Sunday, 25 October 2009

Wesley-is-gone music

1) White Flag - Dido
2) Fields of Gold - Sting
3) Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy
4) Longing - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
5) Ab Raat Guzarne Wali Hai - Lata Mangeshkar
6) Saagar Roye - Noor Jehan
7) Claire de Lune
8) Main Jahan Rahoon - Rahat Ali Khan
9) Khwab - Junoon
10) Journey from A to B - Badly Drawn Boy
11) Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry
12) Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
13) Mad World - Donnie Darko
14) Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
15) Ain't No Sunshine - Michael Jackson
16) Tere Bin Nahin Lagda Dil - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
17) Love Is A Losing Game - Amy Winehouse
18) How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Al Green
19) These Foolish Things - Bob Manning
20) Beyond the Sea (La Mer) - Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli
21) Sideways - Santana
22) Samba Pati - Santana
23) Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
24) Paimona - Zeb and Haniya
25) Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
26) Stuck on You - Lionel Richie
27) The Scientist - Coldplay
28) Immortal - Evanescence
29) Tapestry - Carole King
30) O Danny Boy
31) Dream a Little Dream - Mama Cass Elliott

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Today I lived and died

Today I lived and died
Moment to moment
From when I awoke
To when I slept.
Passed through the wreckage
Of the past hour
To hopeless melancholy
Of the next.
Resigned myself
To utter lonesome stirrings
Did not find the humour
Of what they share:
The beauty of tragedy
The delight of comedy.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The power of Zeus and the determination of Hera

Open Source Matters

What's to happen to Wesley's business was the last thing on my mind when I got the news of his death or even as I was making my way out here.

When I did meet his staff, the one thing they expressed with a great amount of zeal was the desire to let the company continue. I was quite happy to hear that at first and kept it at the back of my mind. My initial take on it was to ensure that I set the office up somewhere else as the current premises were too expensive and to hand it over to the main technical guy, Wez's right hand. After I got done with the last rites and sent Wez's ashes back to South Africa, I realised that the only person who could really manage the business was - guess what - me. His technical guy is very good but a bit young and needs supervision and guidance.

After the cremation and handing over of the ashes to a friend to take back to South Africa, I gave myself a weekend to do absolutely nothing. I was being hosted by a family who were very good friends of Wez and I. Their house is in a luxurious compound next to the ocean. I have my own bedroom and bathroom and was able to hide myself from the world. I had a miserable weekend, felt really sorry for myself and excruciatingly missed Wez. I realised that the typical mourning would not do. I would probably fall into a 'depths of despair' kind of depression if I sat doing nothing, crying and looking at pictures, smelling his clothes, going over all the if's and but's, and reading the dorky poems I used to write for him, about him.

Well anyway, so I have sort of quasi decided - more or less decided - fervently decided that running Wez's business is my raison d'etre. It'll give me some structure and purpose.

Now, I've seen Wesley build this business from scratch and was by his side at every step of the way. I have watched him develop business contacts - he believed in doing business after developing cordial and trustworthy relationships. I watched him design his company logo. I watched him set up his office, the office procedures, the tech room. I watched him train young high school graduates with the kind of patience, kindness and dedication that I have never seen before. I was always proud of him and that he was probably doing more for young Liberians than even the international blah blah's were doing. He picked up people from the street and trained them in something as sophisticated as setting up a V-SAT dish. Even his 'small' staff like the security know how to set up a computer. I listened with adoration as he explained his vision and dream for his company, his love of technology, writing code, how to do business and how to deal with problems. His overarching principle was trust and respect. I always appreciated and admired his honesty and dignity. As time went along, the business did flounder and I hoped it would pick up and he would bear the fruits of his hard work and sacrifice. I wanted nothing more than for him to succeed and enjoy his success.

Therefore, it was extremely hard to be separated from Wesley this last year in London. It was difficult to leave his side and go do my thing even though he utterly supported my endeavour. The only reason I was going to do the masters was so I could chase a UN career. I have pangs of guilt and pain that he was alone here and left this world alone. He was the closest person to me in the world. He was utterly part of my consciousness, my being and my dreams. I utterly believed in us, I believed he was the reason, and I found It with him. Freaking hell, we met at an airport! We were so meant to be together. To grow old together until our teeth fell out as he joked. You know that crowning romantic Bollywood Lata and Mukesh song 'Khabhi Khabhi' - it it says that I believe that you were made for me, that you were called to earth just for me. When you believe you were made for each other and your other half dies, it really fucks you up.

And I am sorry he died like this, that I was not here and he is gone from me. It hurts in so many ways and degrees I cannot explain it even to myself.

So grief aside, the running of the business has seemingly fallen into my lap and I feel happy and thrilled with the idea that I can keep his business and legacy alive. In fact, right from the beginning I assured clients that it was going to be 'business as usual' and we would continue to provide the low-cost, high quality services as before. I shifted offices in my usual organised, methodological manner. After my weekend of feeling sorry for myself, I put my mind to the business. I started chasing new business, seeking contacts, bugging people, getting behind the staff and so on.

I still do not have electricity in the office but found a very creative solution to get us powered until we are connected with LEC (Liberia Electricity Corporation). We ran a cable from our neighbour's kitchen and set up NLTC temporarily in the middle of the 'yard' with the sun beating on our heads. I am getting wireless internet from one of our neighbours. They're a big company here so they were happy to help me out. Now, I have run a cable from another neighbour's and have set up my office - good thing we have so many extensions. And, I am impressed with my guys, they really know their stuff. Wesley taught them well. I swear, when I was set up in my office, with the fan blowing in my face, my laptop connect to the WWW, my guys able to access the server and pumping out proposals and invoices, I felt as powerful as Zeus! I felt on top of the world!

It's been two or three weeks since I have really started running the business. I have about half a dozen new clients - maybe even more - and much more in the pipeline. The staff is incredibly loyal, very well trained and top of their stuff. They are freaking IT professionals, man. I am so proud of them and whatever Wesley achieved until now. And, it seems I have a knack for this. I totally love doing this.

I love overcoming the challenges, the sticky situations, difficult people, finding solutions every day. Some days are tougher than others but it's all part of the game. I feel alive, resourceful, motivated, driven and extremely passionate. I love feeling extremely exhausted at the end of the day and going to la la land as soon as my head hits the pillow. I do not have to think about my pain and grief and just focus on the future.

I feel like I am in his shoes and ever so close to him. It is so therapeutic. I love being close to his staff which are now my staff, my team, my people. Some of them have even picked up his habits and mannerisms, it's so cute. His main guy Linga has nearly picked up all the mannerisms. The way he uses his hands to explain something, his way of joking and teasing other colleagues and making people comfortable around him.

There are some people here who have been with us since 2003/2004! Can you imagine. The security still remember the time I used to tell them about my boyfriend whom I met in Jordan/Iraq. These security guards are now are company security.

I love the idea of this company and where it could go. If I can keep it alive and help it to survive and even thrive, it'll be something, eh?

This is my path to solace and peace and finding myself again. *

* Note on 'myself' - I am not sure whether I'll find the old myself again or another one is going to replace the old one. I changed a lot after the death of my best friend and surely, I will change after Wesley. Jodie Foster's character in "The Brave One" becomes a stranger after her fiance is murdered brutally. She finds a stranger within herself. I don't find a stranger within myself but I know I have changed. And I'll continue to see the changes within myself.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lonely thoughts of despair and sorrow

There is a world of difference between how I imagine the world 'should' behave and how they actually behave. Despite the fact that I try to hold myself up to high standards of conduct or at least how I think should behave and present myself, I find that the 'world' does not see it so.

I find it very amusing that in such a traumatic time, people are so determined to dish out extremely detailed advice to me. Some do not even bother to ask me what I would like to do.

At the end of it, I know I have to find a path which will eventually lead me to some kind of peace and solace. I do not even know what this path will be but I have to find this path. I have friends to support me but as I used to say to myself before, friends are companions on paths we walk alone. I always had a very morose view of things but guess what, life has certainly showed me the awful, ugly and horrible more than once now. I have been shown how fragile and dangerous life actually is. I feel like I have been thrown into a dark pit of despair once again.

There is nothing nothing beautiful about this. I missed him for a year, I had just about fallen part, unravelled at being alone and away from Wesley. I missed him every day, every night. I was so happy with him. We struggled to be together. We moved three continents to be together. Despite all the hardships we faced, we were happy together and knew each other and were natural together. And now he's gone. From me forever. I shall never hold him or be in those arms which I longed for this whole year away from him. He was taken so cruelly from me. I came back to an empty Liberia, a dark Monrovia without him. That night I arrived in Monrovia, I arrived in a dark RIA, heart broken that Wesley would not be outside the gate waiting for me as usual.

I was sitting by the beach the other day and thought to myself that, yes, the ocean is immense enough to hold my grief and all the tears that I still have not cried yet. The next evening, it was a darker and stormer sea which felt like the darkness, the jungle that swallowed up Wesley. It menacingly thrashed on the shore and I felt scared and lost.

My heart still does not know what has really happened. I do not know what life is trying to tell me.

Wez would always encourage me, give it to me straight and want me to do the right thing. He really taught me how to live. I also know that one's life is one's own. I am going to continue to try to do the right thing but also live for myself.

I hope to find this path and I am sure it will reveal itself to me soon.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Wesley is dead

In a few days it'll be a month since Wesley died. He was brutally killed in Monrovia on 6 September.

I am writing these words from Monrovia. In one day, my life completely changed.

I do not even have words to describe or relate what actually happened and, what it signifies for me. I go around saying, my worst fears came true. I should have never gone to London, the killer city where the last time I was at university my best friend died. I feel like I have lost everything. I have lost the love of my life, the joy of my life. I feel like half of me is gone. I feel like saying life really does stink, it's random and totally unfair. It reaffirms everything I went through emotionally, philosophically, religiously the last time I lost someone so tragically. I feel like shouting obscenities at this non-existent Being. And boy, the religious platitudes and patronising get on my nerves. I know people mean well and this is the only way people deal with grief and loss. This is the contextual framework to find Meaning. Just give me a religion which says, 'life stinks, life is full of suffering, and we all suffer and die.' But please don't tell me it is for the best or it was his time or it's part of God's plan. I mean, that just makes me wish I could have died too or my plane crashed. And 'life goes on.' Of course it goes on. I haven't killed myself yet so yes, it does go on. I'll be fine, probably even start to thrive at some point but I'll never understand or accept it. So what's the quality of that life? What's the point of fucking me over like that? What's the point of driving me over the edge? Or anyone else who would take it so personally as I would. I don't have and will never have cosmic greatness to accept and make sense of it. I never did with my friend and never will with this. I will never yield to an entity which expects me to accept this, not question it and continue to worship His Holy Ass and His Ways. Just please dish me out a nihilistic faith. Please keep ga ga to yourself.

I am still in shock, in a kind of numbness and emptiness that has sucked out any soul or spirit I may have.

There is something so final about death. On top of it, I have to deal with the idea that my Wesley Jaan, whom I loved so madly and utterly, from the top of his head to his toes, from his delicious dark complexity to his most overwhelming sweetness and gentleness, was taken so violently from me. I go mad thinking about his last moments. I kill myself thinking about it. That they killed him so mercilessly and that he left this life like that. That he was fighting for his life.

I know he's gone. He's nowhere to be seen. I even went to see his body. I've seen his body been preserved and dressed up for a chapel service. I have seen people weep at his cremation. I have been with the pandit to collect the ashes. But I feel so numb. I want to cry and I can't cry. I want him to come through the door. I want him in the lonely hours at night and especially when I wake up. I wake up and know instantly - it's the first thought that comes into my head - it's a morning, a day, a life without Wesley.