27 February 2005

A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn't go by yourself.

It’s been a week of really heavy studying! I hope all this hard work pays off in the end…

In my reply to one of Zubairs emails, I spoke about how we are trained to behave like robots- well, I just found out its true- the schooling system that we have now, evolved from what was originally run by the church. During the industrial revolution, the schooling system was changed and designed to make human beings more efficient and productive- in other words, it’s designed to make us behave like robots! A bell rings and we stop whatever we doing and take a lunch break- the bell rings again and we go back to work! Then we enter the working world and work 8 to 5, 5 days a week till the age of 65- then we retire and try to enjoy the money we worked our whole lives to save!
Think about it- who said that life has to be like that? So, once again, I invite you to join me and rebel against ‘the system’! Work for a few years and then take the next few years off- travel, study or do whatever you please until your money runs out… Good idea right?

The past week is just a blur of studying, but I remember last weekend as being a bit fun-
Sat- Went with the boys to Lenz for supper. Don’t need to mention how much fun it was- but noticed something interesting, sitting in Wimpy, looking around, all the married couples seem so bored- it’s so easy to spot them, they more interested in the food and surroundings than the person sitting in front of them- really sad…

Sun- studied at Wits Biz School during the day and went to Cool Runnings for a comedy show in the evening. Best 20 bucks I think I ever spent- its supposed to be one professional comedian and a bunch of amateurs, but for like 3 hours, we had John Flismas, Riaad Moosa and David Kau! Laughed soo much it hurt- we were a bit late so had to take the seats right in front of the stage- we ended up being the material for the entire show- got made on for being Indian, accountants, terrorists, from Durban, our clothes, names, everything! Humour is very therapeutic- I would advise everyone studying to relieve some study tension by getting a good laugh regularly!

Fri Nite program was very interesting- Hamza prepared the tafsir and he did an excellent job- I have to do some research and find out what’s the difference between human and jinn- Man is different to angels, in the sense that we have choice and can achieve a higher status or position due to the difficulty of making the right choices. But jinn also have ability to be good or evil- I think that because Allah has made man his vicegerents on earth, we have that extra responsibility and therefore can reach a status higher that angels and jinn… anyone has a better explanation or understanding? Share it with us please…

Had Shaakir and Laily spend the night here on Fri- it was good for the soul! Think I’m getting a bit soft round the edges- soul needs a bit more work! Will set a plan in motion as soon as board is over…

19 February 2005

Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.

This seems to working out pretty well- SamP, thanks for your contribution, well appreciated I’m sure… Your job must be very fulfilling- truly admirable!

Well, I thought that now that this trend seems to be taking off, maybe some ground rules should be set. Feel free to add, remove or modify as you deem fit!

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Welcome to Write Club!
The 1st rule of Write Club is- you do not talk about write club! The 2nd rule of Write club is- you DO NOT talk about write club!
The 3rd rule- You write as much as you want, whenever you want.
The 4th rule- You write at least once every 3 months.
And the 5th and final rule of Write Club is- If you haven’t written for write club yet, you have to do so at least once!
Remember, its all about the process- please, respect the process…

Been on study leave the whole week, so I’m going to try to make my week not sound like too much fun! Here goes-

Thurs- went for MSA meeting and met all the guys- Hamza, Zaheer, Jhetam, Zakir, etc - p.s MoRaiman- they all give salaams!

Fri- my last day at work (yuhoo!) but its study leave so not really looking forward to it! Just hope it isn’t that painful getting back into study mode… it seems like such a long time ago that I last studied- it must be all the holidays I had in the interim:-)
Went with Ash and the boys to Nandos Rosebank for supper- met Bilal V and Farhan. Its seems like the whole of Durban is in Joburg now, every weekend I meet more expats!

Sat- good start to study leave- went to wits biz school with Zubair and ZakP. Actually didn’t get much studying done but did manage to draw up a time table! Hopefully get into the mood by tomorrow… Went for supper to Wimpy with Irfan and some new guys.
Took a walk around Fordsburg after supper- its pathetic, two things Indians everywhere in the world seem to have in common- our congregation mentality, and overwhelming desire to make more money! These two traits blend well on a sat night in Fordsburg- it was painful, but if you haven’t experienced it yet, make sure you do coz it’s an experience!
Then we met Aslam for coffee at the Hyatt lounge- real classy joint, they were probably pissed off to have a bunch of Indian guys taking over. Especially since we were having soo much fun. We laugh so much, I think its probably a sin!
Then we moved over to Melrose Arch- don’t know how we end up there every weekend we go out! Guess it’s just the congregation mentality in us shining through! We just sat in the open and talked- well actually laughed more than we talked, the guys were on a roll. It must be wrong to have so much fun- anything not done in moderation is evil, isn’t it?

Had some interesting debates during the night- how bad is smoking weed? Before I say anything further- Weed, as we all know, is Haraam. Totally haraam, so don’t go getting any bright ideas!
But in the interest of trying to understand the mind of a pothead, here goes-
Is it really as bad as alcohol? Alcohol goes into your system and nourishes your body- but weed is just inhaled and exhaled! However, the effect is the same- you are not yourself for the period of intoxication- but what if you do it with someone you trust, behind closed doors? So the question is, will you ever consider smoking weed?
Don’t answer that question! Don’t even think about! This is the work of the devil!!

Sun- Zubz came to the flat and we did manage to get some studying done- in-between chatting and watching women’s golf! Went to Hoorzooks place for his farewell tea- he is leaving for Qatar this weekend. Got a job with Al-Jazeera- how cool is that! Seriously, if I wasn’t tied down with articles, I would love to go as well… But, as soon as I get done with articles, packing up for at least a year and going to learn Arabic- if I get caught into the system and the desire to make money overwhelms me, please remember this and get me beaten up by a bunch of thugs! Or Mayfair clevers should be able to do a pretty good job as well!!

Went to pick Shaakir up from the airport at 11pm Sun night- his flight was delayed:( hes doing his comm service in Zeerust and needed a lift back. Took Ash with me for the ride- were supposed to spend the night and leave early, but decided to drive straight through- left joburg at 12:30 and reached Zeerust at 3:30 in the morning! Was a small road trip- very tiring but most memorable (imagine 3 hours in the car with Shaakir and Ashfaq!) and enjoying…

Slept in Zeerust a few hours and left after breakfast- drive back was hot and uncomfortable! The things I do for friends- tsk, tsk,tsk…

Went to RAU libs to study- what a lovely campus! Think I’m going to register for some part time courses later in the year!

Met up with Mariam at Caesers on Tues and Wed night- was here for some Shell thing, conspiring to mess up the environment and hoard Africa’s natural resources! Or at least, that’s what some say…

And to those who have been sending smartass sms’s and emails about my pic in the Sunday Times- enough, please enough! I am real proud to be a part of transformation (bullsh*t) and a face of the firm (double bullsh*t)… lets give it a rest, okay…

And my number is not available for a while- some idiot stole my phone yesterday! Was studying in Wits law libs- there’s just no ethics and morals in society anymore! But, I consider it as my part towards a redistribution of wealth- it must happen somehow!

Tonight we went for a feast to Bismillah after Halqa- it was too good- last time we had something like this was when we came to joburg last year for Vachs wedding! Raiman- the boys really miss you, when you coming for a visit! Hope we don’t get food poisoning like the last time we ate here- assuming it was Bismillahs chow and not the wedding chow…

As you see, I’ve had a pretty productive week of studying- probably going to get much more intense so don’t expect a weekly mail till after board…

10 February 2005

It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path that leads to bliss.

Another week gone by… *sigh*
Well, from the replies I’ve been getting, it seems that some of you do appreciate these mails:) This might be the last one till after board, don’t know if I’m going to have the time… will see how it goes… (only one email this week- normally have two different emails for my two groups. Group2- Consider yourself lucky this week!!)

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” (Martin Luther King, Jr)

I came across this quote in an email from a friend and thought I’d share it. Haven’t had much time to think this week so quoting quotes instead;-p Rev King was a good man and we can learn a lesson from him, but this is what the greatest of men said- read and ponder over it and hopefully it can motivate us to do something worthwhile…

What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured. (Bukhari)

And once again, on a lighter note, (and in almost total contradiction to the above!) here’s the weeks report-

On Thursday night, went out with Mikhael and Landi for supper. For those who don’t know, Mike is a Canadian Assyrian(long story- look it up!) who has been working for the Gauteng government for the last few years. He’s an ultra cool guy and we had many interesting conversations in the last few weeks. They stay in same building and I meet them almost daily. Leaving for Canada this week and I’m really going to miss their company…

Fri- left work early because I was getting a lift to Newcastle. It was the 2nd time in one month but I just had to go for the Family Spit Braai. It started a few years ago and has become an annual event for us. We all go to Vryheid (small town an hour from NN) for the weekend and have a whole sheep and leg of beef on a spit. Because it’s over a weekend, everybody comes, even those who don’t make it for eid. There were over a hundred of us in this tiny town! Had booked out the only Motel and B&B in town and had three houses as well! The musjid had three rows instead of the normal half- and for Sunday zohr, the Imaam actually waited for us!
The weekend with family was somehow so much fun even though we didn’t do much- I suppose it’s the spending time with those you love and care about… But it’s hectic having such a big family, every time I go, the small second cousins have grown and I have to learn their names again! I have soo many first cousins; it’s difficult keeping track of the second cousins! But I should be grateful; very few families are so close…

Was depressing getting back to work on Monday, after a weekend of fun it’s difficult to get back to reality! At a new client in Rosebank, so was exciting to be in new, fancy offices. You walk out the building and you in the Zone, so I took quite a few walks…

Tues after work had a QE Preparation Session- it remained me of BYM in Cape Town last year. This guy was a male version of Leigh- ‘it’s all about believing in yourself!’ Chucky is just too good- he can make money doing any crap! Don’t know how much KPMG pays this guy, but I think any idiot can do his job. He put up a few totally irrelevant quotes and somehow managed to link it to how we can pass board. Then a chuckette comes up to talk about diet- who needs to know about glucose, blood cells, carbohydrates and vitamins! What she should have done was given us a menu for the next three weeks- would make life so much easier!

Went to Investec last night for an Association of Black Accountants function- it was really cool! Chucky and chuckette couldn’t come- just us black brothers in the house! Feel much more comfortable with black people- but not those who think they’re white! Really had a blast hanging with my homies, and was even better coz Zubz was there too! But that’s the end of fun because board leave from Friday and I really, really need to get into full study mode!

Think I’m going to stay in Joburg and study- if I go to Newcastle, it’ll take too much time to acclimatise and everyone’s going to be asking, ‘Hows work? Hows Joburg?’

Before I forget, met Mariam Ahmed in Newcastle and she gives salaams to those who know her. Shame, poor child is doing her internship in Dundee! And special thanks to Mariam J for last weeks quotes!

Have a session with my ‘counselling manager’ now- thought about off-loading all my gripes, but think it’ll be better to make friends first… Realised that in the big wide world it doesn’t matter what you know- its who you know! Well, off we go, wish me luck!

03 February 2005

Knowingly on unknowingly all beings have within themselves the desire to praise.

Following from last weeks email-
“…we first need to learn that working in a multi-national company or making a lot of money is not what was meant to be our nature of existence."
This is a quote from some mail I received a few weeks ago.
What was meant to be our nature of existence? Is it possible to work in a multi-national company with good intentions and accomplish something worthwhile in life?
I believe that a justifiable reason for working in these places is so that we can acquire skills and master the ‘system’ with the intention of eventually bringing about change. The danger here is that you could get caught up and the next thing you know, it’s all over!
That’s why I’m keen on this idea of getting young Muslim professionals to network- to have some sort of long term plan will make things easier. But are we fooling ourselves- is it really our duty to change the world!
Changing the world may sound far fetched (and the first step is changing ourselves) but if we don’t dream big will we ever achieve it!

For lighter reading, here’s ‘The Life, Times, Thoughts and Other of Bilal’:

For the second time in my life I heard somebody use the word “yesterday” as an exclamation. It wasn’t the ‘yaasterdai’ that we had heard our Durban buddy using, but a more feminine ‘yistedey’ used by a chukette at work. Apparently the word has been in chucky’s vocab for generations! Normally used when wanting to express surprise or shock at something.

Wed is the best day of my week- board course the whole day so no work! But I’m getting worried now, times running out and I haven’t been able to get into full study mode- there’s just no time (yup, caught up in the ‘system’) and when there is, you just soo tired! Staring seriously from today ;-(

Thurs night I went for a MSA meeting. My first this year and it made me realise that it might appear to be different, but students and student work is the same everywhere… Don’t think I can do much here with work and everything, but it feels good to spend some time doing something worthwhile…

Fri we went to visit Laily who had just come back from hajj. Apparently the Saudis made the jamraats (shaytaans) bigger, wanaoozubillah! He gave us his whole story and ‘epic’ is the only word to describe it. He went as a guide so had a really unique experience- think I’m going to try and save up and go next year, InshaAllah. There’s a guy that might be going through Africa- sounds exciting! Wonder whether they’ll need an accountant on the journey…

Sat- my granny was here and had to take her to a function. It was the launch of a book on Ahmed Timol- He was an anti-apartheid activist who was thrown from the window of the police station at John Vorster Square. The cops at that time joked about it and said, “Koolis can’t fly!” I regret not staying for the function, but will make a point of getting the book. It’s a shame that many of us don’t know about him or have even heard the name before. It’s people like this who we should take lessons from.

Sat night went to the airport with all the guys. The night was really fun- been a long time since I laughed so hard and so much. These guys are really great company- Irfan, Ghoor, Zubair Habib, Zubair Laher, Ashfaq and Laily. After the airport we went for coffee to Melrose Arch (joburgs Milky Lane). All the Indians from lenz, benoni and a group of Mayfair clevers frequent this place. Don’t know why we went there- must be the ingrained Indian congregating mentality! Hooked another group of guys and played charades till late- probably looked like a bunch of idiots, but it was great fun!

Sunday morning had to wake up earlierish:( and take gran visiting. It’s amazing how many people she knows- thought it will never end! Met this really cool guy- his parents are my grannys friends so I was having a chat with him while she was visiting- he studied medicine in Egypt with my uncle for a while and then moved to UK where he studied English literature. He spent time in Russia and then Cuba studying politics. He is 40, has a gold earring and pony tail, has lived in a dozen countries and has never married! What a cool character- he is leaving for the Far East for a few months to assist with Tsunami relief efforts! Would be really cool spending more time chatting with him… He has no assets to his name and lives with his parents when he’s in SA, but he has lived an amazing life! Lucky guy! Or not?

Raed the Jordanian is here, done with his dissertation and heading back home. Met him Sunday night for supper, he is staying at Turkish house for a few weeks and writing some English exam. I was quite chaffed to see my name in his dissertation under ‘acknowledgements’. And I thought if an Arab, who hardly speaks English, can write a book then why can’t I!

Monday morning was just crap- woke up late, car hassled, mad traffic till work and when I get there, the client I was supposed to go to was postponed! Wasn’t too bad because then had most of the morning free. Met Moe Jada (Road trip-PE) for coffee and then a 2nd year took me out for lunch. Was a little worried about getting caught out for doing no work the whole day but nobody seemed to care!

Well, that’s what my last week has been like. For those who haven’t seen received this before- as you can see, you haven’t been missing out on much!

A regular email will be nice if you can find the time…