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My name is Saima and I live in London, England. Welcome to my blog where I have been writing since November 2000. Please make yourself at home.

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November 17th, 2002

Despite appearing cold hearted I am in fact quite a softie. I find it difficult to say no. Especially over the phone. In person, yes, I can say no and coat it with smiles to lessen the pain but not over the phone. My smiles are no good to the person on the other end of the line.
I am using broadband right now and though I love it you could say I was initially ‘forced’ into it. A brilliant sales person called up and wouldn’t take no for an answer. And though I ummed and aahed he won me round in the end. Not his fault of course. Not any telemarketers fault. The evil is within.
There are several ways to try and get rid of said telemarketer. The one I try first is “I’ll think about it.” Big mistake. This leads to months of callbacks and more persuasion. It’s best to steer clear of the whole uncertainty angle. This is an indication that you may be interested and their aim will be to push you over that hill. No matter how long it takes.
Next up is the “I can’t afford it right now” trick. With more sympathetic telemarketers you may just get away with that. However, the more astute ones will tell you how it’s only such and such a price, how you can pay over set amount of time, how even minimum wagers could afford it you flipping skinflint! You end up feeling guilty for your stinginess and they have won. Damn.
There is the whole “Saima isn’t at home right now” path. This is tricky as you have to first determine this is a telemarketer calling and not your long lost aunt Kauser. All this before you’ve given away that you are indeed the proposed victim. You could pay your little sister to screen all your calls or use an answering machine for a less costly alternative.
The best way to get rid of them is of course “no” but if I was able to do that I wouldn’t have protection for all my credit cards, membership of a Mystery and Thrillers book club, broadband and an onion slicer.

Posted at 2:36 pm | 13 comments | Category: General

November 9th, 2002
Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan is upon us once again and brings with it a reminder of all the things I may usually dismiss at other times.
I was discussing this month with some work colleagues eager to learn more about the whens and whys. When do you have to get up? How long do you have to fast for? Why do you have to do it? You can’t even drink tea?!?! But it goes so much deeper than that.
Thankfully I was born and raised in Britain and all throughout school it was drummed into us that we must question everything. Never take anything at face value. My parents didn’t have the same luxury. When they were told to do something it was done and that was that. They are sometimes surprised, though glad, that their children don’t approach life in the same way. No blind faith here, we research and question. I believe that leads to a stronger faith.
I was ten, maybe eleven at the time when my Muslim friends around me were fasting for the first time. It was kiddy fasts, you know, they wanted to be just like their older brothers and sisters and inevitably I wanted to be just like them.
“If you don’t fast you go to hell,” one kid at school told me after I had told him my mother wouldn’t let me as I was too young.
With the bejesus scared out of me I approached my mother. I asked her the whens and the whys. She told me the basics, how it will help us build a sympathy for those in the world who are starving. I could understand that, I had seen the pictures of the children in Africa. I did get to fast the next year and I was awfully excited about it. It meant the family sitting together for meals for once. It meant gatherings at the local mosque where I met other Muslims my age.
It is only in later life that I understood that Ramadan is about all of those things and it is especially about self control. There are things that distract me from God in my day to day life, ones that I feel cannot be avoided. Or is that case? When Ramadan comes around, I can easily pull myself away from these things. If I can do it for this month why not always? Because I am human and I think it is all about moderation. Moderation in consumption and moderating your approach to others. This month helps me with these things and I hope I can carry them on afterwards.
I can’t do this topic the full justice it deserves but I am learning more each and every day. What does Ramadan mean to you?

Posted at 10:07 pm | 15 comments | Category: General

November 3rd, 2002
Doctor Doctor

I’m not particularly fond of the family doctor and I haven’t been for quite some years. I have tolerated him however for the sake of ease but recent events have pushed to rethink why we still keep him as our doctor or why he is allowed to practice as one in the first place. Why do I doubt his competence?
He says, “So what if it is cancer? It doesn’t matter if it’s cancer unless it’s in your head.”
When asking about my mother, “How is he?”
When asking about my father, “How is she?”
“What will the x-ray show? Even if it shows an ulcer it doesn’t matter. Ulcer is nothing, you can’t do anything about it. You can take some more of that white stuff. You know the white stuff. I’ll write you a prescription for white stuff.”

Posted at 10:22 pm | 8 comments | Category: General

November 1st, 2002
Happy Birthday dear Weblog

Two years? Wow, where did they go? That’d what I’d like to know.
I think the older you get the faster time goes. Summers were endless as a child, weekends were not the fly-by-oh-look-it’s-monday-alreadys that they have now become.
When I first started this website it was to let off some steam, mainly the creative type. And then it became a chore, and then it became an outlet, and then it became a chore, and then it became a good place to have a laugh with old and new friends and so on and so forth. Now it’s kind of an amalgamation of all of those things and I regret that I can’t do it justice due to lack of time and energy.
Weblogging has become quite the phenomenon during the course of these two years and now every man and his dog have one. It doesn’t feel that special anymore. I feel slightly drowned out by all the others out there and this forces me to rethink my own. What am I doing that is so different? What am I offering that no one else is? Not much. I see a few people out there who are doing things differently, who can and do devote substantial amounts of effort to their weblogs. And it shows in the form of superb content. That’s what I’d like to do and I feel almost guilty that I’m not.
This is the point where I forget something. My aim was not to write for anyone but myself which seems a silly ambition to have on such a public forum and one that I’m not sticking to. All I wanted was some place to write and design really. I’m rethinking my blog philosophy.
But for now, thank you to everyone who has visited, commented, e-mailed with regards to and most of all inspired me. Things can only get better.

Posted at 9:59 pm | 9 comments | Category: General

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