And for some reason, maybe the way he said it, I began to understand. He wasn't giving me an order. My dad, was asking me for help. That morning, as I stood with the man who was my father... The son of my grandfather, the man who would one day be the grandfather of my sons...I realized something. That not all gifts are simple. That some battles are fought out of love.- Narrator, The Powers That Be [3.12], The Wonder Years
As I pulled the car into the drive way I saw two birds resembling ducks near the rear tire of a parked car on the right side. They started crossing the drive way and I had to come to a dead halt. I have never seen such birds here and I assume they were migrating to some place and stopped over for some food. Though they resembled ducks, I am half sure they were not. Their beaks were flat but short and they were smaller in size than the ducks I know. They could be ducks too but they were interesting due to their colorful feathers at the neck. They took short steady steps making me fall in love with their moves. I was waiting in the car for them to clear my way. Perhaps I would have written more about them if they had at least turned their heads towards me in appreciation of my patience. I waited for them to cross; I didn't even honk. They were rude and knew only of their way.
Frequently my memory goes back to my grandparents' house 15 years back. The scene of the open veranda, the servant maid sitting on the floor cutting vegetables and onions around 11 am daily and my grandmother on the other side of the veranda in the kitchen cooking - usually boiling the fresh milk at that time of the day. The guava tree outside the grill always had fruits on it and the curry-leaves tree was green all through the year. A cat was usually seen sitting on the boundary wall watching birds sit on the tree, come down to the floor of veranda, take pieces of vegetable waste and fly away. The huge pomegranate tree was on the other side not visible in this scene. But I feel it's cool presence well aware of the sweet fruit it always blessed me with; alhamdulillah.
There was a small nest made by some sparrows in the outer side of a ventilator at roof-level and one of those sparrows had a cut limb. Though when sparrows move on the ground they appear to be hopping, this sparrow's hop was different. It would fly down from it's nest, pick pieces of cut cilantro in it's beak and fly away. I remember seeing this happen several times during those days. I remember our servant maid leaving vegetable waste on purpose in the open so that these birds could pick them up. After those days, I don't remember seeing many sparrows in India. And now, when I am here, I seem them so frequently. I miss that lame sparrow. A few years back I wept thinking about that small bird. I guess it's already dead.
In the evening I was checking out at Walmart when I saw a three-years-or-so girl playing with a CD box waiting for her mother. A boy younger to her was sitting on the cart and there was a baby lying inside the cart. I watched the girl moving around jumping when she saw me. I smiled at her and she returned a smile but I turned away with several things in my mind. I recollected my brother telling me that my smile looked artificial most of the times, I realized I have not found any times in the last one week to shave my beard that I might be looking unpleasing and I was sure I would feel more sad watching those three kids play not giving me a chance to join them and talk to them. The girl was so beautiful. She was Hispanic.
Tuesday morning I returned from the university at 6:45 am. We were working on a project involving AES, MAC and Google APIs for a few days and we had to submit it before evening the same day. The day before I went to the university in the afternoon after returning from job, came back to apartment for some rest and food and went back again. On Tuesday afternoon I was there to make the final proceedings. Our submission was before time but we were late for another assignment we had. An hour later I had another submission for a core course. The class had already started and I was working in the lab. I called my teammate who was in the class; as expected, he didn't receive. He called me back after a few minutes. I asked him if he could come out for a minute. A couple of minutes later I was on my way back to my apartment thanking Allah how blessed I am to have wonderful people around me. I had handed over some papers to my teammate and asked him to submit them on my behalf. I couldn't attend the class because there was hardly any time left for it to get over.
The status message of a contact in Facebook reminded me of a poem I had written about more than two years back. His status message said he was very happy. That night I wrote the poem I was very happy too - with no reason; and I don't remember being happy like that again since then. It's not that happiness has stayed away from me - I have seen lots of happiness and satisfaction in other ways; but this was different. It was night time and seemed as if it was going to rain, the weather was pleasant with cool breeze entering the window and the only thing I knew was that I was very happy. I remember no words of the poem, I only remember what made me write it; I remember the happiness. It was so different again when I was going for work at 5:30 am in the morning. Every day seems something different here. Alhamdulillah. My job started at 6 am on Thursday.
One of my friends is going to leave for Jeddah next week inshAllah. He has had his share of waiting and now inshAllah he shall be on his own. It's eight months and ten days since I have left home and I seem to have forgotten so many things about how I used to live there. Allah has made us very flexible and adjusting that we can blend ourselves into anything we find worth it. I am going to see my first summer here and I hope I make the most out of it. I want to earn as much as possible and perfect Java. InshAllah by next month I will have paid off for my car and I know how I will be satisfied. It's another dream fulfilled alhamdulillah - having a car here is not a big deal but having it being a student like me is. Right now I can think of only one thing in this life that could give me more happiness than anything else. It's not getting a permanent job, going to India, getting married or even buying an island. It's something else irreplaceable.