Dear animal lover… I’m sure your little doggie is absolutely lovely… yes, wonderful… but, you know, not everyone wants to be charged at, barked at by or leapt upon by your little four-legged friend, every single time they go for a walk. Be considerate, maybe… or at least have the decency to apologise after your pooch has left muddy paw prints all over a stranger’s trousers… or has terrified a small child. Just sayin (out walkin). The score so far: one charge and leap, twice barked at aggressively. Maybe it’s just me.
My beloved doesn’t like me talking about her, us or our life together. That’s part modesty, but more fear that it will bring disaster on our heads. Which, of course, are reasonable concerns. It’s precisely why we recite Surah Al-Falaq daily, because those harms are real. So I backtrack, withdraw and seek refuge in the One from my own ignorance.Continue reading “This gift”
There is definitely some strange wiring in the background connecting us, which proponents of a material-only world cannot account for. Another one this morning. Feeling blue, I was just thinking to myself, “You know, maybe I have depression.” But just as I’m thinking this, my phone rings and it’s an old friend who is going through a really tough time. It put everything in perspective. I really should express more gratitude for great blessings.
How might my life have been different had I chosen — or been able to choose — my friends more wisely?Continue reading “Clueless”
Yes, I unpublished a load of stuff. I do that quite often. But fear not, I’ve put it all back now, apart from whatever my beloved insisted I remove. So it’s all good… until next time.Continue reading “Lost”
On unswerving loyalty to family, regardless of what they do. We are held to a different standard:
O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be for rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not your desires, lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.Qur’an 4:135
Our way is to speak the truth even against ourselves, even if it pains us.
My demise in those days began — as far as I know — the day a girl with brown eyes and beige skin got her protectors. She was, I believe, of Malaysian origin, although that to me was immaterial.Continue reading “Protectors”
Who would I listen to? I think Cambridge Central Mosque is a good place to start. They have a well-maintained YouTube channel. I like many of their folk. There’s my namesake, of course, Tim Winter aka Abdul Hakim Murad. I also like Jubril Alao and Sulayman Van Ael there. I have nothing against the others; I just haven’t explored their contributions much.Continue reading “Seeker”
Only a fool would decide to do gardening with a bad back. But I am a fool.Continue reading “Your average fool”
There are no coincidences. The One is firmly in charge. In 2007, we made the intention to do the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Only, we didn’t set off at our scheduled departure time, because we discovered that we had been hoodwinked by a fraudster who had run off with our passports and all of our money. It turned out that we had no visas, no flights and no accommodation.Continue reading “Divine decree”
Right on time, a friend shared this with me today:
Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you. Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become. Think positively, no matter how hard life is. Give much, even if you’ve been given little. Keep in touch with the ones who have forgotten you, and forgive who has wronged you, and do not stop praying for the best for those you love.Attributed to Hazrat Ali
This, the path we are called to, capturing every emotion that has innately sprung to mind this past spring. Forgive me for what I write in ignorance and anger.
At risk of gaslighting myself — very popular contemporary terminology — I am prepared to concede in my mid-forties that I may have completely misread and misunderstood events that occurred all around me in my youth. This concession is, of course, the result of hours spent reading research papers investigating different aspects of the impact of a chromosome disorder that I am wholly unqualified to interpret. But such is the quest for understanding.Continue reading “A new paradigm of self”
Apart from the lethargy, depression and aching bones, I was doing well neglecting my treatment. I felt like I was in control. Now I feel like I’ve gone haywire. I think I prefer the trough to the high.
Driving home last night, I was passed by a family of four enjoying a ride is an open-top Audi A5 Coupé. They were all smiles, proud of dad, it seemed. It got me thinking: surely that was the normal teenage reaction to a new luxury saloon.Continue reading “What drives us”
To say, “I forgive.” To me, these are not just words. It took a lot for me first to forgive and then to seek forgiveness for events that had once traumatised me. The truth behind those events, I don’t suppose I will ever know in this life. We have the day of judgement for that.Continue reading “The act of forgiving”
“Be forgiving. Be forgiving. Be forgiving.” This, a reminder to my self, whenever that inner voice returns to churning over the past. That voice says, “They wronged you!” and, listening to it, I begin to feel bitter once more, penning a great screed. No, but moments later, I remind myself, “Forgive, forgive, forgive.” These the inner battles.
I know you asked me not to write anything about you, us or our life together. But I can’t help it. I get emotional thinking about it, tears in my eyes. I have never known anyone like you, capable of embracing me just the way I am, and sticking firmly at my side through all the tests that life has thrown at us. Bu kalp sonsuza kadar minnettar.
Tilda is the Ferrari of Basmati rice, but no one can afford it anymore. Fortunately, there is still Laila, the BMW of Basmati. Leave all that £5.99 special offer crap: that’s the Robin Reliant of rice. You might as well just serve up a plate of sand.
I went for an eight-mile walk with a friend on Saturday. We were active for hours. Although I was getting tired towards the end, it was fine. No problem. But this morning, simply reaching into my laptop bag for a mouse, my back went, “Pop!” The nausea and pain that followed was intense. Here, the middle-aged body, reminding me that we’re no longer young.
I see the Peter principle is fully operative in our workplace. This is why it’s so hard to stay motivated these days: because all around me, everyone has been promoted to the maximum state of incompetence. People don’t seem to have the most basic skillset anymore.Continue reading “Maximum incompetence”
Really, envy is a mental illness. You have to be on constant guard against it. It’s a disease which has hit me with a vengeance this past year. Envy at the material wealth of family members. Envy at the great careers of old friends. Envy at the exotic cars driven by my brethren. On and on like this.Continue reading “The best wealth”
Hmm, perhaps I won’t publish my writing in installments after all. Maybe that’s not the right approach. Perhaps I will share it another way. Email hello at tjbowes dotco dotuk and I’ll send a hard copy, inshallah. Summer reading; no urgency.
Yes, I really should be more generous to my parents. In a period of eight years, they had four of us. When I was born, my two older brothers were five and three. When I was three, my sister was born. That’s a lot of parenting to contend with — an unending stream of need. For eight years, the constant stresses raising and nurturing infants.Continue reading “Parenthood”
I guess I obsess a bit about the 1990s. That’s because it was my worst decade. That ten-year period, from beginning to end. Of course, many my age would say the same thing, since that was the period of our adolescence when we were all finding our feet. True, I imagine, to some degree.Continue reading “That decade”
There’s something I never told you. Actually, there’s lots I never told you. But this one is bigger than everything else. I never told you, I suppose, because our relationships were fractious then. And, well, because I was struggling to come to terms with it myself. And because I had little reliable information at my disposal to make sense of it then. So I just carried it within, and never spoke of it to anyone.Continue reading “Unspoken”
Amusingly, my parents always were able to put a positive spin on my many failures. There was the short IT contract I took in 1995, after failing to apply for university. When people asked what I was doing with myself, my dad would simply say, “He’s in Cambridge,” and leave them to imagine I was a fine scholar.Continue reading “Positive spin”
Why do I always have the feeling I’m late to the party?Continue reading “Too late”
I apologise for what I need to apologise for. But I also apologise for my apologies. I apologise for returning from oblivion, reawakening all that was forgotten. I apologise for my self-centred ego, seeking to be heard, or recalled. I apologise for everything, borne of a manic outpouring of my soul. Really, forgive me. Forgive me.
The trouble with blogging is that you have no idea who your readers are. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Mostly I take solace and refuge in that anonymity, but every now and then something happens which causes me to pause for thought. No, not so much pause: I will be found scrambling to immediately unpublish everything.Continue reading “Gone”
My beloved returned from collecting the kids from school yesterday — an act of mercy due to a sweltering heatwave — in floods of tears. On the way, she had decided to treat them to ice cream. Of course, on a day as hot as this, she wasn’t alone in that mission, and found that the local corner shop had completely sold out of everything.Continue reading “A mother’s tears”
A thought occurred to me this evening, driving home, lost in thought: perhaps I should share the draft novel which spilled out of me this winter. Maybe I need to free it, even if it is an incomplete early draft, untouched since February.Continue reading “A winter’s writing”
In 2001, a close friend of mine from university days invited me to go with him to Brixton for another friend’s wedding. A convert of West African descent, he was always much more rigorous in his approach to faith than I ever was, converting five years before me, in his mid-teens. Despite trying his best to steer me in one direction, he knew I was a lost cause, too laidback for my own good. But still he was going to try.Continue reading “Go with the flow”
I don’t actually have a problem with hypocrisy. We’re all hypocrites to some degree. How others choose to live their lives is no business of mine. All I object to is hypocrisy enforced with violence, or the threat of violence, or consequences undefined. That I can’t abide.