Friday, August 11, 2006

Underachiever

Generally, being self-absorbed is not a good thing.

Getting told that I'm self-absorbed by various important people who 'know me best' is not nice.

I guess one has to be pretty self-absorbed to have a blog on the internet (but at the end of it all, it depends on one's intention and purpose...)

On the one hand, I'm struggling with establishing my own life, ideas, purpose, space, etc. On the other hand, I've got to acknowledge the support of those around me. Being lucky enough to have parents that will support me all the way is a privilege I can take for granted.

No-one likes to be taken for granted.

It's something I do quite easily...friends, family, my body - all taken for granted.

Me? Selfish? I guess so.

Stop whining, think of others and get on with it.

J.

PS This post was brought to you by the band Pitchshifter

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Step Down

I keep hearing this word integrity passed about everywhere.

I think people don't know what it means.

It's all in my face right now because I'm not perfect. It's more of the same I've had on my blog: who I've let down, what's happened now, the frustration of it all, taking it personally and all that. I'd much rather give myself a hard time - that's what I'm used to.

After reading "They F**k You Up: How to Survive Family Life" by Oliver James, the past affects me more than I'd like to admit (but I'd experienced that anyway from something else I've done)...in fact a lot of what the book says, I've experienced before.

For example what he says about creating a space for insight to happen - is when things really change - but doing this intentionally is the hard part (hmm...insight is realising something about yourself accompanied by some kind of emotional experience or resonance - in fact I've done something that provides this kind of thing all the time...)

Anyway...as much as I love life, and people and going for it, I get easily frustrated (I suppose we all do)...and I want everything to be perfect.

Which leads me back to this word/ idea/ principle of integrity.

I don't think many people have a clue about it. Yet I keep reading it and hearing it everywhere.

I bought a copy of a magazine called Psychologies where they go on about it. It was funny - when I bought the magazine, I didn't think anything about it, but it soon became apparent that it's targeted at women...oh well...I suppose us blokes don't think about stuff like that do we...puh...

But integrity...I first came across it in a book I read by Stephen Covey (google him if you want, then you'll find out the book...the rest is up to you)...he said honesty is conforming your words to your reality - and anyone can do that...lying is easy (and I do that with impunity...although I've been counting the number of times I lie...and tryna decrease it...kinda twisted, but kinda fun).

He then says integrity is conforming your reality to your words. Being my word. Hmm...a whole different kettle of fish. On a basic level - calling someone on time. On a deeper level - honouring the relationship with my sister, by sharing my life with her and letting it all out with her - purely cos she's my sis.

Now I do all those things at the basic level. But honouring my word? I find that much harder. I don't call my friends...(it's true I have no friends...no-one comes over to see me at the flat...hehehe - it's all my fiancee's friends!) I'm not involved with my extended family much at all (apart from the big days: birthdays, Christmas, Easter, all that) - cousins, aunts, uncles? I'm not great with it. Tough but true.

I could go on.

Don't get me wrong - it's not about sounding self-pitying. More about telling the truth, and that I don't know what the future holds. Anything can happen.

And I do have a say in the matter...oops yeah...

In the beginning there was the word... (now where have I heard that before)

J.

PS This post title is from a song by a band call Sick of It All

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

School's Out

It's been two weeks since school ended...already...

I've been in a couple of times, and I've got planning to do. I've managed to clear out all my old material (I filled up a whole recycling box!) The planning will come into its own because I start teaching AS Psychology next term - I'm looking forward to it.

My first day back I saw: the deputy head, the head of modern foreign languages, the principal, and the head of senior school...I was having a chat with one of the maintenance staff - it seems we can't leave the place.

However, there was a fun night out a couple of Thursdays ago. Even though I teach in a small school (there are about 30-35 teachers), 10 teachers were retiring/ leaving/ emigrating...high staff turnover? A bad thing? Possibly. Anyway - the night out was fun - it started as it always does...quite innocently with drinks in a bar in Clapham.

There were quite a few people there...the usual suspects...and me (yay I got to be 'trendy' for the evening - despite my best attempts not to be...what with a stupid t-shirt, and silly goatee). Now, I don't know what it was like when I was uni, but because I rarely drink alcohol, I know hardly any drinking games...but this lot - a plethora of games and forfeits were suggested for the escapees (that's those leaving school/ teaching/ the country).

After losing the attempt to down his pint swiftly enough, one guy had to find out the name of the nearest gay bar by asking a random person in the pub...within 2 minutes...which actually wasn't that hard...but one could see the slippery slope into drunkeness calling everyone.

I was actually on orange juice...and after the DJ arrived I was able to demonstrate my prowess. One teacher revealed a hidden side to her - she knows who she is...other teachers just revealed themselves...in a manner of speaking.

It was weird though - I felt like I was one of the younger ones. I think it's because I don't really socialise with the rest of the staff - even us 'younger' teachers...although the fact I have some grey hairs, and I'm turning 30 this year qualifies me as 'mature' - right?

I got home ok...managed to get a lift...but the pictures and videos from the night are particularly wonderful.

It's true: Schools out for summer.

J.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Every Time We Say Goodbye

Well I suppose it had to come to an end...I mean they grow up so fast right?

Alright, so my first proper year 13 offically left last Friday...and I've kept meaning to write something on my blog about them (they have this blog address - but whether they'll be bothered to check it...)

The picture was taken a few weeks ago at their Leavers' Boat Party - all of them suitable inebriated - from left to right: Jason, Adam, Matt, Alex, Ross, Tim and Rob (I think).

It's the first year I taught in year 12, and saw them through their AS levels, right up to their A2 exams...and I have to say - they're a good bunch of guys really. Yes they could do more work - and they know that - but then couldn't we all at that age?

I'm quite proud that I successfully predicted the head boy (Jason) and that I got to influence these guys.

This picture only tells part of the story, as these are only a sample of the boys I taught. This post is an acknowledgement of them all. Their wit in the classroom, their style, the arguments (especially with Tim on the left here), the encouragement, the discussion, and the winding up and poking fun...all will be missed...class of 2006.

J.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Come Find Yourself


What Goes Around Comes Around

Hindsight is wonderful. Looking back over the past forty years at my background and family, it may have been an inevitability that I am contributing to my community. It just didn’t look that way when I turned twenty-five. I consider Goans to be cynical, lacking integrity, gossipy, and unable to take young people and its future seriously.

I remember the moment I realised something was up. I was four-years-old and we were playing a game at nursery. The game involved putting our hands in the middle of the table on top of each other, in turn. I remember having this realisation: “My hand is a different colour. That’s bad”. This feeling was compounded by the inability to find other people like me. I felt more English than Indian and as a young boy in the 1980s I didn’t have a clue what being Goan meant. Compensating for the feeling “I’m different” has informed my life: from wanting to please my parents, to getting piercings and tattoos.

But that’s why my experience of the Goan Overseas Association (GOA) was so important.

My memories of growing up include a feeling of not quite comprehending my background. Before I was ten, I made no distinction between village feasts and the GOA. Going to village feasts (usually the Moira Reunion) was an event. Even my parents dressed smartly. I met other boys the same colour as me, and made friends with them sliding on a black-and-white tiled floor (Wandsworth Town Hall!) whilst laughing at the grown-ups dancing.

Going to “The Clubhouse” was a similar experience. I was too busy running about playing football, or climbing trees to fully appreciate the subtle kind of home-coming my parents seemed to experience. I saw the same faces I’d seen at the village feasts. I noticed the way my parents’ accents changed. Their stories recalled a happy time – words and phrases like “Mombasa” and “Hakuna Matata” created a whole new world for a nine-year-old boy who wondered why his life wasn’t like an Enid Blyton book.

It was something called SCOGO that brought together these experiences. I’d never seen so many people who were like me – and yet all unique – in one place. My Grandfather seemed to be an important person: people were interested in his opinion, and a video camera was following him around. My Dad was more taciturn, but I remember feeling proud.

That spirit of community, happiness, and pride I first experienced at the inaugural SCOGO festival was the reason it was created. In fact, it’s probably the very reason the GOA was created.

After that, going to “The Clubhouse” was a fairly regular occurrence. But despite my Grandfather’s example, and my parents encouraging me, I still didn’t feel confident enough to really get involved in GOA activities.

As I got older, I felt a change in the tone of the conversations my parents would have about “The Clubhouse”. I was still close to my family, and had a sense of myself because all my Grandparents were a presence into my twenties. Their stories will never disappear.

But through university, and beginning my working life, my cynicism with my culture became “the truth”. Goan people really are “that way”. I was judgemental, and angry. I mocked the GOA with its “burned down clubhouse”.

The four years since I was twenty-five have been different. I put aside my opinions, and asked myself – am I willing to do something? I am involved with the Young London Goans’ Society (YLGS) because I wanted to re-create what I experienced at a GOA event when I was nine-years-old.

And YLGS has done this successfully for Goans over eighteen who share the same feelings as me. We’ve got our own website, web-forum, bank account, and over 400 registered members. Our Christmas Party sold out in a matter of days. We’re creating the future, and we’ve earned respect. I’m even a GOA member now!

Life can be circular in other ways too. My Grandfather is one of the four founder members of the GOA, and also the founder of the Standing Conference of Goan Organisations (SCOGO). He told me when they met in 1960’s London to discuss creating the GOA, its purpose was to bring the community together. YLGS’ mission is to build a strong and integrated community of Goans.

Has all this changed my opinion of Goans? Not in the slightest. But I know my opinion is not “the truth”. This is still my community, I love it, and I’m willing to do something for it.

For the GOA in its Ruby Year, looking to the future is more important than ever.

What Goes Around Comes Around.

J.

(YLGS MD)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We Who Are Not As Others

Sometimes it's easy to think that the whole world thinks differently to me.

That's 'cos I'm an arrogant ass right?

Well selfish and rude maybe.

But chatting to my sister and my fiancee...well people do have their weird opinions. I mean - my sister says things for effect so much - it's like she can read minds. I love the way she is so much. Hearing a story about how she speaks with people - she knows exactly what she's doing, and why she's saying it.

She's brilliant.

I realise - on the one hand - I'm a human no different to anyone else.

But on the other hand - for whatever reason: my parents, my culture, my religion, my experiences, my being a [Landmark] graduate, being around young people...I'm different.

My fiancee does mad things too. And there's complete clarity between us. We argue and fight...but it's done and sorted out. Never go to sleep on an argument!

She's brilliant too.

I think I underestimate the effect of connections and friendships. People say that they're open and honest. But they're not. People have said they clear things up, and that they're straight up and all that. But they're not.

Not that I'm perfect - I do that too...hahahaha!

Maybe I just like to think of myself as idealistic...Oscar Wilde said that resignation is the last refuge of the idealist. And I know I get resigned about making a difference. (Is it a crime to want to do that? Sometimes I feel it is because I keep on going regardless). I get resigned about doing my marking too (ah yes...well there is a pile of year 10 coursework on our table at home).

And then there's me getting my piercing done...hehehe...self-expression? Or a cry to "notice me" - a bit of both probably. It's because I think differently to the rest of the world and my wonderful Goan community.

I'm different and the same as other people.

Just like my sister.

And my fiancee.

Two very cool women who keep me sane.


J.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

All Apologies


Sometimes the right title for a post in the form of a song title just hits ya.

As was the case with this one.

I've felt, over the past month, like I've been stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Maybe it's because of being in a [Landmark] seminar which stirs up where I'm being a selfish idiot...nice thing to deal with...sigh...

I mean part of me knows I'm being horrible, but actually confronting and dealing with it is a whole new thing. I think other people go through the same stuff as me, but I had been feeling as if everyone was out to get me.

Sorry for the over-indulgent, self-pitying tone of this post, but that's just where I am right now.

Not that having my own blog for people to read isn't self-indulgent at all... ;-p

There are close friends and family who've been on the receiving end of me recently. Shutting people out, and pretending it's ok, and generally lying is not a great way to be. It's cost me relationships. I'm glad they've given me an opportunity to prove myself and turn it around.

Long may it continue...

Peace Out (right?)

J.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Electric Head - Pt. 1 (The Agony)

Yeah!

Saturday night...was a big one!

I have been lamenting about the state of heavy metal and decent places to go and all that...so I finally did something about it!

Inevitably with my wonderful sister in Goa, and my fiancee not sharing the same taste in music, I was going on my own. I didn't actually mind, because it would mean not having to worry about anyone else hahahahaha!

A quick google search on 'heavy metal night London' and I found a night called Vendetta at the Purple Turtle in Camden-not a venue I was familiar with, but I was willing to go for it, especially as:1) the range of artists played on the flier suited me, and2) I recognised one of the DJs names from when I was 21 and first went to metal clubs in London...good old Riyad...

So I got out my ankle and knee supports, my best jeans, my chain and my lucky Scooby-Doo top. With that and my contacts on, I was ready to go.

I was apprehensive as I arrived-not because of going to a new venue in London, but because I really wanted it to be a good night.

There were some live bands on when I arrived. First one was ok- I knew the frontman from the distant past (does one ever forget a ginger?) when Positive Impact Records (http://www.positiveimpactrecords.com) started...

Second band were great... Will Haven meets Lamb of God and Deftones...can't remember what they were called though - it was something really obscure and hard to remember.

After that the venue filled up - but not to bursting point. Unfortunately I started getting into the music really early...which I was to regret later on (hence the name of this post...by if anyone apart from my sister knows the song in the title of my post, add a comment...) because I just kept going for it...

And of course...they played good song after good song...here's a few:
Battery - Metallica
South of Heaven - Slayer
Elite - Deftones
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns'n'Roses
Lapdance - NERD
Fix Up Look Sharp - Dizzee Rascal
Fight For Your Right (To Party) - Beastie Boys
Thunder Kiss '65 - White Zombie
Be Aggressive - Faith No More
Even Flow - Pearl Jam
Fucking Hostile - Pantera
Stinkfist - Tool
Take My Scars - Machine Head
Whole Lotta Rosie - AC/DC

I haven't had such a great time in a club, or danced so full out for years. To think I used to do this pretty much every weekend! Ah the life of a student ten years ago at the age of 19! And now when I go out, most of the time it's to shit places with bad music, and people who just want to look good for each other and not really care about the music...sigh...

And yeah I've paid for it over the past few days...neck and lower back pain...

Maybe I am getting too old to rock?

And monkeys will fly out of my butt...

J.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Back To School (Mini Maggit)


Aha...after the shenanigans of the day before half-term (see the pic!) I am sooooo knackered after the first week back...

The week before half term was our charity week.

In my madness I said to my tutor group (year 8 - so they're turning 13 years old) that if they raised over £200 for their Sponsored Silence, I would come into school dressed as Darth Vader.

Well...as it turned out - they raised £230.

And it also happens that my form know about deep knowledge of the Force and all things Star Wars related...in fact, they frequently bring it up in their Religious Studies(RS) Lesson. The RS teacher tells me people in my form say things to him like: "Sir, Mr. D'Souza thinks the Force is real."

I wasn't sure if they would actually do it...and you know what - they did. They were silent for a whole day.

No kidding.

A whole day.

One of the noisiest forms in the school...silent.

The science teacher loved it.

So anyway - I hurriedly bought a costume from e-bay. All the boys were wearing their own clothes on that day anyway - and there I was...teaching as Darth Vader.

It was received really well. The pic was taken by one of my Year 13 boys (17-18 years old) .

The pic doesn't really do the whole thing justice...I had a light sabre that changed colour from blue (for when Anakin was good) to red (for when he became Darth Vader)...cool huh?

Well it maybe quite sad...just depends on your viewpoint...

As for right now - I'm glad the first week back is over...I'm soooo knackered...parents' evening on Thursday night that was draining because I was really having a go at them...and embarrassing them...ah the joys of teaching!

J.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Refuse/ Resist

I get angry more than I give myself credit for.

I'm also a master of making myself wrong and getting upset...ahh...the joys of being human.

The people closest to me bear the brunt of my nonsense...a simple miscommunication here, and a slightly raised voice there, and all hell breaks loose around me (well that's an exaggeration, but at the time it felt like that).

I surprise myself and the invective that spews forth from my mouth.

And yet I come back to something I learned nearly eight years ago - what I resist persists...the more I try and change something, the more things stay the same. Say anything about Landmark with my family?

You must be joking.

Same shit different day right?

The lyric that's particularly inspiring me at the moment is from an old classic metal song by a wonderful (Brazilian) band called Sepultura. Their song title is used for this post (btw - all my previous few posts have been song titles - has anyone noticed?) but the particular lyric is:
Silence means death
Stand on your feet
Inner fear
Your worst enemy

That's kind of how I'm feeling at the moment...

J.

Friday, February 10, 2006

More Human Than Human

There is nothing like sex to demonstrate how human we are...I mean it's such a natural thing, but we're so 'weird' about it...by that I mean that it's the thing that we all know about, we all think about, and we all lie about... I mean I know I've lied a lot about it.

Maybe it's my upbringing.

My parents never really mentioned it, and I seem to remember my dad saying that he felt school would take care of it.

Well I suppose school takes care of all the mechanics of it, but as for understanding the experience...well from what I've seen in the educational system in this country - it doesn't support young people learning what it's really like.

I was 23 when I first had sex...and it was brilliant (yeah I know that's cliched but hey).

I think that's quite late for a guy in the UK. I dunno - my contemporaries at the time didn't really mention whether they had done it or not...is it an English thing? Is it a Goan thing?

I mean there are probably people reading this who know me, who are like...eww...(feel free to comment by all means!)

Talking with my mum about the whole area is quite funny. I always get struck by how much I don't give her enough credit. Mum's know best, and they know everything. Not quite sure about dads...I'm not sure I could have quite the same conversation about the topic. I don't know till I do it I suppose...

I mean, can you imagine talking about masturbation with your dad?

Onwards and upwards...

J.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It Could Be Sweet

Well it's that kind of dead time on a Sunday evening...we've just had lots of aunties over...nice family atmosphere.

I have to say I was a little nervous about them coming over - just in case they were critical or something...but not at all. It's all making me realise how nice it is to have our own space - to keep clean and manage.

It's also reminded me how hard it can be to get that space in London. Being in a relationship has meant we've got something to create together. I wouldn't have been able to do it all on my own - however much I might have liked to.

I still also have that Sunday evening feeling - a little tense, it's the end of the weekend, it was all over too quickly, and there's lots of things I feel I should have done, and haven't...not massively productive.

It's been a pretty intense week. Parents' Evening for Year 11 was full-on, but funny...at one point two of my boys were feeling very awkward as I told parents about seeing them outside school. Both boys were visibly relieved that I deliberately didn't mention seeing them smoking...
ahh what power I have!

I've also been feeling a bit under the weather...a cold doesn't have to be very strong to affect me - especially being around a lot of germ-carriers...I'm sure teachers' immune systems must get strongly affected - or maybe it was all the shouting I've been doing ;-)

Still - this weird state of mind is helped by my Pilates...it actually does work, but it takes a lot of perseverance, and concentration.

Hmm...ok more marking beckons...

J.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

All I Wanna Do...

I was asked by someone recently to write something on my blog about what I wanted to do...rather than going on about how much I've done, and how much I do.

I was thinking about this, and discovered a little note I'd written on my trusty PDA entitled:
"Things I Wanna Do:"

So here they are:
* have my family be together and happy
* be the Godfather (without the killing and illegal activities)
* transforming goan community-50 goans doing Landmark Forum
* being healthy-living to 100 years of age
* creating a school as a Headmaster
* teach teachers
* lead the Team Leader programme at Landmark Education
* get the Young London Goans' Society (YLGS) in the media
* create a foundation for YLGS to be around forever
* buy a house
* have at least 1 party per year for friends
* write a book
* design a portfolio of tattoos
* build my own website
* write an album

In actually reading this, it's making me think about my future, and what I want to create - and of course - am I working towards it or not.

It's something for me to think about.

J.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

State Of The World Address


Well the hair had to come off at some point - it was getting too big...I'm glad I did it...feels much easier to manage - although I think I'm beginning to lose my hair...

New Year and all that has made me think about a lot of things...like the fact I'm turning 30 this year...

...and I still get told I look about 22...

Looking young is not such a bad thing I guess...it's worse for my sis - who at 27 gets asked for ID before going into a club she's been a regular at for over 5 years...hahahaha...

I've been thinking a lot about music and stuff too...am I getting too old to be dressing how I dress and listen to the music I listen to? I bought two albums over the Christmas period...and they're both excellent...people who know me, know that I love System of a Down, but I've recently discovered a rather excellent young metal band called Trivium.

I'd seen their big song on a few music channels...and it's wormed its way into my head - delightful title too: "Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr"...

All this has made me think...am I getting older, or is it just the music scene in general? I mean I used to go out and have the time of my life at our local 'metal' pub...but it doesn't seem to be as good as it was.

Even the club my sis and I used to go and regularly dance all night - has gone shit (there really is no other way of saying it). Maybe I'm stuck in a 90s timewarp and getting nostalgic over the 'real age of music'...whatever it is - the state of the world address is bad.

I need to go out for a good night of metal...

J.