Posted in New Year

Dusting off New Year’s Resolutions

How in advance of the chimes of Big Ben (if you’re in the UK) ringing through the start of another year, that the ink on your New Year’s Resolutions list was bone dry?

Historically we did it like this

Do the good people of planet Earth still use the phrase New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs)?  Apologies, I don’t mean to sound rude when I say this.  It’s just because in these very recent times we are good at re-visiting our trends at any point during the year.  Lets take the most common item on the NYRs list, joining a gym. Historically you may not have thought about this one in any particular detail, but it comes to the frontal lobe at the start of Christmas until New Years Eve.

Iterative evaluation

The alternative scenario is you’ve still managed to indulge during the festive period and who doesn’t.  One should always feel happy with themselves and not be coaxed into doing something for the sake of it. But a few months into the New Year someone you know is partaking in a sporting event for charity and Eureka, you decide to get involved and get fit! You evaluate and join the gym, or start walking more, running or even cycling. More importantly you’ve done it at the moment you felt ready which means you are more likely to stick with it.  According to the Fitness Industry Association gym memberships go up by 12% in January, with many quitting just 24 weeks later.  In fact many would quit earlier if they weren’t locked into 6 month contracts!

Let me dust off the NYRs cobwebs first

I was searching through my site the other day to see the last time I posted anything on this subject, as I don’t have any paper based evidence.  Patiently I watched the archive posts unfold themselves onto my screen and I chuckled.  Ahead of 2020, let me share what I noted as my NYRs all those years back:

Note: my profession involves a lifetime of applying a RAG (Red/Amber/Green) statuses to everyday management.  If it’s green, I’ve done it!  If it’s amber, it’s at risk of slippage. If it’s red, then it’s sadly slipped! 

On a dark December night in 2010…..

  • Develop my business ideaThrough a common interest (sport) a friend and myself decided to set up a sports foundation to help young Indian children.  Now you may be reading this and thinking, bit of a narrow take on things, what about everyone else. While we never turned anyone away, this particular ethnic group needed a push. Our foundation ran for a couple of years and helped kids in specialist sports such as cricket, go-karting, judo, squash and badminton.  We organised and delivered golf days to raise funds for equipment and private lessons where parents were unable to help.  With whatever we had left over we donated to charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital or Ellenor Hospice. I am sure we will rejuvenate the foundation again at some point.   
  •  Convert my audio cassettes – I had 300 back in 2010 and you’ll be pleased to know I managed to convert, wait for it, 75% of the lot to MP3.  The remaining 15% I managed to acquire from the web. 
  •  Convert my VHS video tapesApart from the nostalgia and need to preserve memories, the cost was a driving factor to do it myself.  At the last time of enquiring an external company would be charging me a tidy sum of £50 per 3hrs of footage. As I picked myself off the floor and blurted a few expletives, common sense prevailed. Now I have myself a borrowed VHS recorder, a SCART lead and all of my VHS tapes.  All I need now is a conversion kit and I am ready to go! 

What new joys do I have on my list for 2020!

  •  Complete my FINAL book draft and publish – this one is top of my agenda! I started writing my first novel in December 2015.  Click here to read a brief background.  Realistically, by September I am hoping it’s sitting on bookshelves somewhere and also available for purchase online. A new website to support the book and also other new book ideas to be created by end of February, you heard it here first! 
  •  Launch a short YouTube mini series for our comedy venture The Chucklesinghs – 4 years ago a friend and myself got into stand-up comedy by mistake.  It started with an open mic session on stage at a charity event, and just this November we hosted and performed our 12th show.  It’s time for a mix up and we want to plan and release a short series on the other side of the Chucklesinghs. See it as a working sabbatical. 

So that’s it!  I am confident these are attainable but two things are bound to happen; (1) re-evaluation (2) emergence of new items on the list.

If you’re reading this, then a very Happy New Year, wishing you a 2020 full of great health and year of new adventures.

Posted in British Asian

My Review: Cracking Up – The Evolution of British Asian Humour!

 

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Away from the hustle and bustle of Regent’s Street, where rush hour reminded me of a normal day on the roads of Delhi, a left turn brought me to the tranquil entrance of Asia House.    As I gathered pace up the winding stairs I encountered the subtle noise of this evening’s audience attending “Cracking Up – The Evolution of British Asian Humour“.

Explaining humour is a lot like dissecting a frog; you learn a lot in the process but in the end you kill it.

Re-iterating the wise words of Mark Twain from the host for the evening, Sathnam Sanghera, kicking things off and introducing members of the panel.apict2014-05-10_06-34-30-PM_jpg

Those members of the panel included writer/producer Anil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, Kumars at No. 42 and Citizen Khan); Saurabh Kakkar (Head of Development at BBC Comedy) and Shazia Mirza (renowned stand up comedian).

First came the humour!

What better way to kick off an evening of humour then to have a little stand up comedy, performed by Shazia. Birmingham (the posh part) born Shazia tried her might to rally up a rather subdued audience, and I would like to think she almost got there….“tough crowd” was her choice of words. The theme of Shazia’s jokes centered upon the Asian stereotypes we have all come to associate ourselves with. Yes those jokes still make us chuckle but the audience would later gain an interesting insight from the panel about their honest thoughts.

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The Panel of Experts Voice their thoughts!

So some snippets of what was discussed…

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At what point did you decide to go into comedy, given it’s not the most traditional Asian profession?

….”well I’m not the most traditional Asian“…responded Anil Gupta, drawing laughter from the evening’s audience.

Saurabh Kakkar worked at a chemical plant so had a total change of career, taking a job to produce LIVE comedy.His family knew his career in engineering wasn’t going to last so it didn’t come as a major shock when they found out about his desire for a change.

Shazia started life as teacher in Tower Hamlets but always had a passion to write comedy, so decided to attend a writing course at City & Guilds.

“…at the end of the course the teacher asked us to write about something you really hate and be really truthful. So I wrote about how I had so much facial hair and how it was ruining my life. How I tried bleaching it, shaving it, plucking it, lasering it”.

..”when I stood up in front of all the people, everybody started laughing”…This inspired Shazia to join the circuit and start performing at comedy clubs… “I really love that feeling of people laughing”..

 How do you guys feel about Goodness Gracious Me?

Saurabh Kakkar: “My Jewish and Indian friends could relate to this..”

Sathnam Sanghera: “I think it changed the way Britain saw Ethnic minorities”

Anil Gupta: “We set out to make a funny show. When I was growing up it certainly wasn’t very cool being Asian.When I was working at the BBC, there was a rumour going around that they were developing an Asian sitcom. I was outraged they didn’t ask me as I was Asian. I went to see my boss, said it should be a sketch show and he said go away and do something. We put on a one off live show, called in close family”. <we know the rest>

Is there something intrinsically funny about British Asian Culture?

Shazia: “No, the Jews are hilarious. They have a history of being able to laugh at themselves, whereas as the Asians don’t. On the comedy circuit there are only 5 or 6 Asian comedians. There is no Asian Comedy, just comedy and Asian people doing comedy”.

Will British Asian comedy just disappear as Asians integrate and people like stop having these debates?

Anil Gupta: “I hope so. Hopefully as time passes and people evolve it will become a redundant phrase.

We would have evolved as a society when people don’t question a brown person’s right to do a joke an Englishman”.

 

My Closing Thoughts

The venue and ambiance really set the scene for the evening and the panel on show offered vast experience on the comedy front. Many of the audience like myself may have been expecting a conversation focused on the emerging future British Asian Comedy, however what Shazia said really summed it up for me – that she would rather do jokes about general observations as opposed to Asians in particular. So many more interesting things to talk about then just being Asian.

I have watched the likes of Paul Chowdhry and Russell Peters over the past few years, laughed at the stereotypes from shows like Goodness Gracious Me and Citizen Khan, but what stereotypes will exist in 20years time? Personally I would like to see more Asians involved in comedy, on a general level, whether it be in the mainstream or stand up. But for now, I will continue to laugh at the suitcases on top of the cupboards and TV remotes wrapped in cling film.

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Posted in Travel

India – Industrial Monster in a hurry

Note: This is not an exhaustive read, my views are independent and based on 5 days and 6 nights in the Motherland

“So when’s the last time you went to India?”

“What!”

“The country has much changed my friend; you are in for a shock”.

Continue reading “India – Industrial Monster in a hurry”

Posted in Family, Poetry

Promotional Post: Young Writers “Poem”

My son’s year at school were asked to submit a poem for a Young Writers competition.  He worked on it alongside a friend and fortunately their work was selected and will be published in a short book of other poems.   As a treat, I promised them some advertising space on this blog and in return for daily payment in the form of car cleaning and cups of tea, their work would have access to my lovely blogging community.

Poem is based on the Tudor era, U9’s category.  Well done Rajan & Ryan.