Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Weather

"I am covered with fine gold," said the Prince, "you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy."- The Happy Prince, Oscar Wilde
The other day I was sharing my experiences from my visits to West Texas last year with a co-worker. He went silent when I mentioned I was probably the only one there at that time who was not white. He seemed to have gotten uncomfortable when I mentioned a race. I ignored that discomfort on his face and continued my thoughts on the humongous volume of oil drilling going on there. We had a visitor who works outdoors who was back from Midland, a city in West Texas, recently. He amused us with the heavy prices he had to pay some for cheap motel rooms. The area gets large number of visitors dealing with the money rich oil industry.

A few weeks back I was at a mall with this co-worker who wanted to gift jewelry to his wife but didn't want her to know about the purchase. In his family she was the one checking bank statements often for discrepancies and he knew that to keep it a secret he would have to find some other way. He asked me to be his accomplice. I paid for the gift using my card and he signed me a check. His wife could have spotted a card purchase but a written check puts only some numbers on the statement. This was also my chance to make a better friend out of my co-worker who also happens to be my lead. I miss my friends from the engineering days.

Years back I played a lot of cricket outside my grandmother's house and we had a neighbor who seemed to have trouble with the noise we made. This was often until one day a friend of mine yelled back at him after he tried to force us stop playing. We were all neighbors but that gentleman didn't put up a fight and never did he stop us from playing again. I met him last November when he was an invitee to my wedding party. He got on to the stage with several other people, shook hands and hugged me, turned to somebody and asked who the groom was.

I had a clear idea of how I wanted my wedding to be and I succeeded in having my parents to do it for me. There were many who commented negatively nevertheless I could stand up to my preferences and my parents were listening. That neighbor didn't recognize me on the stage probably because the last time he had seen me it was around four years back or perhaps I was just too trivial for him - just one of those annoying kids playing outside his house. The reason he didn't recognize the groom was because I was dressed up the way everybody was dressed up - no headgear and no flowers.

When I was heading back to the US in 2010 I was coming back to finish my Masters. Last November it looked very unconvincing to me. I was leaving my parents, brother and wife behind with no necessary purpose which could have not been fulfilled back in Hyderabad. That terminal gate at the Mumbai airport comes to my mind often where I sat waiting for the next flight and made a decision. I had a strong urge to take a flight back to Hyderabad. InshAllah my wife will be here with me in a few days; not everybody can be on my side all the time. It was an intriguing urge.

Monday, July 4, 2011

For The Sake Of Allah

He who hunts for flowers will finds flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.
- Henry Ward Beecher
I had always wondered how West Texas was. When I went to Midland few weeks back little did I expect thousands of windmills on my way. The city was a little dusty with hot air blowing most of the time. The night was bright. When I looked out I thought the sky was lit up by the lights of those numerous oil drills but it was the moon instead. The sky looked boundless and the land flat in all directions. The horizon looked equidistant every angle I looked toward. West Texas is only oil and desert. It's not the desert with sand and sand dunes. It's just a dry and flat plain with very little forest. The ground is sandy but there are shrubs and grass almost everywhere. The grass is mostly brown.

I was there with a co-worker to work on three sites. Little did we expect one of them to have some equipment outside the shelter. It was a tough job which had to be done. There were more teams coming in when we were leaving. Looking at the oil industry there, I would never believe anybody who says we are going to burn up all the oil in coming few years. They are still drilling. The liquid never stops flowing out. There are trains carrying drilling machinery, pipes, tankers and chemicals. There are junkyards for the old equipment involved in oil mining. The city is booming. And they need better communication networks.

I have had a lot of time off since I got back from Midland. A part of it went in getting some parts in my car replaced. Then there was my cousin's wedding with four dinners and two lunches to attend. I skipped one of these. But I had fun. Before the celebrations started I never tried to imagine how it was going to be. I was excited about the people I was going to meet again. And alhamdulillah I enjoyed. The occasion even turned out to make me shave my already thick beard. I had people who started thinking I was going to keep it. I was more worried about how I was feeling.

Few Fridays back I realized a change in the way I look at people with darker skin. Though I always had it in my heart I was ashamed to discuss about how I had more inclination towards lighter skin. That Friday, in the mosque, I looked at a kid who was probably eight years old and smiled at his innocence. It reminded me of my days in West Dallas with close interactions with a less fortunate African American community. Kids of even the worst men and women brought a smile on my face. I would always think how difficult Allah has made the test for them and how much blessed I am. That Friday I realized I don't think about color anymore. I realized I had stopped bothering about my skin tan. Somehow I didn't have any guilt for the bias I had been carrying. Probably because my right priorities and focus corrected a long time flaw and I had hope that Allah would forgive me.

I feel like I have been holding back my urge to write every time I get it. From somewhere an understanding had set into me making me feel immature to get excited about anything or even get motivated by something. I am absolutely not in agreement with this thought even after it has gripped me so well. It's not that I am scared to stand by my opinions. I have been building a tendency to shy away from them. Perhaps getting a balance is the right way to approach. Maturity lies in deciding when to let it happen and when to hold it back. It will take time. I will learn and someday it would appear like a thing I have learned. It would be inherent to me as if it has always been a part of me and occasionally putting me to shame when I think of some naive moments from the past.

Apart from helping me stay connected with my contacts, Facebook has started giving me insights on the psychology we carry. The other day I posted a picture of a mule and thought how I ended up putting up a picture of an animal. I let it be there because I stopped thinking about it. I was surprised to see some of my friends get interested in it. I think I have posted more interesting things in the past that I thought should have attracted more attention and nobody even bothered to ask. In past I have uploaded many pictures of me but the one that grabbed most curiosity was the one in which I had a beard. It looked obvious yet surprised me. Honestly, I think there were pictures I was looking better in and this one should have been snubbed at.

My news feed entertains me the most. I have teenagers, people of my age, people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s in my friends' list. As for teenagers I can imagine how I was when I went through what they are learning now and I totally agree with even the most irrational thing they put up. It's the people of my age that amuse me. Perhaps if I had Facebook five to eight years back I would have exactly been like the teenagers I see now. But these few guys of my age group surprise me with their reaction to their lives. I wouldn't comment much because there is always a possibility that I don't get everything right. But as a fact that I won't be reluctant in sharing, I see some people of my age and some teenagers showing similar levels of emotions. I can't help but assume.

When I had a status message about a fake wedding in Great Britain I could see the reactions of some friends who made it clear how much they are into such hypes. I see people commenting about Wimbledon - a tournament of a game they had never played in their lives. Yes, there is nothing wrong it enjoying that game but there is no point in telling everybody who won it and add emotions to it. I have friends who post stuff related to Islam and have pictures of them going to dance parties. They post verses of the Holy Quran and have big lists in their profile's music section. Then there are some who see nothing in life but what they have gained from their religious meetings. Allah knows the right way. I am comparing myself to others and checking for changes.

I recently got rid of a guy who cheated me, used me and never acknowledged my friendship towards him. He was my roommate for last few months after he had started staying with me saying he would leave in a month. He lied to me about many things, was selfish, cheated me, used me and left. I was happy he found a full-time job. There is no way that he can come back now. I kept patience all the time. My other roommate kept patience. I always tell myself that everything I did for him was for Allah's sake. I hold nothing against him now. I just want to get used to not talking about him. I am living with a friend now who might leave soon too. I have no idea what I am going to do after that about this apartment. I like this place - it looks safe, it's new, clean and has a view of a creek through the living room that opens into a patio.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A dream deferred is a dream denied.
- Langston Hughes
The birds in the backyard kept punching their beaks on the feed all through the afternoon. I was glad I could get a glimpse of a humming bird that came for the nectar in the inverted glass bottle. This bottle's cap spreads into four openings each of them resembling a flower. The sweet liquid drips into the center of these red flowers attracting the humming birds. I could only see the bird fly away. It was fast. The feed for other birds is in a big box that's inverted too making the it spread onto a small tray under it's opening. It's designed for sparrows and the grains that fell from the tray were picked by some bigger birds. I don't remember their names now.

I was in Austin for two days with the best thing being the cricket we played in a tennis court. That was probably after more than three years I played this game and it left me tired and half my body's muscles aching. This even prevented us going out for fishing the next morning. The birds definitely kept me entertained for a while. A friend whose brother lives in north of Austin was with me. I could take him there from Dallas in less than three hours even after an ice cream break at Braum's. On our way back I was sleepy and had to take a nap. So, it took us longer to get back. The days are longer now and the sun seems to be getting real hot.

The humidity increases making it more difficult to even stand outside. The temperature has not yet crossed 100 degrees F and it's going to be terrible once that happens. I keep asking my parents about the weather in Hyderabad. Even my phone has Hyderabad's weather notification setup. I know it's barely going to effect me, it feels good to know how it is back home. Alhamdulillah machines here keep things manageable which otherwise would have made life probably impossible. I love it when I can stay inside the blanket even in summers. I wrote the first two paragraphs in the afternoon and left it open. I had a heavy dinner a while ago and topped it with a mango. It makes me sleepy now. It feels like my eye lids are going to roll down by themselves.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.
- Voltaire
Using my new table and chair reminds me of my time in front of the computer back in India. Only that the table back there was too big and the chair just plastic. I got these new ones from Ikea back in March for under $150 but spent four hours assembling them and a shoe-rack. I took pictures of it out of the pride and sense of accomplishment I had after making many pieces one. I went to Ikea just to get a shoe-rack but a table that found resting my hand on it made me feel that it was made for me. It had two drawers and a shelf that made me imagine my stuff fitting in them. I just had to spent some time looking for a matching chair.

After some very busy weeks of work I have been given an unusual rest. I am probably too new to even call it unusual but I was expecting a lot of work coming up that would have me visiting cities east and south of Dallas. I spent a few days doing that as well but right now it's nothing much but waste of time. It's been nice until now helping me learn new work almost every day. I have worked with people from various countries including the US but India. It's no surprise why most of us Indians don't like jobs like these - we cannot sacrifice our mornings and evenings easily, we are afraid of places with fewer or no people around and we think working in the field hurts our ego. Alhamdulillah I came over all this - money has that effect.

I had been thinking of updating this blog for a few days nearly everyday but couldn't even manage to get to think of writing - updating was the only thing in my mind. I always have things to say but not the willingness to say it. Meeting new people, making new friends and learning newer ways can always have unexpected reactions from those who like you the way you have been for years. I am not saying I have adopted newer ways that I am aware of. Or perhaps I am really not aware of the newness - I have many new perspectives though. Though I am fond of sharing my opinions often, I am going to hold back today.

I met a distant relative today who also is now a close friend of mine. We had some hookah and later went to play golf. Few months back we both were offered work inside Ericsson and he went ahead. I asked if wearing formal clothing to work everyday bothers him. To my surprise he replied in negative - not because he has made himself comfortable with them, but because he doesn't bother with the dress code Ericsson has set for it's employees. He told me about his boss and a few more people who don't care about the guideline. He added saying only desi people are always formally dressed. My friend is of Indian origin but he was born here. This makes me realize I haven't worn anything formal in last two months; I guess my dress socks is the only thing.

My voice sounds like my father's and it really makes me feel good about it. Like everybody, I think my voice is funny whenever somebody records it and plays it to me. It's my face that puts me to silence. I don't have a problem with it; I am very happy with how Allah has made me; I have lived with it for over 24 years and have come to love it; I would not take anything else in return. I resemble my mother. My mother resembles my grandfather. Even my mother's brother resembles my grandfather. Every time I shave my beard and look in the mirror I see my maternal grandfather. He left us forever four years ago.

That night his friend was there to give visit when he came to know about the death. I moved the white cloth away from my grandfather's face. He stood there staring at his friend for a few minutes with tears in his eyes and he left. When I was pulling back the cloth it touched my grandfather's beard making a soft rubbing sound. It still rings in my ears. My skin on my face is like his. Probably even my color is like his. My face is like his. I love him. I miss him. It makes it worse for me every time I see him in the mirror. It's not that I want anything to change. I am even used to it now. It just gets uncomfortable.

I am glad I resemble my mother. I would be glad even if I resembled my father though. I look a lot like my maternal uncle too. I always pray for him. It hurts me to think of how he is doing now. He spent 14 years away from his family working in Saudi Arabia visiting once a year. He came back only to fight keeping his children with him. He stays with my grandmother and does his best to take care of her. I know how much he wants his wife and children to come back to him. It ruined his health. He just wants to have his mother and his family in his house. I cannot bear to see him suffer.

My living is a result of many people who came before me, people who have supported me and continue to hold me up. I cannot deny even a small favor any person has done onto me. It's just those who have left me I cannot payback sufficiently. I am sure I am not the only one with these kinds of things in mind. I know other things are going to take over me sooner or later. We all forget everything some day. But when you see people in the mirror, it puts you into thinking.

I had a shawarma in the evening, then a good dinner at midnight and I am hungry back again. I have been talking to my roommate-friend all this time writing not more than a sentence at once. I never get tired of talking as long as it's always on something different. I have a new friend these days I can talk anything with and I spend more time trying to irritate her than anything else. It's all online though. My head hurts and my stomach craves for food. There are people who love the face I have and I can only love them back.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Daily

The frost, it sometimes makes the blade stick.
- Maximus, Gladiator

The best thing to do when you feel like writing is to write. How much I hate thinking that it's naive to start a post saying I haven't been writing much, I cannot deny the warmth in beginning by saying it. I have repeatedly absorbed myself into reasons why I need to write and perhaps even mentioned on this blog a few times. I do not intend to go into any reasons today. I would rather type what comes or tries to come out and sign out after publishing it. I don't want to think about anybody thinking about whom might alter my willingness to writing a thing here. Though I understand I can't help with my subconsciousness unless I spend time on each of my sentences and contemplate if they have been effected or if they seem affected.

It's not easy to decide if a thing mentioned is straight truth or manages to go above or below it. I can only have something in my mind and make a person reading the resultant words of it perhaps think something else. I want to stay away from what others' thoughts might stray into. It's delicate not to transgress into exaggerations yet bluntly easy not to lie. Unintentionally I might take a reader for a ride but it's very being of unintended action comes from the idea that I prefer not letting anybody getting into what I am writing. Lately I have been trying to use a simpler vocabulary. Having a good one only means that I am able to convey what exactly I want to convey. But only if I wish to convey it.

I don't find sleep for long enough these days. I am probably staying awake for 18 hours a day and the rest six are spent in two to three sleeping sessions which not usually are continuous. I don't feel deficiency in sleep in my eyes but in my back that aches frequently. I take an hour's nap and feel like I have had a good rest, like I am fresh for the rest of the day and I can concentrate of anything. It takes a couple of hours to put me to sleep again as if I haven't slept for hours. Not to mention the strange stiffness in my neck and it's movements. I guess I realize more discomfort as I write this. Staying busy should make me forget a big chunk of these.

I have spent last three days in near seclusion except for the few hours in the evenings I am with a friend in his house. We are cooking at his place for dinner and I get back to my apartment with nobody around. For years I have always dreaded staying alone in a place away from my parents. I have seen many such dreaded things come true and there have been quite a few that didn't Alhamdulillah. As I see some big days coming ahead for me, I don't know how exactly they are going to cause to effect my life. The realization ranges between compulsion and hope. Not to forget the guilt, dissatisfaction, feeling of defeat and hopelessness. What should have been pride, joy and security have been proven otherwise.

The best is that I cannot complain. Allah has made me a very blessed one of His slaves and I could never thank Him enough. The compelling change is not always harsh. It gets a little oily on occasions. I don't recognize some things that I see sprouting within me. It's a sign of perhaps hopelessness or inability when a description takes the form "some things". I like having them elaborated. The problem starts when I cannot. It needs to be broken down - broken down not into a puzzle but into identifiable pieces that cautiously explain the whole. Identification is necessary for a solution to be obtained - at least it seems like necessary. Everything is always left to Allah. I can only try to identify.

Answering a friend few years back if I had anything I would like to go back and change, I had thought for a while and replied in negation. Just around the curb something seemed like a big deviation, if I can correctly describe it that way, and if posed with the same question, I might not have a straight single-word answer. One of the good things about blogs and the Internet in general is that you don't have algorithms asking you why you have written so and so in your blog. It's the people who question. Being questioned could be flattery, a show of genuine concern or at times a judging process. I am not a genius who can put into words what exactly I have in my mind. I might as well forget why I had to write something I did. I won't question myself unless I expect the answers to help me.

When I look at the date it seems odd and heavy - 2011. It's one zero less than what we have been seeing for a decade. Even the 23 seems big - perhaps bigger than the 28 that can be reached in the small two of 2011. February always sounds light - lighter than May - even though it has too many dates in it which I cannot forget. The dates are in fact not too many, they just left with too much to ask for. Yet February sounds easy and nice - probably because of what the asking could have yielded. March is bold - reminds me of the day my brother was born. Emptiness is not always because of too much space. It's some times because of lack of it. Just like you can't breath properly if you don't have enough space in your lungs. Allah is more glorious that one can think of.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Never recreate places from your memories, always imagine new places. Only use details. A street lamp or a phone booth. Never entire areas. Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way of losing your grasp of what's real and what is a dream!
- Cobb, Inception
I am either supposed to be sleeping right now or should have woken up sometime back for fajar. The heavy dinner couldn't put enough load on my stomach that my brain kept finding good oxygen to keep me fresh. I guess it's not always our body that keeps us awake or forces us to crash out. It could be metaphysics or an external force; both, without a doubt, governed by Allah. I can have another heavy meal now full of spices if it was in my current means - given that I don't want to put efforts that defy my state of laziness. I could as well have a bowl of my favorite cereal with sugar in it. The sugar is not prescribed; neither is it recommended. I cannot imagine pouring milk into a bowl and not adding additional sweetness to it before I can let it enter my mouth. I was awake all night.

It might snow here again today evening and a few days later. Alhamdulillah we have been doing good without any complains of feeling stuck at home. I have been staying up all night for a few days. There isn't really much to do. I thought of reading some books and start studying for upcoming sorties but until now low adrenaline has kept me lower on the activeness scale. It will shoot up soon inshAllah. Few weeks back I was working even 15 hours a day. Necessities spark changes. I will leave revolutions for the mobs. I drove thrice in the ice and snow; I would never suggest anybody to try such feats. Doing that was among the very few things I was doing all day so, I can justify the risk I took.

I have ordered some books online which I hope to finish reading by next weekend. It's been more than two years since I read a whole book. The most I read was a one on UNIX. It was a necessary read - I had to score well in a course I took; though I enjoyed it. I have had Atlas Shrugged for too long and I need to stop getting close to worse. I never thought I could stay at such a length without feed. InshAllah once I get going good with my job I have some books to finish. As a rule of thumb I keep away from texts, that contain fiction, which have not been recommended over and over. It's good to have a Prime account with Amazon - they send selected purchases within two days with no extra charge.

Some hours back a friend posted the words "In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love" on his Facebook profile. Creeps ran through my body as I momentarily forgot everything but a single fact that has kept me excited for years now. The phrase "unreachable dream" seemed to have jittered my newfound bliss and its continuity. The bliss continues; the two words were an alarm clock ringing; I was well awake though; they served as a reminder - of an end. I am yet to find a way or create a new one. There is nothing beyond hope and all that that comes with a real dream - jitter like touches, love for that dream and hope itself over. I clicked "like".

Every time I buy toilet tissue I am reminded of a friend who once told me that if I marry an American born girl she will make me buy expensive toilet tissues. I have seen the prices - there is a difference of just a few dollars between the one I buy and the most expensive one for a supply of over a month. He didn't give any good advice. I am not marrying an American born girl - though the idea was exciting; the excitement was not because of the American birth; perhaps it was the ease; perhaps. Expenses go much beyond toilet tissues. Only love overshadows. InshAllah I am marrying a girl who is from the place I am from. It's not easy to write when you have not been writing often.

Monday, January 10, 2011


You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
- Batman, The Dark Night
When I woke up my roommate pulled the blinds to show me it was snowing. Just a day before I was thinking to myself who would believe if I said it was going to snow the next day. Winter's been pretty soft this season in Dallas until now. Last year it had already seen heavy snowing in December. Allah knows how February would be when it gets worse. Alhamdullillah Texas is so good with weather. Alhamdulillah I get to stay in Texas. Till now at least.

I moved to my friend's place after the lease of my apartment expired. I will be with him for a while. This place is close to where I was living previously - less than half a mile I guess. It's a studio apartment with space only for one. My friend was kind enough when I told him I needed a temporary accommodation. I understand it's an inconvenience for him to share everything here which has been designed for only one person. It was the most difficult move for me from my older apartment - it wasn't painful but included lots of mental discomfort - because of the stuff I had to trash, because of the people who were supposed to help me but didn't, because I wasn't moving to another place with the same people I was living with like how it was in 2009 and also because I won't be staying here for long.

Over the past two years I had accumulated loads of stuff - stuff I had bought for myself and stuff gifted to me. I had started thinking I had grown up to not having affection toward material things but I was wrong. I had to make some tough decisions and also let go things I needed but had no space to keep. I even packed a big bag and left it at an uncle's place so that I have less stuff to move for now. Then I left some furniture and a printer at another friend's place. He will keep the table and the chairs folded in his apartment's patio. I felt like I belong to nowhere except for this city I can call mine. For now.

It's been just two days since I moved here and even though the friend I am living with is one of my closest ones in the US, I want to live in a house I can call mine with people who would stay with me forever. Yesterday when I was out for lunch with a couple of friends at a Pakistani restaurant I was telling one of them how I can't take in even a half spoon of raw yogurt but I can eat it when it's cooked. We spoke of alligator meat that a restaurant named Razzoo's Cajun Cafe sells, of ostrich burgers at Fuddruckers, the jalapeno burger at Carl's Jr, the snails one of my friends had in Las Vegas and the sushi I am waiting to try at some Japanese restaurant. Every time I tell somebody I don't eat yogurt I think about a friend who has a similar taste. I miss her all the time.

Twice we had a chance to meet but couldn't. With her husband she was in Dallas for Thanksgiving but I was in Houston to visit my relatives. In Florida, Google Latitude on my phone told me that we were 3.1 miles apart but I couldn't see them. I was there with my cousins and not on my own. I am not sad we couldn't meet. It's the thought that I could have cherished a lunch or a dinner with them that didn't happen that is bland. There are two more friends I want to see - one's in Virginia and the other in Ohio. I have enjoyed their company in past. For the record, I don't eat alligator meat.

Since November I had been asking my parents to undergo a thorough medical examination and they had been avoiding it. I badly needed my mother to have it done because she was going to have an overseas travel in December. She and my father got it done after she went back to India and a 14 millimeter stone was detected in one of her kidneys which had also stopped functioning. She underwent a surgery last week and is still recovering. The doctors were surprised how she didn't experience any pain with a stone of that size inside her. I am more humbled that Allah keeps blessing us always. I can't thank Him enough.

The 12-day trip to Florida left me with great memories alhamdulillah. My cousin and her husband didn't let me pay for anything. I owe them for this. We visited many cities, stayed in many hotels, spoke nonsense, had fun and parted again each other. I even visited my father's one of aunts and cousins. The best part was our visit to Magic Kingdom in Disney World. And of course I will never forget the fun I had with my niece and nephews. The youngest of them is the most awesome kid I have ever met. One night I tried to bribe him with a bedtime story so that he would sleep in my room. 15 minutes after I finished 'Jack and the Beanstalk' he said "call my baba and ask him to take me".

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Left Chevron

You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness. Courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn't want me for your son.
- Commodus, Gladiator
I didn't want to navigate away from 'New Post' page without publishing one. It was after I opened this page I realized I don't have anything to write. I had my dinner a few minutes back - rice with purple hull beans cooked in diced tomatoes. This was my second dinner in over a month with no meat in it. The last time I had dinner with no meat was two days back when I had a cheese pizza. It has become easier to have food outside than cook at home. It relieves not only the cooking part but also the cleaning one. Cooking just turns out to be cheaper. I anyways have my lunch outside - McDonald's most of the times but today it was Church's Chicken.

I hardly had anything to do when at work today. I think I worked for around two hours out of the 10 hours I spent there. I even found time for couple of naps in between. My willingness to use my laptop has declined a lot ever since I got my new phone. I see people playing around so much with their phones and customizing them, downloading new applications every other day and copying so much music into them. The only customization I did till now was changing the wallpaper which was promptly replaced by a friend who explained the new one to me as macho. He even changed the ring-tone from the default one to something else. I didn't bother to do anything to the changes he made.

It's very rare that I end a post thinking that I have written apparently nothing. I thought I had so much to talk when I reached this page but everything seems to have evaporated with the touch of the keyboard. I get a sound sleep only when I don't sleep properly for a few days and get tired to a point where my back starts aching like it has no strength to stay erect but is managing only on my will-power. I wake up every two to three hours and check the time. Every time I wake up I feel and hear my heart thumping. I have mostly been like this for over a decade. I am not tired. I am trying to pray hard. Perhaps I am not doing it hard enough.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Remember

There'll be a day when you will wish you had done a little evil to do a greater good.
- Sybilla, Kingdom Of Heaven
Few months back when I was drawing my plan for the time till December, 2010, I knew there could be one major thing that would change the whole scene and make many things don't matter. It looked like an impossible scenario back then but somehow I had that intuition deep in my heart that things would change rapidly. When I look back at the last few months, I don't know how it happened; Allah made it happen. Perhaps more than my prayers, it were my parents' prayers that weighed more in Allah's service.

A month back I was testing some sites in the city of Frisco when I had to pass by a few neighborhoods that had houses costing multi-million dollars. Some days later I was in Preston Hollow - George W Bush and Mark Cuban are among the very famous who live here. My restlessness started with bugging one of my friends asking him what I can possibly do to get enough money that I can own a house of that kind. He said I must start a music band. I said I would rather write a book; I can't sing.

I don't get the point why cars manufactured under the brand Infinity are so expensive. They look awesome but they are just cars which are not even so popular in other parts of the world. I am pretty sure they are worth the money but one would rather buy a German or an Italian brand's vehicle instead. One of my distant cousins from Houston tells me he sees too many high-end cars in Dallas. I remember a colleague telling me something about cars: "if it ain't made in Germany, it ain't worth any shit".

Corvette, though not so popular outside America, has always amused me. I like the idea of driving SUVs - they are big, powerful and you can walk into them. The other day when we went for a car wash to get my friend's Camaro washed, I was telling him how much effort it takes to own a car when you are living in states that see a lot of snow in winters. Apart from just cleaning the ice and snow from the top, there is a bigger problem that eats from below - the salt sprinkled on the streets. It rusts the vehicle's body and eats into the metal. No wonder why car-wash places in Texas don't make good money.

Some times I miss my old job though I am very happy now for what I am doing. I miss those people I worked with, I used to deal with and fight against. I was there for eighteen months and learnt what nothing else could have taught me. Alhamdulillah; it left me so much prepared for years to come inshAllah. I wish I could have got my hands on that Mercedes that Hispanic guy was trying to sell it to my father's friend. There was a metal label on the door from the side which, among other details, read "Made in Germany". The problem was with the title of the vahicle.

Saturday morning I had my first mid-term test of this semester. I have the second one on Tuesday in the evening. I graduate in December inshAllah after which I cannot conceive of anything now. I don't even know how to plan. I want to stay in Dallas as long as I am in this country. For sure I wish to travel and spend time in all it's ends but I like Dallas. There is nothing here to visit - no special monument, no natural site that's attracting and no place that would make one say "you should go to Dallas and check it out".

I like big roads, big houses, but cars and big sandwiches. There are restaurants everywhere - all kinds of; hundreds and thousands of them. A colleague recently quoted "everything in Dallas is 20 minutes away; even if it's just across the street." I like this guy a lot - he was a marine corp, has been to Iraq in 1993, lived in many places of the world including Saudi Arabia and has read a lot of history. He is a Christian and he said he drove through Mecca. He was not allowed to step out of his car. I was surprised to know Saudi government lets American citizens enter that city who are not Muslims. He lives in the city of Lancaster and he says "yes, I live in a hood".

I worked in a hood for eighteen months and I know what it is like. I would never choose to live in a place like that even if it was for free. I like many neighborhoods in the city of Plano. I am not talking about the million-dollar houses here but the kind which won't need me to start a band or write a book inshAllah. That same colleague of mine was making fun of himself when I asked him what should be the minimum value on throughputs for some specific tests so that I can decide if it has passed or failed. He replied "20 Mbps on downlink and 5 Mbps on uplink". It's good to know the minimum threshold. I need to know what a failure is.

He told me why oil is not a fossil fuel and how our textbooks have duped us all through our childhood. I was thinking about Theory of Evolution taught to us in middle school. It was engraved into our minds - many never manage to figure out it's just a theory and goes against the Holy Quran and even the Holy Bible. Oil is a naturally occurring carbon compound in earth - just like how sand is a compound of something else; something else which I don't remember now and don't feel like looking it up. We are expecting speeds of 100 Mbps very soon on downlink on wireless devices. It won't be a big deal.

I would have spent so much time feeling lonely these days if it was not for this present job that takes away so much time from me alhamdulillah. It is difficult to decide whom to talk to and when. Though, of course, the number of people I am in contact has come down drastically, alhamdulillah I still cherish close friendship with a few people who shall remain the same for me forever inshAllah. My apartment is in a real bad shape right now with lots of cleaning needed. I don't have a plan for it. Someday I will do it for sure and I know nothing about that someday. Loneliness is not the only problem; laziness is on many occasions.

Sanity is a very heavy virtue to carry along for a long time. Either we need to become strong enough to keep that on our shoulders forever or find good explanations to why deeds which were thought to be sane are no more of the same goodness and that we can shed them to make our lives easier. The difficult part comes in when we need to take care of what Allah wants from us; the difficult part is to translate deeds into religious acts and perform them because we know we are doing it for Allah. We are always short on knowledge and wisdom no matter what we read and how much we read. We always leave stuff for Allah to decide - even if we don't, it's the same case. Our test lies in that proper translation.

Material life is exciting, a part of it is necessary but it only occasionally translates into acts of religious correctness; not always. We don't follow Islam occasionally; it's for always; for even after our life here. Allah has made clear the minimum threshold. Acts are heavy; they are expensive in terms of time are willpower; they are necessary. Owning an Infinity's model won't help in deciding correctness and neither did Allah forbid us from getting cars imported from Germany. If Allah has blessed us, driving a Corvette is a gift from Allah and we must cherish it with gratitude.

Somebody has to own the skyscrapers, somebody has to run big companies, somebody has to produce high-end vehicles, somebody has to launch satellites into the space; and eventually somebody will definitely make money out of it - I see no sin in these acts. Jealousy is a sin. Not affirming that Allah has blessed a person is a sin. Planning for the future is not a sin - we all plan for the day of resurrection. The complications in the tests have become more intriguing. The sophistication involved in the analysis of the translation of our daily acts into deeds supported or rejected by Islam is more stressful now.

There are always people telling us what's wrong but nobody willing to take responsibility for any decision we might take. Behind many sins is a reason of which only Allah has knowledge. We repent. We are drawn that way. We repent, sin and repent. Allah decides what act translates as deeds that will help on after our death. Telling others what's wrong could also be charity but telling them that to belittle them, taunt at them or to show ones own superiority translates into a demerit. My job is not just to test a site and say if it's working or not - I also try my best to get enough data to declare that it has passed. Allah loves us. We know how to pass the tests. It's the effort and repentance that count.

Tomorrow I might make some bad decisions and I might incur Allah's anger as well. But next year, if I am not with some person, that would be because Allah has decided that that person shouldn't be with me - not because of some insignificant decision I have made; insignificant in terms of this world and the hereafter. I might hurt myself, I might hurt somebody else, I might sin in the process and even regret. I need to decide and though I know what's right I don't have it in my means to stick to the correctness. Human beings are not commodities. We are lives; each of us; individuals of our own; created by Allah; loved by Allah; each of us; heard by Allah. We some times don't get it right. We repent. We apologize.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If I Regret

Night and morning are making promises to each other which neither will be able to keep.
- Richard Shelton
I remember the days I would put up a new post everyday before turning off my computer. I was back in India then. Looking at how the economy has been doing here in the US I know I am going to have a tough ride ahead. I guess it's always a difficult sleep for everyone who tries to think big. For once I even started wondering if I did the right thing by coming here. Not being a citizen of this country hurts my progress, not having a credit history is disappointing, time usually people take to build one seems to be too long and the means to get to that point even if the wait is accepted sound unacceptable to me. If I don't make it big enough then my very decision of leaving India and coming here would become bad. If I make it big enough, enough that I can say I made it real big, I might get too humble. Nothing is bigger than Allah.

It's a different world I see now than the one I used to when I published the previous post. I feel like calling my father again and ask him too tell me what I must do. But I know nobody can make decisions for me. If I am making a mistake, it might as well be mine. It always feel good to blame others when things go wrong but I would prefer taking it on myself. Decision making is the toughest thing. That's where experience counts. And when it comes to the most important things of life we usually don't have enough of that to help us, we are not in a position to explain it to others what we think of it so that they can guide us using their experience and it gets too risky for us to just decide on whatever our heart says for that moment.

With a friend I visited Winstar Casino in Oklahoma a few days back. My parents didn't ask my why I went to a place like that but as I expected I was expected to answer that question. My contention that I didn't go to gamble wouldn't suffice but I couldn't explain enough how much I enjoyed driving to that place at 2 am in the morning and getting back to DFW at 7 am speeding through the heavy traffic in HOV lane. It's a different thrill with a discrete intention. I am pretty much aware of my limits alhamdulillah. I don't even have to force myself to stay away from something when I hate it. I just hate it and with it ends every question.

I hate to see myself as those thousands of students who come to the US every year, finish their masters, join a consultant firm, work with it for a few years and get into a job for some other company directly, get a green card after 5 to 6 years, buy a house, have their parents visit them, see their children grow here and eventually just live here on their 40 hour a week job. Somehow I feel doing this could be lot better in India. Though quality of life is different back there, leaving our country and starting new life according to me must be more rewarding. I am just not in a position to talk any big. Ideas make no difference - that's where the bottleneck lies. We need plans and resources.

I didn't call my father for there days because I was afraid he would get mad at me. I spoke to him yesterday and then again today. I could figure out from him tone of voice he wasn't so happy with me but was just being good to me. It's hard and it's harder to explain. I know things will be fine soon inshAllah. They have always turned better in the past alhamdulillah and this time too it will be the same. What I am worried about is something else I might not talk to him again. I feel loosing the willingness to write more. It was different when I started writing. Many things cut across my mind. I even keep loosing people I can talk to. I don't write this as a problem or a complaint. It's just how it was meant to be. I will start with my classes in August and inshAllah it will be my last semester finally. I wanted to see my parents visit me but it doesn't seem like a possibility now. Even they don't seem to be interested. It's kind of difficult when I find nobody to talk to. But for the record, I am still in America and I am enjoying it. Things couldn't have been better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Need That One Insane Move

I'm a scientist, remember, and I don't believe in fairy tales.
- Dr. Grace Augustine, Avatar
It's necessary that I write so that I can write more. I thought not graduating this semester would give a sense of relief and some time to think and put my bet on the right areas. The thought was perfectly right but as expected things never turn out as expected. For me they have always turned out better but I never forget other possibilities. It can't be a good idea to decide based on past experiences. I wish somehow I could have food - full meal - three times a day. It's been like ages since that happened. I think it was back when I was in India but even there it was never continuous for more than a couple of days at once. We rarely have breakfasts and lunches together at home.

We went for some bowling late in the evening. Two of my friends have left Dallas and one more will be leaving next week. People who started their masters with me are done with me now. Though of course I am glad for the decisions I have taken, I wish things had ended in some other way. I can't talk more on it - I don't even know what other way could have been better. Everyday comes with surprises and new people shouting. This summer might make a large difference to me. I am going to loose more people, spend more days with little food and spend more time in finding out how I can avoid those several years people take to start making bigger differences. No science talks about drops making oceans.

I laughed at my brother several times when he said he was taking horse-riding classes. I couldn't understand from where he got that very idea of learning something nobody in my immediate family is doing right now. But I happy for him - he is doing something of his choice and my parents don't stop him. If time pleases with me someday I will get myself a flying license. It takes around two years of part-time studying before I can pass the tests and complete the necessary number of hours. It gives me so much pleasure to think I never wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid. Horses excited me but I never thought of riding them. Like it is for all boys, guns were always amusing. My present visa status doesn't let me buy one.

I slept for several hours today and it's again time to go to sleep now. Some times I wish I could call all my close friends and relatives and talk to each of them for hours. But it's just like many other thoughts that just find some amusement for a while and fade away. I expect nobody to have such amount of time. I expect myself never to fall for such frivolous ideas. Calling is so easy, talking on the contrary is not. It's suffocating every time I listen to any phone that rings with the ringtone I had in my phone when I was in India. So much I wish I could use that phone again.

I at least wish I could find somebody to go on a holiday for a few days. I want to visit Key West, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We were having some plans for Spring break back in March but nothing worked out. This time around there is nobody who could possibly give me company. It's difficult to find company these days - the precise kind of people I would want to have for a particular thing I feel like doing. It accounts for the need to learn something new - doing it alone. It feels as if another phase has passed by. It's time to make room for fresh air. I am afraid of debts I am getting into which can't be paid with money. DFW is now filled with people who know me.