The artful dodger

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Sam glances at his watch whilst Steve speaks to him giving the impression he’s working but unable to strategically hide the iPad on his desk with the illuminated chess board showing through the makeshift barrier of tidy tub, document holder and stack of papers which bear memos of decades past.

Sam has been thinking all day that he needs to leave at 6, he started later so he’ll leave at 6. But as the day bore on, the justification for an early-ish exit becomes unarguable, “well I did spend 5 hours coming back from the North and that was in work time” he thought. Done, casually, saying goodbye to the colleagues he had very little to do with, they reciprocated with politeness as he left the office the quick way for once. 

“Steve, are you staying much longer?” He had asked before he left. Steve with a straight face and genuine dedication passes silent judgement on Sam as he replies “no Sam, still a bit more to do yet” as he feigns a grimace to further emphasise how tough and difficult his job is. The commitment! 

Sam mentioned nothing about the hour and a bit lunch break, the chess, the big 20 minute toilet disappearance nor the iPad radio or tv show Steve lost himself in throughout the day.
Also, earlier Steve had picked up the phone and said “I’ve got your name in my diary tomorrow!…..Why?!” Then a momentary sheepish retreat with a slightly self conscious glance over at Sam. Busted. But it didn’t matter, Steve had been allowed to hide in this office, in this job for a decade plus, with little overview or understanding of what he actually did. 

It was the greatest trick an employee ever pulled Sam thought, it must take an extraordinaire amount of talent and effort to give the impression of being everything to everyone but in reality doing very little. 

Good luck Sam thought as he realised he could never get easy with the minimum.

my father, my worst enemy

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He married again without telling mum, Did it a second time, our family treated like we were dumb 

He came back and we asked him to go away, He made sure financially, emotionally, mentally and physically we would pay

Selling homes, hustling for survival, We thought the divorce was final, no matter how many times we thought we had won, he comes back to make an enemy of his son

I’ll protect my mother, my siblings as best as I can after all I am now a family man, I’m grateful for my wife and son, I swear to god I’ll never be the man my father has become

basic life instructions for my boy

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Dream multi-dimensionally,
Imagine without boundaries,
Believe everything’s possible,
There are no limits to potential,
You were born fearless, born with no self-doubt or lack of confidence,
you were not born into the shackles of a category, class or group despite what some may lead you to believe.

The state will try and constrain you by telling you to find your place.
You must not pay attention to this because you must not comply or abide by anything that denies or limits your ability to progress in any field.
Find your own place, a place consistent with what you want to do, believe in society but don’t let it define you. Abide by the rules but don’t let them rule you.
The world you want to live in is fashioned by the steps you take every day,
The reality you live in is created by the lessons you learn and the mistakes that you make,
Every piece of negativity you face you must learn to overcome with a combination of objectivity, rationality, positivity and proportionality.

You must be emotionally intelligent, sensitive, considerate, strong, yet able to be reflective and weak.
In your darkest moments you’ll learn to listen to your soul, you’ll learn who the people in your life worth keeping close to you are and you’ll appreciate the value of trust.

Love. Love will attract you, feed you, imprison you, break you, make you. It will inspire you, make you grow, destroy you, it will lift you, transform you in good and bad ways, it will tint (for better or for worse) everything you see in life.
Love will teach you lessons you’ll never learn in any classroom or textbook, no matter what you think you know about it or how clued up you think you are, no matter how wise and noble you will become, your love for a woman will spin your head so fast that you’ll believe and do anything for her.
Love has the power to free you. Love absolutely, love with respect and trust, love with every bit of your heart but know that sometimes when you think you’ve found treasure, its true value can only be known by what you feel your love is worth to you. Are you a better person because of it, does the love that you give and receive make you a better man? Are you proud of the person whom you choose to represent you and your family? Do you make them proud in the same way?

How do you know your ‘one’ is ‘the one’? Sometimes it’s less about what they look, think, speak like or what and how they do it. It’s the realisation that you are willing to put that persons happiness and emotions above your own. The knowledge that your individual future is no longer important because collectively your future together holds the biggest reward.

Wealth is the accumulation of that which you hold dearest above all else.
What is the measure of wealth? It is informed by your perception of value. Money will help make life more comfortable and give you plenty of choices that can add to the quality of your own life as well as your families. But seek the right balance between assets and fluidity, then compare that against what it costs you personally. Is something worth it when it costs you more than money?

Happiness is not a mystery, it is not a lifelong journey or quest nor a riddle to be solved. Rather than ask yourself why am I not happy? Or question what you are missing – consider what happiness will look like and how you will know you’ve achieved it. Happiness doesn’t have to be found chasing a missing piece of jigsaw in a puzzle called life. In fact re-frame that completely by learning how to achieve contentment by appreciating the things that make you feel at peace.
If you were to be locked away from the world and left only with your thoughts, feelings and emotions in a darkened room for days – What would you miss the most? Who would you miss the most? What did you realise you valued above all else? Now take a moment to start enjoying it all over again for those are things that matter.

The ability to stop and listen, the confidence to apologise when you know you’re wrong, the ability to stand up for your beliefs, the tact in respecting the views and feelings of others when you are expressing yourself, the sensitivity to know when you have hurt or harmed. Be smart, look beneath someone’s smile, even if they assure you that you’ve said nothing wrong. No matter where we are or who we are, we live in a collective mind space, our actions are like dominoes, our words have a butterfly effect, never be so naive as to believe you live in isolation. Whilst you are part of a family, in a relationship or when you’re a friend or in your job even, take responsibility of the things you say and do because one day they may reverberate around the planet and come back to haunt you. The flip side of the coin being that the good things you do may plant seeds which bear fruit and feed your soul in times of famine. In morality, positive energy attracts positivity.

All of this advice will change your life for the better, but you won’t believe me, you won’t listen because you will believe you know best. That’s human nature and I can’t change that but I hope when you come to your moment of searching for more, when you realise that your body, mind and soul need more than the material and superficial things that life offers, you start to seek the lessons of those that have lived before you. I know you will achieve your personal enlightenment and enjoy your life with all the joy it has to offer.

My son, understand the person that you are by feeling comfortable in your own ski. Once you know how to be true to yourself, your journey to become a man can begin. And when you have a family and children to call your own, you will understand the sanctuary, the sanctity of house and home.

Our baby boy

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At first you were an idea, the most exciting idea ever, then after all the happy emotions you became a possibility, you brought with those feelings hope, and then we realised we were blessed as you became a realisation, a manifestation of love, of life.

I am in awe that you became present in our lives, from nothing to something to soon becoming everything.

I’ve seen you on the scans, I’ve heard and seen your heart beating, I’ve seen you develop into the most beautiful being and you’re not even born yet.

Your mum is wonderful, she’s the best you could ever have had, she talks to you, loves you, misses you when you don’t show us you’re there, nurtures you whilst you sleep and grow.

As your father, my job is to raise, protect, guide and give you unconditional love, but my dream, my ambition is to do all those things with your mum and give you the best opportunities in life.

Everyday we get closer to you and we wonder how you will be, who you will look like, what kind of person you will become, and we pray for your health, for your spirit.

Our baby boy, we look forward to learning from you, look forward to learning about ourselves and are ready for the challenges and prospects of the journey you will take us on.

There will be good and bad times, there will be tears of sadness and joy but amongst all of the positive and negatives we promise to you and your future siblings that we will be the one constant thing in your lives
we are here for you until the end, always and forever.

Money rules

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Lulled into a way to act, a way to think, a way to eat, breathe and sleep,
But what are the alternatives?
The yearning for freedom takes you to another door,
Each door leads you back to yourself no matter which way you thought you’d go,
We travel far and reflect deep to answer life’s mysteries,
But what if we are in a box with eyes closed asleep with artificial memories,
Reality is what you make it but the powers that be won’t let us go so easily,
They have our habits and behaviours categorised,
Our movements realised,
Our commitment incentivised,
Those that say they serve us live off our service,
Society is a myth, independence lost to bureaucracy, the elitist classes, the corporate masters,
We are made to dream big as hope makes us forget we’re small,
We are made to believe in better and taught to hate what they hate,
If we had our own opinions they would have to come down off their pedestals
Democracy feeds the rich, Dictatorships feed the powerful, Corporations are the masters of the universe in this day and age when money rules.

‘Alien’ – introduction to my life

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I was born an only child, until my brother and sister came along. Despite their presence and not too much of an age gap I mostly spent time in my own company. There was always a lot of attention around me, as I was the first child in a close knit group of relatives and extended family; being a boy made me extra special.

I was spoilt as a child, spoilt rotten. I loved it and I can now reflect that at the time I must have been awful to be around. Being the son of the head of the family added to my status within the constantly heaving household. As I grew older my distance between my father and I deepened and my estrangement from my identity became more prevalent as I felt more alienated from my culture.

Born to Bangladeshi born British immigrants I was thrown in to mainstream British society with no idea what that would mean for someone whose only interaction thus far had been at a distance; witnessing a transaction in a shop, watching the crowds in the market, watching characters on tv or the news every night. We looked different, we lived different, we are different, we dressed different, we were unmistakably different.

When I went to pre school on one occasion I had to be picked up by my father as I became inconsolable when lunch time came and a hot bowl of worms in a blood red sauce was put in front of me and all of my class mates for lunch. I looked in horror as everyone slurped up the meal, happily clearing their bowls, I was horrified, the white people were stranger than I had ever thought. I would later find out they were eating tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce.

Universal Music

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A soundtrack to the world has been playing since the record began,
The melody manifests universally
as the earth rotates and music creates

The backing track is incredible,
Humanity and life provide song and verse,
Each age that passes on the playlist
reveals the blessings, reveals the curse

The world is an instrument complete in purpose and use,
Our destiny is to play,
success lies in our connection,
We exist together as night and day