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.

Grasping Air

I’ve always been a dreamer
You would describe me as ridiculous
And I would scoff at your tone as preposterous
All the fun and games, nothing wrong with our demeanour

The world is your oyster
That is what I was told
More a tale for the old
As far as I can tell, there’s not even a pot to stir

I guess it’s time to set up shop
Time to get dirty and a little bit flirty
Plenty of life yet, I’m not even thirty
There’s no reason for my dreams to be cropped.  

My name may not touch the sky
That’s not a reason to fret
Even if I have a few regrets
There’s always going to be me, myself and I

Returning Home

My day at New Hall

 After being made redundant and spending so many years in the UK and to be honest, a bit lost, I decided to call my school and see if there was an opportunity to go work there and if not, could I just visit it. Turns out there was a role available, but they were also willing to have a look at my CV and see if they could connect me to some jobs closer in to London.

Now my old school is trying to establish it’s “Boys Network” only after 375 years after its foundation; but, the network of Old Fish (I refuse to use the other name, it’s so wannabe-esque) is very loose.

…love, love of God and our neighbour

The Saint Augustine Rule

Now it’s no secret why I chose to go to New Hall. I decided that this was my school, because of the Avenue. The Avenue is the historic driveway to the school which has trees either side of it. Why does my school have this amazing road? It’s only a former palace for King Henry VIII. So, as I drove into the school, I noticed that no one was behind and decided to jump out of the car, engine still running and grab a picture. Why? Mate, I LOVE that drive. I always smile when I remember Nuno sliding on the ice and falling over with Antoine & Harry losing their minds laughing as we made a dash to Sainsbury’s in the snow. Or taking a walk in autumn when leaves change colour. Or in the Spring walking and smelling the flowers while avoiding revision for exams. Or in the summer, when Alex and I grabbed some cider and had a walk down the drive just chatting about life and what was to come when our exam results rolled in.

Before I notice that there is no one is behind me
After I realised that I could get out of the car and get a better photo

Now the school has a special place in my heart for another reason. It was my home for the longest period of time in the UK (if we exclude my Ba’s address). It’s were I met my best friends, had some of my best memories and did a whole lot stupid shit (most which I dare not repeat online).

It was weird entering the school and needing to wait for Dom Walmsley, a kid a couple of years below me in the boarding house, as I needed a guide to show me around because I don’t have a background check. It was odd, because a few things had been moved around the Ambilake Room (sp definitely needs to be checked, but that’s how it’s sounds spelt out. Fun fact, the room prior to be reception was used to walk around in the winter for exercise). The Griffin/Dragon (an ongoing debate, though I’m on team dragon at the moment. It makes more sense because of Henry VIII’s Coat of Arms) has been moved indoors.

Just grew up in the palace

I saw Dom, so instantly I told him to put his hands away and gave him a hug. You see, growing up in Campion meant even if you weren’t great friends or even friends at all, there is a strong sense of trust between all of us. There aren’t many people I wouldn’t want to see again or catch up with, I grew up with them. Everyone is like a relative.

So we started off with a quick chat about the role, spent most of the time looking at my CV, plus Dom had scoured the Almuni network and found some people for me to get in touch with. With the formalities over and done with, we moved onto the more exciting part. Lunch! Now, my school had a decent lunch when I went there, it got boring after a while; there was enough choice to be satisfied.

A tour! (even if I pretty much know the school inside-out: tends to happen after living there for four years).

The Tour

I found out that the willow tree I planted has been moved, instead they have planted more trees in the area and there’s now a farm. A fucking farm. I went to a posh school, a privilege that I am thankful to my parents for, but the concept of a farm is what I would call peak New Hall. I mean, it’s a farm. There are chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, goats, sheep and pigs! In the Campion House I grew up in, I willing to bet any money someone would have been attacked by a goose.

The pigs!

We then wondered around the back of the pitches where I will never forget some of the most gruesome training I had to deal with Mr Briggs or playing matches in the fog/rain/sleet. The standout one, was doing three laps of the pitches with a partner carrying a 15kg bag at the end of training. Not the worst, until Mr Briggs saw Kelvin walking and ordered all of us to continue running and complete an extra lap!

Pass the Sixth Former’s café (I know, a café!), we went into the Sixth Form centre where I got to catch up with Mr Alderson and Mrs Innes; whom upon meeting me asked me the most important question: who am I dating and if not, why not? You see Mrs Innes, knows me and the rest of the family far too well sometimes. However, the reason I still have affinity to the school is due to connections like this across the school. We discussed other things as well, but that’s for us to know and you to speculate (honestly, nothing to interesting, just a regular catch up).

We then headed to Radcliffe to see if Mrs McGlynn was around, she wasn’t but Mr Crosby was around! Mr Crosby is my old Year 11 tutor, who I will say my class constantly harass. I mean we were teenage boys who had a bit too much fun! In Year 10, we hid Mr Parkinson’s laptop! We weren’t exactly the best set of behaving children. Mr Crosby had a meeting to attend, thus I agreed to come back and give a speech at registration to his current class.

The goats are dicks apparently

We then had a walk towards the Chapel where we bumped into Dr Thomas, my old physics & astronomy teacher, then into the new historical/heritage room. There is still no Chaplaincy board… I digress, but that is where I bumped into Mrs McGlynn and we had a lovely little chat before she returned to the Year 7’s who were going to get an etiquette lesson (I actually still remember getting some etiquette lessons, something I use when I need to look posh). We then headed into the archives, which while not fully open, was one of the few areas of the school I had never been to, might be worth going back if I can full access.

That’s me, hopefully not the only time I walk down the aisle with a girl!

We then headed back to see Mr Crosby’s class and gave them an impromptu speech about my time at school and all the dumb things I did, what the reality of the future may be and remember to have some fun; the opportunities to muck about and make mistakes will be easier to fix now than several years down the line. Also told them to listen to Mr Crosby, but prior to him coming into the room, I told the class all the pranks we pulled! Sorry Mr Crosby?

We then headed to catch Mr Bickersteth and ended up bumping into Mr Sidwell, my old housemaster. We had a little catch up before needing to part ways as Mr Sidwell had a meeting to attend.

Dom took me to the astro where the Campion legends of Thursday night football were made. Unfortunately, there were no opportunities to recreate some old memories. We then headed to the nursery which is a brand new part of the school, but not much to see to be honest.

The pitch of legends

Finally, we went to the Nun’s graveyard, because it’s one of the best little hideouts in the school. It’s important to remember that we are indebt to those who came before us and that simple message of the St. Augustine which is the basis of the school ethos: “…love, love of God and our neighbour”.

After a quick prayer, we headed back and had a chat and said my goodbyes to Dom. On the way out I got a bit emotional, as the school has provided me with so much to be grateful. Did I have the best start in life? It’s hard to know, but I’m sure it’s pretty damn close to being it.

The old cedar tree by the walled garden

Fobalicious

Now don’t ask me what brought me to do this, but I decided to share one of my online dating profiles with reddit. Then I decided to talk about it on the podcast and now I’m writing about it.

Now let me say, that some of the people were harsh as fuck. Held nothing back and others were a bit more supportive. The vast majority said nothing at all (if all 400+ views are unique), but that’s cool. Most people online are just lurkers.

don’t ask me what brought me to do this

Something I say far too often

While all the comments were, in the end of the day, fine. One thing that stood out to me was being called Fobby or told that I look like a Fob. Which, if anyone grew up with me, would find hilarious. Especially how patriotic I was as a child to my beloved England and British heritage.

However, I don’t mind being called a FOB. What concerned me was the negative connotations with the term. No one says it with a positive attitude. It’s a put down. It’s an intra-ethnic division. It’s not just that there’s a difference in culture, but that one is more superior. Now, if you say: No, Hanik that’s not what I mean when I refer to someone as FOB, rather I mean it’s someone who is from the motherland. Then why not say that? FOB isn’t a reclaimed term and you may say that you are trying to reclaim it. However, unless you are Fresh Off the Boat; it’s not your responsibility or right to claim. Heck it’s not even my right to claim, after being called one.

How do you respond to being called a FOB? I would, in real life, tell the other person to stop being a wanker. I might also just shrug it off and not let the person get to me, honestly, I’m too sure how I would react. Just being weirded out by the term.

Otherwise, look for some changes coming to the blog. As you may be aware, I’m on a podcast and I’ve decided to make a page for the blog; beyond social media. It will just explain the basis of Chai Noon and a quick bio of Kiran and maybe a photo if he adds one.

Latest episode where we talk about dating:

Scared by rice is an understatement

Aditi Mittal and going home

This week has been über busy, but let’s be honest, it’s always busy. Been going out every night, but the highlight this week was seeing Aditi Mittal.

Now, if you don’t know who she is, then all you need to know is that she is hilarious! Quite useful, given that she is a comedians. Forget laugh out loud, she is tears rolling down your face laughter.

I went with Carl, who I hadn’t seen for a few months, we didn’t even know what to expect from the show, but I do prefer watching comedy completely blind.

Forget laugh out loud, she is tears rolling down your face laughter

Haven’t had such a good laugh in ages!

I had grabbed front row seats, because why the hell not. If you go to a show, and the comedian decides to pick on someone, it’s more memorable if it’s you (or your friend).

Turns out that Aditi gets nervous before the show, so she came out and sat down and had a quick chat with us, which was lovely. That’s part of the reason I love being in the front row, especially at Soho Theatre, I’ve always had (or what feels like) a personal experience with the comedian. Apart from Hasan Minhaj. Bastard.

Back to Aditi, her show is all about the classical African/Asian problem. Seeking validation from the boss of the house. In her case, it’s her Mother. Aditi took us on a whirl wind tour of her life in Mumbai as a comedian and modern feminism in India. We go through the caricature of her father and why it’s all about her mother, who is also caricatured, can garner gravitas no matter what is going on. While some jokes may have missed the non-Indian audience, Carl was still laughing allowed throughout the show, so no problems there.

Ultimately, I got a night of laughter, catching up with an old friend and story that reminds us all the love within family. So go watch her Netflix special (that’s what she wanted plugged).

Home

Speaking of family, I returned home for the first time in years. I went back to Tottenham and visited the new Stadium. They call it The Tottenham Hotspur stadium, but I’ll only refer to it as the Lane. While it’s not the same as White Hart Lane, it’s an amazing stadium.

Bit weird to see a different stadium name
Walking down from Seven Sisters and sighting the golden cockerell

Dan Levy honestly deserves a statue in front of the stadium. It’s not just world class, its class setting. I’ve been to a fair number of stadiums over the years and most of them have been shit. Our home is other worldly. It has cheap alcohol, really cheap alcohol, decent food, you’re close to the pitch, it’s beautiful to look at, the sound resonates in the stadium and most importantly it’s in Tottenham. The walk down from Seven Sister is not that different from when I last came in 2017. It’s still pretty crap. It’s Tottenham after all. However, as you walk, you see the golden cockerel glistening in the light. On a brand-new stadium which rises out of the ground. A spaceship, given how modern it is compared to everything in the surrounding area.

The interior of the stadium, looking at the largest single tier in the world.

I’m not going to go into the details of Son taking apart Palace and seeing the first new player in ages (cheers Daniel) when Ndombele walked onto the pitch. What I realised is that I miss going to live events. I know that I’m writing here, on a very non-live format. However, seeing the football reminded me that sport is best viewed there. Not necessarily for the view, though mine was gorgeous, but for everything else that happens. Most importantly is the singing, in football at least.

I miss going to live events

The main takeaway from this week

Singing at a pub or at home is not the same. The roar of the crowd, where the sea of emotions ebbs and flows, is best felt and sent across to the team in the stadium. You can be nervous at home, abroad or surrounded in a Spurs only environment. It’s just not the same. If you are not a sport fan, think about watch a concert on YouTube vs being at one. It’s not even worth comparing. Being there there, if you catch my drift.

Gorgeous

I also miss how easy it is to escape at these events. No phone out and about needed. Just focus.

Podcast

Also just wanted to point out that I’m on a podcast called Chai Noon where myself and Kiran talk about our experiences of life and being brown.

Here are some links to find them:

Anchor: https://anchor.fm/kiran6

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kiran/chai-noon?refid=stpr

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2NJPlT9cmhhnlmiSoQBTtZ

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/chai-noon/id1478436904

RSS: https://anchor.fm/s/dc949a8/podcast/rss

Heading home from the game, maybe you should listen to a podcast next time you head home… Just suggesting…

Ten Years

Ten whole years. Okay maybe not ten whole years, but on the 06/09/09 I moved to the United Kingdom, to head to boarding school. To live a dream inspired by Harry Potter, but more so Spud (a legendary book). Back from 15 years of living abroad in the Commonwealth. It’s the day I moved to New Hall and met my best friends (and had some wonderful memories, a lot of stupid moments too), I then went on to study in at three different universities where I made some more great friends, moved between the UK and the Dubai; before settling back in London.

I love the UK

No really

What’s bizarre is that I love the UK. It’s one of the best countries in the world to grow up in. Sure, there are loads of problems, it’s not perfect; however, it’s my home. I am British after all. It’s home for the time being at least. And that’s the bizarre part. I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to spend the rest of my days here. I can’t I imagine being truly happy if I never leave these shores. Why? I would say growing up abroad has a lot to do with it.

One of my favourite songs to listen to is La Mer, though my favourite version is the Bobby Darrin version which is known as: Beyond the Sea. Apart from helping me along the path of becoming a hopeless romantic, it has always made think of the future and the yearning of what is beyond the horizon. I have never been one for dreaming of small little achievable goals. I dream big, because of my darling football club. Tottenham Hotspur. There’s a quote attributed to Bill Nic that I tend to base a lot of thoughts on: “It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high… so high, in fact, that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.”

I dream big, because of my darling football club

Though being a Spurs fan has meant that most of our recent success have been stuck on my FM saves…

That’s the crux of it this, aim for the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and everything beyond; because if you don’t have the drive to go big, then you won’t even achieve the medium. That’s become of my own life mantra that, this is only life we have and I’ve got to try and achieve all the dreams I have; if I don’t try there’s no going back. It also results me over stretching myself and that I don’t always achieve what I capable of showing to others.

I have a good breadth, but not the greatest depth. It’s not as though I cannot focus, it’s just once I know I can do something, then I look for the next challenge. Doing something well and knowing that I can do it, means that I no longer care to prove that I can. That knowledge for myself, is good enough; unfortunately this system won’t be paying the bills. However, I believe that I’ve come into the world with my own riches. Chasing money won’t get me where I need to be, it will get me to the point of eternal poverty, to really butcher one thing Seneca was trying to say; poverty is not being happy with your current situation. That’s it for me, enjoy my circumstances. Know my privileges and make the world a better place. The aim is to just do live it. No hope. No try. Dream? Yes, but live those dreams.

Apart from helping me along the path of becoming a hopeless romantic

Talking about Beyond the Sea

Back to the UK. I love my pubs, the terrible nights out in Essex, a Geordie accent on a lass, arguing on how to say grass, making a fuss on how my tea is made, what is a proper queue, being able to shout ORDAH like Bercow, being able to chat to a bobby without fear of losing my life or paying a bribe, throwing abuse for 90mins at the footie, cheering on the home nations, having the Royal events to attend, able to speak freely and living on the greatest city on earth: London.

Yet, I am willing to give this all up, because I know that there are places out there that make you feel alive in other ways. London may be number one place to be, it’s the not the place I need to be right now. The dream is still to be PM, don’t worry about that. However, I do think that my destiny is abroad waiting for me.

Am I living the dream, in England? To an extent, it’s a dream. Jerusalem is being built among these Satanic Mills, but at the same time do I want to be living in this kingdom of heaven? I’m not sure. My eyes are always beyond the sea, where another kingdom of heaven lies.

Standing on the Shoulders of a Dragon

My trip to Switzerland, was all about catching up my friend Allen before he heads back to Shanghai.

Just a normal view in Switzerland

The theme of the last couple of blogs have been friendship and this is the finale of the three (that’s the plan). How to say goodbye to someone you care about, whether to let go and how to stay in touch. Well that’s the plan. I’ll do this while going through my tour of the Swiss-German side of the country.

Having someone to say goodbye to

Before saying goodbye, is it worth it?

Now, I booked this flight out of the UK as soon as I had enough cash to come and see Allen. You see, Allen is my older brother and dear friend. I know this through the times we spent growing up in New Hall, where Allen introduced me to my first real sip of alcohol. Red Star Vodka in a mug. Warm. I had two sips, with my two friends in the year above. Allen and Samko. It was not the first time I had alcohol, that was when I was around 5 and given the wrong drink. This was the first when I decided to have a drink. It was not the last of our drinks together, or just ourselves, but we had a good time. That’s the first mark of a good friend, someone you enjoy being with; hence when Allen told me that he may have to leave, well then I had to go and see him.

AT always the poser

AT (my nickname for Allen), got a massive hug as soon as I saw him, because that’s what I said that I would do, but the reason why I he was getting that hug was more than not seeing him in a while. Allen is one of those people I regard as my emergency contacts. I’ll call him at 4am and ask for help and I’m pretty sure if he picks up, he will help. Not try to, but actually help. This is something that truly matters. I’m sure that anyone on my contact list would try to help, but AT is one (of a few) I’m sure will do everything possible to help me and then follow up to make sure that I’m okay. Does AT feel the same way? I’m pretty sure that we can rely on each other. That’s why he and my very good friends get a massive hug. It’s that bond that you have, knowing that even if things get messy, there’s someone who is willing to help you out. Got someone similar? You got to hold on to them.

AT with the Frisby guns! (Frisby being Mr Crosby’s nickname from Mr Briggs)

How to run off a cliff

Conquering fears

Having some chai to calm the nerves pre-flight

I don’t why, but I have this fear of heights. Yet, I tend to climb any thing high and then stare down questioning what I just did. My aim is to get comfortable with throwing myself off a plane and go skydiving! Easy to say, but I’ve been slowly working on it. Walking around the top of CN tower in Toronto five years ago, to climbing some tall towers across Switzerland and going up some tall towers in Dubai. So, logically running off a cliff is next.

AT taking off. Running less than 30m

Paragliding was amazing. Let me tell you that. The sheer bliss from lack of noise when you’re up and above it all, is something else. It’s instantly addicting. It’s a reminder on how precious our planet is. Plus I got to see Yash Chopra’s Lake from the sky. Ultimately, that’s why I wanted to paraglide in Interlaken. I wanted to see some DDLJ ( Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) and other Yash Chopra locations: sue me!

Above Interlakken
Snow topped mountains in the background

Preserving Future Generations 

The view after the cable car and a brief walk

We continued our running around by heading to Oeschinen Lake and going for a swim. Now, the only way to describe how cold this lake was, is simply to say that my balls shot inside my body as soon as my toes touched the water. It was soo so cold. Instant regret to swim, but I don’t think I would have done it any other way. After the swim we went further ahead with a hike and got some spectacular views of the lake and mountains.

Betrayal! The water was so cold!
Just before I threw him into the water
Back to the serious business of hiking in swimming trunks, while the Swiss Hikers were all in full gear with walking sticks

Further into the mountains

We then moved onto Lauterbrunnen to go stand behind the waterfall, but this meant going back on ourselves for part of the way. The reason, why not and we had a Swiss Passes, so why not use them to the full. We got to the falls, before sunset but it meant we missed our train and had to wait for the last train out of the area and get home after midnight. Spent some time chatting about the day over a beer, how we all suddenly became experts in paragliding and going through pictures. When we returned to Olten we grabbed a pizza, which honestly for such a dump, was great food. Far better than any takeaway places in the UK.

Lauterbrunnen

Do dragons have shoulders?

A farewell requires a bit of strength

Some moments of unplanned synchronisation are beautiful. AT and I planned to leave for Luzern at 9am, but as soon as our alarms went off, we both just thought nah and went back to bed. No words spoken, just a quick glance and we knew that we could sleep a bit more. However this decision meant that we had a day of rushing around ahead!

Dropped my bag at the hostel early and got some cheap tickets up and down Pilatus. Now, we were not in the best mood to climb a 2,128m mountain, so we took a boat ride around the lake. Grabbed a desperately needed tan, got into a queue, to get a slot for another queue. That queue was for the steepest cog wheel train. A casual 48°. Went up into the azure sky. Only to get a bit peckish. It was such a hard day so far. Went to the hotel grabbed a window seat and chatted with the clouds coming at us.

We moved onto climbing a higher point and grab some photos. Mate, I cannot express how bad some people are at taking photos. Ended up taking some selfies for a decent shot!

Selfie skills on point
Not a bad sight, plus the background is decent

We took the cable down one station, mainly we short of time and also our shoes weren’t built for climbing up or down mountains. We went down one level and then started walking down.

On the way down Pilatus
AT going off road and for what reason, is still unknown

You see that’s all you really need with a good friend. A bit of time to hang and chill. No need to say anything fancy, but just to be able to be yourself. Thus this day of just being with AT was probably the best way to spend our last few hours together. Not doing anything dramatic or rushed, that was the day before, but just having time to chill and chat about life. What we chatted throughout the day? That’s just between us, but I can assure you that it was nothing important.

We ended doing what all good friends do. Grabbing a drink of choice and sitting on the side of the road; just talking about the musings of life.

In the end, the trip with AT ended in the same way that it started: with a hug.

There’s not much else you can do in these moments. We didn’t try and make it perfect, or do a hell of lot planning. We had an idea what we wanted to do together and just did stuff with that in mind. It’s like everything in life. Be honest, have a goal and just do. Don’t hope. Don’t fret if you make a mistake. Just enjoy the moments. Remember any lows, make the highs higher. I’m might be upset to say goodbye to AT, but at least I have someone to be upset about. It’s all about dealing with the expectations.

And before this gets too soppy, I’ve already messaged AT several and he’s helped out when he didn’t even need to get involved. Why? It’s what friends do.

Are you really friends if you don’t break the law together have a picnic together? (though we didn’t have three flavours of crisps)

A final day in Switzerland

Zurich, roaming around and running to work at 4:30am

So, I left Luzern in the morning and headed to Zurich. Went to the Rhine Falls, which were okayish. I mean, they’re no Vic Falls, but still quite interesting. If you don’t have a Swiss Pass it’s not really worth it, but I am comparing it to the best waterfall in the world.

You can get pretty close
Look a rainbow!

I came back, got onto a boat for a tour of the Lake and get an all important sun tan! Now I got bored on a 90 minute boat ride and decided to play my brown card. Essentially I saw an Indian couple with a spare seat. So I sat down, in broken Hindi started a discussion (we switched to a mix of mainly English, Gujarati and Hindi) and then had a lovely chat about life, religion and I helped them plan for the rest of time in Switzerland. You know, just a casual conversation. That’s what we all have to remember. Life is too short to worry about what others think. We can all learn from each other, best way is to be open.

Just cruising a long

I then found a vegetarian restaurant where I had wonderful avocado toast, because if I was going to be ripped off; it should be in style! After explaining to the barman my plans for the rest of the day, what I had done and if he had any advice; he said what I had already done today, was enough for a weekend. Clearly, I am a man on a mission when left to my own devices.

Could have put this up social media
University of Zurich

I decided to headed to the University take a look at some Greek artefacts and then ran across town, went past the closed museum (because it’s Monday!) and headed up to a viewing point. As one does with a fear of heights. After learning the Zurich transit system, I went to what the Swiss considered a hill and climbed the radio tower and had view of the city over 820m!

Only holding on for dear life!

Headed back to the hostel, checked in, went for a walk with one of my roomates and then realised that I had to leave the hostel at 4:49am (gave myself 19mins to get ready). What a quick day. I made it to work and had a pretty productive day.

The water is stunning, though not sure why this photo as a weird edge on the left.

Final thoughts

Explaining the title 

Seeing AT reminded me that we are all standing on someone’s shoulder. We all have friend or that help us reach slightly further than we could do on our own. The dragon, is two parts, first it’s relating to Pilatus having medieval legend relating to dragons having a magical healing properties at the top of the mountains. Secondly, I’m blessed to have friends that not only help me reach a higher place (shoulder), but some take me higher than I could have ever imagined (dragon vs giant). AT is one of my dragons. 

Thought: Why do European dragons need wings and Chinese dragons don’t?