Monday, 31 May 2010

Husna Revisited

Remember the plan? What plan? Come on guys, ya know: this one!

I proceeded with the plan and its pretty funny how things work out. Funny now, because I can only look back and move forward.

I contacted Husna and laid out everything on the table. I shared my thoughts and told her how how I felt. I shared how these weren't just emotional feelings after a bollywood special. This was something serious. I explained how I was making a stand for something I believed and what I wanted. (Sounds good, right?)

Que the wait . . the anticipation of waiting for a response was a killer! Her response was as follows. She was really shocked and it took her a while to sink in and she shared similar sentiments BUT (there's always that damn but) whilst she felt we got on really well and had similar future goals her issue was familiy. Now this is where I'm profoundly confused.

She said how things didn't go ahead because her parents felt uncomfortable, she took that as a sign from Allah. She said she felt she shouldn't have to persuade her family because if there is blessing in it, Allah will make it easy.

Now I'm not the smartest guy but I completely disagree! If something is by the decree of Allah (i.e this situation) it doesn't always fall into place. You have to work for your rizq (provisions).

So I asked her a few questions and I received a response. Unfortunately she really didn't want to see outside of the box and gave no indication of wanting it to work.

So there you have it. The chapter of Husna has been closed. I have so much respect for her and I pray Allah finds her someone equally as decent.

How did I feel? A strange feeling.You know how I carried out the first part of the plan? I thought it worked until Aisha struck a chord back. Conveniently just as I was responding to Husna. She didn't accept things this time. She fought back. She changed my feelings for her.

Aisha's story is by far the most compelling experience to date. This girl is special in a very different way. I'm having difficulties in writing an entry for this one. I never thought I would encounter that problem.

Females, you are interesting creatures.

Saturday, 29 May 2010


Assalaamu Alaikum my cronies, long time! 

I walked out of my last exam and this is how I felt:


It is the end of an epiiiiiiiiiic era. I really can't believe it. The feeling hasn't quite sunk in yet, I'm still celebrating with the joys of finishing Uni and the company of brothers. We've been through some crazy times together. Good and Bad. I don't think I would have quite made it without key characters I've met in my journey. They've helped me see things more clearly especially when it came to the biggest headache of a single muslims' life; marriage. Throughout the whole year we've all been there for each other with failure. Alhamdulillah . . I love brotherhood! All those missions of hanging out with the brothers til 7am talking about Islam and helping each other. Crazy times indeed. They've been there for me during exam stress, girl issues, last minute dissertation proof reading panics and so many other ventures. Ah, may Allah bless each and every one of them with beautiful wives and children.

This year of University was by far the most testing year I've had in my life.I've never had so much attention from girls and I've never had so many offers to consider. It has been an extremely confusing yet strangely, an educating time. News to me, apparently I picked up the nickname pretty boy amongst 'sisters'. As you can imagine . . that in itself is a price to pay. Girls talk. And they make up a lot of stories too. Alhamdulillah, Allah protects those whom he loves and my reputation precedes itself so any rumours have died wherever they spawned from.

I just can't believe how much I have learnt this year. A very different experience.

Its kind of hit me. Like seriously . . where do I go from here? I knew what I wanted to do and who I wanted be a year ago. I still have a good idea . . but it's quite scary when you actually have to make a decision!

Ultimately as humans our experiences help shape our future. The people we should be. Who sets that criteria? You. I'm still finding my purpose and what I can achieve. The sky is the limit.

This chapter of my life is coming to close and new a one begins. Oh my days! I'm growing up and becoming one of them dreaded things - A MAN!!! 

So where does marriage come into this? Boy . . lol. Deep breath. You know what? Stick around. I've got a lot to say ;) 

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Change is good! Is it? Yes!! No!! Maybe!! I Don't Know!! (Can you repeat the question?)

You're not the boss of me now,
You're not the boss of me now,
You're not the boss of me now,
And you're not so big!

You're not the boss of me now,
You're not the boss of me now,
You're not the boss of me now,
And you're not so big!

Life is unfair...

(Love Malcolm in the Middle!)

Anyway, I recently changed my job a few weeks ago. Alhamdulillah, I had been head-hunted and asked to work for an opposing company. I met with the employer over lunch and he explained to me the benefits he would give. Big pay rise, less work. Sounded good already. What was the catch? He carried on. Free iphone. Cheap phone contract. He'd buy me an outfit. In fact, two suits; so that I can look like a real professional. There was a cheap car leasing plan further down the line. Discounts on the best flights, hotels, cruises and even a monthly lunch allowance! So what would I have to sacrifice, I asked. "I know that you get 29 days holiday a year in your current job. Here, I'm only offering you 20 days holiday per year".

Sounds like a compromise.

But a compromise that I can accept. I guess this change is good. I get to work in a nice location, with a nice team and a very chilled out environment. A couple weeks into my new job, and I get a phone call from another company saying that they want me to work for them. I couldn't really speak to her as my boss was stood next to me at the time. So I took her number to give her a call back later.

Looks like the compromise I accepted has led on to much better things. And looks like the initial change initiated even more change; which was again, good.

But not all change is good.

Let me tell you a story of a potential that I am so glad I left behind.

This is a story of "Khadijah".

Khadijah was the girl that I was set up with about a year back. In fact, my brother set us up. She lived in Ireland, so she was quite a distance away. But I didn't mind that fact. We were both marriage seekers and we were both keen on the idea of getting to know each other. We had checked each others' stats, and things looked good.

Since I didn't want to waste time and money with international-rate phone calls, we arranged for her to immediately come to UK so that we could meet face-to-face and see where that takes us. Since that was the plan, I restricted all communication with her because I wanted to save it all for the real thing. I paid for her flight and arranged accommodation at my parents' house - luckily, my parents only live around the corner from me, so it made things easy in terms of communication. Unfortunately, my parents had left the country on holiday, but at least my brothers and sisters were around to meet this girl.

I picked her up from the airport and took her to a restaurant which I knew had some good food. Conversation was good - we seemed to hit it off quite well with each other.

On the drive home, we talked about a lot of things. In fact, too many things (in my opinion). She declared that she didn't want to have kids until she finished her studies. That would have been 3 years at least. A bit long for a guy my age! Then she said that she didn't want to wear a jilbab. I thought that this was quite a strange statement to make. So I briefly looked at her and said "...o....kay". She went on to say that she had seen my mother and sisters all wearing jilbab on facebook, and she felt that she was not ready to wear one (even though she wears a hijab). I was slightly confused as to why she was being so forward with everything - it was the first time we had met in real life.

So I asked her why she wouldn't wear one (out of curiosity). She said that as a medic, it would be difficult to wear one and that all the other Muslim medics would not wear a jilbab either. I started to smell something funny. Smelt like bull excrement. My sister works in a lab, yet she dons the jilbab. Also, a previous potential that my mother wanted me to hook up with was also studying in the medical department and was still able to wear a jilbab in the lab. So I told her about my sister and my previous potential. Then she changed her reason - to the fact that she was not ready to wear it yet. Ok. So why not just say that in the first place? She was putting all the cards on the table when it came to everything else (like having babies), yet she had to cover up the fact that she was not ready to wear jilbab. Was she trying to deceive me?

I then talked about how some people change quickly, while other need time. And that change is dependant on many things, such as support from family, the environment and that the individual also has to want to change; and exert some sort of effort into changing, if that is what they want to do. I decided to overlook this weird conversation and carried on talking about other things instead. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not forget about this conversation.

I brought her back to my parents' house to meet my younger sisters, but she acted really strange around them. For starters, she would not even sit with them. My sisters were young teenagers. The shyest and least-intimidating girls I know! Yet for some reason, Khadijah didn't even want to sit down with them. Instead, she just wanted to go to her room. Fair enough. I guess. She did have to fly for a whole hour or so to get to the UK! lol. So I showed Khadijah to her room and told her that she need not worry about any formalities. I told her to raid the kitchen for food if she was hungry. I told her that in the morning, she should ask my sister to prepare some sort of breakfast for her. Or just do everything herself - whichever she was more comfortable with. Her response: "I'm too shy to do that. I'm not leaving this room until you come in the morning and knock on my door".

You what??

Confusion struck. And many thoughts started flowing through my mind. Well, doesn't she have to pray? I know there's no en-suite in that room, so she has to leave. But then again, what if it is her time of the month? Ok, make 40 excuses for her and give her the benefit of the doubt. I didn't want to think too much about it, so I left her to her room and went back to my house.

I couldn't help thinking whether Khadijah was serious or not about not leaving her room until I knock on her door. So I decided to test her. I had told her that I would come back at around 8am for breakfast. But I purposely stayed in bed until around 10am. Then I called my sister to find out if Khadijah had eaten. "No", was the reply. So I asked my sister to knock on the door and ask Khadijah to come downstairs to eat. My sister replied that Khadijah was waiting for me to come first before she comes out of her room. Surely, that is weird behaviour. Please tell me if it isn't.

So I slowly made my way to my parents house. I got there and found out there was no food worthy of a good breakfast. So I decided to take her out to eat. Luckily, my local Tesco's has a nice restaurant where we can sit and talk.

We engaged in some serious conversation - including topics such as what our parents would think about us getting together, where we would live and problems and obstacles that we may see on the way. Seems like there were many problems that would get in our way.

I asked her what her parents would think of me. And what they would think about the man who is going to marry their daughter, yet cannot even speak their language. "I'm willing to do everything to convince my parents that you are the best man for me. I'm ready to convince them, I'm ready to cry."

Woah, woah, woah. What was that last bit? Ready to cry? As in, baby tantrum when she doesn't get her own way, kind of crying? Surely not. I can't expect that from someone intelligent enough to study medicine. So I said nothing and let her carry on speaking.

Then, she wanted me to move back to her homeland after her studies. Me - move to her homeland? Is she crazy? How on earth can I financially survive in a land I know nothing about? Surely we should go where the rizq lies? And since I would be the breadwinner, and I am already in a job and loving my career, wouldn't it make sense that she relocates to wherever I am working? Or is that just being insensitive?

She was happy about the idea of me uprooting and leaving my career here in the UK and starting again from scratch in her motherland. However, when I suggested the opposite - that she moves to the UK, her reaction was to break down and cry. "You want me to choose between you and my mother?", she said while crying. I didn't respond. That's because I was thinking about the previous statement she made which has been permanently scarred into my memory - the fact that she was willing to cry to get her own way. So I stood my ground (naturally). "I can't find a job in (your motherland). It's too difficult", I said. "It took me years to be where I am now - I can't just let that all go. And besides, this type of business is not as financially rewarding in (the motherland) as it is here in the UK".

I explained how the duty of the husband is to be responsible for putting food on the table, and that I was not convinced that I could make any business in her motherland. I explained that I didn't want to be supported by her, or her family. I explained that I didn't want to even think about moving to her motherland until I had secured at least a well-paid job there. While I was explaining this, I watched as she struggled to stop the tears running down her face. I know she was trying to lay on the guilt. And I totally did not appreciate this.

So we came to a compromise. I would look for work in her motherland, but before that, nothing were to happen between us.

When I finally managed to stop her from crying, I went back to my house to pick up my wallet (she paid for breakfast that morning as I had forgotten to bring my wallet). As I entered my parents' house, I saw my brother downstairs (the one who set us up) and I told him that Khadijah had been crying. He quickly asked me to bring her in so that he could cheer her up. He showed her his wedding pictures and got her to smile again.

Then Khadijah asked me to take her shopping to buy some ingredients as she wanted to cook dinner for me that evening. I obliged and took her to town. As we drove around, I was showing her my favourite places to go for a run, walk and hang out. Turns out she doesn't like sports. It makes her 'sweaty'. Looks like we actually have nothing in common.

When we got to town, we were walking around and she felt kinda peckish. Normally, I would take my friends to a nice halal place which does chicken tikka paninis. The best ones I have ever tasted. But I was starting to dislike this girl. So I started thinking of where the worst place is that I could take her. To give her a little hint. McDonald's and Burger King came to mind! Firstly, they don't have any halal stuff, apart from the fish burgers and vegetarian options. Secondly, their fish burgers and vegetarian options were disgusting! lol. So naturally, I took her to one of these fast food restaurants. I wasn't that hungry for this type of food, so I didn't order anything for me.

I thought she would be repulsed by this gesture or at least get the hint that I was not interested in impressing her any more. But she wasn't, and didn't.

When we got to the shops, I told her that I would like olives in my salad. I absolutely love olives! And you can mix pineapples in the salad as well to make an absolutely gorgeous salad, but she was having none of it! She refused to even try olives in the salad.

It was then that I realised that she refused a lot of things. She refused to compromise on a lot of things. She refused to even TRY things. So far, she has refused to have kids before she finishes her studying, refused to try to attempt wearing a jilbab, refused to leave her bedroom for breakfast, refused to relocate to the UK, refused to try certain sports, refuse to try certain foods... where will it end? She refused to change even one aspect of her life.

And at the same time, she was demanding that I change every aspect of my life. She's asked me to change my job, change my career, change my lifestyle, change my home, change my relationship with my family, change my music taste, the way I drive and even change the foods that I eat.

I thought change was supposed to be good? If it's supposed to be good, then it sure don't feel like it!

I was starting to feel very uncomfortable with her.

Later that evening, Khadijah was cooking and as she was finishing cooking, she informed me that it would be about five minutes before the curry would be done, so all I had to do was to turn off the gas. Then, she went upstairs to take a shower. My little brothers and sisters started eating as soon as the food was done which disappointingly left me and Khadijah as the only ones who had not eaten yet. Big sis came to parents' house. I had asked her to sustain the one and a half hour drive back to parents' house to help me bring Khadijah back to the airport; as at the same time, I had to pick up my parents from a different airport which was in totally the opposite direction. Oh by the way, Khadijah had refused to let my big sis take her to the airport. But this time, I forced her to accept. I called out to big sis to come join us to eat, but she either didn't hear or pretended not to hear, thinking that she was doing me a favour by leaving me to eat alone with Khadijah. (Big sis later confirmed that she did not hear me, but would have joined us at the table if she had heard us).

Dinner was very awkward. I could not think of any good conversational topics to cover. I'm normally a very talkative person. But that night, I was struggling. On top of that, the food wasn't that great either. lol. It's not as good as mum's cooking. Heck, it wasn't even as good as MY cooking! hehe. But that's minor anyway.

After dinner, I asked Khadijah what she wanted to do. She was like "ermmm....", so I suggested that she go watch X Factor with my sisters. She refused. By this time, I was tired of hearing her refuse things. I mean, X Factor is so funny to watch! Simon Cowell makes some proper snide comments and it is such a laugh! Note: I'm not angry that she is not interested in X Factor. I'm just frustrated that she won't do anything with anyone but me.

So, I had a brainwave. I would tell her that I am tired and that I wanted to sleep. That would send her to her room. And I would avoid having to converse with her about nothing. Try that - conversing about nothing, with long awkward gaps in between. It's excruciatingly painful. Only problem was that it was only about 8pm. Who the hell sleeps at 8pm? 12 years olds. Not people like me. Soulseek knows that I only sleep about 5 hours a night. Seven hours if I want to treat myself. I knew it was a long shot, but I thought I would give it a go. So I told her that I was tired and that I wanted to sleep. She became disappointed. And said that she wanted me to stay up so that we could chat.

You what??

Chat? How can you chat with someone you have nothing in common with? It's like putting an ASBO kid together with a professor and telling them that they have to converse. It wasn't happening. So I told Khadijah that I have to pick my parents up from the airport early next morning and that I should have an early night. Luckily, she bought it. She went up to her room and instructed me to come see her before I leave the next day, as she was also leaving at the same time to go back to Ireland. I agreed.

Then she pleaded with me again. "Why can't YOU take me to the airport and let your sister pick up your parents?" - a question she had asked me before. I wasn't in the mood for negotiation. "Ermm... my car is bigger than my sister's car and my parents have a lot of luggage". "So why can't your sister take your car and you take hers?". "Cos I'm not insured to drive her car". Luckily, that was true so I didn't have to lie. Sure, it's true that my car was bigger than my big sis' car, but you could have easily fit my parents and their luggage plus driver in either car. But she didn't need to know that, did she?

The next morning, I came back to my parents' house to say goodbye to Khadijah. As I walked upstairs, and past her room to go to the toilet, I heard her door open and her footsteps going downstairs. Strange, I thought, coming from a girl who didn't want to leave her room without me knocking on the door and asking for her first. I went downstairs and she was waiting for me in the hallway. I'm not really a fan of long goodbyes. So I said "Ok, cool, have a safe flight. Jazakillahu khair for flying down and meeting me here. I've gotta run now, cos I'm already late. I don't wanna keep my parents waiting".

She said "Ok, have a safe journey, inshaAllah." I stepped out and as I was closing the door, she called my name. I opened the door again and looked at her. She said "I love you".

You what???

I was dumbstruck. I had been confused about her actions/answers/comments/attitudes before, but this takes the bloody cake! A million and one thoughts shot through my head at the speed of light and after a couple seconds of deliberation (and almost choking), I responded with a quick "OK" and closed the door (after stepping out!). I stood in front of the door for what seemed like an hour while I was in complete shock at what had just happened. My parents' front door has frosted glass. So when I realised that she could still see me through the frosted glass just stood there like a lemon, I quickly composed myself and marched my way to the car. I drove off quickly, after sending a quick text to big sis telling her what just happened and gave her specific instructions to "sort Khadijah out cos she's crazy".

Once my parents were back home, mum asked me where big sis was. She knew that big sis was supposed to be around, but it was unusual for her to be out when our parents came back from holiday. I explained to mum that big sis was taking a friend to the airport. "Whose friend?", asked mum. "My friend", I replied. "Is your friend a boy or a girl?". "Girl, mum". "Ohhh... Geetar Hiro has a girl friend huh?". I could tell mum was happy. Just happy that there was a girl in my life, finally.

Later on, big sis returned from the airport. In front of EVERYONE (including mum and dad), she declares: "Maaaan! Khadijah is WELL IN LOVE WITH YOU!! You've proper pulled man!"

Dad was laying on the floor relaxing while we were all sitting on the floor scattered around the lounge (as we do), so he stuck his head up, looked at me and asked me her name. I replied. Then a flood of questions came from everyone. The only question I struggled to answer was from big sis: "is she a keeper?" I would not be telling the truth if I had said 'yes'. So I gingerly replied with an "I don't know yet".

But deep down, I knew I had already made a decision. The decision was a direct result of her personality which I was able to discover and uncover over that weekend. Khadijah was a demanding girl and she expected me to change. A lot. Yet she was not willing to change anything.

So is change good?

I've concluded that change is not good when it's only one person doing the changing. That's not to say that you should never change. I don't think anyone can say that they are exactly the same as they were a year ago. Why? Because everyone develops. And changes. But when one partner wishes change for the other, without support nor sacrifice, this is when things start to go pear-shaped. Finally, I found out that since everyone changes and develops, then why not change and develop as a couple? Surely that would be more rewarding than just one person developing.

From that conclusion, I decided to dump this girl... but wait til you hear what happens next!