Addiction confession   Leave a comment


Have to confess this somewhere. I am addicted to twitter. My phone is permanently attached to my left hand and my right one constantly taps the screen. This, from a woman, who, until last year, did not ever own an android phone.

I have tried filters, allowing myself 30 minutes a day and even cold turkey, but like a true addict, pretend to myself and cheat.

I am in a daze. I can easily lose two hours on twitter and not realise it.  I lose focus. Last week I was queuing at a store to try on a dress and the assistant had to wave her hand in front of my face to bring me back to earth.

I have analyzed myself. I realise what I am doing. But the news is so immediate! And I know what is happening before everyone else! And I and my fellow addicts communicate with each other in 140 characters, and we bond and follow each other and develop ‘in’ jokes. What to do?


Posted March 12, 2014 by mshambainlondon in Uncategorized

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Back in London   Leave a comment

reverse culture shock






Reverse culture shock and adjustment.

Had a great experience but feel a bit dazed and confused about what I want to do now.

And the WordPress dashboard has completely changed – more confusion!

Poor me. Need to give myself a kick in the ass and stop navel gazing I guess….

Posted March 4, 2014 by mshambainlondon in The human condition, Uncategorized

Unknown unknows   Leave a comment

unknown unknownsDid you ever have a time in your life where you felt that nothing was happening, you were disheartened and miserable, felt life was passing you by,  and decided, ‘Well, this is it I guess. I just have to suck it up!’?

And then just when it was all really sh1te, and you’d more or less given up hope, tried to resign yourself to the small things and the security, it all explodes. And you don’t know where you are going or what you are doing, because for so long its just been holding tight and sitting it out, and hanging in there, and now, suddenly it is all happening. And you’ve almost forgotten how to do, rather than just bear it.

And that is where I am just now. Shocked that something I hoped but did not expect would happen. Teetering on the edge. Looking over the edge of the cliff before I jump into the unknown. Fear that it might not be true. Butterflies that it is true and it won’t work out. Hope that this is it.

And it is so effing inopportune it is not believable.  What if I screw up? Or it does not work out? Do I jump or do I turn away from the cliff edge and walk away to where it is safe and secure? And forget about all that hopey, changey stuff?

Why does it have to happen now? But maybe this is a good time and I am just putting barriers in the way? What if I just jump off the cliff and just see what happens?

Oh eff it Rummy! You really did know what you were talking about with your unknown unknowns didn’t you?


Words   Leave a comment

My word of the day is Scabrous

What a multi-functional word! It has a beautiful variation of meaning but all interconnected.

It is from Latin and means rough. It is related to the word ‘scab’.

It is used to describe something scaly and rough to the touch with projections. Often used by gardeners to describe plants or trees.

But it has grown and flowered.

It is also used to describe something  that is difficult to deal with, as in ‘a scabrous issue’. It is knotty. Isn’t that a lovely evolution from the concrete to the conceptual? Handling something rough and scabby is scabrous.

But it gets better! It is also used to describe something that is a bit indelicate or indecent because it implies that touching something like this is a bit nasty and repulsive. As in, ‘a scabrous story’.

And it is also the name of a Star Wars character, Darth Scabrous!

Posted November 23, 2012 by mshambainlondon in Random, Uncategorized

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Books   Leave a comment

I know many will say they are clunky and heavy but….

There is nothing like the smell of a book (new or old). You can’t replicate this via technology.

You can drop them and they don’t break.

You don’t need to recharge them.

If you join a library they are completely free.

You can get them a bit wet in the rain or in the bath or accidentally spill a cup of tea on them and, after a bit of drying out, they still work.

You can throw them at someone who annoys you without breaking it or them.

You can use them to hold up wonky pieces of furniture.

They are beautiful to look at.

You can take them out at any time and touch them, smell them and read your favourite passage again and again and again.

Shaken not stirred   Leave a comment

Went to see the new James Bond movie last night. It was the start of half-term break for the schools, and Eid al-Adha, and payday for many. The cinema was thronged. I was annoyed. I am normally a daytime lurker in empty cinemas, sitting where I want, spreading out over three seats and losing myself in the movie.

I readjusted my mindset to ‘Oh well, just enjoy the experience’ and went inside.  I fought my way into a seat I would never chose, squashed between two gangly youths and played the elbow game to gain control of the armrests. (This is where you forget any instinctual body space issues and press up against your neighbour’s elbow until they yield and you win the arm rest  – good for the tube also).

The place was chaotic. Mobile phones were everywhere. Kids ran in and out and climbed over seat-backs. Raucous laughter burst sporadically from different sections. A few oldies (Bond stalwarts like myself) were visible in strategic seats. I kicked myself. They had arrived early knowing it would be like this.

The trailers started. An old guy laughed. A group of young guys sitting behind him began to laugh at how he laughed. Around them, others joined in, laughing at their audacity.

The movie started. Very dark. Lots of psychobabble. Not sure I approve.  When was Bond every meaningful? (except when his wife died in ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’) However this one does have a wicked villain in Javier Bardem (who has an amazing face). And there are flashes of beautiful Bond humour throughout.

In the middle of the movie, a fight broke out across the aisle from me. It culminated in an older man standing up, leaning over the back of his seat, grabbing a teenager by the front of his jacket and threatening to throw him from the top of the steps to the bottom. It was great! Drama on and off-screen – what great value for money!

At the end of the movie there was a moment of silence. And then everyone spontaneously cheered and clapped! It was the first time in ages I’d experienced something like this in a cinema. Yes, sometimes when I go to meaningful movies. But this outburst was sheer joy from a gang of hyperactive teenagers and appreciative oldguy Bond addicts. It made my night.

I strolled out of the cinema full of joy and into the cold and dark London night. Because it was Eid, this part of London was buzzing. People were dressed in their best, hugging each other, taking photos, talking loudly and laughing. It felt really wonderful.

Truancy   Leave a comment

Today I ran away from work.

I am a middle-aged professional in a responsible job. I have my own office. I have people who work for me. I am extremely conscientious, arriving early and finishing late. I sometimes work weekends. I just don’t do slacking.

Then today, I was walking down Oxford Street on the way to a meeting in West London and I just got on the wrong tube and went to my favourite park. I skived off, committed truancy, mitched.

I switched off my mobile and listened to the daft conversations around me. People talking about how good the sausages were (they are!), drinking flasks of tea to keep themselves warm, talking about their dogs, gossiping about their absent friends.

It was a completely unconscious thing to do.

I experienced a brief moment of delight before the self-analysis about why I did it and guilt for the work not done kicked in. Damn my background/culture/heritage! I am still analysing myself about it now!