The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

TREES

I’ve been playing sports ever since I could run.  Football, Cricket, Tennis, Swimming and so on.  You can imagine the toll it takes on one’s body.  So, in January 2017 I decided to give up all competitive sports for 3 months and stick to the usual Gym, Walking and jogging.

For me being this active to suddenly take a break was a big deal.  A shock to some.

It’s remarkable how a change, such as this, can make you discover allot more about yourself.

I mean, from one who would play indoor 5-a-side football 3 to 4 times a week, Indoor Cricket net practice (in winter) followed by Cricket for a league every Saturday and Sunday in summer.  Swimming and Tennis frequently, and Gymnasium, jogging and walking in addition – imagine the amount of personal time this takes up each day and each week?

During my 3 months’ hiatus from Sports, I discovered so much about myself.  Stuff that I think could not rise to the surface due to the amount of Sports activities I have been doing.

One thing I discovered is my appreciation for Trees.  I discovered trees.  No seriously I discovered trees in their beauty.  I was out early January in my rear (very long) orchard and the light breeze was rattling the branches of the trees.  Upon close inspection, I realised the trees had extended into one another.  I stood in amongst them, which I’ve done before, but not as alert as I was now.

Trees are indeed beautiful.  Natural and yet so free.  I have 26 trees in my rear orchard, and many more small ones (or baby ones).  They’re all individual from each other, yet some from the same family tree.  I’ve gone through the trouble of loaning some books from my local library (keep the library going too) about trees, and have successfully managed to identify all of them.

Just like human beings, trees are the same.  They all have their own individuality and their own growing characteristics.  I’ve learnt how they grow, how long they can grow and over what period.  I’ve also discovered trees can too have illnesses and diseases that can severely harm them and or even kill them.  I’m currently learning about the different types of treatments that can help condition a tree, help it for winter and prepare it for summer.

I’ve asked my nephews/nieces to help identify names for the trees.  The name thus far I like is Hulk.  Hulk is by far the largest of the trees.  One which allows my nephews and nieces to climb and spend hours exploring it.  It looks big, aggressive and overpowering yet Hulk is humble, arched over and child friendly.  Names for the rest – is working progress.

As a child, I have almost no memories of me ever climbing trees and exploring them.  I recall games being played around trees.  I feel sad about that.  Not sure why this is, because as a child at my family home in Leeds we have plenty of trees.  I plan to explore them soon and identify each tree at the house.

I’m not sure where this, sudden enthusiasm about trees, has come from but for sure I now appreciate trees, what they offer and how they naturally are and how they help our living conditions.

Yes – I discovered trees.

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Engagement Ke Side-effects: Demons

*name changed to protect identity

It has been difficult several months since our engagement.  I’m tempted to tell you in very fine detail but I see that you are focused on two important parts of your life, your career and our wedding.  I’ve battled my demons before, but since our engagement, my new demons or rather big compared to the past – they make me weaker.  You see me, I stand outside my car on the curb leaning my back on the bonnet of my Range Rover.  I see you park your car and walk over to me.  You have a giggling walk – you half walk and half run towards me. You push yourself and lean into me, you reach up and run your hands through my hair.  Gosh that feels good, it’s soothing and it’s meaningful.  “How are you” you say, and your hands are still in my hair.  Only if I could tell you that I’m weakening from within.  I use to be strong but I don’t feel it anymore.  I use to get what I want – even the camaraderie of another women ‘as and when’ but limited to sex only, now I can’t.  I want to tell you that I am fighting my demons and believe me Simren*, I am fighting them hard – with everything I have got.

“A little tired” I reply and display my cheeky smile.  You look up at me, into my eyes, I look back and I love what I see.  Your innocent eyes, the shape of them, the curled eyelashes and the smoothness of your skin, fresh and young – But I look away, I fear you may see into my heart – the truth that I am hiding and hiding the war I am fighting with my demons.  It isn’t a pleasant war and, for sure, I don’t want you to see it.

We get into my car, I drive, I have a habit of sitting comfortably in my seat – as if I’m learning deliberately on to your side.  I have my left-hand relaxing on the central column.  You slide your hand and lock your fingers into mine.  I look towards you; you hum away and look out of the window at the store fronts.  You connected your hand to mine via a subconscious action and I feel privileged.  Your hand is cold yet soft.  I like it, it is like a reassurance and I equally respond.  I squeeze your hand a little hard, I can see from the side of my vision you turn and look at me “easy tiger” you say.  I laugh and continue staring ahead.

Ah yes these words “easy tiger” do feed my demons.  Thoughts spring into my mind.  Thoughts of how these words have been uttered to me before.  These thoughts you don’t want to know.  They use to spur me on during my extra circular activities with women.  A kind of trigger to suggest I’m just going beyond the point of pleasure and into pain.  Then these words didn’t bring me a notch lower but increase in intensity, in rhythm, physically and went on to inflict more pain, until they screamed “stop, stop that’s enough” or physically escaped out of position.  I can’t see myself do this to you Simren.  I glance back at you to reaffirm this understanding and you do, you are innocent, you are unaware and you have underestimated this beast.  I am a beast, I’ve learnt to tame and discipline myself, but for how long.  After all a beast is a beast.

We arrive at our destination.  You, like an excited kid, want to jump out of the car.  I ask you to wait “hold on stay seated”.  You are confused, you need to get used to it.  It is a gentleman’s norm to walk over to the passenger side and open the door for you.  I offer my arm and you hug it and leap off from the passenger side.  I feel your chest and arms wrap around my arm and I’m pleasantly surprised.  The demons are back and I need to fight them again.

You walk in before me, your hand leading me behind you.  I smell the fragrance of your hair, as the air plays with it.  I’m sure I smelt raspberry, which is soft and delicate.  You simply stop at the reception, slightly taken back by the design, darkness and uniqueness of this place.  It can be overpowering if you haven’t been here before.  Admittedly it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  Here you’ll usually find barristers, politicians, directors and other powerful entities dinning – a show of power, privilege and to some extent the wealth.  You look confused and I take this opportunity to walk ahead of you.  We’re greeted and he talks to me by name.  You looked surprised that I’m familiar to this place, that they know me by my name.  Without any hesitation, we’re asked if we want to be seated at our table.  I offer you to walk in front, and you are still confused, taken back and wondering.

“We’ve done as you wished sir, you have the best table on this floor”.  I hint to you to let him take off your coat for you.  It’s the norm here.  You still look confused and slightly overwhelmed.  I like it.  In fact, I find it very attractive.  The slightly confused actions of your coat being taken off for you and you taking it off at the same time makes me smirk and leer.  It is always ladies first, here.

Being here, being so very well acquainted to this place and the surprised yet confused look on your face make me wonder what you are wondering.  I look at you and I see you are the prettiest thing here, but how do I say it to you.  Anything I say will not settle in you.  I reach out over the table, under the lamp my cufflink sparkle, you nervously bring out your left hand from under the table and place it in mine.  Now it’s warm, it’s soft and the skin feels young.  I squeeze it, like I did in the car to reassure you that it is all about you.  Yes, it is all about you.  The place is new to you but you are new to me.  I’ve become weaker in fighting my demons, the demons that so want me to commit my first mistake with you before we become official, official in the eyes of the world.  You try to reach over to my tie “You’re so far away from me” and I acknowledge.  I shuffle my chair closer to you; I’m always trying to come closer to you even physically.  You need to understand Simren, you are the longest I’ve known a girl without having gone as far as I have done with others.  This isn’t normal for me.  I must learn to respect you, you will symbolise how I look at others in a few months and I need to make sure you see that I am fighting, I am fighting these demons with everything I have.

I will fight! I will win!

Engagement Ke Side-effects: WhatsApp

On 5th May of 2016, I wrote about my intentions of implementing a 24-hour Internet ban once every week.  You can read about that here.  The timing of this couldn’t have been any better – the engagement ceremonies were just few months away.

It is now fitting to write my experience of the 24-hour Internet ban and how this played in my favour with Simren.

I decided to introduce this Internet Ban on a Wednesday of each week.  This meant on Tuesday midnight till Wednesday midnight I would switch off my Internet access.  I would only access my emails and that too when I was ‘only’ working, and boy oh boy was it hard or what.

I remember the first few Wednesdays, I’d:

  • Repeatedly pick up my phone and think ‘why I haven’t received any messages on BBM, WhatsApp, Viber, Google Hangouts, Telegram, Skype and Twitter’. Let alone the various other email mediums.
  • It made me anxious to know who was trying to reach me, and what if I was missing something important.
  • I repeatedly and subconsciously kept reaching for my mobile device(s) and then realising that I just repeated the same actions just a few minutes ago.
  • I made a few weird and confused facial expressions when during points 1, 2 and 3 as above.

It was weird.

I have now mastered it and I couldn’t any happier over this.

I learnt that:

  • If someone needed me, they’d simply call or text me – even in an emergency.
  • 80% of content I receive over social media application doesn’t benefit me or improve any aspects of my life.
  • If I spent my time reading the 80% of content that doesn’t benefit me or improve any aspects of my life, then I’d be spending ‘an extremely large portion’ of my free time doing something which has no material, spiritual or physical benefit to me at all.
  • I managed to spend more time on improving my life and doing things I enjoyed like street photography, riding my motorbike, reading, writing, cooking, gardening and making more phone calls to check in with people.

This has now changed my mindset dramatically.  I am now finding myself switching off my Internet on my device(s) 2 days a week (Wednesday and Sunday).  I can do the same from 10pm every evening, throughout the night and early morning till about 10am.  I am not watching or reading everything that is sent to me.  I can scan the content in seconds and decide whether to read/watch it or totally ignore it.

In short, I am probably most productive now then I have ever been in the last few years.  I’m being more proactive and getting more stuff done now then I could do before introducing the Internet Ban.

Simren is like me.  She doesn’t use much of social media on her mobile device(s) and that’s her own choice.  She seems to think that despite being more connected socially and virtually we are further physically apart.  In other words, these communication apps simply keep us further apart.  I couldn’t agree with her anymore.

Leading up to our engagement, she realised that I wasn’t on social apps much (by the last login signature each app displays).  She quizzed me over this, and I had to tell a little lie, by saying that I’ve always been like this.  I’ve kept my distance from social media but I value my time and I value physical interactions with people and she loved it.

I further explained how I had complete control of when I use the Internet on my device(s).  What she didn’t know and I haven’t told her, is that I’ve just recently got the hang of it and the confidence to make the Internet a valueless aspect in my life.  I went on further explaining how I switch it off and on (as above).  I could see her facial expressions change like a kitten – she found these little things cute and very much like herself.

It helped being in control of my devices.  For example, when Simren and I would be together (mostly only with the extended family or at an event) I wouldn’t even acknowledge my mobile device(s) until I either had a text or a phone call.  She picked this up.  She realised I was different from the rest.  This is made her snuggle into me more and more.

Now, since our engagement, I don’t have to bother answer questions which I use to get from other ladies in my life “why aren’t you responding to my message”, or “why aren’t you answering my skype call” and or the best “you were checking into the app 4 hours after I sent you a message but you ignored me”.  Simren knows if she needs me she’s got to ring me or very least text me.  This is what I call freedom.

Am I Superman or what.

Never Give Up

I remember Simren once said to me “…because you never give up”, upon me asking her what changed her mind about me.  If you have been following my blog over the years, you would have read my blog posts about how Simren and I met.

Our happenstance and subsequent encounters were full of troubles, fights and just odium.  She wanted nothing to do with me.  She hated the fact that I was actively and openly having relationships with women without pledge, including a very close friend of hers, she detested the fact that I was living a life where only one person mattered (me) and that my show of lavish, profligate lifestyle was just an ego booster, a statement I was making which demonstrated my insecurities and arrogance.  

This went on for years.  From myside, all I wanted was Simren.  I was prepared to go any lengths to get her and I was willing to change, all that she hated about me, for her.  In my books, that was a big statement.  If you want to know more about Simren and my relationship – just search for ‘Simren’ on my blog search field.

In the end, my desire to want her, my persistence and passion not to give up turned her hate into Love.

That’s the message I wanted to bring to you, never give up.

In life, I’ve been through highs and lows, I’ve been to thick and thins and I’ve been knocked down (almost out) on many a times.  One thing that I have done in all circumstances and situations is I never gave up.

It is true, the outcome(s) are not always clear and I’ve never been able to measure or gauge the end results in most cases but so long as you give it 100% and apply your faith, desire and persistence it’ll work out in your favour.

In ‘never give up’ attitude, at times, the longer you keep at it the stronger the emotions run to do just the opposite.  The fear of ‘not getting anywhere’ or ‘am I wasting my time’ just keeps wanting to knock you down.  The lack of results, in your favour, look grim and disheartening but you’ll soon realise that you are being conditioned not to accept failure as an option.  You are perfecting your character.  You are winning this battle.  You are learning and building your arsenal with relevant and valuable tools and skillsets, which otherwise you’d never experience.

I’ve touched on this before on previous blog posts and I’ll mention it again – it is germane.  I found myself at a boarding school hundreds of miles away from my family, at the age of 13.  Being a British Asian, and probably one of just a few colour students at a predominately affluent, wealthy and white boarding school meant that I wasn’t going to get it easy.  It wasn’t going to be easy and I needed to build myself up to learn and adopt to ‘never give up’.

Don’t be surprised to learn that when this morning, I received a phone call from my appointed solicitors/barristers that I’d been given the approval and the ‘go ahead’ for a very important venture to begin after almost 4 years of delay, I was jubilant yet realistic.  The uphill struggle, against all odds and despite all the ‘so called’ experts and their advice that it’ll ‘never happen and will never be approved’, I’ve gone ahead and proved to myself, yet again, a very important lesson ‘never give up’.

When I, briefly, spoke to Simren over the phone this lunch time, she mentioned it again “…because you never gave up” and if you are reading this blog post, and have come down to this far in reading what I have to write then go on a little further.  The next sentence you’ll read is probably the most important advice I could ever give you.

Never Give Up!

S#*t – Just Got Engaged

Simren* and I are now engaged.

Our engagement concluded latter half of 2016, or rather the ceremonies did.  Other than a few people, this is the first time I am mentioning this on social media, partially because and to be honest, this was orchestrated move to leave it this long.

 

I am known for having balls of steel.  Being nervous, anxious or scared isn’t in me, in fact, where one would be (all the above) I’m the opposite.  This did, however, change and leading up to our engagement I felt all of those (mentioned above) when I didn’t think I would.  Admittedly, It wasn’t obvious to others but within, I was on a roller-coaster ride.

 

I guess in truth the mixed feelings and thoughts around “What if” scenarios played on me heavy, such as:

 

What if – someone talks her out of it?

What if – she finds out about something I don’t want her to know (of which are many)?

What if – an acquaintance, more accurately, an ex-acquaintance decides to turn up and have her moment?  I did, however, have the most dangerous of them watched and observed for 2 weeks leading up to and including engagement ceremony.

What if – she suddenly has a realisation that my life isn’t what she can associate with or see being part of?

What if this, what if that, etc…

 

I later learnt from those around Simren, leading up to and during the engagement ceremonies, that she was too a total bag of nerves and I can only imagine the same “What if” scenarios were running through her mind.  I found this humbling and cute if I am totally honest with you.

 

Despite my internal shit state, the engagement ceremonies were a success and to be honest far better than what I had expected.

So, I am no longer single (errant by choice).  Life is different now and I’m not sure what I think of it.


More blog posts about this to follow… 

24 Hour Internet Ban – Every Week

Late last year, around late November, there was a new trend afloat around within my crew. Internet ban for 24 hours.  From seven of us in the crew, one had been toying with the idea to self-impose an Internet ban for at least 24 hours during the week, or rather, for one full day and night every week.  At the time when this was discussed, I brushed aside the idea, thinking that I, out of all the people, was in control of when and how I access the internet, be it on my laptop/PC, tablet or mobile phone.

I was wrong.

Two weeks ago, the same idea, was adopted by an acquaintance of mine.  She casually mentioned it during a late night, unplanned meal, and she and this whole self-imposed Internet ban got be thinking.

Now, I know the era we live in today is regarded, probably unofficially, as the Information Age.  I guess, others may call it Computer Age, Digital Age or New Media Age.   Information surrounds us whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  What makes this possible is how digital/electronic devices have, it seems, embedded themselves permanently into our lives. 20 years, or so, ago, technology evolved gradually.  As a toddler I remember, In our household and I guess in any other household, you’d find a telephone, TV, audio player with radio and a video cassette player as devices capable of providing information – and that would be all.  The only time you’d replace one of these items would be when the old one broke and the old bloke at the local repair shop said it was beyond repair.  That’s right; you’d literally have local shops that specialised in repairing electronic devices.

Technology is now evolving at a far greater pace than one can and could have ever anticipated.  Everyone, and I literally mean everyone from children, teenagers to adults are exposed to Information Overload.  Infobesity and Infoxication is a reality and people are suffering from this, whether they’re aware or not.  People are finding it difficult to break away from this Information Overload and thus, I believe, have difficulty in understanding how to make decisions which can be caused by the presence of too much information.  By this I mean, people of all ages fail to understand how important it is to make decisions in real life and away from this artificial reality.

The idea for a 24 hour internet ban is to divert your attention and energy into something else.  It’s an idea that, if adhered to religiously, means that you may begin to (re)discover, life around you again.  Life that isn’t lived or viewed through technology or the Internet.  I must admit, I’m not a heavy user of technology and Internet on the move, but at times, I do find myself so immersed that I fail to see the world moving around me.

So, I’ve decided to implement this idea on a trial basis.  See how it works for me and see if it actually makes a difference of some sort.

But, it won’t be easy.

At least, it won’t be easy in selecting which day of the week I have an Internet ban on.  My extra curricular activities and social get together are, all pretty much, arranged via my digital devices – which – I also use to work on and run my businesses.  How and where do I draw the line?

On paper, Wednesday, seems to be a good day to introduce a 24 hour Internet ban.  It will be interesting to know how this works out, and whether I am able to adhere to it, and begin to focus and put more energy in other parts of my life – which currently – is a mix of life-work-Internet-technology.

I hope to provide a regular update on how this turns out, and what impact (positive or negative) it is having.

Would you consider adhering to a 24 hour Internet ban?

Do you think it’ll change anything?

BBC Coverage of Snooker

I am currently overwhelmed with life, especially between life and work balance, and more often than not, I find myself stupendously busy all-round.  People have often said “You’re insanely busy” and others often say “How do you do it?”.  One of the therapies I use to help keep sane and keep going is to follow Snooker on the BBC and/or play Snooker.

Snooker is one of the top two sports I follow.  The other being Cricket.  I’ve been a fan of snooker ever since I was a child.  Not only do I follow Snooker on the BBC I play the game allot.

While at University, playing Snooker, was one of my favorite pass times.  During stressful times, it proved to be a therapy to overcome assignment/projects and exam depression and anxiety.

Live coverage of Snooker on the BBC is outstandingly the best sport commentary programme I have ever heard.  To compare this to almost any other sport programme is like comparing Charles Dickens with some car wash leaflet that came through your letterbox.

The talent lies in knowing what to say next.

The game, football, only lasts 90 minutes and commentators frequently have to resort to clichés, but a single snooker match, it doesn’t last 90 minutes, the contest can go on for a day or even two.  In Snooker, the game has to go on, there isn’t any interruptions like rain or bad light, and so, the people (both men and women and during match play or pre/post match analysis) who commentate on it have to keep going.

To do this, they have to have best knowledge of their subject.  They have to analyse individual players from head to toe, understand and explain their psychology, their strategy including their strengths and weaknesses.  They have to explain what the player (at the table or sat waiting his opportunity) is thinking, what shot selection(s) will be or are being made, including identifying which ball(s) on the table the player will position himself to pot two to three shots ahead.  More importantly, the commentators have to possess certain amount of verbal adroitness.  They have to be able to talk about things that have nothing to do with Snooker, when required.

The period of Overwhelming-ness that I am currently experiencing in my my life is not the first.  During an earlier one, I heard John Parrot say the following about referee Jan Verhaas.

“Jan was nicknamed ‘James Bond’ from fans during 2002 China open due to his suave demeanor, since then, he is just as big of a star in China as any top 16 world snooker ranked players.”

Never mind the fact that Ronnie O’Sullivan has the most maximums of 147 in the professional game with 13, or Stephen Hendry who holds the record for most 100’s by one play in a tournament (16 in 2002 World Championship), or Cliff Thornburn’s victory over Terry Griffiths in the 1983 championship was completed at 3:51 am (the latest ever finish for a match at the Crucible), the latest finish for a final was 00:54 am between John Higgins and Mark Selby.

The stuff about referee Jan Verhaas known as ‘James Bong’ has kept me sane and kept me going.

While you are commentating on Snooker, you are also keeping people alive and sane.

Leeds 26.04.2016

I wasn’t supposed to be in Leeds today.  I should have been travelling to Kings Cross London then to Knightsbridge.  I’m glad I decided to postpone my travels.

Not sure how the weather has been around where you are but the weather here in Leeds has been remarkable.  In the space of, at least 4 hours, I’ve witnessed snow, hailstone, thunderstorm, rain, high winds and now sunshine.

It was and has been beautiful!

It was poetic.

 

Dear Daughter Your Father’s Back is Broken

In November 2014, I came across, somehow, an article/blog post titled “Dear Daughter Your Father’s Back is Broken“.  After reading it I was extremely taken back by how a Father wrote about his love for his daughter.  It is a moving piece and after rereading it again over the weekend, I felt, I need to share and re-blog it.  See below:

Dear Daughter,

We Just attended our Third Family Therapy Session together. You aired your grievances against us. We are here to talk about issues that are causing problems in the family. Your mother responds to your comments, it’s like a battle scene between the two of you, emotions are running high. Your brother is not here. I sit there with my broken back, staring at the plush carpet. Dear Daughter, this carpet is so clean, so beige.   Therapist tells us you’ve made a remarkable improvement in four months.  Your responding well to therapy and your divorce.

I come home and search for recovery tips on Google. I close my eyes, and this is what I want to tell you Dear Daughter.

I accept I failed in many areas of life- and I failed as a father as well.

But Dear Daughter listen to this:-

I work as a cab driver, because it helps me to pay off our mortgage. I should have been home more often. I should not have been too controlling about our future. I should not have looked too far ahead into future, your universities, weddings and this big mortgage.

As you started to grow up, the size of my wardrobe shrunk. We had to update your and your brother’s wardrobe three- four times a year. You kids were growing up so fast. Looking at you in colorful outfits with matching accessories filled me with pride. I became arrogant, Yes I can provide the best for my Children.

When Festivals came, I sometimes would get tempted to buy a new shirt or new pants, but then I would recycle my old clothes and wear them at Eid and Weddings.

When you were 10, there was a skiing trip to Alps Mountains. You wanted to go. I was saving up for a trip back to Pakistan to visit my Abba ji, who had made a spontaneous decision to go and spend his retirement years in Pakistan with his widowed sister. I thought doesn’t matter, I’ll go next year, Pakistan can wait, but your trip can’t.

 When you were 13, you wanted a new bedroom with new furnishings, new wardrobe and new shelves. I was saving up that money to fix our broken home in Pakistan, but doesn’t matter. Your Grandfather said, give her the room of her dreams.

 When you were 14, you wanted more stuff, more money. Now I was struggling, so my Taxi Hours increased from 12 a day to 16 hours a day. Breakfast was just a cup of tea, lunch was a quick sandwich and dinner was usually at 1am in the morning. I would heat the left overs in microwave, ping the noise of microwave would bring me out of deep slumber of sleep, and I would tirelessly make my way through the meal. You would be upstairs tucked into your princess canopy bed . All nice, safe and warm.

When you were 16, you walked out with 7 A’s, we celebrated. It was a trip to New York for you and your Mother and Brother. I confess dear daughter, I was a selfish thrifty man, who realized that with his ticket money and hotel money, he can pay off another installment of mortgage and pay off your brother’s one month of university rent.

Family Trip to NY

You all Visit NY

ny2

NY3

I look at my finances. I haven’t been home in 10 years now. I think of my father. I no-longer enjoy playing snooker with my friends and I have not boxed in years.

I haven't been to small Vilage in 10 years Dear Daughter

I haven’t been to small Village in 10 years Dear Daughter. It calls me.

You said, No Muslim clothes, No covering of Head, No Hand stitched Village Clothes.  I said that’s fine.

So I said to you- No low necklines, No sleeveless and No showing of Legs.  You agreed with your old man. I stood tall, and proud.

Every Father’s Worst Nightmare

Dear Daughter, As a Taxi Driver, I would drive my Taxi around at wee hours of the morning, picking up semi conscious girls sitting on the side pavements with shortest of shortest skirts, waiting for some cab company to pick them up. Dear daughter, my blood recoiled, my fists clenched, as I would look at those bad-boys inappropriately touching those girls. I would ask God, Please never put me in this position.

There’s a grapevine, you’re seeing someone. I tell your mother and we ask you and you deny it. ‘Don’t tell me those illiterate Taxi Drivers are feeding you lies about me?’. You scream at us. Dear Daughter you can’t hide anything from Taxi Drivers. Tabloids come second, Taxi Drivers know all the in’s and out’s of the community before anyone else.

Dear Daughter me and other Cab Drivers would put our heads down and debate and argue whether we should  allow our daughters to date every Tom Dick and Harry, so she can find her Prince Charming. We all agreed unanimously that we would lose it, if our daughters brought home a bad-boy. We all know too well about the influence of a bad boy on girl.

Your 18. A-level results are out. Time for another celebration.

“I’m in Love” You tell us in a mater of fact tone.

‘Over my dead body she’s marrying him,’ I tell your mother. I’ve had him investigated, he’s 25 and she’s only 18.  He’s a school drop out, an ex drug addict, every father’s worst nightmare.

We try to reason with you, but we fail, your uncles fail, your aunts fail. I tell you  he spent 45 days in jail following an assault. You tell us your love has changed him. He loves you and appreciates you for who you are. You’re on hunger strike. after three days, we give in.  If I had known what was going on I would have put a stop to it, but I didn’t find out about your special friend until you were already at a marrying age.

Devastating Moment, You leave home never to come back.

Now your father walks around with lower gaze. I just can’t look other men in the eye. I’ve got a broken back. My friends look at me with pity. Some call me spineless, a man who could not control his daughter.

Your older brother doesn’t want to know you.  Your mother just cleans one bedroom after the other. She spring cleans, autumn cleans and summer cleans the house. Do you remember how well dressed your mother was? Do you remember the famous joke, we need an extension to accommodate your mother’s wardrobe? Dear Daughter, We no longer need an extension. She donated 3/4 of her wardrobe, her shoes, hand bags, jewelry to Islamic Relief.

One day we get a phone call from hospital. Your ill. Your not eating and your putting up a fight.

We go to hospital and we see a bag of bones, lifeless eyes and jutting collar bone.

Your brother is furious. ‘Let the love of her life take care of her. She’s not coming back home.’ He yells.   I tell your brother,  ‘she’s coming home with us.’, I chose you over him.

She needs to eat and then we’ll have therapy sessions, your doctor tells us.

I learn all there is about your Anorexia. I tell your treatment team, forget six months waiting list, We’ll treat her at home and we’ll go private.

I become a hated enemy, as I sit through one meal after other with you. You think I am trying to control you, punish you, but Dear Child, I’m merely supervising your meals. You need to eat to live. I can’t let you have your way with meals, it’s as simple as that. What am I going to tell Abba ji, that I failed to feed my daughter? Under my roof, I’m binded by an oath to protect you, and that means protecting you from the demon of Eating Disorder.

You coming home creates tension in our family circle. Your uncles are furious. Your mother cleans obsessively now. I think of my father in a small village in Pakistan. Family whispers grow louder. I walk with a hunch back now. ‘He’s spineless, he has no dignity. How can he bring her back home?’ Look Dear Daughter, How your Brother speaks to me? I used to be a man, strong, powerful and proud man. Today I am a man of very very few words.

‘Come to England, Abba ji.’ I tell him. ‘Why do you insist on staying in a country with no electricity, no running water and no technology.’ ‘I’m happy my Son, he tells me, you take care of your family’.

You gain weight, treatment team is happy. You’ve been with us for 8 months now. But then you want to go back to your husband. ‘He’s changed,’ you tell us.

You leave, and me and your mother, we simply stare into empty air.

 I want to go and visit my Abba ji. Me a man of 48 wants an escape.

I go home to my Abba ji. ‘Look my Son is here, light of my eye is here,’ my elderly aunt wails and hugs me tightly. A little sneaky tear rolls down my cheek, betraying my manliness. I am no longer ashamed of my tears.

My Father, My Abba Ji

My Proud Father

The house needs fixing. Abba ji’s sister , so old now cooks for me.  I work too hard she scolds me.

She Cooks for me- My Dear Aunt

My Aunt Cooks For Me

My House Needs Slight Fixing

Our House Needs Fixing

At night, so many people gather in Abba ji’s house. They are his cousins, his relatives. Some relatives have walked for miles to come and see me. I am treated like a king. Everyone drinks Fresh Milk with fresh Honey and Cardamoms.

Next Day, we take a stroll across our village. It’s so quiet and so peaceful.  Everyone is so happy. They are so poor, but so happy. No latest phones, no laptops, no Apple brands here, no Anorexia, no Children Yelling at their parents.

We walk around our Village

How we walk away from such peace is beyond me, but man has desires that need to be satisfied.

We go and pray at the mosque and Abba ji prays for you Dear Daughter.

We pray at Village Mosque

We visit Amma ji’s grave. Abba ji prays for her soul. We visit other ancestors graves.

 You’ve changed my elderly relatives tell me. Now  you are drinking water from our local Well. We don’t have to buy you a bottled water anymore. They smile at me.

‘Come back home’, your mother sends me a message. Our daughter is back.

I’m home, I think to myself. I’ve only been here for 15 days. I think of 14 hours of taxi. I think of bills, mortgage, mocking glances from family members and I slowly rise to my feet. I straighten my bent back and I say good bye to my Abba ji, to all his animals, to his sister. I kiss her hands and thank her for taking care of my father.

My FAther's AnimalsMy father's animals

My Village33

I come back. ‘Dear Wife, Dear Daughter, I will work long hours in Taxi. I will support my family. I will pay off the bills. But When I die, don’t bury me here in cold grey climate. Take me back to my small rural, backward village in Pakistan.  Bury me among my ancestors. I know someday, people in that village, children in that village will come and visit my grave and will pray for my soul.’

I look at time: 12:30pm. I bring my divorced daughter out of her bedroom.We eat Lunch. It’s Moroccan Today.

Her Favorite

Her Favorite

‘It’s going to be OK,’ I tell her! She looks at me with haunted look in her eyes. I walk around to her side, and I put my hand on her head and kiss her forehead. ‘Your safe here, your father is here. I’ll protect you here.’ I look into her eyes, ‘remember this will be all water under the bridge in few years, these people will get bored and they’ll find something else to gossip about.’  ‘Humanity is fallible, we all make mistakes. We will fight this together and you’re going to come out of this stronger.’ She squeezes my hand, I know she believes me.

[original article]

British Asian Bloggers List – Resurrection

I have resurrected the ‘British Asian Bloggers List’ on my site.  Now is probably a good time to bring this section up to date.

So, if you’re a British Asian Blogger or an International Asian Blogger, for that matter, and want your blog(s) to be discovered then visit ‘British Asian Blogger List’ above or click here

All you need to do is fill out a small form and I’ll add you to the repository.  You can also help by getting others (and like minded bloggers) to submit their blog details.

Thank You!

 

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