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Showing posts from 2006

Friends

“I don’t use social networking sites,” I say, haughtily. My friend shakes her head vehemently. “Why are you so snobby about them anyway?” she asks. I try to explain that it’s not snobbery; it’s more like a neurosis. My friend has accounts on hi5 and myspace and regularly converses with people through MSN. Now there’s nothing wrong with this but she cannot understand why I cannot and do not regard people I ‘met’ over the internet as ‘friends’.

Either want to be with her or be her


A friend of mine recently made a mildly-derogatory remark about Natalie Portman. He soon regretted this as I launched into a tirade about how she is far better than your average two-cent actress or singer. I don’t know why but I have always been a massive (massive) fan of Natalie Portman. People bang on about her style, grace and elegance (which she has in abundance) but I respect her for different reasons. Of course she is beautiful and talented but it’s her belief that intelligence is more important than any of those things that makes her stand out. She uses her smarts instead of her sexiness. She put studying ahead of acting, she speaks multiple languages and is more content expanding her mind than falling out of a club with Hilton & Co. In short, she’s the woman I want to be.

*Yawn*

I think 70% of this weekend was spent underneath a duvet. As unglamorous as it may be to admit this, it’s true. I ate so much chocolate, I think I’ve got RSI from unwrapping the endless arrays of Blue Ribands. I ate, read and watched TV all from the comfort of my duvet and generally indulged in self-loathing for not having Saba Douglas-Hamilton’s life. I was even reduced to watching Deal or No Deal, which is kind of like watching a tooth get extracted but just drawn out over an hour.

Educated fleas

A friend of mine is going through the arranged marriage process and experiencing all the trials and tribulations I went through when searching for a suitable boy. I empathised with her as I know how difficult it is. I also joked that hopefully she would be untouched by the bad luck that I and others I know have had with regards to arranged marriage.

iPod & Apple

It’s official. My iPod is numbing my brain. I was fiddling with it, skipping over Missy’s ‘One Minute Man’ (too graphic first thing in the morning… yes, even for me) and I walked straight out of the house without my bag, which contains my phone, keys and purse. This meant that I couldn’t buy my usual chocolate brownie on the way to work, which means I’m in a bad mood and I’m starving (more than usual). I may even be forced to ingest the apple that’s been festering in a Tesco bag on my desk since Monday morning. Bah!

2006 will be a GOOD year

That was my mantra at the beginning of this year. 2005 had been so inconsequential; it seemed that the whole year could be cut out of my life and still leave me in the same place and same position so I was determined to get things done in 2006. Turns out it became a crazy, messy year with sweeping highs and equal lows but here I am, intact and content. 

Smile

A few days ago, a young Asian girl smiled at me; just a passing smile that you may shoot at a stranger who you make eye contact with. I was so taken aback that I looked at her in a half smile, half stunned-duck kind of way. Why was I taken aback? Because I can truly say that no young Asian female stranger has ever, ever smiled at me. Conversely, I don’t think I have ever smiled at one either. Why am I highlighting this? To show that Asian girls are just so damned bitchy. I know that’s generalising but the vast majority of them (us) are.

N*****s, P***s and C****s

I was on the train listening to Nothing by N.O.R.E (yes, I listen to such classy music) and as you can see from the lyrics, the song is pretty saturated with the word “nigger” (or if I’m cool like Tim Westwood, “nigga”). Now I don’t usually listen to music cranked up to piss-off-my-fellow-passengers level but the song before it (Stand By Me by Ben E. King) was really quiet so I turned it up. 

A quick tribute

Depressed about: Michael Schumacher losing out on his eighth world championship. Yes, he lost but he was certainly not the loser. His last grand prix proved him to be a driver that excels any other on the track. His determination and will to win is beyond anything else in the current sporting climate. He has won the championship in two different cars and outlasted at least four close challengers. Statistically, he is the best driver the sport has ever seen and I’m pretty sure we will never have another driver like him.

What happens when you cross an Islamist with a Mac?

Firstly, what the hell kind of word is “Islamist” anyway? What does it mean? Is it a person that follows Islam? We are not “Islamists”, we are “Muslims”. If it is used as a reference to the crazies that like blowing people up, call them terrorists or extremists or even fundamentalists but don’t use the word “Islam” to define them because what they do and what they are goes against the very grain of Islam. 

The Key to Perfection

After spending almost two weeks’ wages in one day during yet another trip to Green Street this weekend, I think it’s safe to declare that my trousseau is officially complete. Along with gathering mounds of sarees, shalwar kameezes, bangles, sandals etc etc etc, I have also been trying to adjust my attitude. I was in the kitchen when my mother told my elder sister to take her husband some water/food/tea. I started to say, “Does he not have functioning arms and legs?” but stopped myself lest my mother starts lecturing me on the virtues of a good wife. 

Defeat?

My joy about Schumacher equalizing with Alonso came to a bitter end yesterday when he retired from the Japanese F1 race. Usually when I’m set to watch a second broadcast of a race (the first being before dawn) I avoid the news so I can watch the race without knowing its outcome. This time however I knew the outcome of the race so I didn’t watch it as I couldn’t bear to sit through the excruciating moments of Schumacher’s championship go up in smoke. 

Leaving Tower Hamlets

I’m leaving Tower Hamlets. After my wedding at the end of October I shall be moving to the borough of Redbridge. Many people I know would rejoice at the thought of leaving the “crime-infested, poverty-stricken cesspool” that is Tower Hamlets but for me, it is a reluctant move and a sad event. Tower Hamlets may be one of the poorest boroughs in Europe; it may be saturated by high unemployment rates and have an uncontrollable drugs problem but it has always been my home and I have grown to love it.

Stragging and haggling

A half-decent weekend overall. Sunday was spent exulting over Schumacher equalising with Alonso in the F1 Championship standings (so I’m a geek, shoot me). Saturday was spent traipsing up and down (and up… and down) Green Street buying some sarees for my "Asian Woman Extraordinaire" arsenal. I also have to stock up on jewellery and even thought about buying a jewellery box (Kia Abdullah, you have been assimilated).

He was as young as newly formed mud, and he talked to himself as if reciting poetry

Written by Kiwi.
Published here with permission.

There's a kind of girl that's just about anything and everything and absolutely nothing all at once. A puzzle girl, a sort of Rubix Cube incarnate. Everyone knows at least one. She's the type of girl where you could gather together all her friends and they could each probably tell you her favorite color, her favorite movie, her favorite moment from the summer before last. They could tell you all about her strings of boyfriends and various neurotic habits. They could probably capture a general descriptive image of her personality for you within 200 words and they'd definitely have a story or two to tell as well. But ask everyone to sit down and piece together her life's story from birth canal to last night's sushi boat dinner for you and they wouldn't even be able to agree on the most basic of chronological maps. They might not even be able to agree on the correct spelling of her real name. Does she even *have* a real name?

A Life Less Ordinary

Anyone who knows me to some degree of detail will tell you that I don’t do things by half but this past week, I’ve been spread so thinly I haven’t been able to give anything 100%. This grates on my nerves not only because it is against my nature to do things slowly, badly or incompletely but also because this month, being Ramadan, should be the one which brings the most focus and calm; elements that simply have not transpired over the past week. 

Kia & Killing

I have been told on more than one occasion that I have a split personality. After the day I’ve had, it’s half this personality that wanted to go home, curl up in PJs and listen to some Mariah Carey. It’s the other half that refused to take such a defeatist attitude. So instead I put on the angriest music I have and ran til I bled. It’s because of that half that I’m sitting on my bed with muscles that have lain dormant for years incapacitated beyond movement. But I’m ok. Sort of. I think.

Smoking

I’m often castigated for my zero-tolerance attitude towards smoking. People start quoting Niemöller at me (“First they came for the ‘smokers’ and I said nothing…”) and bandying about words such as tyrant and totalitarian but as many of you are aware, once I form an opinion, it takes about five solar eclipses to make me change it. Call it narrow-mindedness, I call it strength of belief.

Faster, London, faster

Firstly, a quick apology. I know there is no excuse for abandoning the blog for three weeks so I won’t make any. I have kicked off the torture contraptions that are my sexy shoes and have nestled into the worryingly comforting chair on a Southwest Trains train. I’m on way back to London Waterloo from Chessington North, which for a born-and-bred Londoner is kind of like being in the middle of Deliverance; I kept expecting incestuous banjo players to come and grin at me wildly. 

A Gift

I was given a book called A Gift For Women by my fiance on the day of our Islamic marriage. When thinking of gifts for me, a lot of people tend to opt for books so I thought, "Great. He’s on the right track.” The book is a sort of one-stop reference of what is Islamically right and wrong for a woman. The first thing I noticed was that it was a man who had written the book, which isn’t really here nor there but it was something that I mentally noted.

Customs and Exercise

It seems that unbeknownst to me, my personality has been surreptitiously removed and replaced with an entity called “Bride-to-be”. What bought on this sudden realisation? The fact that no-one in my family speaks to me about anything other than the wedding. Sure, it was a specifically wedding-focused weekend with Saturday containing a visit from the Groom and his family and Sunday spent picking up and trying on my freshly tailored wedding outfit but y’know, I can still talk about other stuff

It's good to talk

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I say to my sister.
“No, seriously. Ask dad. He’ll tell you,” she replies.

She has just told me a really interesting and scary story about my father and I’m sitting there, wondering how I never knew that about him. And then I realise that I don’t really talk to my parents. 

Two Princes

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I had a sudden urge to listen to Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. I dug out the Bad album on cassette (remember those?) and put it on and you know, despite all the stuff that surrounds him, his music was always f***king good. Everything from Off The Wall to HIStory was fantastic and as a musician, he was simply genius. This got me thinking “Wasn’t music good back in the days?” I mean, I listen to Prince stuff and it is still fresh and better than half the stuff out there right now. Thieves in the Temple, Seven, Pop Life and dozens of others are such good songs on a basic and pure level, is there anything like that out there anymore?

All the fair men

As many of you know, I'm getting married soon and am therefore officially “off the market". A friend recently commented: “It’s great you’ve got a ring on your finger. I bet there’s no better way of deterring the perverts, lechers and freaks than with a wedding ring.” I agreed with laughter but you know what? I think I owe something to the guys that have approached me in the past.

Being Talked About

Life, Love and Assimilation received good feedback from many sources but it also provoked a number of negative reactions from both the public and people who I know personally. This week has been particularly interesting as East End Life (local newspaper distributed in Tower Hamlets) decided to run a review written in Bengali. 

What is it good for?

I am dreading another picture of a war-torn land; the one picture that will make me stop and stare, transfixed, letting it darken something inside me. I know it sounds melodramatic but that is exactly what happens. There are countless of “good” pictures of war and famine; pictures that effectively portray the horror and pain. The most famous, of course, is the picture of a young, naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack on her village. 

Stem of my Belief

On certain occasions, when discussing ethical or particularly controversial issues, I have occasionally thought, “I wonder what Islam says about this,” with the obvious intention of adopting Islam’s stance as my own. Whilst this is the correct thing to do from my religion’s point of view, it does disconcert me to some extent. 

Nonpolitical Animal

I find myself clapping after a statement made by David Cameron MP. I stop mid-clap in shock and disgust. I look around to make sure that no one has witnessed this act, which of course will make it easier to pretend that it didn’t happen. There are many reasons why one would dislike Cameron; his tendency to change his views to suit his audience, the fact that he voted in favour of the Iraq war, disagreement with his political views and policies, etc etc so why do I personally dislike him?

I [Heart] London

I’m wilting. Wilting like a dead flower or a weeping willow or, erm, things that wilt. It is simply too hot. And I don’t want to be quintessentially British and complain about the hot weather (even though that’s exactly what I’m doing) so I will try and be positive. It’s great that we’re having nice weather. London in the summertime is beautiful and special and beautiful and special (it’s the heat). So special that Anthony Keidis even wrote a song about it. But it’s not hard for me to sing the praises of London in the summertime because I love London all year round.

Heartbroken

Suzanne (from my publishers) calls me up to ask me about the shoot she mentioned. I tell her that I don’t really have time at the moment and anyway, I would rather put up pictures of me being me rather than me being a dolled up, air-brushed, sanitized version of me. Unfortunately she thinks this is a “great idea!” because I’m “more accessible that way”. “More accessible?” I say. “I’m already accessible! If I were more accessible, I’d be posting up my number in phone boxes across London.” She laughs and insists that I send a few pictures over. I sigh and relent.

A Suitable Boy

Now that I can comment on arranged marriage with some authority, I thought it was time I sat down and did so. I debated whether or not to talk about it since it is a personal matter but a) I think I’ve done all the “airing of the dirty laundry” I could possibly do and b) I think I owe it to the readers who used to follow my “Young, free and… desperate?” blog. Those readers can tell you that my parents were looking for a groom for over a year. This, in turn, prompted me to search for one on my own time. I know it’s not “the done thing” but I figured I could do a better job than my parents. 

A good idea?

I have Keny Arkana blasting angry lyrics in my ear but as I step through the doors of the Idea Store, I find my hands reaching to silence her. I think I’m still living in the age where you keep quiet in a library and though no one can hear her screaming in my headphones, I still silence her out of some archaic respect for libraries. I know that the idea store is not a library per se but it houses books and that is qualification enough for me. 

From Vanity to the Bonfire

So I was walking home yesterday and I passed a girl wearing a headscarf, which one would think is commendable but along with a headscarf she was also sporting a low cut top, skin-tight jeans and a thick layer of makeup. 

I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave

Ok, I’m sorry about the overly provocative title. I just wanted to make it official how much I love (love love) SexyBack; the new Justin Timberlake track. The absence of the Neptunes on his new album made me a little “hmm…” but this gets a definite thumbs up from my humble self. Go ahead, be gone with it.

Ramble

Excuse me if this entry is a little disorganised. I’m feeling woozy from a mixture of Costa Coffee Frescato and Italy’s win last night. I had a relatively decent weekend. There was much controversy over my book but I’m not one to worry myself over that. Had a relatively decent shopping trip; I managed to find a suit in a size six so I would say that’s pretty successful! 

Books v. Bangles

A quick slap on the wrist to start the day since I am spending way too much money on unnecessary things (but are books really unnecessary?). I was hanging around in Borders yesterday (bookshops are almost my most favourite place in the world to be) waiting for a friend before dinner and I have to say the simple “3 for 2” idea is pure genius because people like me simply can’t walk out without buying some books. 

Coconuts and bananas

Semi-busy day. Started off with a quick chat with Sonia Deol on BBC Asian Network. They wanted an East Ender’s view on the Olympics a year on after London was elected as the host. Then I took the bane of my existence (the Northern Line) to work. Forgot to pick up a copy of the Eastern Eye (I have a short article in there this week) and finally made it into work. Late. But it’s ok because I’m here now. Listening to Otis. Wasting time.

iOn iThe iPod

Yes, I finally relented and became a fully-fledged member of the iPod generation earlier this year. After years of stating, “An mp3 player from Tesco can do exactly the same thing,” the seductive powers of the nano proved the futility of my resistance. Call me a conformist, I don’t care. I know I’m being paranoid but I can’t help but think that people use them as status symbols so I try to mask the fact that I’m one of “them” by using black headphones (it’s my neurosis, leave it alone). Anyway, here’s what’s on the playlist of this evil symbol of decadence.

We don’t call him Ismail

I am hereby publicly thanking a Mr. Kashif Ismail Ali for putting up with all my stupid questions (though one could argue that there is no such thing as a stupid question), teaching me about slaves and masters (not nearly as exciting as it sounds) and generally keeping my feet on the ground. No, we don’t call him Ismail. We call him our Sensei. Great Jedi Master upon High filled with limitless wisdom and knowledge.

Immaterial Girl

“You have got to be kidding me!” I say to my sister.
She shakes her head. “It’s fine. It’s pretty much average. They’ll be happy with that price.”
I look at the gold necklace, bracelet and earrings laid out in front of me. “But that’s three months’ salary! How can anyone possibly justify spending that much on useless tat?”
She gives me her best ‘Keep-your-voice-down’ look. “It’s not like we’re paying for it,” she says.
“I don’t care who’s paying for it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t even wear jewellery.”
“It’s tradition,” she tells me. “Whether or not you wear jewellery is immaterial.”
I start thinking about pawn shops.

We’re going through changes

Most of us get jokes and funny pictures sent through to our e-mail account a few times a week. Maybe we have laughed or scoffed at something like this, thinking, “Thank God times have moved on.” I know I have. So imagine my horror and consternation when I realised that in the run-up to my wedding, I was being trained and instructed in the same way. And whilst my “training” has not been as stringent or backward as the linked picture, it is most certainly based on the same ideology.

Azzurri to win


As unpatriotic as it may be, I have been behind Italy (rather than England) for years and years. It started off for obvious reasons (namely Nesta and Pippo :) but once you get behind a team, it's near impossible to abandon them so I'm going to do my unpatriotic thing and say ITALY TO WIN!

Chic Geek

Hi all. Firstly, I just want to apologise for the silence last week. I’ve been crazily busy. Those of you who tuned into the BBC Asian Network interview will know that I’m having to juggle a full-time job (where I’m having to create a web database that does everything but cook you dinner), promoting my first book, writing my second book, salvaging a social life and planning a wedding! It’s enough to make me go all Girl, Interrupted, but I’m managing ok. 

Taming the Shrew

As a woman who has always focused energies on excelling in academia, I have more than neglected all things domestic. In fact, I have pretty much ignored it all. I can solve simultaneous equations, normalise databases and program in Java but ask me to cook a kick-ass curry and I’m gonna stall. But these days, this is simply not good enough. Women are expected to graduate from university with first class degrees whilst acquiring the skills of a masterclass chef in order to become what all the mummies want for their darling sons: The Perfect Wife. 

Addiction

I’m thinking of picking up an addiction. Anything will do; drugs, sex, cigarettes, alcohol, porn. Yes, addiction by its very nature is bad; something that makes one forget oneself and do all sorts of crazy and nasty things, so why is it that I want an addiction? Well, in this day and age where there’s an addiction that can be used to explain away almost anything, I can say that I have never truly been addicted to anything which in turn means that I cannot comment on it with any sort of authority. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke or get high and unless I go home tonight to find Johnny Depp in my bed, it’s unlikely I will develop an addiction to sex. 

The Classics

  1. Lord of the Flies William Golding
  2. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee
  4. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  5. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  7. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
  8. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. Dracula Bram Stoker
  10. Frankenstein Mary Shelley

Go, little songs, go........

I downloaded Nerina Pallot’s album, “Fires”, today and I love it. Now when I say I “downloaded it”, I don’t mean from iTunes or MSN Music or any other legitimate download site. I mean I got it from one of those evil sites that the record industry is trying to quash. This bought me to an oft-debated subject; is illegal downloading wrong? I mean, yeah, sure, it’s legally wrong but is it really wrong?