Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changing Seasons

There are really only 2 seasons in Johannesburg, summer and winter. Autumn and spring are just figments of our imaginations. I can see the hazy horizon and the sun’s loopy stance and I can just tell that winter is upon us.

I hate this time of year. The only way one knows that summer is gone is by looking at the cascading leaves, in all shades of autumn, that coats the sidewalks and gardens. It’s like one minute I'm basking in summer rays and then the next I wake up and it's winter. But the problem is that it’s still so freaking hot during the day. Where I’m situated, it’s an average of 28° Celsius (83F for you Lyn). The evenings are warm too and it only really cools down in the early hours of the morning. By cool I mean 16° C (62F). By British standards, their summer is our winter lol.

It’s that time of year where it’s too hot to wear your winter clothes, but too cold to wear your summer clothes. My body is mystified. At night, I can’t sleep because it's either too hot or too cold. This is actually a good indicator of what hell will be like (although no one will ever be able to comprehend Hell).

The only good thing about this time of year, (apart from my birthday), is the holidays and the chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs. I already OD’d on those chocolate marshmallow eggs; I should have stopped after the first 50 but now I think I’m good for the next year or two. With the public holidays on the 10th of April, 13th April, 22nd April, 27th April and 1st May, we’re going to be spoiled with chocolate filled 4-day weeks for the next month and will have to pay the price for that later.

I always want to go sailing this time of year. I don’t know why…maybe it’s the thought of cool waters and the hot sun on deck like those Armani or Dolce & Gabbana commercials with the super hot dude in his undies in that boat on the Med (Greece maybe?)with that girl in her (well who cares about the stupid girl & whatever she's wearing). I need a yacht, that’s what the MBA is for, I have to remember that. I’m such a yuppie sometimes. And a chronic dreamer.

Reminds me, I have a shit load of work to do…and my accounting is still not up to scratch. Honestly, I’d rather skin my own eyelids with a carving knife. (Seriously, someone cut me and it would be less painful) But there’s just no getting around it. Maybe I should just get a hot tutor that gives lessons without his clothes on, and then I’m sure I’ll get straight A’s because I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.

I don’t want much in the way of material possessions, I always feel like they weigh me down. But I have to keep that yacht in mind all the time. It’s my symbol of freedom. And the only motivating force I have right now.

Getting back to work is always a bitch. Especially in winter.

Monday, March 30, 2009

27

I love watching Nigella Lawson cook up a storm. There’s just something about her and I will rather stay in on Saturday mornings to watch her cook then be anywhere else…even when she grosses me out with the eggs. I told Mother during an advertisement break that I could SO be a Muslim version of Nigella. Well, a less charming, slightly darker, maybe slightly shorter with much longer, curly hair version of her. But give me a tight black dress and I could try. Her life just fascinates me, and she is equally intriguing.

When I was a little girl, I could barely see anything. I used to sit too close to the television and I would squint to see the blackboard and the teacher in school. Mother took me to the Optometrist and it was established that I was short-sighted, that it was probably hereditary, and that I would need glasses. I can remember the first day I got my glasses. It was like I was seeing the world for the first time, at the age of 6. I looked up at the sky that night.

Azra: Oh Mummy, I can see the stars!!
Mother: My child, have you never seen the stars before?
Azra: No…but I can see them now…wow…And look at them, they’re so pretty!!
Mother: My poor child…

I no longer needed to sit right in front of the television to see anything. I could sit on the couch but habitually sat on the floor right in front of the TV anyway. My glasses always made me feel ugly, but I needed them to see, so I didn’t have much of a choice but to wear them. In school, I was a nerd because I was the only one wearing spectacles and at a later stage, I was promoted to “super-nerd” when I received my braces. The situation at home, coupled with the way I looked, played heavily on my emotions and made me very insecure and miserable. And of course, in this sick world we live in, there were some that took advantage of that insecurity by either verbally or physically abusing me. I was always quiet, and the “popular” girls would bully me, or make fun of me…sniggering like the little bitches that they were. I had a teacher in Standard 1 (Grade 3) who used to beat the crap out of me, leaving blue marks on my arms because I couldn’t remember that 2 x 2 = 4. Thankfully, that ended when Mother found out and stormed into her home, right hand extended, grabbed her by the neck, squeezed the life out of her and told her “If you EVER touch my child again, I’m going to fucking kill you bitch. Do you understand?”.

I can remember that I always watched other people…the “beautiful” people. I used to look at them and admire them, desperately wishing I was one of them. There was one teacher in Primary School, I think I must have been in Std 3 or 4 (Grade 5 or 6) and she had this long hair and she always looked stunning…perfectly groomed. I would watch her in the mornings from the top floor, wondering what her life was like.

It was in Std 3 that I stood up for myself. I can remember one of those little bitches telling me something offensive, and the look of her face when I told her to “Fuck Off”. It was as if I had slapped her. It was on that day that my spine grew and filled out with steel. It was the first day of my uprising, the day I snapped. I became so much more than just a “popular” girl after that and people respected me for the first time in my life.

And in between the bitches who called themselves friends, my miserable existence, the turmoil in what was supposed to be a sanctuary called home and my hatred of school, I managed to excel in academics, quite effortlessly at first. I still wished I was someone else. I still wished I was “beautiful”. I would become infatuated with people I admired. And there were so many over the years…everyone from Cindy Crawford to the pretty teachers and the “beautiful” girls at school. I would always wonder what life was like for them. I would wonder if people just loved them more because they were pretty…did they always get what they wanted because of the way they looked…their lives just seemed so much easier.

And in between the wondering, the admiration and the envy, I eventually grew up. My spectacles became contact lenses and my braces were removed, and even though things changed somewhat, I was always still looking at those “perfect” people…wondering why I was never “perfect”…and trying to figure out what I did wrong that I was never awarded the privilege. My personality grew in that time too and I was always laughing. I loved playing pranks on people, and I became more confident and somewhat popular too. I always drew people who were “different” and unique into my circle. At that time, I was in my final year at high school, searching for answers, trying to make sense of the world. My best friend was a Brazilian exchange student, Isabella, who would talk to me in Portuguese and I would reply in English. We had in depth conversations about life in her room at the school’s hostel. Together we found that problems don’t always lie with other people, and that self-evaluation was important and often necessary, and in between stalking a very athletic and delicious looking Jared, I found self-respect with her.

Throughout my years as a Psych Undergrad student at what is now called the University of Johannesburg, my search for self continued. My fascination with the beautiful people didn’t end though and I was always intrigued by the young up-coming Hollywood crowd. Up until 1999, I can’t remember much of teen Hollywood. And then all of a sudden, out of no where, there was a revival of teen pop with Britney and Christina and movies like “Ten things I hate about You”, “She’s all That”, the “American Pie” sequels and “Never Been Kissed”. All of a sudden the nerd who rises to fame became the mantra in Hollywood and they made everything about School and College/University seem so cool.

But I was a loner through my days as an Undergrad and often spent my days on the rooftops at C-Les or D-Les, contemplating life and watching various Boeing aircraft, trying to guess their destinations, wondering where they were off to and what life was like for those people.

My years in London showed me what I’m made of…struggling through the daily grind with no family, initially no friends, moving from one house to another, moving from one job to another…until I found my niche. My keen individualistic cheap fashion sense manifested and I met some “beautiful” people along the way, but they seemed to become more real to me. I eventually began to meet people who looked at me with the same admiration, calling me “beautiful” despite my protests. I can remember sitting in the tube one morning, on my way to Heathrow Airport, and there was this stunning Asian lady dressed in a chic black dress with her stilettos, coat, perfectly groomed hair and daughter in tow, who looked around the age of 4. She sat across from me and I remember admiring her beauty and confidence, and feeling ugly and frumpy in my tracksuit, but I smiled at her and her daughter, expressing my awe and admiration. She smiled back and after a few minutes, before she disembarked at one of the platforms, told me that she thought I was beautiful. I was surprised and told her “”No, you’re the one, you’re the one that’s beautiful”…

I’ve experienced many similar episodes since then. I always see the eyes, looking at me with admiration…I see those little girls, walking with their parents, their eyes fixated on my clothes and my jewelry and my shoes. I see the look in many different faces…from little girls to school kids, teenage cousins to colleagues, strangers and even some of my friends. Some of them reach out to touch me, my face or my clothes, touching my hair and my skin. I see the same expression I’ve always had on my own face, the same awe that once existed in my own eyes and I always think to myself, if they only knew…if they only knew what it took to get me to this point. If they only knew what I had to go through. If they only knew that my life was nothing wonderful and still isn’t. If they only knew how I suffered for years on end. If they only knew how much strength and courage it took for me to get here…how I had to pick myself up time and time again so that I could be who I am today. If they only knew the lessons that I had to learn. If they only knew how hard I had to work for everything I have…if they only knew…

I haven’t stopped admiring the beauty in people, and I don’t begrudge them their fortunes either. Just last week, while leaning against the wall in the pool at the gym, my arms resting on the platform, I witnessed beauty in motion. I had done a couple of laps in the pool and was waiting to catch my breath with Tweets beside me in another lane, when this graceful creature dived in and crossed several lanes to get to an empty one. I am a relatively good swimmer, but she was positively lithe…gliding through the water like a fish in the sea. When she surfaced, she caught me watching her and I smiled, dispelling any misconceptions and conveying my honest and sincere admiration. She smiled back at me with two dimples on her cheeks.

Azra: Why wasn’t I born white and stunning with dimples and why can’t I swim like that?
Tweets: Hun, you can’t have all that and still go to Jannah (Heaven).
Azra: The Russian Muslim Olympic swimmers can!
Tweets: If it’s any consolation, you do have a slight dent in your cheek when you smile…

These days I can still admire beauty from near and far, without longing to be someone or something else. And on days like today, when I'm daft and forget to pack my shoes and walk around with my lace/chiffon/sequined dress thingy with my gym trainers/tekkies/sneakers on, I just laugh at myself. I am the sum of my experiences and there is no one else I’d rather be. Sometimes, I still wish I looked like Megan Fox or Catherine Zeta Jones minus the Michael Douglas. But I know now who I am and my purpose here on earth. I’m not searching anymore…I’m no longer trying to find meaning in this life. I’m not seeking some divine enlightenment, some free pass to self-appreciation and self-love. I’m already there, I have found the answers. Now if only I could find Mr. Right.

Azra: I feel very uncomfortable when people tell me I’m beautiful, especially men, it makes me feel like they want something from me.
Mother: So what if a guy told you you’re ugly? What would you say?
Azra: I’d tell him, voetsek (fuck off) your mother’s ugly.
Mother: (laughs) You’re never happy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dating Disasters

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve never had a “boyfriend”. Like a real boyfriend. One that takes you out to a nice restaurant or the movies, buys you flowers and chocolates, visits you at home, calls you every night/morning, tells his family and friends about you…that kind of boyfriend. The concept always eluded me.

I was always “seeing” someone i.e. casual chatting to the person for a few days, weeks or months or until facets of our incompatibility manifested and it became apparent that he was most certainly not “the one”. I’ve also been on many dates, where I usually meet someone I deem to be interesting and we attempt to get to know one another over coffee or a meal. Most of these first dates usually tend to be the last ones too and it’s become surprisingly easy to tell if we would be compatible or not in the first 10 minutes of meeting.

I look at my date as a business transaction. I contemplate those traits I want from a life partner i.e. sincerity, honesty, confidence etc. and then try to consolidate what I’m looking for in a man compared to what the date is offering. I weigh the pros and cons, and the results will either lead to a second meeting or be adios for good. Now I’m not picky in the typical sense, my main criteria being that he should at least be Decent, but certain factors are advantageous. Like an honest man who’s not trying to impress me. Someone who’s sincere in who he is, and is not trying to be someone else. Someone who’s confident but not arrogant. Someone who doesn’t have to make me feel inferior so that he looks good. I look at all types of things…internal and external.

I’ve had some really good dates in the past but they didn’t pan out, either because we were in different stages of our lives, wanting different things or because we didn’t value the same things. I’ve also had some horrendous dates, where I cringed the entire time and couldn’t wait to go home. Those kinds of dates that leave me wishing I was a lesbian or a eunuch. They make me question the very nature of dating and what purpose it supposedly serves.

I met Ismail* after I graduated and began working full time at a firm not far away from the University. We had a mutual friend and we soon became friends as well…we hit it off from the beginning. He was still a student, two years younger than me, so I didn’t have any romantic inclination and expectations from our friendship because I never went for younger guys. He had a lot of free time in between his classes and we would spend hours talking and laughing after I was done at work or during my lunch hour. He was very easy going, had a great sense of humour and his laid-back approach to life appealed to me. So it didn’t surprise me when he suggested that we go to a movie one evening, and I complied under the impression that our other friends would meet us there.
We arrived and fifteen minutes into playing the waiting game, he informed me that they weren’t coming and suggested that we get our tickets before the movie began. At this point, I kinda realised that I was tricked into this date with him, but went along with it anyway. So we stood in the lengthy queue and I paid for myself because as a student, he didn’t have enough money for the both of us. I also ended up buying the popcorn – all of which I didn’t mind, because I knew that he couldn’t afford it. It was on our way home, when he took my hand that I freaked out. A few days later I explained to him that while I really enjoyed his company, it would not be fair to lead him on because we both wanted different things and I was ready for a serious relationship that was heading somewhere, while he was not. The entire scenario was not really horrendous, just awkward, even after he conned me into a date.

I should have known that Shuaib* was a freak when he called me 17 times on the first day we met. Actually, we hadn’t even met in person, just on the phone when another mutual friend decided to introduce us. He asked me if he could take me out for coffee so I said yes, assuming he meant on the weekend. He pitched up at my house the very next day after driving for 2 hours to get there, in the middle of the week. What was even worse, was that he pitched up with 4 of his friends and they all had to meet my family, while he bragged about his brand new black BMW 325i and told me that I was so privileged to be the first girl allowed in his car. I was hesitant at first, but considered the fact that he drove so far to meet me and eventually agreed to talk some more over coffee. I squeezed in at the back of the car, with 3 of his friends and off we all went for coffee and cake, while he chatted away about his various homes, his Ferrari, his Lexus, his dad’s mansion, his Rolex, his Versace shirt…you name it. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled at all and I couldn’t wait to get out of there and I conveniently “lost” his number and changed mine.

It was the night of my birthday, and Naeem* wanted to take me out to celebrate. I had never been out with him before and he decided that we should go to Spur because he craved for some good steak. I acquiesced, because I didn’t really mind where we went. We were seated in the restaurant and the waitress brought the menu’s but he had already decided that we should have one of those Spur Steak Fillet’s (I can’t remember the name of the dish) with a variety of sauces. I went along with everything, because I didn’t mind, steak is steak, I was starving and as long as it was Halaal, I didn’t really care.
So imagine my surprise when the waitress hands me a huge piece of raw steak, a heated tile and a few spices/sauces.
Naeem had ordered one of those meals, where the tile is heated long enough to retain heat so that you have the pleasure of cooking your own steak with various spices, just the way you like it. Even though I was starving and not really looking forward to still cooking my meal, I didn’t mind because I’m up for anything and it was even fun. I was laughing, chatting and cooking away while he grew irritated and grim. Apparently his tile was not heated enough, so his steak was not adequately cooked and he asked the waiter for another heated tile. She brought it in no time, and we resumed chatting while I spiced up my steak and braised it on the other side and he resumed basting his steak on the hot tile. In the ten minutes that conversation lapsed, my steak was ready for consumption while his other tile grew cold. His cutlet was still half raw and he demanded that they take it to the kitchen and cook it for him. I decided to wait for him because I didn’t want to eat alone but he insisted that I begin and he became more agitated. I offered him a few of my chips which he took grudgingly and began to eat very slowly.
Twenty minutes later, the waitress brings him a brand new prime piece of steak. He was furious because it was not the original piece of steak that he was trying to cook and he demanded to see the manager. I tried to laugh it off and told him to relax, that he was ruining everything by being so uptight. The restaurant was packed to the brim, so quite understandably, we would have had to wait a few minutes for the manager to come, but waiting just made him angrier. He complained to the manager, and they eventually brought him his original steak, cooked to perfection. Almost 2 hours had lapsed since we arrived, I had already eaten all my food but I was still in a good mood.
After he had eaten and it was time to leave, he paid but refused to tip the waitress. So I took out a few coins from my purse to tip her and he got angry with me. He told me that their service was shite and that she didn’t deserve a tip.
It was at this point that I lost it. My cool, light-hearted composure gave way and I gave him a piece of my mind. I told him that he was being childish and that even though things didn’t work out the way he wanted them to, she still deserved her tip because she earned it by trying to meet his endless demands. I was so angry with him for ruining what could have been a perfectly good evening by whining like a kid that I demanded he take me home and refused to go out with him again.

I think that it was Yasin's* cousin who initially suggested that we catch a movie in Rosebank one late summer’s evening. He suggested it because he knew that Yasin was a spineless bastard that would never ask a girl out for a chat, even though we were attracted to each other at the time. I could tell that Yasin was a little apprehensive about going out so late on a week night but he soon warmed up to the idea and they came to pick me up around 7pm. I wasn’t working at the time, so I didn’t mind and with his cousin as a chaperone, we were soon on the road to Rosebank. An hour later, we stood in front of the movies, trying to decide what to watch. I suggested we go and see “Jumper” with Hayden Christensen and since there wasn’t anything more enticing, they decided to go with my suggestion. I offered to pay for my ticket, knowing that Rosebank’s tickets are overpriced but Yasin refused my money, saying he’ll take care of it. He then went to the Usher who was standing outside, offered him a bribe with what was equivalent to the price of one ticket, and he let me go in for free. So in essence, he didn’t even pay for my ticket. I felt scandalous and despite their protests, I bought the popcorn and coke that the three of us were to share for the evening. After the movie, he told me that it was shite and that he would have preferred watching one of the other movies, as if accusing me of making a bad decision that ruined his evening. I afforded him his opinion because he was entitled, but I thought he was a bit rude and knew right then, that it wasn’t meant to be.

I honestly can’t even remember how or where I met Farhaad*. All I can remember is that he was very enthusiastic, about everything and nothing in particular. He took me to some Moroccan restaurant and after chatting for a bit he seemed distracted, like he wasn’t interested in what I was saying and he was barely paying attention. He ate his food in 2 minutes, literally, and told me to hurry up because he wanted to go for a walk. His behaviour was odd, and I prolonged my meal until he got up to pay for it, signaling that I was done. We then took a walk around the block and he suggested that we go to the park, in the pitch dark of night. My alarm bells were ringing at this stage and I refused…he begged me; literally got on his knees…he really really wanted to go to the park. I briefly ran through my years at karate, refreshing my memory and planned my escape. I wasn’t in the mood to be murdered or raped that night and I headed straight back into the restaurant and called a friend. Thankfully, I never saw him again.

I have to get new friends who can introduce me to new people. Or maybe I really should try speed dating.

*Names changed to protect identities

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MARCH

Having never rafted before, I really didn't know what to expect when I signed up for White Water Rafting on the Ash River in the Free State. It sounded great theoretically and I'm always game for anything on water. No surprises then to report that the weekend was FANTASTIC. I had THE best time
and I would SO do this again...but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning...

Roughly 300km's south from Johannesburg, in the Province of The Orange Free State (is it still called The Orange Free State or is it just The Free State? anyways,) lies the best kept secret of The Free State, a tiny town called Clarens, nestled between the Maluti Mountains, on the border of Lesotho. We left at the crack of midnight, because it was not dawn and there was no light to be seen…actually it was around 5:30am. It took us approximately 3 hours to get there because we had to stop and get breakfast of course, because food never stays behind on the itinerary.


So we (by we I mean me sisters and I in one car and me cousin and in-law in another) finally get there, meet & greet the rest of the suckers willing to die that day. It was at this point that it hit me what we were about to do and I was trying to calm my nerves with some marshmallow chocolate bunny eggs but it wasn’t working.


We were then told to board the lovely van that would take us to our deaths and upon arrival, saw this sign which read "DANGER: Collapsing River Banks, Stay Away from the Edge"...how reassuring.


But it wasn't until I saw this, that I began to shake in my river boots.
The instructors began dishing out rules, regulations, and every precautionary measure that only years of experience could have taught them. We all listened intently, making mental notes, each going through their Last Will & Testament and hoping and praying to The Almighty that we survive the day.


And what can I say? Other than it was AWESOME!! We rafted for most of the day and stopped in between to have snacks and lunch.


Rafting turned out to be quite rigourous and theres alot of physical work to do outside of the raft as well as in. I've done things on this trip that I NEVER ever thought I would do.



I climbed over rocks and boulders, over bridges and down treacherous slopes to get in and out of the raft. At one point, we disembarked the raft to walk around a miniature waterfall and had to tread through some very murky and muddy water, (in which I got stuck, twice) to get onto the hill overlooking the waterfall. I then saw two of my instructors climbing down the dodgy embankment that was about 2 to 3 meters high, with the raft in tow and briefly wondered what on earth were they doing before I realised that they intended to raft from just below the waterfall, gushing water and all. And of course theres no time to panic in the madness of it all, you're operating on autopilot, and before I knew it I was climbing down said dodgy river embankment into the raft and paddling my arms off.



I think the pinnacle for me was one of the Grade 4 rapids, I think it's called The Shoot, in the last 8 kilometres. Every other drop, up to this point was met with eyes tightly shut and hanging on for dear life while laughing hysterically. But for some reason, I wanted to keep the eyes open on this one, and it turned out to be the biggest drop from them all and I can still see us falling and feel the adrenalin pumping through my veins.


All in all, it was exhilarating and spectacular. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, was March's challenge and what a great one...7 hours, 12 Rapids (Grade 3 & 4) and 19 kilometers. It was SO worth it and I'll definitely be going again. For those interested, be prepared to be soaked for most of the day and the water is quite cold throughout the year, but it is so worth it. Also always listen to your guide and you won't have any problems.



We managed to spend some time in Clarens, the tiny overpriced town thats quickly becoming a tourist hotspot.

There are only a couple of streets in the town and everything is situated around the Town Square.


So theres no need to drive and everything is in walking distance. The place is every artists dream and is filled to the brim with all kinds of Galleries, Cafés, Restuarants and Craft shops.

Even though the town is quite expensive, we still managed to keep to a budget and enjoyed some Belgian Chocolates that were not so Belgian...more wannabees. The intention of every trip is not to break the bank, rather be reasonable and modest. The only real meal we enjoyed was Nando's in Bethlehem, 30km's from Clarens, on the way home. Every other meal was made up of Cheese and Rolls. But then again, we didn't go to Clarens for the Cuisine.


I would say that one of the highlights of the trip was taking a drive out to the Golden Gate Nature Reserve, about 20 kilometres out of Clarens into the Maluti Mountains. It's all shades of peaceful and serene on one canvas and utterly beautiful.

And only 3 hours from Johannesburg...yeah I'll definitely come here again.

An Interview With Moi

So, I don't know who nominated me or how it all began. Oh well, such is life...nothing spectacular or earth shattering, but for those interested, check it out:

http://www.pakspectator.com/

Here's the transcript:

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?
My name is Azra and I live and work in Johannesburg, South Africa. My site is a very open and honest view reflecting my opinions and views of the world in a variety of topics. I appreciate a good sense of humour and prefer looking at the lighter side of life. I am also a pragmatist and realist; I strongly believe that we should embrace life and live each moment like it’s the last.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?
I’m not sure that my writing contributes to my personal growth. I either write to express myself therapeutically and purge whatever plagues my mind, or sometimes I write for fun or out of boredom.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?
I don’t really have one single moment that stands out. I generally enjoy interacting with different people.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
I engage in their lives or interact with them through their blogs, c-box or gtalk.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?
Overall, I think the Internet has done wonders for networking through news sites, blogging and other social networks whereby information is made available to the public in an instant.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?
To an extent yes. These technologies have definitely encouraged social networking making it easier for people to connect with others, regardless of previous constraints like time, distance, geographical boundaries etc.

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?
My site is an open and honest depiction of who I am as a person and what I believe in. There are no pretences and I’m not lost waiting to be “discovered” or “rescued”. I’m not searching for some truth or enlightenment or the answers to life’s riddles. I am just 100% me, enjoying every second I get to live and making the most of my journey here on earth; even though my thoughts and opinions are subject to change and personal growth.

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?
Honesty.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?
The happiest moment of my life was when it dawned on me that most of our worries are petty and inconsequential in the grander scheme of things. Our life on earth is a mere rest-stop onto much bigger and greater things and we have to therefore make the most of every day we’re alive, instead of wasting precious moments on trivial problems and frivolous anxieties. The gloomiest moments were the 26 years prior to that realisation.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for - what would your top 3 choices be?
There are so many because I regard myself as a traveller through life. But Greece, Turkey & Mexico stand out.

What is your favorite book and why?
I have two.
1.) White Oleander by Janet Fitch: The story is written so well that it stays with you long after you’ve read it.
2.) Alhambra by Colin da Silva: This book was instrumental and changed my life.


What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?
Their eyes, the windows to the soul.

Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?
No…on the contrary, everyone always encouraged me to write including all my English teachers throughout the years.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?
I’d say the only way to benefit financially is through advertising or offering a required service or product.

Is it true that those who have a successful blog have an awful lot of time on their hands?
I don’t think so. I think people either have a talent for writing or they don’t. And people’s opinions and tastes differ, so a successful blog is largely dependant on what the target audience wants or needs.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world a more friendlier place and less hostile?
Open communication and healthy debate is always good, although I do believe that standing up and voicing injustices is a good start too.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers?
It is nearly impossible and would be unfair of me to pick five because there are many blogs that inspire me on various levels. I do however, prefer and tend to enjoy reading posts and blogs from writers who are generous with themselves and are willing to share their real life experiences; those who are open and honest about who they are because I value and appreciate complete honesty.

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?
My “Perfect Asshole” posts garnered a lot of attention.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?
My perception of Pakistan is heavily influenced by the media and could hence be inaccurate. I see Pakistan as a nation etched in old traditions and cultures; cultures where men are still considered the head of the home or sole providers whilst women are care-takers – much like most of the traditional continental cultures throughout Europe and Asia.

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?
Not really, no. We are all unique and that’s what makes us the same.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?
I think developed countries have procedures or processes in place that make everything more streamlined and systematic i.e. their processes allow their systems to run more efficiently and in less time whereas developing countries may still use older methods of doing things which may be more time consuming and frustrating.

What is the future of blogging?
Most businesses are becoming more interactive with their consumer base and have adopted socially interactive methods of communication, like blogging, in an effort to connect with their clients and gain valuable feedback, which in turn allow them to improve in their operations dramatically in a variety of ways. Consumers do not only interact with the company, but with each other on problems, obstacles, advise etc. and this communication fosters a relationship and a sense of loyalty between the company and client that is mutually beneficial in terms of service/delivery and customised/personalised service.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?
I interact with a lot more people than usual in my personal life. It hasn’t really affected my professional life.

What are your future plans?
I’d like to complete my MBA and move up the corporate ladder and travel as much as I can.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?
Firstly, don’t be a spectator, be a participant and respect yourself enough to really truly Live your life because one never knows what lies around the corner. Secondly, make wise decisions that leave no room for regrets, because “regrets are a waste of time, they’re the past crippling you in the present”. Thirdly, ensure that you’re always honest and true to yourself as well as with others and treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Lastly, don’t forget our Creator, count your blessings and take each day as it comes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

History In The Making

I don't like to delve into politics because it always makes me flare up and become homocidal. But I just want to say one thing...

The South African Government's choice to deny the Dalai Lama a visa to enter the country is the first step in a chain of events that could have catastrophic consequences for the future of a supposedly democratic South Africa. If they could succumb to the Chinese Officials’ demands (and everyone knows they did), what prevents them from denying Islamic or Jewish leaders entry into the country, based on existing or potential foreign ties?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

Anyone who knows me will tell you that these pointless posts are a sign of avoidance. I’d rather sit here and type up complete shit then actually face what I have to face. So far, this MBA has been hectic but surprisingly interesting. I enjoy all the subjects and hectic work load aside, I actually find most of them to be quite easy…well all of them except Financial Reporting and Managerial Accounting.

I always hated Accounting and dropped the subject in high school for Computer Science instead. Unlike Mathematics, Science and Biology, I never took to Accounting because I didn’t receive adequate knowledge to build a solid foundation on. So at this stage, asking me to cram 4 years of Undergrad Accounting into one semester is kinda like asking a kid who hasn’t yet learned to count from 1 to 10 to do complicated mathematical equations.

My brain is therefore, complete mush and I’m at a point where I can only manage to type random shit…and any excuse I can muster to get away from the text book, I will grab with both hands and run like a coward.
But at some point, I will have to gather my wits together (or the famous last two brain cells I have) and actually get down to doing it because there is no way in hell I’m going to allow myself to fail or give up, not after all I’ve been through. So I have to take a few steps back, re-evaluate some things and start from the beginning. I think getting a tutor may help.

On a completely different note, I received an invitation from Premier Paul Mashatile, inviting me to attend a luncheon on Saturday where he will report back on the Gauteng Provincial Government service delivery progress and economic growth strategies for 2009/2010. I usually accept these invitations, not because I care about Gauteng’s growth rate and development progress, but because I enjoy putting someone through the trouble of organising Halaal food. In a pre-dominantly Christian country where most people only ever consider their Christian-pork-chop-loving taste buds and neglect to even think of those with Halaal, Kosher or Vegetarian requirements, I take immense pleasure in having them run around to accommodate my needs. And the real highlight is the dessert table. It’s what dreams are made of.

Unfortunately this time around, I won’t be able to skip lunch and head straight for dessert because I won’t be in Gauteng this weekend. I’m using the limited time I have to fulfill some other LIVE campaign obligations for the month of March. So even though I’d love to have some Lindt chocolate mousse, with vanilla infused white chocolate cake, or a serving of strawberries and cream and some coffee-based tiramisu on the side; and even though I’d love to go to the theatre with her, I can’t because I’m out of town.

Detour.

I was thinking about that subject that thrills, intrigues, disgusts and fascinates me all at the same time…MEN. It got me pondering about what guys want. They always say that we women are difficult, and we may be difficult to fathom but at the crux of it, I reckon people just want to be accepted and appreciated for who they are.

But what do men want from women...

Back to work.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

iTunes Top 25

The top 25 of the 178 songs I currently have on my iPod. I hate having too many songs on my play lists because it confuses me. I actually prefer listening to 50 songs on a play list at a time so that I feel more connected to the song, especially since I update my play lists regularly to reflect my mood…argh I can’t explain it. Honestly, 25 songs are not enough because I love my music. But here’s the current soundtrack to my life and in no particular order.

1. Poker Face – Lady Gaga (It’s been on my play list for almost 4 months now and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon).

2. Hot Summer Night (Spanish Version) – David Tavares ft. Evissa 2008 (I love this track, reminds me of the sea and beach).

3. If You Seek Amy (Album Version) – Britney Spears (The “all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to If You Seek Amy” aka F.U.C.K.ME song).

4. Decode – Paramor (They are like the new Evanescence; amazing how history repeats itself).

5. Infinity – Guru Josh Project 2008 (It’s the ultimate weekend song and reminds me of the ship).

6. Walking On a Dream – Empire on the Sun (I’ve been hooked on this song ever since I heard it on the radio).

7. Click Click Click – New Kids on the Block (Partly because I was supposed to marry Jonathan & I’m still loyal and mostly because I LOVE the melody).

8. Changes (Dirty South Remix) – Chris Lake ft Laura V (It’s emblematic of all the changes in my life…so cliché but the remix is awesome).

9. Dance Dance – Fall Out Boy (I just love how the song unfolds).

10. Spinning the Wheel – George Michael (I LOVE these lyrics).

11. Bed Shaped – Keane (It reminds me of Amsterdam and the melody is soothing).

12. Now or Never – High School Musical 3 (Because I’m a schmuck who watches corny Disney musicals and think that this one had the best soundtrack. And Zac Efron is so pretty).

13. Aao Milo Chalo – Jab We Met singers Shaan & Ustad Sultan Khan (This song makes me want to pack my bags and go on a road trip with no particular destination in mind).

14. Run – Leona Lewis (Because she pulls it off, beautifully).

15. Sober – Pink (I always think Pink’s second releases are better than her first).

16. Alone in Love – Mariah Carey (One of her best songs in my books from her very first album…I miss the old Mariah Carey, when her hair was bigger than her face and not the other way around).

17. Secret – Maroon 5 (A seriously sensual song, it’s like liquid acoustic chocolate).

18. Kill the Lights – Britney Spears (This one grew on me like fungus and mould grows in the grouting of the shower’s tiles).

19. Seven days in Sunny June – Jamiroquai (This song epitomises summer in the Northern Hemisphere and takes me back to some great picnics on Parliament Hill).

20. Dead and Gone – T.I ft Justin Timberlake (Because it’s Justin’s voice and he makes the song work).

21. Who Am I? – Will Young (This soothing song takes me back to rainy days, cosy cafés, contemplative and reflective moods, hot chocolate and promises).

22. Road to Mandalay – Robbie Williams (Reminds me of old school…like Frank Sinatra old school)

23. Careless Whisper – Seether (The only good version besides the original).

24. Fortune Faded – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Some more great lyrics).

25. Reveal – Celine Dion (I LOVE this song and ironically every time I hear it, I’m transported INSTANTLY back to the days I spent on the beach in Gibraltar…the same beach little Caesar made his debut).

Silence Is Golden

WIFE: "What would you do if I died? Would you get married again?"

HUSBAND: "Definitely not!

WIFE: "Why not? Don't you like being married?"

HUSBAND: "Of course I do."

WIFE: "Then why wouldn't you remarry?"

HUSBAND: "Okay, okay, I'd get married again."

WIFE: "You would?"

HUSBAND: ....?

WIFE: "Would you live in our house?"

HUSBAND: "Sure, it's a great house."

WIFE: "Would you sleep with her in our bed?"

HUSBAND: "Where else would we sleep?"

WIFE: "Would you let her drive my car?"

HUSBAND: "Probably, it is almost new."

WIFE: "Would you replace my pictures with hers?"

HUSBAND: "That would seem like the proper thing to do."

WIFE: "Would you give her my jewellery?"

HUSBAND: "No, I'm sure she'd want her own."

WIFE: "Would she wear my shoes"

HUSBAND: "No, she's size 6."

WIFE: -- silence --

HUSBAND: "SHIT."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Will The Real Men Please Stand Up

I heard a dreadful story the other day. It left me feeling physically sick and abused. A relatively well known 38-year-old-South-African-English-speaking-Indian “Mufti” married a 17 year-old-Jordanian-Arabic-speaking-girl, Mariam, a few months ago. Mufti brought his new bride to live with him, his sister and his parents on a little farm just outside Johannesburg. Not long into the marriage, Mufti sought counsel with one of the elders, complaining that his new wife would not sleep with him and that she was disrespectful to his family. On these terms, Mufti decided to pack her bags and send her back to her family; who were incidentally visiting South Africa at the time and staying with friends.

The elders then enquired into the matter and with the help of an interpreter, sought counsel with Mariam, who was clearly traumatised. From Mariam’s side of the story, deplorable information came to light. According to Mariam, Mufti refused to engage in any discourse with her. He refused to get to know her, refused to speak to her and only ever wanted to sleep with her in the late hours of the evening to satisfy his animalistic urges. And instead of fostering a relationship with his wife, Mufti spent hours in his sister’s quarters, sometimes only emerging after 10pm. It was then that Mariam withdrew from any physical intimacy.

Life became increasingly difficult for Mariam because she could not converse with anyone, no one in the household understood Arabic, except Mufti, and she could not speak any English. To make matters worse, her mother-in-law took this opportunity to exploit Mariam’s presence in the household. To make a long story short, Mariam became a slave. She was instructed to clean the house two to three times a day by her mother-in-law and had to acquiesce to all kinds of requests from her sister-in-law. She obeyed, silently.

One afternoon, Mariam was done with her chores and after her bath, decided to wear a pair of jeans, only to be met with the look of horror and dismay on the faces of her in-laws. Her mother-in-law immediately reprimanded her, telling her that if Mufti found out, he would kill her. So, not wanting to meet the disapproval of her husband, Mariam changed her clothes and donned an ankle length skirt instead. But when Mufti arrived home later that evening, he scolded his wife for her attire i.e. referring to the skirt. When he found out about the jeans, he went ballistic and shredded them with a pair of scissors. Despite all of this, at the end of it all, she still did not want to leave her husband, even when he forced her out of their home.

Even though Mufti refused to converse with Mariam, apparently he had no qualms about conversing with his friends and other acquaintances over the nature of his relationship with his wife. He told one of them that his wedding night was “nice” and even boasted about the fact that Mariam was, and I quote “so tight and in so much pain”.

The elders shook their heads, shocked and appalled by what they had heard. And judging from Mufti’s checkered past, his tendency to be a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR as well as the Indian culture of “mother-in-law-from-hell”, it had appeared that Mariam was telling the truth.

Now I ask you, the public, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? Are these the kinds of men we have in our society? What kind of man divulges such crude and personal information to relative strangers? What kind of SWINE takes pleasure in his wife’s pain and misery and boasts about it too? And a supposedly educated man at that?

Stories like these are so common in our society, it makes me SICK to my core. These people are supposed to be educated in the Deen (religion). They pride themselves on their knowledge of Islam and are even arrogant about it. But I have to say that all their religious efforts are in vain because this is NOT Islam. This is NOT the knowledge or the kind of behaviour that the Prophet SAW imparted on his journey here on earth. I was LIVID when I heard this story. I actually wish the narrator did not impart this information to me and I’m still reeling from it. I can’t even begin to describe how it has disturbed me.

Mufti is the kind of guy that should be gang raped by a bunch of male ex-cons until his very own existence repulses him. If I had a couple of million lying around in my bank account I would have even made it happen and then hand him the gun afterwards so that he can finish the job himself. He's the kind of guy I would bludgeon to death with the axe I keep in the kitchen next to the refrigerator. And I would take my time, so that the spaces in between each blow would feel like an eternity for him…because killing the fucking animal is not enough, he has to be tortured first.

As a woman, I feel violated even though I do not know Mariam personally. I feel ashamed to be part of the world in which she had to suffer. And all I want to do is attack this fucking inbred cursed society with cruel and ruthless words, and an atomic bomb or three. But I won’t unleash any devastation or label and generalise, not today.

Instead, I will mourn for all the other Mariam’s out there. I will ask all the women who are mother’s or will become mother’s to please instill in their sons the morals and values that are right by Islamic principles and not by society's traditions and cultural standards. And I will ask all the REAL MEN to please stand up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

I'm in such a euphoric and loving mood it's disgusting. I'm all about sunflowers and butterflies, rainbows and sunshine, hugs and kisses today. I want to hug the world...or at least those parts of the world that I like, those parts that I hate can F@#$ off and die.

I like big bear hugs...those ones that envelope you and crush your ribs...the ones that usually last for 30 seconds or longer and make you drunk. I wish I could hug someone.
I should go and visit someone with children and hug and kiss the shit out of them. Any volunteers? lol :D

So here's a big bear hug for all my cyber friends, and for all those who need one :D Take them while they're free.

Seriously, who wouldn't want to hug and kiss this...


or this...


With Love, Hope, Faith and Peace
Azra

Monday, March 16, 2009

Moving House

In my London days, (sad that I’ve been reduced to reminiscing), I moved house quite a bit. For those who’ve never been…try and picture dragging around suitcases on wheels, and huge black plastic dustbin bags filled with pots, cutlery, hangers and other pieces of shit one accumulates over time; on red Double-Decker buses and on the underground tube with a couple of friends, laughing and giggling at the absurdity of it all, wishing that you just hired a cab or one of those dodgy overpriced taxi’s to heave all your crap around instead.

It was my third or fourth time heaving and dragging and lugging shit around London that I met Donovan, a Chartered Accountant originally from New Zealand. I was trying to escape a dragon of a Landlady and responded to his Ad on the Gumtree…”Flat owner seeking live-in caretaker in Maida Vale” and I ended up renting a room from him at £70.00 a week. I hit the Jackpot. It was one of the best bargains I’ve ever came across in my life considering that I rented a room and got an entire flat in one of the poshest neighbourhoods in London, fully furnished complete with lounge, additional bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and garden to use at my disposal, while Donovan temporarily moved in with his British-born Sri Lankan Lawyer vegetarian girlfriend, Anushka, across town.

In our initial tenancy agreement, it was stipulated that I could basically use the place as my own, provided that I took care of it i.e. cleaned it on a regular basis. Of course that was no problem and before I knew it, I entered a phase that I still call one of the best phases of my life.
So in the spaces between going to work and going out with my friends, I not only cleaned and looked after Donovan’s place, I used his VCR, DVD, TV and Hi-Fi. I read all his books because he was an avid reader with an enormous collection and I watched all his DVD’s and I entertained my friends Angie, Joanita, Sylvia and Bea to regular sleep-overs in the additional room (originally his bedroom) and the sleeper couch in the lounge. I ate all his Belgian chocolates that Pierre used to bring on a regular basis from Belgium and whatever edible/Halaal grocery supplies he kept. He even acquiesced to my sister staying with me while she holidayed for 6 weeks under the British sun (and clouds) at no charge. It was a year of heaven.

He was an excellent Landlord, very clued up on Islam and always accommodating my needs as a Muslim. He used to check up on me once or twice a week, to see that everything was ok and would on rare occasion pop around to sleep in his bed whenever he was at odds with Anushka and she kicked him out. He loved to cook even though his meals were mediocre at best and would book his kitchen on some weekends to host garden parties for his friends, because Anushka would have rather died then let him near her kitchen. Once, he made one of his famous vegetarian dishes for us and invited Tom, his childhood/varsity friend along for the meal. I could barely keep the mashed potatoes down from laughing as Tom lambasted his cooking and demanded to know why Donovan insisted on honing his culinary skills when he was clearly horrendous in the kitchen.

I eventually became acquainted with everyone in Donovan’s circle including all his married and single friends, his mom and dad as well as his brother and sister as they would stay in his room whenever they came to visit for a few days from New Zealand. I got to know Anushka and her siblings pretty well too. I occasionally baby sat nine-month old Sharona for his friends Laura the Nurse and Tim the Engineer for some extra money, and was usually invited to most of the Kiwi-hosted events in London.

I traveled a lot in that time too…and it was always comforting to know that I could return to a place that I called home. After I moved back to South Africa, he decided to take the plunge, married Anushka and sent me 50 photos of the wedding which jammed my Hotmail account. We have been in contact ever since.

I received the phone call last week after several hours of trying to decipher a very obscure email from Donovan…something about visiting Cape Town, requiring information and leaving on a long-haul flight from Fiji rendering him unavailable for a couple of days. So back in London, he called to apologise for his crappy typing skills and told me that Cape Town was a blast.
I was confused, thinking that he had wanted to come to CT and being told that he had already visited. He told me it was totally unscheduled and spontaneous, that they didn’t want to bother me for some catch-up meeting considering how far CT is from JHB and that they were very impressed with what SA had to offer and look forward to visiting again soon.

We got chatting about my up-coming trip as well and he insisted on coming to pick me up from the airport. I told him he needn’t bother since I have done it like 6 times before and that I’ll be fine. He was also a little disappointed that we couldn’t stay with him and Anushka when I told him that we’ve already accepted Bea’s offer to stay at her place.

It got me thinking about all the lovely people in my life. The ones who are there no matter what…the ones who really care and extend their friendships generously…with no expectations or requirements from me. The ones who will be there when I need them to be, even though we have no blood ties that bind us…no obligations to each other…no real reason to be committed to the friendship. Those are the people that count to me. They are the ones that keep hope alive for human kind, the ones that make me believe that the world is not all bad.

In retrospect, I was the one who signed up to take care of Donovan’s flat, but in reality he is the one who took care of me…the quintessential big brother-type who was always too cautious and wary for my liking…analyzing everything to death and having a million “contingency plans”…he would drive me insane sometimes, but he always looked out for me, even when I didn’t need him too. I was, and still am, truly blessed.

Heres to all the lovely people out there.

Who Am I?

"I'm more MAN than you'll ever be and I'm more WOMAN then you'll ever have"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gastronomical Satiety: Boisterous Baked Beans

Another in the Weird, Whacky and Whimsical food series...Sorry Saaleha, I still don't have my camera from Sony so there aren't any pics :P

You will need:
1 Onion
1 Can of Baked Beans
1 Level tsp of Indian Spices (Curry Powder, Tumeric, Coriander/Jeera)
Bunch of fresh coriander
1 Tsp salt
3 Medium tomatoes (grated)
A few strips of thinly sliced cheese
1 Pkt BBQ Fritos or Doritos
Few lettuce leafs
1 Carrot
Bread

Braise the onion in a few tablespoons of oil until golden. Add the grated tomato's, salt and Indian spices to that and let it cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Then add your baked beans and a handful of fresh coriander and let that simmer for another 15 minutes.

On the side: Cut the lettuce into tiny strips, grate the carrot over that and toss together.
Add a couple of slices of bread to a toaster until golden brown. Once it pops, let it cool.

Scoop a few tablespoons of curried baked beans on a slice of toast...place the cheese strips over the beans...top with a handful of crushed BBQ Fritos or Doritos, and a handful of lettuce and carrots on top of that. Either cover with another slice of toast or grab a knife and fork and Enjoy :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Current Addictions

1. Wanderlust
I always maintain that this is my one, only and true passion. I LOVE travelling, more than anyone can fathom and I don't think it will ever change. I would sell everything I own just to go on a journey. Luckily, I don't have to because then I'd have to seriously consider becoming a gypsy.

2. Oogling Guys
I'm sure my eyes will be popped out of their sockets and grilled on skewers as a punishment, before I go to hell. I know this is wrong on so many levels, but I can't help it and honestly, a part of me doesnt care. And it's not like I'm touching. I just look at the menu, I don't order. I'm old enough and as long as I don't have anyone...

3. White-fleshed Nectarines
To me, this alone is evidence that The Almighty exists and is the most powerful force ever. Because NO ONE will ever be able to re-create this absolutely beautiful fruit. I swear these come from heaven...I'm sure of it. It tastes like a mix between a peach, regular nectarine, passionfruit and heaven. I assume this is what people mean by orgasmic. And when you come to the centre, it tastes like flowers. I'm dead serious.

4. Pokerface - Lady Gaga
I just love this one...reminds me of my crazy/beautiful cruising nights. I can still remember the crowd at "I'll get him hot, show him what I got" ;D

5. Cornetto Chocolate Hugs
It's chocolate, ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate sauce, some wafer, chocolate wafer balls and some more chocolate. Whats not to like?

6. iPod Shuffle
I like compact things and this is great for those dreary mornings at the gym. You can't even feel it on you when it's clipped to your clothing. And each iTune takes me to another dimension. I wish iPod would make a waterproof one so that I could swim with them too. Hey, I think I'll patent that idea.

7. 2009 Diary
I've never been a "diary" person but with my hectic schedule, I barely know which day it is anymore so I rely on this little book to not only remind me which day it is, but what I've got scheduled for the day and the week ahead.

8. Mobile Gmail
It's how I keep in touch with the world, since I'm on the road alot and can't always get a decent Internet connection.

9. Playtex Cotton Bra
No underwire and no straps cutting into your shoulders. Just very comfortable support that is strong enough to push the girls to heaven and keep them there :D

10. Pilot G-2 07 Gel Pens
There's nothing better and cheaper to scribble and write with.

11. Stalking on Facebook
Fascinating...and so much cheap fun.

12. Watching "The Jane Austen Book Club"
I love this movie and could watch it over and over and over and over and over again.
The script is excellent and the directing is exceptional. It's depiction of various people's lives, and how they parallel each of the books they discuss in their bookclub is simply genius.

13. Toast
Definitely one of my favourite meal choices. Ready in two minutes with any topping of my choice...usually butter or peanut butter and honey, cheese or last night's leftovers. In fact, I hardly ever eat bread as it is because I always toast it. I can live on toast, thats how much I love it.

14. Nescafe Gold & Saccharine Tablets
Another result of a hectic schedule and the need for more quantities of caffeine in my bloodstream to keep me going. And because I quit sugar in August, I travel with my substitutes and use them in everything that requires sugar...even cereal.

15. Water
I drink at least 8 glasses a day on average. Around 12 glasses on some summer days and at the very least 6 glasses (usually in winter). But I can't live without water. It's my preferred drink over anything else although I do delve into the softdrinks and virgin cocktails on occasion.

16. Pritt Superglue
This stuff is like magic in a tube. It can fix anything ie. shoes, clothes, handbags, car accessories, stationery, spectacles/glasses...you name it. And I always walk around with one on hand because I'm freaky like that.

17. Making Carrot Cake
Because I made it once and it came out perfect and I have been trying to re-create that ever since.

18. Adidas Game Spirit Shower Gel for Men
I love the smell and it's the closest I'm getting to a guy for now :D

19. My Discovery Credit Card
I use it for EVERYTHING...even movie rentals and I know I shouldn't and it's terrible, considering the global financial crisis blah blah blah...but I get free air miles...do you know what that means to me?!? Refer to # 1...

20. Cheese, Spinach & Corn Cocktail Pies from Deli Delicious
I can't get enough of these. The chicken, mutton and beef pies have too much chili-garlic and ginger in them...but these are perfect. Lovely afternoon snack with chocolate Super M milkshake ;D

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How To Get a Woman To Go Fishing


I'm re-visiting the whole nudity issue.

So it's no secret that I LOVE men. And that I HATE them at the same time :D
Put it this way, I love looking at them.
But I hate it when they're drooling all over me.
I love it when they're sincere and honest.
But I hate it when their natural tendency to LIE manifests.
I love it when they display natural wit and charisma.
But I hate it when they open their mouths and try to impress me with sinister intentions.
I love it when they're polite.
But I hate it when the moon comes out and then they all miraculously turn into Dogs lol....you get the picture.

I don't like nude men. Actually, I think the male physique is quite ugly...yes hideous is more like it. It's like something died where their genitals are suppose to be and it's quite disgusting actually lmao. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that their parts are designed and modeled to ensure that various tasks and functions are performed at their optimum. Thats fine, I accept that...I'm sure that when I get married, I'll even appreciate it. But they don't get any aesthetic points. Naked men are still ugly in my books. Give me any man without his shirt on anyday and I'll be more than happy. I'm all for anything from the navel upwards.

Chastise me later ;D

All Things In Three's

Because I was tagged...

Just a little about me, Read on . . .
3's About Me


Three Names I have been called
1. Azrita
2. Azzy
3. Az

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. Mediator
2. Event Co-ordinator
3. Actress/ Extra

Three Places I have lived
1. Cape Town, South Africa
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
3. London, UK

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. Prison Break
2. Grey’s & D Housewives (thats 2 but who's counting)
3. Amazing Race

Three places I have been
1. Jerusalem
2. Zurich
3. Bath

Three People that e-mail me regularly
1. Blogger
2. Facebook
3. Friends

Three of my favourite foods
1. Mexican
2. Italian
3. Mother’s

Three people I think should respond
1. Waseem
2. WIP
3. MJ & Noojie

Three things I am looking forward to
1. England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales in June
2. Umrah with Papa Bear later this year
3. Greece and Turkey with siblings


No one, Everyone and Anyone is tagged :P

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I always think I’m a racist bitch because I hate watching Indians or Blacks or any other race for that matter, make-out on TV. It just seems wrong and it grosses me out. However, I don’t mind watching Whites play tonsil hockey and to be blatantly honest, my nasty colonial habit extends to literature too because I always imagine the protagonist and antagonist to be White…and even if there are additional characters from other races, as long as the main characters are White, I won’t loose interest in the book.

But truth be told, I think Shemar Moore is hot. Blair Underwood, Jay Hernandez, Shaahid Kapoor, Wentworth Miller, John Abraham, Taye Diggs, Eric Dane, Mark Consuelos…I could seriously go on and on, you name them, they all rank high in my books and trust me, I don’t see skin colour when I look at abs of steel lol!

I can remember one particular incident, when we were in Amsterdam just over a year ago. We were visiting FC, who happens to be Mother’s youngest brother. I call him FC because he’s barely three years older than I am and he’s been that main brother-figure in my life so “Uncle” just won’t do. We landed on the day of Eid-ul-Adhaa and Mother went straight to work on the Briyani and roast chicken. FC went to the Masjid and came back with Muhammed, a Surinamese native who had been living in Amsterdam with his mother for the best part of his life.

Now this particular Muhammed was all kinds of amazing. He was polite, funny, charismatic, courteous, gracious, and a gentleman in every sense of the word. His mixed Dutch accent made him so adorable and the fact that he left early to help his mother made him even more appealing…he was just like how I like my men, straight mixed with some feisty and a dash of charisma. I don’t even have to mention that he was black because it’s irrelevant and none of us even saw his skin colour.

That’s when it hit me. The first light bulb went on.

I’m not racist in the traditional sense. I just hate cultures. And I don’t discriminate like I’ve said on numerous occasions, because I hate EVERYONE equally. I hate those cultures who think they are superior to everyone else. I hate those cultures that don’t even think twice about offending you with their ignorance and arrogance. I hate those cultures who feel entitled to everything they set their eyes on because of incidents that occurred in history. I hate those cultures that try to justify their actions with warped perceptions of reality. I hate those cultures that are indignant and bear grudges. I hate those cultures that a greedy fuckers who think of no one else but themselves. I hate those cultures that belittle and are condescending to others. I hate those cultures that are defensive and rationalise bad behavior. I hate those cultures that don’t respect others….

That’s when the second light bulb went on. What I really hate is disrespect.

And upon further reflection I’ve come to the following conclusions: South African’s do not have a culture of respect or a culture of conservation and preservation either. Now I know that there are many other nations out there with similar issues but I want to focus on South Africa as a nation in particular.

South African’s do not have a culture of respect or conservation or preservation, and I’ve said this before. They don’t respect each other, that’s why they can infringe on each others rights and blame Apartheid for their ignorance. They don’t respect the environment, that’s why they can destroy and fuck up everything they come into contact with through vandalism and pollution. They don’t respect themselves, that’s why it’s so easy for others to use and abuse them. They don’t respect the rules of the road, that’s why they drive like animals. They don’t respect the law and human life, that’s why they rape and pillage everything they come into contact with, even little babies that are barely six months old.

If I had to choose an analogy, I’d have to say that most South African’s remind me of Gog and Magog or Yajooj and Majooj, as stated in both the Bible and the Quraan, in that the culture is one of consumption, obliteration, devastation and rebellion. They don’t know what respect is and as a result, they’re breeding and spawning a whole new generation of “people” with similar sentiments, who won’t know what it means to have respect either.

What a sad state of affairs.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Je T'aime Encore

"Here the autumn ends, bringing back the rain.
The old Chevy's dead, they tried to fix it in vain.
Ele's got her first teeth, little Jimmy's getting strong.
I'm learning guitar, I almost know a song.

I've found some Chanterelle at the market this morning.
I'd like to live in Rome, Oh it'd be such a good thing.
Try to grow some flowers, The same I've tried before.
That's all for now,
Oh yes... Je T'aime Encore.

But where are you?
So far, with no address.
How's life for you?
My hope is my only caress.

I've finally cut my hair.
I hear you say... at last.
It's been kinda strange,
But you see I survived.
When I'm asked, I go out.
I dance all night and more.
And when I dance... Je T'aime Encore.

But where are you?
So far, with no address.
And how's life for you?
Time is my only caress.

Je t'aime Encore. Just like an old-fashioned song.
And it burns in my soul. Anything else is too long.

Oh more and more.
As strong as I can be.
Oui Je T'aime Encore.
But you... you cannot hear me."