Poem 3

Working Title Rush:

Heart pumping

Each ball of sweat Just dripping I can’t ignore it

Who are these people Standing on the right

Don’t they realise

This is London

People have places to go. We don’t care if they can relax. That their friends want to chat, I’ve got a train to catch.

Waiting is a suckers game I want to murder on the dance floor, go grab dinner with grandma.  I’ve got a world to conquer. I haven’t been waiting all night for this fight.  I’ll be on the run having a some blue nun .

Might hazard a guess that I’m no Salah, But I ain’t no Paulinhio either,  I plan on Kane-ing after August,  I’m Onna-mah way to the top. Better watch out, Fergie ain’t got the time to save you.

Time for me to fly past. So move out the way or get blown away

Green Chutney Recipe

So I made some green chutney the other day, while it’s a bit spicy you can change the level of heat by reducing the chilies in the process. There’s no exact measurements as I did not think about it when making it, so everything will be guess work, but there are certain ratios that need to be followed.

You will need:

1 food processor
(I am assuming that you have a knife and a board to cut on)
1 handful of mint leaves (told you I don’t measure properly)
6 handfuls of coriander (leaves + stems)
3 green chillies
1 red chilli
4 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of garam masala
2 teaspoons of salt
1 lemon to squeeze

All you have to do is roughly chop the leaves and chillies. Pop in the processor with all the spices until a smooth green paste.

That’s it! I don’t have a photo, as I already finished it, but if I do make another batch then I’ll post a picture. It’s quite spicy, boy does it taste good.

Why (2.0)

Well the original reason why I started up the blog, is to start writing out my thoughts on what I was learning at law school. However, life goes on and now I wish to keep my domain and I have yet to think of a good reason for dumping the website. While I may consider switching where I maintain the website, I’m enjoying the ease of wordpress, though it means that my friends beyond the great firewall are unable to view it.

I’ve realised that I have still yet to answer why I have the website still, I mean the domain is mine and the email is run separately to this (if you need help doing this yourself, then shoot me a message). It’s currently an odd concept that is running through my mind. I guess it’s to take a break from social media and just focus on what I think; even if it’s just something stupid. I want to write more poetry, but I have never been big on publishing it. Thus, I can use it as a launching pad into the unknown. I don’t why I fear sharing them, I guess it’s because my poems are usually a personal matter. I doubt that will change for the time being, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’ll probably write more about politics here, than on other platforms. Mainly as I can’t be asked to deal with the backlash, but more importantly I prefer the long-read style that one presumes with a blog rather than a quip that other platforms would not work well with.

Might also post some reviews of random things. From my own cooking (oh shit, I could start a vegetarian food blog!), movies, football, coffee…etc. You get the point. Got an idea, shoot me a message via the contact page.

In terms of how frequent? Not sure, I’ll aim to write more than once a week for now; but we’ll see how that goes. Might post picture or two as well, the site needs a bit of sprucing up.

Anything else? Not that I can think about now.

Remember; Don’t Panic, it’s Hanik

Poem 2

Not sure about a title, looking for recommendation. Shout out to Chris for the picture.

Broken
How else can I describe the feeling
Hours upon hours spent doing what?
My wounds need tending
I need to get out of this rut

Alone
Just stuck with my own thoughts
While it’s good company; it’s not ideal
It’s not as though I did something wrong and was caught,
Time to go back to the highlight reel

Cry
It’s not the end,
Even if I could make sure of it
It’s not my time to ascend
It’s time to check out my grit

Breath
One is not entitled to the fruits of one’s labour,
Action will always be better than inaction,
So it’s time to sharpen my best sabre,
No more dissatisfaction

Nasty
Time to act unapologetically,
Even if my life has just been swirled
Where do I want to be?
On top of the world

The Chequers Affair

Coming into the weekend I was ready to write a review of the agreement that was struck by the Cabinet at Chequers, but given the events in last couple of days, all my work has been thrown out of the window. While there are suggestions that there will be a leadership challenge by the Brexiteers and ERG against Mrs. May, I have gone through many rewrites with the constantly changing news, I have currently just given up on trying to write something that is fully up to date and just express my views on the agreement at Chequers, which was the original plan; I can then at the end express why I believe that some members have resigned over the issue.

The first major issue that arises is the free trade area of goods, which is essentially a pillar for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU. While a FTA for goods is possible in theory, as there are certain goods that are allowed in and out, but for across the board? That just looks like cherry picking one section of the single market, which has already been vetoed by the EU. While it is possible in theory, I do not think that the EU would agree to this, without forcing further concessions into the single market. Nor does it make sense that this will avoid friction at the border as the document later goes on to end free movement. How does one plan to uphold the common travel area and not allow free movement of people; unless there is a divide at sea, given that a physical border in Ireland is a no go? While that is plausible, it would create an internal border inside the United Kingdom; which will not be acceptable to the Unionists in Northern Ireland nor would it be acceptable for the hard-line Brexiteers.

Looking at the next point about the common rulebook for all goods including agri-food seems to out of place of the comments made by the Prime Minister as she said that we are leaving the common agriculture policy; while the policy is complicated, what is meant by this phrase is not well explained. While we are expecting a white paper on this, seeing language like this would unlikely garner support from the entire Conservative Party, which would require the Government to look across the benches to the opposition. An odd situation, but let us be honest; nothing has been conventional in this process.

This unconventional process an been seen in the proposal for what can only be described as fluff. The notion that either side wishes to have less open economies (or promote closed economies) is just laughable, regardless of which side of the argument you fall on. The differences lie in what should be freely traded, which seems to be as much as possible. The problem that this position relies on almost full co-operation between the two sides, but why would EU agree to bind itself to the UK’s decision or take note of the UK’s position; as they have no requirement to place UK interests over its own members. This also seems to hinder both sides when re-evaluating what deal they wish to strike with other nations, as for a deal to be made with any third-country, each side would be restricted. While for the alignment argument this makes sense, but then what are the benefits to leaving the EU while fully aligning? It doesn’t make any sense. Why create more hassle? By just creating a new system to fulfil the results of an advisory referendum is just nonsense. It would more sense to ignore the referendum or go the whole nine yards, the middle ground doesn’t make anyone happy, nor does it help anyone. What is the gain? While one may point to the potential gains to services, it does remove any chance to negotiate on goods as a carrot to a third country. While possible, would it not be better to have a veto in the EU, when it came to new trade agreements and new policy proposals? I would think so.

The legal framework in the application and interpretation of the UK-EU agreement, is not helpful. Well in the form that it has been described at least. The UK has paid due concern to EU case law (when applying EU law) and to continue this is not a differing system. The concern of disputes is more interesting and thus concerning; with the lack of detail.  I’m going to speculate that an EFTA court solution is what will arise from this, but I do not see the EFTA members being happy if the actual EFTA court is used; thus, a new separate UK-EU court of arbitration committee being set-up. However, with such little information: we will have to wait and see.

The final item about the new facilitated customs arrangement, makes little sense to me. While it works for the island of Great Britain, the tariff policy for Northern Ireland vs the Republic of Ireland seems to be open to abuse. If I can take goods across the border without checks, why wouldn’t I choose the cheapest one and then just cross the border. While one can mitigate this by checking shops and more monitoring systems, it would be a costly solution, while relying on the trust system. We should also be asking what percentage of failures (goods not checked, that has the wrong tariff applied) is acceptable, if any? This all relies on the EU accepting this agreement as well. At the moment, I cannot see this being accepted by the EU. With the backstop, there may be no actual cliff-edge if the negotiations take too long; but there is no backstop for a rejection of the proposal.

While it is true that this is a negotiation and thus the proposal is not final. What lies ahead for both sides, be it the argument or UK/EU, there is a lot more to be done with far too little time. With ongoing pantomime in Parliament, I would be ready to expect the unexpected.

 

Poem 1

Title: Apparently We Are All Monotone

This shall be a test. Saying my story, to you. Each Five words, lines, stanzas. To bore and educate you. I am just a cog.

I got BA, MSc, GDL. Well fingers crossed for one. Rejection from bars and shops. Am I overly qualified now? Maybe, I still dream PhD.

Though my true dream: PM. You heard that right: PM. The nickname the Osho’s say. The ideal after Formula One. Changing Britain can’t be easy.

We all have one shot. Concerns about the past: waste. Haters, liars and the scared. Only going to hold back. Jump into the unknown: flourish.

Enemies stand in my way. They will search me: Trident. They will aggressively spy: Prevent. Have to believe in myself. Am I just a cog?

Entry 46

Finally it is over.

Well, I know this is a bit odd. I’ve returned to my blog, not forgetting about it the in between time. No, the last couple of months I have been living like a monk; but instead of having a monastery to go to, I’ve been in the law library. When I first thought about going on to the GDL, the friends I enquired look at me as though I was an absolute lunatic (even though they had done so themselves), as the course redefines what you believe are your limits. Honestly, I had not felt such academic and mental pressure for ages. And I enjoyed it…mostly… There have been times where I have called a friend and all we have done is swear. Not at each other, but the utter shit that is expected of us. At times, it felt that we were not meant to know anything, but be able to regurgitate what a textbook had said (or even a judge) no matter how stupid or illogical the statement was. As long as it was the correct law, that’s all that mattered. While years of training to argue and create logical constructs from school and life (which was why I some people pointed to me this path) meant that repeating out certain rules got you the marks. In the context of a conversion course, it does make sense, but in terms of the actual law; there definitely room for improvements that courts should sort out. Well at least in my opinion.

At the moment, it is weird not having any pressure. What on Earth should I being doing in the morning’s if I’m not running to the library? Well, at least I’ll be able to enjoy the World Cup and enjoy the blissful thinking of it’s coming home! That’s right, you can’t escape the football on this blog, have you not read any of I before?

So, what is going to happen next? Well for the blog, over the couple of weeks I will look at writing some mini-review/thoughts on the modules that I studied. Maybe a bit of advice for those who are also crazy enough to take on the course. Afterwards, I’ll probably set about a redesign and think of setting it out as a more personal website; but got plenty of time to work on that. I’ll probably use the site for some poetry as it has been a while since I just wrote anything.

Personally, I’m plan on being in London working part-time while sorting out my future. Got some plans to move overseas again. Time to wave goodbye from blightly for a bit. As they say the heart grows fonder with distance. In terms for the next summer, I’m currently enquiring about the feasibility of going coast to coast; from Dar es Salaam to Walvis Bay (and then to Durban via Cape Town, because why not?). While traveling, it is high on the agenda to deliver malaria nets or transfer some goods for a local NGO while traveling from one city to the next.

Finally, a shout out to my friends and not really being in touch. You can call me again, it’s been too long since we caught up properly!

Entry 45

Alright I haven’t written anything for a while and that is entirely my fault, but I have no issue in doing so. Though the plan to leave a post for summary of the year so far did not happen, I am quite glad about it. Taking a break from it all and having some proper time to myself have given me a clearer idea of how I think the last term went and my thoughts about law in general.

Now as you may have noticed already this isn’t a normal blog post and I am going to tell you not bother to get your hopes up. While I do tend to write about law exclusively (and a bit about Tottenham), however it is my blog so I can start writing about anything I want to and I think you also need (need is a strong word, but I’m going to double down on this. Taking a leaf out of politics from the last decade: apologising doesn’t win votes) to see a more personal part me.

Now I went on a family trip to India, with it being my first trip to the sub-continent in over 12 years. 12 years is a bloody long time and when going back I some sort of idea what to suspect. My family (nuclear) have been traveling at least once a year or more for the same period, so I was not out of touch. I still watch Bollywood films (sometimes other parts of India cinema) and that gives you a view into cultural values or questions. I have followed the Indian cricket team for years and of course I watch the IPL, so cricket coverage provides me with some entertainment. I watch Gujarati news when at my grandparents (all I can say that it quite sad that FOX news style of interviews has taken hold). And there is the little thing called the internet, where you can follow all the latest news and see what is trending.  However, been the third culture kid that I am of course not Indian enough for the Indians (and I don’t really blame them).

On this trip, I ended up going to Gujarat for the first time ever and apart from learning that I have no kite flying ability what so ever, I was able to meet some of members of my family that I had only heard about. I spent my couple of says there going to various holy sites and saying my prayers. What was most striking for me was seeing the Kotecha Mandir and seeing a mapped-out version of the family tree which is has nearly a thousand years of history of the family. Then by hearing the story of the family which historically was based in Afghanistan and then after fleeing the region to Gujarat, there were 16 Kotecha families which can now be found almost anywhere in the world. It put me in my place from the chance of my family nearly being wiped of the face of the earth and never existing, to now me typing this up in the UK. I also got see the old village that my great-grandfather had left, before going to East Africa. Honestly, I don’t think I could blame him. The state of the village in the 21st century was in terms of services no better than I expected, but I was given the chance of leaving with work in another part of the world, I would have jumped at it. That being said, I do think that I’ll be heading back there in the near future, I still have family there and I would like to see them again. Finally, I was unable to the mandir in Virpur, though I we did spend 15 minutes in the town. It was either going to mandir or catching our flight, we choose the flight.

Following a rush to the airport, we went to Mumbai. Now I hadn’t return to the city in 12 years, there is one thing that had not changed during my absence. The smell. Mumbai still has that smell that I had not forgotten and no image can prepare you for. Since, I have already seen Mumbai’s tourist hotspots before, this trip was about a couple of things for me; visiting family, shopping, food and even more food. Seeing family was fantastic, as always, however my bearded face is not the one they were suspecting when I came through the door.

Now the one thing when shopping in Mumbai there is something anyone can pick within seconds, which is the extreme wealth gap. One can grab a full meal for 100INR which is roughly £1.10 or you can grab a coffee for 1500INR which is roughly £17.50. It’s insane that in the city which doesn’t sleep that you can go get paan at three in the morning and there will be a private traffic warden moving the cars along, because this one shop is packed. I would love to see this sort of thing in London, alas I do not think the city will become a true 24hr city (while you can get anything you need at whatever the time, it’s not the same experience nor the same volume of people).

Talking about shopping, there was a shocking revelation me (or at least I found it shocking). While looking for material for clothes, I was browsing different patterns and colours and asked for a navy blue. The assistant also brought red, saying that it was similar. Now, I don’t like to wear too much red (reminds me of Arsenal. Yeah, it’s stupid for most people, but remember what Cantona apparently said: “You can change your wife, your politics, your religion, but never, never can you change your favourite football team”. In this regard, you can also never change the club you hate). I digress. When I said no to the red, the shop keeper said that I was fair and therefore all colours would suit me. I find this odd, firstly because I am the darkest in my family. I am not fair by the standards of the UK where I live, nor am I fair considering most of the media I do consume is Western. Secondly, was that meant as compliment? So, let’s say that I am fair. So, what? Some people have different skin tones, c’est la vie. The issue is colourism is a more acceptable (or seemly) form of discrimination in India, even though it remarks nothing on the person on their intellect or personality. I say this because when you are going around the city from place to other, you see the bright signs of adverts which all suggest that being fairer is more beautiful and buying this product will help achieve this. No before saying anything else, these products will harm your skin and possible cause irreversible damage. The main point is why do we care? Or more accurately, why do we still care? The answer cannot be that because people made the product and market it, is why we care. That might be able to explain a fad. Take the Kony2012 campaign, well marketed but in the end full of lies. People caught on (for various reasons). So why is colourism still a thing? Now I am not claiming to be an expert on this topic, but from what I observe it’s the continual perpetuated myth of white is better. It’s the hallmark of entrenched racism in society. I recently watch this Vox Video which showed a young black toddler describing brown skin colour as “nasty”. Apart from being heart-breaking (to me at least), I cannot think that this is from just advertising. Now I am not sure what more I can do an individual level to combat this just to make people aware and make conscious decisions, such as telling the shop assistant that I don’t consider myself fair, however fairness has nothing to do with what colour of clothes you wear. As a few of you may know, I have a bright orange coat. Let me tell you something, you do need something to wear it and it fair/dark skin. It’s confidence!

Well, I wasn’t expecting to write about colourism, but as I said: it’s about making people aware of the issue and opening a space to have a conversation (that’s a hint to use the comment section).

I am going back to food now. Mainly as I am quite hungry as I type this, but also as I feel slightly shafted as a vegetarian in the United Kingdom. While the UK is better than most places I have been in Europe for vegetarians (though that could be part of my traveling limitations), it’s still terrible. When I was India, getting good tasting vegetarian food was a breeze. Didn’t have to think twice about it. However, the other thing was how cheap it was. Not as UK to India, but it was cheaper on the menu to order vegetarian than meet/fish. When I am here in the UK I get something that is no doubt vegetarian, but then find myself paying similar prices to my friends for the meal. Even though the cost of ingredients is far less and honestly looks and tastes like bollocks. I could go to these vegan places and then pay this imaginary vegan tax where plain peanuts cost £10 for a starter. I might have taken the piss in the last sentence, but honestly most of the time it is just really simple dishes being over charged. It’s not hard to make a decent vegetarian dish. I do it home daily and I am not a professional chef. I am just an idiot with some spices. So now every time I go out to a non-Indian restaurant in London, actually all restaurants, I am going to have remind myself that these people do not know what good food tastes like. Buying something a simple a cheese sandwich will even bring in disappointment, as in Mumbai on the street I had one of the best sandwiches in my life and all it was cheese, chilli and sprinkle of spices; not even toasted. At least my grandmothers both live in London, all hope is not lost.

Talking about losing hope, I now realise that I have been living in a lie. I don’t care what anyone tells me but I have never lived in a capitalist country (a hyperbole). When I read economic theory and they talk about perfect competition, with sellers selling the exact same goods no matter where you went. I saw this in Mumbai. I was looking out the car and saw street after street with shops all selling the same goods, take faucets for example. All I could think, is how on earth are they all still in business? How are they all full, how is no one under cutting them? Why are the prices the same (it was all cheap, so no collusive oligopoly style going and far too many stores)? I’ll tell you what, it must be perfect competition. You could break into that market without differentiated your goods and charging more (which would get you some business) or price matching the same. Even when it came to grocery shopping. Didn’t like the price from one vendor. Take three steps to the next vendor and take your business elsewhere. Repeat until satisfied. That does not happen in the UK, UAE or South Africa (cannot recall Zambia) nor any other place I have visited and spent a significant amount of time. Now I understand that this also has to do with Mumbai’s massive population being so densely populated, but it was surprising not see a single supermarket in my trip. As far as I am aware, local chains can still exist, but none where apparent in my trip. I am not overly sad about this…

Looking back at it all, if someone said: “Hanik, I’ve got a job for you. One catch. It’s in India.” You’ll find me at the airport buying a ticket, because I will not turn it down. If you asked me before I went; I probably would have to spend some time to think about it, work out how long it would I would be away and what opportunities I would miss out here. I’ve got that travel bug that’s infected my entire family.

I could write some more, but this is no longer than some essays that I wrote to be marked, let alone the formative work that I handed in. As it’s a long post, there are probably going to be more mistakes than usual and I would also love to have some feedback!

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!