Sunday, September 17, 2017

Letter from a prisoner - A man in a man's world

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I was married for just over 6 years and my marriage ended terribly. I also witnessed my parents marriage go horribly wrong and end in the most tragic of ways. I also witnessed the marriage of an elderly couple I care for dearly, end with the man hanging himself. 
Over the past month or so, I have been in touch with family and friends who have been sharing their marital or relationship problems with me.
Recently, a lady who I consider my sister was told by her husband that, after bearing him two beautiful sons, that she is gone too fat. He does not love her anymore and wants out. 
In another instance, a friend confided in me about how her ex-husband used to sexually force himself on her during his drug induced highs; albeit that he needed to inject himself in order to obtain an erection. 
Yet another friend was left high and dry by her husband when it transpired that she had breast cancer. A few years on, and he has not paid any maintenance for the 4 kids they share. 
My single friends have a plethora of tales of all the seemingly ludicrous things men want from a potential marriage. Men seem to think that they are entitled to dictate terms to potential spouses. They are not shy to set rules as to how their woman must dress, cook, behave, work or more likely not work, interact with family and friends; and such it seems as though men truly believe they live in a mans world.
This exposure definitely does not qualify me as an expert on the matter but it has given me a newfound appreciation for relationships. On a more personal level, it has made me question the man that I am, the man I was in my marriage and the partner I seek to be in the future. 
Am I too soft? Am I too romantic? Am I too selfless? Am I a pushover? Am I a man?
This train of thought may seem ironic coming from a person who has to be a man every single moment in order to survive my current environment of prison, but I cannot help but be intruiged by the attitudes of men that is seen as acceptable. 

In Indian South African homes, it is expected by the man and society that the wife will cook and take care of the house. By the time the husband returns from home, the house should be flawless and a sumptuous meal should be awating his arrival. My childhood home was this way too. Yet in my marriage it was the complete opposite. I would get home from work and prepare supper, which would be ready by the time my ex got home from the gym. I would then prepare and pack our lunches for the next day. Cleaning the house was left to the domestic worker. On weekends or when she felt like it, my ex would cook or bake. I did not mind cooking daily and saw nothing wrong with how we lived. Yet I know to most this arrangement will seem just plain wrong. Why though? Why is it wrong for a man to cook for his wife or family? By the way, I am now a qualified chef, is that not more reason for why I should cook when it is a passion of mine? If my partner isn't into cooking as much as I am, should I still "man up" and order that she cooks? Does cooking for your husband make one a better wife? 

I guess with my ex, a lot of it came down to her working and studying at the same time; which brings me to another sore subject. When it comes to women working, men get very insecure. Men seem to think that their wife having a more successful career than them or God forbid earning more than them equates to instant emasculation. Suddenly, men become all pious and say that a woman should not work; but such hypocricy is exposed easily. At this point I will probably be labelled as modernist or worse, when in actual fact I am very old school in the respect that I do believe that it is a mans job to provide for his wife and family. Make no mistake, I do not for a moment see myself as a "house husband," I simply feel that if so many women across the world can work and take care of their homes, then why can a man not do the same? Why should a woman only labour for love? 
Having a job or career brings about self-fulfillment that no man can give his spouse. Why then deny the one, you supposedly love more than anyone else, this opportunity at self-fulfillment?

When Indian men date women, then they are happy to be seen with a woman who shows off her figure and dresses modernly. Yet the same men want a wife who meets their criterion of modesty. Again, such hypocricy. Yes, as a Muslim man I would like my future wife to guide me towards jannah; but it is just as much my responsibility to do the same. The way in which it is done though is what bothers me. To the rest of the world, a man will be kind, sweet and gentle; but when it comes to his spouse he is harsh and abrupt. The very same men who will say they are doing their religious duty by being the man of the house fail to realise that kindness towards a spouse is also a Sunnah. 

As a prisoner, I have lost pretty much everything  that was dear to me. I miss a lot of it but the one thing that I miss more than anything else is love and companionship. Treasure the love and companion you have for love truly is life. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Rey's Indian style Basmati rice

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1. Boil water in a pot. Add a few 
pieces of taj, lavang, elachi and 
salt. (2 tsp salt per one cup of 

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2. Wash 4 cups rice in a dish

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3. Add the rice to the pot and boil
until halfway done

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4. Drain rice and then add to an 
oven proof pot

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5.Now make a vagaar for the rice.
Slice half an onion into a frying 

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6. Add 1 tsp jeera

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7.Add 4 tablespoons ghee 

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8. Onion must fry until slightly browned

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9. Add the browned onions with the
ghee over the rice

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11. Now add half a cup of water to
the rice and steam at 180 degrees
until done

Serve with any curry of your choice!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

CPL 2017 UPDATE BY Dev Govindjee

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It has been a long time since I sat down to write an update- so much has happened and so many countries visited over the past 12 months that I fear I shall not be able to do justice if I attempt to recall them all- safe to say that recently I have visited Qatar, Hong Kong, Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, The Netherlands & Jersey since December 2016 and now am in the Caribbean doing my 3rd CPL (Caribbean Premier League) tournament.

My schedule of travel has thus been totally frenetic and these appointments do not always come well in advance –so there has been a terribly stressful period of getting Schengen Visas and USA & UK Visas all sorted out in time for me to get to the various destinations –thankfully these hurdles have been negotiated and I now find myself sitting on the balcony of the lovely Royal St Lucia Resort on another glorious Caribbean morning with time on my hands- time enough to realize that many have requested updates and many others have indicated that they have missed hearing from me- for the others- well just read and enjoy or send me a short note indicating otherwise and I shall refrain from taking up your time.

My 2017 CPL schedule excited me as I have on my previous two visits to the West Indies missed out on getting matches in St Lucia- this time it was included- firstly though I had to complete a European U19 Tournament in Jersey ( first visit there) in the Channel Islands ( more about that later) and thankfully completed matches there on the 1 August allowing me to fly directly to London & Miami to be in time in Fort Lauderdale for the start of my CPL matches on 5 August. Had a hectic double header of matches there on the Sat & Sun and on Monday 7th it was a chartered flight out of Fort Lauderdale for 4 teams and match officials directly to St Lucia.There were long delays due to overloading of luggage ( cricket kit) so finally 4 hours later we departed and it meant getting to the hotel ( an 90 min drive) only around 8 pm – in time to spend a bit of my birthday out having supper with the umpires.

The island/country of St Lucia is absolutely beautiful- fantastic resort where we are staying so a walk directly onto the beach - idyllic conditions for doing whatever you feel like- a short walk into Rodney Bay where there are enough pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and shops for the satisfaction of the many tourists who come to enjoy what is on offer.A few days ago we arranged to travel around some parts of the Island and visited the iconic Pitons ( two cone-shaped mountains) as well as visiting the Sulphur Springs nearby and having a delightful Mud Bath.

With the CPL matches here all scheduled to start either at 5,6 or 8 pm, it does leave many hours free to get to enjoy new places- also got to Castries which is the main harbor town where passenger liners dock fairly regularly bringing the many tourists who enjoy being in the Caribbean.

This update was started on Sunday and it is now Tuesday- Our 4th and final match here at the Daren Sammy Stadium is at 6pm and then we prepare to leave St Lucia for an equally beautiful island called St Kitts & Nevis.

Last night a local passionate cricket-loving family invited the match officials to their home- a beautiful evening spent with them and some friends they had invited and to listen to so much of what life is like on these Caribbean islands –their love and following of cricket down to their knowledge of even the match officials was astounding and we were made ot feel really special by them all- hoping that one of their daughters plays for the West Indies one day.

Sunday 20 August

Yes- it is clear that the days are going by quickly and this update needs to be sent out before it is time to return home- so, from beautiful St Kitts on this reast day let me briefly update- have had a few matches here- my third visit to this magnificent island where the Port Zante region in the downtown Basseterre comes alive when the regular ocean liners dock-a few days ago two docked at the same time so it was a good time to be there and once again experience the buzz tha this brings with it- tourism is what the island survives on and the shops do a good trade- I have made some good friends in many places and here I have friends who own a jewellery store and my weakness for watches is well know to them and yes, I have bought another one!

I also have a couple who take me around to see new places so this afternoon they shall once again do that.

Some CPL matches start at 9pm for maximum TV exposure in the sub-continent- that does mean that if there are any rain interruptions then the extra time allowed pushes the cessation times way beyond midnight! Really should not complain as we do have free days and also match days are free until we leave for the venues.

From St Kitts the next stop on Thursday will be Barbados- looking forward to my 2nd visit to Bajan territory and from there it is play-offs and finals this year in Trinidad.

Until the next update




Monday, August 14, 2017

Letter from a prisoner - One visit, one look, one life changing decision

21 May 2017
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10 years ago, I spent a few months in prison before being granted bail pending the outcome of an appeal. For the first weekend back in the "real" world, my family and friends decided upon a trip to the "real" Sun City (the prison I was in for those few months is nicknamed sun city due to the corruption and ability to have almost anything in there).

There are many reasons why I will always remember that particular trip but there is one  that truly stands out, for the wrong reasons. On the way to Sun City, I was a passenger in my friends stunning Porche cabriolet. As he was too busy thrashing the car about every corner, he did not have the opportunity to light a cigarette. Jokingly, he asked me to light one for him. 

I had always been fairly health conscious and had never thought of being a smoker, as I found the act itself rather repulsive. I had also witnessed an uncle suffer from lymphoma, a time that was especially trying for me. I had as a young teen tried smoking on a couple of occasions, but it did nothing for me. Even if it was the greatest feeling in the world, I would have never smoked because both my dad and mom despised it. 

So when my friend asked me to light a cigarette for him, I cannot to this day rationalise why I said yes. What I do know though is that when he turned to me minutes later, the cigarette was finished. I had smoked my first whole cigarette. The scary part was that I enjoyed it. 

From that day on, I was a smoker. Most people could not believe it when they saw me smoking; but unfortunately I was hooked. Those few moments of pleasure whilst smoking became something to look forward to. Soon, I was smoking a pack a day. At times, even more. Many around me tried to discourage my newly formed habit but not even bouts of bronchitis could prevent me from lighting up. 

When I came back to prison, I changed a lot as a person. My faith is what changed the most. Smoking however presented a contradiction of sorts. No matter which way one looks at it, smoking can never be condoned by faith. It is a dirty habit that is simply a poisoning of oneself. I knew this. I knew this for years and I kept consoling myself and those who care for me that I would quit, but only on the day I walked out of prison. I guess for those who love me, it was some solace for them knowing that I had intentions to quit but due to circumstances they would not push me to stop something that seemingly helped me get through my ordeal. 

Would you be pleased with yourself knowing that you made someone who cared for you cry? I won't be pleased. It has always been the worst thing that I could do, to physically reduce someone to tears. As a teenager, I once made my mom cry; I vowed that day to never let that happen again, and I can proudly say I was never the cause of her tears again. The look in her eyes that day tore through me, I did not want to ever see that again. My dad wasn't one to cry but a look of disappointment was more than enough for him to render me speechless. 

Recently, a long lost friend visited me. Visiting someone in prison that you care for is really tough. She mustered the courage to do that though. During our conversation, the topic of smoking came up and I could instantly notice a change in her demeanour. She looked down into her hands and when she looked up again, I could see in her eyes that same look of disappointment that I had tried so hard to never see in my parents eyes. 

That look, was enough for me. That is what it took for me to there and then decide that enough was enough. I would not smoke again. Almost ten years of smoking, countless conversations with my loved ones, many lectures, booklets, articles, scary videos about the consequences of smoking and even the stark warnings on the cigarette boxes themselves that smoking kills; would prove to be futile. But one look. That one look was all it took. 

I have been clean for a few weeks now and with Ramadhaan fast approaching I have no doubt that I have it in me to not smoke again. One trip with a friend 10 years ago started my worst habit and one visit by a friend 10 years later ended that habit. 

The power of our minds are incredible. For such a long time I could not give up something but a mere glance from a friend proved to be the catalyst that I needed. In a world where we are all preoccupied with the bigger things in life, it is only natural that we tend to overlook the little things and especially the little things that those who care for us do. Take a moment, reflect and be ever so grateful for everyone in your life who cares for you; they are your greatest assets. And never underestimate the value they bring to your life, nor what they do for you; for one simple look changed my life for the better! 

PS: The writer of this article has quit smoking totally. He never ever lit another cigarette after meeting his best friend forever after a lengthy period of time

Monday, August 7, 2017

From Wow to Super Wow

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I am pleased, humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious award .I have always admired the efforts of the Women of Wonder campaign and that makes this award all the more special. 
I would like to firstly thank my Creator for blessing me in abundance. 
My heartfelt thanks to the hosts, sponsors, organizers and attendees of this prestigious event. I wish you further success and that this event grows from strength to strength. 
Thanks to my late grandparents, who through their example; defined what hard work, dedication and selflessness meant.  Their lessons have been and will always be a source of inspiration. 
Thank you to the rest of my family for supporting me and helping me through this journey called life. Thank you to my staff for their hard work, perseverance, dedication and outstanding character displayed towards all our patients. Without them, Medix pharmacy will be non-existent. 
Lastly and most importantly; I would not be standing where I am if it were not for the unwavering and infinite support of my amazing parents. I have never taken compliments to heart, because all of them actually belong to you both. You sacrificed your own happiness, just so that I could be happy and live my dreams. I hope to always make you smile, thank you.

As we celebrate and recognize the success of women, let us also reflect on what defines success. I will leave you with beautiful words on success that resonates within me, by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 
What is success?
To laugh often and much,
to win the respect of elders and the affection of children, 
to leave the world a better place,
to know even one life has breathed easier because of you,
this is to have succeeded. 

Whilst the event was superbly organised in terms of decor, food and entertainment, in all fairness I also need to be critical of a few underlying flaws that I noticed. I trust and hope that the organizers of the event will take note of the constructive criticism as there is always room for improvement in any business or organization. I am a person who always speaks my mind and my heart. I am always true to myself. I do not mean to offend anyone. Please forgive me if I have.

Firstly, I was quite aghast at the fact that the guest speaker was a recipient of the award last year. This year she received the award once again. In fact there were a few women who received the award last year and then again this year. My heartiest congratulations goes out to all of them. They are truly an inspiration to many. However, with the Interpol ambassador clarifying that this country officially has more women than men are we then saying that there just aren’t enough women out there who are capable of receiving this prestigious award and hence the award needs to be awarded to the same recipient year after year.  From my past experiences I have found that the sponsors of an event receive gifts and bouquets of appreciation but never an award.

What criterion did the organizers utilize in order to nominate an individual for the award? Most of the women who received an award were professional women who have excelled in their field. Yes, no doubt they do deserve recognition. And I compliment the Panache team for making every recipient feel special.  Many of the recipients are from influential homes and are affluent in a personal capacity. But what about those women in our community who are not educated or from affluent homes yet they do their bit for humanity in their own personal capacity. They are the unsung heroines of our neighbourhoods and communities. In the past I have met a few women who utilize their monthly income to sustain orphans in their community. Many of these kids were given away at birth or abandoned as kids due to the fact that their parents are addicted to drugs.  These selfless women within our communities who are struggling themselves to make ends meet yet choose to assist others, they need to be recognized and saluted for their efforts as well. Last year I met an elderly Zulu woman who feeds kids in a squatter camp. She suffers from a few ailments and commutes great distances to work and home. These are the kind of women that we need to acknowledge as well. These are the kind of women we need to find within our neighbourhoods. We need to appreciate them and salute them for their unselfish acts of kindness. When I see the heart they have for others, it makes me unworthy of the award that I received on Saturday night.  In my humble opinion, I think for next year’s event every community should nominate a candidate from their suburb. This should be done on a national level.  It should be an award for women, by women supported by the people of SA.  South Africa is made up of a diaspora of cultures . Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not think that each race group was adequately represented at Saturday night’s function. The majority of the awards went to Indian South African women. Let us create an event that represents the rainbow nation.  In so doing, we will recognize and salute women from all walks of life irrespective of race, colour, creed,social status, educational or family background. This is how we ultimately build a nation. This award function then becomes a super wow event by acknowledging even ordinary women. I would like to take the opportunity in complimenting Mr Abdul Rahim Rasool for singing some of my favourite songs so beautifully. Just a pity the audience were a tad bit stiff to cheer him along. Well done Mr. Rasool. Hope to see more of you at future events.  A big shout out to the dancers who performed at the magical event with absolute grace and finesse.  I  thoroughly enjoyed the semi classical piece that was performed by the male dancer. Every move was executed with sheer precision. And last but not least I was blown away by the strength and resilience portrayed by the female karate artists. They have proven yet again that whilst a woman may be perceived as being weak or fragile, she not only possesses inner strength but outer strength as well. The women who performed at Saturday night’s event were all petite and elegant but wow, absolute power houses.  After all, dynamite does come in small packages. Never ever underestimate the strength of a woman. Thank you Panache once again for a well put together fun filled evening. All the best in your future endeavours!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The choice is yours

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Life is becoming increasingly tough for many people out there. I see this everyday as I try to empathize with my patients. More and more young individuals are on antidepressants and mood stabilizers due to difficulties they experiencing within their lives.Financial strain coupled with domestic violence provokes a person to become suicidal. Yesterday I heard the story of a young woman who tried taking her life by overdosing on pain killers as her husband wants to divorce her. At 24 she is a mother of two kids. Whilst she is a loving mom and devoted wife, her husband is simply bored in their relationship and has opted to enjoy a string of affairs. As she is also financially dependent on her husband the thought of getting divorced made her react irrationally and she opted to try committing suicide....

My heart bleeds for a lovely woman I know. Her husband had a thriving business but now that he was diagnosed with a neurological disease and is unable to work any more, their business has literally collapsed. She was a woman of leisure dependent on her husband but now she is forced to step into a business and try managing it without being equipped with the necessary skills or expertise. Her luxury lifestyle is no more and she finds it difficult to accept. There are many people out there who are orthodox and radical when it comes to issues pertaining to women. Many believe that a woman's place is in her home, cooking, cleaning and ironing. What happens to this woman and her kids when the breadwinner of the home is no more or he is unable to work any more. Many will say " Don't worry. God will provide". God will provide yes, if you make the effort. A woman should be self sufficient. You need to develop your own skills so that the ship does not sink..As a woman you need to set your own goals in life and set out to achieve them. In accomplishing your own goals you bring purpose and fulfillment in your own life apart from being a wife or mother.I have come across situations whereby a mother and her kids were left destitute and homeless once the husband passed on. There are women out there who don't know how to do simple banking like depositing money or withdrawing money from an ATM.With the economic situation hitting new lows in this country more and more people out there will struggle to lead a comfortable lifestyle. Marriage is a partnership between two people. In the same way that a woman expects her other half to be more domesticated,a woman should also earn a living to ease her partners burden and responsibility of running a home. Alas, marriage is like the wings on an aeroplane. Both wings need to function 100 percent in order to provide a smooth flight to the passenger's on board...Hence, you can choose to fly on a plane that is rocked by turbulence or you can choose to be on a smooth steady flight. The choice is yours!!