The sky is not just overcast, it’s grey. The dreary atmosphere extracting everyone’s soul. Each fibre holding it to you is torn. One by one. Slowly it stretches and strains, until snap! And it begins again, and again and again
Lucky for me, where my soul should be; there is just despair. A hole where no light reaches.
No joy. No anger. Just pain.
The lower the lows, the higher the highs; or at least they say. I close my eyes to escape. To pretend that there is bliss, that the pain is just my mind playing tricks on me.
The truth is inescapable. I’m not where I want to be.
So, on my flight, the thought that I was about to travel to India without my family for the first time was just exciting. I honestly didn’t have a day by day plan. All I knew, that I wanted to see my Masi’s in Mumbai, that I was staying with my Kusum Masi while in Mumbai and that I would sort everything out in the first couple of days. After going through arrivals, I met Kusum and Bella Masi, which was amazing! I was expecting to grab my own cab at the airport, but via the miracle of onboard WIFI, I got a message that Bella Masi was coming to pick me up. It was great to see both of my Masis straight away!
…via the miracle of onboard WIFI
The next day was simple, the first thing I did was run to Pali Hill and drop off the clothes to the tailor/designer that I had brought over for my Mother and Sister (which also took up more than 50% of bag). I also tried to get a sim card was turned away for not having my passport on me (I had a copy). So, I had to come up with an alternative way of getting one.
The next day was going to the market with Masi and sorting out a sim and picking up some groceries. Now this Adhaar card, which the Supreme Court [of India] has pointed out not being necessary to prove address, is required in India. The amount of time saved with having this card, from the limited experience I had, is that Adhaar is a necessary part of living in India. For now. Returning to my life, got a sim card and I have to say we are all getting ripped off in the rest of the world! I paid $3 for 1.5Gb of data per day. That’s right per day! What we pay elsewhere is just a scam. Once the network is set-up then it’s all about bandwidth. We really need a Jio like company in Europe for example. I don’t buy the argument about costs to current firms. Telefonica, Orange and Vodaphone are multi-billion-dollar firms. We are just getting rinsed. I think that is my rant over for now.
So later that day I was back at Masi’s (I should say that if I say Masi without saying who it is, it’s Kusum Masi) and looking up flights and trains to Gujrat and back. I was shocked how hard it was to get a ticket from Ahmedabad back to Mumbai on the train. So, I ended up booking a flight to Porbandar and flight from Ahmedabad back to Bombay. How I was to get from one side of the state. That’s 340km (ish), let alone the actual road distance, quality or you know, actual transport. Either way, I called my Piyush Kaka and just told him that I was coming the next week and to tell my family in Ahmedabad, who I never met or spoken to, to expect me afterwards! I mean, what’s the point of having family, if you can’t randomly meet them and live in their homes for a couple of days?
Next day I just spent with Masi, sorting out the rest of my time in Mumbai, as I was originally planning to meet up with another Masi, but she was fasting and told me to come another day. Not too bad, got to spend more time in Santa Cruz.
…what’s the point of having family if you can’t randomly meet them and live in their homes for a couple of days?
Now the following day I will have to mark as one the most important days of my trip! Masi had organised a chaperone to get me to South Bombay, which was one of my Mamas who I had never met before. So off we went. I was going to spend some time with Babul Mama and family, which included my cousin Sonia and G, plus their two children Raaisha and Vivan . Now I met Vivan a few years ago when I last went to the States, but Raaisha was not there. I had spoken to on Facetime before and she basically just laughed at my name. Well, let me just say that girl is a cheeky monkey! An example was her taking a piece of cardboard paper and tearing it, only after saying it was Vivan’s old ticket to a theme park! I miss her and her brother quite a bit! The other thing I miss is the street food around them! The Sev Puri is to die for! And the Wada Pav! I’m drooling! Now, normally I avoided street food in India, but as I had a long trip Sonia said this; “Hanik, if you get ill, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? You will spend three days in bed. That’s the same as relaxing on holiday! Live a little!” So, I did and thank goodness that I listened, as this just opened a whole new world to me!
The following day, I was back in South Bombay. This time visiting couple of my Mamis, with Masi (yeah, it’s slightly confusing). I wanted to catch up with my Gita Mami and Kishore Mama and see when they were coming to visit me, either in London or South Africa. Being elderly, they responded with the only acceptable answer; whenever I was going to get married, wherever it may be, they will be coming. I mean, what do you respond with? No, I have no intention of getting married so come along? Why not the engagement? Whatever I answered, the question would then turn to my love life. And just like in real life, this blog is not the space to talk about (well at least for now). I was told that my Nana, used to go to Haj Ali for juice in the evenings, which meant that I had to dragged Masi to Haj Ali. I got some scrumptious pomegranate juice and Masi decided to go for an orange & clementine juice mix. It was more expensive than our Uber home, but it was worth it!
The next day Masi took me to the Elco Market. Now I went to the Elco Market in 2004 when I was 10 years old. I have not forgotten the taste of the first pani-puri I had there, I can happily report back that taste is just as magical! That first pani-puri was time machine. I was transported 14 years into the past! If you are going to Mumbai for a day, this where I would send you! Alright, time to move on. Next on the agenda was watching a Hindi film, unfortunately we (Masi and I) went to see Zero. Out of ten? Giving zero stars would be too kind. Don’t see it, even for the effects. It only makes SRK even more punchable. A feat that I did not even think would be possible but trust me it is!
The next day I was planning on catching up with Sanchi. Now I do not know what this girl was thinking, but she thought we should meet at 4pm for coffee and then head for dinner after around 8pm. So, I ha booked to go to Yautcha. Yautcha for those out of the loop is a fine dining restaurant which is known for its dumplings. Sanchi and I meet at a café just off Linking Road and grabbed some coffee (well I grabbed a breakfast smoothie) and had a catch up on what was going on in the last few months in our lives. During the conversation I heard the words that should never be uttered by an Indian. She had never been to a wedding! Nor does she have an outfit for the wedding she’s going to in the next couple of weeks! Thank goodness we were on Linking Road. I grabbed her and dragged her to a fabric shop! Sanchi, since you are reading this, don’t talk about the price when you are looking! There’s no need, but trust me, it was a good fun trip! As we headed to Yautcha for dinner, we past Anita Dongri; so, guess where we headed… Now I must say that men’s section was disappointing. Nothing in fashion! I try my luck and call our mutual friend Roshika and she picked up! It was a nice little reunion, but I had to say Roshika was a bit savage when saying certain clothes were ugly, on loud speaker for the whole shop to hear! She wasn’t wrong, but still. Moving on to Yautcha. What a meal! Just plate after plate of great food but being in Mumbai fabulous vegetarian options! I don’t want to complain about the vegan/vegetarian tax again, but it’s so refreshing not having to pay a premium for good vegetarian food at a high-end restaurant. The dumplings were on point and I’m glad that we didn’t focus on the “mains”. Dessert was great, and we even got a cocktail. The meal was expensive for India, but in comparison to the London version, it was a pittance.
What happens next? I head off to
Gujrat, which I’ll recall next blog. Hope the pictures are interesting enough,
do send some feedback!
Yeah, my MUN days lead to the sub-heading….onto the show
Well, I guess I should wish everyone a happy new year first. Or should I wait for Chinese New Year? By the way Erik (yes, just to Erik), when’s Taiwanese New Year? Jokes aside, I literally stayed up for around ten minutes for the initial fireworks and then called it a night.
So, after my flyby trip to London, I returned to Dubai for a week of work and then off to India. I’ll start off by explaining my reasoning for going back to India, then I’ll move onto my daily life in Mumbai for the next week, then my week in Gujrat and then my final week in Mumbai. I’m going to write it as three separate blog posts (one for each week). Let’s get started!
Back to choosing India
I chose to go to India, rather than join the rest of the family for a few reasons. Firstly, I missed India, which is odd considering that I don’t have that much affinity to the sub-continent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Gujju who would follow the Indian Cricket to the ends of the earth. I am practicing Hindu, a full vegetarian (if the Gujrati did not make it obvious) who eats Indian food almost every day. I’m addicted to chai. I’ll happily go to a Hindi film or run to see the latest Rajnikanth film. I have one grandmother from the country, let alone my infinite number of Masis and Kakas in the country. But, I only consider myself Indian in certain aspects. I’m pretty sure that this has to do with me being a third-culture kid, as I chose what part of cultures I like. I prefer to say that I’m African over Indian, because my childhood was on the continent and my parents and the rest of my grandparents are from East Africa. Sometimes I like to say I’m British, because I’m obsessed with tea (see what I did there). Also, because London is my home as well, as well as being the greatest city on Earth (no bias whatsoever). This doesn’t really answer why I was missing India, not really sure what I’ve pointed out other than me being me, but I was missing India… I don’t know what else to say about that.
I’m a Gujju who would follow the Indian Cricket to the ends of the earth
Secondly, I wanted to go to the
Jalaram Mandhir in Virpur. So, this has been on my bucket list for years.
Essentially Jalaram Bapa is my favourite saint and his mandhir in Virpur doesn’t
take any donation, yet continues to feed people every day! Last year, we (as
the nuclear family) made it to the outside walls, but there were so many people
we had to choose between praying or catching our flight. Well, we picked the
flight…I guess I had unfinished business!
Thirdly, I wanted to see my family. I’m not going to lie, my niece Raaisha was the number #1 person I wanted to meet. I had already flown to couple of countries to see her and she was never there! I also wanted to spend some time with my family in Porbander, meet some of my Kakas and Faibas for the first time in Ahmedabad. Plus there were plenty of Masis in Mumbai to catch up with; while not being married off! 😅
Fourthly, I wanted to see the Unity
Statue. Mainly because most of my friends hate Modi, so I thought the best way
to mock them would be to go see the statue and dab with it in the background!
Spoiler alert! There weren’t any tickets available! Seriously, who is trying to
see this bloody statue. Guess I’ll have to head back to see it.
Fifthly, I wanted to eat some
proper Indian food
Finally; I wanted to buy some Indo-western clothes. I just had no intentions of paying Western prices.
When I first started writing this piece, I was on my way back to Dubai, after a whirlwind trip to Baku and all I can think about is when shall I go back.
The city is full of amazing restaurants, great bars and has a rich history. That’s before you even meet anyone. There’s that saying that it’s not what you say,but how you make them feel, well the Azeri people make you feel like home royalty.
Personally,the best thing was catching up with one of my best friends and seeing his family. I cannot express in words how amazing it was to see Adil!
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. When I first landed in Baku, I had issues at the border control when the immigration officer looked at my passport and then me. She asked where I was born, and I responded with London. This was not a great idea, as it actual says [the actual place, I’m not dumb enough to put my passport info online] and how that is in London. Breezed through everything else and was standing in arrivals looking for my ride (Adil had organised me a cab). Well this guy didn’t think I’ll be out then, and I had to go looking for him. After eventually finding him (and his terrible MR HANIK sign) got into the car and headed into the city! Now things didn’t look great when I looked at the wing mirror and saw a cracked wing mirror, which said that things were distorted due to the mirror. Bur on the drive in, let me say that new Bravo supermarket looks great! Bravo is where Adil works, in case you were wondering why I gave the shout out.
Well this guy didn’t think I’ll be out then, and I had to go looking for him. After eventually finding him (and his terrible MR HANIK sign) got into the car and headed into the city! Now things didn’t look great when I looked at the wing mirror and saw a cracked wing mirror, which said that things were distorted due to the mirror. But on the drive in, let me say that new Bravo supermarket looks great! Bravo is where Adil works, in case you were wondering why I gave the shout out.
…the first thing I had to do was give my friend a hug!
Seeing one’s friend
Got to Port Baku Mall, which I can only describe as a high-end mall, which is definitely out of reach of most people, let alone those in Baku. However, this was where I first saw Adil (after heading into the Mall to grab some cash to pay the cabdriver). He looked at me, with those “what an idiot” eyes, saying that cabbie told me to wait (in Azeri); though in my defence he kept saying money in English! However, the first thing I had to do was give my friend a hug! Now Adil and I haven’t seen each other since my master’s at UCL and boy that was a long time ago! We have been in touch via the group’s [only for those in the know] WhatsApp chat and a call here and there. So, we are aware of the general status’s one’s life. However,there’s something special when I meet an old friend, especially those from the boarding house, it’s as though nothing has changed; we could have been mucking about in the grounds and the conversation just flowed as though we had been chatting every day for the last few weeks.
Everything was fresh…
After Adil finished work, we headed into the country side to go to Adil’s family home and to have dinner with his Dad and uncles in a restaurant. Now this was the first real challenge, food. As a vegetarian, Adil was concerned with I could eat, as almost everything local had meat in it. I had already tried a green qutab at Baku Café (it’s amazing, got to learn how to make it). Adil’s Dad produces meat, so obviously we had a bit of banter with me just stopping being a vegetarian for a few days. What he ordered me was something else. Let me just start by saying that there is something special in only eating seasonal food. Everything is fresh! None of this rubbish of all year-round fruit and vegetables. The cucumbers, tarragon, aubergines… everything was amazing! The pilaf I had was essentially a pilau with fresh aubergines with a different spice mixture! It was great! The cheeses, the breads, salad were all great! We washed it down with a local fruit juice concoction, which honestly tasted like Vimto, and a few…okay several shots of vodka! Headed to the family home for tea and a freshly baked cake from Adil’s grandmother! A top-class lemon meringue. It’s true no matter where you are, grandmothers are always make the best food. After a night tour of the home, headed in for the night.
Adil and I both overslept, but it was good night’s rest which we would need given on what we had planned for the day. What followed was breakfast of pancakes, fresh bread, cheeses, jam, honey, more qutabs and copious amounts of black tea. Sidenote here, but apparently it’s the national drink of Azerbaijan.
After saying my thanks to the family, we headed off to a temple. Now, I know what you are thinking; temples in Azerbaijan? But yes and even more shockingly it was used by Hindu’s on the silk route, due to the continuous gas fires there! The site is about 2000 years old, which was originally a Farsi site. Definitely worth checking out! Unfortunately, but obviously, the French had ruined the temple when it was buried several centuries later when looking for oil. Putains! So,lots of the materials are now lost, but thankfully the government is slowly restoring the site and trying to uncover the past.
We then headed into old town and to go see the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Meydan Tower. Loads to see and what’s wonderful is the juxtaposition of being in this ancient part of the city and seeing the modern architecture all around you in the distance. Even though the tower’s purpose is still in debate, it lies in the heart of this amazing city. If you are looking for your next profile picture, with a bit of planning, I’m sure that you’ll have a new hit here!
After, we walked along the promenade and just caught up. Seeing the outside of all the museums that I’ll have to come back and visit on my next trip. Before nightfell, we went to the war memorial to pay our dues and take in the view over the city.
Later on,after going home and dropping our stuff off, into the city for the French Bistro to meet Adil’s mate and grab a quick bite before going out. Food was good, but not that many options for a vegetarian. But what I did eat was good! We then headed to The Room for a night of drinking and chilling. The Azeri wine I started with was a lovely red, but as the night when on we moved onto shots and beers! That’s all you are going to get out of me, but I must say that people Adil spends time with are great. All kind hearted and definitely know how to have a good time!
[Adil’s friends are] All kind hearted and definitely know how to have a good time!
The next was just breakfast and a rush to the airport (via the shops for a gift from Adil’s family). It was unreal how quickly time has passed by, from the time I left Dubai and arrived back was a blink of an eye! The land of fire definitely left a fire in my heart to return!
So, some of you may have been wondering what has been happening in my life, well hopefully at least one.
I’ve been based in the Middle East for the last few weeks and have been working in brokerage. My roles have been varied from making tea, updating reports, writing business proposals and purchasing cutlery for a prince. Yeah, you read the last one correctly, trust me, it surprised me as well; especially as I had been learning how to load a ship with grain the previous day.
So what brings me to writing again? Well today (well, yesterday technically) there was a 7% collapse in oil prices. That’s a pretty big amount to the uninitiated. And I happened to be on the wrong side of this. Now I didn’t lose twenty thousand pounds or anything, but what I got was a course on what to do when trading. Now obviously this is where I insert a legal disclaimer not to take my advice seriously, that it is a matter or opinion and not fact, that I’ll be not liable for your mistake and that you have to be an absolute idiot to take advice from a blog. Might as well ask Deloitte or KPMG to audit someone!
Right without further ado, here is my list of rules (so far) of what to do when trading
1. Always Trust Yourself
Might be a bit odd for a first rule, but it is important. When you go into the market, there is only one person who did it. There is only one person who says enough is enough. Whatever happens, just as in life, you are ultimately responsible for your position. So, when you go in, know that you will have to get yourself out.
2. Don’t listen to others
While taking ideas from someone is okay, if you want to go short. Go short. Even if you were told to go long. You are responsible for the outcome of your input.
3. Don’t Go Chasing
This is quite simple, when you have made a loss, don’t go chasing a profit like a monkey running at the window. Go take a step back and reassess what is happening in the market.
4. Always Cut Mistakes
You are allowed to make mistakes. Just don’t keep them! No matter what is happening in the market, profit or loss. If didn’t mean, get rid of it.
5. Don’t have fat fingers.
It means, avoid making silly mistakes, such as hitting three before hitting enter. Never done that……
6. A trader is only as good as their last trade
It doesn’t matter that you predicted the financial crash, or the dotcom bubble, if you lost it all yesterday. It’s like in football, only the last result matters. (Unless you support Arsenal, can’t change from being shit if it’s part of the DNA)
7. Don’t be a sheep
Know this looks like rule 2, but it’s not. It’s similar. To make big money quickly, you have to be ahead of the curve (easy in principal, not in practice). So, it’s not just listening to others and trusting oneself; it’s also being a bit bold. Not cocky, the market will, just tear you to shreds.
8. Be Lucky!
There’s no two ways about it, if you are being bold
9. Have more than one escape plan
When you enter the market, know what loss you are willing to make. And follow it! If you ain’t lucky, no point in being stubborn and stupid either. Might as well be a Marxist then. In the same light, take the profit when you get to the point you wished. Sure, there may be some regret when the position would have made more money. You can still chuckle to the bank, even if you are not laughing your head off,
The UK-EU Custom Offer for the entire UK. Source: RTE
Won’t be done prior to the April 2019 deadline, legal issue as not allowed under Art50.
Still no knowledge if it would tie either side to each other a-la Turkey-EU Custom Union
No knowledge on compliance.
Does solve the N. Ireland issue as no fragmentation of UK.
For the short-term at least
Analysis: It’s a repackaged offer from last week (see @SamuelMarcLowe; senior researcher on Centre of European Reform) that at face value would be rejected by the Conservative. The European Research Group (ERG; a committee in the Conservative party) will reject anything that doesn’t allow a full trade agreement with third-parties. That would almost certainly require a check at the Irish border, unless there is a large concession by the EU.
So, a few of have passed since I had gotten my results back for the GDL course and I have stayed pretty silent on my life since. Well at least those who are not in the loop. I’ve currently been helping out at my sister’s salon (Duck & Dry at Old Spitalfields Market; and no this is not a paid piece content). Well, it’s a blow-dry bar and it’s honestly a weird experience. For those less initiated with myself, working at blow-dry bar is not exactly what I would call my natural calling. Nor would I say that I love the job. Is it a terrible thing? No, of course not. It’s just…that I’m not using any of skills that I’ve learned at University (well any of them) and essentially all I use are things taught to me at school and at home. It’s the service industry of course, so the etiquette classes from school are the most helpful, beyond the primary school level of being able to write coherent sentences. On the flip side, I’ve been rejected from jobs that state that they just want GCSE’s, but two years of work experience saying that I’m under qualified. It is as though the skit from Kanye’s School Spirit is an apt description of what shall be me in the future.
Otherwise, been making a lot of food over the last few days from kala chana to lasagne. Also my jeans have become religious; so I’ll be spending some money in the next few days.