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That epic weekend

It really wasn’t meant to be that good! A weekend away to a place colder and more gloomy than London. A weekend that involved driving for around 17 hours (though admittedly I was only there for 8 of them). What made the weekend so special? The presence of some of the most important people in my life. My parents weren’t there, nor were my siblings. It was just that good old arainmunda with the girl of his dreams and some of his best friends. Who’s that girl? When I say she’s the type you dream of, I’m really not exaggerating. She’s got this flawless beauty, you don’t look at her and say “she’s buff”. You don’t look at her and say “she’s fit”, “hot”, “pretty”, “chung”, or “peng” nope! None of them words do justice. The word I’m looking for is “beautiful“, because no other words do justice. She has this glow on her skin with a slight red blush on her cheeks, and no its not makeup. She has a sparkling set of eyes that you can get completely lost in; so lost that it’s probably best to look away sometimes! But I’m not just talking about physical attraction, she has an inner beauty that is equally unrivalled. I’m talking about the kindest, sweetest, most loving person you’ll ever meet. And again, no exaggeration, stop with that “oh he’s so whipped” business, if you met her you’d know. I could go on and on, but (a) I’d run out of superlatives, (b) you’d get bored and (c) we’d be here all day!

It was the first time I’d seen her several days in a row, I never had that privilege before. Normally I’d fly to Edinburgh for a day, meet for a few hours and then the day would come to an end. This was different, I got to spend more time with her than before. And while it was sometimes confusing and quite a bizarre feeling, it’s got me wanting more! Remember Oliver Twist going up to ask “please sir, I want some more”? That’s me right now! Another bowl won’t do, I want a lifetime supply of this stuff!!!

If that isn’t enough, what about the sensational seven who kept me company while I was there. Think of your closest friends. Think of the time you had most fun with them. Now multiply that by ten and you have what I get with these guys every time I’m with them. What’s so good about them? Let me tell you.

jjo – What an absolute gem of a guy. Will make you laugh until you cry, and then again until your sides split. Without a doubt, the one who keeps us most entertained. You might not see it, but he has a great sense of maturity, an ability to look after everyone and be a reliable friend when you need one.

jm – Mature, thoughtful, intelligent, energetic and most of all, unique. Have never met anyone with such a sense of purpose and an “I do things my way, if y’all don’t like it, tough” mentality. Her opinion will stay firm and that’s because she’s a strong character.

asb – Around this time last year I was a little worried. I thought that this guy in particular was starting to get so busy with all the things going on in his life that we might just slowly see him less and less. How wrong I was! This guy has a thousand things going on in his life but is still always on the scene making his presence felt. He’s with us even when shit hits the fan, and he’ll be there until the end. The one person in the group, who if I was told “he’s your long lost cousin” would not surprise me in the slightest. A real family man and incredibly funny.

akd – I have a lot of time for this girl. Stepped into our rowdy circle, being (a) the youngest in the group and (b) from a different country and what did she do? She only went and blended in so smoothly that I actually can’t remember what it was like without her!! Incredibly kind, with a real loving nature. Cares about us all, and along with jm, looks after our group tremendously.

ns – The person from our group that I first had a real conversation with. Back then he came up to me and spoke in a very muted way, oh how times have changed! Loud, hilarious and does the best damn Indian accent you will ever hear! Whenever I am with this guy, I have a serious laugh. Jokes aside, what I admire most about this guy is he is proud of who he is. If he does something you might find perplexing, diss him all you want, you’re the loser for wasting your time as he just won’t give a damn!

ak – Oh what a delicious individual this guy is. Properly honest, and has a hospitable nature that can’t be rivalled. He has the FUNKIEST beard designs you will ever see and I’m still waiting for him to do a shape up with his name written across his face! What gets me most about this guy is how incredibly funny he can be! A lot of the time it is unintentional, but gosh, if you want a laugh, just wait for this man to say something interesting and you’ll be in hysterics!

fh – Last but certainly not least, the real girly of the group. Have known her since my first year of uni, but only really became friends in the summer after that year ended. Extremely sweet and like ak has a real loving nature. The thing that gets me most about her is the amount of effort she always makes to be with us. Even when she is busy, she’ll be there! If she can only spend one hour with us, she’ll spend two, that’s a quality you simply can’t buy.

Wow, reading it all back, it makes me think…how blessed am I? How blessed am I to have such an incredible, tight-knit group of friends around me? I couldn’t ask for any more and will be eternally grateful to God for giving each and everyone of them to me. Arainmunda signing out.

From L-R: FH, NS, AK, Arainmunda, ASB, AKB, JJO & JM ❤

Arainmunda

This is a question that I am asked quite often. What or who is an Arain Munda? Before you read on, post a comment on what you think it might be, then at the end of this article we’ll find out how close you were! This arain munda thing whatever it is, is my alias and in many instances my username. It is not a nickname, nobody calls me it and as you can most probably tell, it isn’t English. So what is it?

Languages it can be understood in are Urdu, Punjabi, Pushto and Hindi. Punjabi (well the broken form) is actually my mother tongue, but being a Londoner I rarely spoke it after I got to school. Speaking so little of a language takes its toll and if someone fluent in Punjabi heard me speak it now, they’d probably be in hysterics. I do have a desire to improve the language that I first spoke, but it’s not massively high on my priority list, so I guess it can wait.

So now we know what language it is, lets begin with the word Munda. It might be a bit baffling starting backwards, but this is the easy part so we might as well get it out of the way. Munda just means “boy”, “lad”, “chap” or something along these lines! You cannot be a female munda, the word is strictly for the male specimen! Without getting too deep into the language, there are many different words for boy or lad in Punjabi, but munda is a very casual and playful way of describing a guy in my neck of the woods. I see myself as quite a happy go lucky guy, so the word munda was an obvious choice for me.

The word Arain is a bit more complex and not a Punjabi word as such. The Arain are actually a tribe or caste of people who have high numbers in Azad Kashmir and in a southern Pakistani state called Sindh. I belong to this tribe and have done bits of study on them over the last few years. I’ve learnt much about them, and knowing their movements over time gives me a great sense of belonging. I personally didn’t know what I was for most of my life. I initially thought I was Pakistani, I mean, my family grew up watching the Pakistani cricket team and so to me it was obvious! I’m brown, they’re brown, I’m Pakistani! 1992 was the year I felt most Pakistani. Imran Khan lifted the Cricket World Cup (I didn’t know the rules or what was going on, I just knew we won!) and that was that, my uncles, cousins, parents, all cheering and celebrating. I thought to myself “I am Pakistani”. Then I visited the country, fell in love with it, and boasted my nationality in a huge way…”BIG UP PAKISTAN”. Over time, my opinions changed drastically.

I went back to Pakistan in 2000 after a pretty long time since my first visit. I saw the country was a mess but that didn’t bother me until we crossed a particular bridge with soldiers stood around it. I remembered driving across there was a sign saying “Goodbye Pakistan”….I thought to myself “stupid freshies, got their English all wrong…Goodbye??!? What fools!” upon getting to the other side of the bridge where my parents village is, there is a sign saying “Welcome Azad Kashmir”…..back up a second, is Azad Kashmir a country? CONFUSED.COM.

So I speak to my dad about it, and a thousand other people while I’m at it and to break it down as easy as possible….Azad Kashmir is Pakistani occupied Kashmir. Pakistan occupy 33% of Kashmir, India occupy 56% of it and China occupy 11% of it. SO am I some sort of Indian-Pakistani-Chinese cyborg??? Why are these powerful countries occupying our land? It’ was time to do some reading, and it turns out Kashmir is one of the Richest states in the world in terms of natural resources. Makes sense now eh? The way USA walk into Iraq to steal their oil, Pakistan, India and China are sat in Kashmir trying to claim it as theirs. Typical of the greedy world we live in. From learning this, more than anything, I wanted Kashmir to get independence. Kashmir itself is a lot closer to Pakistan in terms of culture and belonging, but even then, the Pakistanis treat Kashmiris like dirt. Kashmir powers 60% of Pakistan, but thousands of innocent Kashmiri’s were killed to build the Dam’s that keeps their country going. Dams need to be turned down in capacity to ensure they don’t blow up, and when they do turn down the capacity, rather than keep it equal? They turn off all power in Kashmir so that Pakistan doesn’t suffer. Back up a second, the two main dams that run Pakistan are in Kashmir, but if they are over capacity, Kashmir’s electricity is turned off and Pakistan’s stays on? That’s like a fat bastard walking into your house and eating your dinner! I remember in 2006, I stood on the balcony of my grandfathers house while the electricity was off in Kashmir. It was pitch black, but I could see across that river, I could see the Pakistani’s had their light, their air conditioning, their fridges, freezers, microwaves….and all the while it’s pitch black in Kashmir. The world can be so wrong sometimes.

So now, I don’t say I’m Pakistani. I mean when I get a form and it says “tick the box which most applies to you”. The options are:

  • British Asian – Indian………nope.
  • British Asian – Pakistani…….nope.
  • British Asian – Other….Yup thats me!

I’m not Indian, not at all. I’m not Pakistani, but I have relations there and I support their cricket team haha! I am Kashmiri, but people laugh that off and say “Which Kashmiri? Indian or Pakistani?”…..so what can I say? I can say with passion that I am Arain. My ancestors were from Palestine (funnily enough, a place now occupied by greedy Israelis) and they moved across to Kashmir and Sindh in 710 CE when pirates hijacked a boat with innocent women and children on broad. When they saved the boat, they were considered heroes and ended up staying in Kashmir and Pakistan for life. That is who I am. That is my heritage. That is why I am an Arainmunda.

The flag of Azad Kashmir

Why do people blog?

It’s always something that I’ve never quite understood. Something that’s always confused and made me wonder what satisfaction people gain from doing it. Why do people blog? Why do people find the need to open up their web browser and write their thoughts down for the world to see?

When I was younger, some of my friends kept diaries or journals and I always wanted to keep one. I always used to think, how amazing would it be if I were able to write down my random thoughts and the activities that made up my day. I did try to keep a journal, and it lasted around 2 days before I realised….I had nothing to say.

Maybe…just maybe…that’s why I don’t understand Blogs. They’re really similar to journals only they’re electronic and there is an emphasis on others to read them, none of that “this diary is mine and NO one can read it” business. I read blogs that are written by journalists, friends, athletes, role models….the diversity is amazing. And there I was, on the outside looking in, thinking “I could do this Blog thing” just like when I was a kid thinking writing a journal was easy. Now here I am, writing on WordPress and again, I have NOTHING to say, only this time I’m telling the world. Will I write another blog after today? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.