Saturday, June 30, 2012

Taking Liberties

I heard the funniest story earlier this morning from my property agent.
She came to visit me for breakfast and we were discussing homes and the market and the usual blah blah, when she started telling me about a client she had last year.

Turns out there was a client who she sold a home to, and the wife was at the last legs of her first pregnancy. During one of her visits to this family, the husband asked if she'd please do him a favour.
Now for most of us a favor involves picking up a set of keys from somewhere or dropping someone off or maybe even looking after your dog while you're away for the weekend.
Not for our intrepid expectant father.
Oh no.
Here's his idea of a 'favor'.

He wanted to know if my agent friend would kindly have both himself and his wife keep her number on speed-dial, just in case the wife went into labour and needed someone to rush her off to the hospital!
Isn't that something you'd ask of a friend or family member?
Who asks their property agent to be on standby just in case a baby decides to stick its head out of a vajayjay and say howzit to the world unexpectedly?

Which got me to wondering about the strange 'favors' we've all been asked at some point or other in our mundane lives.

Like the time my friend asked me to turn his home lights on and off for the week he was away on holiday, except he forgot to mention that in order to get from his gate to his front door, I would have to brave 2 vicious dobermans. Of course I didn't bother with his lights as my legs were more important to me at the time than his TV and household contents were.
Or the time I was going down to Durban for what was then the Gunston500 beach party, and my neighbor asked if I'd take a parcel with and have it dropped off at his sisters. I said yes and didn't mind at all until I saw the address on the box. She lived near the Wild Coast, which is as close to Durban as Paris is to Zimbabwe. Ok maybe a bit closer, but you get my point.

I can't conclude this post without mentioning an incident that happened during my college days.
A guy I knew asked if I would give his girlfriend a lift home since she lived in the same suburb as I did, and he lived in the opposite direction.
Except when he brought her to me, this is how he phrased it:
"Thanks for helping out Kaloo... And please look after my bitch."
I stood there gobsmacked, and she raised her eyebrows but never said a word.
Needless to say, the 45 minute drive to her home was rather uncomfortable. I kept hoping she had a puppy in her bag. That would have made it less awkward. Of course she didn't, and years later when we were dating (call it my community service year) I bought her a puppy.
I don't know why I felt the need to, and she never understood my gesture.
At least the puppy survived longer than the relationship did.
I hope.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That WTF Moment

Every now and then, I come across a traders forum (where fellow traders discuss trades and strategy) and find a post that has me doing a double-take and going WHOA!!
Sometimes it's because some trader has pulled off a brilliant trade and cleaned the market up, and sometimes it's because a trader let his ego get in the way of making money and he saw his backside in technicolor.

It's not often that I go WHOA! because a trader posted his account balance, strategy and advice and ALL THREE WERE RIDICULOUSLY LAUGHABLE!

Now I know many of you don't speak Forex, so I'll try and keep this simple.
This 'trader', and I use that term very very loosely here, had a trading account of $300.
In Forex, that's like taking your kindergarten piggy-bank, dressed in your Ben10 pyjamas, and walking into a Ferrari showroom hoping to be taken seriously.
Forex ain't for sissies, and it requires deep pockets and an even deeper understanding of risk!
He then proceeds to start trading with a strategy reserved for traders with at least $500 000 in their accounts. Just to be clear, that's HALF A MILLION DOLLARS.
He blows his account in under 2 minutes.
And then proceeds to give advice to new traders!!!

(This is a true story just so you know!)

Above is what a professional traders chart looks like.
You really have to know what you're doing in order to regard this as a profession.
If you last less than 2 minutes, clearly trading is not for you. Maybe you should donate your body to the manure industry. Even a circus clown may be aiming too high. I don't know.

I don't even know how to end this blog post.
I'm so shocked that there are idiots out there so stupid, the SPCA hasn't put them down yet and the Zoo allows them to roam free amongst us.
I think I'll just sit here and shake my head. It's starting to feel really good.

Monday, June 25, 2012

To Shafi & Roxie On Your Wedding Day

There's an old saying about marriage and the union of two souls being destined and preordained in Heaven.
I don't quite recall how it goes, but I'm almost certain I just summed it up right there.

So there I was, sitting at this gorgeous wedding venue set amongst the hills in a magical place called Makiti, witnessing the marriage of my dear friend Shafi to his beautiful bride Ruxina..... When it dawned on me that it really is something remarkable and special when two people can find each other amongst 7 billion earthlings. To be able to pick that one person that you're ready to declare your love to. To be able to find that one person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. To be able to find a single diamond that fits you just perfectly, you and only you, in a mountain of rock and stone.

Shafi found this in Roxie, and she found this in him.
Today was a truly special day, with the coming together of bride and groom, of families, and also of long lost friends. It's the very reason why days such as today are visited by angels themselves.

Their union was destined, their souls forever as one. And so their new journey together begins.

I'd like to wish them all the very best on this new chapter in their lives.

"Be close to that person who makes you happy but be closer to that person who can't be happy without you."

To Roxie : Love him, honor him, cherish him, and forever be his rock.
To Shafi : Just do the dishes and pick up your socks, and you'll be fine my friend ;)

All the best guys. I truly was honored to have shared this day with you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life Is Swell

I realized the other day that I'm one of those annoyingly positive people. Not annoying in the way that I like force-feeding joy down people's throats like foie gras. I just don't get down and depressed easily.
I do throw tantrums though.
Just ask those nice people at Nestle who overcharge for Hot Chocolate, or those Amila Ice-Tea people who sold me fermented drinks.

So when I sat down to review my 5 year Plan, which I do every so often (like once every 5 years), it dawned on me that the things which I had achieved had far outstretched my bucket-list.
Sure everybody wants to run with the bulls and jump out of a plane at 10 000 feet and swim with the dolphins, but in the absence of TV how many of us would really want to do any of those?
Would it not be infinitely more fun and exciting to spend an evening underneath the stars listening to the fish jumping in a moonlit lake?
Or maybe take the one you love to watch a sunrise upon a mountaintop?
How about attending a festival in the company of friends, and form memories that will truly leave you smiling in your golden years?

The irony is that many of us have done these and so much more, yet failed to look upon the very moment as one which we'll never get back. One so perfect at the time, that had we known we would have cherished it and hoped it would never end.
Years later, we make a list of all the things we'd like to achieve before we finally breath our last, forgetting the awesomeness of the life we've already lived.

There's a really simple rule I have about prayer.
When I get down on my knees and raise my hands skyward, it's to say "Thank You" instead of "I Want".
This simple rule when applied to our friends and family has an amazing effect. Just to be grateful for what we have, and thank those around us for being a part of our lives, makes all the difference. It is the very definition of a wealthy and successful individual. To be able to look around us and want for nothing, need for nothing, and know that we are blessed with what we have and who we have to share it with.

In an earlier blog I made mention of the fact that I am about to embark on an entirely new chapter in my life.
I know not where it will take me, but I am excited and anxious for the journey ahead, for in truth Life is about the journey and not the destination.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
Ayn Rand

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hello. Remember me?

One month.
That's how long it's been since I last blogged!
Trust me, this absence has been more difficult for me than it has been for you. Yes, both of you that read my blog.

It's been a month of change, and hopefully in six months I'll be able to look back on this and say that it was a defining moment in my life. My business, Sikama Contracting, was started on less than a shoestring of a budget. It was started on the dust at the bottom of a worn out sole of an old pair or tekkies that didn't even have a shoestring. Seven awesome years later and I'm at the crossroads where I have to decide between taking the business onward and upward, or follow a passion I've kept subdued for far too long.

And so it was that I chose to follow my passion.
(*note to self... Mrs Pather was wrong. You CAN start a sentence with 'And'. See, I just did!)
Life's too short to sit back and wonder "What if I chose the road less traveled by?" I choose to take that road and see where it leads. It's either going to be a spectacular success, or an amazing failure. Either way, I will be able to sit back and say "I did it!"

There have been many inspirations along the way. Words spoken that once voiced can never be unheard. Encouraging pats on the back and a smile that beamed pride. All of these have helped mould and nourish. Yet there was that one defining moment when a family member looked me in the eye and said "It's tough out there. You'll never be able to do it without me."
A defining moment. An impact moment as some would call it. A moment that I will carry with me through the rest of my  life, always knowing that it spurred me on to prove him wrong.

Yet there were those impact moments that left me inspired and thinking "They believe in me."
Moments in life that make you grateful for the people you surround yourself with.

Shortly thereafter I was sitting in my little flea-market stall named "The Blue Aquarian Room" where I had found a niche' market selling Valentines gift's months after the actual day had passed.
I didn't know it at the time, but when Selma walked in and browsed around, which in that tiny stall literally meant turning her head 180 degrees, she was the only person who appreciated the brilliance of my business plan. Needless to say, over Black Forest Cake and tea's which she thought were coffee's, we cemented the kind of friendship that most people never get to experience in two lifetimes, let alone one!
(I checked this fact out with my Hindu friends.)
Someday when I'm rich and famous, hopefully sooner rather than later, I shall have a huge party and invite everybody who's ever shared and inspired my journey.
In the meantime, if you're reading this, consider yourself already a part of the inner circle :)