The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

Category: Community

British Election 2015 Results

It’s been a little under two weeks that the results for the British Election 2015 became clear. I had to give myself a few days to allow the dust to settle, to gather my thoughts and be able to construe them into words. I must admit, since the results I have been feeling deflated and dispirited. I have never concerned myself with polls, and to be honest, I don’t believe polls give a true reflection of the election build up, and certainly the percentage of voters does not correspond to how the system works – first past the post.

Even the exit poll, which suggested Conservative would be able to form a government by full majority, didn’t even seem accurate, and to some extent confirmed my belief that polls were not to be relied on. That said, I certainly didn’t expect them to be so damn completely wrong.

To the run up of the election my thoughts played through a couple of scary scenarios. The worst outcome I dreaded was for the Conservatives to return with enough seats to form a government with full majority. At the time, this seemed impossible.

The second scariest scenario was a re-run of events from 2010. A LibDem coalition yet again with the Conservatives would be an unpleasant outcome but one I could agree to be the worst case outcome, after all, we had seem them run this country for the last 5 years so we could, as I said in the worst case scenario, live with it for another five years.

Despite the polls agreeing with my thoughts, the worst outcome never really played on my mind until Friday the 8th of May, and boy oh boy, did it shock me or what.

Confirmation that Conservatives are predicted to be able to form a government absolute immediately rattled me, let alone the entire election debate. Immediately it became clear, Mr Cameron, had indeed, played the fears of those voters who were undecided and held back from voting Labour purely on the basis that Labour is totally depended on the SNP. Despite Labour’s clear stance on this and this not to be the case, much of these, undecided voters, were forced to vote for Conservatives.

It has now started to sink in.

Another five years of an absolute Conservative government is a scary thought. We will, of course, have another chance of getting rid of the Tories in five years, but with the likely departure of Scotland, a worrying referendum on our European Membership, and with the changes in boundary, it’s actually quite hard to see how that’s going to happen.

When someone asked me ‘what the result and absolute Conservative government means?’ I couldn’t help tweet the following, which I believe, sums up my feelings towards this government.

Labour did badly in England and Scotland. The SNP wiped the floor with Labour, and although many political analysts didn’t want to admit this is likely to happen pre-election, it was probably the price Labour had to pay for siding with LibDem/Conservatives in aligning themselves with the No campaign. It’s hard to accept what Labour could have done different to prevent this outcome.

In my view Labour under Ed Miliband was too left wing, thus abandoning centre voters (who otherwise would have voted for Labour) leaving them undecided. It was these undecided voters who then scrambled to either give their vote to UKIP, Green Party or Conservatives. The challenge now for Labour, in amongst the turmoil of selecting a new Leader, which in my view needs to be done sooner rather than later (September), is to bring them back to the centre.

Now that the 2015 general election is over, it is time, indeed to move on. I do, however, feel nervous in what five more years of absolute Conservative government will bring. I really do hope Labour can bring forward a new leader, who understands the mistakes of the past, and can bring about a real change, more importantly, who can really stand up to the Conservatives and challenge them on their governing policies.

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My 100th Post

Thanks to WordPress, I was informed that my last post was my 100th one.  This, I feel, calls for a mini celebrations..

I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to each and every single one of you.  Finding the time, words and energy (in my current busy lifestyle) isn’t easy but people like you, regular followers, readers and contributors inspire me, and thus I’ve grown the confidence and aspiration to continue.

I feel that I need to make a few changes, since 100 is a good number and a milestone (albeit a small one in the grand scheme of things) I’m contemplating a number of options to bring about a positive change to this blog.  The very least I can do is play with the design and theme – personalizing it a little more.  I can experiment with a new, refreshing, approach to blogging and alter the blog content to capture more about British Asians ethos: the spirit and culture of British Asians and how the era or community has manifested in its attitudes and aspirations. So all these ideas have suddenly engulfed me and are going around in my head.

Once again I’d like to Thank y’all for making this possible and all I can say is ‘stay tuned’ for another challenge I set myself and put this blog through its paces and re-energies it.

The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One – Series 9: Part 4 of 14

Lord Alan Sugar hand picked world UK best apprentices put on a magnificent display last week.  The Apprentice 2013 Series 9 and part 3 gave us a glimpse of what was truly in store for us and that these apprentices are truly exceptional people.  Two bright individuals quickly jump to my mind, or rather a couple of scenes flash in my memory.  The first scene – Lusia passionately painting Jordan’s toenails matt-black and probably the only task to date where both Lusia and Jordon have worked so passionately, second Alex the Welsh Dracula with his killer eye-brows taking on the know-it-all Natalie in a race to achieve the unbelievable milestone – to answer the telephone to receive next task instructions.  Why can’t my staff show such ‘extraordinary’ enthusiasm when the phone rings?

The task was simple (as always) innovative storage space solution flat-pack furniture.  You know, the stuff you supposed to find exhilarating in your home/apartment and forced to say  ‘wow can’t believe this wasn’t thought of before’, but since this is The Apprentice, we need to be a little less excited and more realistic, and aim to get some good solutions from our hopefuls.

In a nutshell – The Girls team lost led by Natalie, between the best brains in the world country they could only come up with (in theory) a multifunctional cube, which could do this and that, that and this all the while being just a cube.  When it came to putting the theory into practice they failed miserably and all they made was a nail-free-not-a-cube-looking-rectangle-box-on wheels and finished their masterpiece in the colour grey.  Lord Alan Sugar asked the teams to produce something which involved thinking outside of the box, the girls gave Lord Alan Sugar the box instead – on wheels.

On the other hand, the boys team powered by Alex but led by Jordan produced something a little more exciting.  A table which could be folded into a much needed table.  Not surprisingly the boys team won the task by selling more to their customers.

Natalie brings back the chief product designer Uzma and the not-so-enthusiastic Sophie back to the boardroom, where Sophie ends up falling victim to Lord Alan Sugar’s finger.

It’s clear, the girls are having a disaster of a time and I can’t imagine the impact it will have should they fail the task today – or Lord Alan Sugar may simply mix up the teams so save further embarrassments.

Today’s challenge involves some farmyard shop fun.

The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One – Series 9: Part 3 of 14

Last week we were truly spoilt by Lord Alan Sugar.  Not only did we get to see the first episode of this year’s The Apprentice a day early (on a Tuesday) we were overdosed by the second episode the following day (Wednesday) – thus sending the blood pressure of us The Apprentice addicts into dangerous territory.

The first episode on Tuesday introduced us to the candidates, a deliberate selection of annoying muppets and arrogant to**ers who would struggle to put a key into a keyhole.  The task was simple, unload a load of junk made in China, count it, prices it, work out the profit margins and figure out best locations to flog it.  The team which makes the most profit wins – simple right but boy oh boy did the girls team get into a devastating mess or what.  I was almost stunned to see a group of girls taking a cat product made in China to, what is known as China town in London, and sell it there when already those shops were stocked up with this product.  Not surprisingly the women’s team lost the task resulting in, the mouth motivator Jaz Ampaw-Farr being fired – and rightly so – God damn she was annoying.

The second episode on Wednesday was a little different.  The boys (Team Endeavour) and the girls (Team Evolve) had to come up with a flavoured beer for punters.  Tim, the constantly moving man who really is a puppet where someone using strings, against his will, moves his arms and head rather annoyingly, was sent over to run the girls team as a project manager – but quickly realised he couldn’t even manage his own moving actions let alone control the tasks.  On the other side it was Kurt who was appointed to lead the boys team.  In all honestly I simply can’t remember him, but somehow he managed to pull off the task and win – especially after his catastrophic decision to send three non-drinkers (including a Muslim) to go actually make, taste the beer – I mean come on.

The boys team pulled it off, somehow, leaving Tim to fight it out with the girls in the boardroom.  It all proved to be too much for animated Tim and was the second casualty of this series.

For me, there is one outstanding character in this series – The Welsh Dracula Alex Mills. He had the best one liner I have heard, well since my preschool days, “Will you be quiet you silly little shit” blasted to the PhD student.  The PhD student from some University had no research knowledge in addressing this comment, and all methodologies failed at this point for him – which resulted in utter silence.

If I had the opportunity to hire anyone of these contestants it would have to be the Welsh Dracula, I mean his eyebrows are amazing, something out of this world – literally.  I’d hire him on the basis that he could scare my competition into submission just by his physical appearance when I take him into meetings, if that would fail he could scare the living daylights out of them by his one liners “just give up your business you silly little shit”.  In fact I am going to find this Welsh Dracula Alex Mills and offer him a job as a personal bodyguard.

What is evident in this year’s bunch of top brass is the attitudes of the girls, if anything, they should be re-branded as Team Delusional.  The boys, including The Welsh Dracula, do have their problems but they proved twice in a row they can meet the task objective and win, but for the girls they are horrible to watch and some are nasty pieces of work.  I am sure that those girls who get fired from The Apprentice will be labelled for life of not-employable.

Today’s episode it’s a challenge for flat pack furniture – bring it on

The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One Starts 9pm Tuesday 7 May

The Apprentice 2013

Are you ready…?  I know I am.  The Worlds UK’s best business minded people are ready to fight for Lord Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment.  If you’re clever enough – the banks would probably give you more with a good-sound business plan and save you a life-time of embarrassment but then again Series 9 kicks off today BBC One (Tuesday 7 May at 9pm) and can be viewed later on BBC iPlayer.  There are no The Apprentice 2013 spoiler here but only a quick shout out to everyone “that you’re Wednesday evenings won’t be the same again – well not at least for the next few months”.

The Apprentice is one of my favourite TV show (if I can call it a show or should I use the words side-splitting entertainment) and I find it extremely…erm what’s the word(s) “I can’t believe I’m watching this stuff” while I grit my teeth and remain calm at the TV, especially when the UK’s best, sorry Worlds best candidates fight their hearts out in each task climbing to the top, get hired then decide to take Lord Sugar to court.

Let me introduce you to the candidates, starting with my favourite first:

Zeeshaan Shah, Age: 27, Career: CEO of Property Investment Company, Location: London

Francesca MacDuff-Varley, Age: 32, Career: Dance and Entertainment Entrepreneur Location: Leeds

Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Age: 41, Career: Literacy and Education Company Director, Location: Milton Keynes

Leah Totton, Age: 24, Career: Doctor, Location: London

Luisa Zissman, Age: 25, Career: Retail Entrepreneur, Location: St Albans

Natalie Panayi, Age: 30, Career: Recruitment Manager, Location: Rickmansworth

Rebecca Slater, Age: 35, Career: Medical Rep, Location: Wigan

Sophie Lau, Age: 22, Career: Restaurateur, Location: Bristol

Uzma Yakoob, Age: 32, Career: Entrepreneur and Make-Up Brand Owner, Location: London

Alex Mills, Age: 22, Career: Company Director, Location: Cardiff

Jason Leech, Age: 29, Career: Historian and Property Entrepreneur, Location: London

Jordan Poulton, Age: 26, Career: Business Analyst, Location: London

Kurt Wilson, Age: 26, Career: Health Drink Entrepreneur and Health & Safety Manager, Location: Liverpool

Myles Mordaunt, Age: 39, Career: Marketing Company Co-Founder, Location: Monaco

Neil Clough, Age: 32, Career: Regional Manager – Soccer Centres, Location: Altrincham

Tim Stillwell, Age: 23, Career: Mexican Food Entrepreneur, Location: Birmingham

Bring it on…

Ex-Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher dies 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013

I’ve just learnt Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died.  Mainly known as Margaret Thatcher she was a British politician, the longest-serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 20th century, most interestingly – she was the only women ever to have held the post.

It saddens me to learn of her death, despite my reservations around her political views and policies it is a great loss, she was a great leader.

More can be read here and here.

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:

Pakistan vs India

This post isn’t about a cricket game between these two great nations, although I wish it was.  It’s very unfortunate that I start the year with a blog post of such nature, but I feel I need to express my views on a situation which potentially can escalate out of control.

India and Pakistan – The British Asian Blog

In the last few days, tension between India and Pakistan has risen to a dangerous level, and the dangerous level between these two nuclear armed neighbours could potentially escalate into a regional war and bring further insecurity to this region.

I have returned from India just this weekend, after spending the entire December in Bangalore and Mumbai.  This news first popped up on the radar on Sunday, when I was about to fly out of Bangalore to Manchester via a complicated-connecting flights, and instantly I realised that this was news that is likely to escalate, especially the way the media in India was so aggressively reporting.

India and Pakistan have lived together as one nation peacefully before.  If it wasn’t for the ‘border’ which divides this nation into two – I believe these two countries (as one) would/could have been a serious contender for the worlds ‘next super power’.  But you see, those who occupied India (the British) new of its potential and what it had to offer – fearing what could or can become in the future, they decided that while they made preparations to leave – they would leave a gift for this nation, a gift which would simply keep their power, focus and attention concentrated in its own territory forgetting about the rest of the world.  This great gift came into two parts – the first part of the gift was the border and the second part of the gift was Kashmir.

Since the British exited from India, their gift to this nation has done exactly what they expected it to do.  The border has divided a nation into two and Kashmir has been a place where both sides will not lose at any cost.

The recent events along the line of control between Pakistan and India has made me nervous – especially in the sense of what this can lead to if either side refuses to back down or avoid escalation of the issue.  Now, some may argue that India started this aggression and provoked Pakistan into reacting others may argue that it was Pakistan who first crossed the line of control (LOC) into India – and to be fair, neither side will gain anything positive out of this but those who gifted this nation the border are probably sat back, sipping a cup of tea and having a laugh at the expense of India and Pakistan.

I don’t want to see these two great nations, armed to the teeth, ready to rip each other apart.  I don’t want to see the development of both nations hindered to its borders when the world has become a smaller place.  I definitely don’t want to see sectarian and religious violence to erupt especially since all religions have co-existed peacefully for centuries and the very fact that all religions in the region are prospering to this very day is a testament in itself of peaceful co-existence between them.

As a British Asian, I find it difficult to stomach how these two nations have been divided and that the only things which have come out of it are brutality, war, instability and arrogance.

Let there be love for two brothers separated by a wall.

The Apprentice 2012 – Seventh Episode Today – Week Seven

Today the seventh episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired, as usual on BBC One at 9pm.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch today’s episode, as I have other commitments – but thanks to Sky Plus I shall catch up with it later (when I have an hour to spare).

I intend to write my review about last week episode along with today’s some point during the week.

Today the teams are called to a warehouse in Essex; Lord Sugar tells the candidates that this is how he started out, buying wholesale goods and selling them on for a profit. Both teams are given 150 pounds to spend on products of their choice, with Essex as their selling ground. Products are purchased and hopes for big profits are pinned on a collection of mops, MP3 players, fake tan and false eyelashes.

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.

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