a hijab"? Barmy.

Film: Jarhead Click for more info

Atypical (in my opinion, anyway) war movie about the life of a marine from joining to the end of his first participation in war. Often humourous and sometimes serious, yet I think the intention was to make it as "real" (in both italics and quotation marks) as possible.

I'm not sure whether it succeeded in this or not (I've never been to a war myself), but Jarhead did have a certain freshness I've not seen before in many films of the same topic. Having said that, the cliches soon catch up toward the end of the film, and if it wasn't for that this might have been one of my favourite films this year.

Friday, January 20

Windows Live Messenger*

I'm sure I'm not special or unique so if I have it I'm sure that you all can too. For those that can't be bothered, here's what's new in Messenger 8.0:

  • Searchable contacts. At last! What ICQ had since it's initial versions, MSN finally gets. I can't find a keyboard shortcut to get to the search box, but once you're there you just have to type the first few letters of a name to find it.
  • Timestamps in conversations. Again, long overdue. At last I can say "dont deny it. you said so at 22:35" and not have to guess the time.
  • Offline messages. The third unoriginal, yet feature very much missed in previous versions. Does what it says on the tin... At least I assume so since I've no one to test it with.
  • Folder sharing. Just drag a file or folder into a contact and it'll be placed in a shared, automatically synchronised folder. Something new (at last), yet still to be tested.
  • A swanky updated interface. With automatically expanding contacts. Which feels like you're trawling though treacle. Actually the whole app now seems a bit sluggish.
So yeh, all in all a nice upgrade, albeit not one that deserves a brand new name, especially since other clients have had the most welcomed features for years already. Still, I'm not complaining.

*Or how to gloat when you have a new IM client that no one else does

I've Found My Cynical Eid Twin

Cue the latest article from Maniac Muslim (which, to be honest, seems to have lagged a bit lately):

The Need To Eid

Skip the first half and go straight to the text message part. Understood it? Good. Bear that in mind the next time you text me on Eid. Also, he seems to get the whole People-Who-Think-We-Should-Have-Eid-On-The-Same-Day-Are-Stupid thing too.

What a guy.

Link Of The Day

I usually hate these questionnaire things, but here's one that's not, well, crap:

How geeky are you?

My results? Well:


Geek Test Results
You are 47.5% geeky.

OK, not that geeky at all, are you? I'll bet you even have a girlfriend (or boyfriend).

The current average score is: 32.66%

Pretty good going, even if I do say so myself.

Another Whale!

Where has this one come from? Is it related to the first? Perhaps it's a worried parent looking for their missing child or an over zealous husband after it's estranged wife?

Does this mark the beginning of a whale invasion of London?

How exciting!

Having A Whale Of A Time

In what must be one of the more interesting news stories for a while, a whale has been seen wondering up and down the River Thames. How did it get there? Is it lost? Has it run away from home? More from the BBC here.


Whatever the reason it has caught the attention of the whole office here with people crowded around the closest television. And as I type, the whale seems to have hit land. It's struggling and appears uncomfortable with something red, possibly blood, appearing in it's vicinity.

What will happen? Gripping stuff.

Sunday, January 15

New Music

Luxurious - Gwen Stefani

As my taste for non Indian music continues to wane what ever does make my playlist has to be pretty special. Having said that, I'm not sure whether this is. It first caught my ear in Burtons of all places, but it was hearing it again on the radio that convinced me to get it. Smooth.

Saturday, January 14

It's Yer Birthday

I had a birthday party to attend this evening. Now that's not particularly spectacular (although it was a fun party) in itself but what I noted was how some guests were married and had brought their kids; the birthdayee herself brought her son too.

Why is that interesting though? Well most of my friends are single. The long and short of it is that hanging around with single people (both older and younger than I am) kinda helps me fool myself into thinking I'm where I'm supposed to be and not falling behind in any particular aspect of my life. Seeing people of the same age with families and other achievements, like I did today, comes as a bit of a rude awakening.

On the other hand this was bowling party, with dinner involving water pistols, food-playing-with and even people crawling under tables at one point. And none of this enacted by myself, I hasten to add. So, at least I now know that any possible lack of maturity I might have is well placed. Woohoo!

Friday, January 13

Link Of The Day

The best blonde joke ever

Well, it made me laugh anyway.

It's That Time Again, Folks

Yep, it's Pakistan Vs India. I'm not sure that the set up pre match could have been any more exciting, with Pakistan having just come off a victory over England and India having it's own form and success.

Of course I'm gunning for Pakistan so I might be biased when I say that they have the edge. At the time of writing it's 236 for 2, so initial impressions are good.

Thursday, January 12

Wednesday, January 11

Eid And Moon Sightings: My Take

A lot has been said regarding how Muslims are apparently split on the whole moon sighting and Eid-day choosing, and how the fact that we always seem to have two days is the bane of the Ummah and how we'd all be much stronger and united if we all agreed on the same date for our festivals. Now apart from the practicalities of such a thing (that is it's so not gonna happen), I'm not sure it's a problem at all. Or to be more accurate, that the difference in dates itself is a problem.

Now I think I've talked about this in the past, but a particularly strongly worded blog regarding this issue prompted me to respond via a comment to the same, a copy of which I've included here and pretty much explains what I think on the subject:

I strongly disagree. The problem is NOT Muslims celebrating it on different days, it's Muslims not accepting that others may have a different understanding of the religion that they share. I hope all my brothers and sisters had a fantastic Eid whether they did it on Tuesday or Wednesday. When they did it is an unimportant detail to me.

Although I accept that there are political and cultural reasons for some to choose the day on which they celebrate Eid, there are technical and perfectly sound Islamic reasons also. We can discuss these if you want but the details are not the point (although, briefly, it was impossible to sight any moon, new or not in the UK on the night of the 1st of January and for those who hold this as a criteria it would have been the 10th of Dhul Hajj on Wednesday).

There is no central Islamic authority - in fact we've been told not to have one. The fact that Muslims can celebrate such an important day on different dates and yet still be united is a blessing and something we should try to achieve, not a curse and something to avoid. In other words, celebrating Eid on a single day would be as ineffective as truly uniting us as would if we all started praying or dressing the same way.

You're right about one thing though. The problem is indeed with Muslims. However it's not that they don't agree too much, it's that they can't agree to disagree and accept difference in opinion when they do.

Yes, I Said "Almost-Rishta"

I was already late for the cake cutting (well, if it's actually possible to be late for a Khan event in the first place) when I was instructed not to go anywhere by mother dearest and her female sibling till we had received a phonecall from a party unknown to me.

Apparently it was supposed to be from the family of a potential rishta that they had just found out about circa fifteen minutes earlier. It seems that I was the only one present who thought it a bit short notice, unfair on either party (I had a stain on my kurta for heaven's sake) and a Pretty Bad Idea overall. But hey, I stayed put anyway.

And guess what? After waiting thirty minutes for the call the girl's side agreed that it was a bit quick to cut and that another date would probably be better. Oh and they also mentioned something about the girl herself not being home (No way. On Eid? Really? Perhaps she was digging into a chocolate cake at the time like I was supposed to be doing).

Ok I admit that it was a tiny bit fun waiting for the call, but I did have existing plans to go out too. I guess it all panned out in the end, but despite having zero experience with this stuff, even I know that giving thirty minutes for preparation is asking a bit too much (or should that be "too little"?). The other side probably thought we were all well desperate. Or weird. Or both.

Things That Pee Me Off #18: Broken Flushes

Since I was away from home all of yesterday I had to resort to using Other Peoples Toilets in order to relieve myself (and it didn't help that I was overeating too). Now, using someone else's toilet for a number two is already moving into "we're not just friends" territory, but the whole situation becomes even more awkward when they have a flush that doesn't quite work.

All I ask of a toilet is to be able to press a lever (possibly firmly) in order to clear the bowl. You can even get some now that manage to do the job with a swift press of a button. Yet some toilets will only flush if the person using it knows the secret handshake that will unlock the full power of the water tank connected to it.

Now tell me: what's a person supposed to do when they can't get rid of their, ahem, leftovers? Keep wrestling with the flush till it goes? Fill a bucket and pour it down? Wait till the tank fills up and give it another go? Or, gasp, leave it?

The thing is it's not our, the guests, fault. It should be law for a house to have a working flush, just like they need proper plumbing and electrics. In other words, if you ever find a foreign log in your bowl, first look to yourselves before blaming others.

Lack Of Sleep Gives Me The Sniffles

Urgh, I need sleep. I think Tuesday may be the worst day to have an Eid on since it's such a bummer to have to go back to work the next day; and even that for three more days till the weekend. The end result is me being groggy and as close to hungover as I'll ever be this morning, with the sniffles and those sparkly dots before my eyes I sometimes get.

But hey, it was worth it. It feels like Eid just gets better and better each year which I feel is a direct result of a) me (and my family) growing up and b) myself getting to know more and more people. My Eid phonelist is now becoming longer and longer to complete (I now have to take shifts) but seems to be appreciated more and more as it becomes established. And interestingly two people have been married since the last round!

My Eid yesterday really did have everything - aimless wandering from house to house, a good chunk of family time, cousins playing videogames for way too long, a bucket of Mini Heros which inevitably transformed into empty wrappers by the end of the day (man I'm gonna be spotty this week) and what was probably the biggest and lightest chocolate birthday cake I've ever had a piece of. Heck, I even had an almost-rishta.

The only way I can describe it is as an extremely busy, yet extremely chilled out day. The only bummer is that there was no time to recover the next day, but hey, that's a small price to pay.

Tuesday, January 10

Eid Mubarak!

Jeez, I can't believe it's that time again; it's been a year since I last did an Eid in London but it seems much sooner. Anyway, have yourselves a wickeda day (I've got a quite a bit planned so I know I will) whether you're celebrating it today or tomorrow.

Oh, and if you've never done so, have a read of the Prophet's Last Sermon (which was read 1400 years ago, yesterday). Ho ho ho.

Sunday, January 8

Russell Peters

So a friend sent me this link this morning, which if you don't want to click on it yourself is an hour long clip of a Canadian Indian comic called Russell Peters.

Now I've come across this guy before when he did a couple of appearances on the BBC, but I've never really paid him that much attention, thinking that he was yet another sell out Asian comic who uses their genetic makeup and "authentic insight" as currency a la Goodness Gracious Me. This clip and an otherwise boring Sunday morning gave me a chance to change all that. And since he's Asian, I thought that I might as well say something about him.

Two and a half hours of (often duplicated) content later, and I think I've seen enough. I can only really sum Peters up as "a bit of hit and miss" with him unfortunately displaying more of the latter than the former. Being blatant about stereotypes is funny for around 17 minutes after which it's not, and deaf and dwarf jokes just aren't all that amusing. It seems that Peters is riding the "saying things no one else will dare to" wave, but what he doesn't realise is that sometimes people don't not say these things because they're offensive but rather because they're just not funny.

Still, he does have his moments. And my initial presumption about him was wrong too. He should be applauded for not falling into the previously mentioned bucket other Asian comics do (Shazia Mirza anyone?). In fact, it's a shame that his audience appears to be largely made of Asians (and I totally put my hands up here - I probably wouldn't have had an interest otherwise either) since he doesn't use his ethnicity as a gimmick that often; not any more than he does those of others anyway. Ironically it's this talent of being equally observant regarding and offensive to all that makes him equally accessible by them too.

That alone is reason enough he should be kept an eye on; if he continues developing his unique brand of humour and insightfulness* I can see him becoming pretty successful in the future. Until then we'll just have to look past his over-deliberate un-PC jokes in order to get to the good stuff.

* At one point of a show he even berates his audience for laughing at a catchphrase they can't have heard before unless they had downloaded his material beforehand. Lightning wit or what?

Film: Match Point Click for more info

Deliberately long drama largely about a man and his infidelity. Chris is charming young up and coming kinda guy who manages to land himself a rich wife. However this isn't enough for our Chris, who then chooses to cheat on her with Nola, his brother in law's fiancee.

Typical adultery plot lines follow (and indeed fill most of the film) but overall it's worth watching to see how it's all acted out. I'm trying to figure out whether Rhys-Meyers is a good actor or not, but he seems to do good enough here. The rest of the cast are pretty good too playing a upper class English family and American mistress respectively wonderfully.

But it's the ending which makes this film different from other ones about the same topic. Twisty and misleading, it's nothing less than what you would expect from a Woody Allen writing. Good stuff.

Post, Post-Sales

Took yet another trip to the sales today (fully aware that I seem to be becoming a fully fledged shopping addict). The main reason I went was to see if I could get any of my recent Gap purchases price corrected (a policy that they refused to honour last year), but I also managed to snag:

  • A grey casual blazer thing
  • A brown zip up hoodless hoodie (erm...)
  • A blue and black stripey cashmere blend top (which I had been after since the beginning of the sales)
  • A woolen brown scarf (bargain of the day, costing under a fiver)

All for the grand total of 49 quid. I also got a tenner back due to the corrections (which isn't bad going considering I had spent 50 in that previous visit), and have decided to return a pricey stripey jumper to Next now that I have this cheaper Gap one.

Confused? I am too. All in all this sales season I've bought: a blazer, four tops, two trousers and a scarf all for a smidge over 100 quid, 90% of which was from The Gap.

Friday, January 6

Link(s) Of The Day

Katie Holmes Has Doubts About Marring Tom Cruise

Cruise, Holmes run into familial troubles

Holmes' turbulent Christmas with Cruise

I'd say that I did warn her, but now's not the time to be smug. I'm telling you, the sooner women start listening to me, the better for them it'd be.

Fortunately for Katie I'm a forgiving person.

Thursday, January 5

Another Hajj, Another Tragedy

Pilgrim hostel collapses in Mecca

It seems that we can no longer go through a Hajj season without some kind of catastrophe. The mathematician in me thinks that the 15 this year (or the 251 in 2004 or even the 1426 in 1990) out of a good million is pretty good going, but then the more sensible and reasonable part of me realises that these deaths were, on the whole, quite avoidable (a good analysis can be found here).

The first time my jaw dropped due to a Hajj disaster was over the Mina fire of 1997. Then, 343 people died and I remember actually being scared to go on the obligatory pilgrimage. I guess I was lucky when I did eventually go (in 2002) since there were no major incidents that year, but I do remember thinking more than once how miraculous it was that this was the case (and aspects of my Hajj still remain among the most frightening and hardcore experiences I've ever had to face). Obviously this is a miracle that doesn't occur every year.

Still, I guess there aren't many better ways to pass on than whilst on Hajj. For that reason we may at a stretch be able to envy the dead, although I doubt that their friends and families share that particular sentiment.

Israel's Ill

Whether he recovers or not, it's pretty certain that Sharon's political career is over. I can't remember a leader coming back to power after such a hospitalisation. It's both interesting and ironic how parallels can be drawn between Sharon and Arafat's respective illnesses and maybe indicative of how similar the two leaders actually were.

And what of middle eastern politics? Well, Sharon seems to have had a bit of a transformation in the past few months, possibly years. From quite the stubborn, unilateral and sometimes hypocritical leader he's lately earned the contempt of his own people. He's almost followed the cliched model of a leader that only grows a pair toward the end of his rule (for example, I think Bush will surprise toward the end of his term), as it becomes less important to keep power.

Having said that, overall I'd conclude that Sharon was pretty bad for the Middle East. The Gaza withdrawal which he masterminded was well overdue and smacked of an ulterior motive regarding the West Bank. It's almost a case of giving too little, too late and for certain doesn't compensate for past actions. And, for that reason, I'm eager to see who might replace Sharon. In fact, it would have been pretty interesting to see how the Israeli elections would have proceeded had Sharon not been taken ill.

Monday, January 2

Film: Just Like Heaven Click for more info

Cheesy, illogical, messy and cheesy romcom about a ghost that's haunting the new tenant of her old apartment. Yet despite how bad it seems on paper, Just Like Heaven manages to exude more than enough charm to keep the audience interested and, ultimately warm and fuzzy inside.

It wasn't Witherspoon's finest hour (in fact it might have been one of her more dubious ones; the point being that she's usually pretty good) but, again, despite this she's managed to accentuate my current doctor obsession. Mmm. Doctors.

So yes, a nice little treat to enjoy with your other half. And if not, heck I went with another bloke and I still enjoyed it.

Uh... Wait a sec.