Thursday, September 29, 2011

To Fast, Not To Furious

To Fast, Not To Furious - by Fareed Kaloo

by Fareed Kaloo on Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 6:53pm

(My friend Shameema Dharsey reminded me about this nostalgic post I had written over 3 years ago! Wow! Where does the time go while we're running around trying to chase dreams?)
This note was intended to be titled "Gone In 60 Seconds", which would be a fair description of the iftaar table after the first fast.

Its been an awesome week in preparation of the beginning of Ramadhaan.
I always spend the last week before the fasting month begins doing all those things I intend to refrain from during Ramadhaan.
Nothing bad really, not like im purging on vices or anything. Nothing which could be considered hypocritical of the spiritual journey im about to embark on.
Merely an opportunity to play an extra round of golf, or go dancing and shake what my momma gave me, or have a lazy Sunday brunch that drags itself on into late afternoon.

This particular Sunday brunch was certainly spectacular.
Bobotie, pootjie with dumplings and lamb chops, mielie brood, ceasar salad straight out of my favourite couples organic garden, baked potato ... a seven course meal that will have me yearning for the next lazy Sunday lunch for a month to come!

I've spent Ramadhaan in a few countries, but must admit that as South Africans, we have our own unique take on this month.
I recall fondly growing up in what was still regarded as a township back in the early 80's without incurring visions of squatter camps and squallor, in the old town, a part of Lenz where the pioneers of the area still yarn tales of how your closest neighbour was so far away, you could only tell exactly where they lived by looking for the smoke from the winter chimney. A township so sparcely populated, it didnt have any roads or formal structure, just one massive sea of red sand, hence the nickname "The Dustbowl".
Where every Sunday Mr Naidoo's truck would chug its way toward your council home to offload your weekly delivery of coal.
Of course by the time I made my presence known, things had improved to the extent that there were tarred roads, and our immediate neighbour was a shout away.

I grew up with my Gran, who passed on earlier this year, bless her soul.
It seems like just yesterday when she'd have me help her fill platters with the most delicious savouries; potato and mince samoosa's with pistachio chutney; koeksisters dripping with syrup and coconut; chilli bites and kebabs; juicy dates and pastries filled with mince and veggies...
These I would take door-to-door to all our immediate neighbours, and the scene was always the same...
Just before sunset, all the nieghbourhood kids zig-zagging across the road doing the platter round, all racing to beat the clock and make it back to the iftaar table before the muazzin announced the end of the days fast... and the beginning of the nights feast.
Of course as adults we now know better than to look at the month simply as one for gorging on milkshakes and savouries, but through the innocence of a childs eye's, the world takes on a different meaning when Ramadhaan comes around.

It always remains my favourite month, filled with the most endearing of memories. Of a time long gone but never forgotten.
As a parent I imagine myself relaying the same tales of long ago, and how I wish I could have my daughter live through a single day of my innocent youth.
How I wish she could see what was meant by that single word "community".
To be able to spend the day in the company of friends or neighbours who we knew by first name, right down to their entire extended family.
To have comfort in the knowledge that they were safe playing kierrie or hopscotch until sunset somewhere between the 15 odd homes immediately around ours; and all it would take to get her back in under 5 minutes was the simple calling out of her name. Oh how amazing and effectual that township-telegraph was!
A time when every neighbour and every person your parents knew, took on the role of guardian, protector, and reprimander in the absence of your folks.
A time when you would get your behind spanked by your mom just for complaining about Aunty Fati next door scolding you.
A time when you could have a 7-course meal simply by popping in to your friends homes at supper time, and having a bite to eat at each ones house.

Alas, its a different time we live in now.
Though the month of Ramadhaan hasnt changed in 1400 years, what it means to each one of us and how we experience it, certainly has.
In 20 years from now, I expect our kids will be telling their kids how wonderful these times were, and how much things have changed since they were young.
I suspect they will recall our present times as the best memories they ever had, just as our parents reminded us about how great things were when they were young.

Its for this reason, and this reason alone, that I endeavour to make each day another notch on my little girls post of fond memories.
I hope she remembers the best of times, and takes with her in her treasure chest of tales only the most amazing experiences; the same she'll pass on to her kids.
In the same vein, I hope my friends and family take only the most amazing experiences from this blessed month; and when you remember me in your duas, remember me for the best of times we may have spent together.

Ramadaan Kareem to one and all, and may the Almighty in his infinite wisdom lead us once more to a place of childhood innocence and unforgettable community spirit, where friends, family and loved ones filled our homes with laughter and chatter without needing an occassion or a special month to do so.


Not The Learning Channel

So my friend Azra chose me to partake in the 7 Links project by Tripbase and dare I say it got me thinking about the contents of my blog, the things I say, the reason why people have been visiting since I first started blogging, and mostly it got me thinking about what appeal my random thoughts and ramblings could possibly have.

Sure I realized early on that there are a small group or sect of people that my writing appeals to, but in any society there will always be the fringe groups. That's my niche market. Most 'normal' people who stumble upon this page are merely collateral damage.
So if you're reading this right now, you're either a nutjob looking for a home, or you haven't set your internet surfing filters or 'NetNanny' software quite high enough.

So how does the 7 Links project work? In the words of it's author, quite simply :
The idea is simple: bloggers publish 7 links from their blog to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again. Without further ado, herewith my 7 Links as best as I can recall.

1) My Most Beautiful Post
A Tale Of Two Friends
Still one of the most heartfelt and honest posts I have ever written. Strangely it required no drafts, not that my posts usually do. But I find that I write a piece and then tweak it and buff it up a bit before hitting "Publish".
Not so with this post. It came from the heart, and I still find myself reading it every so often.

2) My Most Popular Post
Beauty Is Only Mullet Deep

I'm not entirely sure why this is the most popular post on my blog, but it is.
I know I have a large number of visitors from America. I'm guessing that's the reason; but it's purely a guess and yours is as good as mine.

3) My Most Controversial Post
The Silence Of The Ham

I'd have to say my take on the whole halaal issue, and my opinion that all these certifying bodies dictating to us gullible South Africans is nothing more than a money-making scheme was the most controversial post I had written. Not ever. But certainly in a long while.
My all-time most controversial writing would probably be the open-letter I wrote to my school principle back when open-letters were unheard of. I still have the scars of his response :)

4) My Most Helpful Post

My Open Letter To Nestle'

This was my first attempt at an open-letter from the blog. Interestingly it got me a huge response from people who have had their fair share of consumer-related issues, and most found my idea of an open-letter rather refreshing. Well, maybe it was the letter itself that they found refreshing. I even had people mail me and ask if I would write letters to companies on their behalf!
I'm guessing there's a business idea there somewhere.
Read it and let me know what you think :)

5) A Post Whose Success Surprised Me
Passion.... That's The Secret

Sometimes all you really need to be inspired or achieve or get the job done is a good dose of Passion.
Imagine how amazing it would be if there was this massive central database were people could simply log into and swop jobs with someone who didn't really have the love for what they were doing.
For example, a Dentist who really wanted to be a Tour Guide could simply look for that position on the database, and be that which he loves and become a Tour Guide, and likewise a Circus Clown who really had a passion to be a dentist could simply..... wait, on second thought I can see where this could get ugly.

6) A Post I Feel Didn't Get The Attention It Deserved
For The Love Of Writing

There's always that one post that's bound to get lost when you've written just under 400 blog posts in just over a year. Well technically that's not correct, because I copied many of my old posts from my previous blog and had them reposted here... but yes, one is always bound to get lost amongst the noise.
I think this is that post.

7) The Post That I Am Most Proud Of
In The Name Of Religion

Only because this post pretty much sums up my writing style.
I'll push those barriers. I'll test peoples thinking. I'll challenge an idea or opinion I don't agree with.
Most importantly, I'll do all of this and still be able to sit across visitors to my blog and share a cup of coffee and some milk-tart.

Ok, so now I get to choose fellow bloggers to do their own versions of 7 Links and join in the project.
 In no particular order, these are the bloggers who's posts and answers I'm most looking forward to:

Akona Ndungane at Mosaic

Paige Nick at
A Million Miles From Normal

Saaleha at Afrocentric Muslimah
Che at
Amith at
The Bucket

I could think of a few more blogger's who should be nominated, but I realize that blogging is hard work and not everybody can do it with enough consistency to captivate an audience. That's a compliment to the amazing blogger's I've listed above who seem to be able to write with such ease on a weekly basis.

Anyways, compiling this list was no easy task and choosing from so many of my past posts made the challenge daunting. As with most things, once you get started it really tends to flow with ease until before you realize it, you're done and still have so much left to say.

This is where I stop writing, and look forward to your responses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Follicles Of Fareed

What a week it's been!
Yes yes I know I haven't blogged in dayyyzzz (BOOM!) but it's been a rather eventful few days and since I know how you guys love sleazy stories by the bucketful, I thought I'd save all those fun tales for this post.

So without further ado...

The missus has started a new diet in preparation for the December holidays, and her annual girly-holiday in November. This year she goes with her girlfriend to Seychelles. Then it's off to Cape Town for a few weeks in December with us commoners, also referred to as 'The Family". I quite like the idea that she takes time off once a year to just hang with her girlfriends, or most often just our very dear friend Sabeen from Dubai.

Anyways back to this diet she's on. As I said earlier, she goes on some or other crazy weight-loss program around September each year, and this usually coincides with my sudden period of weight-gain.
I finally figured out why that is.
When she does the weekly grocery shopping, she gets tempted by all these amazingly fattening treats like chocolate and dessert and pastry's and ice-cream which her diet obviously does not permit. So the next logical thing to do is buy these products and watch me consume them on her behalf. Somehow, this satisfies her craving. I'm pretty sure you can see the problem from my side though....

I used to weigh around 75kg when we first got married, and ever since I've become rather healthier as the years went by. So healthy in fact that I've went up a pants size at least once every three years. Now normally this would be cause for concern, but what I can't understand is how my weight has remained at 75kg's!
I kid you not!
It's almost like I'm magically getting rounder each year, without actually putting on any weight!
I have noticed that my pants keep getting longer though. I'm not sure if the two are related.

Now I've never been one for diets. Personally, and this is really just a personal opinion, I think that all diets are hoax's. Unless you're into a serious exercise routine combined with healthy eating, any other variation of popping pills while sitting on your sofa watching TV and eating pizza cannot be called a diet. I've come across some amazing diets in my time. The thing that made them truly amazing was the fact that people were actually trying these diets out!
Think And Get Thin!
That's the title of an actual diet book, in case you were wondering.
I wonder if there's a Think And Get Fat book too?

I used to be a pretty fat kid when I was young. It never really bothered me. I kind of grew into my body. I also developed a sharp tongue and some serious sarcasm growing up. So when I lost the weight and kept the sharp tongue and sarcasm, it was like I had won the lottery. Suddenly I was the popular guy to be around. Of course there were those who weren't as lucky. They developed the wit and sarcasm and kept the fat. That's like hitting the Lotto and the Powerball and being told that it's against your religion to gamble.
Sure it sucks, but let's be honest.... plumpy kids are the most fun to be around, even when they grow into adults.
I'm allowed to say these things without offending anybody, because I was born thin, became a plumpy kid, lost it in my teenage years, and grew it all back on after marriage. There isn't a weight stage I haven't been through.

Last year I was chatting to a friend of mine who was on a Lemonade Diet.
You can Google it.
All she drank was lemonade every single morning for breakfast, then a light snack for lunch, and lemonade again for dinner.
She was such a sour bitch.
True story.

I think the worst must be when you go from being totally obese to extremely skinny. In your head you must still think of yourself as an obese person, but in reality you're actually an Ethiopian. Like when somebody needs a door barged open. You think you're hefty enough to get the job done in one plumpy push, except the door smacks you right back like Woody Allen in the ring with Mike Tyson.
I've seen people who were obese suddenly become thin in a matter of weeks and months. They don't look comfortable in their bodies at all. It's like they've lost a part of themselves. Well they have, but you know what I mean. Oversize people just seem happier. They're so much more comfortable with their bodies. I guess that's what makes them so happy all the time.

This must be the most politically incorrect post I've ever written.
But I'm just saying it as I see it. Besides, some of the thinnest people I know are also the craziest bitches alive, and I don't use that word often or lightly. They just are though. It's like they're always miserable and hungry and miserable. Did I mention miserable?
I'm almost tempted to take a doughnut and shut their pie-holes when I hear them mumbling and grumbling about life in general. That's the other thing. They don't even need a reason to be grumpy. Thin people grumble at almost anything. Fat people moan about something and move on. Thin people get stuck in the moan-zone and they become like Tata Indica's stuck in a puddle of water. You almost have to get in there and kickstart them out of it. Usually with a swift wallop on the head with a celery stick.

So to all my friends reading this blog (and there may not be many by the end of it) all I'd like to say is, I wouldn't change anything about myself, and all the friends I have and know are perfect just the way they are too. No need to change anything about yourselves either.
Ok cupcakes?
You're special and that's exactly how I love you.
Yes you and you and you. (Oprah moment...)

Dammit. I had an ending in my head and now it's gone... eaten like a doughnut in a police station!

Oh yes... this blog was inspired by my good friend Azra

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Wedding Cake

So there I am, middle of the afternoon, casually cruising down the M1 headed home and rather pleased with myself for having evaded the craziness that is Joburg traffic during peak hour.
Suddenly my mobile rings and snaps me out of my deliciously soothing admiration of the burning red sky before me.

Me : Hello?
Caller : Hello Sir. This is Cindy. I'm calling to say that your cake is ready.
Me : What cake?
Caller : Your wedding cake Sir.
Me : MY WHAT?!!!!
(at this point I almost drove into a bridge, as you can imagine)
Caller : Your wedding cake Sir. Didn't you order a wedding cake?
Me : Why would I order a wedding cake? I'm married for over 10 years already!
Caller : Maybe your wife ordered it.
Me : Let's think about that statement for a second, shall we?
Caller : *click*

Now I'm not saying men in general are averse to discussing the topic of marriage and all the little picadillos that go along with it, like color schemes and serviettes and wedding cakes and flower arrangements and seating arrangements and music and and and.....
For most guys, or guys like myself at least, we're pretty happy leaving that all up to our better halves. Besides, if they're gonna be spending the rest of their lives controlling everything we do and deciding what shoes goes with what socks goes with what shirt goes with what tie like we've never dressed ourselves up independently before until the day we met them, we might as well give them an early start and have them do it all before we even get to say 'I Do'.

Lord knows I dressed like a circus clown on acid before I met my missus.
Sometimes I wonder what she saw in me. Really.
Maybe she had a fetish for circus clowns on acid with bad fashion sense. I don't know.

Anyways, if you really want to put the fear of God into a guy, married or single, call him and tell him that some aspect of the wedding will be left up to him. His wedding or anyone else's.
Anything. Any aspect of that big day.
It doesn't matter how miniscule or inconsequential it may sound. As soon as a guy knows that you are trusting him with a minor detail on the wedding day, he'll smile politely while freaking the fuck out inside!
You could tell him that he must remember to feed the dogs before getting dressed and coming to the wedding venue. As true as day, he will poison the dog, and come to the venue dressed like a circus clown on acid.
Not because he intended to do either of those things, but merely because we as guys know how the universe can conspire against us when we least expect it. History has countless tales of men who, through no fault of their own, went from being competent reliable gentleman to blithering idiots in the span of 24 hours.
My theory is that all men suffer from an allergic reaction to wedding cake.
Whether it be the mention of the word, or the sight of a 3-tier symbol of oppression.

All men die a little death each time they hear those words 'Wedding Cake' or whenever they see one.

So anyways, back to Cindy.
This woman was so convinced I had ordered a wedding cake, she actually called me back.
That's the strange thing about women.
You could tell them NO a hundred times, and they won't hear you. But whisper YES from 300 yards and they're on you like Priests at a Boy Scout meeting.
You don't believe me? Try this the next time your wife or girlfriend asks if she can use your car or Credit Card.
So Cindy call's me back and pretends like we never spoke just 5 minutes ago. Except this time when she asks if I ordered the cake, I say YES.

She asks if I will collect or should they have it delivered, and I say they should have it delivered.
She asks me for an address and I tell her Arthur House in Kyalami.
It's a homeless shelter. Why waste good cake, I figure.

Besides, I might have just saved some poor bastard from an allergic reaction to wedding cake!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Something In The Air

You ever get the feeling that something truly amazing is about to happen?
That tingling sensation that makes you completely alert and aware to everything and everyone around you, almost as though you're surrounded by opportunity but just need to pick the right moment  to reach out and grab on to it.

I've had this feeling for a few weeks now.
It's a crazy high that I've been on, and I honestly can't explain it.
I've also been meeting some amazing people lately. It's almost like the stars are busy aligning themselves and my destiny is about to be given a good swift kick in the bollocks, in a good way of course.
It's weird but I have such a strong sense that whatever the changes ahead, they're all positive.
Maybe it's time I lay off my new favorite drink of freshly made lemonade.

Speaking of lemonade, I had the pleasure of spending my Saturday afternoon having lunch with one of my favorite people, Gwen Britz . The woman is an absolute inspiration and a legend in her own right. A legend in that little suburb of Norwood too it would seem.

Over an amazing chicken salad and no less than 4 servings of lemonade at my favorite haunt The Schwarma Company, we discussed life, work, money, love, and people.. even brothels! .... but mostly we discussed how blessed we are to live in this amazing country we call home (to my foreign visitors I'm talking of South Africa here ;) ) and how completely surrounded we are by fantastic opportunities.
She and I are going to do great things together. Remember these words.

Of course no afternoon would be complete without a moment of ridiculousness.
And that moment arrived in the form of a red fire engine.
I wish I had taken a picture. Some crazy local keeps a fire-engine parked in his garage, and clearly takes it out for joyrides on the weekends to the thrill of the blonde girls on board.
Who needs a red ferrari to pick up chicks when you own a red fire-engine?
I'm almost sure someone out there has a picture of that clown and his fire engine. If you do, please send it to me. I'd love to paste it on this post.

We had guests over today for a Baby Shower the missus was hosting for her cousin.
Of course the menfolk were barred from the house while the shenanigans were in full swing indoors. Based entirely on the paraphernalia being boxed out afterward, I'm almost certain that these women could make a few Stag Nights look like an afternoon screening of Mary Poppins.
We were left to do what men usually do when in a group larger than 2.
10 minutes into the braai, and my wife's cousin tells me the funniest story.

They grew up in the Free State, in a place called Clocolan. My few visits there confirmed that this must be one of the coldest places on earth come winter. So cold in fact, that they take tea-breaks in their coldroom (they own the local butchery) to warm up!
His dad decided that the home needed some insulation from this extreme cold, and proceeded to buy rolls of Pink Aerolite to be placed in the ceiling.

That's the stuff in the rolls on the van.

That's a dude in the ceiling installing the Pink Aerolite as it should be. Googled pic, of course. Not one taken during the 'Clocolan Home Insulation Project'.

Alas, this wasn't the case with the wife's cousin and their home.
The guy's they hired had never installed Pink Aerolite before, and had no clue how it was supposed to be done. They were told to take the rolls into the ceiling and install.
Simple instructions, you would think.

For the next few days the family were chatting about how warm the home suddenly felt.
A few pats on the back for a job well done, and everyone was pleased with themselves.
At some point the dad decided to inspect the workmanship. I suspect he wasn't completely convinced about the rise in temperature indoors.
He opened the trapdoor, shone his torchlight into the ceiling and lo and behold, there were all these rolls of Pink Aerolite stacked neatly side by side, still in their plastic packaging!
No wonder the guys installing the stuff had run short and asked for more rolls.

I'm sure there was a lesson to be learned there somewhere, but I was laughing so hard I just couldn't figure out what it was.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not For The Faint-Hearted

I'm going to make this post as void of technical jargon as is literally possible.

I know many of the visitors to my blog are aware that I trade the currency markets, and of late some of you may even have learned that I have received my certification in Forex and I'm currently doing training as well.

What you may not know is that I still have my construction business, and between working a full day and trading currencies at night, I have finally found the perfect balance for my chronic insomnia!

These late nights which run into early mornings are a special time indeed.
How many of you truly know the sound a laptop's internal cooling system makes when running at full steam? How many of you have taken the time to count the pixels on your monitor, or do you just take for granted that its 16 million as the manufacturer said on the box?
Also, when was the last time you heard the passionate heavy breathing of two crickets shagging outside your window while the rest of the world was sound asleep?

It was somewhere between midnight and 1am on Tuesday whilst sitting in front of my laptop and trading that I had an epiphany. I knew it was an epiphany because spellcheck said I spelled it correctly at the first attempt.
I had an unusually strong curry for supper earlier that evening but I'm certain that had nothing to do with my epiphany.

Anyways, the thought that crossed my mind was related to banking, and the entire financial system as we know it. Earlier that afternoon I had read an article about just how dire the American housing market was. I'd always known that the credit crunch had turned suburbs across America into ghost towns. I also knew that the media were trying to remain upbeat and since it was in the nations interest and the interest of the banks, they were not showing the true scale of the carnage the housing bubble burst had done.
For a 3 minute video on what caused this housing crisis, check out this video
In case you're wondering about the Jewish link on the video, you need go no further than ask yourself who controls banking in America, and globally. Google the names of all the Federal Reserve chairmans in the history of the FED. Clearly this hasn't gone unnoticed by the guy who made the video, of the millions of people currently without homes but bundled with massive debt.

Now I read the financial papers and online bulletins more often now than I ever did before, and it's astounding how vast the field is between what mass media wants the gullible public to know, and what community bloggers and social activists are actually reporting on the ground.
So vast is this gap in fact, that up until 3 months ago the United States administration and bankers would have you believe that things had taken a turn for the positive and good times were just around the corner.

Well if that were true, why are banks closing their doors and begging for bailouts faster than you can withdraw your money?
Back to my epiphany....
Since we all know that it was the bankers who caused this sorry mess in the first place, and then had the audacity to beg for bailouts from government (money funded by YOUR taxes might I add) only to pompously award bonuses to the very men who caused this massive stink when that idiotic government handed them their ill-gotten money.... I wondered what would happen if there was a universal movement of communities across the globe who collectively decided to say 'SCREW THE BANKS' and simply refused to pay back any debt owing to these cretins.
No paying anything on your mortgage.
No paying anything on your car installment.
No paying anything on your credit card.
What an awesome world that would be!

Citizens taking control and telling the banks to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

I yearn for the day.

I'd start that revolution, but unlike Che' Guevara I may just end up alone in jail because my fellow activists were too afraid of losing their BMW's and use of their Gold Cards.

Until then, alutta continua I suppose.

Friday, September 2, 2011


It's the simple things in life that make it all worthwhile really.

Good friends.
Good food.
Good times.

If you have clothes on your back, food on your table, and your health, you truly are blessed.

I wish you all contentment, and the joy of simple things.

Shout Out To The Ugly Folk

So earlier today I was having a debate with a friend of mine about 'Ugly People'. I had an encounter with a pimple-faced kid who by some miracle of branding gone wrong had been hired by Blackberry to work the front-office at their service center in Rivonia. I termed this snot-nosed punk an 'ugly person' by virtue of his shallow character, so shallow in fact I could see the tadpoles swimming around his eyeballs as he tried to impress me with his bullshitting skills. At one point I almost leaped across his desk to smack some sense into him, before I realized that this would be a colossal waste of a good leap. Something I don't do too often.

It turns out that my friend had an entirely different idea of what I had meant by 'Ugly People'. He was thinking more along the lines of this.

Being the avid Googler that I am, I decided to do a little research on this topic of 'Ugly People'.
Who are they?
Where can they be found?
How do you know you're not one of them, or me for that matter?

In my quest for the fountain of ugly, I stumbled upon an Irish dating site dedicated solely to ugly people.
Don't believe me?
Here are pics of a few of their recent members.

Now I completely get that some people have low self-esteem issues, but to consciously market yourself on a dating website exclusively for ugly people is beyond belief.
Needless to say, I registered on The Ugly Bug Ball and they declined my membership based on my good looks.

At least they have standards and they're sticking to them.