Welcome to my first blog. The purpose of writing this blog, is so I can engage with you all, and hopefully share my personal experiences of running a newspaper, of being a woman, of managing work, with family and of course my current health, which many of you have seen me talk about on my social media sites. I hope that through my experiences of being told that there is no guarantee I will be able to walk ever again, the possibility of losing my voice or the definitive prospect of never being able to do public speaking again, not being a burden on your parents, who should really be enjoying retirement and to maintain a challenging business in the most cut throat industry in the world I can give hope, that despite all odds determination and a healthy mind is all you need to get by and make every failure or challenge into success! I hope you find my first blog and experiences valuable and thank you for all your support in advance.
Blog No.1: Taking on a Challenge
‘Really sorry me and your dad can’t make it, but we are praying for your success. We still wish you were here at home (Bradford), London is a big city, be careful”
‘Yes mum. Don’t worry. I’m having a good time, I have a great team and great friends and I promise I will make you and dad proud’ I responded to an overly worried mother, who despite being away from me for months on end, was worried sick, I’d chosen to move to London to launch the London arm of my business.
For those of you who have grown up in South Asian households, you will identify with me that no matter how old you become, your parents will never detach from you and will always have a say in your life, whether you want it or not until you’re married (but I’ve heard some say, even when their married their Asian parents are still in charge). I love my parents over protectiveness, it’s made me who I am today. No matter how big a business, which celebrity or high profile person I’m dining with or interviewing, to my mum and dad I’m never too old or too successful for a telling off, or some of their worldly advice.
My mum and dad have always been very hard working. They came to the UK in the 60’s (mum) and 70’s (dad) to escape poverty and provide for their family in India.
When I was around 9 years old, my parents decided to go into business together and opened their first little corner shop in the heart of Lidget Green. They worked long hours 7 days a week, 12 hours a day just so they could earn enough for a better standard of living. Was a difficult time for my siblings and I whilst growing up living above my parents workplace – The Corner Shop. Those of us who understood the challenges mucked in and those who didn’t rebelled, irrespective we all wanted the same thing….a better future….and in some shape of form we’ve all had a taste of success, but maintaining that success is a different matter altogether.
I will never forget the day, when I sat my parents down and told them I wanted to move to London.
‘Why do you want to go to London? Can’t you sit still? You’re doing well in Bradford and you have a roof over your head what more do you want?’ questioned my dad, in one of his unreasonable and angry tones.
My parents having been in business for almost 30 years, thought it was a risky and ridiculous idea for a small single female owned publishing house to dare to go to London and launch a newspaper and compete with the high demands of the hugely rich and established media industry in London.
Now in my mid thirties, and having seen business success, my parents wanted me to settle down and have a family. It was a constant pressure on my parents from relatives….business success wasn’t important….but when was I going to tie the knot, before my shelf life expired was more important. They obviously knew what was my happiness more than my parents and I did.
Anyway, here I was, after two rocky years in business, as the publisher of the country’s first free Sunday newspaper and the first free Asian Sunday newspaper, I so badly wanted to prove for myself and for others that an Asian Muslim woman from Bradford can on her own establish a business in London just like our male counterparts. My dream was to be the first publishing house from Bradford, to launch and make it in London on par with all the other leading tabloids.
For those who don’t know the history of Asian Sunday or what the title is about, now is a good time to learn more about the business in the About us page on this website.
Tuesday 29th October 2013, was my big day. I had been in London now for almost two months, planning the biggest and most challenging step of my career – launching Asian Sunday London at the House of Commons, with the presence and honouring of Dynamo, Kimberley Walsh, Bollywood A-Lister Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mp’s, members of Bradford Council and of course my business friends from Bradford and London.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, below is a recording of the day and as you can see, it was a hugely successful launch. However, the same night a small incident changed my entire life. To find out what happened next, the next part of my blog will be uploaded on Sunday at 10pm.
Be sure to visit again.