My father (May Allah have mercy on him) taught me one simple rule in life, the harder you try the luckier you get!

I was lucky, I had a great start to my career, I rose through the ranks in every company I joined, I was respected, I gave respect and I delivered beyond expectations – looking back it was crazy that in literally every company and I never experienced any form of racism, well not to my face that is.

But then it all changed. After being approached by a head-hunter I soon found myself being interviewed in a hotel reception, a motorway service station and even in restaurant over dinner, all because the company wanted to keep their intent to hire me secret until they had struck a deal.

After three interviews with three members of their board of directors I was unanimously put forward for the position, my salary, company car, benefits, title all agreed but there was one last hurdle, the face to face with the CEO and majority owner of the company.

The company was based miles from my hood, it took over 4 hours to get to their office, all the way there I sang along to my favorite tunes, stopped off for a nice ploughman lunch and arrived 30 minutes early so I could compose myself and, brush my hair (yes I had hair).

As I was ushered into the boardroom, I recall thinking to myself, wow everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Sitting quietly, waiting for the CEO, sipping water and not a flinch of anticipation, not a flutter or nerves, I had this, this was my big break!

In he walked, a tall older man, grey hair, immaculately dressed, he looked every part the man I would one day aspire to be. But in a fraction of a second everything changed, he took one look at me, said “no, no, this is not right” and walked straight out leaving me sitting their bewildered and confused. A few minutes later his secretary walked in and apologized, asked me to leave and told me the agency would be in touch.

No sooner than I got in the car my car phone rang (yeah, we had phones in the car with an awesome antenna on the rear windscreen), it was a somewhat angry head-hunter. I could not understand him at first, he was angry, swearing, rambling on until he took a deep breath and told me that the CEO is a racist pig and did not realise I was not white! He didn’t want to talk to me, and he certainly did not want me on his management team.

The drive back felt like it took several days not a few hours, in fact I do not recall much about the drive, I do however recall sitting at my dining table telling my family that the interview went well but I turned it down making an excuse that the office was too far and I did not think relocating was the right thing to do.

That day did not change my life, nor did it adversely affect me, it did not make m a stronger person nor did it deter nor motivate me, it just disappointed me.

A month later I was promoted at my existing company, and from that day I just kept trying harder and got a little luckier.

The last few months have been an eye opener for us all, no one expected what was about to hit us in March and even when it did not many of us took it seriously.

Then came the lockdown, a time when most of us had to adapt to a new way of life, of socializing, of engaging with others and well, with just about everything we did.

Now months on, life starting to get back to the new normal and many of us took the lockdown period to re-evaluate various parts of our life from our eating habits, spending, education, personal relationships and friendships.

If you did not take the last few months as an opportunity to rewind and analysis the friendships and relationships you have had a little niggling feeling about, then you wasted valuable time, do that evaluation now before it’s too late.

Let’s face it, not everyone is who they portray themselves to be, some are just shitbags with fake angel wings!

Think about those niggling little feelings you have had about someone, rewind and replay incidents involving them, things they may have said or done, expressions, messages, actions and you may suddenly realise that some of the people you thought were close to you are actually bad for you!

The simple fact is that some people who walk around on a fluffy cloud and portray themselves to be sweeter than sweet are manipulating liars. Many of those who spout fake positivity are in many cases the negative force in your life, and maybe the time has come to cut those poisonous roots before they tangle and throttle your happiness.

If nasty people smelt of shit, we would all avoid them, but sadly some wear nice clothes, have nice hair and portray a life that disguises their true bitterness. If you scratch at their surface their true odor escapes and if you take time to take a deep breath you will realize it is a smell you do not want near you again.

There is an old saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

If 2020 has taught me anything it has been to keep my friends close and tell my enemies to fuck right off!

Primary school in the UK had many challenges, even at a young tender age we would find ourselves pushed to be the best, and at my school being the best meant being "removed" from all the other kids and put into a special class.

Unbeknown to us we were being watched from about 8 years old, the way we worked, our interaction skills, awareness and all-round characters, all this leading to when we would all have to sit an end of year test before moving into the final year of primary school. The test itself was a breeze, but not for everyone! Test result in.. 12 names called out, me included, we have been selected, we are now “removed”.

“Remove” was a class specially for a small set of children and headed by one teacher, Mr Clarke, who’s sole responsibility was to prepare the 12 for the 11 Plus exam and get every one of the 12 into Grammar school. Mr Clarke had a unique educational style, the day would start with a defined set of tasks listed on the blackboard, no time limit but one goal, finish the tasks and finish them to the highest possible standards.

These tasks included everything from Maths to Geography, Literature and Grammar. Once done we could do what we wanted, we could go out and play, sit in and work, it didn’t matter because we had completed our tasks for the day.

Before we knew it, the year had passed, the 12 had become close friends, in fact one of the 12 was my first ever girlfriend. There we are, it's 11 Plus exam day, the 12 at the front of school hall, the rest of the year behind us. The instructions where clear, turn the papers over and answer as many questions we can within the allotted time, once complete you can get up and quietly leave.

You could sense the tension in the room, in fact you could smell the fear, well to be precise the fear Chris felt because we crapped his pants and had to be taken out of the exam hall before he gassed us all!

The bell rang, papers turned, silence fell, and every second felt like an hour, but in unison 12 removed kids all finished within seconds of each other, all 12 looked at each other and all 12 quietly walked out of the exam hall congratulating each other leaving the rest to complete the exam in the remaining 40 minutes they had.

Two weeks later we got the results, 12 had passed and made it into the local Grammar schools, the rest all into the comprehensives.

This is how the world works, it happened 40 years ago and is still happening today, our children are being identified and selected, and we are playing along, we are strengthening the elitism model and most parents are proud of it. Every child has talent, every child has an ability to be outstanding in their field, but not every child gets removed!