Tag Archives: London

I’ve rediscovered my childhood.

I have a weight on my shoulders, it comes with age, I think (I’m not even twenty, ugh.) Everywhere I look there’s a flaw, within myself, within the way we interact with each other and I know it’s a cruddy outlook to have on life in general. So, one day, a fortnight ago, I was looking for a remote control and was advised to check out a neglected cupboard in an empty room. I did, and I spent the next four hours engrossed in old photo albums.

What is common knowledge yet still somehow forgotten in our family is that my father was a photography enthusiast, he would never be without his camera thus, thankfully, I have many memories from my childhood. Seriously, like, really cool retro photos which hipsters would drool at the prospect of having legitimate cool baby photos like this:

Image

Check out the shades, brah!

Image

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but it seems like I am an infant, therefore unable to drive.

Image

This isn’t cool, dad, you’re letting me run amok with some poor OAP’s walking stick. .__.

And my life without him in South London, I can’t tell you. There’s no one here to take photos but the joyful moments seem to have evaporated, only to be contained in these special photographs. This blog is basically just me sharing these special moments with you, and I’m typing this with a small smile on my face because for the first time in quite a while I feel at one with myself. I have the standard childhood photos and then some, I had a father who loved me more than I can possibly imagine. Looking at my family now, it almost pains me to see that we were so content and wholesome at one point.

Don't mess with our styyyyyyyyyyyyle.

Don’t mess with our styyyyyyyyyyyyle.

This is how much my father took his hobby seriously.

prolific man.

prolific man.

And these are only the photos and some videos and cassettes. He’s made more. I never really questioned why my father was such a fanatic, the only thing I could tell my friends is “oh, he never really left the camera, and I was a right little daddies girl!” blushing with pride, I’d listen to the stories distant family members would tell me as I heard how much my father loved me, how fair my skin was, how I was the apple of his eye. Being the youngest child and only girl, with three older brothers at least twelve years older than me, I had that one thing over them (and that’s nothing to complain about.)

Retro

Retro

How suave!

How suave!

I found pictures of my parents wedding! Look at how damn cool they are.

wedding1 wedding2

My dad moved here when he was fairly young and started a job as a black cab driver, when he eventually started driving for the BBC. So he’d come home and tell wicked stories about how he was driving the flamboyant John Ingham and even David Jason. He was pretty inspirational, always had a joke or an interesting anecdote to tell.

cab

Yeah let’s just reinforce stereotypes…

It’s hard to believe such a jaunty bloke was living in India/Pakistan not too long ago. So when I was very young I visited with him, back to his old house, and to wander around Lahore. I don’t remember much, apart from the blurred visions of chickens running wild… it’s tough living, there. Lavish meals were made with barely any equipment and yet it was so fun, running wild, the earthy roads and um, liberation. 

Ch'yeah liberation!

Ch’yeah liberation!

pakistan1

The kitchen.

The kitchen.

Pakistan - India

Pakistan – India

A fortnight ago, as I was scouring each and every single folder of photographs (I had no energy to crack open cassettes and tapes) I stumbled upon something incredibly personal and sentimental. After I was done with this particular folder I didn’t know how to handle this beautiful discovery. Now I know I can just blog about it. 😉

entry1 entry2

My father created a folder for me. Painstakingly captioned it, I remember he converted the bathroom into a dark room to develop these photographs a few days a week, I sat on the toilet precariously as he explained to a perplexed six year old how he did everything, peering through an empty lens at me as I giggled and shrieked. I don’t really know how it feels to have someone so devoted to you, I reject those who try, but I swell with admiration whenever I think about him. My dashing, funny, incredible dad. I guess I don’t want his hard work to be forgotten when his children die, as well, so it’s best left in an online diary, never really deleted from anything until the world ends.

Colonisation is a fact, and it was pretty horrible, but just knowing that it affected my father in such a way really hits close to home. His life changed because of it and it shook his foundation for the rest of his time here; it made him want to keep a record for every aspect of his life as long as he could. I even found this.

diary ]

He actually documented as many of my movements as he could’ve done for my first year alive. Here are a few of my favourite quotes…

“Shirin poked her brothers eye and it bled because he wasn’t responding to her tugging on his shirt.” 

“Shirin said “shut up” for the first time.”

“Shirin tried to climb up the stairs but always falls back on the second step.

I was adorable, shut up.

I don’t mean to waffle on sentimentally. It’s funny, when I think about how laid back life was back then and how stern and cruddy it is now it makes me think of the Islamic revolution that took place in Iran. Only, the revolution was a move to a different area of suburban London and it was just closer to a mosque… Let me be as dramatic as I want, dammit!

I had a pretty sweet childhood with awesome people around me, and that’s more than I could ever ask for.

Why....

Why….

Me, looking pleased as ever.

Me, looking pleased as ever.

Adorable villain in cheesy cop movie's got her hands up!

Adorable villain in cheesy cop movie’s got her hands up!

I don't get the obsession with putting me in things..

I don’t get the obsession with putting me in things..

kid5

Goodnight!

Goodnight!

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A Pakistani walks into a bar…

After a tedious sermon at a mosque somewhere in London, cursing the drinking and homosexuality the western nations have obviously embraced, the Pakistani hasn’t got enough time to go home and get dressed. She has a late lunch date with a friend and has some issues to clear up with her, so she goes straight into the city wearing traditional South Asian clothing. On the bus, so far so good, nobody has passed a comment on the Pakistani’s appearance; it’s hard to find a girl wearing odd clothes and speaking perfect English on the phone. One middle aged woman complimented the vibrant colours imprinted on the fabric, which was gratefully received. It was a hot day so the Pakistani took off her coat and scarf that she had religiously worn inside the mosque but there was no one here to judge her, she though, so it would be alright. Off the bus and onto the underground she had never felt more relieved that she wasn’t wearing her headscarf, half the people in the carriage might’ve died of heart failure upon seeing a Muslim on the tube.

The Pakistani had been to so many of these sermons that it was replaced with white noise in her mind, much like a mother can blank out the irritating cries of children in a café after having four herself. She thought nothing of it, nothing of the statement “homosexuality will be the downfall of our nation, now we have welcomed it wholeheartedly into our government.” Aside from the economy, violence, rape, and murder of British citizens, being gay is most certainly the reason for the third world war… Off the train she stood outside the station, enjoying a cigarette, checking the time. She was early. She wandered off into the bar, sending a text;

Babe, I’m actually early, sorry for the miscalculation. I’ll see you in ten, meet me at the bar, top floor. X

Ordering a drink, sitting at a table with the view of the city, the Pakistani thinks about her father. At the mosque she is a Pakistani; to her friends, she’s seen as more of an Indian, she’ll settle with being a Pakistani right now. Normally impatient, the sermon was still ringing in her mind, stinging her face like a tight slap passed across it. All of her efforts for her family were thrown back in her face and now she’s sitting in a bar, drinking, waiting for a girl she’d previously been involved with. A major cluster fuck western intellectuals would drool over the prospect of debating. The Pakistani just wanted a drink and a chat.

She scoped out her friend amidst the slowly growing crowd, thirsty for release after a hard day of work earning money in the city on a Friday evening. Suddenly the Pakistani grew conscious about her attire. Her friends loved her in it, her friend in question preferred her in it, but she herself felt odd, misplaced, out of order; defected, almost, as if her attire was a silky “FUCK UP” label branded across her body. She finished off her drink and stood up with a glossy smile over her face to receive her friend. Both pairs of arms outstretched, both faces with smiles, the brown one subtly swerving in the other direction of the white ones lips because god forbid two girls were to kiss in public. The Pakistani’s friend looked bewildered at the rejection for a moment, but shook her face into politeness again, how-are-you’s and this-one-time-I-was-so-drunk’s were exchanged and laughed about. Drinks were flowing; money was no object, the crowd getting larger around the intimate table for two. The sun was setting over London and the bar was getting warmer, the Pakistani placed a hand over her friends and the got closer with the alcohol. The conversation was broken with an unwelcome remark of “interracial lesbian porn, nice one. Get that paki in a hijab.” She was was a bit confused, because I thought lesbian pornography was pornography containing two lesbians, not two girls who were holding hands over a table sharing gentle conversation. Either way the Pakistani’s friend bowed her head, her cheeks flushed. The Pakistani didn’t know how to handle the cat calls and wolf whistles entirely well so she stupidly went off outside to have a cigarette, leaving her friend there, alone.

Smoking outside, her head spinning slightly, the Pakistani was approached by a fellow smoker, as the smoke hovering above their heads had joined them together, and introductions were prompted which took the form of “your dress is really nice, you don’t see much of that in the city.”

“Why thank you, my mother made it for me…”

The elderly gentleman was wearing an expensive suit and looked well-travelled, like he’d seen and heard it all before, easing the Pakistani into comfort, allowing her to talk about her family and life in other countries. But before they knew it, the cigarettes had ended and she was walking back up to her friend, instilled with confidence to have a good night. She’d missed the last step and jumped onto the second floor, and bounced towards her table which was surrounded with yuppies in their mid-twenties, talking to her friend. As she drew closer she heard what they were saying, “come on, get it down you, we were nice enough to buy you a drink… it’s not like you don’t like getting a bit naughty, it’s obvious, we can get your Indian friend involved, happy days!”

“Actually, I’m Pakistani, and I’d appreciate it if you leave us alone, we’re in the middle of something.” There was a tremble in the Pakistani’s voice as her dress became moist with a nervous sweat. Whoever told you brown people can’t blush is a damned liar.

“Whatever you’re in the middle of, my man would sure like to squeeze in between,” the classy and original joke had caused howls of laughter and knee slapping from the group. The Pakistani’s friend got up and tugged on her friends arm, muttering, “Let’s just go,” and they both walked out of the bar, defeated, followed by a chorus of more wolf whistles and cat calls.

Outside, the night air cooled both of their faces down and they wrapped coats around themselves. The Pakistani felt shit for leaving her friend alone, girls aren’t meant to be left alone in bars, that’s how they get sexually harassed; Pakistanis aren’t meant to go to bars, that’s how ignorance is conceived. Anything queer has to be left in the bedroom, that’s how fetishizing and homophobia comes about, because we’re so damned selfish we can’t keep those things to ourselves and we have to flaunt them in everyone’s faces. The Pakistani thought she’d make it up to her friend,

“We could go to another pub? There’s one down the road which seems quite nice.” Met with refusal, the Pakistani couldn’t blame her friend, the same thing would only happen again. If only she’d spent half an hour going home and pulling some jeans on, this wouldn’t have happened, feck’s sake. “Just come back to mine?” Met with another rejection, again, not that the Pakistani would blame her friend for never wanting to see her again; so they had an awkward hug goodbye and went their separate ways, the occasional like on Facebook not really cutting it for communication for some reason. She doesn’t smoke that much anymore, anyway.

A Pakistani walks into a bar, and would like a Desperados, please and thank you. 

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