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 

Happy Imamat Day


My Ismaili friends refer to me as ‘Honorary Khoji’ and let me explain why! I have studied in Aga Khan schools and of course I’m bound to have learnt something along the way. The thing is that 20 odd years on I can still recite the ginans we were taught in school and I still remember so much of those days gone by. I feel immensely proud when I meet an Ismaili and they tell me how lucky I am to have met and shook hands with His Highness.

That happened in primary school (yes it was Aga Khan Primary…!) and I was one of the selected few who were to sing a Welcome song on the school stage. Even back then I knew it was a big deal to be doing this for such a huge personality. Perhaps back then I didn’t realise how big a deal it was but as I got older and read more about The Aga Khan I learnt so much more about him and grew to respect him even more than ever.

From the many strong foundation stones that I have in my life I know that the Ismaili culture is also strongly embedded in there somewhere. Often I get asked why I give so much importance to this religion and I always retort back something my parents have always taught me – ‘If you can’t respect someone else’s religious beliefs how will you expect them to respect your beliefs?’

So having said that, I’d like to wish the Ismaili community a Happy Imamat Day and I’m wondering which Khoji friend of mine should I catch to buy me Fudge chocolate that we used to get in school during Khushali…!! 🙂

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

It’s cold and rainy here in Nairobi and I’m totally enjoying my coffee in this weather but my sweet tooth always craves a small bite of something sweet to go with the perfect mix of Kenyan AA and Ethiopian Gourmet ground coffee. I remember having some yummy Cinnabon coffee and rolls, waiting for the rain to subside while shopping in a mall in Delhi. Anyway, I came home this evening, determined to try out a recipe that I felt might work.  I’m happy to announce it did, and these cinnamon rolls are made with only three ingredients! 

Enjoy and let me know how they turn out.  

INGREDIENTS

1 tube ready rolled puff pastry (I used Lyons Maid, widely available locally) 

1 heaped tablespoon cinnamon sugar ( or make your own using 1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon and one table spoon brown or caster sugar)

2 table spoons raisins 

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 200C. Roll out the thawed pastry and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over. Spread the raisins on the pastry. I always add extra raisins, by the way! Roll the pastry and wrap its cellophane paper back around it and put in the freezer for five minutes. 

Easy ingredients, roll it all out, then roll it up!

While the pastry is in the freezer, brush a glass dish with a little butter. Remove pastry from freezer and slice into half inch rolls. Put these rolls next to each other in the baking dish and don’t worry if they’re touching each other. Take a pinch of the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle all over the rolls, then put dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Brush with butter, slice into half inches, place in dish.

While the rolls are baking, take a tablespoon of icing sugar with a few drops of water and mix a paste. I drizzled this over the rolls once they were out of the oven and slightly cooled. This is optional but it’s yummy! It made the rolls a bit sticky and soft and the kids loved it. 

The result? Voila! I was so pleased! They tasted delicious and went great with vanilla ice cream as a dessert. 

Delicious cinnamon rolls!

Very easy to make and with only three ingredients. I’ll definitely be making these more often. Let me know how yours turn out! 

(Cina)Bon Apetit! 

That Thing Called Anger Management

I wrote this back in 2011. Reposting! 
I think I got to know of the phrase ‘Anger Management’ after watching the Adam Sandler movie a few years ago. It was funny and I also realized somewhere at the back of my mind that angry people do need some kind of help. This is not glaringly obvious to the person who gets angry but to those around this person or the recipients of their wrath.


Anger is a deluded mind that focuses on an animate or inanimate object, feels it to be unattractive, exaggerates its bad qualities, and wishes to harm it. Check this out – when we are angry with our partner for example, at that moment they appear to us as unattractive or unpleasant. We then exaggerate the bad qualities by focusing only on those aspects that irritate us, in the process completely ignoring all the good qualities and kindness, until we have built up a mental image of an extremely faulty person. We then wish to harm him in some way, probably by criticizing or disparaging him.

And that’s when the fight started…

It’s a shame when two people who say they love with each other can fight so much that they come to a point where the bickering never ends, the blaming never ends and then comes the silent treatment and sometimes people just end up cutting each other out of their lives. From siblings to kids, from grown ups to lovers, peoples’ lives can change so drastically just because of words or actions that are said or done in anger.

So how can you control it? Don’t under-estimate the power of slowly counting to ten and if need be increase to twenty. You need to slow down and THINK before uttering something that could end up destroying something so precious. People generally tend to remember the horrible and harsh words uttered to them more than loving ones. Try not to be the reason of someone’s visit to a shrink. 

You may cool down eventually and forget the incidence that triggered you to utter harsh words but some people are like sponge personalities. They absorb everything and cannot let go until someone else squeezes it out of them. Learn how to express your feelings and needs assertively in situations that make you feel angry or frustrated. Do that in a non-aggressive way. Assertiveness has nothing to do with aggressiveness. Assertiveness includes respect for yourself, and respect for others. BIG difference and no one needs to lie down on a couch for an hour talking about their issues to someone who is being paid astronomical fee by the hour.

Also learn to say sorry. It really doesn’t kill anyone to apologise for something that is wrong. Your ego may not allow you to apologise even if it’s not your fault but if you’re really going to rise above it then just say sorry and allow yourself to move on. And saying sorry doesn’t mean that you will bring up the same incidence in a later argument. Saying sorry means you are ready to let go of it completely and be positive. Yes I know – easier said than done but once it becomes a habit it’s not hard at all.

Control your outburst and mean, venomous words that you spew out when angry. The damage can sometimes last a lifetime and it will be your loss. If your anger is accompanied with violence then you need to seek out someone who charges by the hour and makes you lie down on a couch and talk about what is the root cause of your anger. List down your triggers, start looking for warning signals within by being aware of what makes you angry and walk away from the situation until you are calm enough to tackle it. I tend to switch off but not many people around me like it when I do that. In their minds I’m supposed to be a happy, jolly person who is supposed to be laughing and joking and making everyone laugh at any given moment.

Well, piss off. I can’t do that all that time and I’m just as human as the next person.

 

(Article written in the waiting room of a person who will make me lie down on a couch and charge me per hour to help me with anger management.)

Blooming happy! 

Sometimes there are signs of positivity everywhere. You just need to look for them. 

I came home feeling a bit low but cheered up immensely seeing these beautiful orchids near the front door. Happiness. 

Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t tell a real plant from a plastic one but look at me now! Orchids, no less! I’ve had this plant for two years now and it hasn’t died. Hope and happiness right there, don’t you think? 

💞

7 Peculiar Habits of Children

 

While Deepak Chopra and other self-help, life enhancing life coaches may have made millions writing about 7 types of habits, I thought I’d throw in my two bits worth. Of course I don’t expect to be paid in millions for this though if the boss is so inclined who am I to say anything? So anyway, kids do and say the darndest things; I’d know. I’m a Mum of two gorgeous kids but they do puzzle me with their peculiar habits sometimes.

Peculiar Habit 1:

Vegetables? Ewwww!
Vegetables? Ewwww!

Kids have it in their DNA to hate vegetables. Are we in agreement with this? Yes? Good. I’m trying to ascertain this because my daughter was all of five and a half and came home from school one fine day and tearfully asked me to write in her school diary to let the teacher know that she is ‘allergic’ to vegetables. Then a few months ago they started playing mind games with me. Both my kids asked me to make them broccoli. I strongly felt I needed medical attention and the services of a counsellor for a month to get over this shock. I know for a fact kids would rather eat booger than broccoli so you can understand why I got shook up with this.

Peculiar Habit 2:

What's THAT Mum?
What’s THAT Mum?

Examining their potty with great curiosity is another peculiar habit. My son, when being trained to use the loo would not allow me to flush the toilet until he had carefully examined the contents. Disgusting…! I’d have to stand there and indulge and some days he would ask me to look and explain why it was a different colour. Ewww!! I was just glad he suddenly ‘grew up’ and didn’t need Mummy to supervise him going to the toilet. This story has been filed away in my head. All Mummies have embarrassing stories about their kids. This one’s mine for my son.

Peculiar Habit 3:

I'm just going to lie down here until you don't say yes. I'll also wail loudly if I have to.
I’m just going to lie down here until you don’t say yes. I’ll also wail loudly if I have to.

‘Muuuuum…. can I have this?’ First things first, it’s not ‘can I’ it’s ‘may I’. So we go back to the correct grammar and I am asked again, ‘Muuuuum….. MAY I have this?’ If my kids were smart, they’d have sussed out by now that making them ask again is usually a stalling tactic and the answer is going to be a resounding NO. Eventually the kids did catch on and very politely agree with me if I say no to something. I always try and give them a reason why because kids also have the right to as ‘Why not?’

Peculiar Habit 4:

Sticky fingers! Nip this in the bud.
Sticky fingers! Nip this in the bud.

Sticky fingers syndrome happens to all kids at one point or another. It doesn’t matter how perfect your upbringing of them may be. At some point you will find something in your kid’s possession that was certainly not given by you. My son brought home his cousin’s little matchbox car once without asking his cousin or his Godmother whose house he had gone to stay at. He had to stand in the ‘naughty corner’ and think about his actions. He very tearfully apologised and returned the car and also promised to give one of his favourite cars to his cousin as an apology. Sticky fingers also extend to the cookie jar and the most common phrase to be heard is, ‘I didn’t do that!’ and it’s usually followed by the sibling’s name to blame them instead.

Peculiar Habit 5:

What is this life about? Why isn't everything going the way I want it to?
What is this life about? Why isn’t everything going the way I want it to?

Lying down on the ground in a screaming fit especially in a crowded supermarket wanting something is another habit. My daughter spoilt me as a Mum. She was a perfect little girl who never bothered me at all and then came along my son. I made the mistake of taking him to our local supermarket when he was 2. He wanted to use his own little trolley which I gladly allowed because it would be a learning experience. Then he started putting in everything and when i dared stop him he started screaming and lay down on the floor and started kicking his feet around. My eyes widened in horror not knowing how to deal with this so i calmly just walked away from him and pretended he was someone else’s kid! After that, I decided he could go shopping with me when he’s 16.

Peculiar Habit 6:

Mum said.... Oooops! I shouldn't have repeated that!
Mum said…. Oooops! I shouldn’t have repeated that!

Saying things they shouldn’t be is actually, if you think about it, not that peculiar. ‘Mum why is auntie having more and more cake? Weren’t you saying she’s too fat and needs to lose weight?’ I’ll say no more. This is when you wish the ground would open up and swallow you…

Peculiar Habit 7:

Too many weirdoes out there, perhaps?
Too many weirdoes out there, perhaps?

Getting on with anyone without distrust is an admirable yet peculiar habit. How do they do it? We all probably did it as kids too. So when did we stop trusting and start distrusting…? Aaaah….. to be a child again and to indulge in these peculiar habits.

I’d love to hear of any peculiar habits that you know of in kids!

Mumm’s the word!


It’s always such a pleasure to receive an invitation to try out Nairobi’s finest food and drink, handpicked by EatOut Kenya and SHK Consulting. An invitation to a private champagne brunch was a welcome sight in the inbox and I promptly accepted. 

The brunch was being hosted at the lush and serene Zen Gardens on Lower Kabete Road. Cyrus Ndegwa, the supervisor, warmly welcomed us and led us to our reserved table and talked us through what to expect. We were served by Patrick for the rest of the afternoon and were introduced to Charles, who is the head barman at Zen Gardens. 

I always like to ask at restaurants what food can be paired with what I’m drinking and since we were going to indulge in Mumm Champagne, Cyrus recommended steamed foods. We chose the Zen Dimsum platter and the Maki Sushi Set which are for sharing. I also requested the prawn cigar rolls which happen to be my most favourite item on their menu! 

Top Left: Prawn Cigar Rolls. Top Right: Mixed Dimsum sharing platter. Bottom: Maki Sushi Set

Charles then invited us to the bar, on request, to watch the cocktails being made. The first cocktail we tried was a Mummosa. This is your regular mimosa given an extra oomph with Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne

Mummosa

This was followed by, what I feel was a personal favourite, Strawberry Mummy. I’m a fan of strawberries and when cocktails include decadent bubbles AND strawberries, it’s a win-win situation. 

Strawberry Mummy

By now we had finished our meal and decided to order dessert. My kids always say that food goes to the tummy and dessert goes to the soul. I strongly agree with that and Patrick suggested we try the passion cheesecake. 

Good choice because the next cocktail was The Passionate Mumm. As the name suggests, the passion was definitely derived from the fresh passion fruit pulp topped with Mumm champagne. 

The Passionate Mummy

You can never go wrong with the food, ambience and service at Zen Gardens, and if I didn’t have another commitment to honour, I would have stayed there all day sipping away delicately these lovely champagne cocktails and Instagramming them on @kamz26. I did manage to put a few pictures up so do check out Instagram too. 

Coming up shortly, I’ll share the cocktail recipes of all three drinks we had. 🍾🍹