Monday, February 1, 2016

Dev travels to Bangladesh



THIS IS MY FIRST UPDATE FOR 2016 AND IT COMES TO YOU FROM THE PORT
CITY OF CHITTAGONG IN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH WHICH
IS PLAYING HOST TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL’S UNDER 19 WORLD CUP.

THE EVENT IS INTO IT’S 11 TH EDITION WITH THE FIRST ONE HAVING BEEN HELD IN 1988 AND HAS BUILT A REPUTATION FOR BEING THE LAUNCHING PAD FOR THE FUTURE STARS OF THE GAME.

THE 19 DAY TOURNAMENT OFFICIALLY GETS UNDER WAY ON WEDNESDAY 27TH AND THERE WILL BE 48 MATCHES PLAYED ACROSS 8 DIFFERENT VENUES IN BANGLADESH.

THIS IS MY FIRST EVER VISIT TO THIS COUNTRY SO HOPEFULLY I SHALL OVER
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS BE ABLE TO CONVEY TO YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT I
SHALL EXPERIENCE BEARING AT THE OUTSET THE FACT THAT THERE HAS BEEN A TIGHT SECURITY BLANKET PLACED AROUND THE EVENT AND THAT OUR MOVEMENTS HAVE UNDERSTANDABLY BEEN SERIOUSLY CURTAILED.
I LANDED IN DHAKA ON SUNDAY EARLY EVENING AFTER FLIGHTS FROM PORT ELIZABETH VIA JOHANNESBURG & DUBAI .

THERE WERE QUITE A FEW OTHER ICC MATCH OFFICIALS WHO LINKED UP IN
DUBAI FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD SO WE WE WERE ALL MET AT THE HASRAT SHAHJALAL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN DHAKA WHERE
SECURITY OFFICERS AND LOCAL ORGANISING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
ENSURED OUR BRISK PASSAGE THROUGH CUSTOMS & SECURITY THEN INTO
BUSSES FOR THE JOURNEY OF ABOUT AN HOUR INTO THE CITY WHERE WE CHECKED IN AT THE PLUSH LE MERIDIEN HOTEL.

THE TIME DIFFERENCE OF 4 HOURS MEANT THERE HAD TO BE SOME
ADJUSTMENTS MADE AND AFTER THE USUAL UNPACKING AND SETTLING IN IT WAS NECESSARY TO GET IN SOME SOLID SLEEP AS MONDAY & TUESDAY SAW US ALL BUSY AT THE WORKSHOP IN PREPARATION FOR THE EVENT.

IT IS SOMETIMES NOT EASY TO EXPLAIN WHAT GOES INTO ORGANIZING SUCH
A MAJOR WORLD EVENT BUT YOU COULD PROBABLY WORK THIS OUT BY
THINKING OF THE LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS THAT NEED TO BE PUT IN TO PLACE TO BRING 16 TEAMS INTO THE COUNTRY – ADD TO THAT ALL THE MATCH OFFICIALS AS WELL AS OTHER PERSONNEL AS WELL AS ICC STAFF MEMBERS.

IT BECAME EVIDENT FROM THE TIME WE GOT HERE THAT THE GOVT HAD
SPARED NO COST IN ENSURING THE SAFETY OF ALL THOSE AT THE
TOURNAMENT SO SECURITY IN THE FORM OF ARMED GUARDS AS WELL AS PERSONAL SECURITY OFFICERS FOR OFFICIALS AND TEAMS HAS BEEN GIVEN PRIORITY .

AFTER THE WORKSHOP ENDED IT WAS TIME FOR THE VARIOUS MATCH OFFICIALS TO SPLIT UP AND MOVE OFF TO THE VARIOUS CENTRES WHERE MATCHES WOULD BE PLAYED.

20 OF THE MATCHES SHALL BE LIVE ON NATIONAL TV AROUND THE WORLD SO POSSIBLY YOU SHALL CATCH SOME OF THEM ON SUPERSPORT OR WHICHEVER SPORT CHANNEL YOU WILL BE FOLLOWING THE CRICKET ON IN YOUR COUNTRY.
THE LE MERIDIEN HOTEL IN DHAKA WAS OUTSTANDING AND THE TIGHT
SCHEDULE MEANT THERE WAS NOT MUCH TIME TO EVEN GET TO SEE MUCH
ELSE- HOPING THIS SHALL BE CORRECTED WHEN I RETURN THERE FROM CHITTAGONG ON 3 FEB.

FLEW ON WED FROM DHAKA TO CHITTAGONG ON US BANGLA AIRLINE- A SHORT 40 MINS OR SO HOP OVER TO THIS 2ND LARGEST CITY IN BANGLADESH.
THE 45 MINS DRIVE FROM THE SHAH AMANAT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BROUGHT HOME THE REALITY TO ME OF WHERE I ACTUALLY WAS AND HOW PRIVILEGED SO MANY OF US ARE IN OUR DAILY LIVES.

THE POT-HOLED, CONGESTED ROADS TOOK US ALONG PATHWAYS THAT
SADDENED ME IN SO MANY WAYS- WE HAVE MADE SO MUCH PROGRESS ON SO
MANY FRONTS AND YET HUMANS ARE SUBJECTED TO SUCH CONDITIONS OF ABJECT POVERTY AND HARDSHIPS IN SO MANY COUNTRIES.

AMIDST THE FIGHT FOR DAILY SURVIVAL LIFE CARRIES ON AND
EVERYWHERE THERE WERE THREE-WHEELERS OVER-FILLED WITH PEOPLE
GETTING TO OR COMING FROM WORK, UNKEMPT CHILDREN SCROUNGING
AROUND ENORMOUS RUBBISH DUMPS ALONG THE ROADSIDES, RICKSHAWS
PULLING ALONG HEAVY LOADS OR CYCLE-RICKSHAWS FERRYING PASSENGERS
ALONG BUSY PATHWAYS- EVERYWHERE THERE WERE COLORFUL TRUCKS
AND BUSSES – PEOPLE AND MORE PEOPLE – CONTRASTED EVERY NOW AND
THEN BY AREAS WHERE MODERN SHOPS COULD BE SEEN AND FINALLY UPON ARRIVING AT THE NEWLY OPENED RADDISON BLU HOTEL, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN – OPULENCE AND LUXURY!

THAT JOURNEY JUST HUMBLES ONE AND MAKES ONE AUTOMATICALLY RESORT
TO A PRAYER OF THANKFULNESS AND AT THE SAME TIME OFFERING PRAYERS FOR THE DOWNTRODDEN AND THE INDIGENT.

PRIVATE CLUBS ARE IMPORTANT IN BANGLADESH- VISITORS WILL BE AMAZED AT HOW EXPENSIVE CERTAIN LUXURIES ARE AT INTERNATIONAL HOTELS SO
LOCALS OF A CERTAIN STANDING WOULD INVITE SPORTS PERSONS TO THEIR
CLUBS WHERE THEY CAN ENJOY MEALS AS WELL AS REFRESHMENTS AT CLUB
PRICES! THESE CLUBS ARE WELL RUN AND HAVE IN SOME CASES TOTAL
SPORTS FACILITIES AS WELL FOR THEIR MEMBERS- NOT SURE HOW EASY IT
WOULD BE TO BECOME A MEMBER BUT I DOUBT IT WOULD HAPPEN UNLESS YOU KNOW SOMEONE IN HIGH PLACES!

WE WENT TO THE UTTARA CLUB IN DHAKA AND LAST NIGHT WE WENT TO
THE CHITTAGONG CLUB WHICH IS SITUATED A WALKING DISTANCE FROM
OUR HOTEL. EXCELLENT SETTINGS AND CUISINE OF A GOOD VARIETY ON
OFFER- NOT TO MENTION THE BEERS OF OFCOURSE FOR SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES.

WED AFTERNOON WE DID THE VENUE INSPECTION – THE MA AZIZ STADIUM
CAN BE SEEN FROM MY ROOM AND ABOUT 30 MINS AWAY IS THE MAIN ZAC STADIUM- IMPRESSIVE STADIUM WHICH HAS HOSTED MANY INTERNATIONAL MATCHES IN CHITTAGONG.

THINK BY NOW YOU SHOULD HAVE A GOOD IDEA OF THE CONTRASTING SITUATIONS OF BANGLADESH – THE PEOPLE ARE WONDERFULLY WELCOMING AND WARM IN THEIR DEALINGS WITH US.OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS THERE WILL BE WARM-UP MATCHES FOR THE TEAMS EVERYWHERE- THEN WED THE OPENING MATCH TAKES PLACE HERE IN CHITTAGONG- DEFENDING CHAMPIONS SA PLAY THE HOSTS BANGLADESH AT THE ZAC STADIUM- THIS WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE AND MY FELLOW MATCH REFEREE GRAEME LE BROOY WILL BE OFFICIATING ( NEUTRAL).

UNTIL MY NEXT UPDATE MY FONDEST GOOD WISHES AND AS USUAL, ASK FOR SOME RESPONSE OR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.

ALWAYS

JUST

DEV

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Morocco - Day 1

Hi everyone,

Over the past few weeks I have been inundated with numerous emails and inbox messages with many people wondering why have I stopped blogging. Well, it has been almost 3 months since I last posted an article. I have not stopped blogging as such, I simply do not have the time to blog and focus on a business at the same time. I was keen on blogging about my recent trip to Morocco and Spain as recorded in my travel diary and hence I have decided to do short postings of my trip over the next few days or weeks. Please bare with me :) !

After a long 18 hour flight via Dubai, we were received at the airport by our tour guide, Mr. Muhammed. We headed towards the city centre and checked into the beautiful and spacious 
Idou Anfa hotel, named after the original inhabitants of Casablanca, the Anfa tribe. Naturally
we were really exhausted and so after enjoying some home cooked meals, (pad kos) we went 
straight to bed at 16h00. We only woke up the next morning at 08h00. Of course we felt totally
rejuvenated. We were ready to explore majestic Morocco!!


What an exciting day out in Casablanca's city centre.. weaving our way through gulleys and alleyways in our red 'petit taxi' finally arriving at the plush Morocco mall located on the beach front adjacent to the most affluent residential area in Casablanca. After a bit of shopping, we had a light lunch at Burger king. Knowing Arabic in morocco is a plus factor. We became friends with the taxi drivers who took us to one of the best Moroccan hamaams in the city 'Hamaam Topkapi'....At first we were gobsmacked when we were told to strip down to our knickers whilst sharing a sauna with other Moroccan women . But after a while we got use to it and the overall experience was beyond amazing..when they mean scrub you down.... they scrub you down to the point where you can actually see all the grime coming off your skin. It's as though all the dead skin is taken off and you left with beautiful smooth skin. The one hour scrub down process done with an original, natural non chemical Moroccan soap and a loofer is followed by a one hour massage with argon oil. We found the Moroccan women in the spa to be quite comfortable with their sexuality as women. They had no shyness at all with regards to being naked in front of each other. Could this be the reason that many South African Muslim men opt to marry them? From what I've noticed thus far most Moroccan women are gold diggers. The women we met at the spa today said that in life you have choices. So why marry a poor man when you can marry a rich man and live a life of luxury. In order to get a rich man you need to look sexy and beautiful..I guess that's the reason the Saudi women are intolerant of having the presence of Moroccan maids in their homes...After the spa we headed back to the hotel passing through an argon oil factory store where we were given a brief history about the origins and medicinal uses of argon oil. And now we enjoying a hot cup of coffee whilst listening to the sound of the piano in the hotel foyer.....Dinner to follow...nighty night folks..
smile emoticon















Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nanima's 80th birthday celebrations


My welcome speech for the event

Assalamualaykum .. ahlan wa sahlan

On behalf of the Mehtar and Patel families I would like to take this opportunity in welcoming one and all to grace the commemoration of our nani ma, Zuleikha Paruk Patel’s 80th birthday celebrations. Indeed, as the eldest and only grand-daughter it gives me an immense pleasure in playing the role of the master of ceremonies for this afternoons family event.

As is customary and in line with tradition, we will commence today’s short program with the recitation of the holy Quraan that will be rendered by Hafez Haroon Ismail. This will then be followed by a poem by my niece Juwairiyya Mehtar in honour of her great grandmother. We then have a  small eulogy about my Nani ma’s life, where it all began... and of course no program is complete without a dua. 

We are gathered here to celebrate 80 birthdays and 60 years of mothering, 34 years of grandmothering, and 7 years of great-grandmothering. 
Each of us has entered my grandmother’s book of life in a different chapter—some long ago, some more recently—but we are, nevertheless, all part of a story that began in a small town called Newcastle. Nanima was born on the 25th of September 1935. She is the eldest daughter of Ismail Paruk and Aisha Variawa. The story goes that when Naimas mother was 10 years old she came from India on a ship to South Africa as her father was residing in Lichtenburg. Naima’s fathers family was distantly related to the Variawa family and so he was also on the ship on his way to South Africa at the tender age of 15 years old. Nanima’s grandfather at first made his way to Reunion when he left India. After residing in Reunion for a while he realised that an island life was not for him so he continued to South Africa settling in Durban. Once again he did not adjust to a Durban lifestyle and he eventually landed up in Newcastle. Whilst chatting to Nanima on the phone a few days ago, I asked her how did she meet her knight in shining armour, my late Nana Ismail Bhai Patel.. known to some as uncle IC or to others as dash mota.. Whilst laughing on the phone she mentioned to me that my nana was looking to settle down and hence, the late marhoom Jeeva mota brought my nana to Newcastle for a samoosa express. Whilst viewing a few potential suitors, he eventually settled for nanima after she won the award for making the tastiest samoosas.....lolol..... well actually nana wished to marry nanimas younger sister but nanimas father said that according to the rivaaj the eldest daughter must get married first. So after both family’s reached a concensus in a typical Indian movie type situation, nanima agreed to marry nana. The rest of course is history.

Growing up I have fond memories that I shared with Nanina.,playing at the flat in Wynberg whilst enjoying a hot sugar roti...Ma staying up late with me to watch Saregama during my university years.Or ma trying to make baked potatoes when she received unexpected visitors one afternoon for lunch. In the rush she pressed the wrong button on the microwave with the end result being an empty potatoe shell. It was as though the whole potato evaporated... When I opened the microwave to take out the potatoes I burst out laughing although ma was irritated and not amused at all as she had a few hungry stomachs to feed. We then landed up frying chips.

"Of course these are few incidents that I recall and more memories will be made insha Allah, the end is not yet written, so we will refrain from speculation, but suffice it to say that we will be eagerly awaiting the sequel at her 90th birthday celebration insha Allah. But as we reflect today upon the time we have been given with our grandmother, mother , confidant and friend, however long or short, we are reminded that our connections with one another constitute our greatest blessing and though we choose to celebrate the length of our lives, it is their essence that is more worthy of recognition. And so it is true here.To that end, let us celebrate to times shared, advice given and sought, wisdom imparted, stories remembered and, of course, the joy of being in the company of a living legend. Happy Birthday Nanima, and may there be many more chapters to come."















Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hajj 2015 - Day 2

The second day of hajj is known as Yown ul Arafat or the day of Arafat.On this day, the pilgrims leave Mina after dawn and make their way to the plains of Arafat for the culminating experience of the Hajj. Devotees would spend the entire day on the Plains of Arafat asking God Almighty for forgiveness and engaging in worship through the recitation of the Quraan and also through supplications. Muslims around the world would be in solitude with the Hujjaaj on this day by fasting for the entire day. After sunset, on the day of Arafat, pilgrims would make their way to Muzdalifa, situated halfway between the plains of Arafat and Mina. Here they would spend the entire night in the open under the star light engaging in prayer and worship and also collecting pebbles that would be used the following day. Pictures courtesy Abu Ammaar.