All posts by @kamz26

Lion – A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly 

I saw many updates on Facebook after this movie was released how my friends and family loved watching it. I resisted temptation by not watching the movie first and got the book to read. Unfortunately because of work commitments I didn’t get around to reading it until I impulsively packed it in my bag to read it on holiday. 

Lion made fantastic poolside reading. I was stuck in the book from the word go and I recall getting goosebumps twice while reading it. 

Imagining little Saroo struggling to find his way home, going on the endless train ride, hunting for food, escaping from weirdoes and eventually ending up in Australia had me on edge. I’m still marvelling at how, in a population of a billion people, Saroo managed to find his way home all the way from Australia. 

I loved how the names remembered by a child were very differently written, how Ginestalay was something so totally different! You’ll have to read it to know why this was one of the reasons I had goosebumps. 

The journey is incredible and I had to slow down reading the book only because I didn’t want it to end. Read it, enjoy it, and pass the book on. I’ve given my copy to my daughter to read. 

Five Point Someone – Chetan Bhagat

I’ve actually never tried to find out why Indians in India have a thing against Chetan Bhagat. He seems to be constantly trolled and I get a bit worked up about such things. If you don’t like to read a certain genre of books, then just let it be. If you have a problem with his political or any other opinion, I’m sure he’s allowed to have one, just the way you are.

Anyway, all that aside and let’s get to reviewing the fourth book that I am reading this year. I know that Five Point Someone has a Bollywood movie based on the book, and I happened to have watched the movie before the reading the book. Ideally I prefer to read the book first! The movie is the very popular 3 Idiots! and it is directed by Raj Kumar Hirani.

Hari, Alok and Ryan are the three who have made it to one of the best engineering colleges in India. Their happiness and excitement is short lived when the daily monotony and rigorous academic work starts to take over, and unlike the movie, the book talks more about their ways to get out of this monotony. The novel is funny but does have some dark moments especially when focusing on the families of the protagonists.

As I read through it, I admit to constantly going back to the movie and trying to recall if a particular part had been added or not. Quite distracting! I need more discipline.

I enjoyed the book and I have a box set of Chetan Bhagat books that I brought back home with me from a visit to India. I can’t wait to start them.

five-point-someone-3-idiots

4/52

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

In my quest to read at least one book a week my daughter, who is an avid reader, decided to share some of her books with me. She insisted I read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and I suddenly realised why she went through a phase of speaking in a heavy Southern accent after reading it. I admit to reading the book in Forrest Gump’s accent.

The tale is considered a classic and it’s about a lawyer and his advice to his children Scout and Jem Finch. Atticus Finch is defending a real mockingbird, a black man who has been charged with the rape of a white girl.

Race and class divides are evident in the Deep South in the 1930s and Harper Lee does a sterling job at capturing the warmth and the authenticity. Peppered with humour, the book makes for great reading. The hypocrisy of what went on will unnerve you at some points but you will definitely agree with me once you have read it that we need more than just one Atticus Finch in life.

‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

mockingbird

3/52

Are your kids finicky eaters?

I still recall how my now 16 year old daughter would spit out anything that was remotely green. She seemed to sense that her meal might have broccoli, Brussel sprouts, peas, french beans, snow peas or anything else. Fast forward to today and she doesn’t spit out her greens but pushes them aside on her plate, never in a pile but artfully all over the plate so that it seems like at least she made an effort to eat SOME greens. My son, who is almost 12 now, is not a finicky eater and he’ll try something at least once, unlike my daughter who will start snubbing something just because she doesn’t like its name or the way it looks or is cooked.

I came across this article the other day. It’s by Mandy Mazliah and she recounts her way of dealing with finicky eaters. I’ve extracted the eight positive ways she has shared. Do check out her blog and the original article for more. You’ll be sure to bookmark it and refer to it often!

All the best with the finicky eaters! I’ve given up on my teen. If anyone has any tips, please share them.

Here are eight positive things you can try: Mandy Mazliah

  1. Eat with your child. Let them see you enjoying the same meal without making a fuss about it.
  2. Cut back on snacks – being hungry for meals can make a real difference.
  3. If you do offer snacks, make them count towards their five a day. See my blog Sneaky Veg for ideas.
  4. Don’t offer alternatives. It’s hard to let your child leave the table when they haven’t eaten anything but if they know that they’ll get a slice of toast or a banana if they refuse their meal then they’ll often hold out for that.
  5. Don’t use dessert as a reward.
  6. Make mealtimes positive. Take away the pressure and let them choose how much to eat.
  7. Eat with friends – perhaps at school or nursery or on a play date at home.
  8. And remember, every small step is a positive step.

For more on the original write up, kindly click on the link below.

How I relaxed about my child’s picky eating and why you should too

Khallaas: An A-Z Guide to the Underworld

If you hear me speaking like some sort of a gangster from Bollywood, I’d like you to know it’s because I’ve just finished reading this book by J. Dey.

As a crime reporter, Jyotirmoy  Dey amassed a wealth of information by talking to police officers, police informants, members of gangs, and even dons. Readers will be flabbergasted by the illegal activities that occur beneath the reach of the law. Throughout this book, the author stresses on the importance of rules and ethics in this business and how it governs the drive to attain maximum profits and gain a competitive edge over rivals. In Khallaas: An A to Z Guide To The Underworld, Dey also presents an exhaustive list of words that are part of the underworld language code. The list was designed to outsmart their enemies, especially law enforcement officials.

Basically, a whole new language is created to foil people who don’t understand the lingo. It took me some time to get through the book, but only because of work pressures I wasn’t spending as much time on reading as I should have.

I got this book from the Duty Free at Delhi airport a couple of years back. I’ve seen it here in Nairobi at Savani’s Book Centre as well.

Get it for the sheer curiosity, or that you want to speak ‘gangsta’ Indian ‘eshtyle’.

114khallaas-an-a-to-z-guide-to-the-underworld

The Secret

I’m not about to let something out that lies deep in my heart, even though I may not have much there to share. I have always felt I am an  open book. Speaking of books, that is The Secret I am talking about. I read this book by Rhonda Byrne many years ago, when everyone else was reading it. I bought myself a copy, read it, got inspired, and started applying it to life.

I then gifted my copy to my brother because I felt it would help him a lot but I am not sure he made any use of it. Well, not that I know of, anyway.

I won’t go on and on about what this book is all about but I will say that it does confirm something that I have known ever since I was a child. What you give out is what you get back. It could be your thoughts, your deeds, your generosity, your good vibes, anything. The energy within you attracts the similar energy and it comes back hundred-fold.

I’ve been told I’m nauseatingly positive. I don’t know about the nauseating part but I do know that I make a great effort to keep myself and my thought process positive, and all this because I selfishly want good things to happen to me and to the people I love.

Read the book and feel your thought process change. There’s no voodoo or any rituals you have to do. There is no need to invest in buying happiness or peace. The only thing you have to do is stay focused on the positive and good will happen.

It’s not a Secret anymore…

@kamz26

The Secret
The Secret

Day One at Work in 2017

Are you back at work? Are you having a tough day? I’m pretty sure you’re not the only one who is suffering through all the moans and groans. Here’s how my day went yesterday:

7am : Alarm goes off. I stare at my phone with disgust. Didn’t I just close my eyes and fall asleep a few minutes ago? With one eye open, I start checking the notifications from social media.

Get on with it
7:23 : Still scrolling through Facebook newsfeed
scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll
7:41 : Yawn, stretch, look at time, yelp, jump out of bed and head for shower. Forget to put phone back on charger after having scrolled through so much. At the back of my mind, I know battery power is already at 72%

7:58 : Get out of shower and start rummaging through closet wondering what to wear, and for the umpteenth time tell myself off for not taking out my clothes the night before.

8:25 : Make up done, hair done, eat breakfast in a rush getting lipstick on chin and teeth. It’s my superpower – even I don’t know how I manage it.

8:30 : Load car with umpteen bags – handbag, lunch bag, laptop bag, paper bag with shoes to take to shoemaker to be fixed.

9:02 : Saunter in to work and start wishing everyone I see a Happy New Year.

As one does…
9:03 : Ok enough already with all the wishes. The New Year started on 1st January. It’s 3rd January. You don’t say Happy Birthday to me for a fortnight do you? All goodwill and cheer leaves my body like my soul just left my body.

Save me from this Hell
9:05 : Get to my desk and my chair is missing. Welcome back Kamal.

Where’s my chair?! Grrrrr!
9:13 : Steal a chair from someone who seems to have abandoned their desk. Karma at work works like that, by the way. Unpack laptop, produce fresh new 2017 diary from one of the umpteen bags which receives admiration because it’s fancy and has butterflies on it,  remove fancy new water bottle with flourish, and pens as well but promptly hide them. Pens get stolen here. All set. Start tapping away at laptop.

My fancy 2017 diary

9:17 : Colleagues start pouring in and regaling me with their holiday stories and antics. We decide to take a Snapchat break and play around with the filters while trying to find a flattering angle to hide the post-holiday weight gain. Also we admire Aleema’s wedding ring. That’s what she got up to over the holidays.

Snapchat- the best app to measure…er….. productivity levels

9:19 : First day of serious diet and I’m starving. About to have an emotional breakdown with the lack of Christmas mince pies and a double cappuccino.

Someone get me three mince pies. Please.

9:20 : “tap tap tap tap tap tap” Replying to emails and checking if HR has sent an email to announce another public holiday any time soon. No such luck. Get on to Google to check how many public holidays we have in 2017.

Sigh…. how many holidays and when is the first one please?

10:01 : Stand up, stretch, swig from shiny new water bottle because water is life and I have to show SOME commitment to at least ONE New Year Resolution.

My lovely Kor Water bottle

10:15 : Started chatting with Riya and Vikash post show as they came out of the studio from their show on air. Riya animatedly tells me how she overheard someone talk about me at the hairdressers. Turns out it was someone I know and she was not saying anything bad. I was low-key looking to get my low blood sugar anger on someone but I had to curb it. She was saying nice things.

10:25 : I put on my headphones to block out chat from around me and start tapping away at my laptop in earnest. Work is getting done. I’m suddenly filled with self-righteousness and studiously ignore everyone around me. Pete taps my shoulder to say hi and nods in approval that I’m busy. Pete likes to see people doing stuff. Productive stuff. Also I work fast in silence. Even my kids know they should only disturb me if there’s blood or someone died.

11:58 : WILL YOU LOOK AT THE TIME? It’s time for me to go into the studio and start my show at Noon. I love being in the studio and am suddenly energised.

12 Noon – 3:00 : Join me every weekday from Noon to 3pm on Kenya’s Premier Asian Mix, only on East FM Kenya.


3:03 :- Have a quick chat with Irfan who is starting the next show and come out of studio feeling like I accomplished a lot. Get to my desk and start working on tomorrow’s show prep and creating posters for other shows on East FM.

And that was my first day at work. How was yours?

 

 

 

 

The Michael Joseph Saga

Safaricom CEO – Michael Joseph (demi-hero)

So just in case you’ve just woken up like Rip Van Winkle or have dropped in from another planet and you don’t know who Michael Joseph is, he is the CEO of Safaricom, which according to me is the biggest mobile phone communication provider in Kenya. Matatus and children are named after him (Michael Njoroge Joseph is one I know) and his demi-hero status was pretty much elevated when he introduced the coolest concept of money transfer in this country – Mpesa.  This isn’t his CV or anything – I’m about to share with you my run in with this demi-hero and how!

It all started when my BlackBerry broke. My world came to a standstill and I wept tears of blood and was totally heartbroken. My family couldn’t understand for one nano-second why I was so hysterical. I’m not apologising for being a BlackBerry addict and if you’re a BlackBerry owner you’re probably nodding in agreement. I replaced my handset in less than six hours and life was ok again. I even regaled this account of mine in the Star and that’s how Michael Joseph probably got to know I existed.

I received an email from him. Let me describe that day actually. I got to the East FM studio and logged onto the computer where we all sit in the open plan work area and started checking my mail. I saw the name Michael Joseph in my inbox and a vague bell rang in my head. I started off by reading my horoscope (I’m a Gemini in case you want to know) and then scrolled down to the rest of the messages. When I got to Mr Joseph’s message I thought it was a fake message. You know how people get onto web-based mails and create email IDs with names of famous people. I looked at the email address it came from and shock-horror-gasp it was a bonafide address! I let out a whoop of excitement. THE Michael Joseph had written to me. My colleagues crowded around my work station to see if I was joking, and for the rest of the day I was very proud of the fact that the CEO of Safaricom had written to me.  I called my Dad straight away who gets pleased with me and for me at the smallest thing ever – bless him.

Basically Mr Joseph said I ought to try an iPhone and see the difference as he had one too and I wrote back politely declining that I was a die-hard BlackBerry addict and it wouldn’t be easy to sway me. HE WROTE BACK!! (Cup runneth over syndrome had now set in) He then said to me in the email that should I ever want to try an iPhone all I needed to do was ask.

When I told my friends and relatives about this everyone told me ‘Ngai! You should have just taken it!!’ Take it and done what? I was in love with my posh new BlackBerry. Until of course early this month when things started going terribly wrong. The device kept rebooting itself and I wasn’t too happy about that. I missed important calls and messages just because the device had restarted and wouldn’t budge further unless I put in my PIN code. This started getting bothersome and one fine day as I was clearing out old messages from the inboxes last week I came across the old messages from Mr Joseph. The imp in me grinned to myself and wanted to see if after all these months Mr Joseph would deliver so I emailed him asking him if the offer was still on.

I received a lovely email from Purity from the CEO’s office politely asking me if I would like a black iPhone or a white one. Once again I did the email address check just to see if it was a hoax and allowed myself to yell out a huge ‘woohoo’ when I saw it was a legitimate address. I was also asked where I would like it delivered and apologies were made for not having it sent last week. Somebody make Michael Joseph the president of this country if this is his height of efficiency.

So anyway, I’m now the very proud owner of a fabulous iPhone just a week before my birthday thanks to Michael Joseph, who I passed by in the stairwell of Lion Place one Thursday afternoon as the lift wasn’t working, but didn’t get a chance to stop him and chat about my Bonga points. Maybe next time…

Bonjour France! 

For the longest time ever, the romantic notions tied to Paris and the Eiffel Tower have always appealed to me. Those Mills & Boon books I read as a teenager cemented in my mind that falling in love, being romantic, going for long walks, candlelit dinners with clunking of Champagne only ever happens in France, and especially Paris. 

The journey began with a quick detour in United Kingdom, a 21st birthday party attended with full jet-lag and some ski gear shopping thrown in. 

Because of the heavy partying the night before, the shopping was a bit of a chore. Yes, I know. Even I gasped at myself. 

An early morning trek to Gatwick airport was uneventful. The hired car was returned without ceremony and way was made towards the terminal. A quick self-check in, a panini breakfast and a quick stroll around the shops later, we headed towards the designated departure gate. 

Taking off from Gatwick, I could barely see much of what was going on due to the heavy fog but a few thousand feet above in the air and it seemed like I was on the way to Mombasa because of the blue skies and sun. 


I loved how from low visibility we were suddenly flying amongst blue skies! 


We landed at Geneva airport and from there we were going to get a luxury coach to Courchevel. I was like a delighted little child seeing the snow! 


Before we knew it, without any ado, we were suddenly in France. We passed a toll station which indicated that we had crossed the border. 


Before too long we were at the coach station to change coaches to get to Courchevel. 


The French Alps are stunning, no doubt, and I was most certainly in awe of the white mountainous region. I probably thought of every cliched word to describe the breathtaking view, which, by the way, the photographs do no justice to. 


I’m really looking forward to the adventures tomorrow because I’m going to learn how to ski for the first time. More on that tomorrow! 

@kamz26