Spring Cleaning

It may be April and I’ve still got my Michelin man grey winter jacket out, the one that was designed for someone whose arms get colder than the rest of their body. BUT spring is in the air.The days are longer now.The sun sets around 7:30 PM and it's already bright outside when I wake up in the mornings.
Some of the grumpy bare trees are slowly sprouting new buds – pale green buds that make one wonder what’s going to magically unfurl one day – leaves or flowers? Pink or yellow? Then there are the pale pink and white blossom trees that make you think you’re in a beautiful painting, a romantic film with no twists to the plot and just sweet uncomplicated love.The whisper-soft petals sprinkle the green grass below or waft in a slow drizzle if the breeze blows, and every time I see them my heart flutters and peace descends.
The daffodils with their bright yellow duck beaks, the tulips in shop windows and Instagram squares – it is easier to be happier in Spring. Provided you’re not allergi…

The Extra in Ordinary

You can tell by the sideways look your two-year-old nephew is giving the little girl playing with his up until-a-minute-ago-uninteresting plastic truck that there is a storm brewing.“My truck,” he says loudly.He lets go off the blocks he was playing with and looks you in the eye. “My truck.”
Toddlers, you may have noticed, have more important things to do than bother about extra adjectives or verbs (let alone something as useless as prepositions).“MY TRUCK!!!”
(It was also a toddler who created the wise saying about persistence being the key to success). “Come on, you can share,” you may try but then thunder lightning rain and tears are upon you so you cave in to the fury of a tiny being and sheepishly cajole the little girl into giving you the truck in return for,I don’t know, say five bucks or maybe a Barbie with shorn hair.
“Here you go,” your reproachful look slides off the nephew’s adorable head like the skates of a new skater from beneath his torso.
Not even a minute later and the s…

The 'F' Word

“But seriously, don’t you think the MeToo movement is just a bit over the top?” says a 31-year-old Pakistani man with his feet up on the coffee table, flipping through the TV channels as his wife stands over the stove in the kitchen, cooking dinner.  
“Well maybe- ” begins his mother only to be interrupted by his father: “Of course.That is the problem with today’s generation.They’re just complaining all the time and turning small things into big issues.”
“Things have changed you know, I could see women crying about equal rights before but we’ve pretty much achieved equality now,” the 31-year-old man continues.“Honey can you hurry up with the food, I’m starving!”
Isn’t it delightful when you’re in the middle of a situation so saturated in irony it’s almost unbelievable that you haven’t slipped and broken a collarbone yet?
It may be a difference of opinion but you know what, I don’t think equality of the sexes has been achieved – not in the workplace, or the household, or in the public sph…

Finding Home

Nottingham might not be as quaintly English as Lincoln with its shiny cobbled streets and old toffee shops, nor as flippantly grunge and artistically gritty as Bristol – definitely can’t compare it to the magically majestic Edinburgh or the chaotic mad land-of-the-fast walkers-and-shovers-move –aside- where-did-all-the-polite-Englishmen-go-London ...
It may not be haughtily beautiful like Oxford or Bath, nor situated along the coast of ancient white cliffs from the era of dinosaurs, not hipster like Norwich nor posh like Brighton –
Still, there is something about the city that makes me quite happy we have chosen it as our tempoary home. It’s got a quirky mischievous character, somewhat hidden between the standard high street stores and the more grimy alleys with shops nursing cracked window panes and sad wayfarers looking for spare change to buy a bus ticket or perhaps more likely, another beer instead –
You can always expect a place to be much bigger than it seems from the outside – a s…

Beyond Me, Myself and Sigh

At any one point in time, an infinitude of human experiences fold out, like an undulating silk blanket being whipped out in the skies by robotic angels, a galaxy of bright stars exploding in unison, giant infernos in themselves but so, so tiny from afar.
At any one point in time you’ll have an array of events and emotions occurring simultaneously – a worker in an ill-fitting black uniform at a salon, looking up from the calloused foot of a client who is flipping through Instagram pictures on her phone; an old man sitting at the side of his four poster bed, his wrinkled fingers resting on silken sheets, his head bent; a baby being born, slippery, crying, silencing his mother’s screams; a young woman dying at the side of a road next to a smashed car on a highway; a veteran staring at himself in the mirror, a loaded gun gleaming in front of him on the dresser; a wife staring at her snoring husband, wondering if she would be happier without him; a toddler taking his first steps; a teenager…

Instagram is Making Me Buy Too Many Cushions

A good home is a balance between aesthetics, and comfort & practicality – probably leaning a bit more to the comfort and practicality side.
I grew up absorbing- inadvertently- firm notions of patterned bed linen and dark coloured sofas to hide spills and stains.We had limited art work on the wall to avoid holes and cracked plaster, and used shelves as storage for books, cosmetics, toys.
It makes sense – have your dustbin accessible in the kitchen, all your toiletries within reach and sight in the bathroom, use your bedside table for things you need at night – a book, your glasses, laptop charger, a coaster for your glass of water if you’re OCD like me.Your bed would have two (or maybe four if you’re really lavish) pillows, definitely no more than one quilt because that’s what you use at night. You’ll probably keep your coffee table in the living room empty because you want to be able to pull it close to the sofa so you can put your feet up – you might have a couple of cushions on th…

Of small worlds and big globes

They say the world is a much smaller place now – with faster airplanes, safer sea routes, phones and apps that can help you stay in touch with your best friends 2,000 miles away, all the while giving you the option to put on bunny ears and whiskers – because let’s face it, communicating is much easier when you can distract yourself and your 7-year-old nephew with magic hats and fire-vomit filters.
In some ways though, the world doesn’t feel very small at all.
My family is split over three continents and four countries, my cousins and best friends are strewn across the globe in a wide arc so that no more than two are in the same city and while it is great to have a place to stay if I’m planning a trip to Netherlands or Toronto or Dubai or Boston or St Louis, it would be much nicer still to have one of them idiots a ten minute walk away so I could actually poke an arm and share a coffee in person.
The mad quest to leave our country for brighter horizons – higher education, better paying j…