“I’m a born and raised Londoner, musician and sometime stand up comedian. The east London equivalent of Delboy trotter. Having decided against going to University, life chucked me a curveball and I ended up doing employment tax. I’ve chosen Life of Pi as my book because it’s a story of struggle, and life can be a struggle. But it’s also about resilience, which is a very valuable characteristic and one that Pi certainly had when on the boat with the Tiger. I was the only person of colour in my primary school and being different can be isolating – it can create a barrier, whether real or perceived. But through hard work and sheer determination, I was accepted for being the person I am. At the end of the book, Pi spins a rather different version of the journey and I think the lesson is that by focusing on the obvious answer, you might miss an even greater tale.”
Chapter 1: Being different
I was the only person of colour in my primary school and being different can be isolating – it can create a barrier, whether real or perceived. I felt different and didn’t want to stand out in the crowd. It was challenging but also uplifting – people would stop and stare, but through hard work and sheer determination, I was accepted for being the person I am. Having an environment that is inclusive, where values and cultures are actively celebrated, means I can be happy being in my own skin and not pretend to be something I’m not.
My parents immigrated here from overseas and they worked incredibly hard to provide for my sister and I. They’ve always been there for us and have taught us the values and ethics we’ve needed in life.
'I think not going to university was a blessing in disguise – I went straight to work after college and was able to fast-track my career.'
Chapter 2: I’ll be there for you
I’m an amateur musician – you may see me busking at your local tube station. I also used to be a comedian which will come as no surprise to those who know me! My favourite opening line was “I’d like to start with the chimney jokes – I’ve got a stack of them. The first one is on the house”. And yes, it all went downhill from there. The first time I took to the stage was scary but I’ve got used to it over time. I’ve overcome lots of fears in my life. Busking was really fun – my repertoire was mostly cheesy pop (think acoustic versions of FIVE songs). There were lots of things that made the day go faster – like the older gentleman who stole my mic and sang Mambo No. 5 (classic) and the random requests - from Nirvana to Andrea Bocelli and everything in between. My highlight was getting the whole of Earls Court station to sing along to the theme tune from Friends – and watching as they switched back to looking miserable on their morning commute.
Chapter 3: Life is a canvas
I think not going to university was a blessing in disguise – I went straight to work after college and was able to fast-track my career. I’d like to become a manager someday – so I can prove to myself that I have the required technical and commercial awareness to be a tax advisor.
We spend more time at work than we do in our own homes, so having a positive and friendly work environment works helps us all. Having empathy and being caring are very important to me. Working for an inclusive employer helps me bring my whole self to work. I can be true to myself without fear of how other people will perceive me and in doing so, be more productive in my role.
Life is a canvas, you just need to paint your picture (I’m nothing if not a cliché waiting to happen). I really believe that life is about making the world a better place.