Friday, August 6

Muhtashim and Shaheen

Now sit back ladies and gentleman, for I am about to spin a tale if Internet lore which spans almost a decade as well as half the globe. Not many people know this story, but the time has now come to tell it from the beginning. Its relevance will only become apparent once you reach the end of the story. All names apart from the obvious have been changed to protect the innocent.

It may surprise many of you who are too young to remember, but before blogs and Facebook the main way in which people used to communicate and socially network were web forums. There were more than a fair few about, little pockets of introverted cyber-communities, sometimes come together by chance and sometimes by a common interest. For me, the biggest was Asian Life on the BBC's website. It was here that I came across TDS and FSP (amongst others). Meanwhile in another part of the internet, there was Mash and KWI.

Now KWI and I had become friends before any of this had happened - the particulars of which is a story for another time. But in their international wisdom since Mash and I happened to live in the same country, KWI kept pushing that we should meet. Due to my phobia of meeting people of the Internet whom I hardly knew (and the fact that this was a bald guy from Birmingham as opposed to a hot chick from London), I managed to avoid each and every push to hook up.

But then the great blog movement of 2004 arrived. Now I like to think that I started it all off, but that's probably not true in the general sense. However I certainly was on the cusp of a great migration from forums to blogs as TDS, FSP, KWI and Mash all jumped on the blogging wagon. If I'm totally honest, reading Mash's blog made me even more reluctant to meet a guy who appeared to have some serious issues. Plus I think he had a crush on me.

And what happened next was extraordinary. Networking and cross-pollination on a massive scale, as people quickly became familiar with people they hardly knew all over a single article or comment thread. TDS picked up Mash from my blog (or perhaps it was the other way around). I also believe that TDS was the first to bridge the gap between the UK and South Africa. A couple of blog roll clicks later and it all became a mass orgy of virtual hi fives and back pats. When Mash took the decision to come to London, he leveraged this virtual network to hook up with a few South Africans who were also looking for physical relationships (of the innocent kind, mind). And the rest, as you know, is history.

I was still reluctant to meet Mash. KWI had since given him my number which made dodging him even more difficult. In the end, however, he managed to track me down by figuring out where I'd be at a certain time (there are downsides to being a member of ICSS), but to my astonishment the person I met was completely different to the guy I was expecting. He was actually quite okay, and I soon forgot all the misgivings I had regarding him.

And after a number of various hook-ups, culminating in The Great South African Tour of 2010, I've come to realise that the only person who lost out with my aversion to the whole make quick Internet friends thing was me - well, in this particular case anyway. And now the tables have turned, with him being the one opening doors for me, treating me in a much better way than I ever did him.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is how real Mash is. He doesn't spin or market who he is depending on who he's talking to, and it's this accessibility and honesty which draws all those around him in. All his other attractive qualities stem from this - his humour, his rudeness and charm and his depth. While others are tackling their internal controls in order to tell others what they think or feel, Mash totally ignores his and says it all anyway.

It's this lack of social bureaucracy that makes him so easy to talk to. Personally He's one of the few people I know who quickly understands what I have to say (whether he agrees with it or not, although it is usually the former), which allows the conversation to progress to a stage further than it would have with other people. Unfortunately this is only in real life - he still can't write for crap.

One of his best qualities however is what I realised while travelling across South Africa with him. He has nothing at all bad to say about people. He was introducing me to around three new people each day, and each were unique, quality, the best. He'd sell his friends, but not in a way some people do by covering up their flaws, but only because he genuinely doesn't see any in the people he chooses to hang with.

Being a bit of a man whore (in a nice way), I'm pretty sure everyone who knew him was taken back - in a happy way mind - when he announced his plans to marry. Of course once we all heard how he spoke about Shaheen (including that Photography story) we all realised how special she was. After meeting her the couple of brief times that I did there wasn't any doubt how suited they were, with Shaheen matching Mash's realness in such a way it wouldn't have made sense if they didn't hook up.

Which brings us to their wedding tonight. There were no tears or hesitation here, just pure certainty and confidence between a couple who knew exactly where they stood with each other. If communication and honesty are things we're repeatedly told are essential in a marriage then in my humble opinion these two have absolutely nothing to worry about.


  1. That sums up Mash perfectly. I shed a tear when I read the man whore paragraph.

  2. I haven't met Mash, but every South African I know only had good things to say about him too.

  3. These are so much more fun to read when you "know" the person :) Great couple indeed.

  4. Awww, touching entry - and very very Mashura. Thanks to KWI, I can happily count on Mashio as hopefully someone i can always rely on IA. I have no doubt in my mind that Shaheen will only complement him further (if that's possible, of course).

  5. I'm so happy for them both. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

  6. And another thing about Mash. Most people related to him on different things. I doubt there are more than 2 people that will say the same thing. For me, twas a kindred spirit in music :)


    beat you

    by a month or so i beleive.

    AND i held of for a while cos i thought it was sad

    which it is.

    walima writeup please

  8. Fuad,

    I didn't mean to imply that I was the first person to blog ever in the history of blogging. I didn't know you back then in any form. Although even then it seems you weren't really a serious blogger like those I'm referring to anyway.

    Oh and you need to put a history widget on your blog. I'd love to read some of the old stuff.

  9. lalala09:44

    oi, name

  10. I met KWI on RateDesi of all places!

  11. I didn't want to publicly out you man!

  12. Anonymous01:59

    I very nearly cried just there. Lovely post on a lovely person.Thank you.

    Well done to Mash, too :)

  13. The days of ICQ to RD ... I met two of the most wonderfullest men in the world and I love you both immensely... Maybe Mash a bit more lol he is the love of my life lol jks.. I'm stoked for Mash I know that Shaheen will make his life stable happy and full of love which he deserves... And now that I'm married too.. This triangle love affair is over.. Your turn buddy xxx