Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's In A Name?

So my good friend Tanya mentioned on her Facebook page earlier today how many times she had been called Sonja, and it got me thinking. Clearly it doesn't take much to get me thinking :)
How many time's haven't we been called by names other than our own? It must surely be the most common of mistakes made by people you've either just met, or someone you're chatting to on the phone.

It's on the phone that most people get my name wrong. I've been called every variety of 'Fareed' you can imagine. Freed, Fred, Fried, you name it and I've probably been called it. That's the reason I introduce myself as Kaloo. You'd think that would be faultless and very hard a name to screw up, right? Wrong.
Carlo, Kallo, Carlow. The list goes on.

So just when I thought I must have the most difficult name to pronounce, or name's I wouldn't ever want to be called, along comes these absolute gems.

Thanks for the inspiration Sonja ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Open Letter To Nestle

Dear Nestle
To whom it may concern

I have been an avid user of your entire product range from my very inception. Yes most people would be consumers of a product from somewhere around their early childhood, but not me.
My mom swore heavily on Nestle products from way before I was conceived. The fact that she swore heavily in general has no bearing on my letter to you.
So when I was conceived she increased her Nestle Milk intake, thus continuing that miraculous mother-to-child transmission of nutrients from the time of Adam. Ok maybe not Adam because technically he didn't have a mom, but certainly Adam's first son, I think his name was Cane.
In the interest of getting to the point expeditiously I shall refrain from making jokes about how many Indians in Kwa-Zulu Natal named their kids Cane, mistakenly thinking that the Bible was referring to that vile drink of the same name.

At around 3 months of age I clearly remember my dear mom giving me my first delicious taste of Purity Cerelac Mixed Vegetables... hhmmm bleugh yummy.
Which kid doesn't have fond memories of washing down his delicious puree breakfast with an even more delicious glass of Nido Milk Formula? To this day I still associate every amazing milkshake flavour with my Nido Milk Formula. Of course my lactose intolerance around the age of 2 put an end to that fantasy, but you get the picture.

Years later (I'm now a ripe and frisky 30'ish ) and having gone through and lived through and had every one of your products that I consumed also having gone through me, you can imagine my complete and utter disgust shock and surprise when I walked into my favorite bulk-store (Makro) to purchase the 1kg tin of Nestle Hot Chocolate, carried it with pride and joy to the check-out counter, had the saleslady ring it up (this was my only purchase, and the closest Makro to me is approximately 150km away, but this is the loyalty I have to your brand, that I would drive this distance for a tin of Nestle Hot Chocolate)... so where was I? Aaah yes, the saleslady.
So she rang up my purchase as I handed her my Credit Card, and she politely asked me "Would you like me to put that on straight, budget, or should I add it to your homeloan Sir?"
I looked at her incredulously, and believe me it was an incredulous look because I had to go to to check if that word exists, and then confirm it's spelling! That's how incredulous my look was.

I couldn't believe that a 1kg tin of Hot Chocolate traded on the open market without the need for pimps and middleman and runners or dealers, at a shelf price of R65.95!
I shudder at the thought of what the black market price must be!
To use a newly found word again, that, Sir/ Madam, is an incredulous price to pay for 1kg of anything. (Except maybe crack cocaine, which clearly your product IS NOT, which I assume since there are no ingredients listed on the tin.)

A few pertinent questions sprung to mind whilst perusing with incredulity my tin of Nestle Hot Chocolate.
(Believe it or not I didn't once consult a Thesaurus in the construction of  that sentence!)

* Why are there no ingredients listed on your product?
* Why does the fine print include this very disturbing line : "Consume within 1 month of opening pack"?
At R65.95 a tin, you clearly expect me to consume 1kg of Hot Chocolate within a month, and with our winter lasting 3 months, that pretty much guarantee's you 3 sales from just 1 consumer every winter. Very clever Sir/ Madam, but I am onto you! I have convinced my neighbors on either side of me to buy a tin each, and that way we visit each other depending on who's opened their tin first. Three tins, three months, three happy neighbors. So the jokes on you.
* Why is some of the information on your product package written in French? At R65.95 a tin I would expect someone to come home and teach me French while making me Hot Chocolate, but I saw no such offer at my local Makro.
* Lastly, how do you justify this incredulously ridiculous exorbitant expensive outrageous steep unreasonable unwarranted excessive undue pricey dear overmuch unconscionable extortionate preposterous absonant (Did you know that last one is an actual word?! Wow, I love Thesaurus!) price of R65.95 for a 1kg tin of Nestle Hot Chocolate?

Please would you be so kind as to email me a response within seven days.
I say seven days because a lawyer once told me that, and I crapped my pants. I'm hoping for the same effect here................................ (Have you crapped your pants yet?)

I trust the serious tone of my letter is an indication of just how far I am willing to take this fight.
I have already recruited thousands  hundreds  tens a lot of consumer activists to help me in my cause.

At this point you must be wondering what my cause is.
Well I don't have demands really, because I'm actually appealing to your immense perceived sense of social responsibility. So in effect all I'm asking is that you take a good long hard look at your current pricing, and see if you can find it within yourself to lower your profit margins on just this one product and make it slightly more reasonably priced. I'm hoping for a price around the R40 mark. I think that's fair.

Failing this, I shall have no option but to consult with my team of advocates, lawyers, attorneys, judges, pimps and henchmen. Usually my mom would do battle on my behalf, but she's still recovering from a bout of food poisoning we suspect she got from a dodgy batch of Cremora. That's not your product, is it?
No I'm just kidding. My mom's fine. She loves her Cremora.
I have to keep telling her "It's not inside, it's on top!" :)
My wife told me the same thing on our wedding night. Except she didn't say the "It's on top!" bit. I still don't get why everybody found that so funny.

Ok Sir/ Madam, I have to cut this letter short as Telkom just phoned and said I'm almost at my Internet Cap.

Ps: My letter was never intended to scare or frighten you, as I would hate to think your share price could drop and your profits negatively affected by my humble one-page protest.
We can however make all this go away if you agree to send me a free case of Hot Chocolate.
Just a thought. Use it. Don't use it.
Gotta go.

Love always.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary!


Those 3 letters have defined my 11 years of blissful marriage in more ways than one.

It's the first thing I said when I first laid eye's on my wife Shakera.
It's the first thing she said on our wedding night.
It's the first thing I said when our beautiful daughter Sabreen was born.
It's the first thing I said when I stepped on a rusty nail while renovating our first home.
It's the first thing I said when I woke up this morning and turned to see the two most gorgeous women asleep in my bed. (Shakera and Sabreen, in case my home boys were wondering!)

The years have certainly been good to us, and no doubt we are really blessed to be as happy as we are in all that we do, to be content with all that we have, and humbled by the love of each other and our friends and family.

So here's looking forward to many more years together.
Happy Anniversary Shakera Kaloo :)

'Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.'
Tom Mullen

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Stand-Up Comedian

Sabreen, my 4 year old daughter, is now at that age where she's able to tell a joke with amazing comedic timing.
She's been asking us what our favorite jokes are, and then trying them on her friends and the rest of the family.

So last night I told her an old favorite.

"What do you call a deer with no eyes?"
No idea (No eye dear).

She loved it, and surprisingly she got it immediately. So she decided to try it on her mom when she got home from work. Of course this meant 20 minutes of practice with me as her audience.

At 6pm Shakera walked in, and Sabreen ran up to her, all excited to tell her joke.

This is how it went.

Sabreen : Mom, what do you call a deer with no eyes?
: Hhmm.. Ok I give up. Tell me.
Sabreen : I don't know! (eye-don't-know) Bwuaahahahaha...
Shakera : I don't get it. How is that funny?

Clearly Sabreen found her version of the joke more funny.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Casa de Kaloo : My Humble Abode In Pictures

 A few years ago we drove past this house with it's massive tree's and acres of land and wondered "Who lives there?"
Little did we know that some day, it would be our home :)
I always admired homes built with thatch roofs, but honestly never imagined myself living in one. Now that I am, I wonder how come I never made the decision sooner.

When we first moved in, it was around the end of Winter and the place looked rather grim and bare. The potential however was very evident.

I always said that some day I'd like a home with plenty of space, both indoors and out. This place certainly has both. This pic was taken before I commenced any upgrades and maintenance to the garden.

This is the view from the second entrance which we usually use for deliveries. Clearly the end of winter. I think I took these 'before' pics about 2 years back. Lot's has changed since then.

The first item on my list of areas requiring attention was the pool, especially with Summer knocking on the door. I love the foliage around the pool area. The pool is so deep, if I stood in the deepest end and raised my hands up, you still wouldn't see my fingertips! 8feet is what we measured it at.

Initially I wanted to have this area redone in wooden decking, but soon changed my mind when I realized how much the kids love sprawling on the cool bricks after a lazy swim.Lately it's become the ideal spot for Sunday brunches or Saturday breakfasts.

Note the difference in the garden after I had attended to it for a bit. The greenery and life was suddenly coming back, and that potential I once saw was slowly being realized. It's still a work in progress, but we've achieved quite a bit in the 2 years since moving in.

The exterior has these amazing creepers growing throughout. At first I intended having them removed, but as the garden started taking shape, I decided to keep that green look flowing. I'm glad I did :)

There's gnome place like home. This is Old Man Tod. He's charged with keeping order in the garden. He has a team of helpers scattered randomly throughout the property.

That's our driveway. I love the fact that you need to drive to the end of the driveway before you even get to see the actual house. I lined the driveway with those blue lights and had them repainted silver, so this pics rather old.

Lastly the organic garden. We had so much of land with fertile soil behind the house, I decided to try my hand at farming. Not too shabby me thinks. In the foreground is where we started the onions, tomato's and carrots. In the background you can see our usual crop of corn.

The most awesome thing about our home is the fact that it's like a little farm in the countryside when you're walking around the property, but in reality we are bang in the middle of a suburb 5 minutes away from Sandton! We don't hear the cars or the neighbours, and the kid's (when I say 'kids' I speak of Sabreen's cousins and friends of course) have a great time outdoors, never needing to be told to tone the noise level down. That in it's own is a blessing!
I lived in a townhouse when we first got married, and we always had to be aware of where she was and how much noise we were making. With the amount of entertaining we do, that's no longer an issue.

Phase 3 of my plans toward the perfect home will kick off soon.
In the meantime, I'm secretly plotting a mini golf-course before the missus get's any grand ideas of more flowerbeds in the garden.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Do you ever ask yourself questions
The kind you already know the answer to
The kind that leaves you chasing your reflection
Away, and never wanting to catch up to

My favorite must be the "What if"
Not the kind that involves a lover
The kind that involves a kid you saw once
A lonely kid on a cold winters night, searching for cover

I saw that kid once
And then a hundred times over in my reflection
I saw her standing by my window begging for pennies
I saw her tattered clothes in my mirror as I sped away

I lay in bed asking the questions I already knew the answers to
I drew my blanket tighter as I wondered if she were warm tonight
I tossed and turned and convinced myself she was just fine
I shut my eyes hoping to forget that sorrowful sight

Some time later that night I woke with a start
I held on tight to my little girl
I may have lied to my head, but never to my heart
It was I who was lonely, it was I living in a truly sad world

How blessed we are to have all that we do
To know with certainty where we will sleep tonight
To know love, to be loved, to take love for granted
To know that our mere survival is not a daily fight

I promised to look for that girl in the tattered clothes again
I searched for her every chance I got for months
I never did find her, not during the bitterly cold winter days
Not even during the summer nights drenched in rain

So I find myself asking my favorite question
"What if".. What if I had stopped on that cold and lonely night
What if I had just shared a kind word with her, or treated her like an actual person
Would I still be haunted by my own dark demons, in search of the light?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Winds Of Change

No I'm not talking about the weather.
My good friend Gwen Britz suggested some time back that I throw myself fully into my passion and see what comes of it. Two weeks of swimming in chocolate until I realized she meant 'writing'. Yes, that would be my other passion.

So earlier this week she sent me the link to a workshop for potential writers, where you get to meet other aspiring writers, some published writers, and then of course the big boys, the publishers themselves. I figured this is a brilliant opportunity to finally get published, since all my good work that I've been giving to my 12 year old niece has come to nothing. Quite frankly I'm starting to think that she was pretty useless as a publisher, especially after that last phone-call where she asked me 'So Uncle Kaloo, what exactly does a publisher do?"

Some of my writings have been in the papers, which I was rather impressed with. So while I'm not a complete novice, I do think it's high time someone knocked that JK Rowling woman off her perch. Otherwise we'll just have to suffer through more of that wizard and goblin rubbish.
I tried reading one of those Harry Potter books a while ago. I'm not sure which one it was. Possibly "Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets." Halfway through and I realized I was going to need a hammer, a screwdriver and a locksmith to get into this chamber, let alone understand it's secrets.

I like reading the kind of books which are easy on the eye. Nothing too deep and mentally challenging. Nothing too complicated or with too many characters. The kind of books that take me back to a happy childhood where one picture could tell a thousand words.
That's why I'm so glad Playboy is back in the country, and I can renew my subscription.

One of my favorite books is The Bible.
That, and The Life Of Pi.
Ok so I know that The Bible goes against everything I said I loved in a book, but the truth is that my Gran would read it to me when I was younger (for those that don't know this, I grew up in a multi-religious home) and I really enjoyed the characters and the lessons in the good book. I was disappointed that there were no pictures, but soon I realized that a vivid imagination more than made up for that shortfall. I always wondered about the first publishing house to have published the very first run of The Bible.
I wonder if their in-house editor ever read it and went "This needs some work."
Also, how did they know how many copies to print?
How would one go about getting a signed copy by the author?
Lastly, if it's the most published book in the world as I've heard somewhere, how come Hollywood hasn't already turned it into a movie?

Maybe I should keep these questions handy and ask them during the "Meet The Publishers" workshop.

I'm really looking forward to it, and once again a huge Thank You to Ms Gwen for thinking about me when she found out about the workshop :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

We're One Year Old!!

Well when I say 'We' what I really mean is 'The Blog'.

Yes folks, the blog is officially 1 year old and boy has it surpassed my wildest expectations. When I first started the blog I expected it would be frequented by my friends and the odd random visitor who happened to stumble upon it by mistake.

12 500 visits to the blog later, and I'm thinking this site must be like a massive black hole on the interweb, sucking in people by the hundreds every month, or maybe, just maybe, there are some out there who actually do enjoy my ramblings and keep coming back for more.

I'm going with the Black Hole theory ;)

Thank you guys for coming here as often as you do. It really is awesome to know that I can keep you entertained, unless you're coming around to laugh at my silliness, then I'm just glad to be of service :)
Either way, I'm humbled and grateful to one and all :)

Here's to another year of random crazy mutterings!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Movie Night

I saw a beautiful movie once
It played in the eyes of a friend
The kind that leaves you breathless
The kind that leaves you wanting more when it ends.

I saw the hopes and dreams of a teenage boy
I saw the glistening petals of a budding rose
There was song, there was dance, there was laughter
There was no care for what would come after

Years would pass and still the movie would play
Sweet memories of that fateful day
I saw my friend today and it saddens me to say
The reel still runs but there was no music today