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Archive for March, 2006

Regarding English…

English is a beautiful language indeed. But some people have degraded it so here I’m compiling a list of words and phrases that should be banished from the English Language for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness…

I was actually listening to Anna Raeburn on LBC 97.3 when she was talking about the same thing. i wanted to make a post about it long time ago but i forgot it, so Anna reminded me of it in a way!

1 – Don’t worry, everything’s gonna be alright – Why do people patronise others with such a statement? A close friend or a relative dies and thats how they pay their condolences! No everything is NOT gonna be alright, i just lost my Aunt! it’s better to be silent in such circumstances!

2 – Ah! Nice – Nice, This word ha no value attached to it. It has been stripped of any special meaning it once possessed. When you ask someone ‘how was your day?’ and they reply “Yeah, it was nice!” In fact it wasn’t anything near nice. Or ‘That girl is nice’ No she isn’t anything like it – It’s just said as an automatic response and has no any sentiment attached to it.

3 – Please, Bear with me – You call up some business and after going through the whole burden of the automatic answering machines and pressing of so many a buttons, someone finally picks up the phone and you have a “human contact”. You inquire about something and they reply “I will just check it up, please bear with me Sir” and they play you a dreary tune to keep you waiting. I mean, what burden has it got on them when they say bear with me. I’ve been bearing with you for over 15 bloody minutes and now you want me to bear more and with You!

4 – You Know – Why do people use this term loosely? Someone is explaining something to you – something you’ve never heard of and they say “…then you get this around here, to get rid of this stuff you know, then…and it’s done” No I don’t know. If I knew would I be asking you?

5 – Innit – generally used among the younger folks as a short for ‘aint it”. It really is annoying specially when used with a strong cockney accent. “It’s o’aight Bruv, innit”

…I’ll add some more as i think of them.

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In the days when Buraan* was a thriving village and maize and crops grew abundantly, a mighty queen ruled over it. She was a highly venerated ruler and womenfolk were forever extolling her virtues. Rulers from distant lands, such as Queen of Sheba, sent her gifts consisting of gold coins to sustain her and her dynasty as well as slaves to communicate reverence and accommodate the queen’s indulgences.

Queen Arawelo was the eldest and shrewdest of King Abdullah’s three daughters. The serene village of Buraan was struck by severe droughts. The harvest season came but there was nothing to harvest. It was the Xagaa* season and Buraan was hit hard, causing the death of many cattle and sheep. Having failed with incantations and prayers, Arawelo one day decided to fetch water from a tiny tarn at the periphery of the woods, at the foot of the mountain. Whilst there, she also vowed to hunt for food and save her village from eating themselves to death.

She set out for her expedition in the early hours of daylight. Accompanied by her trusted squad of female hunters and armed only with her home-made spear, a bow and a few arrows, she fastened her Buraashad* to her waist-band and they set off into the woods. They reached the tarn by mid-day, the following day and after filling their Xabab* with water for the entire village they decided to return. In the middle of the woods, Arawelo and her fellow hunters rested under a tree to seek shelter from the sun. Arawelo was still firm on her decision to make a kill, and thus she set off on her own, filling her Buraashad and giving the water sack to the other hunters. She searched for the entire forest but hadn’t made a kill. Soon it was dark and the elongated tree trunks resembled a legion of soldiers surrounding an enemy. Arawelo had lost all hope of returning home jubilantly to her expectant villagers with a kill, so she made her way home.

Darkness thick upon her came, as she passed the dense part of the forest covered with bushes. She was on the lookout for wild animals that roamed the night and constantly looked around her surroundings. Suddenly, in the dim of the moonlight she saw something quickly dash past some bushes nearby. Wild animals, especially lions were said to be prevalent in that area of the forest, hence the name God-Libaax (Lion’s Den), but Arawelo was a brave girl and would fight it with her spear if that meant her survival. She moved briskly intending to get out of the denser part of the forest. Looking back, she saw the same figure scurry past the set of bushes adjacent to the Acacia tree, rustling them as it moved. She quickened her steps, looking back now and then, to survey her surroundings, when her guntiino* got entangled in thorny bushes. As she strove to free herself from the thorns, the rustling of the bushes became closer and closer. She got up from her crouching position, and looked around; staying still as she held her breath to listen for any disturbance. Just as she untangled her dress, the dark figure pounced on her, knocking her to the ground. It was an animal. It was a man – a strong bare-chested man. Arawelo wrestled with the man, but in vain. He was far too powerful for her lithe body. She was raped 

Legend has it that the revulsion Arawelo developed that night against her rapist, marked the beginning of her legendary cruelty against the entire male population in Buraan and the neighbouring villages where she was to reign over. Soon after her father’s death, who had no sons to be inheritors of the wealth and power, Arawelo, being the eldest daughter ascended the throne. Arawelo was a powerful woman, with a muscular build. Her short jet-black hair was often tied back, enhancing her facial features and elongated neck. Shortly after being crowned, the Queen embarked on a mission of ‘domesticating’ and ‘controlling’ the men – whom she considered feral. She was to accomplish this mission by castrating the male population of the village. She exercised her powers to avenge her rape and humiliation as well the rape of other countless women in and around Buraan. With a dedicated army of loyal subjects comprising of sturdy women, she succeeded in capturing and castrating the vast majority of the males in the villages. The few that were left at the Queen’s mercy were there for the prime purpose of breeding only. They were kept under close observation of her Majesty’s guards, as she was suspicious of them, believing that they posed a threat to her throne. Queen Arawelo had a daughter from her relationship with an elderly villager, Oday Biigay, a wise man who used to compose and recite her beautiful verses of poetry. Years have passed, and her daughter, Aisha had a son and named him Kenadiid. The queen was bent on castrating even her own grandson, but Aisha would dissuade her every time she attempted to. ‘Oh Mother, let him at least grow up a bit’ she would say. On reaching a certain age, the queen would again try to castrate him, but Aisha would find another clever deterrent. ‘Let him at least reach puberty mother’ she would proclaim. On reaching 15, Kenadiid escaped the knife of his grandmother and went into the woods, never to be seen again.

To protect herself and her throne from the males with their manhood intact, Queen Arawelo often set for them tasks that were simply impossible to solve. The first of those tasks involved getting the men to fight a duel, using their spears, in a confined area ringed with burning logs of fire. Such events regularly took place monthly and the village’s most beautiful women would gather around the fire giggling and cheering. The winner of such a duel won his pick among the women and afterwards the Queen had him castrated and put in a solitary confinement

Time had passed and the Queen would propose her next task. This time she asked her subjects to carry out an impossible task – to bring her a camel with a load of fruits on its back. She demanded that the fruits must be brought on the bare back of the animal without any containers, rugs or hide. The villagers tried and tried, but to no avail. There was no way a camel can be loaded with on its bare back for they will just roll off – it was simply an impossible task to accomplish and most of the villagers had abandoned any hopes of doing so.

But when the Queen was told that a camel-load of fruits was sitting on her front garden she was alarmed – her suspiscion that a few men are still left was rekindled. A villager had managed to get the fruits to stay in place by first spreading the camel’s back with a thick mixture of bird lime and mud. This mixture with a few other mixtures of his own invention baked in the sun and acted as a bounding agent for the fruits. Who was this man? The queen wondered. Nobody knew who did this.

It was later found out, after surveillance by the Queen’s guards, that a man disguised as a woman had carried out the feat – it was Kenadiid. The queen then ordered that houses should be checked and that man brought to her at any cost. But the man couldn’t be found, for he came into the village during the day and disappeared into the forest by night. The queen tried tracking him but to no avail.

Buraan had one large well. The well was central to the existence of the village. Herds of Camels, cattle, sheep and thirsty villagers flock here every evening to drink from it. One day, after returning from Sahan* Kenadiid masqueraded as a woman passed by the well on his way to the village and found that a huge throng had gathered at its banks.

‘What is going on?’ he asked a one villager.

‘The Queen is taking a bath in the well today. We have been standing here since this morning and our camel hadn’t had a drink for days’ Replied the villager.

Kenadiid, pushed his way past the crowd and saw his grandmother, relaxed in the well. Her guards were no where to be seen. He returned to the villagers and addressed them.

‘I shall go in the well’ he said ‘if she screams “ba’ayeey*” then I have killed her with my dagger, so stay put. But if she says “Hoogay*” then that means that she is overpowering me and you must come to my rescue’.

The villagers agreed and Kenadiid walked towards the well, descended down into it and without wasting a minute drove the dagger right into her chest. ‘Ba’ayeey’ screamed Arawelo. He had overpowered her, the mighty Queen Arawelo. He then dragged her body out of the well saying:

“Wadkeed Korisooy, Waqwaq ma kaa yeertay”
‘O’ nurturer of her own terminator, did thou not wail’
 

This marked the end of the legacy of the Mighty Queen Arawelo. The villagers lived happily after her death, under the rule of her Grandson, Kenadiid. After the death of the queen, it is widely believed that the men wanting to get even with the women for the cruelty they suffered introduced the female circumcision.

Glossary of terms:

*Buraan = A village in the Sanaag region, Northern Somalia.

*Xagaa = This is the dry season, and falls between July and September. Severe droughts occur during this season and the temperatures usually reach 35-40 degrees Celsius.

*Buraashad = A small personal water container. A Buraashad usually stores water for long periods of time retaining their original cool temperature in the dry season.

*Xab (Plural, Xabab) = Also a water carrier, but this one is made out of cattle hide and is significantly bigger than the personal water container. It is used to store water in a way similar to the Buraashad, but for longer periods of time. Usually every family has at least one or two.

*Guntiino = an embroidered four-yard clothe usually worn by the Somali women. A Guntiino is usually made of a single fabric and is draped around the waste, covering the lower body till it reaches just below the knees. Then it’s pulled under one arm then over the shoulders to cover her bosom.

*Sahan = A nomadic practice where a young man, a scout, surveys far away lands in search of green pastures and water. On finding them, he returns to his people and leads them to the new found land.

*ba’ayeey and hoogay = In Somali language, ba’ayey denotes someone being defeated, whereas Hoogay is said when someone is retaliating. 

Footnote:

In the
village of Buraan lived a pastoral society where rain had always been the determining factor of grazing and prosperity. When hit hard by droughts, a brave girl, Arawelo, decided to save her village from the thirst and starvation. But on her return she experienced an ordeal that would forever change her attitude towards the men folk – Arawelo got raped in the forest of God-Libaax (Lions Den) and from there embarked of a mission to castrate the entire male populations of her village and surrounding areas. She soon became the queen and devised tasks for the men. These tasks could only be accomplished by men who have their manhood intact, which upon completion of the tasks she would castrate them too. Her mission to turn the entire male population of the city into eunuchs would have become successful had it not been for the bravery of Kenadiid, Arawelo’s Grandson who ran away from captivity at the age of 15 and disappeared into the woods. Kenadid disguised as a woman, later returned to the village and killed his grandmother. The village was thus saved from the terrible tortures of the mighty Queen Arawelo and they lived happily under the rule of Kenadiid.

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I had this sent to me in an e-mail! If a picture speaks a thousand words, then what do these pictures say!

This picture won Pulitzer Prize but raised many Moral questions, as to why Kevin Carter waited for the vulture to spread its wings in order to get perfect shot, instead of helping the child. After he waited for some time and the vulture didn’t spread its wings, he just took this shot.

bread crumbs – we just sweep them along with our feet!

A malnutrished child.

Subxanallah! How can someone be that heartless!

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My First Pics…

The Millenium Dome

Canary Wharf.


On my way to work – towards Canary Wharf!

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My dear Son, Be wary of women, for they are the source of all evil. Remember how Lady Macbeth and the witches’ careful choice of words and manipulative ideas led Macbeth to believe that no mortal can harm him. Remember how that led to his downfall. Woman is the prevailing source of evil, son – keep that in mind. 

  Women are also the source of magnificent pleasure and delight, so revel in your triumph of finding one admirable by you and savour every second, minute and hour you spend in their company. They have a particular charm the women; I guess it’s to do with their conspicuous ripe bosoms, their noticeable voluptuousness, their corsets and garments that display the contours of their body to perfection, the rather stimulating way they sway their body from side to side that create an irresistible aura and vulnerability that completely lures you, inadvertently making you want to constantly care for them. Be selective in your process though, my son, and pluck the ripened of the fruits. Your masculine ardour must be concentrating on tending to that source of great contentment wholeheartedly.   Women also have an unusual lust for power, son. They love being in control. But who can deny that power is an irresistible thing? The masses have never vehemently craved for anything much more sinister and vicious than power. What you should aim for, though, my son, is the ultimate power – the power of mind that or psychological power. When one of you blows a fuse and a dispute erupts, concede defeat. There is no winning when it comes to women – never throw down the gauntlet, rather throw in the towel. Its fruitless fighting a river upstream isn’t it son? 

  Respect her body too, for she is a beautiful art of work. Adorn her, my son, with gold and jewels, if you can afford to and be not profligate; clothe her suitably so she must dazzle; shower her with a deluge of pleasantries and compliments as often – but not too often to be distasteful either. She is your duty son – you have, bestowed upon you, a great responsibility and guardianship. She has been removed from the burden of supporting herself, for she has far more burdensome obligation to observe. 

  My son, you should also recognize that women never feel appreciate an adequate amount – that’s a fact! This is because of the solitary role she is expected to play in society, her exclusion from any sort of economic activity and her burden as a housewife. Because of this, you should use your most important weapon – Language! Be promiscuous with language my son, and sedate her with words to soothe her yearning soul. Should you wish to correct her or her behaviour, do so delicately and astutely, keeping in mind that she was constructed from a crooked rib – one that cannot be straightened! 

  Greet the bearer of your progeny at the door, son, with pure exuberance for ‘she’ is your gain and someone else’s loss. Work hard and play hard, as often said, but do not let your work life encroach upon your family life. Learn to separate the two. 

  Learn to listen and observe; learn to be sympathetic and understanding; learn like Charles Schwab, to be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’; learn to keep vigilance and restriction of your criticisms, lest it makes her apprehensive and insecure; expect her not to be anything or anyone other than herself, lest she disappoints you, or in the least makes a very poor impersonation of someone she is not and cannot be – she might not be able to live up to your expectations son, and this will hurt you. Learn to be prudent with words, for what you erroneously utter might severely wound her vanity. 

  Squander not, also the exalted experience of an intercourse with all its fullness and glory, intertwined with an astonishing delight; for this alone can arouse ecstasies beyond measure and elation beyond telling. Do not fail to appreciate a woman’s sexuality by being elusive and far-flung or obligate the pursuance of your needs on her persistently, for you will soon lose interest. 

  On a final note, avoid any endeavours of understanding a woman, son – you never will. As intricate as they can be, they sometimes have trouble even understanding themselves, let alone another species understanding them!

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It is now precisely a week since he had last seen her and he was growing impatient. A week since he’d seen her smile, since he’d seen her elegant amble. Now his soul writhed with boredom, irritated by her mere absence. People are perversely excited by what they cannot have –and he was no exception. Desire now mounted inside him. She was alluring and full of promise – he imagined her to be the sort of woman that could provide him happiness and become the mother to his kids. But now, like a dog, she had him grasping for the bone he cannot have, swinging it in his face, tempting him yet not letting him have it. Or was she merely being stubborn?

She has an unusual shyness about her that is more seductive than anything else. This shyness combined with a unique spirit of a childhood innocence that she has managed to preserve and build upon proved to be powerfully seductive, invoking an enduring kind of spell on him. She is beautiful too, but she has a different kind of beauty to her; not the kind of artificial beauty gained from swarming oneself with toxic substances. No. Hers was natural – as natural a waterfall is, gently sloping down the rocks, forming beneath them a reservoir of calm, crystal-clear wells with slants of sunshine between the leaves lazily caressing the water below. Or the spellbinding beauty, as the sun at dusk, half plummeted, half covered by clouds with streaks of yellow, orange and white, which then seem to be prostrating towards the sinking sun in adoration, or even as natural as her tiny village of Hurwa– in the outskirts of Eden – where evergreens and orchards surround the close-knit community. Her mahogany skin is highlighted by her long jet-black hair descending in strands, covering half her face. If she ties her hair back, it would further elongate her neck and define her beauty.

She is elusive and distant too, and he did not know much about her. Unconsciously he was strangely drawn to her and hoped to retrieve the person that lay beyond that fascinating appearance. She has a presence that made her stand out from the rest of the girls he had seen before – she is wrapped in ambiguity, a little vagueness and a dreamlike aloofness. These periods of absence made his heart grow fonder, engaging his emotions further. Maybe she understood the dynamic of selective withdrawal and was now teasing him with it, he thought to himself.

As the sun sets everyday, he would spend his evening waiting by the riverbank. This is the route she normally takes on her way home from work. He would sit on the wooden bench beside the lamppost and wait facing the water. Then he’d get up and saunter by the elderly couple who frequent the riverbank with their black Labrador with the blue collar leash. Ever since he started his wait for his beloved at the water front, he’s seen the elderly couple almost everyday and if he didn’t notice them one day, he’d wonder what happened to them. He walks to and fro the entire length of the riverbank, impatiently awaiting her arrival. His watchful waiting finally pays off when she does come along, sending his heart into convulsive bursts of merriment.

As she walks her slender body, swaggers with a graceful gait; a rhythmic manoeuvre presumably practiced and polished to provoke and bewitch, yet she, as if oblivious to all this, carries her head high with total confidence and ambles without a care in the world. Her eyes have a piercing gaze – one that hypnotizes and dismantles his senses. Sometimes he’d find himself lost in them – lost in the blackness of those pupils with the shades of brown. And sometimes they’d provide him with some sense of comfort, as he begins to embellish her image with fantasies of his making. She has a well-defined physique, with a lithe waist that invites one to encircle their arms round it, and a silky blue fabric that displays the contours of her body to perfection. She looked good in blue, he thought. He got hot just thinking about running his hands on those curves and the swell of her breasts. He developed a sudden sense of urgency, hunger and delight all at the same time.

Conversations with her might bring him valuable information about her character, her likes and dislikes. Such conversations might also lower her resistance so he might befriend her, he thought, but he didn’t have the courage to approach her. Also, he could neither compose convincing letters, nor elaborate his love using lofty words of love. And on the streets he doesn’t stop her. He’d love to, but couldn’t find in him that much of boldness. So he greets her with a nod, intending to make his presence felt at least, to which she bashfully lowers her head and rewards him with a smile. She too, he now assumed, must be fully aware of this new planet that is looming on her horizon. And when they ‘meet’ – he’d like to call them ‘meetings’ – these ‘shared’ moments of exuberance linger in his mind. And at night, these moments are evoked, every second and every minute of the encounter fetched forth by stimulation. He lies in his bed in a deep trance. He’d close his eyes and sniff the air as for her scent – a scent so captivating that every time he thinks of her, her scent, Lilly of France comes to mind. It’s like he can still smell it in the air. She’d never spoken to him, so he’d imagine what her voice would be like. He’d speak about his love to her in romantic tones, and talk about the troubles he went through and the pains it took to win her heart. He’d assume a sweet, soft voice – a voice that like a melody reverberated in his ears, relaxing him and exciting his emotions. Then he’d whisper sweet nothings in her ears, and she’d giggle – a giggle that pierces his ears, sometimes bringing him out of that trance – then they’d embrace – an embrace so warm and tender, putting behind him any anxiety he had. Then he’d lull her to sleep, and watch her as she sleeps soundly in his lap, smothered in comfort. And the whole cycle is started again the next day.

Months passed without him uttering a word. He observed and admired her from a distance. This was a folly that lay him open to ridicule, for soon his friends started to notice his actions. So out of fear of being ridiculed by his friends, he promised himself that he’d go up to her and speak of his love, evoking in him an unfamiliar sense of boldness. Even though this idea daunted him, ridicule was far worse. Day after day, he’d prepare for what to say, for the right words to utter. And that fateful day arrived, when he became resolute on his decision. He waited for her at that path she usually takes – by the river bank. She is strolling along the path, carelessly as she usually does. The sight of her made him weak in the knees and a cold shiver ran down his spine. This was the moment, he said to himself. She was now a few paces away and trickles of sweat trickled down his forehead, which he rubbed with his kerchief. This was his weakness – talking to girls. There was something about them that frightened him. But everyone has a principal weakness or insecurity. What was hers? He wondered.

‘Hi’ was all he could say when she was within an arm’s length, as his heart was pounding heavily in his chest. With great force he managed to follow it with ‘can I talk to you for a second?’ She smiled and looked down. He obviously didn’t know anything about her, she assumed. Then she glanced up at him, examining his features. She noticed his taut jaw, his well defined cheekbones bearing an old scar, his forehead glistening with sweat as though he had been running, and his hands as he entwined them occasionally. She guessed he was about a year or two her senior and for a moment, she admired his well built body wrapped in the white Polo shirt, his pure white teeth as he talked, and the well-groomed outlook he presented.

He could not understand the reason she was smiling for. For a moment he was happy. Then she began to say something with her lips, signalling with her hands as she did so and that’s when he realised that she was deaf! She took out a pen from her purse and scribbled something onto a paper and then walked away. He unfolded the paper and read what was written: “Alas! Falling in love, happens when you least expect it”. As she walked away, he still stood there on the footpath, his eyes fixed at her, his arms dropped at his side, watching her as she strolls nonchalantly along the path.

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