The British Asian Blog

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Category: Bollywood

And so…

…It doesn’t get any easier or better.

It isn’t pain no more but complete numbness. Only if I had ignored the heart, remained arrogant and narcissistic, maybe – just maybe – I’d remain sane.

Nothing further to say…

Rapid Progress: Leeds, London to Bangalore and Mumbai

I’m less than 24 hours away from flying out to India only while being back from India less than 3 months.  This is what I call ‘rapid progress’ and why shouldn’t it be, as time is of essence as always.  You may recall, I wrote about change in my life and the reasons why I am now engaged in business in India.  This visit to India is going up another stage for the venture I am involved in.

Now that this will be my third visit to India in less than two years means that I have already established a solid base and network in India – and I must extol thanks to my acquaintance who has put her heart and mind in accommodating me and in ensuring that all my expectations, requirements and desires are met both personally and for the venture we both are involved in.  Our relationship has grown ever so strong, more so recently, and on that basis our foundations together are becoming more and more solid by the day – what does help is the exchange of large amount of cash from both parties to kick start this venture literally done on verbal agreement, despite my banking portfolio-manager raising his eyebrow at the arrangement.  Had either one of us been dealing with someone else, verbal agreement would never cross our minds but a written agreement, so the trust element of our relationship is at an all time high.

My stay in India will be mostly business with some pleasure, and I hope my stay there for 8 nights mainly in Prabhadevi with some travelling to other cities back and forth will be enough to complete some objectives – mainly getting the ball rolling for recruiting staff for our new venture.  It’s going to be a tough task.  The elite customer base (who have to go through a stringent vetting process) has now topped 4,600 members only in Bangalore and Mumbai alone not to mention numbers in other cities like Delhi or cities in UK and US.  This is prior to our launch date pencilled in for July this year and well before a marketing strategy has been designed, let alone advertising this new venture through a series of private clubs and networks.  This achievement is a mini success.  Something I predicted when we discussed this venture prior to my involvement.

I must say it’s amazing how the word of mouth along with the reputation of my acquaintance in India can achieve all this effortlessly.

So the recruitment drive, in my view, is a big deal.  Any progress in this space needs to be right the first time.  Once this is well under way in India, a similar recruitment drive will be conducted here in the UK.  I guess in the UK it’s more stress-free or less stressful, especially when the various recruitment agencies are prepared to do all the donkey work for you.

This week also completes two months of working in London.  If you are up to date with my change post written prior to my last visit to India in December 2012, you will know the reasons of why I relocated from working in Leeds to London and in particular Vauxhall where I continue with my existing career and Knightsbridge where the offices for the new venture has been established.  The lifestyle change meant that in the New Year, once I got back from spending the entire December of 2012 in India, I had to continue with my existing career and establish a firm base for our new venture, but from London.

It’s been an interesting change with new experiences and where some experiences stretched far longer than what I’d experienced previously.  Travelling by train from Leeds to Kings Cross every Monday morning, then to return on a Thursday afternoon/evening each week for two months has been an interesting experience.  It’s my preferred method of travelling between Leeds and London, where the alternatives are to either drive or fly between both locations.  I’ve tried all three options but I do prefer the train commute, the very least it gives me just over 2 hours of much needed productivity time where I can conduct my business and attend matters which require my attention, where otherwise isn’t available with the other travel options.

Travelling by train between Leeds and London, I have experienced some interesting encounters with people, most are worthy of a dedicate post – like for example, the two teenage girls sitting opposite me on the first class cabin seeking advice from me on their trouble teenage relationships and then having to speak to another girl friend of theirs over the phone to repeat my advice, or the gay guy who burst into tears after falling out with his boyfriend over the phone and then confiding in me the whole duration from London to Leeds, to the racist chap thinking he was a smart arse who I then shredded into fine bits after he made a racist remark to a black student on the train or to the Australian women who was convinced I was a close friend of her ex husband and that I was following her.

The relocation during the week to London has meant having to sell both of my cars in January.  As part of my relocation to London I have been given a company car, this for the time being is sufficient for me to drive around.  It also gives me the opportunity to order a new 4×4 on a 2013 registered plate with my personal choice of colour (Diamond White), interior and gadgets which is scheduled for delivery come end of April this year.

So, with this rapid progress, I bid you farewell for a short while and I hope to catch up with you guys once I touch base in India in two days time.

Round Three: Simren 1 – 2 Me : Chronicles Between Simren and I,

Note – This post was originally written in August (2012) but I never published it and it sat in my draft folder till now – since I last blogged about us much has happened between Simren and I.  I feel, now is the right time to publish this post and continue on sharing the ups and downs in our relationship.

Disclaimer – This post may turn out to be a long one (although it was my intention to keep it short and to the point).  As I have always said – I swear to tell the truth, nothing but the truth and if what you read, shocks you to the bone, then appreciate my honesty in confessing the Truth – it never been easy.  The truth needs to be said for this to work.

Before I continue sharing the saga or chronicles around Simren and I, I wanted to show you guys this first:

First text message

First text message

Second Text Message

Second Text Message

These text messages were sent to me by someone (who is known) to me, and who realised that I had expressed ‘unofficial’ or unsanctioned interest in Simren.  I use the word ‘unofficial’ because it was (or is) something no one else knew (or knows) about, arcane if you like, apart from Simren and I – that I was (or I am) interested in her.  Oh, and you guys – my dear readers and visitors – who caught up with the story here on my blog.

While, right now, I should be writing the story behind these very text messages: who sent them?, why they sent them? and why they were written in such a way and sent to me?, I feel the need to write about something else first, and without writing about this something else, the story around these messages will seem and feel as if a big chunk (or chapter) of the story has gone amiss.

So while you ponder about these messages let me get you up to speed with the anecdote till date:

I met a girl (a distant relative of mine) called Simren at a wedding few months ago back in April of this year (this story can be found here part 1), instantly and within a flash, a person like me who is always in pursuit and detection of amorous adventures and who enjoys his inveterate (casanova-libertine) lothario lifestyle, suddenly is lost in a world where only Simren existed (this story can be found here part 2).  She, on the other hand, despite knowing everything (and allot) about me, refused to associate herself with me in anyway, including refusing to speak to me.  Simren’s acuity of me isn’t good at all.  Her insight of me (or rather her perception of me) is simply made up of rumours, chinwag and lies, which have swelled in my community by those old folks who don’t see this young gun in a favourable way but see me a threat to their very (old) establishment.

I can handle everything that’s thrown at me, be it lies, threats, misinterpretation, slander, character assassination and so on, but one thing I really find difficult to deal with, is that people have this perception or acuity that I am some sort of (white-collar) gangster a sort of business bully, which overshadows the hard work I put into attaining success and to think and do things differently.  I am certainly not a white-collar gangster or any type of bully and it makes my blood boil and it pushes my rage to a volcanic eruption when people look at me in that way.  I have learnt one big lesson in life which is:  it’s not that you (as an individual) can’t be successful, it’s because people won’t let you be successful – so either you worry about these people and get embroiled in their smoke-screen distraction or simply side step them and attempt to attain success.  I have made my decision.

Eventually after pulling some strings she finally agreed to meet me (this story can be found here, part 3).  To go any further in reading this post, I would strongly suggest you read part 1, 2 and 3 first in order to really understand the entire picture.  If, on the other hand, you have checked out the links, then that’s you all caught up to my saga and we can continue.

Since then, I met Simren in person on a few occasions:

The first time we met was Wednesday 25th May.  She arrived into Leeds train station after finishing from University.  On this day, she arrived a little earlier than when she would normally arrive.  If you have read part 3 to this story, you will know that Simren had sanctioned me to 3 conditions for when we meet – which I agreed to with alacrity otherwise she was not willing to entertain the idea of meeting me, these sanctions were:

1.   I was to pick her up from Leeds train station when she commutes back from University.  She didn’t want me driving all the way up to her University and picking her up from there.

2.   I don’t pick her up in anyone of my cars; a taxi will do for her.  She simply didn’t want to be seen with me or in my car.

3.   No suits or professional wear, projecting the ill-perception people have of me as a white-collar gangster – just casual wear is what she would prefer.  In her view, I had a bad name, a bad reputation and one of the reasons (albeit a trivial one) was my appearance and image.

Despite, at the time agreeing to the sanctions or conditions, the only condition I could realistically keep to was point 1 (to pick her up from Leeds train station).  Point 2 (not to pick her up in my car) was something I just could not do.  No offense or umbrage to any taxi driver or taxi services in Leeds but I rather be in my own car and more to the point, I have nothing to hide or be cautious about with what I drive or own.  As for point 3 (casual wear) this was a little difficult, especially when I was at work for most of the morning, entertaining a handful corporate colleagues from the United States of America on business visit to our Leeds offices.  Besides, casual wear is something I simply don’t do especially during the day, when I am up to my neck in balancing my personal businesses with my corporate and professional lifestyle.

To summarise this first engagement or meeting with Simren (in the interest of keeping this post short and to the point) was simply ‘house on fire’.  Despite my reservation of where Simren decided to go for our initial drinks and then early dinner, I realised that Simren did all she could to make me feel comfortable and was very amiable, especially in places where I wouldn’t normally go for drinks, lunch or dinner.

Freakish as it may seem, but up until Simren uttered the following words “…honestly, I know you’re not a bad guy, and we have known eachother since kids.  It’s just the type of business you’re involved in or associated with freaks me out…” and where she continued “…and the fact that you have this casanova lifestyle which majority of girls are too well aware of simply makes me feel sorry for you…”  I was a total nervous wreck, which according to my records is a first but I acquiesced to her words.  The other thing I was nervous and somewhat confused about was how this girl, single handedly, managed to change my entire world literally in a flash, but yet had no idea of what she was doing or had done?  Does this really happen, or, am I just a one off?

The initial drinks went well, and I was glad in one respect, that she had decided to make the most of the time with me.  Looking back now, if we had just gone for a meal, I feel we wouldn’t have had the time to really relax and try to understand each other, and each others concerns about one another (or rather her reservations and qualms about me).

During the initial drinks and later, the early meal, there were some close encounters which could have potentially made matters worse for me, or bluntly put, could have screwed up things for me.  To help you understand let me try explaining what I mean.  Leeds and Yorkshire is my home turf or territory, and as the person that I am, my business and ways of doing things means engaging with many people of similar interests and business, and at times, getting involved in situations/business where no one else dares to.  As such, people either come to know you or come to know of you.  So when I’m out-and-about its normal for people to walk up to you, acknowledge you and ask your well being.  This, for Simren, was something different and something which she never really experienced.  Luckily, Simren was sarcastically impressed by my popularity (amongst these people) but I was glad that Simren didn’t feel too uneasy with what she witnessed and was going on.

The other thing was the location which Simren decided to go for our early dinner.  It was a restaurant of a known associate, someone who knows me all too well – as such is my relationship with the owner that – no matter when or who I go there with (according to past experiences) the owner never bills me, and at times giving the same treatment to people associated with me for the privilege of eating at the restaurant.  So while, Simren echoed where she planned to have our dinner, still while we were sat having our initial drinks, I couldn’t help but to worry that the owner may simply land me in it by treating me different from his regular customers and even worse, not charging for the privilege of eating at his restaurant.  So while, I made the excuse to use the mens room, I sent a text message to my friend saying “..,heading to beeeep beeeep, get it sorted with the owner…” which simply meant, I was heading to the restaurant and he should get there before me and tell the owner not to treat me any different from his regular customers and to accept payment when offered.

The plan worked wonders, and the owner didn’t give away the slightest indication that I was getting special treatment, although I could see some nervous waiters running over to our table to my slight twitch of the hand or a distant but blank glare at them.  Overall it made everything appear normal and it kept Simren in her skin and stopped her reminding me of who I am and of my reputation.

It’s worth noting that, I am big in understanding women psychology, and throughout our first meeting I read her clearly.  For example, when she realised after receiving her in Leeds train station that I had arrived in my own car, she raised an eyebrow and while giggling a little and leaning into my side as we walked towards my car, she punched me on my arm, indicating to me that she knew I was going to pull a stunt like this, so it didn’t come across to her as much of a shock or disappointment.  During the ride to our first destination for drinks, she somewhat felt scared and nervous, as she practically hugged her bag through the short distance to our destination.  In the second half of our time together, she began to relax a little, especially when she touched and fiddled with my cufflinks unknowingly all the while we relaxed and comfortably conversed.  You see, for her, she probably didn’t even realise that she was touching me, but for me, it appeared loud and clear on my radar.

To help you understand, how much this girl means to me in such a short time – let me give you some trivial statistics:  In the entire time together, she touched me or some part of me 11 times.  She checked her phone only 4 times in the entire time she was physically with me.  She said my name 16 times, she yawned 0 times and she smiled all the time.  Get the picture?

As I drove her home, around 9:15pm, after spending 6 hours and almost 45 mins together, I could see she was relaxed, not just by her posture but by placing her handbag in the back seat of the car, whereas as earlier she had hugged it as if it contained a gold bar or something of equal value.

As we approached her house, I pulled up my car just before her driveway, as I was slightly nervous and somewhat reluctant in driving my 4×4 roaring up to the side of her house.  We parked, and there was silence for a few precious moments – neither of us uttered a word.  I guess, in my mind, I was thinking whether today she had found me guilty or would she reconsider my plea of ‘not-guilty’ and pardon me – since she was hell bent on convicting me over my reputation with other women and perception of being some sort of gangster, albeit a white-collar one.  If I was to guess, during the same silence, she was thinking whether this was for real, whether this was some sort of bait to lower her into a trap or connive and whether this was something I do with all the other women – something which I was too well known for doing, but she, on the flip side, could have been thinking that maybe she got me wrong, and there was, afterall, another side to me and my reputation.  Either way, as we acknowledge that our time had come to an end for today, I quickly jumped out of my car, and rushed over to her side, and as any gentleman would do, I opened the door on her side and lent her my hand to help her get down from my 4×4 car.  As I watched her walk up her driveway, she turned and uttered “…are you going to call me?…” to which I replied “…no…”, she twitched her eyebrows in a cute manner, smiled and said “…why…”  I paused and then replied “…I want you to think about today, take your time and then think about today some more, then call me…”  She then gave me this warm glare and turned and vanished out of sight.  I was still, somewhat, nervous of me and Simren.  Was this one meeting enough for her to see who I am and what I am like as a person?  or, would today only scratch the surface of what she really thought about me?  It was then that I was convinced more than ever before, that this girl was the one for me.  She had to be otherwise why was I feeling so weird, different and like an excited child again?

Nonetheless, while contemplating and reflecting on how today went, exactly after 11 mins of dropping her off, I got a text from Simren, which read “…thank you, you’re not a bad guy, I’m still thinking…”.  I pulled up my car, and decided to send back a “;-)” and leave it to that.

It then took Simren 26 hours and 13 ever so long minutes to finally send me a modicum text, and in this text came a new opportunity for me, an opportunity which I thought I would never get or deserved to get – her text said “…thinking over, y’day when u dropped me off, I saw mum in lounge she asked me a question through her smile, and t’day evening when I got back from Uni, I replied back to mums question w’d my answer a smile too 😉

Our relationship from here on grew at a comfortable cumulative pace.  I wasn’t in her face all the time, something which I’m known to do, and she wasn’t in mine.  This meant that we both knew it needed to go at it’s own pace, not because we didn’t want to rush into anything quick (if it was up to me, I’d whisk her away immediately and get married to her), but because both of us have allot on.  Me and my profession-business-personal-student lifestyle and Simren with her final year and Law exams.  I was more convinced now than ever before that Simren was the one for me – everything felt new, bright, and refreshing, and as it stood, I would ‘do anything’ to win her over and ‘at any cost’.

As time went on, I contemplated changing my current lifestyle, which involved many ‘no-strings’ attached relationships with acquaintances, including those who possessed wealth, money, power, beauty and fame.  Simren was that reason for me to walk away from such a lifestyle, say goodbye, to never look back and begin to live a lifestyle where everything evolved around one person, Simren, and where it remained demure.  She would be my lust, my acquaintance, my wife, my desire, my ambition, my world, my yearn, my crave, my covet and much more.

The following few weeks and months, we began to talk and text more frequently.  It seemed the power above was sending down blessings all at once as all family get togethers, barbecues, weddings, mehndis (Hinnah) and birthday parties meant another encounter with Simren and her family, each one more aromatic than the previous, more energetic than the last.

Being the youngest in my family, it didn’t take long for my siblings to figure out something was brewing between me and Simren.  My sisters and sister-in-laws, who never fail to have banter and repartee at my expense, quickly and deliberately bribed me in doing things where the reward would be having an encounter with Simren.  It often meant accompanying them to mehndis and family dinners, or boring-long desi shopping.  To make matters worse, one of my nephews who is 7 years old even had the nerve to say “…Cha-cho, is Simren going to live with you…” in front of my brothers and sisters.  (Cha-Cho = Uncle)

In short, the tide was changing.  A once, stone hearted, insensitive to the feelings of the opposite sex, heartbreaker with intention, a casanova, a lothario, person was suddenly contemplating a change and that too for the good.  On the other hand, Simren too had begun to accept me as a person who wasn’t after all that bad from what she initially thought.  She expressed some of this during a few phone conversations and physical encounters.  Admittedly, it would take a lot more to really get Simren to fully trust me, especially with the reputation I unknowingly had.

Simren even asked for my advice in how she should tell her friends about our interaction(s).  If you have read the previous parts to this story, you would be familiar with how her friends viewed me as nothing more than a spoilt low life, insensitive and a complete prick with no respect for others, and you will be familiar with the fact that, I did not spare her friends from my target list (although, at the time, I didn’t know they were Simren’s friends ). I discussed how best to break this news to her friends and we worked on a plan, it seemed things were falling in the right place for both of us.

Until when disaster struck:

The stone hearted person that I am, there is one thing I do really good and that is ‘hurting’ other people, mainly people of opposite sex.  At times its unintentionally but majority of the times is intentionally.  As such, I did the same with Simren.

Over a tiny misapprehension which is not worth mentioning one bit, I hurt Simren badly.  So bad that she felt as if I had done everything to win her trust, lead her out to a new world of unknowns holding her hand, where everything is possible and then suddenly find that I simply abandoned her all alone, scared, derided, used and abused.

Over this little misapprehension, which Simren wasn’t aware of, I decided to drive Simren away from me.  It was all my gratuitous fault and zero blame goes towards Simren for this.  Each tear that she cried was that one reminder of who I am, each tear she cried was that one reminder of how impertinent and bad of a person I am, each tear she cried was a reminder of how much pain I put her through.

Following this misapprehension Simren had fallen out with me good and proper.  She shut off from the world or the world which I knew off and it was practically impossible for me to get in touch with her – until, not so long ago at a family gathering to celebrate the engagement of another couple that I managed to see her.  As my eyes landed on her, while she walked into the hotel lobby, my heart sank yet again.  That nervous feeling that had clenched my chest, my stomach and my throat resurfaced again.  She was, as always, a pleasure to see, that freshness that entered my life, she was that reason that I needed to change, for a person like me, nothing but a miracle could change my lifestyle and she was that miracle.

Every moment that past, every second that ticked away at this engagement celebration – I dedicated it to Simren – she had occupied me, my mind, my thoughts all this time.  Despite, Simren interacting with everyone including my family – she never once acknowledged me.  From a distance I could see Simren, and I felt that she knew I was watching her the whole time.  An opportunity to speak to her arose when the ladies were handing out drinks to everyone.  As she approached me, I thought of all the possible words I could say to simply speak to her again, sincerely apologise to her and to make her see that my interest in her is like no other and genuine.  She didn’t bother asking me what drink I’d like to have, and she reached out for a glass topped up with my favorite drink Irn-Bru and said “I got you your favorite, just for you”, and with a smile she handed the glass to me, conscious of the fact that she doesn’t make any hand to hand contact.  With a warm, refreshing and beautiful smile – she then leaned over to my right side, inches away from my ear and uttered “…your reputation speaks for itself and you know what – you will never change…”, these were the exact same words she used in our first encounter at the wedding (part 1) and she made a point by uttering them again.  These words echoed in my head, I don’t even remember if I actually finished my drink, or what happened in the ceremony after this.  All I remember is feeling weak, ill, nadir, worried, nervous and in a constant blur – I finally met my match.

Ever since then, Simren has done everything in her means to avoid all contact and communication with me, and continues to exercise taciturn.  I, on the other hand, have gone back to my same lifestyle where it’s all work, business, study and plenty of pleasure.

Until:

A very close acquaintance of mine who resides in South Asia, who not only is available to my beck and call (and likewise), but goes out of her way to help me as and when I need help irrelevant of how busy our lives are.  I must extol that at times when were sensible she injects sensible thoughts into my head.  On this matter, she has been exceptionally understanding and considerate.  I confided in her without any barriers or restrictions, she has ever since strongly pushed me towards making amends with Simren after perusal of the situation.  According to her ‘My Truth’ is hard for women to handle, and as such advised that I simply put all this right – as Simren is every bit worth fighting for.  I’m glad someone other than myself sees it from my point of view too.

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket – a wise quote.

There and then, I decided to put all my eggs in one basket, and give this a go one more time with everything I have or I can do, as I repudiate this situation.

As I prepared for battle, and conditioned my mind to be truculent in fighting what she throws at me, I was sent these text messages (which I displayed earlier in the post) which simply meant – it now wasn’t just about Simren and I, but another person has entered this war and, he, for sure isn’t on my side or wanton.

The story about these messages, who wrote them?  Who is this person ?  Why did this person write them?  What is my relationship with this person?  will all be revealed in my next post.  But as you come to read the last words of this post, consider yourself all upto date with my story with Simren – as from here onwards, you will walk with me into this battle – failure indeed is not an option.

This song captures the very mood that I am in and best explains my feelings for Simren:

Change

The British Asian Blog – Change

The combination of ‘change’ and ‘life’ is a weird one.  As life goes on second by second it’s also changing at the same pace.  In fact, if I dwell on this deeper – no two seconds are the same and can never be.  Some changes in life are obvious and appear on our life radar and we learn to deal with them, because change is something we simply cannot stop or avoid and some changes happen in small increments, and if we show patients and pay enough attention to the detail in our lives we’ll notice them.  I guess, in dealing with change we either try fighting it, or, do what I usually do, make it into an opportunity and take advantage of it – because whether you like it or not, change is going to happen.

This time last year, I was preparing for some changes in my life on virtually all fronts.  I guess, I had ventured or steered the direction of my life into a path that was less threaded on.  By that I mean, I jumped out of the rat race that our lives are so glued to in the system we live in and decided that going through a path which hasn’t been threaded on much, would, of course, be very turbulent and unpredictable but at the same time, more rewarding and more satisfying the very least.  There could also be the possibility that it could all go horribly wrong.

So almost a year ago from today when I write this post, I made some tough decisions in my life for the future, knowing full well that change was inevitable on all fronts – be it my profession, my PhD research and education, my family, my friends and relationships, on the entrepreneurial level, in my businesses and future ventures.  Change was to happen and I needed to be prepared for it, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

What I write here today isn’t about describing and explaining change in every aspect of my life – that will be explained, I hope, in future posts as and when ‘change’ happens.  This post, I wanted to dedicate to, sharing with you guys some of the stuff that has happened or is about to happen in very brief description – I guess to set the tone for going into 2013 and beyond.

In less than 24 hours, I will be well on my way to India.  This would be my second such visit to a country, which prior to 2012, I hadn’t even contemplated I’d visit twice – let alone in one year.  India as a country, has taken me by surprise.  I’m in love with it, with its people and with its culture.  It fascinates me in every way – and I’d like to thank that one special person in my life, who took me under her wing and showed me the ‘true India’.  In my view, it’s a place where the future is, or at least, the future is for business and future entrepreneurial ventures – and I’m jumping on that bandwagon early.

About 8 months ago, that special acquaintance who resides in India approached me with an idea, a brand new venture on a very large scale.  Prior to her approaching me, she had worked alone on this idea for well over a year.  I must add, her profession and assignments usually occupy her entire time, but when she could afford the time – it was dedicated in recuperating and on this new venture.  So, 8 months ago or maybe a little longer, she made a decision to take this idea of a new venture to the next level and bring in a partner or an investor.  The idea behind bringing another party (or individual) was that it could continue on its own merit and where she could continue on in her profession and career.  I use the word ‘investor’ loosely and if there is one thing there is no shortage of, and which usually is a core ingredient for all ventures, then that is finance and money.  Access to money is not a problem and this is key.  In part of taking this idea to the next level, she put together a list of people who she would consider to approach and bring in as partners.  As she did a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats) analysis on the few people she had in mind, I was the only remaining potential that ticket most of her boxes.  If I failed in any area then that was my location.  I reside in UK and she in India.

Due to her profession and career, this new venture couldn’t be associated with my acquaintance at any cost – simply due to legal reasons and complicated career contracts.  It was ideal for a new face, someone who, to the world, would appear to be fresh, energetic and most importantly an entrepreneur from the West, i.e. UK or USA.  So we engaged and she broke this news to me, I felt privileged, excited but at the same time nervous and a little tense.  As my rule in life, with any acquaintance has always been, just that, an acquaintance is just an acquaintance and no relationship or friendship would come of it, and definitely no business ventures.  When I asked her why me, her response was out of the world and in that description of me she used the words ‘passion’, ‘determination’, ‘creativity’, ‘disciplined and confidence’.  If any of you know me in person, then you would know that new challenges attract me, they turn me on and I can’t resist but to take on the challenge.  I guess that hunger to succeed takes over.

As we continued to discuss this in more detail, which included some physical engagements in Florida and Singapore – it was clear to me that this girl meant business and it was going to be simply between me and her.  If you like, she would be a sleeping partner and I would be the face of this new venture.

So in the 8 months that I have worked on this venture, I have conducted further in-depth market research and the more I do, the more convinced I am that this venture is going to be something big, and failure is not an option.   So on that note, I plan to spend the entire December in India, Bangalore (short of a few days) in which I hope to accomplish three things:  1 – to secure contracts for this new venture, where the head office will be in London, 2 – to help her on another assignment which is due to go live in late January 2013 and 3 – to network with some high profile people who will ensure this venture takes off the ground in the right way, I guess I could add a 4th point here which is to explore more of this beautiful country with my acquaintance.  So tagging along with me will be my barrister who also is a close friend (from childhood) and forms part of my crew including a business partner for another one of my business.  Since the new venture requires a head office to be based in London, in theory we are trying to give this venture a foreign and western layer – which is more recognised in India, so my barrister will guide both myself and my acquaintance in getting setup.  Although my barrister’s visit to India is only for the duration of 13 days, it’s the first time he visits India so that will be fun.

This then brings me nicely on to my career and profession.

Working on the new venture means establishing a head office in London, and for this venture to really become a success, there needs to be an office in four major capitals two of which are London and Delhi.  Right now, my crew are working on securing offices in London and in particular Knightsbridge.  On this basis, a few weeks ago, I wrote an official email to my employers, in particular to my assignment manager and department director.  As an IT consultant and a Project and Program Manager in the healthcare industry my profession is tough and very demanding.  So, I expressed my desire to take a career break or a sabbatical for a period of one year.  Considering that I have been with the same employer for just over three quarters of a decade, I envisaged some raised eyebrows.  The thing with my company is that I work for is that they are a renowned international company and their IT consultancy expands to Nuclear energy, Military, Banking, Formula One and NASA aerospace just to name a few, and they, for sure don’t like letting go of people – as they see their staff as assets not cost.  So hours after I officially sent my email of intent, my assignment manager immediately called me and expressed his views and demanded, with all due respect, to make that official email an ‘unofficial’ so that a solution can be found which would benefit both myself and the company.

So, a few days later a meeting was setup between HR, my assignment manager and department director (who flew in from Germany to attend – which is the first for such matters, so I have been told).  During this unofficial meeting, I expressed my desires and aspirations in wanting to focus my attention on my new venture, which would require some foreign trips mainly between Delhi and Prague, and also meant living in London to oversee this venture.  My employers expressed their desire to keep me, and offered to go away and work out a solution so I could continue with my employment and yet fulfill my desire and aspirations.  Thinking this would be impossible, I somewhat agreed.

Few days later, the following simple solution was proposed – which surprised me:  I didn’t have to take a career break or sabbatical, I could relocate to London and work from our company offices in London, where once a week I could travel to our Leeds offices.  This would mean that I would simply continue working for my employer and I could be relocated in London and yet I could still continue working on my current projects with the same resources and team in Leeds.

This solution was perfect for me, although traveling between Leeds to London wasn’t ideal but I guess I need to compromise a little here, and in some respects I’m killing two birds with one stone – so to speak.

So come January or February 2013, I will officially be living in Vauxhall in London, working both in Vauxhall and establishing my new venture in Knightsbridge.

As for my life in Leeds, well, most of my crew members (another name for close friends) will be supporting my businesses in Leeds – as I have worked hard in recruiting business managers who will report to me directly on a daily basis for each of my business.  My family, as usual, continue to support me in this major change.  According to my business plan for my new venture, my relocation to Vauxhall in London, should only last for the duration of one year – after which, it will be time to focus my attention to Leeds or wherever my life decides to take me.

So, these are the changes taking place in my life.  I hope to write when I get to India as well as tweet, but I’m not going to make it a priority as my time in India is going to be my time.  I think, considering the graft I have put in this year, I deserve some rest and pleasure and on that note – I wish you all a very ‘cold’ and ‘wet’ December if you are in the UK or in the west and I’ll be thinking about you guys from India.

Note:  I have written this blog post in the last 6 hours in very small snippets.  As always, there is a mad rush to get my affairs in Leeds in order and my travel schedule is hectic and goes like this:  Outbound from Manchester Airport to London Heathrow, then connecting flight from London Heathrow to Doha International, from Doha International to Bangalore International airport – which means 2 stops and a duration of 24 hours and 45 minutes and arriving in Bangalore for Friday 7th December at 02:55 (according to my e-ticket).  So, the post may have appeared a little rushed but I guess you guys get the idea.

Oh one last thing:  Last few days I was on skype with my acquaintance in India, I could hear a strange and weird song in the background.  So I asked her what it is – when she put the volume up and later sent me the link to that song – I basically had had multiple fits.  My visit to India is all summed up in this one song.  Note:  although the words may sound like Hindi, they are not, they are in fact English but pronounced in Hindi style – sit back and enjoy:

 

Words are not enough…

Once upon a time in Mumbai Leeds

 

…no words today….

 

Simren, Simren, Simren….

SimrenSimrenSimren

Simren…Simren…Simren…

Please don’t do this to me…Please:

Ishq ne humien rula diya,
Jis par par marte they usne he humien bhula diya..
hum toh unki yaadon mai he jee leyte mgar,
unho ne toh yaadon mai he zeher mila diya..

 

Cocktail Party This Weekend…

…and I fly out to India just for the weekend.

I go Friday evening 22nd and return Monday 25th June.

As crazy as it may sound, I am invited ‘specially’ for a cocktail party in India.  This Cocktail party is first for me in India, and my schedule has been drawn up and all arrangements have been made.  Unfortunately, I am unable to disclose any more information, as I have been summoned by a very special acquaintance to spend this weekend together with all expenses paid for.

Those who read this, may question and ponder about this cocktail party.  As some may interpret this as: (1) an actual cocktail party involving alcohol and mixing of various chemicals, or (2) to celebrate the completion of the Bollywood film ‘Cocktail‘, or (3) a well deserved break, where enjoying the experience of India with added benefit and touch of cocktails.  I think I will let your minds wonder and ponder as to why I am going all the way to India for this ‘Cocktail Party’ – the devil is in the detail?

After arriving at my destination in Bangalore, during my stay in India, I will be driven out to spend an entire evening and one night in a 5-star hotel in Udaipur, Rajasthan.  As my acquaintance has some important work to attend out there.

This is, indeed, an exciting weekend.  One which was planned for me in total surprise and spontaneously.

Until I see you next after 25th June, I like to leave you with this cocktail below:

 

For those, who like ‘Tum hi Ho Bandhu’ track, the below is for you:

India, here I come…

Round Two: Simren 1 – 1 Me

If you are up-to-date with the story of Simren and Me, then carry on reading.  If you’re not then I strongly suggest first reading my last post– otherwise you will baffled as to what is going on.

Following on from my last encounter with Simren, exactly 10 days ago, my mind has been racing with 101 questions, mainly about how she views me and my reputation, what she knows about me, how she managed to gather so much information about me and why?

That evening, where earlier I was tormented by what Simren had to say, I took a walk out in the pouring rain.  I needed the walk and that 1 hour and 20 minutes of time to myself, despite the ugly but refreshing rain, allowed me to regain my focus in ‘what I wanted to do next and how to achieve it’.

During my walk, I was totally drenched and I continued to receive text messages from Simren.  Her main concern was that she upset me, which was visible on my face during the get together, and to see if I was alright.

I needed to see her again, it was important.  Other than to make peace with her I had to get her to see the reality of my life, and more importantly to ‘try’ correcting her perception and image of me.  After consulting with a few friends close and afar, it was highly recommended and strongly suggested that I make the move and invite her to meet me, even if it was just for coffee.  Deep inside me my fear was that she was scared of me, of my reputation. I felt she wanted to keep her distance from me and didn’t want to be seen in public with me.

The following day on Sunday, exactly 9 days ago, I decided to text her and the following is our text conversation:

Me:  “Hi, despite what has happened, I think I need to meet you again.  It’s important – can I call you?”

Simren:  “Please don’t, I don’t want 2 b associated with u. Please don’t complicate my life”.

Her text summed up her nervousness and fear of me.  So I decided to call her up anyway and considering thinking she won’t attend my call, she actually did.  The first words out of her mouth after I said hello was “I think I really need to break your legs now”, at which point, the tension and fear I had around how the call will go eased.

It remains a mystery to me as to why she seems like a different-difficult-stubborn person over text messages and yet on the phone, she is entirely approachable. Anyway, I offered to take her out for a drink and despite all my attempts, and all the banter I used, she still refused. Just then, as I was losing hope, I could hear Aunty Jee in the back, not letting this opportunity go to waste I asked Simren to pass the phone to Aunty Jee. Despite Simren’s refusal to do so, the phone somehow ended up with Aunty Jee, and the conversation flowed along the lines of:

Aunty Jee: “Hallo”

Me: “Oh Hi Aunty, It’s me”

Aunty Jee: “Haiy mera putar, all OK son?”

Me: “Yes Aunty, how are you?”

Aunty Jee: “Jee Putar, I’m good. See son, Simren now answer your phone, I told her, she no mess you around now”

Me: “Aunty, that’s all good, thank you. Just one more thing Aunty Jee – I wanted to meet Simren and you for tea, in Leeds, in coming days. It will be good”

Aunty Jee: “acha, but son, Simren go to University and come back late. Esah karo ke tum Simren ko lay jao Unibersity (University) ke baad (it’s best if you take Simren, after University), I think it will be best”

Pause conversation – There is a saying common in South Asia, if you can’t take the butter out with a straight finger, bend you finger to have a better chance. My straight way of getting Simen to join me for a drink wasn’t working, so I resulted in using an indirect way via her mum. This is the moment, when you turn to a mirror on the wall, while on the call, and give yourself a smile. Continue conversation.

Me: “Aunty you sure, it will be good to see you too”

Aunty Jee “Yes, bery (very) sure, plus you joung (young) generation need to spend real time together, not only on basebook (facebook).

Me: “Aunty Jee, that’s great advice – well now I just need to convince Simren. Let’s hope she can make it”

Aunty Jee: “make it, son, she will have no choice, thair (wait)”

At this point, I assume Aunty Jee turned towards Simren and said:

Aunty Jee: “Hay, Simren, you go and have tea with boy, eva na puttar ke tang kar (don’t tease my son)”

I could hear Simren mumble something back – but wasn’t clear.

Aunty Jee, wished me good bye, asked how my family was and passed the phone back to Simren. When Simren had the phone, there was a bit of a pause and I could hear Simren run up some steps and then a few doors opened and shut, then:

Simren: “Is this how it’s going to be – involve my mum in stuff that doesn’t go your way?”

Me: “(I laughed a little and said ) OK, Give the phone back to Aunty Jee – she will sort you out”

Simren burst out in laughter, which added some hope to the entire conversation. We continued chatting for a little while longer. When I asked Simren (yet again) so can I take you out for a drink? She replied she need time to think about it, as going out for a drink with me wasn’t as straight forward, with anyone else it wouldn’t be a problem but with me – she needed some time to think.So I took the opportunity to give her some time. I explained that I’d wait and she could take as long as she likes (just days not weeks).

A few hours later I got another text from Simren, which read “I don’t think it’s a good idea, ur complicated n please don’t complicate my life”. A little disappointed, I gave my reply a little thought. What does she mean by “complicate my life”?  Am I missing something here? My mind yet again raced with 101 questions: Is she already with someone? Considering how beautiful she is – why wouldn’t she be? Is she scared to tell me, in case I pay her boyfriend a visit (which I wouldn’t do for the record)? Or would I be the complication in her life?

I replied with the following text “Simren, one drink, even if it’s for 10 minutes, plus you tea wasn’t that good, want to treat you to a real cup of fine Yorkshire tea”.

Almost seconds after sending my text to Simren, she replied “Really, was it that bad 😮 I will make a disappointing wife”. This text was a key turning point in her mentality, although it may contain simple words but it did have a deep insight to her psychology.

After a few more text exchanges, she finally agreed. Which was a massive relief and I felt as if this battle I won. The one thing I had to concede to was that the day, time and place will be of Simren’s choice. If this wasn’t bad enough, she attached the following conditions:

1. I was to pick her up at Leeds Train station, when she returns from Uni.

2. I don’t pick her up in any one of my cars – a taxi will do.

3. No gangster suit – just casual.

My acceptance of her conditions above was conditional – that instead of a drink, it had to be a meal at a restaurant of her choosing and that she couldn’t say no. After a very long pause, which spanned for about 35 minutes, she agreed. I now had to wait for her to decide on what day and time I was to pick her up.

While I waited, somewhat anxiously – something was bothering me. No girl till this day has ever put up such a fight, and with Simren it was just for a drink (well, now a meal instead) and her determination not to meet me, bugged me. Was it really me and my reputation that embarrassed her and was scaring her? Or was she seeing someone and didn’t want me to know?The later was important and I needed to know – somehow without getting this information from Simren.

In the next 24 hours that followed, I called up an associate who owes me favours, my objective was to know whether Simren was single or not, or was it more complicated than that? So, without wasting any more time, my associate sent out his scouts to her University in a fact finding mission.

I felt somewhat nervous and yet excited, my method of gathering information about Simren may be frowned upon, but let’s face it – it was important, especially if Simren was scared to tell me herself.

On Wednesday, last week, my contact asked to meet me – as such business shouldn’t be discussed over phone or any other medium. So I invited him to a local Italian coffee shop that same evening – where we could chat in private and amongst other business he could provide an update on what his scouts reported back to him with. When we met, he updated me with the following information – as best as I can remember:

1. Simren is single and isn’t seeing anyone other than a few lunatics who constantly chase her around and pester her.

2. In a large group of friends mainly consisting of women, she has no engagement with a particular guy.

3. It’s a pretty much a case of her commuting to University, getting her stuff done and then back home.

This was music to my ears, as I sat with my mates in the coffee shop watching the Apprentice – I ordered a round of pure orange juice , to which my friends raised a cautious eyebrow(s) and said “you don’t drink orange juice” and with a smile and a toast I replied “The sun will be out next week”. During this time I contemplated that it must be me and my reputation that really do scare Simren. I could be the complication in her life.

Over this weekend, Simren confirmed that she would be happy to meet this Wednesday and the fact that she will be leaving University early than normal meant she could spend a few more hours with me. Let’s just hope that the restaurant she chooses to eat at isn’t one that is owned by a friend or known associate, or one where the owner is petrified of me – otherwise I’ll be back to square one with Simren.

The sun is indeed out this week and I believe this round belongs to me.

Me versus Aunty Jee = Simren

One of the weddings I attended was of a distant relative.  It was in Bolton and the weather was miserable.  As you may well have read on my blog on earlier posts that I try my upmost to stay away from Asian social gatherings – and I have my reasons.

However, I had a conversation with an Aunty Jee as follows:

Aunty Jee:  “Puthar (Son), it’s been a long time, where you been hiding?”

Me:  “Hello Aunty Jee, Hiding, No Aunty – I’ve been extremely busy with work and stuff – you know how it is with us young guns”  I’m thinking this will be a quick Hi and Bye.

Aunty Jee:  “Yes, yes, yes, in our days when we were young, we didn’t have all this technology and easy things, like bacebook (she meant facebook) or mobiles bhones (she meant mobile phones) we had to do everything the hard way”

Me:  “I understand Aunty Jee, but…”

Anuty Jee: “You see, today you young generation have ebery (every) thing on plate.  Cars, flats, houses and even ristay (marriage proposals)”

Me: “But..”

Aunty Jee:  “What But but but, look at your 3 piece suit – I bet you have hundreds of these suits but in our time we only had two Sarees.  One in the wash and one we were wearing.  I tell you, there is no value in anything any more”

Me: “But…”

Aunty Jee:  “What but, but.  Tell me have you done shady (married) yet?”

Me:  “No”

Autny Jee:  “What do you mean NO, bloody what’s the problem”

Me:  “Aunty Jee, there is no problem.  You daughter doesn’t answer my phone calls – what can I do”

Pause the conversation.  OK this was meant to be a joke, we call it banter and a sarcastic remark, and oh boy did I ask for it or what.  To be honest, I didn’t even know she had any daughters or at least I can’t recall meeting any recently.  Continue conversation:

Aunty Jee:  “Which daughter, is it Simren.  I tell you Simren is always on Bacebook (facebook) all the time.  She tell Choti (I assume Choti is the younger daughter) she likes you, and Choti tells me – I know, so why she not answer your call – I bloody phix (fix) her.  Oi Simren, Ithay Ahh (Oi Simren come here)” By this point, Anunty Jee was shouting out loud across other people who were seated, “ithay ahh and tell me why you not answer this boys bhone (phone)?”

Me:  “Aunty I was joking, listen Aunty I don’t even know your daughter – I was kidding”

Aunty Jee:  “Puthar it’s OK.  I know Simren, she bloody in her room all day and always in bacebook (facebook).  She been home from Univerbasty (University) for two bloody weeks and I no seen her, she always in labtop (laptop) or listen to busic (music).  I shout but she no bloody hear me”

Pause the conversation.  At this point, I see her daughter called Simren walk up to join us.  I was impressed by Simren’s eloquent walk, and her look (white saree and silver jewellery, with some red touch in it, and did I tell you – white is one of my favourite colours?).  Her look was simply (hardly any cosmetics) but yet pretty and attractive.  I could tell she has natural long hair, but for this occasion she had curled them slightly and she looked beautiful.     I now recognised who Simren is – and the last time I saw her we were much younger at it must have been at least 10 years ago or more.  I felt nervous and I felt my tie get tighter and tighter as Simren approached us.  So as Simren joins us.  Continue Conversation:

Simren:  “Yes Mom, what” with a nice gentle smile towards me.

Aunty Jee:  “Yes mom di batchi (daughter of), ithay ahh.  Why you no take this boy phone call?”

Me:  “Aunty Jee, please listen..”

Aunty Jee:  “Puthar don’t burry (worry), I talk to her”

Simren:  “Mon, what are you talking about, who is he and why would he call me?”  I could see total confusion in Simren’s face.  She too didn’t recognise me and I could feel my collars irritate with the heat expressed by my increasing nervousness.

Aunty Jee:  “What, you don’t know him, hey listen don’t go far with me.  I tell you at home bloody get off bacebook (facebook) and interact with family so you see the real world.  I tell you now and you bloody listen, when this boy call you, you answer his phone – OK”

Simren:  “Mom, are you feeling OK, who is he, and I’m totally confused?”

Aunty Jee:  “Chup karr (Shut up), don’t know who he is.  I don’t want no excuse.”

At this point, Simren is giving me the most serious looks I have ever had in my life.  Having said that Simren is actually pretty and attractive.  I try my best to avoid eye to eye contact with her during the 3-some conversation.  But Aunty Jee, has taken this joke to the next level and I felt embarrassed, ashamed and numb.

Aunty Jee continues:  “Tu Sadah Puthar hai (your our son) and you welcome to our home anytime.  You know where we live now?”

Me:  “Aunty Jee, erm No, I think you lived in South Pudsey right”

Aunty Jee:  “oh no puthar (laughs) that was a long time ago.  We now moved to other end of Pudsey and we have a much bigger house now – you will like.  Simren – give this boy our address now.  Your mom always complains you not at home and is trouble, but she is wrong – you are a good son I will tell her”

Simren:  “Right, give me your number so I can text you our address” Still giving me those serious looks and with a fake smile.  She managed to frown and produce a fake smile at the same time – which was sort of cute but I never felt so nervous in my life.

Me:  “my number is XXXXX XXXXXX, (and at this point the Aunty Jee reaches up for my cheeks, pulls down my face towards her and gives me a sloppy fat kiss on my cheek and walks away), Simren, Serious it was meant to be a joke.  You mom blew it out of proportion”.

Simren:  “How dare you tell a lie?  I am not impressed.  You embarrassed me and this is the last thing I want.  I’ll deal with you later.  Thanks for your number and I’ll text you the address later.  Your reputation speaks for itself and you know what – you will never change” With a punch to my arm she walked away with an angry look (in fact she looked cute).

I thought this was it but then Simren stopped, turned around and said “If you even think about coming over to your house, I’ll make sure you walk away carrying your legs”, she smiled again and walked away.

Dam, Simren from cute turned to hot.  I felt energetic and safe that I got away with it – well sort of.

Around 10 minutes later, I got a text from Simren with the address and a nice little message saying “Don’t even think about it”.

Boy oh Boy, have I been challenged or what.  My reply to her was this 🙂

To be continued… but the video somewhat captures the mood soon after:

Phir Mohabbat Karne Chala Hai’ [Official video song] ‘Murder 2’ Ft. ‘Emraan Hashmi’


British-Asian Wedding Marathon Finally Over

..and at last, I get a chance to write and have some quality time to myself.  The British Asian Wedding Marathon has been a blast of a time.

Over the last two weeks popularly known as Easter period, I have attended 5 weddings in 5 days (7th, 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th April).  Not just attended but been pretty much part of the organisation of them too, including all the ceremonial activities, often expanding for couple of weeks prior to the big day.

Over the last few years, the Easter period has increasingly proved to be a popular time in the year for families to plan weddings.  It has benefits for everyone.  The kids are off from schools, students are off from Colleges and Universities and most people who work tend to take off holidays during this period, to be with their families and siblings and also to take advantage of the two public holidays (Good Friday and Bank holiday Monday).

As my wedding marathon comes to a close, I feel proud that I managed to be part of all the weddings, including planning before, during and after each wedding, and still lived to tell the tale(s).

Most of these weddings have been in the planning phase for well over a year and in one case almost two years.  It’s been a sensation in watching each wedding come together on the important day(s) and in the end, it’s all been worth it without a doubt.  Majority of these weddings were either relations or distant relations and a couple were of close family friends.

Many of you no doubt will be aware that Asian weddings are not ‘one day’ ceremony.  Asian weddings span over couple of weeks of ceremonies, including singing and dancing, Mehndi night(s), and other ritual events often building up to the ‘big day’.  These 5 weddings didn’t fall short of any expectations I must say.

It’s been the first time ever that I physically got involved in these weddings.  Previously, I would have come up with all the reasons under the sun, for not wanting to attend such weddings and I have explained this in an early post.  For some reason which is unknown to me, I couldn’t avoid them and in fact – truth be told, I actually wanted to be part of them.

Many people, who read this, will be accustomed to the grandness of Asian weddings, especially South Asian style weddings.  There is never a small wedding and guest less than 400 are frowned upon as not being too Grand-enough.

Right now, I feel extremely tired, not just physically but mentally too (including financially).  While I write this post, I have had a strong mug of coffee.  Thanks to Amy (the Business Analyst) who made me one after instantly recognising that I needed one when I walked into the office like a zombie at 10:25.  You may question “what’s the big deal with having a mug of strong coffee?”  Well the reason why I mention this is because the last time I had coffee was in University during my studies and that was back in 2006.

For now, this is all I can physically and mentally afford to write.  Stay tuned as I have more tales and stories to share with you from these five weddings, including my thoughts, opinions and views on many aspects of Asian weddings.

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