Posted in Sport

Tugging My Heart Strings

Football is not a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that

Reported quote by football manager of Liverpool FC, Bill Shankly in 1959

It was February 2020 and amidst all the pandemic chaos my beloved Liverpool FC lifted the Premier League title for the first time. They had last won the league title 30 years ago, when it was in a different format. OK, so some of you may be wondering who are Liverpool, what is a Premier League? Here is a very brief introduction to you lovely readers. (For context, football is reference to soccer).

I was covered in red

There is a scene in Superman (I), starring the late Christopher Reeve, where his capsule lands to Earth and he is discovered by a couple. When the capsule opens, this super baby is wrapped in a red cloth. When I was born, legend has it I was wrapped in a red scarf belonging to Liverpool FC. So the tribal lines were already marked for me, I had no say. The football club was started in 1892 and experienced resounding success up until the late 80s. They dominated domestic and European football for two decades (70s and 80s) without reply. But like all well built institutions, they failed to capitalise when they were at the top.

The Premier League

Some bright spark involved in the UK Football Association decided it was time to spruce up the current league. In a nutshell someone needed to ‘sex up’ the television rights so that a new league, a Premier League, would contain the top tier of teams making all the money. This rather left the remaining 5 tiers of English football to battle out gradual promotions. The Premier League took an introductory bow in 1990 and has been with us ever since. But in all these years, my beloved Liverpool FC didn’t get a sniff at winning the title. We came close a few times, top 3 but never won it. However, the season 2019/20 Liverpool FC came out like a beast on a mission. By February 2020 we had wrapped up the league, the earliest a team had ever achieved. A few weeks later we were officially crowned champions, after 30 years of waiting. The joy and emotions were overwhelming as I celebrated with both my children. You have to remember from 1990 – 2018 I had pretty much convinced myself the team wouldn’t win a title in my lifetime.

But retention proved too hard

What is it with sport, and predominately football that tugs hard on the heart strings? Under the heavy influence of the pandemic the Premier League kicked off in August 2020, with Liverpool FC defending their title for the first time in this new era. For those who follow the Premier League, you will no doubt have seen that we have no way of retaining our title. Mathematically, yes we still can but there is no confidence or momentum in the team right now. I have spent many a weekends, lots, spewing over lame performances, in total disbelief of the capitulation of our title defence. Each week I sign-off to the kids with the statement it’s coming boys, it will be OK. But in all honesty, my heart is sinking. I mean I get it, we have more important things in life to deal with. But my heart melts with disappointment each weekend now. Can we even mathematically be relegated to the next division? Yes of course, and if that happened then I would just disband all forms of communication. The heat I would face from rival friends would be too much. After the matches I have logged onto sports radio stations and heard grown men breakdown with frustration. You can almost feel the anguish pulsating through the digital airwaves – I feel that.

I’m not even sure why I wrote this post, but maybe there are some heart stricken Liverpool fans out there who feel the same way. It’s only a game I tell myself, but I know it’s not!

As in the revised words of ‘Only Fools and Horses’, this time next year we’ll be champions again.

Posted in Faith, Quote, Words

The Wolf’s First Howl

The Wolf has,
made his first howl.
His presence shocked me not,
Watch and wait I will.
Patience, belief and reason,
These are my shields.
Oh Wolf, I hear you howl


This is an old piece which I wrote over 25 years ago. I was attending a university conference where students across the UK came together to talk about their faith experiences. Share stories, engage in Q&A sessions. The subject of hair came up. A student stood up and asked panel, how do we stop the big bad wolf ? He was referring to Sikhs who kept uncut hair. The symbol of hair (Kesh in Panjabi) forms part of one of the 5ks in Sikhism. For this student the wolf is temptation, influence. I remember coming away and writing this the next day. For anyone who wants to practice their faith fully, across any religion, we have to deal with the wolf every day. The power rests in the individuals hands whether they let the wolf through the door.


Post header image acquired at here.

Posted in Film, Friday, Personal Observations

#Friday 20.0: Netflix Movies: Turbans and Profanity

Each week I will (try and) share a small segment of something useful I learnt. While this is for my own amusement I hope it resonates with my lovely readers.

I spotted lots of Turbans

I recall watching the movie Inside Man a very long time ago, a film that I have watched many times over. But what added more delight for me was spotting a Turbaned Sikh appearing in the movie. That man was actor and producer Waris¬†Ahluwalia. Here is a scene from the movie. I can’t explain the delight whenever I see a Turbaned Sikh on screen. It’s a joy many immigrants must have experienced in Britain whenever a Turban wearing Sikh was seen on television (which wasn’t very often).

Over the weekend we were flicking through Netflix and came across an old movie called The Terminal. I’d seen most Tom Hanks movies so not sure how this one escaped me, but I’d heard it was a good family movie. So we all made a movie night of this one. I won’t spoil it, but highly recommend this one if you haven’t seen it. By the end of the movie, not only were we glad for the main character in the film but overjoyed that we may just have spotted the most amount of turbaned Sikhs in the movie. If I wasn’t mistaken, we counted 7. That’s the most I’ve seen in a Hollywood movie…see the film…was I right?

Tom Hanks masterful as ever

AK vs AK

So another Netflix movie session, how else do we fill the time during Tier 4 restrictions here in the UK. This time we come across the following movie:

This Bollywood movie follows the spat between director AK and movie star Anil Kapoor. In the film the disgruntled director kidnaps Anil’s daughter and then follows him with LIVE camera as Anil frantically tries to find his daughter. On concept I’d give the film 7/10 but that drops sharply because of the amount of swearing in the movie. As the movie goes on, profanity such f***(+ er) and m*****f***** become common place – it’s overload. I had a similar complaint when Sacred Games was released on Netflix a few years ago, the use of profanity was excessive. Come on AK, just because it’s Netflix, you don’t have to swear!

Have a safe and healthy 2021 peeps

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review – The Corner Shop

This is the first book I’ve read by the author Babita Sharma. My wife purchased the book online after reading a review elsewhere herself. The Cornershop is Babita’s first book.

The Story

For those who may not be familiar with the cornershop concept, it’s a reference that dates back to the early 1900’s to general stores selling all manner of products. While it may have referred to a shop literally on the corner, it soon became synonymous with the Indian community. Babita Sharma draws on her childhood literally growing up in a shop, or in a house above the shop. It’s a story that many first generation Indians can relate to. Coming over to Britain in the early 60s, having to climatise to the grey weather and bland food, getting a low paid factory job and working all hours. But for the few like Babita’s family, they saw an opportunity in owning their own business, being their own boss. What may have started as a shop selling those spices from back home materialised into successful enterprises fuelling the British economy. In her book, Babita draws on parallels with Margret Thatcher (Maggie), who was the Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. She too was the daughter of shopkeeper growing up. The book runs with three parallels; (1) Babita’s personal experience as a child of immigrant shopkeepers, watching her parents build a mini-empire which drained them of their own personal time; (2) the success, failures and transitions of cornershops in Britain in the face of an emerging invasion of Indian immigrants; (3) how Maggie relinquishes her roots in favour of the supermarket concept making its way from America to the streets of Britain.

My personal thoughts

When I was around 14years of age my cousin purchased a shop near the Docklands in London. His product line included tobacco, newspapers, magazines, videos (VHS back then), sweets, soft and alcoholic drinks, milk, bread and sugar. From time to time he’d throw in the odd greeting cards and Christmas decorations. Every Sunday he would pick me up around 5am and we would make the 30 minute drive to his shop. By 6.30am I had unloaded the newspapers (Sunday supplements were very heavy), stacked them neatly in the racks under the magazines, popped the loose change in the till and welcomed customers with a smile. All this time my cousin slept upstairs following a Saturday night of partying. I could therefore relate to some of the experiences Babita touched on in her book, the long hours her parents worked and constant trips to the cash and carry to purchase more stock. But what I enjoyed most of all was the importance of the relationship between the shopkeeper and the customer. The shopkeeper would strike a strong bond with the customer over a sustained period of time. The shopkeeper would become the customer’s voice of reason, a last minute saviour of that essential item and a holder of secrets. No large supermarket can ever replicate that relationship, that intimacy. It’s an interesting read which lightly touches on the 3 areas I spoke about earlier, which is OK as this is not supposed to be a lesson in retail history. But I think what is missing is the emotional connection between Babita and her family shop (they had 3 in total). She is proud of her parent’s achievements but it doesn’t touch on how this may have shaped Babita and her two sisters for the future. For there is something deep to be said about the children of shopkeeper owners. But nonetheless, a good first book.

A passage that stuck with me

 

Is setting you apart from the rest of society a sensible way to overcome racial prejudices and social inequality? The question is, should we divide the British people instead of uniting them? To the Labour Party you are a Black Person. To the Conservative Party you are a British Citizen. Vote Conservative and you vote for a more equal, prosperous Britain.

Posted in First Novel, Writing

New Website Alert – “SAHNIWRITER”

As some of you may be aware from my previous posts, I have been busily working towards my first novel, The Amazing Road Trip Home – England to India with Strangers. The manuscript is complete and I am hoping to publish it in 2021. I have created a dedicated website to keep everyone up to date. Would be great to have my blog community onboard! Please check it out.