My wife’s not a Shah

Written by Suraj Shah.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” – Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

The name’s Shah, Suraj Shah. That’s what I’ve been born with, that’s what I’m still known as.

When I got married, I stayed as Suraj Shah. Naturally. The guy doesn’t change his last name for marriage, the girl does, right?

When I met my wife, she was called Heena Modi. Since getting married to me, she’s still known as Heena Modi. She refused to change it. I refused to force her.

It’s her identity. It’s what people in the community know her as. There are plenty of Heena Shah’s out there. There’s only one Heena Modi – to my knowledge. Makes it easy to identify the right wife!

What’s good about my wife is that she can comfortably go around being known as Heena Modi, but if anyone welcomes her as Mrs Shah or introduces us as Mr and Mrs Shah, she doesn’t make a big deal of it.

But when we’re out and about, and she introduces herself first, and then someone calls me Mr Modi, then impulsively I correct them by saying “It’s Mr Shah, actually”.

Why the need to correct?

What makes Heena so ok with being called Mrs Shah, but makes me so uncomfortable being called something other than Mr Shah? Why am I so precious about this name?

It’s my label, my identity, how people know me, the picture people paint of me when they hear the name. So I think.

Is the image of me as rosy as I think it is? Doubt it. I have my flaws – many of them – trying to keep them hidden so that my ‘image’ is not tarnished. But I bet people can see through that. I bet the people around me know what I’m really like – who I am beneath the layers of self-preservation.

Uncovering the layers to reveal the true self

Over the years, these layers have built up, one on top of the other, masking my real self, over and over again. These layers have hardened and protected me from the realities of the world – or so I thought.

What they’ve really done is that they have hidden away who I really am, and who I could be. It’s time to lose the layers, stop hiding, and face up to my true self.

Perhaps when I stop hiding, it’s won’t really matter whether I’m called Mr Shah, or something else.

Tame the rioter within

Written by Suraj Shah.

I believe London is ready to tame the rioter within.

London’s blazin’, London’s streets gone crazy,
There’s only madness and mayhem about.
Why do these fierce Londoners riot and loot,
What makes them scream and shout?

It turns out that London merely reflects you and I,
We must go deep within to discover the true cause.
When we find the reason that London’s been looted,
Bet you half-a-penny it’ll be worth a grand applause.

What is it that we’re looking for, in our day to day,
What is it that we’re striving for and why?
It’s time now for that moment of truth to reveal itself,
Now ask yourself: “Are we living a smacking big lie?”

Put yourself for a moment in the rioter’s shoes,
Why did they trash, smash, loot and steal?
Damaging and claiming what was not theirs,
Thinking that this will bring them to an even keel.

What was the cause of their anger, the root of their greed,
Rising of their ego, and dodging what is true?
Had they simply forgotten who they are at their core?
Perhaps they are not so different from me and you.

You see, we all have a rioter, buried deep inside,
Bringing about mass mayhem yet trying to hide,
Causing so much friction in our day to day lives,
Many ups and downs, like the rise and fall of the tide.

Not content with what we have, so we go out to get more,
Things don’t go our way, so we shout and we cause hurt,
Desperately wanting to be seen, screaming out “I am here!”,
Trying to dodge the truth, so we cover each other with dirt.

It’s time to claim back the power from the rioter within,
Look directly in the eye and say “I ain’t doin’ this no more.”
Living the simple path of friendship, joy, care and calm,
From this moment forward I’m only working from my core.

Can we do it, I ask, can we transform our foundation?
Can we be better, act better and shed our old skin?
I know we can be calmer, certainly have more care,
I believe London is ready to tame the rioter within.

Bucket list of a 15 year old

Post written by Suraj Shah.

Alice is a 15 year old with terminal cancer.

On her blog titled Alice’s Bucket List, she writes: “I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 4 years and now I know that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one 🙁 I’m hoping to write in here as much as I can and I’m also going to show my bucket list which I’m trying to get done before I have to go. Hopefully, I’ll update as I tick each one.”

Alice has very much faced the fact that she may not be around for much longer. Her deteriorating health has already restricted her doing so much, but that still doesn’t stop her from writing out a list of all things she wants to do before she goes.

Such a brave young woman to recognise where she is at, what is likely to come, and what to do about it. Do take a look at Alice’s Bucket List, and see if there is something there that you could help cross off her list.

Whilst you’re there, consider writing your own list. What’s most important for you in your life? Where do you want to go? Why? Who do you want to meet? Why? What do you want to do? Why? Be sure to get to the why. Don’t miss out on the why. Get to the heart of why you want to do what is on your list. Align yourself with the core reason.

If you like, share some items from your list, and your ‘why’ in the comments below.

(Photo courtesy of Alice Pyne)