The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

Category: Food

What the British do in a crisis?

Due to my long vacation and business trip to South Asia this December (and to rub it in – it’s spanning almost for the entire month minus a few days) I need to do a handover of my projects to other Project Managers, more about this trip in another post.

As part of the first handover meeting between me and 6 other senior Project/Program Managers this morning, we discussed my strategy in dealing with customers, healthcare professional, suppliers, issues and risk factors and how to avert a crisis or how to deal with one.

Now many Project/Program Managers have their own way of dealing with a crisis (when the sugar hits the fan).  Some run around screaming, some try pinning the blame on others, some walk off quietly and find a quiet corner and scream, some simply ask others (like me) for help.  I have a different way in dealing with a crisis.

What do I do in a crisis is drink more tea.

That’s right – the British (including British Asian) way of dealing with a crisis is to drink more tea, simple.

When I explained this to an American Project Manager, he looked up to the left, scratched his head and replied “I don’t drink tea”.  To which my response was “Yes I know.  You’re not British”.  The British and British Asians have always drunk tea, plenty of it, during a crisis.

The British Asian Blog – Tea

Just saying.

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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.

War on Fast Food

Most of you won’t know that I am part owner of a fast food restaurant/business.  This is one of my entrepreneurial achievements thus far, proudly owning 55% of the business, with another two partners.  In so far as entrepreneurial achievements, this is not the only business I part own, to add to the portfolio I part own a Gym and a Printing Firm.  I’m barely past my mid-twenties and I would regard my professional career as a Project Manager in the healthcare industry to be my main focus, at least for now.

Besides, as a British Asian, my family (and especially the elder clan) regard my career in the healthcare industry far superior and more respectable than the businesses I own, despite my accountant’s figures saying otherwise.

Having a professional career and owning businesses pretty much takes up all the time I have.  As well as working hard, extremely hard, I’ve got into the habit of being smart and staying few steps ahead of the game.

Making good use of every minute I have has got me to overlook, neglect and compromise some parts of my personal life, i.e. my health.  Being an owner of a fast food business definitely has not helped me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not over-weight, or obese in anyway – I’m still slim as I was in my teenager years, still have the physique and in some ways its more toned than it has ever been, but the trouble I have is saying ‘NO’ to fast food.

In November 2011 I declared war on fast food, I came to a decision that my diet needed to be controlled and that the amount of fast food I eat needed to be reduced to the bare minimum.  Being so busy in coordinating business and managing my career, I got into the ugly habit of eating while on the move – meaning either eating out in restaurants, at my own fast food business or generally ordering something already made to eat at home.  This has made me aware and cognisant that if I’m not careful in what I eat and when I eat it, I could be heading towards a life with increased waist line and reaching a point where I can no longer see my toes if I was standing up straight.  I’m sure I don’t need to give you all a lecture on the impact fast food has on our health and wealth.

My parents, brothers and sisters never fail to make the point that I no longer join them at the dinner table, and when I eventually do, I eat in such a hurry as if the world is about to end in seconds.  As a British Asian family, food variety has never been an issue in the household, every day of the week there is something different cooked and praise is to those individuals who make every effort to keep our stomach full.

So, as a result of my contemplation in November of last year, I decided to phase out fast food from my diet.  Almost 3 months have gone past and I’m happy to share that from eating fast food 3 to 4 times a week I have now limited it to just 4 times a month (every Friday with family).  I’ve become a good boy so to speak and make the extra effort to eat dinner with the family at home.

Admittedly, it’s not been easy in taming my will power.  I can wisely tell myself that eating fast food ‘junk’ is not doing me any favours – health wise and finance wise – and at times, when I’ve had a scent of Garlic Sheekh Kebabs sizzing on the grill, or the sight of chicken donner sitting on the soft-moist-buttered Naan, or when I’ve covered a shift for someone, or seen the pizza come out of the Pizza conveyor belt, my will power declares war on me and threatens to teach me a lesson.  That said, I have managed to stay focused and managed to fight my will power pretty good.

So guys, despite being a part-owner of a fast food business – I have declared war on eating take outs and fast food.  I know physically I feel more alive, less lazy and more alert – whether this has anything to do with the change in diet – I don’t know.  But one thing for sure, I feel much happier that I’m winning this war.

For now, the above is enough as an update on this war, there is however more details available which I’d like to share – but will share them in upcoming posts.

Master Chef India – Simply Brilliant.

Master Chef India – Simply Brilliant – By The British Asian Blog

Cooking is a big part of my life, and it has been as far back as I can remember – even as a child just helping out the ladies at home.  Ever since my first days at University I have taken cooking very serious, serious enough to know that cooking requires having ‘good taste, creativity and good presentation skills’.

What makes it more exciting for me is being adventurous and experimental in cooking, something which gives me a thrill.

Over the last decade I have seen more and more cooking TV shows crop up, one after another and better than the last one.  From ‘Ready steady cook’ to ‘The F Word’ to ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ I enjoyed them all.

Then one day – my heart melted when I first watched Master Chef aired in the UK.  The thrill of cooking with last minute given ingredients, limited by time, closely watched by two Chefs and to later get judged on cooking ability, taste, creativity and presentation skills was simply a king of all shows.

Since then, I have been blown away by Master Chef India and as Guardian put it in October 2010 “The ingredients are: a Bollywood star, months of auditions around India, thousands of candidates, one of the biggest potential audiences in the world, satellite TV, and lots and lots of cash. Welcome to MasterChef India”.  This show (currently running its second season) is simply breath taking and hearth throbbing.  I have never seen anything like it and I don’t believe anything can beat it (so far).

The current season ‘Master Chef India 2’ is hosted and judged by world renowned Indian Chef Vikas Khanna, and last year it was hosted by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar – known to be a man who can cook as well as act.

I find that Master Chef India in comparison to Master Chef UK to be more thrilling, more adventurous and more demanding from its contestants.  It simply blows you away by the pressures put on the contestants and despite at times the contestants appearing to fall flat on their faces through exhaustion they somehow and from somewhere manage to find that energy to produce food of high standard.

What makes Master Chef India more exciting to watch is the constant bluntness of the judges who simply speak their minds and their stubborn attitudes, adding the fear of being shredded apart by the judges once their food is tasted.

I strongly suggest everyone to watch this show, if not for cooking reasons then at least for its entertainment.  You won’t be disappointed.

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