Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for September, 2013

Where do you see yourself in 30 years…

That’s what my dad asked me in his hospital bed and I’ve still been thinking about my answer. He admitted that his only thoughts were about me, worrying about my future, and that I have no family. What makes you happy? Rather deep I retorted!, but my dad was quick to add that he’s dying and doesn’t expect to be around for much longer. I somehow have this defence mechanism that glosses over subjects that I find uncomfortable. I tried to explain that times have changed, that women are no-longer restricted to being wives and child-bearers, that I’m sorry to disappoint him but I have no interest in having my own family. My dad said that I was lying, because he sees the way I look, cuddle and kiss my nephew. You love him, he asked? Yes, without question, he’s the best present I could ever have wished for, but he’s not mine, I just get the best bits of spoiling him without the responsibility.

He tried a different approach. He went on to explain that when he was at university, there was this blonde English girl who had a crush on him. You won’t believe it but I was rather handsome when I was young and a really good dancer – really, my geeky dad? Yes, I did spend a lot of time in the pub and also got involved in protests, I wasn’t always serious, he said. He married this English woman, and admitted that he was terrified of telling his parents as they had plans that once he graduated he’d have an arranged marriage with this Pakistani girl who was from a wealthy family. Your grandparents were livid, but as their only son, they had to forgive me and after we married, we went back to Pakistan and she was a head-teacher at a private school. She adapted quite well to the change in culture, and I had to travel to UAE at that time as I was working on a project. I was sensible with my earnings and invested in some shops and a house for starting a family. Everything seemed perfect in my world, but then it all fell apart, I discovered that my then wife was having an affair with the solicitor that I appointed to take care of my business interests. She cried a lot and begged for forgiveness, but there’s one thing in life that’s very important and that’s loyalty. I filed for divorce, and she got very bitter, wanted to take me for everything that I had worked hard for, and the solicitor took control of my shops and lived in my house. The stress caused a recurrence of the tuberculosis that I first contracted as a young child, and I spent a few months in hospital. Your grandmother came everyday and helped get me back on my feet. After that, I threw myself into work, and I never wanted to get involved with anyone again. As the years went by, I realised that I was missing something, that work wasn’t enough, and I decided that I wanted a family, to build a future again. Despite being a few years from turning forty, I was still a catch in my hometown, a well-educated man, good career, your grandparents were sure I’d want someone similar, but I came across your mum a few times and I quietly observed her, I instantly fell in love, she wasn’t educated or from a rich family but very kind, she was always looking after her younger siblings as the eldest. At first, I was worried about the 17 year age-gap, but she was very mature for a 20 year-old. On meeting your mum, I felt, very slowly, the pieces of my heart beginning to mend. Second time lucky, I found a wonderful wife and mother to our children. I think that people often have high-expectations, they must have someone similarly educated, but the fundamentals of a long-term relationship are values and outlook. I realised that Asian women were loyal and faithful, it’s engrained in their culture. Why do you see Caucasian men marrying Thai women, exactly the same reason, they make great life-partners. The same can’t be said of men, agreed, that’s why I worry about you, and also would be disappointed if you brought back an English guy, I just don’t want you to suffer the way I did… In any case, I think you’re very similar to me, and a bad experience can put you off trying, but it’s totally worth risking failure and disappointment for a lifetime of happiness isn’t it, Abida?

My dad and I never talked about relationships before, I think it was awkward for the both of us, but I could understand the point he was trying to make. He was intimating that I had a bad experience and that was holding me back. I fell for someone in 2007, and I made the mistake of letting him go,  since then I’ve dated sporadically, but not felt the same connection. I think you just know when you meet the right person, and I agree with my dad, it’s not necessarily aesthetics, wealth or intelligence but character that’s most attractive. Until someone blows me away, I’m quite content as I am, if that means no family then so be it.

I may not have a clue where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in 30 years, but on a serious note it has encouraged me into looking at pensions. An elderly client that I’ve known for years and who’s always been sharp and organised, came in last week to see me and tell me that her husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, she’s in her eighties and relied on him to do everything as she has only partial sight. Her son who lives in Spain only came to see them for two days, and she struggles to go out and do things. I felt really sorry for her, as she has no other family, so I gave her my number, and she called me on a Sunday, which I don’t mind, I offered to come to her and help get her shopping. Old age comes to all of us eventually, so planning for the future is important.

It’s funny, the first person to ever figure me out and understand why I act the way I do, was another client that I’ve not known long. He told my boss that I was far too good and should move and try something different, but he knew that I was far too devoted to him, and before he left he whispered in my ear that I shouldn’t let fear of failure hold me back. He was absolutely right. I’m forever making excuses for not wanting to move or date, my boss was encouraging me to date someone, and I told him I can’t because he’s too successful which for me means hard-work to please. That’s ridiculous, he retorted, I know, but that’s me! Plans for the future? – It’s a work in progress…

All Star Lanes Bayswater

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

My last couple of posts have been rather serious, but for a change, I had one of the best nights in such a long-time. I laughed so much it hurt.

Given that I’ve been rather anti-social of late, I sometimes am known to make an effort on occasion. One of my colleagues is leaving to move to be with his girlfriend in Australia, he’s saving money and so I told the office that I thought it would be nice to treat him to a night out together, but I insisted that it didn’t involve spending all night in the pub! Instead, we opted for a competitive game of bowling, then dinner and finally I left the boys to go and get smashed (the language I pick up from the youngsters) in the local pub 🙂

As I tend to opt out of social gatherings, Hugh was happy to see I came; he knows that he must be special! The atmosphere in All Star Lanes is fun, the bowling alley is rather narrow and restrictive, but you soon forget about that.

The food was American, my burger was good but the sweet potato fries were amazing, I’d love to be able to make them that perfectly crisp.

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

All Star Lanes, Bayswater

All Star Lanes Waitress Uniform

All Star Lanes Waitress Uniform

The fifties retro style outfits worn by the waitresses were cool, I want one 🙂

At eight years, I’ve been working in the office the longest and have seen many people come and go, so it’s always sad to see someone fly the nest. Hugh is definitely a character; hard-working, good fun, and an absolute pleasure. I admire his youthful confidence and his care-free attitude; I’m not sure I could move to another country without knowing I have a job in place even if it was to be with the love of my life, I’m more cautious and crave stability. Despite the fact Hugh’s only in his early-twenties, he can give good advice, if I mention I like someone, he’ll tell me to be careful and take things slowly as he knows I’m quite excitable and soft-natured. He’s very sensitive.

I’ve made him a special card with photos of the office on moonpig.com (really good website for all types of cards), I started off with a sweet message and then the rest of the boys have added filthy humour to it – typical! I will also buy some cake for us to all share on his last day.

It’s always nice when ex-colleagues keep in touch and tell me that they’re getting married, having children and are happy and successful. My office nickname is Aunty A, the boys know if they keep me happy, I’ll look after them 🙂

Going back to All Star Lanes, I’d definitely recommend it for friends, work and even a date; sometimes going for just dinner can be boring, adding an activity like bowling just makes it more fun.

French Connection Autumn 2013

My favourite pieces for Autumn:

Marie Stretch Embroidered Dress

Marie Stretch Embroidered Dress

Pepper Tweed Skirt

Pepper Tweed Skirt

Daisy Chain Lace Shift Dress

Daisy Chain Lace Shift Dress

 

 

 

Jumper Dresses

It was only a few weeks ago I was still enjoying wearing my chinos and sandals, now it’s back to dressing a bit warmer for the upcoming Autumn/Winter season. I love jumper dresses, a one piece that’s very simple to wear and suits all shapes from the slim to the curvy. Below are my top picks…

Rosa Floral and Lace Intarsia Dress by Monsoon

Rosa Floral and Lace Intarsia Dress by Monsoon

Embarrassingly the above dress is a children’s one – I bought age 11-12 Years and it fits perfectly, as I have long limbs, the arms are more like three-quarter sleeves and my long legs makes it look like a slightly longer version of a mini dress which just skims past my bottom, although it looks fine with black opaque tights. I’m not usually a fan of red but I like the floral pattern, it’s also 100% cotton so no itchy feeling. I’m wearing this on Monday, so will see what the verdict is with my colleagues, they are always honest!

Gap Stripe Raglan Dress

Gap Stripe Raglan Dress

As soon as I walked through the door, the guys at work all stopped and complimented me on my dress when I wore this a few weeks ago. They only sell XXS online and not instore, this is a size 0 US/size 2 UK, although to be honest it fits more like a size 6 to me, it just skims past the body and isn’t too tight like a bodycon fit. I wasn’t sure about the colour combination as I find navy and grey rather dull colours, but everyone seems to like it, and the added bonus, I got 30% off in a GAP promotion.

Broderie Ponte Tunic by Boden

Broderie Ponte Tunic by Boden

This tunic dress is part of Boden’s Winter range, I haven’t bought this yet, but I have a feeling that I will be doing. The colour which is like an olive green is quite striking.

Boden Stripy Tunic

Boden Stripy Tunic

Another stripy combination, I find this one rather chic and has a lovely fitted style, perfect for casual weekend wear.

ASOS Dress With Lace Collar Detail in Knit

ASOS Dress With Lace Collar Detail in Knit

Finally, I love ASOS, the above dress is very simple and works well for work, love the lace collar, and it fits in all the right places.

Daft Punk – Get Lucky

An ex-colleague used to play and dance stupidly to this song for me when it was quiet at work – makes me smile whenever I hear this.

Not Contactable – the way to getting better…

Given that I’ve had a lot of stress in my life, a good psychologist friend of mine advised that sometimes a break from being contactable can be a good thing. A number of weeks ago, I got rid of my mobile number and email address, as I had people constantly phone, text and email me, and it was making me more stressed. One of my closest friends lives without a mobile and says it’s great, ‘why would you want to be available to anyone 24/7?’

I only have a new number for work and close friends that I’ve known and trusted for years, they know not to hassle me about going out, I will tell them when I’m interested! People who respect that gain my trust.

One thing I will never understand is why men randomly text out of the blue saying they miss you, when you haven’t been in contact with them for ages? Normally, I’d reply WTF? 😉 I don’t really dislike anyone, I’m just not interested in anything apart from getting better without being constantly hassled about going out.

A number of people have been trying to contact me, and I reiterate what I said above, please respect my privacy, I really have no time to deal with other people’s emotions when I’m very ill, so stop being selfish!

On the plus side, I’m saving money, which I plan to use to see a good nutritionist at Biolab and get my weight up to a healthy level. I think that is key to getting me well again.

Rest assured, once I’m well I’ll be contactable again.