Friday 14 December 2012

True stories from my youth: DSS

True stories from my youth: DSS

Aged eleven sitting in the living room on a school night my mother informs me I won’t be going to school in the morning (Primary year 6). When I ask why, she states she needs me to translate for her at an office in Stratford tomorrow. I think nothing of it and carry on watching the box. Come morning my mother and I head off to Stratford via bus and walk towards the blue building. For those not from Newham, this is the DSS office. And as with all DSS buildings the queue snaked all the way outside. After an hour or so of cuing my mother and me reach a windowed clerk of sorts. My mother speaks to me in Gujarati and tells me to translate.

Mrs Bad: *Gujarati* Tell him we want a grant for school uniform

Bad: My mother’s enquiring about the school uniform grant

DSS Clerk: who is it for?

Bad: *Gujarati* he asked who’s it for?

Mrs Bad: *Gujarati* tell him it’s for you when you start secondary after the summer

I just froze, here I was asking on behalf of my mother for a hand out for a school uniform. I felt sick to my stomach and urged for the ground to tear open and swallow me, I wanted to cry, I wanted to run away screaming, but I couldn’t move. I was poor, we were poor, and I was the intermediary for my families begging from the state.

Mrs Bad: *Gujarati* don’t just stand there tell him

Bad: *voice all horse* the uniforms for me, starting after the summer

DSS Clerk: We no longer do grants, we can do a loan.

Bad: *Gujarati* he said they longer do grants, they can do a loan.

After what seemed like an eternity of back and forth between me and my mother, mostly telling me off feeling it was my lack of ability to translate we didn’t make the grant happen, we headed off home. I spent the rest of that day and many others pondering on what life would be like if my father was around.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

'You'd be a great father' how do you know?

When you have those initial conversions with people, the subject of marriage, children etc comes along.

Person X: 'How long have you been married for?'
Bad: '5 years now'
Person X: 'How many children?'
Bad: 'none that I know of'
Person X: (after they get the joke) 'It' ll happen, and I think you'll make a great father'
Bad: 'Really, how do you know? '
Person X: ' You can just tell.'

Now I've had a very similar conversion a number of times, and it's pretty much the same. I just don't get how anyone can predict a man's potential of quality fathering pre well fatherhood.

Do I give off some awesome paternal aura? Are they just plain lying, or am I truly an awesome daddy in the making.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Data on the move

I'm not a big phone call guy. But I do text and use allot of data on the move. My contracts up and I'm paying £35/month for 500mb data/ month, unlimeted text messages and 600min of talk time.

I looked around and the best thing I found for my needs is GiffGaff, I've just got the sim and called o2 to get my PAC code (code used to help port your existing number from one netwrok to another.

Giff Gaff are offering 250mins, unlimted texts, unlimited web, and free calls to other GiffGaff users all for £10/month.

When I was on the phone to O2, they made a counter offer. But it wasn't even close.

If you're planning to defect to GiffGaff, and do sign up, please feel free to use my user name to give me some refer points.

my Giff Gaff Member name = s0s0bad or just use THIS PAGE and the sim you order will get an extra £5 when you top up with your first £10.

Sunday 14 October 2012

The artist formally known as Hamza

I don't envy people any more. No matter how rich, intelligent, networked, good looking etc, etc they still have to face the same types of drama as I do in life. Probably more so.

But the cat that lives at my mams house. Formally known as Hamza, but I now have been enlightened to refrain from naming animals with human names. I should use an adjective as his name. E. G. TABBY, fatty, sleepy, softy you get the idea. But we've come to a consensus on this as of yet.

So the cat is living it up. He comes and goes as he pleases. Eats good. Very good, I shared some of my Haddock from the fish and chips last night with him. Once a month I give him a intensive combing to remove the lose and dead fur which fill about carrier bag and then apply the anti-flea gel which keeps him bug free. Every other month he gets a de-worming tablet.

He fights on road, chases pootang (still has all his equipment), doesn't come home for days, and when he does he comes home to a hero's welcome.

He does not have a set of morals or ethnics. Nor does he have responsibility for anything other then meeting his own needs. He is not overly greedy because he can only eat so much in one sitting.

No demands are made of him, no expectations of him. No body asks him for anything or ask him to do anything.

He does not feel he is owned, because the truth is that he is not. He chooses to stay and chooses when to go.

And when he does finally kick the bucket he will not face any reckoning for any of his actions.

I envy the artist formally known as Hamza

Monday 8 October 2012

What now?

Two months in India, with one week from that spent in my mothers village. I loved it. That one week was amazing.

My day would start about 45min before sunrise with a cacophony of azaans (call to prayer) around 06:00 I can't remember exact times. I'd go to the masjid (2min walk) and after fajr prayer I'd come back to the family bungalow. Where my aunty would be reading Quraan on the porch.

She'd then rustle up a two egg omelette and some roti. These were eggs from chickens which roam the yard around the bungalow. Free range is an understatement.

During breakfast my aunty would talk to me and update me who I need to visit in the village that day. It'd been 12 years since I was last here.

And while village life in Gujarate is drastically changed. Some things are are they were when I was a snot nosed youth running feral with the local kids playing add on huge trees.

People smiled, everyone you said salaam to responded with a smile. Old folk who recognised me now at the age of 30 who had last seen me when I was around 12. They still have love for you in the village. Well the old timers anyway.

I returned from that peace, to a whirlwind of weddings (My sister), and a new job which is no walk in the park.

My Diploma in permaculture, well I'm so behind it'll be impossible to be on track with the rest of the group. I'm pretty sure I'll need to complete and document the projects completely independently.

As the days become shorter in the Land of Eng, my mojo is dieing.

I need to just sit down with a huge piece of paper and mind map my thoughts for now.

Maybe a picture to follow

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Me Time

Been a rollacoster few weeks for me. I'm absolutely shattered. Mentally exhausted more then anything else.

Sister's wedding this weekend past, my boyhood bredrin's the weekend before that. With sprinklings of other drama from 'crazy makers'

Crazy Maker = a person who is beyond a drama queen, they actually believe everything in their life is of the utmost urgency and of paramount importance

Today I finish work early. I plan to rest, just chill maybe watch some MMA fights.

I'll check the time tables for the local leisure centres and see if I can get a suana session in.

This evening is me time. Will be switching my phone off and ignoring the world.


Wednesday 5 September 2012

Tea & Biscuits on an Indian Train

On route to my mum's birth village in Gujarate. Traveling in the only true way there is to travel in India, via train.
The tea man (Chai wala) has been driving me nuts with his chorus of 'chaiiiii' every ten minutes. Finally I give in. 5 rupees is about 7 pence UK monies. But you only get 150ml.

Then when the tea is done the biscuit guy walks by. So now I'm waiting on the Chai wala again...

Sunday 1 July 2012

Getting Things Done by David Allen

With so much to do and so little time I was reccomend a book by my Permaculture Diploma Tutor to assist me in my manic life. The book would easily fall into the CPD (Continual Professional Development) or as some may refer to it as Personal Development category in the book store.

At its core is a model for effectively dealing with all the tasks we choose to carry out in life. Both work and personal. The primary task is always having to hand somewhere to record any outstanding task which comes into your mind at any time. It could be as simple as a note book.

I'll blog further about my experiences as I work through the book. But so far, it's all making good sense. The reality of how effective it is will only be apparent when the methodology is tested in the field.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

All about loving the one you got

‘It’s not about getting the one you love, It’s all about loving the one you got’ –

OK so it's a play on the quote ' Life isn't about getting what you want, it's all about wanting what you got ' - by I'm not sure who came up with it, but it’s pretty good.

In life we become deaf to sounds which are playing/ around us on a constant. One example of this is the beep allot of smoke detectors make. When on the phone to a friend I notice every beep, but he is now functionally deaf to the beeps.

The same goes for all the amazing qualities our partners have. We become in a way deaf/ blind to these. We have to actively ponder every few months on all those qualities we fell for them in the first place.

Another aspect of this is actually romancing your partner. As a man, and this is only my take on the matter I've come to learn that all women like, love and really enjoy romance. It doesn't really come natural to most men, but that's OK. We just need to work on it.

The easiest way to do this after many years of marriage, is to act like your teenage self, start thinking like you did then.

You dressed to impress, you smelled nice, and you send cheeky text messages, the odd flower, card, meal out. When you were with them, you weren’t on the phone or watching TV etc, you gave them your full attention. You get the idea. Now this doesn't need to be a 24/7 behaviour, but for most of us men it does need to be actively planned and done on frequent but irregular time. The act of actively romancing ones partner induces love. So put something in your phones diary to remind you to do something romantic.

Note: being romantic is not about the money for most women (so they say), it is about the thought that has gone into the gesture. Buying red roses when she's informed you in a conversation she thinks they're over rated, means you buy some other variety of flowers. Better still grow some native variety in the garden or a community area (guerrilla gardening is awesome), and occasionally cut and tie some in a bundle and present them to her.

Monday 9 April 2012

Life is like gardening, not a box of chocolates

Just back in bed with the sheesha 06:00, off to work in two hours. Pondering how gardening is simaler to life.  

I've done the hard work on one of my beds. The second awaits. I know it's a great time to sow the field beans I have. Now I can't eat these beans. But they will add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil in the bed. The time to do this is now. I should get out of bed, have breakfast and get in the garden. The task of sowing the seeds and watering is easy and will take all of thirty minutes. The seeds will do all the wonderful work themselves. But they need to be planted now, by me. If the soil is to gain the nitrogen and organic matter which in turn will give me a better yield of fruit and vegetables.  

This right here is life. The planting of the seeds at the most effective time is an analogy of any given task which will benefit me or others in the future. Be it exercise, a piece of work, an act of kindness.   I can't expect the same benefits of the organic matter and nitrogen in July if I plant the very same seeds in July. I can't just cram a piece of work on the last few days and expect the same quality of assignments. I can't cram a months training on the mat in a weekend.  

So many tasks so little time. I've spent this long bank holiday weekend just lazing. No allotment, no garden, no exercise, no spiritual development. I did spend quality time with my wife and some friends over these last four days. So not a complete waste.   Little and often is my new method.

Now to map out the right direction of travel. I don't mind the journey taking more time, as long as I'm still heading in the right direction.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Book Review by Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

This is one of the first autobiographies I audio booked about 4 or 5 years ago. I was truly moved by what this man endured and did for a cause he truly believes in. And bigger then that he feels it is a solution to many global problems. The audio book is very well read, and I was immersed in Greg's life, as the reader continued.

I hope the 'Stones into Schools' is just as intriguing and motivationally moving.
As a Muslim male born and brought up in U.K I'm always curious when I come to hear of western aid/ charities operating in this region of the world. But this book sheds light on the motive and method of Mr Mortenson. I can't really judge the effects of these schools as I'm not in that region. But I can not fault the theory and efforts of this man. 

NOTE: For those ridiculing this man for taking a paid wage, and coming back to the U.S to rest up and meet family. I think we should keep in mind, that if we are to set a positive example for others to follow. Then it's important that it's easy to replicate it and allows others to also visualise themselves doing similar projects. This man deserves his $60-120k a year or whatever amount it is, far more then any investment banker/ career politician/ athlete or other such profession which is highly paid in ratio to the educators/ medical/ food producing workers of that society

Link to Amazon Review

Kettle que

So I'm waiting for a very tall English dude in the kettle que. I take a seat and pull out my huge phone. Samsung Galaxy Note, he spots it and the conversation flows think and fast.

Turns out we both own land out in Indonesia, and want to work less hours and give somthing back to community.

Here's to new friends and acquaintances.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Book Reveiw-ish: The Age of Absurdity; Why modern life makes it hard to be happy by Michale Foley

I saw a Facebook status by a Facebook friend (as I've yet to meet them in real life) about this book, and looked it up on Amazon. After reading a few reviews I was sold. But in on my path of simplicity and decreasing possession I'm using the invaluable resource of where I sign in and have the book reserved at a local library.

I liked it. It's a well written easy read. Mr Foley covers many topic areas ranging from work to love and pretty much describes almost all the unhappiness each one of our thought processes when we hit the age of questioning what's it all about.

He gives no real answers but does a great job of showing us that the current norms are not the way.  I enjoyed his broad spectrum of research and quotes form a vast timeline as well as people of diverse fields of speciality not just philosophers.

A book worth reading, but not worth buying and keeping (in my new attempt to streamline). I do love libraries.

I didn't go into to much detail about the contents of the book, because you can do that by visiting Amazon 

click here for this review on Amazon

Friday 9 March 2012

Wanting what you got

So I'm rushing to Jumma (Friday Prayer) and a meek polite man stops me and makes salaam. I reply and he asks where the nearest Masjid is. I inform tell him to follow, he looks at his watch. Turns out he has an interview at 14:00 and wondering if he can get Jumma and make the interview on time.

I wait, let him make his own mind up on this one. He tells me to walk on, and follows. I also need to be back before 14:00 as I have to teach an IT lesson. And on route I ask him a few questions.

He's from India, just completed his Masters in Business Finance and today will be attending an interview for security work at the way in from Hounslow. I did feel for him. so soon as Imam said salaams for the two rakaat, we where off and walking fast back to Stratford Broadway. I pointed him in the right direction when I got to my office, and he had 12 minutes to left to make an 10 minute journey.

I wish him all the best and we parted with Salam. Allah bless this man, as in his shoes I'd most likely skipped Jummah and prayed Dhur on my own.

I do feel for economic immigrants that I come across, the pressures they must be under, the hopes their families back in their homeland have. Then to be in effect be treated as a second class citizen when they out gun their transgressors in academic terms on a ridicules level. Then there's the alienation, lack of and family or friends when first getting to U.K.

Some might argue why come, why not go back? not easy, like I mentioned their family have high hopes. If they could get a well paid job where they came from. They'd not have left.

Then the irony, of a thought / comedy type sketch in my mind of me standing in Stratford Westfield, born and bread east London dreaming of a self sufficient small scale farm in a rural area of say India. Then there's scene change and a Indian small scale farmer dreaming of being in a Westfield type environment.

It's not about getting what you want, it's about wanting what you have got.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Flunking A-Level Psychology

I studied A-Levels at Epping Forest College. One of the subjects I took was psychology. Oh how I flunked this in epic fashion. I ended up with a N for my final grade. For those who don't know N stands for near miss. As in you nearly got an E, but not quite.

I came across a really great Ted Talks video on psychology and it just jogged my memory of my very short stint studding this field.

The video covers the one thing which extremely happy people have allot of in compariosn to the unhappy.

Monday 30 January 2012

The Trinity Centre - DOST Project

So in a career development conversation/ meeting with my group manager I was advised to contact the DOST project  based at the Trinity Centre located a stones throw away from where I live.

The DOST Project helps young refugess who have no family in UK so are placed in foster care etc. DOST from what I understands helps these youth find thier feet in thier new world.

I'll be filling in a volunteer application asking about what mentoring opportunities they may offer.

Friday 27 January 2012

Breaking New Effective Routine

Lat night (Thursday 26th Jan 2012) my lovely wife treated me to a meal out. When we got in we offered Esha Salah (prayer) and decided a family movie would be a nice break from the new routine of only watching educational documentaries and the like.

We’ve actually been skipping the whole viewing of anything, and have just got into the pattern of offering Esha Salah (prayer) and then I would read from an Islamic book which narrates live events from the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) – book title Hayatus Sahabah.

We then get to bed at a very early time around 20:30. As I mentioned we strayed from the new routine and watched a family movie. It was nice, but soon as we lay down in bed, we both told each other what a bad idea that was. We both couldn’t sleep and it took us over an hour to do so.

Getting up this morning was extremely hard work. It’s good that we experienced this discomfort as a real life experimental (all be it unplanned) test on how effective our new routine was helping our rest and recovery and in turn our energy levels.

Thursday 26 January 2012

The Artists Way

Richard my Permaculture tutor suggested a 12 week course as lined out in the book 'The Artists Way'. So I decided 'I'm in'

Every morning, very first thing I need to write three pages. The content doesn't matter just to write anything which comes to mind first thing as a awake. The other is a Artists Date. This is alone time once aweek doing somthing alone. Could be as simple as a long walk.

Two days in, I have two journal entries. These I can't read or look back on untill around week 8.

Let's see if these 12 weeks unlocks the creative genius in me.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Training: Client Affairs – Mental Capacity Act 2005

A few ago I attended a one day training course on Mental Capacity Act. The main thing I took from this training was to draft a Last Will and Testament along with a Lasting Power of Attorney stating who I want in charge of my finances and my decisions on my health and wellbeing if I should loose the mental capacity to be able to make such decisions.

Both documents can be done online and leaglly binding for about £100

Saturday 14 January 2012

SICKO by Michael Moore

Before watching this documentry about the medical health care in America. I agreed with some of the arguments for privatisation of the NHS in UK. The case made in the book 'Welfare State We're In' are strong. The core problem being the the US medical insurance companies and how they operate.

Michael Moore visits Cuba with a group of volunteers who assissted in the aftermath of 9/11 who had serious health problems which weren't being addressed in the US. The way the Cuban medical staff treated and cared for them along with the honour the Cuban fire fighters showed them brought a apple up in my throat.

Now, not only do I agree with free univeral health care I'm a supporter.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Balancing it all

Life is a balancing act most days for me. Between the usual activities I'm sure most people face. Work, family, extended family, friends & alone time. I've added gardening to produce some organic foods (shoe box sized home garden & allotment), Brazilian JuJitsu, a Diploma in applied permaculture and very poor attempt at spiritual reform. Sure there are others bits and bobs I'm forgetting.

Balancing all this in itself can and has recently been exhausting. More so on my cluttered mind then physically.

Not quite sure if cutting back is the answer. Maybe having a ponder on how I can stack some of these activities to carve out time for play.
Ideas are welcome.