Monday, December 31, 2007

Hats Off To Shah Rukh Khan

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

My brother said my smile looks affected and artificial. I had always wondered how I looked while smiling and if I could ever learn to show the exact amount of teeth and pleasingly smile and my brother transformed that wondering into literal thinking. I spent some time in front of the mirror and tried smiling in different ways and nothing looked convincing and satisfying. This was when my beard was a little overgrown and my cheeks and chin weren't visible. I could see my eyes smiling but I knew that if my lips don't smile well, it is never a smile. But since long I have always saluted the people from show-biz who have expertise in smiling and showing teeth. And there are three things I learn from my own fallacy here: I should look into the eyes of people and judge if they are smiling, that I should always mean it when I smile and never fake it, and that there is infinite happiness in seeing people I love smile. I really wish I could write the names' list here.

I received a big parcel from ICFAI today along with a call - letter inviting me for an interview. It said that I have been shortlisted based on the entrance test I wrote some days back and I qualify for the next round of the selection process. There were some booklets along with the letter telling me about the selection process, the placements in IBS, a booklet about some internships offered to the students there, a magazine published by their alumni and also a magazine on Hyderabad city. I loved the last thing and the letter excited my mother. They have asked me for a day in February which I have to confirm and that day I will have to give a presentation on one of the stated topics and then a personal interview. I will go there but I will inshAllah go to the US.

It's pretty clear that my mother wants me to stay here in India at least if not in the city. She says I can meet her whenever I want and the distance would be less than two hours at the most. The cost of studying at IBS is almost Rs. 900,000 and she is ready for that just to have me near her. How much I wish I could explain her why I shouldn't go ahead with it but that I love her always and want to be with her. But there are always sacrifices one must make. I don't want to go out of the country just to get a green card or call myself a foreigner or even take pride in it. Some amount of excitement is always there taken the now infamous "The American Dream" idea. But my idea is to have things extraordinary. I want pace and satisfaction at the same time and I know the life in my country is not precisely that. And I also know that I am working to get out of my comfort zone.

I have always been told by my parents that they don't need me for anything and that they can take care of themselves when I am gone. But I have no plans to stay away from them for long or leave them alone anytime. By the time my brother finishes his studies and plans to move out of the country I will have enough to keep them with me or if they want, come back to where they are. My brother always says that he will never leave India but should he think of it anytime, parents or I shouldn't come in his way. I want him to study architecture and make it as big as possible. I want to see him design big buildings and carve his name on stone. He too is my dream. He is the only person I had started loving even before he was born.

There are more to come and I can't wait for long! This could sound dumb if I explain and weird if I leave it unillustrated. But I can't hold on for long. I love small children - I like everything about them, I like to watch them play, smile, shout, or even just sleep. Nothing looks sweeter than the smiles they give while sleeping. Nothing matches their innocent voices. Nothing gives more pain to see them cry. Nothing could give more happiness to call them my own. Nothing on earth could feel better than holding them in my arms and sing for them to sleep. I wish I could directly jump on to a place in my future life where I would be living all this. I could as well let go what all has to come in between starting from the present. I just want to start living those moments at the earliest.

Some days I go to college with only single objectives - attending one specific class or a lab, submitting one assignment, or sometimes just seeing one friend. These could have no logic in them but they give satisfaction. Usually when I go to the college, I make an assessment of who all would be coming that day and whose smile would be making me feel good. But sometimes it's just the company of all of them. I would never be letting anybody know who brought me to college on a particular day, but somebody is always there - when I am in the college, somebody has to be there. This trend has started only in the final year. And there are very few months left before it ends.

Another thing I would learn at the earliest is to cook - at least some basic dishes that utilise minimal resources. It would surely make things easier for me when I have to stay alone and it always is an asset to know how to cook. Preparing tea, frying eggs or even making fried rice out of plain rice are things I have done many times, making tamatay ki chutney is something I am yet to master. I need to learn how to cook rice first and then some curries. I can keep the bigger things for experimenting. My friend always says "we should be ready for a reality check".

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fresh

I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.
- Walt Disney (1901-1966)


Today is one of those rare days when I log into blogger with an urge to write out and make myself feel better. It is not at all that I am feeling depressed of unhappy - I just always have a right to make myself feel better no matter how good I am already feeling. There was no need for me to ponder upon a title for this post - it was there in my heart the moment I opened the edit page. In a way I also knew which quote to put us here. I usually do these two things after I am done with writing the post. One thing I do not know is what I must right to meet the purpose of this post!

I finished watching a movie 'City Of Angels' and began listening to some music before I came across some songs I used to listen to a couple of years back - almost three years back now I guess - and they reminded me of those days. The exact things I used to have within me in that space of time emerged in my heart from no where just as the old music started to ring in my ears. It wasn't pain or a kind of memory that I never liked. It wasn't anything uncomfortable either. But it was there not letting me understand it's unrequired existence. Peace continues but with a feeling of fear which itself says that it would be no more when I wake up tomorrow. But it threatens the serenity of the time left between closing of eyes and now.

There is simply no reason why I must have these in my heart now. I have moved on and moved ahead of my time. I don't care if I wasn't matured during those days but now I am more matured than the people of those days. It was sheer serendipity that day as I remember even now clearly. It wasn't a lesson. I don't want to go back even a day from today. I am glad I saw my past so closely and I lived it. I am glad I learnt even when I had no intentions of salvaging any wisdom. I always used to think that no matter what happens then, what really matters is what happens by the end of the day. The day is now over and a new day has begun.

I have seen all kinds of friends - right from the kind of friends who never understood to those who understand everything. Even from those who never encouraged me to those who were quiet when I wanted them to talk - even those who were always after me. How they were doesn't matter much now; what they are presently does. Time has made the bonds stronger and memories weaker. Only that some naked strings are left hanging attached to a trigger deep inside my heart. Whenever something pulls them, the sound beeps like hell. The triggers don't activate memories; they shake them to have the dust rise.

I don't have to care for this dust either. I care for the strings, triggers and the memories - they all need to be culminated in a pleasant disposition. I can't end them at will or just leave them the way they are. They must be overridden - not with memories but with the present. It's going to take time and the dust will keep tickling my neural circuitry. I am used to it and I also know how to overlook it but sometimes it feels good to get carried away. It feels nice to stay between the feelings to wanting to cry and not being able to cry. It feels good to hurt myself, then write a post like this and finally make everything feel wonderful.

I am not writing to present anything perfect or an article with no contradictions. It is not rambling too. We don't need explanations or justifications for what comes from the heart as long as we are not letting it interfere with other hearts! Writing such things staying even in a state of bliss can sound eccentric but it is sometimes idiosyncratic to my character. I can't be coherent all the time. But once I am done with the anomaly, I know I am fresh! And that, I can go to sleep with a smile. And I will not even have to lie there gazing at the ceiling.

A deja vu can always throw us out of our mind making us wonder what it was or why it was. That word itself is supposed to give the explanation and we need to be contended with it. I remember a quote "happiness is good health and a bad memory" but I don't need a bad memory. It's only when things come back to us that they can make us stronger. Just that some things need to go or perhaps get overridden. I always miss my grandfather and long to hear his voice call my name. I love my name and like listening to it again and again. I like my parents say it, I like my brother say it, I like my friends say it. If that is like being egoistic, so be it. I am blessed.

Aisle By Aisle

Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
- Pancho Villa (1877-1923), last words

There was probably a short circuit in the service wire causing a power failure in my house yesterday evening. It took almost an hour before the electricity department sent some men for repair. Things like these have happened before and all the repair used to be the department's responsibility and when these electricians told us that we will have to pay for the charred wire, it got me and my mother annoyed. I abruptly asked them to leave and also said that I would be complaining that to the Assistant Engineer who would take care of it. I could see the change of expressions on their face when they heard their head's name. There were also telling that they would repair it only the next day.

We called up the engineer and requested him. He responded well saying that the repair will be done immediately and that it is we who will have to pay for the cables. An official word always sounds assuring. The electricians returned at 10 pm and they were angry because they were probably rebuked by their officer. I purchased the required wire from a nearby shop and gave it to them. The were constantly showing disregards for the officers in their department as they were asked to work at such odd times. I kept listening to them. Then one of them said that this was their night shift going on which started just sometime back. That made my heart laugh out. It was not at all an odd hour of the day for them. They were in their correct shift and it was their job. There are other people for other times and this time of the day was their responsibility.

The power returned at 10:30 pm when we finally left to attend a wedding function. It was my father's friend's daughter's marriage. They also happen to be our family friends and even my other relatives were there. I had a satisfying time after having to deal with those people and spend some hours in darkness. We were also worried about the empty overhead water-tank that had to be filled when power came and also the meat filling up the freezer. No power for long duration could spoil it.

I have two parties to attend today, one tomorrow and another one the day after. Every time I go to a marriage function or a reception, the thing that irritates me the most is the way the bridegroom is forced to behave. Wearing garlands, standing at the stage, posing for the photographs, meeting people he has never known before and is never going to meet again, trying to be perfect because it is his wedding, and doing everything to make everybody call him smart and good looking. It doesn't end with him. The visitors visit only for the reason of having dinner and commenting on how the bridegroom looks. I wonder if these things are ever going to change. And I can never understand a man's affinity towards flowers - especially in wearing garlands. Flowers are for women - to describe them!

I have always seen good men getting married - they behave well with the people they meet when they are getting married, they look well mannered, shy, pleasing and sensible. They look like the best of all the men who could ever get married - apparently proving to the bride's family that they couldn't have made a better choice. And when they look and behave so good, I wonder where the not-so-good men go. Those men who were not good at studies, who were not good children to their parents, who used to tease girls and keep girlfriends, who had bad company and bad morals - don't these men get married? Or are they the same people who look and behave good when getting married?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Souvenir De Paris

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)


Some times I wonder if I am fool to walk so much even when there are several comfortable means to commute. I walked more then three kilometers in the evening to reach home and I could have as well use the public transport services which have become quite good these days. And also gone are the days when the narrow road of Mehdipatnam used to be a bottle neck; it's simpler now. And it hardly takes 10 minutes to reach my house when I catch a bus from that place. Some times I don't do that.


It gives me a mystical pleasures to walk long stretches without being disturbed. I wouldn't mind if I have company; I just need peace. The noisy traffic and the so assumed deafening sounds of horns of the vehicles are of little effect on me. I forget them when I am with myself. I even forget the loss of energy and feelings of pain in my legs. When people can find peace in their lifetime of wars, why can't I then walking on the side of a busy street?


Yesterday my uncle gave me a small replica of Eiffel Tower. He had brought it from France several years back along with a three foot one which was lost in time. He also showed me a similar replica which was made of glass. It looked liked the most beautiful monument on earth. He has this craze about everything from France. I couldn't understand why but that passion remains with all my uncles and even my father - some genes have transferred to me too! My uncle who is a French national keeps asking us to visit him as though Paris is in the neighborhood. Someday I would definitely go there - for my uncle, Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.


I had plans for learning French starting from January but I don't think it's going to materialize. Perhaps I can make an attempt by myself trying from books but I am not sure if that can be possible or it will be a wild goose chase. After English, it is French and Spanish that are widely spoken in the west and I have always wished I could get along with at least one - French preferably. I am not keen on much with the United States and staying there for long if I get the F 1 visa; I know Europe is a better place and all it takes for an engineer to settle there is the knowledge of German or French.


My mother is not happy with my interests in other countries - she wants me to be with her. And for that reason she says I am callous - emotionally hardened; because I am going to leave her. My uncle says I should go there, study, enjoy and come back. And my mother agrees. Of course staying there in US for long is not my objective. Europe of course sounds better. India is good but we don't have islands for sale here! And I have never liked the life Indians have in gulf countries. Things boil down to parents, money and the island - no matter where I am, no matter what I study, and no matter what currency I deal with. There are good tilts towards friends too.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Commonplace

I have come to realise the bitter truth that I am racist, sexist, biased, arrogant, malicious, and egoistic!

- Poly-vicious Suroor


Even till yesterday night I was willing to go to the college today. In the morning I lay on my bed trying to decide if I should go or not. I had slept after 3:30 am and I didn't want to keep myself deprived of sleep. I had gone for a movie last night with friends and returned home around 1:15 am. It was the last show of the day at 'Prasad's' in it's 2nd screen showing 'I Am Legend'. I was expecting a horror movie as told to me by a friend. I rather found it analogous to a science fiction with some startling scenes. It is definitely not for the faint hearted but any person of my age should watch it once. It brought to my memory a movie starred by Tom Hanks - 'Cast Away'. 'I Am Legend' has a very small cast with Wills Smith taking 90% of the screen-time.

I was searching for valid reasons in the morning for going to the college. I counted the number of friends who would be coming. The number was definitely small but I would have gone for a single friend as well. Somehow that didn't please me; it didn't look logical to go to the college with only friends in mind. I slept and didn't think much after that. I am fresh now ready for the night! A holiday tomorrow sounds befuddling again but I have my ways to enjoy.

I spent a lot of time after Magrib reading several new blogs - blogs new to me. One blog lead to the other but I bookmarked only one from all those I read. Most of these were by people from South East Asia and they were all Muslims. I couldn't believe how extensively these people blog and how meticulously they are followed by the readers. Most of the posts have comments exceeding 25 with several tags and back-links. The topics have Islam in their center and concern with minute details of life. They give a disposition that the authors live to blog. And they write for an audience.

A technician from Sify came to check the computer today. The connection was up and working perfectly fine and I was in no mood to let him touch my computer. But he had to take care of an official formality of making some checks and taking my signature on a paper. It took him less than five minutes to finish the paper before I asked him why Sify doesn't let me run AVG. He had not clear answer but he said it is definitely a problem with many people. I also told him that my account never gets renewed by itself even when I make advanced payments. He said he would appraise it in his office.

I haven't had a complete meal since morning. There were some biscuits around 10 am before I was on the bed again. Then I had kheer in the afternoon and wada before Asar. Then it was ragda after Magrib. It was more of laziness than anything else that kept me taking only snacks. Perhaps this in the only reason for my leanness. I am thin but I find all energy I need to do what all I have to do. I never get into fights so I don't need any muscles either. My primary use of carbohydrates is thinking, sometimes walking, and usually talking!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

No Predicament Can Stand Itself

When you decide to be something, you can be it. That's what they don't tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?
- Frank Costelly, The Departed
I had a brief tryst with cricket today after a long time. It was my brother who offered the game and even my uncle was ready. We played inside the compound but all three of us were hitting the ball hard before finally my uncle raised it above a high wall throwing the ball beyond reach. We tried to get it back but couldn't. The bounce and spin of the ball was good making the short time enjoyable. I have no idea when I am going to play next.

I was offered a movie by a friend and unfortunately I had to decline. I was already at my grandmother's house making me tell him that it would be possible for me if any friend who lives in this side of the city was going so that he could pick me up. This, of course wasn't possible at 3 pm. Maybe the plan will be carried till tomorrow. It always feels nice to have plans for the next day. It gives a good night's sleep and a fresh morning. I had none for day and I didn't know when to wake up - at least till 12 noon.

Yesterday my dinner was at a paternal uncle's house. Today he came to meet us and shared the dining table. We had nehari and paya, a curry made of liver and kidneys, a curry made of meat and lungs, maheykhalya, bagaara khaana, roti, kheer and sevi k meetha. I ate as much as I could and I am still not done with the deserts. Not to forget the chocolate in the refrigerator. I am sure I will find more things if I open the it. Mother had even mentioned about fried meat. We call it Ied! The guava on the table beside me tempts my buds creating contempt inside my heart for the cold I always develop after having it.

A person from Sify called me up asking if I was home so that he could come and check my computer. I first had to make myself realize that he was talking English. Then was the herculean task of understanding his Telugu ascent. I got only what was necessary and I asked him to come on Sunday. I hope that was it with the necessary parts. If there was more, I am sure he won't come tomorrow. Sify should spend some time with their employees to neutralize their ascents. So does the Data Warehouse and Mining lecturer at my college. I had mailed Sify to inform them about the nonsensical behavior of my Internet connection.

It's 12:46 am Sunday now and more than an hour since i started writing this post. Just when I was going to start the fifth paragraph I clicked on the spell-check which didn't yield any results. I tried several times before running ping to check the connection. It was fine. I logged out of my account and tried to relogin. It said my account has expired. This immediately reminded me of the call I received in the morning from Sify asking me if I wanted the connection to be renewed. I said replied in positive. This is after five months that I am having such problem. Even corporates don't seem to understand what service means. The local providers never understand that. Sify of course is not an MNC and no doubt why Satyam is running at losses for last two quarters. Sify happens to be a subsidiary of Satyam.

Friday, December 21, 2007

An Archipelago Of Frustration Surrounded By Bliss

The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.
- from Life's Little Instruction Book
By the end of World War II, there were a very few number of billionaires in the United States. The top nine have an interesting story. 25 years after the war ended, three of them had committed suicide, three of them were in mental-rehabilitation and three of them had gone bankrupt. And the reason was simple - though they knew the present perfectly well, they had no vision for the future. They didn't plan.

I am not going to write anything about vision or planning here for today, it just flashed into my mind reminding me of some book I had read long back. I wish I had even remembered those nine names with exactly what happened with them. Those people couldn't see how the world was going to change. Others saw it, imagined it, and even shaped it. I was even wondering about the lotteries in the United States that involve millions of Dollars. Statistics show that 90% of winners of those lotteries are left with nothing after 10 years. There are more things to be learnt rather than calling them merely as interesting.

Alhamdulillah the day passed by with all happiness today. I found some problem with getting the paya and sira cleaned and cut. I saw some difficulty while performing the zuba on the sheep: the hair near their throat was thick and knife blunt. I had to give more number of strokes than recommended. Fountains of blood colored my shirt red when the throat was finally slit open. In the evening I had to drive the car even when I was in no mood to concentrate. I wanted to sleep. But it came as a compulsion to meet my relatives. It was nice that my heart was finally alleviated. The day was still good and satisfying.

My mother is on a leave Saturday and Monday. She will have to get back to work again on Wednesday with Tuesday being a public holiday. It would really be nice having her around and spending time with her especially when the day finds her in good moods and a relaxed mind. I have always liked seeing her read the news paper when I wake up in the mornings. For a few days she had hardly found any time for herself. She worked real hard today.

"Atlas Shrugged" has picked up finally. I was barely able to read all these days and any time I found with the books was with the ones with only words to be learnt. I read for some time today. I have a book to be finished and returned to my uncle; two-thirds of it is still left. I have always liked reading Ayn Rand's philosophy; be it from her novels or the newsletters I receive from the website of the publishers of her books. I have read some parts of her books like "Virtue Of Selfishness" and "For The New Intellect". I have liked them all. "Atlas Shrugged" is truly a fest gifted to me by my friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Find A Person More Blessed Than Me

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
-E. M. Forster
In the morning around 4:30 am on Monday we started with a "question-answer" session. Each of us sat on a chair separately taking turns and the others were asking questions on whatever they wanted to know about that person "under question". I was made the first goat. I had gone downstairs to see off a friend and when I returned I was immediately asked to sit on that chair. I expected some critical questions on some sensitive contexts. Allah bless my friends, they didn't ask me anything careless.

The first question asked was if I would practice "tissue is not an issue". I said yes with a chuckle. I was also asked why I always sport formal clothing. The most intricate question was the one where I was asked why I don't like girls who wear western dresses. What followed was a discussion. Right from culture to moral ethics - I had to mention them all. I went about explaining why they wear those clothes and I had my basic reasoning. The last reason I gave satisfied my friend who asked me that question. And everybody else agreed. We all were 8 people at that time present on my house's terrace. This was our second all-night get-together in the month.

Not going much into cultural aspects, we always prefer wearing clothes we are comfortable in and what Islam accepts. Islam clearly states that we are prohibited from cross-dressing - men are not allowed to wear what women wear and women are not allowed to wear what men wear. For a person of faith, this answer should be enough. But we are the younger generation and we believe in logic and reasoning - sometimes faith enough is not alone. One will have to give explanations to the seemingly inherent likes of the new blood. And of course, Islam is the only rational religion one can ever follow.

We all like to try out every possible thing on the face of this planet - we like tasting different cuisines, we like to visit new places, some like meeting new people, and similarly some like wearing different clothes on various styles. We like trying out how it feels to wear something new; something different. The idea is not to be nonconformists. It's just about liking change and discovering new styles. This need not necessarily be amiss. For women, the clothing should compulsorily cover them from head to ankles revealing only the face and hands from wrists, the clothing should be opaque enough. It should also be loose not revealing any figure. The head should be covered by a cloth in a way such that hair are not visible and the cloth covers the neck completely and falls on the bosom.

I never came across a single verse in the Holy Quran or the Sahih Hadees that a burqa is compulsory or the face must be covered showing only the eyes. Hijaab is compulsory and it includes the details I have mentioned above. How the women sport this Hijaab is upto them. They are free to choose any culture or any form of dressing as long as they confirm with the criteria. If somebody believes that Shalwaar-Kameez is the only correct dress for women, they should remember that this dress has nothing to do with Islam and it has its origins in the Sindh region. If a person is reading my blog, it would also mean that she has access to almost all of the Internet - she is free to check what all I have written here. If I am wrong, I can always be corrected.

I have a strong hatred towards girls who wear tight clothes. Maybe they wear such attires occasionally just to have something different or try out something new - I have mentioned above. But they don't come in concord with the rules. And if it is not occasional for them, then I firmly believe that they wear it to attract or seduce men. This might sound astringent, but I see it as truth. I find no other reason why such clothes must be worn. And I have nothing against those who wear them. I just hate it.

I am not a conservative. I believe in reasoned and free thinking. But I have religion as my base. After my turn of being questioned was over, a friend said that later I should answer if there was something I would like to change in me. Though I was never asked for the answer, the only thing I would like to change in me is making myself a better Muslim. I find nothing else worth being altered - at least as far as I can think. Maybe there are things I am already working on realizing them as faults, but trying to become a better Muslim is my biggest priority with respect to changing myself.

There was a question asked to two of my friends - how much did they value their friends? They both had similar answers. They said that they cared a lot for friends but they would always put their parents first. This could have been a nightmarish question for me. It couldn't have answered it if asked. Today I gave a thought and I really couldn't understand how to explain what value I give to friends. It's not just about explaining it to others. I couldn't think of it myself. Friends mean so much to me - both boys and girls. My parents are more important but I can go against them if I find something correct in reference to my friends. Somehow I hope that I never find it necessary to choose between the two. I might definitely go for my parents but it would give me immense pain.

Today was my second day at the college. Yesterday after sleeping at 8 am in the morning and waking up after 11:15 am, I could reach the college only after 1 pm. Today I attended the classes. We have a schedule for only three days of the week and one of those days has just a lab. The rest of the days are for the project's work. I am afraid having so much unscheduled time would make me more lazy!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

They Are Not My Songs





It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
- G. K. Chesterton
I was watching a movie a day for the last four days. The time was usually only after 11:30 pm and went on till 2:30 am with many interruptions made by chatting. I have many more lined up for viewing - "Just My Luck", "Julius Cesar", "City Of Angels", "Resident Evil Extinction" and "Underground Evolution" are a few of them. The next batch would get me all the three from the "Rambo" series. Among the ones I watched recently were two from the "Die Hard" series. And there shouldn't be any guessing about how many times I have watched "Troy".

Sometime back my father took us out for a walk. I don;t find Tolichowki a place to take a stroll but because he asked, I didn't want to miss the chance. A bakery on the way reminded my father of burgers. We had standing there and all of it was unexpected. I still have to eat my dinner and nobody looks interested in it. It's already 10:45 pm. I am hungry but I don't feel like eating anything.

Yesterday night when I went to sleep I had an unexplainable feeling of fear in my heart. I couldn't understand why it was there. As I lay on my bed I began to think of all the possibilities - I thought about my parents, my friends, studies, even blogs, about the Saturday I was going to see with the new sun, about Sunday's test, the party I have planned for the evening that day - nothing seemed like a probably reason for fear I should be having. I hoped I understood what it was so that I could take some action. I am sure it was already 4 am. I kept staring at the ceiling for long before waking up to the morning. I was fine then.

My mother called my short-length shirt as a choli. My brother reminded my father that I had once called him a senior citizen. My mother told me that I have become callous and am I no more soft like I used to be when I was a kid. My father told me how once when I was a kid I saw a dead cockroach and had asked him how it had died. My father had said that it must have become too old. It seems I asked him if even we are going to get old someday and die like that cockroach. He was just reminding me that things like those used to effect me. My mother told my aunt today that I am not interested in staying with them after my engineering and I want to leave home. Then she told my father that once I go to US, I would marry a girl there. She said I would just bring that girl to them someday and inform them that she was their daughter-in-law. I listened to all this and said nothing.

It's 11:02 pm now and I am being called for dinner. The television is on making my aversion towards it hard to beat. I have to now sit in that room with my parents and forcefully listen to it. I have been doing it all these days and there are so many adverts I can recognise only by the music in it. There are some serials I hate even listening to. But because I have to dine with my parents, I need to do it. It was a good day today and I will do it without complaining.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Intemperate Rage


Charlie Chaplin once allegedly said to Albert Einstein: "The people applaud me because everyone understands me, and they applaud you because no one understands you."
I find it the best to keep my moth shut whenever I am angry. I can go to the extent of not replying to my parents, ignoring phone calls and overlooking messages I see on the computer screen. I find it as the easiest way to let others know that I am angry and that they should keep away from me for that time being. It also helps me remain decently placed inside my character. And the best thing, I would never shout or utter anything bland that could cause any implications. But I might end up irritating others this way without intending to. My intention would be to keep things peaceful.

Anything that causes anger should be held responsible if the raged shows unacceptable behaviour. But what makes him angry would also explain his priorities and perhaps even to a good extent his character. We really can't go about holding the person or the situation as the criminal. We can't even point at the crime. Only one thing matters - if response to the implicated mental arousal is unsavoury, the criminals must be punished; both of them. Anything reasonable must be appreciated alongside being taught more about the importance of reason rather than logic.

I didn't write anything yesterday because I wanted to avoid the reason and the logic. They meant nothing to me. I only wanted to do the right things. I kept my lips tied and my mind focused. I spoke only to one friend. Even that was after a long time I found this friend to be online. It was necessary that I talked. I didn't give any reasons for my state of mind to my friend. I rather focused on taking help - the talking itself was a help rendered to me. When my mother was leaving in the morning, I listened to what all she wanted me to do for the day, I greeted her for the day and I went back to bed. I had then opened my mouth to speak after many hours.

Before afternoon came I let my phone ring for as many as 15 times. I even cleared a call on the land-line. I wanted to be alone - without thinking anything that could move me away from the track I was walking on. And I am still walking on it. I was back to normal in the evening, talking to so many people as usual, and even watched a movie - the whole of it at once this time.

Yesterday I watched a part of "Con Air" and I finished that today. The movie I saw sometime back was "Bourne Ultimatum". All the while I was watching this movie, it looked to me as if I was reading a novel. When the movie ended and I looked at the casting, it also told me that the movie was based on a novel by Robert Ludlum. It's usually the novels that have perfect characters and plots, and of course loads of details. Both these movies were good.

Image courtesy: www.wikipedia.org

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Disaster Management

The most valuable 100 people to bring into a deteriorating society would not be 100 chemists, or politicians, or professors, or engineers. But rather 100 entrepreneurs.
- Abrahan H. Maslow
I was holing a plastic cup three quarters filled with tea with my two fingers fixed diagonally at the midsection of the cup from outside. The liquid was stirred by a faint movement of my hand and it caused to swing the cup just to make its opening face me. The tea spilled onto my shirt, tie and blazer. There was nothing I could do apart from using my kerchief to wipe off the droplets from the thick cloth of the coat that had temporarily prevented the liquid from getting absorbed. I had just finished my dinner and was standing in the lawns having tea with my father and cousins.

It was surely an experience. I didn't feel anything apart from the urge to ignore all the eyes on the stains on my shirt that was facing the lights cutting through the opening of my coat near the collars. Few minutes later we left the place for home. I had had a heavy meal as my father who was sitting beside me kept serving chicken. It was the last of the four functions we were invited for by two of my father's cousins. We have some more to attend in the last week of this month.

Yesterday a friend told me that there was a kidnap plan executed in some part of India and the kidnapper had collected all the information about the victim from his blog. My friend told me that I shouldn't be writing a blog. My instant response was to tell him that there are hundreds of thousands who write blogs and they are more ardent than me. We didn't talk much about it but later I sat thinking if this can really cause me a problem of such level. I surely write a lot about me and any person interested in me can get all he wants from my blogs. Right from my thinking to my action - everything can be gauged.

But then, when I write so much about me, I still don't think it can be enough for in-depth understandings about me. May be a person can collect small data and keep doing it over a time to build the complete picture, but will that be enough? None of my routines last more than a week! Further more, I find no reason why I must be kidnapped. And if I had to kidnap a person, I would personally track him or her rather than trying to read his blog. I believe that more than half of the times we don't know what the next day is going to bring to us. I can get into innumerable arguments and it will all be pointless.

After I returned home today, I soaked my shirt and the tie in water and I will wash them tomorrow. Today I had also washed around 30 clothes which had got accumulated over the last two months. I washed them all and it took me two rounds with the washing machine. I started with separating the ones that were soiled from the ones that were comparatively clean. Then I soaked them separately in water with dissolved detergent. Then I washed them with hands before using the machine. It was tiring. I have this lone shirt for tomorrow.

Yesterday I had a long day with my friends. We met in the college, then had burgers, went to Durgam Cheruvu, rode around Madhapur and Gacibowli before spending an hour of detailed discussions at my house. We were five and four of us were after the fifth trying to put into his mind how important it is to understand everything about money at this age itself - being prepared. We worked around several examples and gave him information what is meant by interest, insurance and finance. We told him what taxes are. He knew a lot already but I felt it was complete in no way. It was half-baked with him tied with only the information he could get from his elders. It was definitely very less. Being a friend, I thought I needed to tell him whatever little I knew.

My friend kept arguing that we learn what all we need to when we start earning. He told us that time will teach him and he need not worry about anything now. He even tried to validate that reading books is not necessary to become successful. According to him, all we are required to focus on now is one single subject from our engineering and perfect it. He said this is the time we must invest in learning what to be when we get into a job. He even believes that experience has a value more than a master's degree. He said it's time to focus and not to widen our knowledge base. He condemned the my will to learn more about money management at this stage of my life.

I am sure a student of my age would agree to all these things he said. But I don't agree even a bit. To start with, I have my mother's example - she is rich only because she had plans right from the day she joined her job 23 years back. No person earning what she does can reach this point without such adroit planning. This is no time for me to explain what all she did, but in short - she kept her future in her mind and had learnt all about money in her five years of study of commerce. She was so perfect because she had money as her core subject. We being engineers have to learn it from other sources. If we wait for time to teach us, we can wait for several years before we can buy the car of our choice, before we start investing in hundred thousands, and before we can think of moving into better lifestyles. Time teaches but it takes time.

Purchasing the right kind of insurance policies, making the right investments in bonds to save taxes, having the knowledge of how inflation and gold prices effect the value of money, understanding why different methods of saving money have different consequences, and most importantly, understanding the need to do all this puts us on the track to the destination we want to reach. We can't expect our monthly salaries to buy us cars and property. We need more pipelines. And we need all this at the earliest. Waiting for time to teach us the tricks of making money will pull us down into the glitches of mediocrity. If, instead of making money, the idea is to earn money, then it is foolishness to dream big. The dreams will remain as dreams that way.

Right from day one at our job, we need to know why we are there. We might be there to realize our potential as excellent programmers, me might be there to show everybody that we are the best, we might be there to fulfil our desire to become a scientist or get our selves engrossed in intensive research activities. But will we do all this if we are not being paid? We are there for only one thing - money. What we do is done because we want to earn more alongside give ourselves some satisfaction which we may derive from our work. We are not going to stay as programmers or scientists for all our lives - we have to become managers some day. The objective remains the same; the type of work changes.

My friend asked me what I would do after I complete MS. I told him my plans for the next three years after that. He even seemed to throw some mockery at my sudden decision to write GRE and TOEFL. I am sure it must have looked funny to him that I take new route when I was hell bent on doing MBA and staying in India for next two years at least. And I am sure many had thought this way. They must have also questioned my credibility as a person who sticks to one thing. Surely my commitment must have been looked at in doubt.

To start with, I had only two plans - Plan A and Plan B. Plan A was to give everything required to get into a decent MBA college. If that had then failed, I would have looked for Plan B - joining Infosys. I somehow find that the colleges where I can do an MBA with such CAT's score are not worth. Spending around 4.5 lacks didn't sound fine to me. So, Plan A almost failed. I was left with Plan B and it still remains. But not as Plan B but as Plan C. Infosys can always be exciting but I don't want delays or slow rides in my life. I need it to be fast and satisfying.

I brought in Plan B - doing MS in the United States. I was asked once by my aunt if I wanted to study there. I had said in negation. A few weeks back I spoke positive. I have booked slots of TOEFL and GRE and I have all my concentration of doing MS now. I am leaving Plan A completely so that I find MS as the only option and achieve it. I consider it as very bad to remain a graduate. I want to be a professional and I have to do my masters. Just to give an interesting but pointless example, I can mention that all the guys I see getting decently married these days have either done MS or MBA. This education shows it's worth not only in the industry but even else where. I am going to do MBA. But after I start working. I can always join evening classes as long as I am in US. I will learn more there. Infosys might just not teach all that. I need to get an I 20 and then the F 1 visa. The Plan C is always there to fall back. Allah decides.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Where's My Insurance?

Every vice has its excuse ready.
- Publilius Syrus
I tried to taste as many dishes I can in the marriage function I attended today. It was a good one. I gave a decent treat to my belly without overdoing anything. I didn't touch the biryaani though wanted to have a taste of it. Later my father said it wasn't very good. I was sitting with one of my elder uncles and my father on the other side. They took good care of me but uncle finished early. He asked me if I could cook any of the dishes we had there and also reminded of "fox's meat we used to have" recollecting an old joke we shared.

Yesterday night I watched "Finding Nemo" and today it was some part of "Minority Report". I will finish watching it in some time now. We have plans to meet in the college tomorrow. We wanted to watch a movie but every movie released is readily available in form of DVD rips. So, going to a theatre is not a question. I just have to ask my friend to get a particular movie downloaded and there it is! He gets it to me within two days. I had requested for "Minority Report" last.

I suppose I have become a symbol of gossip in my friends' circle. I am talking a lot - about many things. It was my first belief that I was just sharing it. Then I thought it was my curiosity. Then I realized that I was becoming an entertainer! I never had the intentions to create fascination or excitement but I surely did. Perhaps I even got close to back-biting or even committed it. I never wanted to make any names bad; I just wanted everything to be openly discussed and cleared. I always had this heaviness within me because there are things I can't discuss with some close friends. I tried a lot but backed off fearing repulsion. It always made me feel guilty for it made me feel that I was taking sides with irrationality. My only intention has been to be transparent. It would be painful to know that I am misunderstood. I am into a lot of gossip though!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Love Finds No Preamble


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
The curiosity went into an apparent loop that seemed to keep me turning pages without pausing. It was 11:40 pm already and I had to kill the feelings to put myself at the computer. I have less than 200 pages of the book left to be read and I will accomplish that tomorrow. I have some more in queue. And one of those will stay for long - till February 4th! I will finish one before that. The classiest one will take a lot longer if I am estimating myself correctly.

I wasted a lot of time today after waking up early - at 10 pm. But then I had a nap stretched in time after my lunch which too came at the correct time in the day. The breakfast was spread across several hours - two bananas, a mug of cold coffee and a fried egg. I wanted more. I feel hunger every hour but don't find the exact scratches for this confusing itch. I had a good meal as my dinner sometime back and I am sure I will go for the cucumber in the fridge after writing for today.

I find Yahoo's spam protection service as the worst. They keep letting 2 to 3 mails reach my inbox folder even without knowing that they belong to the classification of spam. Perhaps that I could have accepted but to make things unacceptable, they send messages from my friends into the bulk mail folder. They mark the valid mails as invalid. That gives me the additional burden of checking those tens of nonsensical mails. I like the protection provided with Gmail and Hotmail. Hotmail in fact blocks the garbage at its server without letting me even see it. Gmail presents it in the spam folder with takes in at least 10 daily. But Yahoo works pathetically.

A friend misunderstood my yesterday's post and asked me something referring to a person he thought I had written about. I explained him that he had made a mistake and he doesn't know her. Though my friend didn't go much deep into what he questioned me about, he did question me and made it clear what he thinks. I avoided all talks of the person I mentioned yesterday. I went for the person whom he tried to relate my post - I wanted him to realize that he was the only one against me on that context of defamation and he was ignoring some critical points. I even felt a surge of anger when he asked me about her. Yesterday when I wrote the post, I had only one person in my mind - the girl whose blog I read. I was empathetic and I wrote my heart out. It's saddening to see somebody could take it wrong.

I feel odd sitting at home with no plans for the coming days. I might be doing productive things time to time but spending time alone at home looks wasteful. When I go to sleep in the night, it always makes me feel good to know what I am going to do when I wake up. It gives me a reason to have a complete sleep and have some motivation for waking up fresh for work. Living on a slow-hill is ludicrously tiring. It takes my mind to distasteful places giving damned logics leading to guilt and dissatisfaction.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's Smothering Me, I Have To Do Something...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
-Martin Luther King
Yesterday after I logged out of all my accounts on Gmail and Yahoo, I began to read my blogs trying to recollect and bring back to reality the thought processes I had when I wrote those old posts. I even wondered if I am the same person who had written them. I realized nobody else can put it all that way! I found many errors in the posts. They were not exactly grammatical - the erratic behavior of my fingers that put some alphabets at absurd locations made the spelling mistakes look like grammatical. I am not justifying my language - alphabets come natural to me!

I had a long reading exercise on the computer yesterday as I read not only my blogs but several others. I am using Google Reader these days to collect feeds and present them to me from a single access place. Its making my work simple and I don't have to open any page other than my account there. I can even share the posts I like. I just have to click on a button and the blog-post's name appears on the widget on my blogs. Using this application from Google, I can keep a track of all the updates made on several blogs. It doesn't save any posts; it just makes them available to me.

A day my mother takes leave from her work always comes as a blessing to me if I have a holiday that day. I get to spend some time with her without worrying about her mood. She has problems from her work-place and I know it takes a lot from her away. We went for shopping in the morning then to meet my grandmother. I reached home in the evening and left to attend the reception of the marriage I attended a couple of days back. I missed the presence of a cousin there. We have more functions coming up.

I got around a blog yesterday and read many posts from it. It made me feel good; but it made me feel bad more. It was the feeling of overpowered emotions and the victor was the blog. Some things hit hard with no reason - or perhaps a reason we are afraid to talk about and don't even realize unless we think about others who have faced it. I have light all around me, I have the whole world open to be explored, to be enjoyed, to be overpowered - if that can be mentioned with no isolation of desire, and the only one who can change anything is Allah. But after I read this blog, I saw in real words that there can be people who have the whole world open in front of them, it will even help them enjoy it, they can overpower it if they want to; but the desire is lost, the prime mover of life - love - had exploited them.

Nobody is to be blamed - not even love. It does its work the way guided upon and the way it can be guided. Neither the reality nor the dream hurts - it hurts from inside. The pain can't be measured. Even an innocent child laughing in his sleep would hurt us making us feel that he is laughing on our plight. We try to be strong and tell ourselves that we can endure anything that pain gives, that we cannot be exploited by any emotion, that we have to stand tall and keep a smile on our face always. But it hurts from inside. Because a smile has to come from inside. I know how easy it is to make it appear in my eyes with nothing similar to it in my heart!

There might be no light ahead in some people's lives. But this blog introduced me to a person who has lots of light ahead of her but perhaps she has fallen in love with that only view. She won't let herself enter the joys of the brightness. She can't for the light betrayed her past. She had been made to weep. All I could do was read her words and comment. I don't know her. I could just pray for her sitting at my desk. I found myself naïve not able to understand what exactly I can say to make her feel better. My words could hurt her. So many people must have said her so much and tried to console her. I tried to put myself in her place to imagine what could make me feel better.

Putting me in her shoes was horror to me. The light I have mentioned looked really obfuscating. It was intimidating. I somehow felt that nothing could sooth and there was no face or a word that could make me feel good. It looked like the end - the end of what I didn't know or perhaps couldn't understand. There was no fight to be fought and no reason to be salvaged. Not even pain to be felt. Just silence. No voice.

I remember when I used to feel bad about various things some months back. What my parent would say passed through my ears like unnerving voice. Every thought was giving me pain. It used to hurt in the throat first. Then it started to move inside like some fluid accumulating in my head, moving into my teeth and then in my chest spreading all the heat and breathlessness there. I wish I could be more descriptive but I haven't felt like that since many weeks now. Only some tears have rolled. Yesterday I recollected how it used to feel. And understood that she must have endured more than that.

Companionship is the best word to describe a necessity worth life and all its prerequisites. It's not just about having an intimate friend. It’s not only the peace it gives. It’s not just about love. It’s about being complete. Its about being in the place where we belong to. It’s about having a home. It’s about sharing life and the commitment to give it all when needed. It’s about having children and furthering life. But when life itself steals away the right to all this, how can a person move ahead? No matter how much light she finds around her, she can't see it. Her right has been stolen. She has been betrayed by the light itself.

I might be too young to understand this or I suppose one would agree if I said that I don't have to understand this. I don't care for what the ethics or the cultures say. It makes a difference to me and I don't know why it does that. It moves me beyond my comfort zone. It makes me think - think if somebody has to suffer so much then I have no right to be happy. It gives me guilt, it makes me sad. It makes me hate what love is about. It makes me feel like betraying myself. And the worst part - I can only sit and write.

No matter how hard we try we can't cause to make any differences by any means. We can analyze them, learn from them, and even teach others. But where is the point when we cannot help the person who is making us realize all that. She is the one suffering. There might be people to stand by her, to take care of her, to be with her. But they are not the ones she is supposed to be. She is not living in her home. She is not living the life she must have. Is anything I can do apart from praying for her?

Monday, December 3, 2007

This Is Where I Fail

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
-Ben Franklin
Things seem to be going very unpleasant with no servant-maid in the house. Mother's getting too tired with the extra work and she finds very little time to rest in the mornings. The floor never looks untidy but the other things are in a mess. We are keeping a few places in order but its all pathetic and any guest would embarrass us by his presence. I don't know how long this will continue.

On Saturday when I went to meet my cousins, I browsed through several books before starting with 'Digital Fortress'. Today I finished a good 60 pages after the 100th. The book is a fast read with very less word-density. I hope to finish it soon and start 'Atlas Shrugged'. I had been waiting to put my hands on this book and it was gifted to me by my friends. After I finish reading it, it would be the bulkiest book I will have ever read.

Yesterday at the wedding function I saw the groom staring at me many times. After many guests left, he came out to meet all the people who were sitting there. I was with my uncle when he came and stood in front of me. He was looking at me making me feel odd. I wondered if he was going to ask me who I was. His face told me so. Then he started meeting my uncle. I stood up immediately, shook hands with him and sat down. I thought of congratulating him. I would have even done that but the cold chemistry we had developed from those eye contacts stopped me.

I saw him looking at me an hour later too. Perhaps my shirt was too shiny for that occasion and my idea of making it sober by having a jacket over it made him more interested. My father and I were the only two with formal jackets - it was Sherwani with others. I told my father that his coat looked old-fashioned with the lapels very narrow. I had asked my brother if my clothes suited the occasion. I saw many eyes telling me there that they weren't exactly. I enjoyed so many eyes.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

At Nestlé

When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen.
-Samuel Lover
I asked my father why it is considered as bad by some people to play cards. He said it was usually because they relate it to the involvement of money for gambling which is surely illegal in Islam. Otherwise, he said, its perfectly alright to play it for fun purpose. I asked an elder cousin sometime back today if he knew how to play, and he said he used to play 'Rummy' a lot. I remember once I tried to learn it from my father but couldn't understand. I play 'Solitaire' a lot on my computer and I once finished the game in 39 seconds. Yesterday I learnt how to play 'Bluff' but couldn't learn how to win it. I was too lazy to think then.

Having said how playing cards is not at all a bad thing as perceived by many, I think I can tell how much I enjoyed playing it all night yesterday till today morning. We were seven friends sitting on my house's terrace with two yellow lamps burning. I had arranged a taqt, some sheets sit on the floor and gau takiyas. And of course we had the famous hukka spreading the almost-sweet smoke. We had three grilled chickens and lots of chicken biryaani with coke.

The plan was made some days back when I told a friend that I can get a hukka and we will party someday soon. Then I said it can be done on Saturday but I didn't then know we would be doing it all night. I had to get the equipment from my cousin, and purchase the flavor and synthetic coal from a shop at Mehdipatnam. I was afraid that I would not be able to set it up perfectly but it turned out well when I did it the first time. The second time I used a little less flavor and it wasn't satisfactory. But we had a great time. Everybody tasted it!

The night passed by very quickly. It was cold but I was fine with it. Only my palms were feeling the bitterness of the breeze. As the night approached dawn, the chill increased making the time even more enjoyable. The 'Bluff' games kept us engrossed and excited giving no room for sleep or tiredness. There was no disturbance from phones or anybody else. The only difficult thing came to me after everybody went - I had to wash all the plates and cutlery we used. We don't have a servant-maid helping my mother with house-hold work and she does almost everything. I wanted not to burden her. The platform and the level of the sink in the kitchen is too low for me giving me lots of back-ache while I stood holding each plate under the tap. It was tiring before I finally went to sleep at 7:30 am. My day began at 1:30 pm.

We had to attend a lunch-party at a cousin sister's house she bought recently. I met all my relatives there. I had spent the complete afternoon at an aunt's place yesterday and today again we met. There will a third meet in the evening when we would be attending the wedding function of my father's cousin's daughter. We have invitation of marriage-functions in a row from now on. I hope I get to attend all of them. I like meeting my people, talking to them and spending time with them and these occasions are the only ones when I get a chance. We all are busy otherwise.

After I washed the dishes in the morning, I searched for something to eat in the fridge and found a cutlet and shaami kabab. After heating them for 30 seconds I sat at the dining table thinking about the card game wondering why I couldn't win even a single time. Not that I can't lie, I was surely hesitant. Then I thought how that game can show everybody's intellect and intelligence in a crystal-clear view. The tactics employed by every player show how he thinks and how well he can manipulate his own moves. It even explain how immaculately he can deceive - all a part of the game of course. Then I wondered if I was lacking these skills and if this could effect any of my coming times. I wondered it I am not sharp enough to play such games in real-life. Then I recollected the name of the game and laughed. The name itself is "Bluff" and I felt glad I didn't win any of it!

One of my friends has started working in a call center - GE Money. Another would be joining soon. They cleared the interview rounds and were too happy for what they achieved. I mentioned about this to my mother and she asked me to enjoy whatever time I have before engineering ends. And today I began counting how much I have been enjoying these days and how much money I have been spending. In the last 10 days itself, I am sure, I have spent around Rs. 1500. And I feel fine with it. It am not putting it on useless things. I am enjoying with my friends and I am spending it on myself. I just have to keep a count on the numbers. I have to make the figures on the paper match with the ones in my wardrobe's vault.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tricked By My Own Heart

You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Some years back when I was doing my intermediate studies I had a big debate with my parents in which I tried to explain them why I had no friends giving every quotable reason for it. I couldn't succeed and my father had said that I didn't know how to make friends and I didn't know what friendship was. I had not told him the chief reason for avoiding close friendships. I couldn't tell him how weak I am in staying away from people who are dear to me. I couldn't tell him that I was afraid of making friends because I was afraid of loosing them - loosing them in time, loosing them to others, loosing them to myself. Four years later, now, my fear has materialised and I don't know how I am going to bear it.

I had a particular group of friends in my engineeri's first year and it was all formal. They were my friends because they sat around the place I was sitting in the classroom, and being a student I had to keep formal friendship with my classmates. We all were simply friends with no big emotional attachments. When I started making some friends a little far away from my bench in the classroom, I remember somebody saying "you are no more with us these days". The next year I had a new set of friends.

We were still simply friends with the three guys being a bit closer to being called as good friends. Things kept happening. I never had thought before that I would ever talk to a girl in the college. Soon in third year we were a group of nine friends. I changed. I don't know about others because I didn't know them before. They were all good to me, gave me lots of respect, made me feel important and most precisely, I was getting emotionally attached to them. I had my fears but the warmth never made me realize what all this happiness could lead me to.

I kept friends with old people too. Three of my casual friends from intermediate times got more closer to me though we weren't meeting frequently. When one of them left for US, I got the first blow in friendship. Though I am in good contact with him, I never knew I would miss him. The other two too got more closer to me even when we hardly share anything in common. In the college, I became a part of two groups. I can't call the second one as a group precisely, but I had two different sets of friends. One of them became more than just a group to me. Today, as I write this, I am emotionally attached to each of the eight and it gives me creeps to imagine my time without them. I will surely have some tough times after I get done with my engineering. I will have to move on.

Among the several invaluable things they all did for me is a blog they made to wish me on my birthday. I have read the messages in it several times by now and the only thing I can say is that I am sorry, I might not be able to return to them the kind of friendship they gave to me, I might not be strong enough to be such a good friend in return, I am afraid of this bond we have built for it is transient and we won't be together some months from now. I am sorry I tried to become a good friend even when I had that fear in my heart. We can't make the time stop. We can't make friendships stop. But someday we have to move on. The fear would be no more then. Because it would have by then done the damage.

Yesterday we all went for a lunch at a restaurant in Jubilee Hills. We had a wonderful time there. The gifts, the flowers, the presence of each of my friends, the presence of the friendship, the smiles, laughs, giggles, and mischief - it was all mesmerising. The fear too was still there and it didn't cease to exist for a single moment. I couldn't even move away from any of them telling that I can't take it when time moves up apart. I am sure they all are stronger than me. Mental strength is something I couldn't teach myself till now.

I went to meet my aunt today in Malakpet. Even my grandmother is there these days and it was long since I had been there. I sat talking to my cousin for long about our engineering syllabi and campus placements. She is in second year and already worried about the later thing. I spent about three hours there and returned home just in time to receive two of my friends here. Now I am sitting here reminiscing not able to understand what I must do next keeping in mind about what has to be done - as a plain objective.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Don't Feel It

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
-Robert Benchley
I tried to search within me if there was something new after I turned 21. It was all same. I wasn't feeling any different. Surely a number can't differ with my feelings. Numbers don't define maturity either. They just give more permissions! This time I already had them. Somethings just got legalized.

I had the most sleepy of all my days today. I slept after 3:30 am yesterday and I keeps sleeping from time to time till today evening. I hardly did anything apart from spending some time with a friend who came home. And I am feeling sleepy again now.

A cousin for mine who had started a blog more than a year back but didn't continue writing has started another one. This time he looks promising with an Internet connection at his home in Mecca. He is 13 but 'works' like 16. I remember a friend telling me that these days we find generation gaps for just four years' differences in age.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Purview

Never hate your enemies. It clouds your judgement.
-Michael Corleone, The Godfather
Like how I did several times in the past, I opened the 'create' page and signed out without writing a single word. I had words but no feeling of having the need to type them. I thought I could sleep a bit early but I went to bed after 3 am. I am afraid I am getting used to this schedule. I have to correct myself soon. Yesterday a friend who came to my house met with an accident and it was for the first time I saw such physical pain with blood. He got badly hurt on his fingers and we just hope that he finds enough strength in his fingers to write the last exam tomorrow.

It's environmental studies for tomorrow. We won't find any marks of this subjected being included in the aggregate percentage but scoring 40% is compulsory. I have been through some questions and though I can get away with it even without opening the book again, I will spend some more time. Not that I have opened my book till now, a friend read those answers to us and it was sufficient. I was at the college today with three more friends.

I spoke to so many people today - mostly on phone and it was nice to hear some voices. Talking to my aunt from Mecca especially was soothing. I had been wanting to talk to her but was missing the chance always. She called me first in th evening, the line wasn't clear. She kept calling but we couldn't talk. I called back and the line wasn't clear again. We spoke finally when she called sometime back.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

And This Will All Just Be A Dream

Mother. Tonight I decide.
- Achilles to Thetis




I have always thought of the idea of my father dropping me to my college thinking how warm it would be to have him at a place that has taught me some very important things for my life. It could have made me feel so fortunate if I could walk with him showing all the places in the college I have memories attached to. He dropped me to the college in November 18th but he couldn't come inside - the authorities weren't allowing anybody but students to come inside the campus. I left from outside. I had asked him to drop me there that day and he had agreed.

I still don't know how I did the test. CL says I would score 58 and also shows a small list of worthy colleges I can apply for. IMS speaks of the same score but presents a brighter list of colleges. TIME gives some motivation to apply for these colleges telling me that I will have 63 as my score. 58 or 63, my percentile would be between 73 and 81. No talks of how I am feeling and neither will I write about these numbers. They might end up meaning nothing. I neither feel pain nor feel like calling the nothingness as pain. The test looked like a mock to me.

I was playing with a friend sometime back using the coloring application which is a part of yahoo messengers. I was glad to see even Pidgin supporting it. The pictures I have posted are some of what we did. There are some more but I don't want to get into any controversies! We ridiculed on some people and made fun of them drawing colors out of excitement. It was fun with attempts to include irony in it. We both made proportional contributions to all these pictures and all of them have more than one meaning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Grandfather

Dear Nana,

I have seen you several times since you left us. But I couldn't touch you; neither could talk to you at my will. They were dreams and they were of the kind that would never come true. Hardly a day passes by when I don't think of you before sleeping. Though things are the same as they used to be, they don't give the same feeling with you not around.

I frequently think about that hospital ward inside the most critical place there where I came to meet you after you had a major heart attack in 2005. You had asked me to pray for you and hearing that was a very painful thing for me. You knew that your heart was very less on functionality and the doctors had given up. You had asked me to pray for your life. And I went home and cried because I loved you and I couldn't imagine my life without your presence.

Now you are gone Nana and I don't understand what it is that troubles me every moment I go to your house or sit down to pray. I remember you holding my small fingers and taking me to the nearby shop to buy me candy. How can I forget those car-shaped chocolates you used to give me and my cousins usually on Saturdays when we met? I haven't eaten them since the time you were asked not to go out for walks - nobody gave them to me and I never bought them. Nana those chocolates are still sold in some shops. When I see them I only hope that someday when I go to your house, you would ask me to take them from the fridge and share it with my brother. I have taken several chocolates from the fridge since then given to me by Ammi, but I miss those 'cars'. You loved me more than your son and daughters.

I remember holding your hands when I met you in the last Ied. I didn't know I was holding them for the last time in my life. On that Saturday when you lay lifeless, I wanted to touch you but had no courage. I want to touch you and hold your hands again Nana. Please come back.

I know I was a very troublesome grandson not obeying you too frequently. I used to love making fun of you so many times. I never listened to you when you asked me not to play outside. I always shouted while playing with my cousins and never heeded when you asked for peace. I countered everything you said about life. I disobeyed you when you asked me not to stay outside late-night. I know Nana I have sinned and I could never give you the happiness of having a considerate grandson around. Please forgive me if you can. I loved you and I will always love you.

You come back Nana - I will show you how I am no more the kind of person I was a year back. I will agree to everything you say and I will obey all you ask me for. I will never disturb you while you go to sleep, I will never play outside and make noise, and I will always take every advice you give me considering them the words of a man who has seen everything life could offer. Give me once single chance to live with you again Nana and I will be the best grandson the world has ever seen. And this time when you come back, I will spend more time sitting with you and when you go to sleep, I will stay in your room praying and begging Allah that you wake up this time.

That day, Nana, when you didn't wake from your sleep, I was with my friends in the college. There was nothing important I was doing there - just gossiping. I wish I had come to your house at least an hour early and I could have met you. By the time I was there, you had already left us. Forgive us Nana; we realized about your departure a lot later when Ammi tried to wake you up to serve tea. She shouted; Mamma, Aunty, Khalamma - they all ran to your room and tried to wake you up. I ran out to get some help. I remember that Nana, I was running on the street like crazy to find an auto-rickshaw. When I returned, the doctor who lives beside your house had explained everybody at home that you have become cold and there was no life in what lay of yours in your bed.

You couldn't have endured seeing how everybody cried. I stood at the door staring at our neighbor who carefully tied a cloth around your face and pulled a white sheet all over your body. I wanted to stop him. I wanted to ask him not to do this with my grandfather. I couldn't speak and he finished making you body a divine object of peace. I stood there still feeling myself lifeless, hearing everybody crying, hoping that life returns to you. But you were gone and now as I sit to write you this letter, all I feel is immense pain in my heart and tears rolling down my cheeks. I don't know why I am writing this.

Nana, you might never get to read this letter but many people will read it and they will know that I loved you even when I couldn't be a good grandson. And Nana, this letter will be read long after even I am no more. Everybody will read it Nana, but you. Can't you at least give me one chance to let you know how much I love you? Can you please let me tell thank you a million times and allow me to ask your forgiveness? Please Nana, I can't keep the guilt any longer with me. I need to tell you all this.

If you come back Nana, you will never have any problem with the water supply in your locality. They have installed new pipelines and Mamu has got the sump repaired and this one doesn't leak. There is plenty of water and none of my cousins waste it. Aunty had postponed her departure from Hyderabad by a week then and now she is in Mecca. She was not well a few weeks back but Alhamdulillah she is fine now. Her younger son has started going to school and when he speaks to Ammi on phone, he asks her to come to his house there. He has forgotten you Nana, but I give you my word, the next time he comes here, I will tell him everything about you and also how you loved and cared for him.

Mamu has left Aramco for-good and he is staying with Ammi. He is doing a job here and is always busy. I had not spent much time with him before but now when I see him now, he is all you. His way of talking resembles you, the way he walks, his height - he is indeed you son Nana and he was alone in Abquaiq when he heard about your demise. I still remember his crying voice when I spoke to him on phone that day.

I can never forget that day Nana. When I reached you home, I was hungry and was about to sit for lunch. I ate sometime only in the night when was forced. I wanted to eat nothing because I was used to hearing you ask me to have my lunch when I came to meet you on Saturdays. You were not there to ask me for that. Nana you didn't even ask me if I had gone to college that day and if I had any classes to attend that evening. Nana I didn't hear your considerate voice that day asking how I was. Please Nana I long to hear that. And trust me this time I will reply with all smiles and stay with you all the time. I will have my meal only when you ask me to and I won't shout back.

Pappa and Uncle were arranging for your funeral to be done with Zuhar prayers. I asked them and insisted that it should be done before that - in Fajar. I couldn't bear seeing you that way Nana. I couldn't even participate in the last right where your body was being washed. I knew I couldn't stand that and I stayed in the other room. I wished I had heeded to Uncle when he called me.

Even though it was early morning Nana, many people came to your funeral. Almost the whole of our neighborhood was there and Nana those guys you always used to hate were the people who did all the rights to help bring you down gently below the ground level, rest you there, seal your body and cover it completely. They are very good people Nana and they did what your grandson should have done. Your grandson is a looser Nana and he is weak. I am sorry; I couldn't be the last person to touch you.

That night one of your friends came to pay his regards. I was the one who took him inside and rolled up a little that cloth that was covering you. He stood there for a few seconds and I could see pain and grief all over him. I understood how it could feel to loose a friend. Nana while I was pulling that cloth back on your face, it rubbed your untrimmed beard and produced a scratch noise. I am sorry if I hurt you with that Nana. It was a mistake and I couldn't forgive myself for that till now.

So many people came that day Nana - even the sons and daughters of your long lost relatives. Your elder brother came the next day from Warangal. That was a bitter part. He was crying Nana. He was crying for he had come to pay respects on his younger brother's death. Everybody cried that day Nana but me. I have been crying every few days ever since then. I love you Nana and I couldn't cry that day because it was too big a thing for me to believe in. I never thought I had to live my life without you.

I have seen many things after that Nana. I got selected for a job in Infosys, started driving regularly and wrote CAT. Nana I didn't do well in CAT and I have failed many expectations. I wish I could tell you all this Nana. I am sure you would have felt a lot of happiness when you heard about you grandson getting a job. And I know Nana you would have grieved over his defeats and losses. But I give you my word now Nana, I will give in everything to become a successful person and I would do everything to keep my parents happy. I will remember all the things on life you have said and I will follow them with care. And Nana, I will always hope to meet you some day.

In a few days I will be 21 and I will miss your blessings that day. I have my exams going on now and I sometimes hope that you call me and ask me how I was doing them and wish me good luck. I miss the care you used to show me whenever I was sick. You used to ask me about my health so frequently Nana that I used to get irritated. You were considerate beyond comprehension and I never respected that. Nobody asks for me so much now Nana and I sometimes feel lonely. Mamma and Pappa take good care of me but you are missing.

There is so much I have to tell you Nana but they don't come out now. I will write to you again soon. And this time, I will do my best to tell you things that would make you happy. Once again Nana, I miss you a lot and I long to meet you again. I pray for you so frequently and hope that sometime in the hereafter we get to talk. I will take the replies to my letters from you then.

See you soon Nana. Khuda hafiz.

Regards,
Zubair

P.S.: I have done some cleaning of your room and trashed several old things and some magazines. It took a lot to heart to do that Nana. There are several valuable artifacts lying safely in the cupboards and even the collections of stones and photographs. I will keep them safely until I meet my day.

Friday, November 16, 2007

“Look guys, if you're just going to stare at me, I'm going to bed!”

But it made me think about death. I don't feel I'll live a long life. That's why I have to get what I can from every day.
- Elvis Presley
I can still do something very easy like joining Infosys when I finish my engineering next year. I can start earning immediately and have a good chance of staying with my parents for longer. I can enjoy the rest of my days in the college and even get to keep around Rs. 20,000 I have taken from my mother for admission processes for MBA. My parents would be happy with this and nobody would complain. I will become independent and do what I want and when I want. I will be in control of my life.

The difficult thing is to become a slave of my dreams. I will have to work a lot more - do my best in CAT, try to do better in XAT and IBSAT and work even more to get the admission. That won't be the end of it - I will have to spend two years doing hard work like I have never done before. And stay away from my parents. This will even delay money reaching me. And I won't be able to relax in the months to come. I will miss everything I have enjoyed these 21 years.

The rewards might constitute a heavier pay check when I finally get a job, more respect and most importantly the fulfillment of all the dreams I have seen. I will become a slave of my dreams. I will have to make sacrifices. Stay alone and away from my parents and not meet them for months together. The biggest sacrifice would be the ease I would be running away from on a chase for something that could bring a lot of criticism for me if I succeed. I will have to face negativity and loneliness.

Everything has a price attached to it. I don't know why my parents keep talking about me getting married. They enjoy it and confuse me. It confuses me because it looks attractive and easy and simple. I will get respect even this way. I am just 21 - a bit less than that in fact - and my parents look excited already. They just make me think. And I enjoy thinking about it. That's the problem with me right now. It's a feeling I must contain and look for delayed gratification. But why?

I had this thought when I wrote the last post here. That even made me put up that quote from the movie 'Troy'. I don't compare myself to any character from it and neither am I interested in making my name immortal. I just want to be happy, lave and be loved. And right now I feel like pouring all my heart here the way a drunk would do in front of his closest friend. It would be such a big relief only if I could do it and nobody questioned. I wouldn't mind being laughed at - I laugh at myself more than anybody. I know every boy or a girl of my age has these things, or rather plans, in mind and many fantasies attached to them. I don't have any fantasies though - I have stopped enjoying them long back - but the things that could easily be turned into reality seem far from real if I choose to continue with my studies. And I am going to go ahead for my dreams. I don't dream wild; I dream hard. I never work hard.

I remember my father telling a few times "you need to have children and lots of money when you are young", and I agree with him. I guess I would still be young at 24! And this is not immature thinking. Staying away from my parents is my biggest worry now; it's not much with CAT. There isn't much I can do about it - I can only write it and pray for the best - for its only Allah who decides. I don't want to be a celebrity or a famous personality - I just want to be called as the best person by the people who know me. This, I don't know, is realistic or not. As a bottom line, I have to live for what I have dreamt and see it come true not as a miracle but as a blessing from Allah which gives satisfaction to me and a feeling of deserved achievement. Some things still attract me.

I have not written this post to come to any conclusions or make resolutions. I wanted to be analytical and critical of this dilemma and confusion I am facing and for which I know, it is just a transient feeling. I have never found anything in my life as boring. I have enjoyed every bit of it and have seen how it feels to be so blessed. Its not even that I am living in a fast lane - I know what's happening and where I am leading myself to. Some earlier defeats come as a reminiscence but retrospecting and learning from them makes me feel stronger. I couldn't have experienced them at a better time and I couldn't have salvaged any better. I want to be loved, not envied.