Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Though Only A Few Times

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.
-Confucius, Analects
It's 5:17 am, an hour has passed after I reached this place I call home and I have to go to work in the afternoon again. I was supposed to take a day off on Tuesday for this week but I was asked to swap it for another day. It was a mood-spoiler. I prefer staying close to the schedule but we have hardy done that in last two months. I even wonder if there is somebody who realizes it. Alhamdulillah I have never caused to make any difference to any schedules. I have so much to talk about but no heart to listen. This April seems so odd. This might be the right way to play it but not the way to win it.

It's taking me like a forever to write a post at this time of the day and I am disappointed for the reason I had to put 'blogger' in the address bar finally. I wish I had exciting things to write about or rather the excitement to write about them. Moments are so context based that it would take me several paragraphs to get to explain what I am talking about. Not that I have anybody to explain to, anybody to justify to, it's just me I need to let know of what's going down.

I have been thinking of printing all posts of this blog. When I shared this idea with a friend he felt I would be wasting money and time on it. It didn't disappoint me, it just made me sure that few things matter only to me even if they are worth nothing in the supposedly real world. It's easily going to take 600 pages; I can recollect how I would write every day and never missed to record every detail of what effected. I remember hardy of anything of that though. I just sit here today as a resultant product of all that and of course lots more.

I have two books on Java spread a little away from me on my left side. On one of those books there is a brown packet that has all lease's papers. I renewed them for my apartment for another six months. Then there is an automobile classifieds paper right behind the screen of my laptop; I have been going through things like these for over a month now; I found no time yet to show the result of that search. On my right is a leather jacket I bought a few days after getting back from India. I don't know what prompted me to get that; I bought it from Dillards and didn't want it to be from China. It is though.

I have been trying to study Java for long. It's almost like a necessity now. I want to stay in this country for long. After writing these few lines, I now feel, I can go on for any number of pages. But I stop with this one. It's good to hold back at the right times, always a good idea to think before talking and an awesome thing to keep patience. There is a bunch of people now I have to call, respond with some work or at least talk to say a 'hello'. It sounds like a burden at times but it's a commitment of my word. I was planning to visit India in July but decided not to because though it's a good idea, it's not something I should think about. It's so awesome to see children smile.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh Allah! You Are Awesome

Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.
- Eknath Easwaran
It's snowing again today. I could feel it like a deja vu when I was entering my apartment - the parking lot, the walkway and the plants look exactly like they looked the last time it snowed. That was four weeks back when we saw 13 inches of it. We played for hours in the university that Thursday and prepared biryani later in the evening. But back then I had different things in my mind - it was not 4:59 am and I was glad enough. Since that day I haven't had a day off. Though I don't feel it as a necessity, though I don't long to spend time doing nothing, though I know spending time without work would irritate my mind more and bring unnecessary thoughts into it, I would relish spending a day of that kind.

I feel good now that I can live with very little contact back to India. I talk to my mother daily but not to my father - it wasn't easy to reduce my number of calls. I realized I am no longer capable of putting everything into words and silence is generally misleading. My time on phone itself has come down to less than quarter of what it used to be. When I visited India I was looking for a change within me. Now when I am back I see my visit has changed me. I was glad to be with my parents; I have a list of people who disappointed me. I blame them for nothing though it could have given me comfort. I am rather bent on forgiving myself.

Even until a few days back it was difficult for me to imagine how I could hold things limited to me by not sharing them, now it seems so easy. Not that I have anybody I can call anytime I want and say anything yet expect some loyalty, I just don't feel like saying anything. I am not learning anything this way, it's just an optional way of living. I am not afraid of not being understood, I am rather more concerned with not understanding others. I am not an object using which somebody else's debt can be paid back. I have a life and dreams only my parents can put a right on. It just takes one day's of holding, one day of control - any knowledge can be buried.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I have 17 minutes more of Internet connectivity on my laptop. Of course, I had to buy it. I wonder why they can't just have some hotspots for free. I checked mails, sent messages to a few friends and let my parents know of my safety alhamdulillah. It was a tiring experience at Mumbai. Right from the terminal-transfer coach to the airport itself. It feels like they want to make things difficult there. It was relieving to see my seat on BA 138. I slept for more than six hours.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Raining

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.
- Stephen Vincent Benét
Several facts went through me all through the evening I thought I could write before I decided I can let them go for the moment. I took time for myself today and did nothing. I lay for several hours thinking nothing half the time and trying to think about facts in ways I would have wished them to be for the other half; our thinking doesn't change them - they remain. I went on my house's terrace after it was fully dark in the evening. I watched lights that weren't there 16 months back, I stared at the buildings which seem to have recently appeared and recollected the building phases of my house. I could recollect from start to end. Recollecting this can never really make any difference.

Tomorrow I will be having many of my relatives and a few friends with me in the evening. I had imagined a day like this long back but never could think of how it would feel. This will probably be the biggest gathering in my house in last 19 years. We never had so many people visit us before. We wanted to have this done before we rented out our ground floor again. I had planned for a lunch with a group of close friends but some south Indian terrorists seem to be interested in playing spoil sport. Either ways I will keep myself busy this weekend inshAllah. I have some cousins I need to give time.

I tried for a while to think how I can change this. I felt myself like a fool, tried to think again but stopped. I am more relying myself on things I have already learnt rather than trying to learn anything new to move myself ahead. Things seem to have lost willingness to proceed. More of it is getting random day after day. Occasions are losing connections and ends hang illogically. The coming year is going to be very important. I will inshAllah finish my masters and look for a permanent job. My mother wants me to come back to India once I am done with my studies and find a job here instead of in America. I think otherwise. I believe otherwise. It just ain't happening.

I am pretty sure by now that I am not going to get what I am looking in the direction I am going and with the pace I am walking. It has to be something else. InshAllah this path too will give me a good life alhamdulillah. But that's incomplete. Things don't change overnight; miracles don't change lives of everybody; not everyone of us is a genius. Alongside the things I learnt, there was a lot I unlearned too. Perhaps it shouldn't have been that way. Perhaps that's how it should be. I don't even understand what I should ask Allah for - I get too shy, unsure and some times hesitant. At the back of my mind I keep getting the feeling that it was going to happen this way. It's something I have always been afraid of.

I was asked if I would have cauliflower for dinner today and I told my mother I won't. She heard it, asked me again and I agreed. I am being called now to have it. It's not that I don't like it. It's one of those very few vegetables I don't easily prefer. I have been afraid of few more things and like these fears which have turned into reality I pray to Allah things turn out to be better than how I have imagined. I am trying to make myself more flexible with my thoughts and beliefs. This puts me in contrast with people who have stayed with me for long but have changed in some other ways incoherent to my inclinations. I am losing people I can talk to. I am losing the will to talk.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Losing People

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
-Billy Wilder
Grossly around 1 pm my phone rang thrice and I didn't receive any of those calls. One of the caller reached my brother's phone and I ended talking to him. It was a friend who wanted me to come over to Chowmahalla Palace. A friend had come over from some other city and he wanted to meet me there. I didn't commit to meet. Few minutes later I sent a text saying I was going to stay with my parents for the rest of the day. If somebody wants to meet me, he need not ask somebody else to ask me to come over to some place I don't even have a clue of. I slept after 5:30 am and it's always irritating to have somebody question my sleeping patterns.

I sleep when I feel sleepy. I wake up when it is necessary. I am not a slave of what others would term it. I could easily ignore everybody who talks irritating stuff but the problem is with those few who are supposed to be, and expected to be, soothing to my heart. In last few months there have been occasions when I have gone for more than 40 hours with no sleep at all when needed and have slept for 10 hours continuously when I could. I am glad there are many people who understand me. Many of them usually get me wrong.

I never thought it would take me so many days to write for this blog again. I wanted to write something at length but I guess just at the start of second paragraph I realized I was not going to last much longer. I am glad I could make it till third. I can be infinitely patient now. I can even wait for years to let somebody know the mistakes he or she has committed. I can wait to see how people have changed their perspectives and yet never let them know till they might still be able to understand what has happened. I am in India right now for 16 more days.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Among The People Of Menthol

"Hello Rabbit, is that you?"
"Let's pretend it isn't", said Rabbit, "and see what happens."
- Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne
Some weeks back when a customer wanted to make some money selling the beer he had, he asked my co-worker "do you drink beer?", he heard the answer "I drink only blood. Fresh human blood. You got some?". I have quickly realized how my body reacts when something annoys me to an extreme in a short period. I feel a rush of blood on my face beneath my skin. Alhamdulillah I always know what not to do when I feel blood on my face. Though I calm myself down quickly smiling more at those who face me, I know it's all amounting to stress.

One of our professors said there is a federal directive that some information on flu is read to all the students in the classes. A thing which many ignore, which he thought should be said prior to anything else, is the point that more people are dying with common flu than with the swine flu which seems to be more threatening. That's a different thing. What was important for the class is that we are not supposed to be in the university even if we are planning to sneeze after an hour. The professor said he would sit with us again to explain what we have missed if that happens. He will give us his time only after we get back to normal. He said he doesn't want to die.

Some medical agency is afraid that the virus causing common flu would mutate and grow into a deadly organism that could possibly wipe out a quarter of the present human race. That sounded like fiction to me. But I understand that's just the worst case. Keeping worst case in front of us helps us make smaller the effect of what could be already less than the worst. The virus will not mutate inshAllah, my co-worker bought no beer that evening - he stopped drinking eight years back, I know my store is not competing with Walmart on prices - every customer who fights will have to leave - and I met a man who spent 37 years in prison - he lives in west Dallas. 90% of menthol cigarette smokers comprise women and African-Americans.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Story Continues In Texas

I hope you have lost your good looks, for while they last any fool can adore you, and the adoration of fools is bad for the soul. No, give me a ruined complexion and a lost figure and sixteen chins on a farmyard of Crow's feet and an obvious wig. Then you shall see me coming out strong.
- George Bernard Shaw, to Mrs. Patrick Campbell
I had been thinking of writing since evening without even a faint clue of what. I got back to my apartment at 1 am. I knew I had one curry in the refrigerator even if there was nothing else. I thought I could have it with rice. I realized I will have to cook some to enjoy the curry the way I wanted to. Instead I heated three tortillas and had them. It was satisfying but something seems missing. I had cup full of soda with five cubes of ice. I think I will have a banana after I am done with this. I badly need some continuous undisturbed sleep. It could be such a luxury.

The next holiday I will have will be in the last week of November when my classes end as scheduled. I haven't seen the schedules yet but I guess they will end in just around Thanksgiving. In December inshAllah I will go to India. I am looking ahead for that trip but I am worried about a few things. I want to be pretty clear with why I am going there and what I shouldn't be doing when I am there. It's 3:25 am right now and yesterday at the same time I was in the university studying. It gets so good with very few people around. Fall weather is a thing to enjoy. I find no time for that.

Some days back when I sent a message to my brother on Facebook asking him to shave his beard, our cousins interrupted and came in his favor. I asked them in a polite way not to interfere as I talk to my brother. My brother replied coming against me. I realized I was interfering in his life. It's such a great idea to have an evening for myself spending it under an open sky, watching the birds gather before they go to sleep, see the sun slide away and feel the air loose it's temperature. I will do it someday when I get to India. I wish there will be nothing to worry about then.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.
- Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
There's a sharp pain in my neck reaching up till my forehead travelling all through the center of the skull. That still seems to be alright. It hasn't reached my cheek-bones yet. I had a good dinner a while ago, of course sitting alone in the living with my laptop in front of me. It's always nice to be in continuous contact with at least one person and talk as if we have been talking continuously since nobody knows when. The day starts and the talk proceeds as if it had never ended. That's always a luxury. The ache seems to hurt my eyes now. I can have a pill but I guess I will sleep in sometime. I have class at 10:30 am.

Some days back I asked my father why wasn't sending me e-mails. He complained that it was I who stopped. I wrote to him the next day. He said he will reply. I reminded him thrice since then. It's been a week since I wrote. He hasn't replied. I am not going to ask him now. It has just become one of those thing I won't be talking again. It might seem naive of me talk to my father daily on phone and even expect him to write to me. They are two different media with different emotions. So much has been reduced to basics. So much has ceased to be exciting. My eyes are hurting me now. I need to sleep.

I need to wash the cup I had soda in a while ago. The ice in it hasn't melted yet. The paper towel I keep with me while having food is still there on the floor and needs to be trashed. I need to brush my teeth, turn the alarm on and go to sleep. All this seems so much and yet I keep typing. There is so much to be done after waking up. I can feel blood moving in my fists when I close them. It's something like waves turning on and off inside my fingers. My forehead's going to burst now. I wish I could stay up longer. Perhaps the best way to fulfill a desire is to shut it off. At least there won't be any artificial looking hope after that. My parents keep breaking the hope often that I keep building repeatedly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Burning Up My Days

Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was the right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.
- Chapter Seven, The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne
A little while ago I was having my dinner and looking frequently at the prayer mat that was lying on the floor beside a table in my bedroom. My mother had given it to me saying it was smaller in size and would not take much space in my luggage. A cousin gave me another prayer mat here which is of regular size. I guess I prayed on that one only once. The smaller one always finds me thinking about my mother. I spoke to her a few hours back alhamdulillah.

I am in the living room now and my eyes fall frequently on the white bowl left by my room mate on the table. He fried something to eat with the daal I prepared. I thought of having something with the daal and rice too but we are out of pickles. The lest time I went to a desi store I found pickles there had have asafoetida or sounf in them. The former makes my mouth taste bad and the latter makes the pickles sweet. I didn't get what I wanted.

Long back when I was in sixth grade I wanted to own a personal computer. I was always after my parents to get me one. Somehow it looked as the most exciting thing in the world. I remember my mother telling me I will have to wait for it and she would buy me the best one in the market when the time came. I was gifted one six years later. It was the best one available in the market those days. I had the best machine I or anybody I knew had ever seen. Very soon I realized this thing came to me when it was appropriate - at the right time.

I never really wanted to ride a two-wheeler. Bikes never excited me. I liked cars and always wonder 'how much longer?'. I remember once my mother asking me if we should buy a car or get another level constructed on our house. I wanted a car. Later I realized a car was a luxury but a house was an investment and informed my mother. By the time I was done with my eighth grade we had a new house and we moved into it just for a change. I was in love with the one we were living in but my parents said the new house was much better and tenants would spoil it if we rented it out. It was getting difficult for four of us to go out together because my brother and I were growing up fast. A year and a half later we bought a car. It came at the right time.

Back in August 2008 when my father's friend told me how careful I will have to be when driving in Dallas while changing lanes, I wondered if I was really going to buy a car there. A year later I had a car on which I had myself put around 8,000 miles. The time needed it. Even the day before I got my car, it looked artificial to me. I had always wondered how fast a six-cylinder car would move. I saw v6 written at the back of my car after I bought it. All that was important for me was my father's friend's call, just before he was taking off for India that month, to ask me to by that car. I needed it. It was the right time.

I have had a good number of similar experiences and I have thanked Allah relentlessly for making me more blessed than so much I know and yet I ask for some things that I know will find their right times a little after from the present. That looks more than a dream. I might as well run away from it. But I came to think of it again, there is something less than that what I am asking for right now. I thought I know the constraints. I know so less. I know of Allah for sure. Perhaps, I am living what I had feared for long. I don't like staying in my apartment these days. I have started not liking few more things. I have built new hatred.

That late night after shouting at my mother that I was going to leave the house immediately my father made me sit on the bed, hugged me and asked me not to leave. He wiped tears from my cheeks and also the wetness caused by them under my eyes. I have that feeling of having him so close to me still left. The day I was leaving my mother hugged me. I knew a single tear in my eye would make her weep. Her voice was very heavy. My voice was like a week yet confident kid. I realize I am going to have that kind of tone in my voice forever for such times. That's how my voice has been most of the times. I will call my father just before sleeping. If I call him now then I can't call him just before sleeping.

My neck is aching real bad. I don't remember when it was last I slept without having to worry about waking up to do something. I lost weight. I call myself sick when Google comes to my mind when I think about my mother. I found a few things that Google can't search for me. I found the limits of my body. I have experienced what happens when I drive after not having sleep for more than 35 hours. I know how awesome it is when even a person who thinks I am from Mexico smiles at me - it's the smile. There is nothing like a baby waking her hand at me just because I looked at her for a few seconds trying to ask nothing. Some times I just feel like telling some people "I will be good... please". And I try to forget.

I think many people think I am a fool. I wish they say that to me on my face. But I don't want them to. I love them. Everything was going great. Then something happened. I don't know what. Somewhere along the road I stopped for a while and started wondering what was going on. Then I forgot why I was there. There were directions, signs and maps to help me. I stared at them. Trying to see what I was forgetting. Or perhaps trying too see if I can find another reason to smile again. It's so easy to smile. I am going to remember these days. Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As It Was

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.
- Oscar Wilde
My classes started on 24th. I am cool with all three professors. One of them is Indian and the other two are from the far east. I don't spend much time in the university these days; I leave after the class unless there is something to-the-point to be done. I prefer getting back to my apartment and completing my sleep. It has become an important product. It seems like it has been ages since I slept with no alarm to wake me up. It's a fast life now giving me no time to think if I am happy. One thing I know for sure despite several fears is I am satisfied alhamdulillah. This could have been bad. Logic doesn't always shows. There are repeated instances revealing supernatural control.

The joy of having somebody very close stills buffets me even when it would be a month since I visited my cousin in Austin. She took care of everything about me - served me food three times a day, the water she kept for me on the table always had crushed ice in it, she arranged my clothes I was leaving in the bedroom, she took care of the stuff I left in the washroom and I had to return to Dallas and start doing this for myself again. It would have still been wonderful for me just to have her around. She doing so much to make my time very luxurious is not I would ever expect from anybody. It's something else.

There is invariably nothing to blog at this time. I have nothing much to share or talk about or perhaps nothing viable to record. There is nothing to boost and no battle to fight. It's just a blog here that needed to be kept alive. It's just me here trying to focus on the presence of so much around me and how it matters. The circles are getting smaller. The people who matter and those who bother keep changing with a static few. It's just me there more than 14,000 kilometers from where I was born.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Year Two

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.
- Gilbert Keith Chesterton
I picked up a friend from the city of Irving who returned from India last Monday and he will now stay with me as my roommate. Perhaps his was one of the easiest address for me to find - it's on the same road DFW's largest mosque is located on - 40 minutes from my place. I wonder how great it is for followers living in that locality to have a mosque so nearby. I long to hear Azan. It's been a year now since I heard it in the open sky. I called up my uncle who lives in the city of Murphy today and reminded him he picked me up from airport exactly a year ago. While having briyani for dinner I recollected the one I had as my first meal in America at his house. He and my aunt had taken so much care and even their mere presence makes peace for me. Alhamdulillah.

45 minutes ago I returned from one of the two swimming pools we have here in the apartment complex. I didn't go there to swim but just to lie there and talk to my friend who came along. It's not humid tonight and not cold either. The sprinklers stayed on for a while when our conversations were on. They never miss a day; even if it's raining. And they seem to serve every inch of grass and plantations that exist here. 7825 at McCallum Blvd is one of the best places to live around the university. Frequently I appreciate the decision taken by my friend's brother who booked this apartment even before I had arrived in Dallas.

Recently the writer of a blog I used to read stopped writing and shut her blog. When I read her post that she was going to close it down the coming Wednesday, I was shocked. Her posts were always around Islam talking about family, relationships and world affairs. There were eight to ten posts every week and I read them all. Now when her new posts don't appear on my Google Reader account it feels sad. Alhamdulillah at least I have them all saved with me in the same account. I guess I miss her blog already. I never thought I would come to miss something like this. I had been reading her for more then two years. I commented only once just recently - to let her know I am going to miss it.

It was a different world when I was with my cousin last weekend and Monday morning. She reminded what a home is. I had forgotten that somebody else could serve me food, place cup of water on the table even before I needed it, pack clothes for me, take care of stuff in my bedroom and see to it that I have no other thing to do except enjoying. Friday afternoon with her family I left for Corpus Christi after I reached her place driving alone for almost four hours. After getting back to Austin I stayed there for a night and returned to Dallas next afternoon. With no doubt the places I visited were all mesmerizing but the time I spent with my cousin, her husband and their children makes me want to visit them again. It's their presence and not the places that made my trip beautiful.

I saw USS Lexington, several beaches on the islands, stayed in a condominium on a canal with boats docked in it connected to the sea, did fishing, stepped into a swimming pool for the first time, saw many snakes, watched crocodiles and alligators being fed, wore shorts for the first time, talked, had conversations and spoke endlessly. My drive to Austin and the return drive to Dallas required me to take two servings for Monster each time and also a caplet of Nodoz. Alhamdulillah I did it good. I had this continuous fear of falling asleep. I stopped once while going and twice while returning. It took me 16 gallons of gas for the total journey and alhamdulillah my car surprised me with over 25 miles per gallon. Two quarts of oil were expected. This was for the first time I drove so much. Alhamdulillah. I even completed 7,000 miles since I bought my car - it took me six months. August 11th marked six months of my car purchase and 13th a year of my presence here.

My 7 year old niece who lives in Austin has her favorite color as pink. She only wears pink clothes, pink sandals and pink shoes. Her bedroom is all pink with pink curtains, pink soft-toys, pink teddy bears, pink carpets, pink trash can, pink wardrobe, pink bed spreads and everything else pink expect the walls. My cousin fears her obsession towards pink might decrease so getting walls pink could require repainting soon. My niece has two younger brothers. The elder one's favorite color is blue. According to her boys are supposed to have blue as their favorite color. She decided that her youngest brother should have green as his favorite and so green was dictated to him. He never had the luxury to decide his favorite. It's just green for him. All this makes it easy for their parents to buy clothes or any other stuff for them.

Every time I go out here for shopping at any store I keep looking for things and stuff I am going to have once I get a place here I am going to call home. But of course my home is in Hyderabad, this place deserves that too. The cars I see, the furniture, the electronics, the curtains, the bed spreads - they are all so disturbingly provocative. It's a fact alhamdulillah I can buy many of these things already but I have nowhere to keep them or use them. I live in a rented apartment with a bunch of roommate friends with idea how it's going to be once I am done with my masters. Every week I create new dreams, update old ones and plan. There isn't much meaning in detailing what all I did when I was out last weekend for a holiday - the pictures I posted on Facebook say it all. The day I returned I had a detailed talk on phone with my cousin again - just a few hours after I left her house; some conversations never end.