Ramzan Hakamali’s contributions to Woking Writers Circle meetings are often thoughtful, and funny, too. This piece, titled How Can I live With This?, in response to a recent homework topic, is a typical example of Ramzan’s style:


“Oi mate, the twin towers have collapsed.”  This was a statement from a skeleton lookalike, Trevor, our security guard.  You see he was trying to make himself useful, from a stressful life of sitting around on his backside all bloody day.

The picture in my mind never got the image as to what he was on about until I got home that awful day and switched on the television.  I watched in total horror and straight away switched off the damn thing and staggered out of the house.  I had done the same by going for a walk when I had found out about the Dunblane massacre, to absorb the devastating news.  Getting back home after the walk hadn’t changed what I had witnessed.  I wanted my mind to work out that what had happened was a reality.

Many years ago when some of you were not born I was listening to lovely Indian songs from the Voice of Kenya radio when the service was rudely interrupted by the announcer who said that John F Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.  I was a child in Africa and it still had an impact on me for something that happened thousands of miles away.

Another painful event was when a prominent Kenyan minister, Tom Mboya  was gunned down and the emotions were loudly vented out at the funeral services which were broadcast live on the radio. The same route of death was followed by Martin Luther King in Memphis in April 1968.  His funeral was attended by Bobby Kennedy who was himself gunned down in June the same year.

When my old man died, I knew then that there was no escaping the impact death has had on me.  I had to find a solution to soften it. I reminded myself that I could not carry on living like this, as I often wonder why these incidents are of any concern to me.  I blame the media – or can I actually blame them for highlighting these awful unhappy events?

So I decided to go into seclusion and to hell with what I heard or saw.  Don’t forget I am getting into old age and on the home run.  For now there is no escaping isolation as this comes with the package.  A hint from a colleague was that living a secluded existence only makes one more concerned about your own selfish wellbeing and this can lead to a slow process into oblivion.

The only option left was now to change the trend and work my way back into a livelier existence and not give in to heartaching news.  I decided in my mature wisdom to join and adhere to a group or a society.  Thank God I belong to a community where one of the characteristics is to aim to get the best in a worldly sense and pursue a spiritual or inner satisfaction.  A good balance is vital in our lives, or so I have been told, as obsession in either of them can lead to unhappiness – and don’t we all know that so well.

When Margaret Thatcher, our good lady PM, did the opening ceremony for the Ismaili centre in London, she quoted a famous Islamic poet Allama Iqbal: “For the individual to belong to a society is a blessing.  It is in the community that his work is perfected.”  I may for my part add that humour has played a major role in my life – and laughter, I have just read, is jogging from the inside.