Friday, May 28, 2010

The Story Of Fred & Martha

So my incredibly talented blogger friend LL posted this comment on a blog post of mine, on my other blog, and I nearly died laughing. LL, you are hilarious. Here goes:

Women over-analyze things, looking for hidden motives and so forth in a man's behavior. "What did he mean by that, why didn't he call me last night, etc." Guys are very simple. Disarmingly simple. We like to play, eat, sleep and have sex. THAT is it. I mean, that's really it.

Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: ...so that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumballs.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...

"Fred," Martha says aloud.

"What?" says Fred, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Fred.

"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Fred.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.

"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that...it's that I...I need some time," Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Fred.

"That way about time," says Martha.

"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Fred," she says.

"Thank you," says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"

And that's the difference between men and women.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

MAY

This month’s challenge was sorta thrust unto me and turned out to be my toughest challenge yet. In the beginning of the month, a very good friend asked me if I could take care of his one month old baby girl since her mother was very ill and he had to leave on an emergency business trip for a few days. So I acquiesced and took some time out of my busy job hunting schedule to take care of this tiny little girl full-time.

Now I’ve taken care of babies before, but not one month old babies and certainly not to this extent. At first, it was kinda overwhelming with 2am and 4am wake-up calls for feeding and burping and diaper changing and coo-ing and bath-time at 10am etc., and I felt myself bending over backwards trying to figure out this baby’s needs. On one of the mornings there was a grueling run from 3am until 10am with a very restless baby who was tired herself but not getting any sleep.

However, it wasn’t long before I learned to read the signs and could tell one cry from another… whether she was hungry or needed to be burped or changed or just wanted to be held. I picked up on other stuff too… like the fact that she loves to be held close before she falls asleep and hates it when you touch her feet. She also smiles and coo’s at 4 in the morning and falls asleep when you sing to her. In the end, I didn’t even mind the 2am, sometimes 3am and 4am wake-up calls, it was a pleasure to be able to do that for her. Best part was just watching her sleep…

I now know why people have children. I must say that the week was both exhausting and the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how one can love something, someone, who doesn’t even belong to you, so whole-heartedly without any reservations. I guess the human spirit really knows no bounds in terms of human connections and affection.

On the day the baby had to leave I was so sad, it was unbelievable. But I didn’t have time to wallow because it was like the universe wasn’t done with me, and on the very same day I got a phone call from another very good friend who asked me to help out at the primary school where she happens to teach. As it turned out, a lot of the teachers were off sick or on leave so at first I stepped in the role of Librarian for a few days. Thereafter, I was called again and asked to try my hand at teaching 45 second graders for the week.

I have never taught before, and always thought myself slightly allergic to kids. So I was not only apprehensive but slightly anxious too. The first day was difficult and I thought that I’d go home with little or no voice at all. Trying to control 45 seven-and-eight-year-olds is tough! But I got the hang of it and by the third day I was in a routine. It was numeracy in the mornings, and literacy after first break when their attention spans seemed to have waned somewhat.


The hardest part of each day had to be the 90 minutes after their second 15 minute break, before they went home. It was in those 90 minutes that they became monsters, unruly rowdy kids that were difficult to control because of all the sugar pumping through their veins fueling some ADHD tendencies. I often kept them in for the first and second break as a punishment and sometimes for 15 minutes after school too. And my threats included stripping them down and letting them walk around the school naked if they were naughty.

Think I'd have nighmares if I had to look at this every day. No wonder some of the kids are crazy.

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of voodoo shit.Visiting traditional healers are the norm amongst black cultures. Click on image to enlarge.

And then there was that constant barrage of: Ma’am, he took my pencil… Ma’am she’s writing on my book… Ma’am he’s talking… Ma’am I want to go to toilet… Ma’am can I drink water… Ma’am she’s chewing bubble-gum in the classroom… Ma’am he punched me… Ma’am she broke my ruler… Ma’am he took my sharpener and he doesn’t want to give it back… Ma’am give me one last chance…

Being a teacher is a messy job and in between the constant whining and tattle-tailing, you have to make sure that these snotty kids blow their noses and wash their hands with soap when they leave the toilet. I don’t think I’ll ever teach in South Africa though. There’s too much politics and this new OBE system is so messed up, it has teachers up to their necks in Admin work, in addition to teaching and giving lessons etc.

In my time in the classroom, I found many flaws in the system. One of the biggest issues at the moment is communication. SA has 11 official languages, but most schools are taught in the English medium. The result is that there are a whole lot of kids whose mother tongue is Afrikaans, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho and Zulu etc. who are being taught in English and while most of them speak English, they cannot understand basic instructions or the simplest of questions when being evaluated. And these are not stupid kids (most of them anyway).

In one of my lessons, I had asked them to give me the answer to “what is one more than 7?” and no one could answer me. So I asked them, “what’s 1 plus 7 and everyone automatically said “eight”… but none of them could understand that “one more than” meant “plus one”.

I remember when I was in Grade one, and we learned numbers 1 to 10. We learned how to write them out, spell them, add any of them, subtract any of them etc. We mastered numbers 1 to 10 before we moved on to other numbers. These kids are being forced to learn numbers 1 to 200 in the first grade and most of them don’t even know what the answer is to 3 minus 1.

That said, here are some of the highlights of what transpired over 3 weeks with a bunch of 6, 7, 8 and 9 year olds:

9 year old Brenda: Ma’am can I photocopy 3 pages from this book?
Me: (as Librarian) Yes, that will be R1,50.
Brenda: Ok, but I have my own paper.
Me: It’s still going to be R1,50.
Brenda: But I have my own paper, can’t you just stick it into the machine.
Me: Yes I can, but you still have to pay for the ink…
Brenda: Oh… (frown and light-bulb moment)

Me: (as Librarian) Sit down and keep quiet please! This is a Library, Prefects, please do your duties.
7 year old Ismail: Ma’am, we have no prefects in our grade.
Me: That is too bad, so sad for you!

8 year old Michael: (in the classroom) Ma’am, if we’re really good, can we all take turns and sing and dance for the class?
Me: Ok, yes.
(8 year old Indian girl, Anushka sits up-straight at the news and her eyes light up, Michael and some of the guys start dancing, class gets rowdy after 2 minutes)
Me: Ok, you know what, this is causing too much of a riot. Please sit down and you can dance during your break time.
Anushka: (who had 2 minutes ago donned the uniform like the rest of the school, comes to me out-of-the-blue wearing some sort of tights and gold sari-type-scarf-thingy and hair pinned in a weird disheveled way) Ma’am can I go brush my hair and fetch my skirt and the rest of my uniform outside because I thought we’re going to be dancing and now we’re not.
Me: Ah, erm, ok (wondering who the hell carries extra clothing around in case they’re going to be asked to dance?!?)

7 year old Jessica: (mumbling softly and incoherently) Ma’am humurnnice.
Me: Huh?
Jessica: Humurnnice.
Me: Huh? What’s that?
Jessica: (still softly) You are nice.

9 year old Bernice to 8 year old Farhaad: And if you touch my pencil with your snot, I’m going to break you!

Me: Take these words and make your own sentences.
8 year old Angelo: Ok, Ma’am… how do you spell “ma’am” and “beautiful”?

7 year old Fehima: (with the most profound expression) Ma’am I want to bake a cake for you.

8 year old Thandeka: (holding a lollipop up to me)
Me: Yes?
Thandeka: Hmmm (still holding said lollipop and nodding gently)
Me: Yeah what?
Thandeka: It’s for you Ma’am.
Me: Oh, thank you (smile inwardly).

(7 year old’s Craig and Ahmed arguing, storming up to me)
Craig: Ma’am, do cows fart?
Me: Erm, I don’t really know, maybe they do.
Craig: (to Ahmed) See, I told you. They DO fart.
Me: I said I don’t really know.
Ahmed: Ok Ma’am, if I plant chickens, will KFC grow on trees?
Me: Not unless pigs fly.
(Both look at me bewildered)
Me: That means no. No KFC will not grow on trees if you plant chickens.
Ahmed: (to Craig) See, I told you.

Me: Ok class, let’s pray.
8 year old Daniel: Dear God, please give my father enough money for a new car and cheese burgers this weekend.

It was a very challenging month indeed and I learned more from these kids than I could ever teach them. Needless to say, I take my hat off and have a newfound respect for Parents and Teachers worldwide.

Back to the boardroom for me... for now at least.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Winter Of Discontent

It’s been one of those days and I feel like I need a drink (of the tequila variety). Not having ever had a drink before, I don’t actually know how this drink is suppose to help me but alcohol has a reputation for making one feel good. Not that I feel bad. I’m just in the weirdest place right now.

Mention alcohol and I'm immediately reminded of Megan Mullally’s character as the infamous Karen Walker, one fourth of the Will and Grace quartet. It was one of my all-time favourite shows on tv and just recently, in a game of lets-see-who-we-resemble-the-most-from-every-tv-show-ever-aired, most of my friends voted me as a sober-lower-pitched-less-shallow-less-slutty version of Karen Walker. A few others in our circle said that I was more like a cross between Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones and Edie Britt… the City minus the Desperation and the Sex.

Karen: Grace, the bitch we hate is on line one.

Carrie: Let's be honest. Sometimes there is nothing
harder in life than being happy for somebody else.
Like lottery winners. Or extremely successful people
who are 27. And then there's that hell on earth
that only your closest friends can inflict on you
- the baby shower.

Samantha: Honey, you have to let it go.
If I worried what every bitch in New York
 was saying about me, I'd never leave the house

The one thing I have in common with all these characters, is the straight talk… straight, blunt, candid, direct, forth-right, frank, to-the-point and often tactless because I don’t have the patience for tact. Another trait I seem to share with these fictional characters is resilience.

Karen: Smitty, what’s this?
What’s it all about?
Oh wait, I don’t give a crap.

Susan: Uh, this is a little awkward and
I apologize in advance for how this is gonna sound,
but um... by any chance, did you burn down my house?
Edie: Yes.
Susan: What?
Edie: Yes, I burned down your house, you sleazy little whore.

Carrie: Honey, if it hurts so much, why are we going shopping?
Samantha: I have a broken toe, not a broken spirit.

Karen: Am I crying yet?
Jack: Not yet.
Karen: How about now?
Jack: No.
Karen: Stick a pin in me.
Jack: I am.

That aside, coming back to my weird place. Sometimes… well most times… I feel like I live in another time, on another planet, in another universe. Never mind not getting the memo, I haven’t even signed up to get the newsletter and it’s like while everyone was attending the same class, I was at an entirely different school playing hop scotch in the courtyard. I’ve long since accepted this fact, that I was different. I am different. Not better than everyone else, just very very different. And I like my difference (and indifference). The road I walk is the one less travelled, heck it’s not even paved and while it’s interesting and I feel privledged to be here, it can get weird sometimes. I can’t explain it. I think Muhammad Asad put it brilliantly in his book Road to Makkah:

“Deep friendships and fleeting loves came my way. Life was exciting, full of promise and colourful in the variety of its impressions. No, I was certainly not unhappy – only deeply dissatisfied, unsatisfied, not knowing what I was really after, and at the same time convinced, with the absurd arrogance of youth, that one day I would know it. And so I swung along on the pendulum of my heart’s content and discontent in exactly the same way as many other young people… for while none of us was really unhappy, only a very few seemed to be consciously happy.
I was not unhappy: but my inability to share the diverse social, economic and political hopes of those around me – of any group among them – grew in time into a vague sense of not quite belonging to them, accompanied, vaguely again, by a desire to belong – to whom? – to be a part of something – of what?

That dissatisfaction and discontent is something I know all too well. I’ve always danced through life to my own tune, nothing new there. While others are searching for answers to their lives and the universe, I’m keenly aware that something else is going on behind the scenes, that I am but a mere puppet in His show, and like many times before, I’ll come to know soon enough. But the knowledge that I’ll come to know of what awaits is accompanied with much trepidation and anxiety, because one never really knows what to expect… how is the pitcher going to pitch?… what kind of curve ball is life going to throw at me this time?

Either way, I’m not really worried because I know whatever hand I’m getting, I’m hitting that ball right out of the park. I am nothing if not resilient and even though I tread apprehensively, I’m a little excited too. Change is upon us and it’s about time. I’m tired of hating the same thing over and over again. It’s time to hate something new ;D

In the meantime, this is the only drink I’m having… the product of raw beetroot, carrots, parsley, celery, baby spinach and an apple. It’s supposed to be good for you:

For more on why I need a drink, go here. Once again, if you don’t have access and would like to please e-mail me at azmarita@gmail.com. An open mind, honesty, non-judgement, discretion and an email are essential (no chancers)... the purpose of which is to protect my personal information. Access is granted to everyone who is honest. However, please note that this message comes attached to a WARNING: This site does NOT contain any porn (sorry to disappoint) and is for people who live in the real world! Not so much for the faint hearted and delusional.

Karen: That's your laugh? Sounds like a squirrel orgy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Multiple Choice

Azra…

a) would rather dig her eyes out and stuff them with peppercorns than write another exam.

b) may quit blogging soon.

c) doesn’t give a shit about what people think.

d) really wants a cheese burger from Wimpy.

e) has temporarily lost interest in social media.

f) can be an unforgiving evil bitch.

g) is tired of life.

h) will always be successful in whatever she pursues.

i) thinks there are too many pretentious fake bitches in the world.

j) is Chuck Bass.

k) has an annoying case of winter dandruff.

l) wants a half dozen babies.

m) is honest to the point of being blunt and offensive.

n) will never understand some men.

o) can kick your ass while she's tied up and blindfolded.

p) needs a hug.

q) would sell one of her kidneys for a 3kg jar of Nutella.

r) is just another girl who wants a boy to like her.

s) All of the above.

t) None of the above.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stop Embarrassing Yourself, You're Asian!

I know that this post will not apply to every single brown person but I’m hoping that it does something for brownies everywhere that have been affected by WBWS (Wanna Be White Syndrome) or maybe it will help those brownies who know other brownies affected by WBWS to take a stand, particularly in South Africa.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me tell you a quick story. It was a Sunday morning and my sisters and I decided to take a nice long brisk walk to the Bakery (burn the calories before you load up again see, take notes people). Anyways, the route is around 5km’s long and by the time we got there, around 9am, we were huffing and puffing, laughing at our competitiveness and some or other stupid thing, hair slightly disheveled, tiny beads of sweat on our foreheads, perfectly happy. And then I saw her…

I call them BG’s (Barbie-Girls). This particular BG was perfectly poised and dressed like she was about to attend a Presidential Electoral Ceremony at 9am on a Sunday morning. But the issue was not her clothing because she would have looked nice (I tend to favour the elegant sophisticated stick-up-the-arse look myself) had it not been for her face. It was like looking at an accident, you know, where you can’t help but stare, horrified with a mixture of awe and disgust. How do you take someone like that seriously? It's difficult not to laugh at this self-imposed fugliness.

I’ve seen this face hundreds of times on various brown girls… black/brown eyes piercing through blue/green contact lenses, framed by a face caked and layered with enough foundation and concealer, and other cosmetic products I can’t even pronounce, to produce an effect that would make Snow White jealous. Some of them are smart enough to conceal their necks as well and others, well… lets just say that there are a whole lot of girls whose faces don’t match with the rest of them, particularly their necks, arms and hands. Why stop there, why not take it one step further… I’m sure the masses will love it.


I want to know who lied and told these girls that they look pretty. I’m serious. I really want to know who. There has to be some sort of mass indoctrination / brainwashing going on because no sane woman steps out of the house ardently believing she looks great when she looks nothing short of ghastly, hideous and atrocious. The joke is on her, and SOMEONE is having a good laugh.

I was instantly reminded of Cate Blanchett who played the medieval Queen in the movie Elizabeth. Pale skin was popular in the European cultures of the Middle Ages because it signified and became associated with wealth and stature in society. Back then, women went to great lengths and exaggerated measures to achieve that white pale skin, some by bleeding themselves and others by using deadly ingredients like lead and arsenic.

The world has never known as much as it does today and it’s somewhat ironic that in the 21st century, with the sheer magnitude of information and wealth of knowledge at our fingertips; knowing ALL that we know about life and love and morals and values and what’s important etc.; ignorance continues to thrive and there are STILL people out there who believe that being “whiter” means that their mundane existences will be validated and that they will actually be more significant or worthy as individuals. Talk about self-esteem issues. And the reality is that it’s an epidemic that is not only rife amongst most Asian women, but is most disturbingly, encouraged and endorsed by their societies and Asian men as well.

I don’t know when this existential crisis began, but my money is on Colonialism, specifically when the British colonised India (in my opinion, everything that is wrong [and right] with the world today is because of Colonialism). Bollywood hasn’t helped matters… every time you see a non-professional photograph of a Bollywood actress at an event, look at her neck and hands. I dare you.

After seeing her, I was tempted to go out and protest wearing a t-shirt that says: Just because you look like a white rat, it doesn’t mean that you’re beautiful. Proudly Brown. But this has nothing to do with the naturally whiter/fairer people. It has to do with ludicrous ideals embedded in our societies and warped definitions of what it means to be beautiful. Being white does not mean you’re beautiful!!!

Yes we are all entitled to our practices and opinions but what if those practices and opinions begin infringing on other people’s basic human rights because surely walking around with a white face plastered on you says something about your beliefs and ideals. Does that mean that everyone else sporting any kind of hue or tone, who is NOT wearing a clown’s face, is not worthy by your standards? Such beliefs and ideals are indicative of oppression… the victim is clearly oppressed if she believes that she’ll only be accepted if she has blue contact lenses and powdered down white skin.

And what about the oppression to my eyes?
Dear Eyes
I’m so sorry that you had to bear witness to that monstrosity. I shall never look again.
Love Azra

Bottom line, a wake-up call is needed. And I am therefore instituting my “Proudly You” campaign in an attempt to get people to appreciate and love who they are, regardless of their skin tone, height, weight, hair texture and shoe size. Be proud to be YOU. Own the skin you're in. Accept and celebrate who you are, and make the most of it. Feel free to join me on this quest. I must have said it a thousand times already, but if you cannot love yourself, who is going to?

To all the clowns, I say this sincerely and out of genuine concern. Have some self-respect and wash that shit off your face. Stop embarrassing yourselves, you’re Asian!
Pics courtesy Google.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

olde New York, new New York

For the record, the title has absolutely nothing to do with New York and is a play on words, taken from the movie Sex and the City in reference to the changes we experience in our lives and those inevitable changes that occur in places over time. Maybe you’ll find that one day, your favourite coffee shop or restaurant has closed down. Maybe your friends decide to move away to other towns, cities and countries. Maybe it’s time to change that job that you’re a little too comfortable in. Maybe a healthier lifestyle is suddenly the way to go. Maybe you’ll get married or get that baby mill working long before you planned to. Maybe you’ll find that your dreams and aspirations change as you go along because “Life happens while we’re busy making other plans”. It’s amazing how things change all the time.

Take Facebook for instance. It used to be this beautiful haven where you could stalk people as you liked, in the comfort of your own home. That was before all the bureaucratic red tape. Gone is the social media platform where one could keep in touch with friends and make new friends… misty water coloured memories… those were the days. These days, Facebook has become that horrific 10-year-high-school- reunion-that-you-desperately-wanted-to-avoid-but-got-tricked-into-attending-anyway-wearing-your-gardening-gear... the past just found a whole new platform to come back and hauntingly bite you in the ass, and on a global public scale too.

The old Facebook reminds me old cinema. There’s something enchanting about those vintage reels of tape hooked up to a projector in the middle of the room. It’s warm, timeless and a little romantic. The new Facebook feels like your life is on display at half price, on a mass produced IMAX screen in 3D, for the world to scrutinize through a microscope. And it doesn’t matter how much or little you choose to reveal, it’s still leaves you feeling… cold.

A few days ago, I received a friend request that nearly had me pee-ing in my favourite black pants. It was from a guy I knew way back. I mean WAAAYYY back. Back when I was still counting on my fingers and toes and thought that multiplication and division was God’s way of punishing me for taking more than one choc-chip cookie from the jar. I had known him for a couple of years after that (more like a decade or two) but we’ve NEVER EVER exchanged a single word! In fact, he was an ass and such a colossal ass that I had branded him and his entire family as Onagers, named after the Wild Asian Ass aka the Fugliest Donkeys in the whole world. And even that was giving him too much credit.

Needless to say, I was shocked BEYOND my core. Why on earth would he want to be my friend? This is the same guy who not only thought that he shat Italian gelato and pissed liquid gold, but spent most of our primary school days ridiculing “lesser” beings like me for not conforming to his kinds’ definition of sick inbred cultural practices. But I always gave as good as I got, sometimes even better and spent a significant amount of my seething-cussing-through-slit-eyes-&-clenched-jaw-quota on him.

So why want to be my friend? Why now? Is it because we have all these “friends” in common? (I knew that having close to 150 friend’s acquaintances from my schooling days would have its pitfalls someday). I honestly don’t see what he’ll get out of it. It’s not like I’ll ever invite him for tea, or to my wedding, or the birth of my first child. And it’s not like him and his kind are the remorseful-we’ve-changed-and-wish-to-make-amends type.

I don’t see why someone like him should be privy to my personal information, my photos, my life, after he has done absolutely NOTHING to deserve to be there. I’d rather have complete strangers looking through my intimate details; and I’d rather have freaks and stalkers going through my stuff too (provided it’s harmless). So his invitation hangs there in the electric abyss of cyberspace, looking at me questioningly, waiting to be answered.

And so Facebook has; like many things before it, and many yet to come; changed for me completely, forever. The warmth is gone. I have over 475 “friends” but I only ever see and converse with 20 of them. I’m either online at all the wrong times or they’re avoiding me. And either way I don’t care.

I just think it’s sad though. How things change. It’s like this moment right here is the best it will ever get because it will soon be gone and come tomorrow, you will never be able to re-create it, no matter how hard you try. I always think of my girls and I, and the summer of 2005. For me, it was the greatest summer of my entire life not only because we were all living and working in London, but because there were so many moments during that summer that I wish I could have captured and bottled for eternity.

After 1001 beautiful moments, the summer had waned and things had changed. Some had moved to Paris, other’s had evolved to take on adult responsibilities and I waved goodbye to what was probably the best era of my life. And even now when we meet, all of us in the same spots, in the same season, in the same mood… we can never re-create those moments. It will NEVER be the same again.

And just like that, life goes on right before your very eyes, before you can even realise it's happening. And this ladies and gents, is just another reason to live each moment like it’s your last… because technically, it is your last.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's The Journey, Not The Destination That Counts

J: You humans are stupid. You are stupid because you have all the power. You have the greatest power on earth because you have your mind, and all you need to do is use it. But instead, you want to sit there and cry and be sad (speaking generally at no one in particular).

ME: But some people can’t help it.

J: So what? Everyone is sad. The whole world is sad. Even I’m sad. What does it matter?

ME: You? Sad?

J: Make no mistake, everybody is sad. It is man’s destiny to make himself miserable. At the end of the day you still live, you still make your choices, you still have your free will, you still have your mind. Life is not about the destination, it is about your journey. Everyone wants to race to the destination and it makes them weak. Desire is the devils playground. Don’t be stupid like the rest of them. You know the truth and this here is your journey...

More here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Caution: Fixation In Progress

Too much of a good thing is absolutely fantastic… and while I have my list of trusted faithful obsessions that never fail to delight, I eventually get tired of some monotonous things and move on to the next great thing. This is my current top 10 favourite things:–

1. CK Summer: I bought this last year in June when we were in Edinburgh and I absolutely LOVE it. Now I’m usually a Davidoff girl, Echo being one of my favourites; Valentino is a close second; but this has to be my scent of the year (or next two years more like it). Much like the original CK One, it is a unisex fragrance but has more of a masculine edge to it. The first time I wore it and walked passed my sister she said “I smell a delicious man”. Its simply intoxicating and in the male category of fragrances (and who doesn't love a man who smells nice?), it’s my absolute favourite next to Pleasures for Men by Estee Lauder.

2. Sleeping on my sisters bed when she's not here: Because I know she hates it when I do, and this fact somehow makes the bed and her pillows extra comfy.

3. Raspberry Jam: I'm actually in love with Raspberries, so i thought I'd give this a try and it's pretty good. I'm not sure if there are better brands out there... guess I'll have to do a little experimenting. Anyways, fig jam is also a favourite.


4. Lady Gaga: So she’s a bit of a freak (who isn't these days, at least she's honest about it) and I often wish I could give her a bath and put some decent clothes on her. But even though I didn’t care much for her in the beginning, she’s really grown on me like fungus in an old smelly shoe. It all began with “Poker Face” and the cruise we were on way back in Jan last year. Most radio stations tried to kill the song by playing it every 2 minutes, so I stopped listening to it for a while but I still love it. However, I found “Just Dance” to be mediocre and wasn’t thrilled with “Love Game” and dismissed any notion that I would become a fan. Then "Paparazzi" warmed me up abit, and “Bad Romance” got me into it again and by the time I heard “Telephone”, I was swinging from the chandeliers again. But what really got me hooked was her sentiments to my favourite all time group NKOTB. She opened for them during a recent concert tour in the US and said: “When I see them, I pretend to be all cool and collected but when they’re on stage, I want to hyperventilate and pass out”. And anyone who is such a fan of NKOTB is freakin Gold in my books.

5. Philips iPod Earphones: Because sometimes, I love drowning out the world and my Philips earphones kicks my iPod earphones' ass in terms of volume, value-for-money and quality. 

6. Salt, Lemon Juice & Paprika combination: I love this combination so much that I put it on everything from pineapples to apples and if I could, I’d put it on my morning toast too.
 Pineapple slices with salt & paprika and salt & crushed cumin

 Granny-Smith green apples with salt, lemon & paprika combo

On the subject of Lemon Juice: I love to soak some china fruit (dried/salted plums to the foreigners – I wonder which other countries in the world have china fruit) in the juice of a lemon, then savour it. My addiction to this puzzles me and its weird, but the sweet/sour contrast does it for me. It’s completely unhealthy because the sodium and acidic levels are high, but its one of those guilty pleasures I indulge in every now and then.

7. Earth TV www.earthtv.com: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this site and could watch the World Live every day, the entire day and never get tired of it. One of our television channels broadcasts snippets of various places in the world in real-time as a program “filler” and I’m always transfixed – watching the cameras take me live across the world, detailing the different times in each place, the temperature and the events that are taking place over the course of the day. It’s like travelling the globe in a matter of minutes without putting your foot out of the house. A mini holiday on a screen. If I had earth tv as a channel, I would never watch anything else. Ever.

8. St Ives Apricot Scrub: I usually buy this product whenever I’m in the UK and it usually lasts until I return. I’ve been blessed with good skin and don’t really need to rely on products, but on that odd occasion or every few days when I need a scrub, I use this. It is the best product I’ve ever used for my face and I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. It works amazingly leaving your face smooth to the touch and blemish free. I just wish I knew where they sold it here in SA so that I don’t need to go to London every time I run out.

9. Brother Naeem’s Blog: Stumbled on this a couple of months ago and it's my favourite "new" blog (by new I mean new on my blogroll). He tells us that he’s a married American of Pakistani descent, living and working in Saudi Arabia. I like diversity. Even more, I like the fresh take on a number of subjects from an Islamic perspective, and as a Muslim female living in a contemporary world where there is a constant struggle to keep some sort of balance, I can relate to most of what he’s saying. I particularly enjoy Mr. Naeem’s brand of humour and his personal approach in his blogs.

10. Coriander/ Cilantro: I use this herb in almost everything I make. My favourite thing to make is an apple salad dressing using coriander, lemon juice, salt, a green chili and a green granny-smith apple. It is fantastic as a dip for potato chips too. 
 What's left of the coriander, apple, lemon, chili & salt combo after I ate half with a packet of Lays chips

Another favourite and family specialty is “peanut chutney” with coriander, peanuts, chilis, a tomato, salt, lemon juice and vinegar. It’s like the savoury version of peanut butter and is great as a dip or on a slice of toast or with any meal. 
Delicious peanut chutney with coriander, green chillies etc on a slice of toast

11. Pilates: When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a ballerina so I would walk on my toes, en pointe just like they do in ballet. A lot of the movements in Pilates echo those in ballet and I think it’s a great way to relive my childhood… not to mention the routines a gruesome and are a great alternative to normal exercise.

12. Wedgewood Nougat: DIVINE is all I can say, and probably the best nougat in the entire world. The soft, smooth texture melts in your mouth and is nothing short of a symphony, a piece of heaven. Aside from the white fleshed nectarine, it is the best non-chocolate thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life! It is so good, I’d even go and work there, for free. My favourite is the Macadamia Nougat because the macadamia nut is buttery and soft and adds to that whole melt-in-your-mouth sensation. The almond variation is really good too. I’m not picky, any will do.

The same company has a range of butter nougat biscuits called Angels, and if we could eat angels, this is what they'd taste like for sure... equally decadent stuff-dreams-are-made-of.

*sigh* I'm suddenly very hungry :P

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Venus & Mars

This is for the ladies… the men too, but more for the ladies.

The absolute truth is that men and women are different. In other words, they are NOT the same. They do not think the way we do, they do not feel the way we do, our needs and requirements are different, and most important of all… they do not process emotions the way we do. If I had GB£1 for every time I came across a woman who has complained about her husband or significant other in terms of the nature of their relationship, I’d be sleeping in Buckingham Palace, that’s for sure.

The biggest mistake most women make is assuming that what is important for us, is equally important to men and the most common example would be with regard to emotions. Women, we are emotional creatures. It’s the one genotype that’s a given within the female species and it’s what makes us the nurturers of the eco-system. This characteristic extends to all facets of a female’s life including relationships, where women express their love for their partners through their emotions.

Now men are different. Men are rarely emotional and more pragmatic and naturally detached. By nature, they’re the hunters, they don’t have time to sit and cower in corners crying their eyes out (well most of them anyway there is an exception, especially with men who love to whine and are act like bitches women). So (real) men are therefore more visual and physical in nature and like women, these characteristics extend to the way they express themselves and their love for their partners too.

So at the core, most men and women “love” each other differently… but this does not mean that it’s not real love. If he gives her apples and she gives him pears... it’s all fruit darling.

To most women, “loving” a man means talking about it… but the problem is that “talking” is not in the genetic makeup of some men. To most men, “loving” a woman means pleasing her physically… but the problem is that if she is not emotionally satisfied, nothing else will do.

The way I see it, the trick is to decipher how your partner chooses to express his / her “love” and accept them the way they are.

Men should accept that if they’re not kind and engaging, women are going to have headaches. Constant headaches. Every day. Huge mofo migraines the size of Texas, for the rest of your lives together.

And it’s very important for women to accept that most men won’t want to explore their emotions in iambic pentameter… not because they don’t want to but because they can’t. They’re not wired that way.

The biggest issues between couples arise when they don’t accept each other for who they are, have unrealistic expectations, or loose respect for one another. I’ve seen too many women who knew EXACTLY who their partners were before they got married, married them anyway, and then spent every single day from then on complaining about it.

So I may be wrong here, but I think that sometimes acceptance goes a long way. Let your man be who he is (unless your marriage is suffering because of who he is, for example, he’s a drug addict and you didn’t know). Let him express his emotions and love for you the way he knows how, and try to accept and appreciate it for what it is without trying to change him and wanting him to become who you want him to be… just so that 20 years down the line, after all the changes you’ve made, you can complain that he’s not the man you married ;)