Symrin and Martin Wainright


I almost wrote "it's strange the way things happen", but then decided that I'm not that awful a writer yet.

I had actually just recieved an e-mail from my hosting provider, telling me I had a vulnerability in my forum software (phpBB) that made them want to bale hay, but within minutes they've fixed it so ta-da.

What that led to though, was me actually going to my forum, something I haven't done for a bit, and find out people had actually posted on there. Now I suppose they posted while I was being lazy and holidaying in sunny Boston the last week, but no I probably wouldn't have known anyway.

The first is rather inconsequential, some girl/woman asking for free homework advice on the "meaning" of the flitcraft parable. Not that I'd mind talking to her about it, but she'd have to make a bit more of an effort - an e-mail about what she's got so far and a phone number/IM address would be sufficient. As will become more important later, my e-mail address, which I should make more prominent on my blog, can be found on the main page,

I also stumbled upon someone posting in my guest book, you can read it here. Now this is remarkable in and of itself, since he's the first person ever to do so ever. It also probably betrays his age/technical knowledge, which I'm not making note of to scoff or belittle, but it tells me any number of things. First that he might not have spent that much time on this, and being a news person I suppose that fits in with some idea I might have of them. Secondly that he's from the Guardian, and despite(?) what I might otherwise say about it, it is also another one of those that talks about blogs a lot, though since they give prizes for them, they can't be all that silly about it. But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that google ranks me pretty high in a search for Symrin.

This is what he wrote, which when I read it struck me with a kind of unexpected surprise (sic); and the instance of it was suddenly rather moving.

"Hi there - I don't know if this is the way to send a message - excuse ignorance - but I chanced through Google on a reference to the Symrin takeaway in York in a message on your site from 'subtitles'. This described Naseem Majothi the powerhouse behind the takeaway - though not by name. I thought Subtitles might be interested to know that Naseem is indeed a marvellous person from a marvellous family. Her father Yusuf has just died and I went with my family to a very moving ceremony of tributes to him at Huntington school in York on Sunday - all sorts of people from his brothers to a police inspector and neighbours talking about him. My connection with the family is that my parents took them in when they were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972 - with just £55 having had their thriving business taken from them without compensation. The spirit they showed in rebuilding their lives is truly admirable and U hope a source of hope and encouragement to others. They also make extremely good food - if Subtitles doesn't already know, they may be interested to hear that a proper restaurant next to the Symrin is under construction. Anyway, hope that's interesting. It's a small world thanks to the Net. All best Martin Wainwright (Northern editor, The Guardian)"

The occurance of events just seems all kinds of boggly. As Mal would say in reaction to a naked woman in a freezer-box: "huh." The blog entry he found was this one.

Well, Martin, my name is Louis Khor, I was a student at the University of York from 2000 to 2003. I started ordering Symrin because I'd heard great word of mouth about it from a friend I no longer talk to whose girlfriend at the time was a muslim and he'd joined the muslim society and heard about this place and told me (amongst others). Coming from Singapore we were all used to a much different tenor of "curry", I would assume south rather than north indian. But intitially the reputation was of big portions and the hottest curry we'd ever tasted anywhere. Initially my house mate would order and he would be know as Mr. Ong, but eventually when i started calling more, she would start to think he was me, Mr. Louis, and that's when he ceded ordering duties to me, because he suspected she was nicer to me. Knowing that Uni fees aren't what they are for foreign students, I'm convinced that if she had children, that I'd helped to put at least one of them through Uni, with the amount and freqency I ordered, or as it might turn out, they might think of naming a table in their new restaurant in my honor :).

She really was unfailingly friendly, though there were times when you could tell that she was no end of busy. After a while, I abdicated my choice of curry to her, since I had tried too many things there for me to trust my notion of novelty. She would sometimes include free drinks, and her free portions of sweet rice got me hooked on to that in turn.

On certain days, if I'm not wrong, it would be her father, the one mentioned above, who would deliver the curry. He was always similarly affable, and the recurrance of his deliveries was uneventful in as much as he wasn't a dolt and didn't get lost/late. It's unfortunate that the memory I have of him is not the most flattering one, the memory of young people thinking old people simply a bit barmy. He had once offered me and my kitchen of housemates the oppurtunity to buy the lovely chicken and spices and stuff that they bought wholesale, and we all smiled indulgently and sort of rolled our eyes. When I tried once ordering curry power, it never appeared, so...

As for her, I only met her, and saw her holding court, that once, and much of that recollection still seems pretty accurate. What I do remember is her being rather more forceful to her local staff, in the way only immigrant figures ordering about brits can be - reminds me of the chinese supermarket in leeds. Though now I think of it, her register did significantly alter even when she shifted from clients to her kitchen staff. She offered us free drinks and chastise me for getting the rather expensive Rani, and for later leaving the cans lying about. I'm so definitely going back there when next we go over to the UK. I hope the restaurant is up by then. Unfortunately I can't even seem to remember the number of the place, much less the address. I'm sure directory inquiries will have it somewhere.

I had to steel myself with a bottle of stout to write this. There's just been too much pre and post holiday trauma with money pissed away for me to be too eager to do too much. I hope my RMA goes well. I suppose there's really no need for martin to contact me again, and he's probably as elusive to contact as he found me to be, so whatever, but my e-mail address, as referenced above, can be found here.

Edit: Michel helpfully pointed this link out to me, the mention is right at the bottom (Opera's search function would be particularly useful). Here's the details of Symrin anyway for those looking for it:

4 Saxon Place, York YO3 7UE
Tel: 01904 426293

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This page contains a single entry by subtitles published on December 20, 2004 6:20 PM.

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