The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

Tag: cars

Letter to my, then, teenage self

Letter to my younger self

Dude:

I’m writing to you using my Samsung Galaxy S3 smart phone.  Never you mind.

You’re 14 and you’re going to rock (later) in life.  So far it’s been notoriously dazzling.

Regards

The future You – Age 20-something.

P.S.  July and August of 2013 will be a key milestone and a turning point in your life in so far as finance and wealth is concerned, its make or break time.  Oh, and the crazy, eyebrow raising and funny experiments you’re going to do with food, when you return for 2nd term at Berkshire in Sept, will later on in life make you a guy who can cook impressively – the creativity and no-short-of-magic will work with them each time.

 

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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.

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.

2012: Year in Review ‘no end’

It wasn’t so long ago, that I was reviewing year 2011 – and for the life of me I can’t work out where a whole year has gone.  I now write a review (in the shortest way possible) for year 2012.

Firstly and most importantly:  All praise is to the Lord above, who has yet again blessed me and continues to do so.  Not only do I remember ‘you my Lord’ for when times are hard and for when in trouble or for when evil surrounds me, but for when you bestow upon me happiness and success in wherever my focus goes, and for this, ‘I am ever indebted to you my Lord’.

With all new chapters and new starting points in life, I like to start with a little prayer.  The previous paragraph is my attempt to say thank you to my Lord.  In my view, words cannot express the humbleness, gratitude and appreciation that I have for everything in my life.  It’s easy to fall into a habit of calling upon the Lord in hardship and when in trouble, but it’s hard to remain focused and thank the Lord for when we are happy, successful and trouble free, and this, in my view, is key.

As I write this post on my iPad, the time is 7:50pm here in Mumbai.  I’m, alone, in probably the highest building which has an open top roof bar.  I’m sat in Aer Lounge, in what is known as ‘Sunset Happy Hour’ at the 34th floor open air lounge in Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai.  I’ve made this a place which I visit regularly; at least every 2nd or 3rd day – and I love this place.  In fact, I am in love with India, with Mumbai, and with the hustle and bustle of the city (but not the crazy traffic during peak hours, honestly, I thought the traffic in Leeds was bad).  More about India in future posts.

I’ve just witnessed the sunset from this jaw dropping view.  I’ve sat here on this very spot probably about 12 times in the past 4 weeks – but today I came here alone, without my acquaintance or with my new friends that I have made here in Mumbai.  Today’s sunset was a different one.  It reminded me of how 2012 came and went, and it’s given me an opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows of 2012.

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with my highs and lows for 2012, but what I will say is this:

2012 has been a year of great challenges.  I have deliberately made some tough decisions in pretty much all aspects of my life.  You could say, I deliberately and consciously decided to walk on a path that has been less treaded on, knowing that the journey via this route is unpredictable, more stressful and more dangerous, but I know the reward and satisfaction in the end is invaluable against the grave risks I have decided to take.

As for 2013, well, I know for sure that this year will be more challenging than 2012 or 2011 ever was or double of what I experienced last year.  I accept that.  I am willing to accept the challenges for this year and do what I do best ‘fight on’.

This blog will be the gateway for me to echo what is happening, the challenges I am facing and what I get up to. This blog in itself is yet another challenge for 2013, as I’m sure most of you will agree with me that finding the time to blog is a challenge in our busy and bustling lifestyles.  What keeps me energised and enthusiastic to continue blogging is you guys.  I have met some great bloggers and some fantastic people from all around the world through blogging – it is you guys that fuel me in continuing to share my stories, experiences and views.  You may or may not agree with my views and opinions but we are a community and I’m glad to be part of it.

With that I’d like to wish all of you a happy New Year.

Good Bye 2012 and Welcome 2013.

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.

Cornetto Ice Cream

This morning, not sure why, but I rode into work on my motorbike despite the weather being so terrible and ‘so not ideal’ for biking.  I’m a little confused why I did this – especially when in summer I only took the bitch out about six times when the weather was perfect for a long period.  Bitch is the nickname for my motorbike and I like it.

Maybe, I did this because, few days ago I saw another chap at work rev into work on his motorbike.  Or that, my acquaintance who is due to spend a few days with me talked about me taking her out for a ride – something which she has never done.

On that note..

Honestly, if someone had told me how hot women get more hotter when they experience the thrill of riding a motorbike, I’d quit University after my first semester and open a women’s motorbike school only for hot women – that way i’d save years in figuring out why so many women wanted a ride on my motorbike again and again when I finally qualified to ride one and got one in my final year.

Any-ways.

Three weird and crazy things happened few nights ago, which I have been debating and wanting to write about.  They are (in order of how they happened):

1.  I was involved in a street fight
2.  I lost my watch in that same street fight
3.  I made friends with a gay guy

All three things happened in one short night, and where in the words ‘street’ and ‘fight’ come together, you can expect plenty of fists and plenty of guys.

OK “plenty of fists” might be a hyperbole or an overstatement, as well as “plenty of guys”. What happened was two pairs of fists began to clash like in a boxing ring, between two blokes.  Neither the fists belonged to me nor neither was I anyone of the two blokes – well not at the beginning.

You’re probably trying to find the correlation between this post title ‘Cornetto’ and the three crazy things that happened all in one night.  Well…

I was alone at my apartment, having just got back from my daily pulverize.  It had just turned 11:25pm and I suddenly got the urge of stuffing at least two Cornetto ice creams down my throat – a strawberry one and a mint one – as quickly as possible.  It was my fix.  I was simultaneously texting an acquaintance who was staying over at her friends nearby, let’s give her a name:  Kiren.  Upon discovering with a fright that I had zero Cornetto ice creams in my freezer – I frantically text this information to Kiren – whose quick thinking suggested “come pick me up and let’s get some” in her text.  Perfect…

or was it…

I drove to her place, picked her up, and headed into the spaghetti-road City Centre in the direction of Tesco express.  I gradually rolled my car towards the traffic lights which signalled stop.  My attention suddenly fell on two guys and three ladies, just a little ahead on the side pavement to my right.  Out of frigging nowhere, one of the guys suddenly launched a ferocious attack on the other guy.  Who at first, put up a little resistance until he suddenly dropped like ‘George Foreman’ against Muhammad Ali during the ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ fight in Zaire.  What didn’t help George-Foreman-guy was that the three ladies were on the side of Mohammad-Ali-guy.

“Mooootttthhhhher fucker” I put my foot down and literally rammed my Range Rover on the the pavement towards their direction.  The next few moments where a little blur and hazy, but from what I recall – my Range Rover ended up about 2 feet before the George-Foreman-guy who was still  lying on the floor and the Muhammad-Ali-guy and the three ladies were up against the wall with their hands raised above their heads at the sight of my Range Rover heading in their direction then suddenly stopping – I bet their entire lives flashed by them in a split second as they took their last gasp of air and confined in the wall directly behind them.

Side note number one:  My acquaintances have never seen my rough side.  By ‘rough’ I mean when it comes to fights of confrontations with other men – minimum of two.  My rough side is usually contained and controlled only executed at the right time and at the right place.  On this occasion, these guys were boxing on my home turf and I wasn’t going to ignore this or allow this to happen.  I don’t give a fuck, who you are, who started it or who did what, all I know was that I was going to finish it.

I launched out of my car, and examined the guy in the floor – The one still stood up was trying to continue his attack on the man down – I immediately restrained him with a struggle and a shuffle in which I ended up pushing him onto the floor.  I recollect standing over him and uttering the words along the lines “how do you want to finish this?” with some nasty swears chucked in.  Trying to imply that although the one you attacked is down – I’m ready to frigging rearrange your face right now – right here.  At the same time, I was having a nervous feeling of not wanting my white shirt covered in anyone’s blood the least mine – or the tie I was wearing, to be used to strangle anyone at least not me.

Kiren attended the damaged guy, who at this point was trying to sit up and assess himself. Behind me, I had Kiren and this guy and in front, was this foul mouthed cross between a rugby player and a jockey, oh and the ladies, who were rallying the guy to carry on with his attack.

This debacle within minutes fizzled out, helped by some people who recognised my Range Rover, awkwardly parked on the pavement with both doors open, who then decided to investigate, upon seeing this, the group of attackers somewhat nervously turned and fled.

It dawned upon me that this group of people knew each other.  Well at least the two guys involved knew each other as Kiren interrogated him and while I drove the victim home – well to his apartment, which wasn’t far.

Side note number two:  Kiren was in a total shock.  She freaked out when I said “right, Tesco it is” just as we dropped off the battered George-Foreman-guy.  For her, it wasn’t something she could get over quickly.  By ‘quickly’ I mean, as quickly as I did.  For me it was a common-regular fracas.  One which I have seen a millions times before this one.  Kiren was somewhere between being overly impressed in how I engaged this group alone with confidence and between witnessing the rough side of me – which as I said earlier, she hadn’t seen – and neither has any other acquaintances.  

If Kiren had witnessed this alone, it probably would have taken her more than ‘a minute’ to get over it.  It would have taken her months and probably involve endless phone calls to her girly friends for support, sick leave from her work on the grounds of fracas-witnessed-related-stress, 2 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolate with 64 in each and a “I fucking hate Leeds” view for life – then there would go my pleasure and minus one from my acquaintance database.  DRAMATIC RIGHT – I know.

Luckily Kiren wasn’t alone, luckily Kiren had me to help her get over it, luckily we were in Leeds, luckily I was in the mood of some Cornetto ice cream and I wasn’t going to let this punch up deter me from my objective – two Cornetto ice cream one after the other – one strawberry and one mint one.

Any-ways.

At the checkout in Tesco, hugging two packs of Cornetto ice cream, with six in each – I suddenly got a weird feeling in my right wrist.  When I looked – my balls dropped, a sudden fever overcome my body and my forehead pulsated rapidly, I couldn’t hear anything, everything had gone numb – my Hublot wrist watch was missing.

Side note number three:  Now, the thing with my watch was this.  1.  It was a Hublot.  2.  It was a fucking Hublot.  3.  I never paid for it, it was a gift.  4.  When I come face to face with my acquaintance in December, she will ask ‘where is it’?  5.  She will practically shoot me on site, and be prepared to spend her entire life in a prison in South Asia for my murder when I go to visit her this December.  6.  It was a Hublot.  7.  It was a watch which was given to me on my 25th birthday as a gesture of our relationship or whatever we have between us – it wasn’t just a watch it meant more to me then just that.

Staggering somewhat, I made it to my car.  Opened the door and said to Kiren “where the fuck is my watch?”  Knowing I would never see that watch again I contemplated spending five figure sum to get an exact model again – to conceal the fact I lost it.

That night I spent alone, without having consumed my Cornetto ice cream and wishing that I could kill someone with a perfect murder to drown the sorrow of losing my wrist watch.  I had multiple heart attacks on the thought of someone selling my dear Hublot watch on eBay and using the large sum of money on a holiday, a car and plenty of alcohol.  I ran through various scenarios – would my insurance believe me when I say to them I’d lost it?  What if they decide I was lying to them and refused to replace it or compensate me…

The next morning..

I didn’t have any meetings till the afternoon, so I got into work at 9:40am – set up my laptop and then walked straight out to get a coffee, all the while, thinking about last night and more so, whether my acquaintance from South Asia who gifted me the watch would actually find out, and if she did, what would be her reaction?

I walked into Leeds City Centre, deliberately avoiding the very same location where this saga unfolded.  I got to my regular coffee shop which is bang on in the middle of the city centre, ordered a large latte and took a seat.

I sat there miserably, trying to drink my latte but struggling to swallow when one of the workers in the coffee shop stood over me and said “excuse me, the boss would like to see you”.  Somewhat confused, I asked her to repeat herself.  When she did I felt like saying “Fuck you and your boss, I have had a miserable night, a night where I didn’t get to consume my Cornetto ice cream simultaneously, a night where I engaged in hostilities, a night where I saved someone from a brutal beating, a night where I almost petrified Kiren out of Leeds never to come back, not to mention how bad that would be for Leeds economy if she did, and most important of all, I lost my Hublot which was gifted to me and you want me to meet your boss because he says so….go fuck off” but in return I replied “No – I’m very sorry”.  She walked away disappointedly and I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until

She reappeared and said “Are you the guy, who lost his watch last night?”.  I looked up at her face with some mixed, screwed up emotions.  I replied “how the hell do you know?”. She then uttered “boss wants to see you”.

As crazy as it may seem, I leaped out of my chair, followed the lady through some small grey weird doors until we reached a back office type room.  Right in front of me, you wouldn’t believe who was sat there.  It was the same bloke who I saved from that brutal beating the night before – he recognised me from the CCTV screen right in front of him. More importantly he had my watch right in front of him too.

Apparently, while I was wrestling to hold off his attacker, my Hublot, somehow, broke its strap and fell on him.  He clenched onto it, thinking it belonged to his attacker.  Only after I dropped him off at his apartment he realised the watch didn’t belong to his ex-partner (that’s right, that other bloke was his ex partner), so he immediately assumed it was mine.

Too fucking right it was mine.

This guy who I saved – lets give him a name:  Kevin is a franchise owner of a well established, branded and very popular coffee shop.  He recognised me, as not many people come into his coffee shop with a Hublot watch – which he assured me, and more surprisingly he is a gay.  That’s right.  This late 40’s bloke, who looked like a tanned Australian beach volleyball player you could pass off as being aged in his mid-30’s – was a gay no joke.  When he told me his age, his body physique simply did not match a late 40’s person.  Kevin was as fit as me.  Instantly, in my head I recalled all the past experiences I have had with men who think I’m gay – and I really didn’t have the energy or patience to take on yet another battle.

However…

We spent the next 3 hours or so, talking about him, his fight, the patterns on his face from last night, democracy, Israel (he is Jewish) and how to take advantage of the downturn in Leeds economy and the closure of so many retail space.

As for the fight last night.  Well, the story goes like this…

Kevin was married (to a women) where they first met and got together at University, but Kavin realised he was gay and was too scared to come out into the open with it.  His wife finally found out and ended their marriage with a painful and very expensive divorce.  Kevin then moved to Australia for few years.  When he returned, he moved from London to Leeds for business reasons, and in the process met his first ever long term gay boyfriend.  Let’s give him a name:  Mark.  Mark was his newly appointed business bank manager and a gay who wasn’t scared to openly admit it, they got on, fell in love, and Mark helped Kevin open up his real identity without fear of the public.  They moved in together and lived together for over 4 years until disaster struck and Kevin was being used and abused for his wealth and contacts.  It all ended up in a big mess and Mark eventually walked out on their relationship.

The other night, was the time when both Mark and Kevin came face to face in a club, they talked, caught up with each other until their history came into discussion.  The discussion got nasty, helped by the three ladies who Mark was out with to entertain, and ended up being pushed and shoved out of the club, only to be continued outside – that’s when I showed up at the traffic lights – and the rest you know.

It should be made clear that by now Kevin, to me, didn’t appear to be gay.  He was, to me, just like any other straight guy would be – and I guess, that’s what made me comfortable around him.

We exchanged business cards, he presented me with a loyalty card for his coffee shop. One which allowed me to eat and drink whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  Thank you but no thanks and I rejected it.  Only to have Kevin appreciate me even more.  So in return, I offered him free membership and free access to my gym any time – which he accepted.

I did have one question on my mind.  I asked him “what if I didn’t turn up today, what would you have done with my Hublot?”  He laughed and confessed that the idea of selling my watch on eBay did come to his mind, but he recalled only ever seeing this watch on two people who come to his coffee shop.  One a white chap and one an Asian chap – who was me.  So he was intended to contact Hublot with the serial number of the watch and get them to locate me if I didn’t show.  Smart move, this now makes me more comfortable around Kevin – and I liked his personality.  It was a good job I intervened in his business the other night.

Now that I have made friends with a gay, this brings the headcount of my gay friends to four.  To me, he isn’t gay and that’s probably how I’d like to see Kevin.

Come Sunday, I have invited Kevin to join me and my crew for a few games of snooker. Kevin accepted and agreed to bring his son around too, who by the way, is in my age group of mid-20’s.

I think, Kevin and I along with my crew will get on really well.  Firstly because we are all business-entrepreneurial-minded people.  Secondly Kevin and his personality is of a great guy and him being a gay is not an issue and thirdly because we probably can network on business-entrepreneurial level.

On my way back to work, I called up Kiren and told her what just happen.  She simply could not believe it.  She screamed over the phone…then paused…then said “open another franchise coffee shop in Leeds with him”…now there’s a good Idea – don’t you think?

I write this blog post from the kitchen of my friend’s house, where four of us have just consumed some spicy Chinese this late hour, and where I have, finally, got the chance to clench my Cornetto urge.

That or contemplate all the ‘what-ifs’ of that weird and crazy night.

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