The one in pain makes a lot of assumptions about the one they think has it all. “What would you know? You’ve never been tested by such trials!”Continue reading “Everyone has trials”
May God bless the developers of satnav. I shudder thinking back to the daft rows we had in the early days of marriage when stressed by a map reading mishap, completely lost on the way to some event in London in our little red donkey. Such ungentlemanly behaviour, tempers flaring. Thank God we have mellowed with age. Thank God we now have satnav!
Don’t follow to be followed. Don’t be an adult pretending to be a kid. Don’t be a man pretending to be a girl. Don’t write what you think will get you noticed. Don’t set out with ulterior motives. Don’t hang out in the hope that others will engage you. Only a fool would fall for the freshly minted account seeking an audience — waving and prodding — before you’ve said anything at all. If you’re for real, your authentic voice will speak volumes. So be real. Be true to yourself. Don’t be fake; fakeness only reveals you.
There is so much I have always attributed to a strict, Christian upbringing which should probably be more correctly associated with my undying timidity. When I begin exploring past events a bit more, it occurs to me that a normal youngster would have just asserted themselves to demand whatever their heart desired. Few would have been as passive as me, forever in fear of the consequences for transgressing the norms set out by the significant adults around me.Continue reading “Undying timidity”
Fifty percent of your population lives below the poverty line. Nine million people are at risk of starvation. Millions of children are malnourished.Continue reading “Face it”
Lounging around in the garden, my wife and I have had a day reminiscing, reflecting on all the strange coincidences that brought us together.Continue reading “Coincidences”
We have in our tradition the notion that you marry a woman for one of four reasons: for her beauty, her wealth, her family or her religion. It’s then said, “Marry her for her religion and the Most Merciful will take care of the rest.” To which my response is: “So true!” The divine sense of humour is unmatchedContinue reading “That crush”
There was an expression which followed me around in adolescence: “That boy just won’t get on.” Sometimes those sentiments came with the preamble: “I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy.” Mostly that was just inferred.Continue reading “Getting on”
There are no couples that are not tested. This is the natural order of this testing realm we refer to as life. All couples will be tested by their relationship with each other, and by their children or childlessness, with good health or poor, with wealth or hardship.Continue reading “The content couple”
I suppose I should not be surprised by negative reactions to what people think I have become. They have been fed a constant diet for a quarter of a century painting this path as something strange, alien, other.Continue reading “Mutual incomprehension”
I feel like I am only now coming to terms with the impact of my character on my ability to function socially. It’s certainly easier today to access research papers on the condition than it was when I was diagnosed eighteen years ago. At that time, the information available to non-specialists was negligible, with just a few resources providing a very generalised overview of the condition.Continue reading “Social charter”
I would hate to be misunderstood. I don’t wish my life had gone in a different direction completely. I’m not blaming anyone for pushing me in one direction rather than another. I just recognise that some events had a profound impact on me. And while I hated those events at the time, there was good in them. So, no, it is all good. What I have now, I would not change. I am content with my Lord’s decree. And that is the truth.
An observer might legitimately ask how I went from holding old foes in gross contempt to empathising with them, seeing the world from their perspective. For that, I largely credit my writing. In the first novel I ever wrote, I had two sets of characters: the good and the bad. In that first draft, there was no nuance in the world and no attempt to understand the other.Continue reading “The art of empathy”
I suppose that raising kids of our own can help us become more generous both to our youthful selves and those we interacted with when we were young.Continue reading “To be kids”
Every phase of life brings its tests and trials. Once we were kids, trying to find our place in the world. Now we’re parents dealing with kids trying to find their own place. In our youth, we faced the tests of seeking companionship and finding a soulmate with whom to share our lives.Continue reading “Trials and tests”
How much easier it would be taking up this path at this juncture of life, than in our youth when we still believed we needed the approval or support of our families.Continue reading “Latecomers”
I’m hidden, but I’m not hiding. For note, though I’m barely read, I am a prolific writer, revealing my innermost thoughts before the entire world. Those thoughts are not locked behind a paywall or multi-factor authentication. I am right here, in the public domain, hidden in plain sight. There is no mystery surrounding the man; my soul is wide open, on full display.Continue reading “Hidden”
I haven’t done a garden post in a long time, primarily because I hardly ever seem to have time to do any gardening anymore. But as my beloved insisted I clean the pond filter and tackle another invasion of Box Tree Moth caterpillars again, I thought to myself, “Why not?”Continue reading “Casual gardener”
It’s a big day today, as Rize-Artvin airport opens. Not only for the convenience of bringing a regional airport closer to our second home — now just 50km away — but because it liberates our kids from my perpetual obsession, checking YouTube twice weekly for the latest progress update.Continue reading “To fly away”
Couldn’t persuade the kids to come with me. No bad thing.Continue reading “After work, the walk”
I am always disappointed to encounter young people rejecting the best parts of Bengali or Punjabi culture in favour of the worst parts of English culture. I understand and accept that there are aspects of all cultures that are stifling, best set aside. But why throw away the whole for the sake of just a part?Continue reading “We are enriched”
A sure sign I’m in the grip of a mid-life crisis: I took the family on a trip down memory lane last weekend, subjecting our poor kids to an interminable tour of every place of minor and major significance in their dad’s life.Continue reading “When I were a lad”
Our Ealing allotment in 2002, St John’s Church on Mattock Lane in the background, and a rare glimpse of yours truly trying out my new fork.Continue reading “Twenty years”
I don’t actually blame anyone for how I was treated. I couldn’t see myself and therefore couldn’t see what others saw all day long. I would keep my appointments with a mirror to the minimum, always shrouding my bony arms beneath a jumper, even on the hottest day of the year. I always wished I could flee that form of mine, but I was stuck with it, and daily I would be reminded that it was all I was. My look and temperament defined me absolutely.Continue reading “To walk alone”
Of course it is disappointing that the first thing a person asks me on learning of the path I have walked for the past quarter of a century is my view on terrorism. Of course it is upsetting that a path that brings such peace to so many is forever associated in the minds of others with such unspeakable barbarity. Naturally, it hurts that even sensible people believe such evil to be representative of our normative tradition. But of course I understand: they have two decades of pervasive propaganda to unravel. It is all they have heard for twenty years.Continue reading “Look beyond”
Building a house, overseas, in the midst of a global pandemic? Are you crazy? Well, yes… and possibly no. Given the state of the Turkish economy right now, with the inflation rate soaring, if we were to embark on the project today, we wouldn’t be able to afford it at all. With recent changes to planning regulations, nor would we get building consent. So it could be said... just in the nick of time.Continue reading “Lockdown project”
What happened twenty or thirty years ago, none of us can change. What we can do is resolve to help our own children make better decisions.Continue reading “Next gen”
For all my efforts penning tales of make-believe through the years, it turns out that reality is often stranger than fiction. Over and over, occurrences — coincidences to the secular mind — which can only perturb. Of course, the believer recognises these coincidences as our provision and decree, granted us by Ar-Razzaq, the Provider.Continue reading “Stranger than fiction”
Is it just me, or is tech getting more complicated rather than simpler? I’m going to have to resign my role as tech support for the family. I have zero patience faffing around getting this junk working these days. A worrying admission for an IT bod, but there we are. I can’t be bothered with it at all.
Probably in common with many people, one of my family’s hypotheses when I took up this path was that there was a girl. In their mind’s eye, I had fallen in love with a Muslim girl and had thus converted to placate her family. An amusing theory, I must say, because there was no girl at all; in fact I was more or less a recluse in the months leading up to my testimony of faith.Continue reading “About a girl”
They struggle to come to terms with what has become of me, because they neither knew me, nor the path I now walk. That I was misunderstood does not matter at all — I am just a ghost from the past, soon to be forgotten once more — but people should strive their utmost to understand the path. In it they will discover all that their hearts truly desire.
Faith is not inherited, but is learnt. To find you must seek. It is not a culture you immerse yourself in, but a path you walk. It does not belong to anyone. It is gifted to some and withdrawn from others. Seek and you will find.
At college, I had two friends of Muslim heritage. The first of them resented the Muslim tag and pretty much rejected the faith completely. The other one was slightly more serious, fasting in Ramadan and being careful about eating halal. The first of the two would get annoyed with the latter for telling him to give up his daily appointment with a sausage roll from the canteen.Continue reading “DJ Strange”
Alhamdulilah for the spring, for green leaves on the trees, for blue skies, sunlight and warmth. The winter was so hard. Now hope and optimism. Alhamdulilah for today.
Faced with the perpetual bickering of a brother and sister so close in age, I really have to marvel at my parents who raised four of us. How on earth did they manage?Continue reading “Altercations”
A question I often ask myself — and I suspect others ask too — is why I didn’t just opt for a normal life. To be subsumed into the dominant culture, to go to the pub like everyone else. To join the rat race and obsess over a football team, just like any other normal English bloke. Why did I head off in this other direction, breaking with everything I once knew?Continue reading “Normal”
What do I want? Vengeance? Compensation? Validation? No, nothing like that. I don’t really want anything actually. All I really want is the best for people. That’s the only reason I can think of for these notions to have been injected into my mind this past winter.Continue reading “Remembering”
A sure sign that you have become middle-aged is that you can write about any topic under the sun and not give a stuff what anyone thinks.Continue reading “Past caring”
It’s a shame that when fasting we lose weight in all the wrong places. My arms are like sticks again, my face drawn. But my fat gut: alas, I still look pregnant. An undesirable look for a bloke, which I cannot even blame on beer. For my belly, I must take up Couch to 5K again. For my face, a 5K jaunt to Ashridge House bakehouse for a caffè mocha and an almond croissant.
Living far away from extended family has both its advantages and drawbacks. When I hear tales of the interference of in-laws in the lives of many couples, I feel blessed that my in-laws live three thousand miles away and speak a different language.Continue reading “Extended families”