We Need to Talk India

Mumbai Calling

Smog

India, well Mumbai really, is becoming my favourite place to see and spend time in. To those who have know me for a very long time, that is probably surprising. I would go to the ends of the Earth to watch the cricket team, but the actual country has always been more of a distant land than anything else. When I was 21, I had spent less than a month in India. Now, at nearly 26, I’ve spent nearly 4 months in the last four years. I’m even thinking of going for a weekend trip, prior to returning to the UK. Mainly for food, but it’s not as though Dubai has bad Indian food (including chaat). Mumbai in particular has got a magnet on me at the moment. It’s meant that I have not gone to my beloved home of Umhlanga, which is paradise on Earth.

The most pointless sign in Mumbai

When I arrived in Mumbai, it was late and against my own suggestion, my parents decided to get a cool cab (aka, a pre-booked with AC) instead of just getting an Uber on an Auto. We were staying in BKC which does have really nice high-end restaurants such as Yauatcha, however at 10:15pm I didn’t feel like going to top end restaurant and wanted something that was quick, light and frankly delicious. I wanted pani-puri which meant that we had to head over to Bandra and go to Elco Market as we know what we were getting and the service is fast. Cue being stuck in traffic, for what was meant to be a 45min round trip, and realising that we were not going to make it in time before Elco Market shuts (at 23:30)! So, pulled out my phone and trusted Google maps, what was open? Hakkasan! From Elco Market to Hakkasan and sitting next to a party of everyone wearing Gucci. It’s not something that would exist in most cities, but it does in India. Mum and I both got a cocktail, some dim sum and mock duck salad to welcome in the festive period. This story encompasses everything that I love about this city, nothing is impossible in India. It can be a pain to sort out, but it will happen. The sealink bridge is a testament to that idea.

What shocked me was the amount of smog that was in the city this time, compared to last time I visited. I blame my friend for not taking care of the city, but that is part of the downside to Mumbai. Development does have a cost and to negate the pollution takes regulation that no one is going to enforce. The city had changed quite a bit since I had arrived and I still felt at home. The hustle and bustle, with god only knows how much noise, is something that at this age I love. Don’t get me wrong an escape to the country side is nice and all but give me people with good vibes and I can stay up till my body truly gets to 0%. Versus relaxing all the time in the countryside.

This story encompasses everything that I love about this city, nothing is impossible in India.

The one thing I was unable to get good photos were the Christmas Lights of Bandra. That’s something I may write about more in the future, but the growing polarisation in Indian politics and how it felt as though religious minorities are becoming more active in showing themselves. The lights themselves are different form the ones in the UK. In the UK, they are large and over the top. In Bandra, it was more Bollywood. Trees had lights hanging off them over the roads, except all along the road. It was magical!

The only way to get around (apart from Uber)

Let’s just say that I ate a shit ton of street food while I was in Mumbai, which is slight understatement. There were only two possible outcomes of this idea of mine, putting on some weight over the trip by eating everything in sight or lose a ton of weight due to food poisoning. I did the only respectable thing and not care, ended not changing in weight and missing the great food as soon as I left. I’m just going to leave a montage here.

I do think of myself as Indian, just an NRI (Not Really Indian).

Goa

I was able to explore part of Goa next, which surprisingly was more expensive that Mumbai. Seriously 300 rupees for a 10-minute drive! Ended taking the bus instead for 10 rupees. You can take the man out of Gujarat, but you can’t take the Gujju out of the man! Now Panjim is not exactly what I would call a city, more a town. It would be like calling Chelmsford a city. I don’t care that both are, but there’s no way that either have a real city vibe to them. I say this as kid who grew up in a village surrounded by sugar cane, which has more hustle and bustle than these places.

What I did in Goa, apart from going to great restaurants (shout out to Black Sheep Bistro and Mum’s Kitchen), is learnt a surprising amount of history about the Portuguese rule in Goa. I spent a day with Dad going to the various forts nearby and apart from taking a ton of photos of Dad and posing for some myself. Though there was a great comedic moment that happened on this day. For some reason my father forgot that English is a lingua franca in India and after setting up a photo someone stood in front of the camera took out their phone and started to take a photo. My father turned to me and said: “What a dipshit! Is he blind?!?” Like a flash the guy turn around and I was crying with laughter thinking what dipshit my father can be!

Coloursim

Apart from galivanting around forts, I was on the beach getting a nice town to become dark and beautiful. I have talked about colourism on the blog before, but briefly there’s a real issue with people wanting to appear lighter. I’ve never understood the obsession. Personally, I want to have a tan and prefer to hang out with people who looks as though they aren’t afraid of the sun, which may seem counter intuitive to an anti-colourism claim. However, it’s true and secondly there is so little out there being for darker skin. Just remember to wear sunscreen, none of us are stronger than the sun. Back to the beach, the water was lovely. It was quite funny to see the life guard calling people back towards shore and I was there thinking that the water was so safe compared to Umhlanga. It was so calm, that I even just walked into the water in my shorts and carried my camera. Might have soaked my shorts a couple of times, but what’s the point of being on holiday if you’re going to act up tight: especially when I could buy a new pair for a couple of hundred rupees.

New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair for the Kotecha as the rest of the family were going early in the morning to catch their flights, while I was on the last flight out. We ended going to the south and seeing our friends (and former neighbours) for an afternoon at the beach, glass of champagne and getting our feet (and my shorts) wet while we watched the sun set. Not a bad way to see out the year.

The final day in Goa, was New Year’s Day. As I was alone, I ended up going around Goa. I spent time looking for baked goods, hired a private tour guide to see a Christian Relic, went to a spice farm where I got see an elephant lounging around, went to the beach and hired a photographer to take some photographs of myself and then got completely bored in the airport while I waited for my flight. Going back to the elephant. When I first saw the elephant, I saw it lying on its side I thought it was dead. Let a loud “oh shit” in front of some kids. Luckily, they were more interested in seeing an elephant, even if they referred to it a Dumbo when everyone knows that Nelly & Bazar are the far superior names to call elephants. I blame the parents…

Someone has the right idea

I like Goa, I just don’t imagine that I’ll go back anytime soon. It’s not a terrible place, just there was no…magnet for me. My heart doesn’t yearn to return.

Back to Mumbai

A pretty nice view. Now that fog has lifted

I headed back to Mumbai to spend some time with the friends from South Africa and to see some family. Let’s not forget about the enormous amount of street food.  I spent the last few days running around Mumbai. I’m not going to give a play-by-play of everything I did. However, I will talk about paan. Now paan traditionally was thought to be a digestion aid. The paan that you get outside of India (well Asia), is shit. Luckily, I was able to get magai (not Maggi noodles) in Mumbai, which is made from young and tender leaves. Dipped in in coconut and rose syrup. As my Mom said: “They’re like tequila shots. You don’t have one. You have one after the other!” As you may tell, I can from a party family. We didn’t go to the side of the street for the paan, instead we went to the racecourse at 11pm. At Gallops we were presented with an array of paan platters, tins to prepare all the flavours. It was unusual, but something that doesn’t seem out of place in Mumbai.

On the last day in Mumbai, I do what I always try and do by the end of the trip. Go for a facial treatment, haircut and massage. I did and left with glowing skin and a new trim. Then I headed to Santa Cruz market, where we (Mum and I) met a woman called Nisha (same name as Mum) and her sister’s name who escape me. The sister called out: “Oi, Nisha! What do you think of this?” in a thick British action. Mum and turned around looking bemused thinking who is this person? Quite funny that there were two Nisha’s in the shop. After a bit of chatting, we found out the other Nisha was from Kenya and now living in Saudi. Talk about being eerily similar to my own Mother.

I got onto the plane heading back to Dubai with a feeling as though my time in India has only really just begun. The country has something special. I do need to visit Bengal and head further south, but time is unfortunately short. This trip has cemented the idea that I will get my OCI when I decide to return to the UK. I do think of myself as Indian, just as an NRI (Not Really Indian). Obviously, my identity is a bit complicated, but someone else’s problem, not mine.

Finally got the pose correct

I don’t escape the winter, I embrace the summer

Hanik P Kotecha

Shu Thayu

Those Bollywood nights
Where memories old helped form the new
We both cut shapes on the floor
Walking out of the bar into the crisp autumn air

Across the river is the train home
We pause, not because we can’t turn back
Rather we fear what happens if we board
Do we turn our lives upside-down to chase the dream of us?

The reality reminds us of our fragility
The success could just lead to more baggage
Where it is not in our nature to be savage
To be civil we cut ties before they are woven

No betrayal to the other
Just ourselves
We deny ourselves the opportunity to fail
We imagine that our future may contain more pain

We go our separate ways
To shed a few tears
Knowing why
But still not how it happened

We get asked the same question when we get home:

Shu thayu? (What happened?)
Mari jaan kem atli dukhi che? (Why is my darling upset?)

Hun prem karava dari guuy chu (I’m scared to be in love)

Why I am Jealous of Brown Girls on Instagram

The rise of positive brown girls on social media is a phenomenon that I am not just in awe of, but as desi guy something that I envy. The global desi community in the past and present is a patriarchal society. As we slowly shift away from this misogynist way of life, the role of what it means to be a desi man is changing. However, role models for young desis are few and far between. I understand that there are big names like Hasan Minhaj or Riz Ahmed who are influencing the desi community in a positive sense, but it’s a top down approach. This is not the same as the brown girl’s movement of reclaiming our culture from previous generations, which is what the boys are completely lacking. To understand what the desi boys’ community needs to be, we first need to understand what the brown girl online movement is, why I think it’s commendable, my thoughts on the current role models, what I want the desi boys’ movement to be and how I’m trying to play a part in the process.

#browngirls

The brown girl movement online is simply a part of the fourth wave of feminism, with sections of third wave feminism (in a South Asian sense). Where brown women are standing for their rights & appropriating our culture for the better. You can go online and see the works of Simmi Patel with her page Paper Samosa or Maria Qamar’s hatecopy page (whose pop art features as my laptop’s background). There are several Facebook groups that my friends have made me aware of the solely exist to provide a support network for brown women in various cities across the world. Essentially this community is not only taking control on how they wished to be perceived but an actual community to help out in the “real” world. Just look at current Indian soaps or most films, to see that women still have a mountain to climb to be perceived as equals. A community to deal with the uncles and aunties of this world, is something that doesn’t exist in any sense for guys, outside a close few friends. This sense of control of the community’s own destiny, that being a brown boy I envy the most.

Role models

The two most famous male desi role models in/from the West would have to be Hasan Minhaj & Riz Ahmed. Hasan has his hit show Patriot Act talking about politics to doing AMAs (ask me anything) on Subtle Asian Traits. Riz Ahmed is an actor who was in Wired, Rogue One, Jason Bourne and Venom (though personally Four Lions is my favourite). Riz is also a musician and has spoken in the UK parliament about Islamophobia and the lack of portrayal of non-stereotype Muslims in the media.

The brown girl movement online is simply a part of the fourth wave of feminism

What I mean by Brown Girls on Instagram

Both guys have been breaking barriers for desi representation and helping to redefine what is it to be a desi guy. However, it’s not a community or a movement. It is an approach that relies on the few that breakout. Not a sense of togetherness or vulnerability that is controlled by us.

Our Cultural. Our Revolution.

Jameela Jamil is right, that the biggest failure is not to try. What should this online desi/brown boy community try and be, in this online world? My number one issue is that we need to be a feminist community. To the unengaged, this may seem counter intuitive for a male focused community. However, if we are to forge a future of equality then we have the same aims as the desi/brown girl gang. A movement that is progressive and wants us (this generation) to be in control. It is important to recognise that these are somethings that we all want for the future and thus we need to work together.

This sense of control of the community’s own destiny, that being a brown boy I envy the most

The second is a space for brown boys to start reclaiming our culture from the “men” in society. I suggest that guys start with the simple rebellion as being engaged when it comes to tidying up at family events. A place where I see aunties harassing girls to help clean up, but never seen an uncle do anything more than lifting a glass of whiskey. Nor do I see many guys my age helping or even making a real attempt to not become a spectator. It’s not right that our sisters are cleaning up and we just sit & chat. Yeah, it’s nice Now, I fight and argue that I should be allowed to help and just do it regardless of the protests. While this makes me the bau diyo child of the family, it really shouldn’t be that special (even if I am the bau diyo child of the family). Other things that can be done is wearing more traditional garments instead of shirts and jeans during festivals such as Eid/Diwali/Xmas. It’s not as though we can’t rock them at other events, I do try and wear Indo-Western to more functions, but I have no concern to go full Trudeau and wear it everywhere.

Thirdly, there is need to find an environment to talk to each other in a more open and loving environment. Not one that’s immune from criticism, but one where we can express ourselves knowing that the community is there to get to a better version of the past. One that’s more inclusive than before. Can a group of individual nobodies make this change if no major star can? Yes. Of we can. To be more than a flash in the pan, we will need a bunch of nobody’s talking to each other having this dialogue.

I have no concern to go full Trudeau

When it comes to wearing more traditional clothes

No point just talking.

Personally, I host a podcast with about being Brown in the West and through the show, I want people to know what it is meant to be a normal brown boy. No Instagram filters, or just highlight reels. The flawed human beings that we both were and continue to be, even as we strive to be better. We are bringing on guests to share more ideas and provide perspectives that we couldn’t imagine, because sometimes it’s better to have someone to empathise with instead of us just sympathise. This openness is what will drive the community forward. Where would this community be? I would love if people started using the blog to start having these conversations (there is a comment section after all). My blog is great for me, but honestly it doesn’t have the same reach as single hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. It probably needs to blow up on a social media site. Do I need to up my social media game then? Yes, but I’m still figuring how to do it, without sounding like a dick.

What I think will happen?

Personally, I don’t hold out that there will be an equivalent brown boys’ movement, at least in my age group. We haven’t been raised to challenge the world in the same way as our sisters. Instead we still have the same tropes and expectations that our fathers had been raised with, which will take more than a blog to overcome. Should we not bother then? Fuck no. Small movements will be needed to challenge what it is to be a brown boy in the future and if we want the future to better than we must raise the next generation differently. To be desi with pride no matter where they are from. Not one where there is no brown girl/boy movement in the future, the next generation will always try to better (whatever they think that is) than the previous. I just want a future where every brown kid is there own movement to change the world.

Mumbai

The city that never sleeps
Full of mystic, lights, billionaires & beggars
The playground of Indian’s elite
And kids play cricket on every street

How I miss this city
It may have the Gateway of India
But it has the gateway to azadi 
Even if the smog blocks the light

Walk down the streets as the autos and kallipilli wizz past
Dodge the gaays and guys while you follow the delightful smells
No one wears a mask as everyone looks for that suitable boy or girl
Yet all are scared of their auntie ji going chi-chi-chi when they find out that you spent the night with Sanchi

I cringe when I call my Mumbai Bomb(bae)
However I’m utterly in love
This city represents the best & the worst of my life and my desires
I feel at home in this constant chaos

Stuttering

There is no shortness breath
Say some words take heft
I look out for patience
As my thoughts are stuck in the station

My mind needs to be active
My mouth is protracted
There is intellectual theft
Even if I am not bereft

The chief culprit is me
I feel like an amputee
My knowledge dispossessed
As though I’m not even the best of the rest

Though I have no reason to want this
My ideas are just disappearing into the abyss
I know I’m lucky to have my thoughts
I just wished the ones I shared weren’t so short

This is my constant battle
While I take on the world this still causes me to rattle
I wish it was confidence
but I don’t have that evidence

The 2019 General Election

My Election Round Up

The last five weeks have been a blur. I quit my job and dived head first into Luciana Berger campaign. In my last post wrote that I hadn’t been happier in ages and the truth is that I have been elated for the last few weeks.  I know why, even though there was no fairy-tale ending to this campaign, I started to chase my dreams again.

I started to chase my dreams again

I learnt quite a few things about myself over the course of the last couple of weeks, that I seemed to have forgotten. The main thing is that I really cannot be motivated by money. It won’t ever motivate me because it’s just a means to end for myself. It doesn’t achieve what I want, being rich is nothing for me. I couldn’t care less. Not to say that money is unimportant, but I can’t imagine a boss offering me a bonus or wage increase that will motivate me to do more work. The second thing I have realised over the last few weeks and more honestly over the last few months is that I enjoy some form of leadership. Whether it be helping organise some leafleting rounds or, what I spent most of the campaign doing, leading canvassing sessions; the sense of responsibility and making sure that we were completing our goals as a team were more important than my personal stats (in the Liberal Democrats, you can review your stats on canvassing. Thus, we sometimes had some friendly competition who could knock on the most doors and convince people that they should vote for Luciana). I would say that when leading canvasing groups, it did feel as though I was a trying to herd cats at times. Especially when people had the audacity to be independent and not tell anyone about it! The final part of it all, is how much I miss politics in all it’s aspects. I love it, no doubt about it. I honestly could work in the field for the rest of my life and really be happy. I reminded me why I want to get a PhD in Political Science, why politics is important to the individual and why it’s important to stay true to myself.

What should have never existed [a Liberal Democratic chance] in Finchley & Golders Green became a reality with Luciana

I spent every day canvassing and I met so many incredible people through out the process, with small list of shout outs to Jake, Kobi, Ilana, Dora, James, Mark, Oli, Zach and so so many more people that I haven’t mentioned here, because otherwise the list would be seemly endless on a team that didn’t even exist two months ago. What should have never existed [a Liberal Democratic chance] in Finchley & Golders Green became a reality with Luciana. For the first time ever in a general election I was able to vote for someone that I liked and wanted to represent me. I must admit, putting a cross in a box with that feeling was nice for the second time in my life (I’ll get to the first time). Speaking of incredible people; I met several Lords, MEPs, former MPs, a couple of celebs, other parliamentary candidates, mayoral candidates, London Assembly candidates (and Member Caroline Pidgeon) and got spend so much time chatting to them over the days and evenings which has restored my faith in politicians. This is not just on the Lib Dems side, when speaking to other parties at the count (plus when I bumped into them out and about) that there are good people out there trying to make the country a better place. We might all disagree with what is best and how to get there, but I do not believe that there is an innate evil with others, even if the twitterverse would disagree. The reality speaking to people on the door steps was clear (this is for Finchley & Golders Green): people wanted the country to move on, people did not like Corbyn and some people are utter idiots who need to learn how to think. The last point may seem elitist and it is to a degree, but the most frustrating thing that I found were people who didn’t believe facts, in seat polling or did not want to engage with the records of the candidates; instead focusing on rhetoric. On all sides, including the Europhiles on mine. If people aren’t open to a different opinion or factual evidence, then it’s impossible to change one’s own behaviour. I think people should be ashamed of this attitude because it’s not just politics, but every decision that you make in life that is affected by this narrow thinking. It’s why I look back at my own education and while I studied a wide range of subjects, I look back at only really two that had significant impacts on the way I think, not what I know and understand or analyse. Critical Thinking at school and Analytical Philosophy during my Undergraduate. I don’t think this is the time or the place to go into why this is the case for myself, but feel free to ask me why in a message and I’ll get back to you, but I don’t believe that I would be in this position without my education in these subjects and that does mean that I am in a privileged position. I just don’t think it has to be a unique experience and that openness can be picked up at any point.

If people aren’t open to a different opinion or factual evidence, then it’s impossible to change one’s own behaviour. I think people should be ashamed of this attitude…

I feel that I should answer why I think that the results turned out the way it did.

Simply, the UK (well particularly England) has never been a left-wing country. It’s does not view itself as European, but still a global nation (whether this is true, is a different matter). Look at the local elections following the referendum: Conservatives votes went up, Labour down, Lib Dem share of the votes went up, but number of councillors went down. There have been some differences in the Scotland but look at UKIPs demise. Almost all their votes went to the Tories. In this election, the Brexit Parties disappearance in Tory held seats is similar. There was no split. So, it became almost impossible to split the Leave vote, but also meant that they spent less time being relevant for the majority of the public. That’s why Conservatives held many of their seats. The gains in the Labour heartlands? It’s tribalism. It’s part of the reason why people close their minds. They pick a team and it’s no longer just a team. It’s them. Their identity. Telling someone that their team is dumb, racist, lying, don’t care or what ever else: is saying that they are all of the above. Even if that has nothing to do with your intention. The left and even more sadly, the centre, can no longer say stories. I know that this doesn’t seem obvious solution to identity politics and tribalism, but it’s not the facts that people who wanted to stay in the European Union, the objective truth or the civility that will win over people. It’s a vision. That’s why Leave won, it’s why Scottish Independence nearly won (once Cameron decided to ditch stories for facts) and it’s why I think the Conservatives won this time (by just selling the same story from 2016). Yes, there were issues with the media, but there are enough sources of news to see lies and biases. It’s about being able to tell

Let me introduce to a not so hidden secret, my perceptions had changed. I used to support the England rugby team. I was a die-hard English nationalist.  I would sing the national anthem in front of the TV, watch the Queen speeches, berate Wales, run around pretending to be Beckham taking free-kicks against Greece, side step like Robinson with a ball in hand, scream for the British & Irish Lions. I wasn’t even ten and didn’t call myself British. I was English. Now? I’m British, I scream for the Boks, side step like JP Peterson with a ball in hand, take free kicks like Bale, berate Wales, I don’t watch/listen/read any Queen speeches & I cried when I saw Siya lift the trophy. What happened and what does this have to do with the elections (or politics)? I was young, open and more importantly new stories were introduced to me. The story of the South African rugby team final made sense, the importance Parliament instead of the Queen, how pointless Wales is as a country, heroes can change over time (I still love the England football team), I missed the Sharks players who I modelled a style that I could actually use on the pitch, I learnt more about my own history and how places like Jamaica where part of the Union for a longer time than the current house of the monarchy. I was told stories, ideas and allowed myself to be open to new ideas.

Storytelling

the scariest thing in my life is not death, but my mother with a velan (thin rolling pin)

Back to politics and storytelling. Scolding, as many modern parenting guides say, are not efficient. I say this as a child who used to be hit with every utensil in the kitchen. It just means that the scariest thing in my life is not death, but my mother with a velan (thin rolling pin). Something that is common in all the world cultures going back thousands of years are stories and the oral traditions. Now we don’t need stories to tell the other side to put on their hats before going out in the winter, rather we need a vision that people believe in. Before anyone tells me about the Labour manifesto being full of ideas and dreams. You’ve missed the point. It has never been about what you’ve been selling but how you’re selling it. Otherwise there wouldn’t a schmuck on this earth. But there are, because charlatans are good story tellers. We like stories as they can be fun, add some drama to hook us and with this new context we can analyse our positions without attacking our identity. It’s not a quick process. I didn’t start one evening and then changed by the next morning. It’s starts with being open, luckily, we’re all open to stories. In my mind, if you want to change the world, become a good story teller.

Now that I’ve solved politics and thus humanity, let me leave you with the first time that I ticked a box that I believed in: Leave. I am a Eurosceptic, leaning towards anti-European. The English nationalist is still apart of my identity, though I view myself more of a Londoner which is an international city because of our ties to Europe. I don’t care about the economic cost of Brexit. I want out of an institution that isn’t evil and full of bad people. Quite frankly, I don’t buy the European dream. Not for my beloved England. I don’t want to pool sovereignty or help French farmers. So, why did I campaign for Luciana Berger, the United to Remain candidate, the People’s Choice candidate, the Liberal Democrat candidate; given that this is the opposite view? Objectively, she was the best candidate for the job on the ballot paper. The Liberal Democrat manifesto is one I could support and there are many ideas that I wish to be implanted: mainly the penny tax. For Luciana I could put away my differences, tell people that a second referendum is a good idea (which it is, even if I would still vote leave), how revoke would be democratic is the Liberal Democrats got into power (which is would have been, as it is democratic for the Conservatives to pretend that they have the faintest idea of what they are doing) and argued for staying in the EU, because there are good reasons to be in the EU. At the end of the day, it’s just about being able to tell a story.

That was a bit more of a wall than I was expecting, but I feel indebted to this campaign that I gave everything up for: I was able to find myself again. A kid with a dream to chase.

I was able to find myself again. A kid with a dream to chase.

Next time we speak, I want to hear about your DREAMS!

When you find yourself a Richard Osho, hold on to them as tight as you can, because there is no greater feeling when you find someone who loves you for nothing other than yourself.

Here’s some context. Rich and I were catching up over the phone and then Rich decided that he wanted to give me a pep talk and question everything I was doing in life. Here is the summary of the call that I wrote down the next day and read to myself each morning, even though it has nothing on the call it makes me want to go out and be the best me. Without further ado:

This city is filled with normal people. It slowly makes you comfortable with your life. As though you’ve made something, when you’ve made nothing. You need find your arrogance. I remember walking into history as the only black kid, bit scared if I was in the right place. There you were arguing from day 1 that you were right. Ready to teach and that Mr Hughes or whoever taught us history [it was Mr Owens Rich]. The only other person of colour and you act as though you were the most superior person in the room. WHERE IS THAT HANIK?!?! Where is that arrogant 16 year old? When we were at leavers you told my Dad you didn’t want to work for someone, run a family business. No. Straight up you said that you wanted to be Prime Minister. Next time we speak, I want to hear about your DREAMS! Not some girl, not your family, not work; I want to hear from the selfish git and how he’s going to take on the world. Life is short and these are our golden years; time to be the leader that New Hall enabled us to be. End of the day, no one can fulfill, apart from you. Go get your dreams. Don’t try to be normal, because we all know you’re different.

Following this chat, I didn’t last two more days at my job. I quit and am now campaigning for the Liberal Democrats in Finchley & Golders Green. Let me tell you something. I haven’t been happier in ages. It’s all due to my brother Richard. I love you bro.

Plunge

The steps are steep, There’s mean feat. They’re easy to climb, as your body doesn’t seem to mind. At the top we see all this potential. Sometimes we’re concerned about the credentials. We all hesitate. Not to make a mistake. It’s our fear, that puts us in gear. Makes us stall, Just before the fall. An innocent hello. Can turn into the most destructive hell hole Or send us into a field of bliss. Where all we do is kiss.

The Last Sun

A short story that I wrote at work last week during my lunch

The sun crept over the horizon. The sea glistening. The water just a sparkling golden sheen, The waves roll in and crash into the rocks, as though they are completing an act of violent vengeance. The sound only disturbed by the chirping birds. It was this sight that man decided to plummet to his death: in paradise.

My Love of Rugby

The rugby world cup is on and apart from the glorious memes that have been brought by the chaos of the French team, the typhoon and the of course the various online communities that I am participate in have all reminded me why I love this game.

Now I always claim that cricket is my second religion, but rugby without a doubt is my #1 sport. It’s the sport that I spent a decade going to every match in Durban to see my [Natal] Sharks constantly lose by narrow margins, saw the magnificent Jonah Lomu and an opportunity to see every international team. I can still remember the daring runs of Henry Honiball as he caught the ball on our 10m line from a clearance and dart across the field, zig-zagging through the field about to score only to be tackled last minute. Or seeing Ollie la Roux give a massive heave to the scrum as we [the Sharks] were looking to set up the attack on the blindside. Or how about Jonah sprinting down the opposite by-line and just being in utter awe of this man and how feeble everyone else seemed to the manner he played.

I got to meet so many players, as the Sharks back then, had many players with family involved with farming. Thus, with my Dad having an agri-brokerage, many of them would come to the office to learn or become a client. There isn’t a player from 1997-2005 that I haven’t met that played for the Sharks. I was able to meet my heroes all the time.

…cricket is my second religion, but rugby without a doubt is my #1 sport

What was odd, is that I never played rugby for my school in South Africa, but at home I was either playing cricket or had a rugby ball recreating the moments for the game. Football was there, but it has never been my passion sport. I love Tottenham, but I would rather see the Sharks lift the Super Rugby than watch Spurs win the Champions League, even if I know more about Tottenham right now than the Sharks. It’s true.

Recently I’ve been chatting to non-rugby fans about the sport and I know that I still smile when I’m explaining the sport to them or what’s going on in the world cup. Seriously everyone should watch the Quarter-Finals this weekend, especially with Japan vs South Africa which South Africa, is no doubt the bad guys. Either they knock-out the incredible hosts who have class beyond class or become the team that lost to Japan twice in a row at the World Cup. Japan have been playing some of the classiest rugby this tournament and where

There’s Wales vs France, with Wales being France’s Australia and the French team, being…well French. This is a good point to point out that my favourite player of all time is Thierry Dusautoir, the former French captain. I never saw play in the flesh unfortunately, but anytime I saw that the French team was playing, I made sure that I could at least watch the extended highlights. I model my modest school playing career on him and Richie McCaw. Dusautoir is the embodiment of rugby in mind. He went to university and got a degree as a chemical engineer. He was incredibly polite on and off the pitch. He was a tackle monster for Les Blues racking up record 38 tackles (and he scored France’s try) in the 2011 final against New Zealand, where I still think Craig Joubert was affected by the home crowd and not calling some of the blatant off-sides by the All-Blacks. He still had the grace on pitch to just get on with the game and show the entire world what rugby is about. Playing hard, with respect for the opposition and the referee. His performance in that game probably sealed world player of the year, even if other players won more trophies that year, no one has got close to replicating a performance of the pitch that Dusautoir displayed that night. Thinking about the few times that I have “fan-girled” have involved Christine Amanpour, meeting God (aka Sachin Tendulkar) & the rest of the Indian team and whenever I get to meet a Springbok. However, I have no clue what will happen if I ever see Dusautoir in the flesh. I only imagine is that I lose the ability to speak.

Alright enough about the great man, let’s continue with the France Wales game. Wales should win, but honestly is the French team can play like Freddie Michalak (Michalak is one of my favourite players, also French, as he played for the Sharks and embodies French rugby to a tee! He was decent player, not bad but acceptable at this level of rugby. However, for around 10 minutes a game he was world class. His footwork, kicking, ability to spot a pass was second to none. He was France. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, he would return to normal as though he had shown the world what he could do and that was it. And yes, that is a very biased look back on him, but I don’t care. He helped us win the Currie Cup. Ummm back to the French team) does for 10 minutes a game for say more than 30 minutes, they could cause an upset; even if the captain doesn’t know he is the captain (yes, that’s not a joke. It happened)

I have no clue what will happen if I ever see Dusautoir in the flesh. I only imagine is that I lose the ability to speak.

England are playing Australia which should be a comfortable win for the English in my opinion. Any chance of Australia winning relies on the magic of Beale and their captain Michael Hooper playing the perfect game in the breakdown. While they can do so, they will face an England squad who could go on and win the tournament, if they don’t play the All-Blacks in the semi-final (I can’t see Eddie Jones going past the Kiwi’s). Why? The England team can and would take the game to the All-Blacks, even if they didn’t have Eddie Jones as the coach. However, even though Owen Farrell is the one of the many star players of the England squad, it’s his temperament and ability to manage the game that will determine how far England go in the tournament.

Honestly, I could go on and on. Even if I don’t have a broad knowledge of the sport now. However, if you stuck on Uruguayan second division amateur rugby in front of, I’ll probably watch the entire game. I don’t care how skilful the game is or how big the tackles are. I love the sport.