Sunday, December 28, 2008

Allah And Me

Love reminds you that noting else matters.
I am in Austin right now. It's just one of those things I never thought I would ever be doing in my life - being here at Austin and writing for my blog. I was in Houston until Saturday morning when I started with two of my aunts for this place. An uncle and a cousin sister live here. And the best part is their houses are side by side. In the evening, with my sister's husband and two of his friends I went to watch a movie in a theatre -Ghajini. I didn't like the movie but found it as pure entertainment. Then there was a heavy dinner at my sister's place. I wanted to be there for some more time, talk to my sister and spend time with my niece and nephew but they had some guests so I came back to my uncle's house.

Yesterday I attended a wedding in Houston - for the first time in America. It was good, pleasing and interesting. I like the way people carry themselves here. Though all wedding parties are mixed gatherings, women observe hijaab wearing scarfs and carry themselves with confidence. Not even for a moment does it appear any Unislamic except for the music that was played there. Alhamdulillah. The marriage function was in Marriot. The other day I spent a lot of time at Hilton in downtown Houston. The Texas Dawah Convention accommodates its volunteers in a start hotel like Hilton and two my cousins and their several friends were volunteers. We prayed Ishan at 24th floor of the building beside the swimming pool. I had never been to such a high-rise building before. I liked my time there.

The courses I would be taking up for the next semester include Introduction To Cryptography and Semantic Web. I am sure I will get either Software Architecture and Design or Software Project Planning and Management. I am yet to get that registered done. My classes start on 12th inshAllah and I will be back in Dallas before time inshAllah. I have already learnt a lot about being a part of a big family here in America, meeting people who are very distant relatives and making myself one of all these Americans. I am sure hardly any students like me get to live this kind of life here. Alhamdulillah.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Boils Down To Love

One day when Pooh was thinking, he thought he would go and see Eeyore, because he hadn't seen him since yesterday.
- Chapter Four, The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, 1982
I wanted to talk to somebody to make myself feel better but it didn't sound appropriate that I call the friends I could think of now. So, I called up my father instead. It was short but it gave me what I needed - a voice filled with love. I spoke to my mother a few hours back but then I had called her to let her know of some financial matters here. I had told her about the fee I had paid at the university and the courses I registered for the Spring semester. Just before hanging up she told me something I didn't expect to hear when I called her and I kept thinking about it for a long time. Things seem to have changed.

Then for a long time I thought about the last time I hugged my parents. I thought about the faces and words I am never going to forget. I thought about many things that won't come again. There are no possible metrics to measure change. I thought writing a few lines on my blog could help. It has helped me many times. Tomorrow I will go to the university and study for Monday's test. I fear not getting a good grade in this course so I have to give in a lot. Today I even had to cut on my breakfast for I had no time for it when I woke up. One of my team mates had told me that the submission date for the final deliverable was 13th and today he woke me up telling it was over already. I had to rush to my laptop and do as much as I could. Alhamdulillah the professor didn't mind a submission that was four hours late. Had it been some other professor, I would have lost an A.

Too frequently I ask myself if I am missing something and it frustrates me. When an ant crawls up onto my hand I play with it. I let it pass through my fingers, make circles on my palm and work through the designs and curves of my hand. But the moment it moves up into my shirt's hand cuff I shrug it off. As long something stays in front of us, let it even be a problem, as long as we know what it is and know what it is capable of, we are alright with it. The moment it goes beyond our knowledge it becomes a bother. I am astonished at how little I can control, how humble we all have to be and how insignificant a wish could mean. So much depends on hope. So much depends on what we haven't seen but hope to see. So much depends on the dreams we see. It is Allah who decides.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food. 
- Michael Levine, nutrition researcher, as quoted in The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars
Saturday evening I came along with my cousin to Houston. Alhamdulillah we reached a little before 12 midnight. After having a hearty talk with my uncle and aunt I sat down with my laptop for more than an hour. I had to crash out then. I have finally managed to pull down the number of hours I am sleeping these days to around six. Alhamdulillah. Yesterday I spent time with my uncle and aunt, drove around a little and slept only after 3 am. And it was Eid ul Azha today. I met so many of my second cousins and relatives from my aunt's side. I didn't miss my parents because they all made me feel like a part of their family. My cousins' grandmother said "you are lucky to get a chance to be in a family for Eid". I know I am. Alhamdulillah.

I have a test on December which I badly need to do well. Though my projects in this course scored 99%, I wasn't good with the first test and the assignment. It was hurting after I had put in so many hours of work about that piece of program and still scored 15 points below average. There were a few things the professor showed later which I could have done to improve on a few points. But it's over now. I just hope I don't go below a B in this course. Alhamdulillah I went good with the other two and inshAllah I will also get an A in one of them.

It's home here for me in Houston. When I go back to Dallas I am going to miss all this part of America!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Chocolate Connoisseur

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.
- Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers   
A lot of time got wasted in the last few days especially after I got done with two of my three tests. I have the last test on December 15th and I am yet to start with it's preparation. InshAllah I will begin that tomorrow. After a lot of patience and as a big blessing from Allah I scored more than four points above the class average in one of those two tests. I am yet to receive the scores of the other test. It was complicated. It's only Allah's will. The one I have on 15th needs a lot of help from Allah. Though my projects were better than all other teams in the class, I didn't do well in the first test. I badly need to clear the averages to get a decent grade. Alhamdulilllah in one of the three courses I hold a fair chance to get an A.

It's an equivalent of -4 degree Centigrade here right now. Though the actual temperature is 1 degree, it's chilling cold outside. In the evening I had been to Wal-mart and it just ended up in one of those days I will remember for long. We always drag the cart right upto the bust stand and this time we exceeded out limits of shopping. I even went for grape juice, frozen french fries and a packet of M&M chocolate this time apart from the regular supplies of milk, shrimp flavored noodles, bread and rice. I kind of enjoy a lot when I go to Wal-mart, Super Target or Tom Thumb. They talk about some part of future to me!

I have a project presentation to make in the class that starts at 11:30 am. I have finished my part of the work on Sunday but was spending some time complementing my team mates. We are a team of seven and I was int he documentation group. For this final deliverable I created a Vision Document and Softgoal Interdependency Graphs. Though this wasn't much work compared to what my other team mates did, they were always there to encourage me with whatever I was doing. Alhamdulillah I learnt a lot being with these people. They are all elder to me in both working experience and age. I am yet to meet people in two of my courses who do not have any work experience and are of my age! It's an ocean of big sharks here with only my roommates and me as small fish. Only that these sharks are very friendly, caring and helpful!

The forecast for the next 24 hours shows a low of -2 degrees Centigrade. I am sure it's going to feel like -6 at least. A couple of degrees below this and it's going to snow I guess. In the evening when I spoke to my cousin he said he asked me if I was willing to come to Houston with him this weekend. My heart jumped with happiness. InshAllah I will meet my uncle and aunt there again. I am waiting for weekend to come. After tomorrow's presentation there isn't much I have to do. I have a small project to submit on 13th which I am sure my team mates will manage. I will only have a spend a couple of hours after it I suppose. The test on 15th is still a matter of concern. InshAllah I will work harder than before and score above average. If I get to do that, a fish will become as good as a shark!

There is no measure of how much Allah has helped me learn in the last 4 months. It all started with my cousin's marriage where for the first time I drove late nights all alone. My parents were leaving just after all the ceremonies were getting over and I wanted to stay till everybody had left for their homes. Then came my first experience of flying. It was a journey of more than 33 hours. Then it was staying away from my parents. If it was not for those wonderful people I met after coming here, I am sure things would have been very difficult. Allah helped me everywhere. I know things could have gone either ways. Allah wanted it to be easy for me. And so it has always been. Alhamdulillah. Learning has no limits. InshAllah.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh Allah! They are Ruining My Country

Where there's a will, there's a weapon.
-Yuri Orlov, Lord of War 
They have made an Afghanistan of my country. I remember that day when I was returning after a semester exam and the news of a bomb blast in Mecca Masjid in the old city region of Hyderabad reached me. My first reaction was to refuse to believe in that. That seemed impossible. But that was the truth. Months later there were series of blasts across Hyderabad. There were blasts in Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and the list keeps updating. It's more than easy to people in India - anybody can build a bomb, get a gun or cause an explosion of any size in any part of any city. The only thing that can control this is intelligence. I wonder what they really do. Of course it's Allah who knows everything.

Just a year back I remember telling my father how India is the best choice for multi-national companies to setup their offices because we are the safest country. It all changed. Life is loosing it value and numbers only help build statistics. Politicians battle for power, policemen keep fattening up their pockets and pot bellies, innocents die everyday and the country suffers. Every mall, theatre and building has metal detectors and security personell at the entrance checking the visitors. I never believed them to be of any help. Even a kid can sneak in a bomb or a gun. There is no way to check who carries what in trains and busses.

It seems pointless to talk about all this; it won't many any difference. Those involved don't understand. Understanding anything won't make a difference to those who suffer. They have made a joke out of it. The news channels sensationalize everything. They want to be the best channel. They want to make money. And what do they do - they blame my religion. I simply don't get the logic in calling Pakistani Terrorists as 'Pakistani Islamic Terrorists'. Why do they bring in my religion?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh, Divine Chocolate!

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!
- Lucy Van Pelt, Peanuts 
This is my 471st post of this blog. It's three years now since I started writing. Though this blog was started much later than November 2005, there was a post on my other blog, Flowing Emotions, which, if I recollect correctly, was posted by me on November 14th, 2005. In a few months I had deleted that post but continued my then newly discovered obsession towards writing. When I started writing I had little imagination that one day I would be writing sitting in a country thousands of miles away from my home. It definitely feels something pretty different, but it's not in my humble means to explain it in words.

It's 3:14 am in the morning now with an empty bowl lying just beside me on a book. I had chocolate cookie ice cream a while ago listening to some music. I had spent a few hours in the evening studying for a test I have on Tuesday and the preparation continued until a couple of hours back. I only have a topic more to cover but that doesn't give me any confidence. No matter what level of effort I put here for tests, I don't achieve any good. It hurts, it frustrates and the only thing I tell myself is that I will give in a little more the next time. This is that next time now which I had thought about after the last test. InshAllah I will go past class averages this time. It's Allah's will. SubhanAllah.

It was 'cool' to see my father asking me "wassup?" in an e-mail he wrote to me yesterday. I replied to that mail but not to the question yet. I will do that later in the day today inshAllah. Though I am a kind of used to staying away from my parents, I will never get used to staying without them. I don't want to get used to such things. For years I have been considered extremely sensitive, sentimental, emotional and weak. I wonder how I could endure staying away from my parents. This time I surprise myself!

There are no measurable details of how much I am learning here. Those subjects I read back in my engineering make sense now. And each of the courses here teach me more than enough that I can straight away start working in the industry. The other day I cut fish, marinated it, fried it and mixed it with a vegetable curry to make a delicious dish out of it. I have learnt how to cook chicken is more than one way, cook mutton, chopped mutton, seviyon ka meetha, khatti daal, vegetable curries and even burgers. I can now prepare burgers better than what we get at McDonalds. Mustard sauce, mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and a hope to make all this taste well between the buns with either hash browns or some veg-patty make good burgers. Alhamdulillah.

I seem to have a crisis with my sleep here. back in India though my timings were all weired, they were in my control - I used to decide how many hours to sleep. Alhamdulillah. But now, though falling asleep seems to be a problem, waking up too is turning out to be a problem. The remperature in the nights is floating around an equivalent of -1 degree centigrade making sleep inside my silky blanket even more enjoyable. Alhamdulillah. The problem is, I am spending more than eight hours in this indulgence. InshAllah I will make myself better soon. Something else I enjoyed here a few days back - driving. I drove my cousin's car - I need a little more practice before I am as confident as I was on Hyderabad's roads. InshAllah.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Egoistic Superior Complex Attitude

It never occurred to me to call 911 or my physician. As foolish as it may appear, you are, in a sense, a prisoner of the pain, which was intolerable. You're thinking, what could I do to relieve myself of it. If it becomes intense enough, you're perfectly willing to accept cardiac arrest as a possible way of getting rid of the pain.
- Dr. Michael DeBakey heart surgery pioneer, on his own pain attack from a damaged aorta
I got done with my evening class 30 minutes back and here I am sitting in the lobby of Student Union feeling more lonely than ever. I just hope nobody I know spots me here and thinks of giving me any company. I want to stay alone. I called up my father a while ago but he didn't talk much for he was getting late to work. I spoke to my grandmother then. Two minutes of talk never makes any difference. Everybody is busy everywhere. I have a meeting to attend with my team members in 15 minutes and I have a document to read before I go.

I wish I could go back to my apartment right away, have my dinner and sleep. I don't have to cook today. The chicken I prepared yesterday is still left relieving me and my room mates of today's cooking. Most of my classmates here are busy registering for their courses. I remember the day we were registering for Fall '08 - everybody was worried. Alhamdulillah I never tried to move things fast and I got the courses I wanted to have. Even this time inshAllah things will go well when I go for registration tomorrow.

It's 8:50 pm now and dark outside. The other day I was surprised when all the clocks automatically went back an hour. Later I was talk something like this happens twice every year to readjust time and synchronize it with convenience of daylight. It was amusing but seemed logical. I wish my father could have spent more time talking to me when I called him. I wish he remembered I was living alone here and unlike him I have nobody around to sit and talk to. Five minutes left for the meeting - I have to prepare for it.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The wise man will love; all others will desire.
- Afranius
I never thought I would ever get so keen on learning Java even when it is not a part of my study here. The other day we were working on a homework that is supposed to create a GUI to implement a few features of a system and I got to meet NetBeans and Eclipse. For a while I thought Visual Studio could have been so much fun if I had to work on that. I had scored 100% in it's lab exam back in my engineering and it had surprised me. My final semester was of course surprising too - I had scored around 81%! But now, putting my head into Java seems imperative given that every other person here seems to be a master in it. I have always played favorites in learning anything I came across. This time I have to think of what's going to make getting a job easier in the months to come. Allah knows everything.

5 am I started with the second chapter of the book I chose to let me start with Java. I have studied Java before in my engineering but coming to UT Dallas made me start believe that Osmania University is nowhere close to being a good university - they need to know what's going in the industry. Osmania University is just a name - it's all hollow inside. UTD at times makes me go nuts. Even after giving 100% it makes me wonder if that could be enough. Half of what is taught is in the industry right now. The other half is what the professor is researching. There are so many concepts that have not been properly documented in books available in the market. And a large part of this is not even known to the industry. Alhamdulillah there is something like IEEE that helps so much. Being students here enables us to download all its documents free of charge.

Right now the temperature outside is 8 degrees Centigrade but MSN says it feels like 4 degrees Centigrade. The minimum for the day is expected to be 2 degrees Centigrade. It's windy, horribly extreme and nowhere close to any form of harsh weather I have seen before. The coolness runs through the bones and shakes every nerve inside the body. I was in a hurry to attend my morning class and forgot to take my jacket along - I could understand my day had started with a big mistake. Alhamdulillah I am back in my apartment now and it's very good here. Alhamdulillah. Soon I might be seeing snow fall. It's going to be my first experience. I just hope Allah gives me enough strength to bear this cold. I wonder how my friend is doing in Chicago.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Always be a poet, even in prose.  
- Charles Baudelaire, "My Heart Laid Bare", Intimate Journals, 1864
I wonder why the sky looks more open and wide here than the one I remember back in Hyderabad. Perhaps because it's a flat land with not many hills or maybe it's some phenomenon those into the study of light can explain. For me, it's vast and pleasing. I used to stare at the moonlit sky standing in the balcony of my house back home and think of how lovely a poem would be if I could put the bliss in words. I could never do that. I remember the occasional visits I paid to my house's terrace where I would only stare at the few visible stars that always seemed to be moving yet stay in the same place all through my visit. The lights on the land always reminded me that I am a part of civilization. I love mankind. Allah created it. SubhanAllah.

I start liking every other person I meet here. They are all so good to me, helpful and kind. Every Friday seems like a blessing when I go for the Juma prayers and look at those few guys working for the Muslim Student Association. There are a few of them who make me want to learn so much from them. MashAllah, they are of the best people I know here. Today one of the guys told us a few stories about men who could recite the shahada just before dying and a few who couldn't. He explained what it means when Allah guides us from darkness to light and how nobody could ever know who has been guided until the moment of death arrives. I don't want to go to hell. I want to dye reciting the shahada. Alhamdulillah. InshAllah.

I have a Sikh friend here who came over to my apartment over a cup of tea sometime back. He happens to be from Jammu but has stayed for sometime in Hyderabad. I met him because he was my room mate's neighbor in Jammu and they both are good friends. I like this guy a lot. We had lots of fun. He liked tea so much that he had a second cup too. He is graduating this semester and was a bit upset with the recession. Texas is alhamdulillah going strong with jobs still available but he is from Electrical and Electronics engineering so was a little worried. He is finishing his Masters in just 18 months which end in December. When I told him I plan for the same too he asked me if I had a girl friend. He is finishing it in 18 months because he wants to get married soon.

I said I have no girlfriend. I wanted to tell him how much I hate that very idea of getting into such an unaccepted relationship. We got busy with other discussions then. I remember some days back he explained me why is it necessary that we finish our education soon. He said the same thing today to my other room mates. He told how important and wonderful it is to settle down soon. I agree with every word of his on this. Alhamdulillah my parents taught me enough that I understand why it is necessary for a good Muslim to get married at the earliest. I don't understand those guys who want to stay single for long and enjoy their lives. I say it's not enjoying; it's sinful. I am blessed that my parents agree with me.

The other day a guy told me I need not give him so much respect by using aap (a respectable tone of 'you' in Urdu) for him. I was too busy in discussing with him our assignment where I have to test 'od.c' using Xsuds in UNIX. I made a good friend of this guy and also had a talk on phone with him a couple of hours back. I was the same. I cannot change myself even if I change my language or my accent. I see that North Indians use tuu (casual 'you' in Hindi) for almost everybody. I don't mind being referred that way - two of my room mates talk to me using tuu even when I use aap for them always. I am drawn that way. That's what my parents taught me. Alhamdulillah. I will to it always inshAllah and with everybody inshAllah. It's my tehzeeb (etiquette).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Allah Knows

If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

- Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne

The other day when I had a video conference with my father I told him he lost few more hair and that he was looking more bald. My brother started laughing standing behind him and my father showed him the kind of anger which always makes us laugh. Thursday morning when it was evening in India he was about to go to bed when my brother started a conference. Mamma spoke first but my father was sitting beside her and waving his hand at me showing his teeth. Few days back when mamma asked me how she was looking through the camera, I told her she was looking like my mamma. She started laughing. I could see happiness in her voice, in her smile and also in her eyes. I even finally told my brother how much I love him. He said he knows it.

Around 8 pm I called my sister in Austin. The moment we shared greetings I asked her if she was busy. I have made this a practice now. It's always so nice to talk to her. When we last met I took her younger son in my arms and kissed him. How much I wish I could do that again. I love children and I had somebody so close to me after so many months. She told me she was on her way to a restaurant with her husband and children. I still remember her husband asking me to come over to Austin someday. I told her I wanted to come this weekend but have a project to finish. InshAllah someday very soon I will go and meet her. I talk to her every Saturday alhamdullillah. But from now on inshAllah I will call her on Wednesdays or Thursdays too. She is the closest to me here. She has been like a teacher to me right from my childhood.

It's weekend now and it's three days of "nothing much to do". I have to spend some time with my team mates to finish a home work in the course OOAD. They live in a nearby apartment and most probably I will join them tomorrow. I was worried about this particular course I took but on Monday when I spoke for some time to the professor it was like a relief to me. I could convince her that the home work she gave was out of scope of the course-work of the subject. She even got convinced that she should cancel the next homework. I realized how powerful the use of "I agree" could be. I used it with sympathy and she was pleased with me. I went on to ask her about the other courses she takes in UTD. She seemed to be pleased at least. I care about my grades and I want to deserve them. InshAllah. Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Once Again

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
- Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne
It's very cold here today. I had never seen such chilly weather anytime in Hyderabad and it's just the start of winter. Though one of my room mates told me that it's cold when we see Americans wearing warm clothes I didn't feel like wearing my jacket today. We had to go for some shopping in the evening but we stayed indoors after I returned from my class at 9:30 pm. I had a burger on my way back to try out this 'Jack In The Box'. I had been seeing it for two months now but had never been there until today. I liked the burger. Alhamdulillah.

The other day I had a dream in which I knew it was a dream and I was hoping that it would not end. But I woke up and was still here in my apartment. Something similar happens almost every night. I have always stayed away from sleep in the nights for the fear it causes to me. Back in Hyderabad I used to wait till my body would give in. I don't understand what's going on here. I sleep even for 10 hours somedays and most of it is during day time. I know once I start with a job inshAllah everything will have to be put right. I am just waiting for that day to come. I know it's not far inshAllah.

Getting mails from my mamma every morning and evening has turned into a habbit for me by now. It feels so nice to hear from her twice daily. When I have video conferences with her, my father and brother, it's like I am sitting with them. Even after everything that has to be spoken gets over, I ask them to stay online. This perhaps is the safest addiction I have - my parents and brother alhamdulillah. I want to move away from others slowly because I know there is no light ahead on the paths of friendship I walk with these few beautiful people. It's kind of a painful exercise - but today or tomorrow it has to come. It's not easy even to write this. I might just not even do what I am thinking of. But alhamdulillah I will be prepared. Something started yesterday back in India.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The More I Search, The More It's Not There

"Pooh, promise me you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little.
"How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.
- Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
Among so many other things here in the University of Texas at Dallas I like the Muslim community a lot. The credit goes to the MSA that organizes regular meets and of course the Friday prayers. It was only after reaching Dallas that I could understand what exactly the Juma Qutba is about. It's given in English and so goes into my brains unlike how it was back in India where the same Arabic Qutba was recited every Friday which I am sure very few could understand. Today as I entered the prayer hall - there are rooms named as Galaxy Rooms in the University where prayers are performed every Friday alhamdulillah - I saw many Muslim brothers sitting in rows on white sheets of cloth waiting for the Qutba to be started.

One of the brothers from MSA delivered the Azan which was perhaps the most sweetest of the voices I have ever heard. I fall in love with this guy everytime I see him - he always has a smile on his face; always. Then the president of MSA at UTD delivered the Qutba. He spoke about a couple of hadees of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and explained them in detail. Then we had the Juma prayer. Alhamdulillah a similar practice is carried out every Friday and it gives me a lot of peace. SubhanAllah. One thing that comes to my mind repeatedly is something I heard at a Musalla in the first Juma prayer I attend in the US. I think it was in Plano but I am not sure - I had been there with my uncle at a time when I knew absolutely nothing about this place. The Imaam just before the prayer had said "brothers, please pray as if it's the last prayer of your lives".

I like many practices we have in our community here. MashAllah. I wonder whether the people delivering the Qutbas back in India know what they are reciting every Friday. I don't critique them. I just don't understand them. The guy who explained the Hadees today sports a goatee and has a muscular body. We don't need people wearing green gowns, designer caps and holding some threatening sticks in their hands. We need those who can share with us some knowledge that will help us attain Magfirath. I like this place. I like the people here. I just don't completely like the life I am living. I don't have anybody beside me I love. The more I search for love, the more it's not there.

I returned to my apartment after the Juma prayer today to start the preparation for a test I have on Monday. One of my room mates wanted to play pool and I was feeling lousy so I decided to go along with him. I like playing this game - I just can't play it well enough to win. I am yet to learn that. Out of the nine games I played, I came close to winning several times but couldn't make it even once. Yet I enjoyed my time - I like playing this game. I was having a tough time bending and looking at the balls on the table and the stick with my glasses that were repeatedly slipping down my nose. I kept trying for newer ways to aim but they were not of much help. Alhamdulillah.

I am having a tough time finding somebody who could help me here get a permanent Driving Licence. It was my father's friend who came 33 miles from his house in Bedford some weeks back to take me for the computerised test where I scored 21 out of 28 and got my Practice Licence without any preparation. He is too busy these days that I don't expect him to take so much time for me. I have the permission from my parents alhamdulillah to buy a car which is a necessity here for many things. I just don't have somebody to help me with it. Allah will of course decide how things have to take shape. I pray to Him and wait for the time to come. Yet time passes fast here, there is so much to wait for. My faith in Allah is the only thing that keeps me smiling. Alhamdulillah. "Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?" is another quote I could have used for today.

Monday, October 13, 2008


There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
- George S. Patton 
It's two months now since the day I came here. The feeling of still breathing air in Hyderabad is fresh. At times I feel helpless here just staying in my apartment with nowhere to go except of the university of some store. University always pleases me but even with so many students around I feel lonely there with no friend with me. I talk to many people here, I have become friendly with people from many countries and I have spent good time with several of these people. But there is nobody with whom I can really share myself. It's 11:57 pm here. I miss my home.

I am alhamdulillah satisfied with how things are taking shape. I am done with two of the three mid-term tests out of which one wasn't at all pleasing, I have learnt how to stay away from my parents, I have a fair idea of measurements here, the currency's value and the traffic movement on the roads. I had never used plastic money back in India. I do that now. I learnt how to sign checks and pay bills online without hesitating. I learnt how easy it is to start conversations here. I learnt many things alhamdulillah. Yet I know I have a lot of distance to cover. I want to finish my masters as early as possible and start with a full time job. It's not easy to stay with nothing called as family around me.

I see people complaining how difficult is it to be here, how weired it is to see new things here or some times even criticising their own decisions. I wonder how they thought it would all be easy for them. I still find it very easy here. At least living without emotions is simple. It's only a bit discomforting when my heart beats thinking about my people and friends back home. But I was prepared for that. Alhamdulillah I have fared well till now in containing myself. My laptop is my access to all the hearts out there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Best Things In Life Aren't Things

If you're good at something, never do it for free.

- The Joker, The Dark Knight

The moment I raised my head standing at the podium I could see all Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Indians keen on what I was going to do next. I will remember this presentation I gave today for a long time. I worried how I would sound, I was worried if I would get confused with the mock-up I was going to present and I was of course worried that I would let my team-mates down who had just finished their part. Our team had already taken extra minutes more than what was stipulated for us. The professor sitting in the last row was now ready to have a look at how our web application would appear.

Alhamdulillah ours was the only team praised by the professor. It was a compliment. I got a pat from one of my team-mates. The other one appreciated me as well. I felt I got recognition and respect in the class. It was still a very small thing but ended up making a lot of difference to me. Back in India I had given presentations in front of lecturers and students I could tell anything in front of. I knew nobody here. Four of my team-mates are Americans and two are Indians. They all make me feel comfortable. All of them have their jobs and two of them are married. I am the only fresher - Fresh of the Boat! So, any appreciation I get from them makes a lot of difference to me.

I had been to Six Flags in Arlington with my cousin sister and her family last Sunday. It was perhaps one of my happiest days here. I didn't enjoy any rides - my purpose was only to be with my sister. And they dropped me back to my apartment in the evening. They had come here from Austin and left later in the night. Saturday I spent the day with my aunt and cousins who came here from Houston and with some of my second cousins. I met most of them only here in Dallas and Houston for the first time but still got comfortable with them easily. I find this a change in me - I was very shy. I am shy even now but just because I meet people who show care and concern toward me, I cannot stop myself from giving all my heart to them and get friendly.

Last weekend showed to me how much difference it makes to have people around us whom we can love and who love us. Even if there is only one person with us who could always be loved and who would love in return, it gives immense peace and happiness. Allah has designed us this way. SubhanAllah. The moment I returned to my apartment at 1:30 am early Saturday I knew I was in a completely different world here - just those same walls and the same three rooms. I like this place but I don't like staying with nobody to love. I know thousands of students like me have the same life and they are used to it. I don't want to get used to it. I am the new generation; I believe in change.

I get to stay in continuous contact with my parents, brother and a few friends. It feels so nice to receive messages and e-mails from each of them. It feels great when somebody calls. The toughest part here is sleep. Maybe I can someday write in detail why sleep troubles me. Otherwise alhamdulillah things are moving smoothly. I will be happy as long as I am sure this phase of my life will end soon and I can catch up with a better future. I thank Allah for every bit of knowledge and wisdom I receive. There is so much to share but nobody to take it from me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Flowers Have No Tomorrow

Next to the wound, what women make best is the bandage.  
- Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
When I left my home 34 days back I had in my mind that I was going to suffer after I reached America and that it was going to be tough for me. I wanted to keep myself prepared for the worst. I thought I would cry and that I would regret the decision I made back in November 2007 of going to America for pursuing Masters. I always kept asking Allah to make things easy for me. What I didn't know that Allah was going to make me the most happiest Muslim on Earth. I couldn't have imagined how easy Allah would be making my life once I was here. Now I wonder how much I will have to thank Allah for making me the most blessed. Of course I can never thank him enough I do try to make some attempts. Every single word of truth I utter I know it's Allah who would bless me and guide me onto the right path.

I live in an apartment which is a little more than a mile from The University of Texas at Dallas. We are five room-mates - each of us has left a job in India to catch up with further studies. We left an easy life back home. I somehow feel I came here for an easier life. I don't miss Indian food like many students living here do, I don't mind walking a kilometer to buy a pack of bread, I don't mind washing utensils, cooking my own food, washing my own clothes and I don't mind taking garbage packets to the can nearby. I only miss my parents, my brother, my friends and my relatives. But it's alright. I am still satisfied alhamdulillah. I couldn't have thought of anything better.

One of my room-mates is from Jammu and is married. He was a scientist in Indian Space Research Organization. He is now doing his Masters in Electrical Engineering. The second guy is from Vadodra. He could have joined TCS but he came here to do his Masters in Electrical Engineering too. The third guy is from Hyderabad. He graduated from JNTU a couple of years back and had a good job. He came here to do his Masters in Geospatial Information Systems. The fourth guy is from Hyderabad too. He didn't mind leaving a job in Wipro behind to do MS here in Computer Sciences. He is my classmate in one of the three courses in this semester. I, Syed Zubair Hasan, didn't go to Mysore to join Infosys with a few of my dearest friends on July 14th, 2008 and instead came to Dallas on August 13th to do Masters in Software Engineering. Alhamdulillah. I am the fifth guy in the apartment numbered 405 in Chatham Court in McCallum Boulevard. That's in Dallas but my university is in Richardson. Takes 5 minutes to reach from this place.

I thought Hurricane Ike would be a bother. It rained all day on Saturday when we were expecting high velocity winds and even tornadoes. But there was only rain. The next day, Sunday, it was back to sunshine. Today the weather was more than just pleasant. Late in the evening when I was returning home after Iftaar around 9 pm it was cold. I liked spending time with my other friends shivering! I had a half-sleeved T-Shirt on and it felt like home - thousands of miles away from the home I lived for 21 years.

I get a feeling that I have been living here for a long time. I experience new things and the next time that new thing happens it's already old. Alhamdulillah I am adjusting faster than I thought I would. At times I find it a little difficult understanding the Texan accent - it's a lot different than what I used to listen to in Hollywood movies. But alhamdulillah it's alright. Whenever I don't understand anything, I just say "excuse me" and the person repeats his previous words. People here are polite. But my cousins and my father's friend who live here warn me and tell me that I must not trust these people much.

I lost my habit of writing regularly. I wanted to write a poem too but I wonder how I am not able to. I have so many things to tell; so much I have learnt and observed. It's like it has been ages since I wrote anything amusing. I write mails to my parents, brother and friends almost every other day and it keeps me satisfied. Thanks to my father's friend who lives in Bedford, a suburb of Dallas, I got a cell phone. And thanks to my mamma I bought a laptop too. It has 3 Gb of RAM, 250 Gb of hard-drive space, a graphics card of 512 Mb memory from ATI Radeon and regular features like DVD writer with litescribe, integrated webcam and a remote control.

When I went to purchase this computer I was hardly any excited. I knew I needed it for a reason - studies. I just wanted one immediately - I liked this, it was from HP and I bought it for $703. Alhamdulillah. Later after I reached home I realized how Allah has made me make the right choice. Right from the metallic keys to clarity of the screen - I fell in love with everything. Alhamdulillah. InshAllah I will use it in the best way possible. There is a long road ahead of me. It's smooth if I keep my sight on my objectives. I would find difficulties if I deviate. Of course Allah will decide how things eventually, and even now, would be. My job is to leave everything to Him and try to do the right things right. SubhanAllah.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Speak American

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.
- John Steinbeck, America and Americans
It's been a while since I updated this blog. Thanks to my room-mate who brought a laptop here that I get to access the internet whenever I need it. I am in touch with almost everybody I wish to through e-mail. Getting a phone still seems to be difficult with SSN a necessary requirement. There are phones available that don't seek any signing of contracts but they sound expensive in the long run. I might probably go for AT&T but I am yet to figure out how I am going to work around the SSN thing. InshAllah tomorrow something should come up.

The evening I moved into my apartment my aunt had already seen me off with enough food for dinner not just for me but also for my four room mates. The next day was Sunday and my breakfast was cereal. That's the easiest and the most nutritious breakfast. Then we went to Walmart for some shopping. I couldn't resist chocolates, chocolate syrup, ice cream and cheese. There were many things we needed to start a home here. Alhamdulillah things are going great.

I had my first experience with comprehensive cooking today when I prepared a curry with tomatoes and potatoes. It came out wonderfully well. I didn't expect that quality. It's easy to prepare rice using the cooker. We also had another curry ready with us - the packed one. Bread, yogurt - though I don't eat, milk, juice, cheese, chocolate, cereal, ice cream and eggs are plenty in here right now. Food alhamdulillah it hardly an issue. It's just that one of us has to delegate and cook a curry for dinner everyday. That doesn't seem like any problem.

The university provides shuttle services too which are free of charge for the students. We students even get free passes that work for the other buses and trains here. The transport system in Dallas is called as DART and it's all free of charge for me. In our apartment we keep charts of all the available routes. There are many things we are learning and I am a kind of enjoying it. It's fun, it's challenging and it's necessary. Our house here is very luxurious though we have no furniture. Carpeting provides comfort in every corner and AC helps us forget the hot temperatures outside.

It's great to be in the university. I have attended a class each till now for the three courses I have registered in and I liked all the instructors. Though I have a lot of hard work to do to get A in each course, inshAllah I don't think I will find it difficult. There are many activities I can get involved into in the university but right now I am preferring staying away from them. I need to spend time getting used to the change I am undergoing. I see no other option than adopting what's coming so it makes no difference whether it is easy or not. I just have to do it. I live in an America we are supposed to deserve! At least that is how they say it.

As long as I was in my relative's house it was honeymoon for me. It's luxury here at my apartment too but not like how it was there. My aunt used to take care of me like my mother or my grandmother used to, my uncle always used to be concerned about my well-being. They are around 16 miles away from here now. I am in McCallum in Richardson and they are in Murphy. I am not sure when I am going to meet them next but inshAllah I will stay in close contact with them always.

It's not easy to stay away from what I have called as home for over 21 years. I have always had my parents and my best friends around me. I have nobody here who was with me for so much time. Every thing's new and fresh. I am called as FOB -Fresh Off the Board! I miss my parents, I miss my friends, I miss so much. I tel myself that this had to come and this is how it should be. I have bigger commitments now I need to take care of. It must not be expected of me to tell anybody if I have cried after coming here. It's something insignificant. It's expected. It's in the system. I have to finish my masters soon. I have to get married. And bigger things start from there. Allah decides everything.

We have had two orientations till now - one was general for all international students and the other was for those into Computer Sciences. The International Student Orientation also contained a lecture on Cultural Shock. I am waiting for some lightening to strike me. It's all like I knew how it was going to be here. I am from a big city like Hyderabad, I have had so many relatives and friends living in the United States for so long, I have read and seen so much about this place - it's can't shock me so easily. Of course there are times when I see something and tell myself "oookkaaay". But it's alright. Today I saw a girl aged around 20 lying completely on the footpath while waiting for the bus. I looked at her blankly for a second and that was it. There were some Indian students there who seemed to be puzzled. It's alright - it's America.

After the Honeymoon phase an irritation phase is expected. Then comes the adjustment phase. I think I am working around these phases quickly given that I know why I am here and where I need to go. When we have our eyes fixed on the goals we seldom give any importance to the trouble the road to that goal might give. Allah has created everything - whether it's here in the US or back home in India. As long as I worship Allah I know I am on the right path. I thank Allah for the decisions I could take till now and the luxury he has supplied me with. He has made many things very easy for me Alhamdulillah.

The last time I spoke to my parents was on Thursday. It was Thursday here at least - it must have been Friday there. Though I feel like talking to them frequently I know that it's not a good idea. I need to get used to not hearing their voice. There are many things I need to get used to which I would never prefer if I had the option. Having no option makes things easy. Just before leaving India I had read that Allah doesn't like any humans grieving. It's sinful to be sad. Now, I don;t remember where exactly I had read it but all I remember is what it meant and that it was authentic. So, whenever I feel sad about something I remind me of this. Of course it's not easy to leave so many loves ones behind... that is how it must be. Allah knows what is good.

My trip to Houston after I came here was very satisfying. I was there to meet my father's elder brother and his family. After that once I returned to Dallas I met many people from my uncle's family. I have been to many places around, seen many new things and worked myself around several experiences. I feel in love with the University of Texas at Dallas at first sight. The more time I spent there the more I keep liking it. I even got to play table tennis and pool here. There are many more games I can explore whenever I want to. It's all open for me. There are too many things to do and too less time. I wish I could keep on writing but I need to go to bed. I thank Allah for how things are now. I thank my parents for supporting me. I still wish I could keep on writing. I am not satisfied.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Alhamdulillah I landed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport yesterday around 9:20 pm local time. My uncle and a cousin were there already to receive me. I am at their house right now alhamdulillah. I had started from Hyderabad when it was Tuesday there. My flight to Mumbai was delayed by 40 minutes. And at Mumbai I had to wait in a long queue to board a coach which was supposed to take me to the international terminal. I was in time for everything. We started for Brussels around 2:30 am. Now I don't remember what the local time at Brussels was when we touched down there. It was 1:20 pm New York time when I finally adjusted my watch at Newark.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
- Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie
Just before touching down at Newark I got to see Statue of Liberty from far. It was a wonderful experience all trough my journey. I spend many hours at the airport in Newark moving around. I even had to board a train to move from terminal B to terminal C. In short, the journey was very good. I only wished that the food served was a little more in quantity! I opted for vegetarian meals everywhere. When I reached Dallas my uncle server me biryani at his home. May Allah bless him; he is taking good care of me.

I didn't cry when I left my parents in Hyderabad. I had asked them not to do that too. It was all smooth alhamdulillah. I know things are going to get tough for me from now. It's a different world which I had seen only on the TV! I don't feel like a foreigner. I am yet to go out and see Dallas under the sun light. I pray to Allah that I get used to the change soon. I don't want to cry for anything. I don't want to sit thinking what I must do to feel good. I want to study well and be a good Muslim. May Allah guide me.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Awaited August Of 2008

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
- A.A. Milne
The other day a friend asked me why I wasn't updating my blog and I told him that it's to avoid being misunderstood on several fronts. When I updated last I had to remove a paragraph which I thought contained sensitive facts about me. I wanted to tell that to everybody out of some fainting excitement but by the time I reviewed the post that excitement had already fainted. Later I realized it's better not to pin up things in excitement. Responding is a lot healthier than reacting. There are two specific reasons why I am writing today - I am missing some friends and suddenly I seem to have thought of the coming change.

I have known about the changing for many weeks now but it's just something that comes up suddenly. It's like a bubble formed deep inside the waters by some plant, the water knows about it's formation, the surface too knows that something is going to come up and burst and then suddenly the surface tension is compromised by the bubble and the water is puzzled. It's a known but unfelt fact! I wish I had my best friends with me now and I could share all this with them and then spend sometime talking nothing cherishing the silent moments with the joy of having their company. I can't have times like these with some of them now. 11:50 pm in the evening I don't find it proper to call any of those who are still here.

It's 1:27 am now! The moment I finished the above paragraph my cousin called up. It was the much awaited talk we both had to have. It was soothing talking to him especially when I wanted some comfort. As a bottom line we discussed how blessed we are Alhamdulillah. One of my cousin brothers is getting married next week and we are expecting a great time with already four dinners confirmed. I have been waiting for this cousin's marriage since many months. He has been a guide for me and he getting married is very exciting. I remember every thing he has taught me till now.

I am spending the kind of days I will never again have in my life. I can sleep anytime I want, I can have food whenever I like and go out whenever I feel with any of my friends or relatives. I am having wonderful time with my parents and brother. Some times I wonder how I can thank Allah for all these wonder things He has given me. At times I get afraid at how perfectly things take place. It's all surreal and fantastic. I pray to Allah that everything remains nice always - even in the Akhirah. I want to be on the right path forever.

It confounds me to see how my flow of writing is never persistent every time I write. Even in a single post things vary between extremes. My mood at times appears, things I pretend to hide and things I refuse to share do get reflected in every word I type. I cannot imagine how things are going to be with this blog a few years from now. I don't even know for how long I may keep writing here. I don't know who is going to take me ahead. I never thought of writing as a serious profession but definitely I am going to take a try some day. Writing is not just about having the ability to write. It's also about the ability to sell!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Geometry

When a man is in love or in debt, someone else has the advantage.
- Bill Balance
With 18 more days left for me in Hyderabad I already feel that I don't belong to this place anymore. I am being made to feel that way. Everything I look at tells me that it's not going to stay before my eyes for longer. When I meet people they ask me about my preparations, they ask me about the date on which I am leaving and they ask me how I feel about it. It feels nice. It feels warm to be given time and to be asked something. It feels nice to see my parents happy. It doesn't feel good when I think that they will miss me when I am gone. Though if they tell me they are not going to miss me it will definitely make me feel worse.

I have no clue of how I am going to feel once I am there. Some times I want these left over days to go past me very fast. But I know I will never get them back again. I have many more things left to do, I have so much to talk to my parents, I want to spend time with them, I want to spend time with my brother, my cousins, my grandmother, my uncles, aunts and I want to see some of my friends again because I still can't believe they are gone forever. I know it will help me if I believe that.

I am looking forward for the change. It's suposed to be called as the American Dream but the problem is I won't have my beloved with me. It's hard but it's harder to explain. I can't thank Allah enough for giving me a chance to study in a university like University of Texas at Dallas. I will be rubbing shoulders with people who are best in the field. As long as I stay focused at my objective of scoring a good GPA I know my time there will be worth staying away from my parents. I want them to feel more proud of me. I want every person who loves me to become proud of me. And I will dedicate all the success I might achieve to them. Allah decides and everything and that brings tears to my eyes.

I am almost done with my shopping. Today I even purchased a new pair spectacles. I saw so many models at the shop and whenever I looked at the one I already own it appeared as the best to me! Alhamdulillah I hardly get any of my glasses broken so even the old one looks nice. After a long time in front of my mother and the mirror I liked a frame which appeared to be of low quality. The one I finally purchased is the costliest ever I have taken in the nine years. Mamma liked it too so I took it. Today I bought the third pair of jeans too. This is for the first time in 12 years that I am buying jeans for myself. I am told that students in universities dress more casually there in US and the kind of wardrobe I have presently is not even close to what is considered normal there. So I even had to shop of T-shirts.

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is in Richardson which is 20 kilometers or 16 miles from Dallas. Richardson houses offices of 5,700 of the world's renowned telecom and technology companies. This readily makes UTD as ther direct choice to recruit students from. I will inshAllah persue my MS in Computers and Information Sciences in The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science which is the engineering school in UTD. I am hoping to take up Software Engineering as the specialization which is ranked at 24th in the world for UTD.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Eighteenth of This Month

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
- Leonardo DaVinci
Today marks the end of a year and a day since the day I got recruited by Infosys. I was supposed to report at Mysore on 14th of this month but I chose to have a different decision made. Unless I get specific, I get to convey nothing. It was just a click of a button on my phone and there was no turning back. The characters must have travelled the electronic route looking for the recipient who was sitting right in front of me. I didn't think much about that message and it's consequences since then, I chose to let procedures take care of the rest. Allah knows the route I will be taking now. He knows what is right. I pray for safety from a fear I cannot share.

It's hard to guess what takes priority when not everything can be put forth. Nevertheless there are facts to be noted but I tend to shy away from putting them into this void. Or perhaps I pretend to shy away not able to stand the seriousness involved in them. Since the moment I got up from the last nap a little more than an hour back I have been experiencing severe emotional fluctuations in my neural circuitry. The hope that had to be forced into a different void, a prayer that seems to have been accepted and the confidence that it was naive return no favors. A tool like a hammer causes pain while undergoing pain.

It's been an incredible experience walking in the clouds amid fears. The walk continues alhamdulillah making every bit worth appreciating, making me wait for the next bits to come and making me pray they take a shape of my desire and return favors for nothing I have done. If I deserved all that I desire then there would be no desires left worth being fulfilled even if I deserved them. I see something carrying me away at a time there is something else I must focus on. And this time it's not me alone playing the one that deviates - these are the concerns that pledge to give happiness. I ask these concerns: "can you hold my hand forever till we someday together reach hell and then go to heaven?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

For The Last Time

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
- Peter Ustinov
I said another goodbye today. It made a lot of difference. Nothing felt like sad when my friend was leaving. I was wished an awesome life and I replied with "to you too" and it was all over. We might meet someday in the years to come. We might never meet in the whole of lifetime. I will for sure make new friends, have new experiences, but this friend will never come back. So many of my friends will be leaving one by one and I would never be able to tell them how much I love them. I come from a society where love is seldom expressed. No matter what quantity it is of, it is expected to stay invisible.

This post should have arrived some days before but there was barely any reason I thought I must write. It was a like my ability to even write a single sentence on my own was taken away from me. Today, I write because I am in pain. I write for all those lovely times I spent with my parents and friends. I write for those days which are never going to come back. I write with a hope that I will feel better once again. That I can shed some tears. I am selfish - I write for my solace. Every person finds his pain as the largest unless he or she is in love. I do not know what's going on inside me. I will go blank if I don't write.

I am supposed to be happy for my friends who are going to start with Infosys. I am supposed to be proud of those who are already in Accenture. But I don't understand how I can feel good about all of it when this form of happiness and pride is self-defeating for me - it takes my friends away from me; a few of them away from me forever. I am a slave of my emotions - even if this is illogical to the core. I want them back. I want to have them here with me now - 12:34 am in the morning I dream of having my best friends with me by my side. I know it's a dream denied fulfilment. My throat aches for my heart.

I was so glad when I was selected by Infosys. I was so happy I had some of my friends with me too. We used to talk about it, we used to feel so great about being selected and what all it meant. And now the day has come when the same happiness causes pain and it is very, very painful. It's like praying for rain but not going to the Mosque because it is raining. I know this had to come. I know it was going to be painful. I hope I am not expected to be happy and smiling when I simply cannot. I want to apologise to Allah for the grief I am causing to myself.

I stare at the monitor with my neck half tilted and my head hardly moving. Things seem empty and blank but there is so much around and within I cannot explain. I keep looking at my phone every few minutes hoping that I would be sent some message by a friend or somebody would call - I don't know what I am expecting. I am ready to be called a fool. I won't mind being called a fool that I try to be so emotional with any of my friends, tell them how I feel or how much I would miss them. I am a fool if they respond to me just to make me happy and they don't feel anything in return. I won't mind that. I am already in pain.

I wanted to thank each of them; apologise to each of them. But no part of the culture I am a part of supports such conversations with friends. Perhaps the conversations I want to have demand no words - I just want to sit and stare at them seeing them laughing and enjoying. I suppose I will surely do that though I may not have them in front of my eyes. I might yearn to see some of them again; I might cry; I might feel like a fool again; I might move on and never get time to cry again. My eyes get filled the moment I imagine myself crying. Tears roll the moment I even think of any of my friends crying. I don't have the capacity to see that now.

I can go on and on with today's post. I can write till the sun shines again. But I need some time to cry, some time for myself, some time to settle things within me. I have to meet some friends tomorrow and say them goodbyes. I don't want even a drop of tear to appear in my eyes when I see them leave. I will go into pieces if I see water in any of their eyes tomorrow; I don't know if my crying makes any difference to anybody apart from me; I don't want to make a fool of myself. So much I wish I convert all my heart into words. I am sorry.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Struggle To Become A Person

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.
- Dale Carnegie
As every Tuesday and Friday passes by with my case ID still quoted as "Process Pending" it keeps getting more certain that I will have to join Infosys. It was the end of fourth week today and there is still no response from the consulate about my visa. After hearing a lot about four weeks being taken by them for such cases, I hear the response time now as 40 days. I received a packet from Infosys today which contained legal papers I am supposed to sign to start with their training on July 14th at Mysore. June 3rd to July 13th makes it 40 days. I have some decisions to make now.

The case-list gets updated again on July 4th, 8th and 11th. 11th will be my last chance to know if I can book my tickets for Dallas or Mysore. But there is a risk. My most logical conclusion as of now is to postpone my joining date. If I have to do that I will have to do it well before 11th - 11th is a Friday and the list gets updated only after 5 pm. Should I decide after 5 pm to postpone, it's going to be too late. But then again I am not sure how many days more I can take from Infosys. What if I don't get any news from the consulate even then? I will have wasted those days just waiting.

If I go ahead with Infosys and leave Hyderabad on 12th and if I hear from the consulate anytime after that, I will have legal implications binding me with the company. I will have to pay them some good amounts to get rid of the bond. Even if I have to leave in the training period I will have to shell out thousands. If it is after the training I will have to pay them Rs. 75,000 to relieve me of the binding. If I join Infosys I will have to defer my admission in the university by one semester or two semesters at the most. If I defer by one semester I will have to join UTD in January. By then I wil have completed a little less than six months at Infosys but only four months there in some project they might assign me into. If I defer by two semesters I will have to join UTD in August 2009. Even till then my bond of one year won't get over as it starts from the day I am put into some project.

Now if I get my joining date at Infosys postponed by a month - though I am not sure how they will let me do it - I might get to join in August if I don't get the visa by then. My date of reporting at UTD in August 18th so I will definitely miss that if there is no visa. I might get it sometime later enabling me to reach there in January. I will have the option of paying the money to Infosys and leaving them. The other option will be to continue with them till August, then pay the money to leave. In this particular case I will be able to save Rs. 75,000 not putting the burden on my parents. If I want to reach US in January then I will have to take money from my parents which I would strongly hate.

Postponing by a month to wait for the visa and joining Infosys to work for them till August 2009 is the most logical thing I can do now. But that puts emotional implications on me. In my last post here I mentioned my mother telling me how things will be delayed for me by a year. Taken as whole any person reading this will call me a fool if I let it affect me. People viewing all of it from outside will tell me that all these option I have are still a luxury for me. So be it. When I have plans for the coming four years, six years and then 10 years, I will definitely not like even one year being added to each of them. I thank Allah that I don't see failure; I only see delay. I am still so happy alhamdulillah.

If I get the much awaited call from the consulate on 4th or 8th, or if I get it before August 14th after I postpone Infosys's joining date, I won't waste any time sending them my passport and booking the ticket to Dallas or Houston. This would mean that I will not have to waste any time in continuation of my run towards a good job. Infosys too offers a very good job and I should always be thankful to them for recruiting me and letting me have so much honor and peace of mind. I will always be thankful to Allah that I have always had options to choose to from. And this way alhamdulillah not even a single year will be wasted in my quest.

Sometime back two of my friends who are in final year of engineering in my college now called me. They informed that they have made through the selection process of Infosys successfully and in all 129 students were selected. One of them had come to my house some weeks back to listen to what all I had to tell him about the selection process. The other had called me last Sunday to talk about it. Listening to them made me so happy. And I was so glad that they informed me within minutes after the results were declared to them.

Monday, June 30, 2008


We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.
- Danilov, Enemy at the gates
After telling that I can join Infosys, when mamma told me that it will just take one year extra for me to 'settle down' in life if I do it, I could clearly see that she understands my fundamental concern. I was glad to hear that she knew why I am being so bothered with the delay in processing of my visa. I received an e-mail from UTD informing me that the fee has been increased which means that it can cost me another 200,000 extra Rupees for the four semesters. I didn't feel any good reading that. But mamma had a solution to it. She seemed to be cool. Then I saw in the university's website that I can defer my admission by one year and that way work for Infosys in the meanwhile till I get the visa; I felt nice. But as mamma said, that it will take one extra year for me, there were several things in my mind and I didn't like it.

Sunday evening when I found some erratic behavior on my computer I turned it off immediately. And when I turned it on it was asking me to insert a bootable device and reboot again. My previous experience told me that my computer's hard-drive had crashed. As if nothing had happened I estimated that it would take me an hour to do run a restoration process and get connected to the Internet again. With no reason, and my mind somewhere else, I lazily disconnected the CD-ROM and pressed the connecting cables of the hard-drive harder onto their sockets. I turned on the machine again and found that everything was in place. It barely affected me.

Saturday evening a few of my friends came over to my house and we were together all night. We started with dinner at a restaurant, then some movies on my computer and finally nehari early morning. We watched 'Euro Trip' and several scenes from 'Troy' and 'The Matrix'. I had seen 'Euro Trip' in parts before. It has some nudity and I was a bit hesitant to watch it. But the movie is hilarious. It's extreme comedy and definitely worth a watch. Friday night I had watched 'Sleepless In Seattle' and a part of 'Enemy At The Gates' yesterday and the rest of it today. 'Sleepless In Seattle' almost got me to crying in the start. I missed some of my friends Saturday night.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Cost Of Emotional Illitracy

There's an Italian painter, named Carlotti, and he uh, ahem, defined beauty. He said it was the summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing needed to be added, taken away or altered, and that's you. You're beautiful.
- Cris Johnson, Next

I could delete two more movies and three episodes of 'How I Met Your Mother' today. If I had to rephrase this it would mean that I watched two movies today - 'Transporter 2' and 'Next' and three episodes of the series I mentioned above. The name is too long so, I am not typing it again. It's not one of the cleanest things on TV but when it's on the computer I can safely put on the headphones and watch it even in my parent's presence. Not that they would object if they heard it, I only don't want them to get interested in what I do on the computer. When my father gets interested in something he asks me to put it on a CD. Whenever my mother gets interested in something she sit with me in front of the screen. Both of these are still fine I suppose but I am not in here for a change in the way I live.

The other day she sat beside me when my profile on Facebook was open. In spite of me telling her that she could see it in my absence when my brother is using the computer, she kept coaxing me to let her see my profile. I did let her read a part of it and the moment she started reading the 'favorite quotes' part I scrolled the page down asking her to read the rest with my brother later. But when I scrolled down the page it stopped at the 'Wall' part. There were a couple of messages from a friend who happens to be a girl presently in Saudi Arabia. This was enough for my mother to get excited. She continues to find no difference between what a girlfriend means and what a friend who happens to be a girl means.

She keeps teasing me always. Though obviously, it all depends on her mood. But like most other people, and I strongly believe that others too are like me on this issue, I don't like my conversations with my friends to be read by my parents. But there is something different with me - I have no problem if they read and listen to everything in my absence and never ask me about it and never change their perspectives about it. They are my parents and they do have the rights to know all about me. But because they have grown up, they, I am sure, have forgotten most of what all they had in their minds when they were of my age. I know many times they haven't questioned me when apparently they should have. I could let them see all my accounts and have them seated beside me every time I use my computer provided that they see it the way I feel it. And that, I believe, is not practically possible.

The word that includes these issues is 'generation gap'. It's a phrase to be precise. And it's something I don't always like to hear more on. It's an unfiltered word used by elders to describe what they cannot or perhaps don't want to understand. I really wonder what my parents think of me - what I do know is that they will let me do everything I want to do because they trust the lessons I have taken from them all these years. I remember getting beaten up for many things when I was a kid, being scolded and taught about what all seemed to be trivial to me, and put into detailed discussions - especially by my father - when my perspectives didn't match with his. But unlike many parents I see who don't have their children involved in decisions they make and the problems they face, my parents always kept me informed. Maybe partly because my brother and I were the only ones they had with them almost all the time at home and also because they thought we both must be made responsible sooner.

Or maybe they just didn't think anything about this and simply continued with whatever came to them. Right from the times my parents argued, they had to talk about some relatives, resolve a problem or even fight about something, I was always there. When I was much younger I used to listen. Then I started speaking up. Then I took to the level of becoming opinionated. And now, I am not sure if I am right in doing this, but more or less I feel this is how it has become because almost everything is decided the way I want it to be, I am dictating them what to do. I give the reason, I accept the responsibility and they let me have it my way. I am not forcing them to agree with my maverick opinions; I am only reminding them of what they have taught me.

My relationship with my parents is not like I hear others having with their parents. I am at a lot of distance from my mother. I can never go and hold her hands whenever I want to, I can never go and put my head on her shoulder or kiss her, I can only talk to her. It has always been like this. I used to hug my father a lot until some years back; I used to rest my head on his arms and sleep beside him. I can't do that anymore. Though, of course, with my father it's this way because I have grown older now, with my mother it is always the same. Once in a week she holds my hands when she finds me doing nothing or touches my cheeks - it's only when she feels like. But I feel happy that at least once a week that happens. And there are times I get irritated too when she touches me.

I don't feel any bad about it because it has always been this way. But I like being shown love. I like it when there is a shoulder I can sleep on - I have done that twice - and it was incredible. Once I slept on my cousin brother's shoulder and once on my brother's. I feel great when my father touches me and plays with my ear lobes like he always does with small children. I still don't mind missing them. I would only miss something I have felt enough of it to fall in love with it - in this context. There are imaginations and apart from taking away time they take nothing else - give nothing either. And I still have no idea what's making me write all this. It's just one of those times when I keep typing what sentences some into my mind. I do trust them. They are more real and untouched. And suddenly I see some good number of paragraphs already written!

There is something in me I haven't always liked. It's a part of me; it's a part of my being. Fundamentally I am supposed to control it. It's a kind of emotion that can be enjoyed to the core but must be tamed. I don't want to control it; I want to get rid of it - temporarily. I know that's quite impossible and should it happen it would throw my life out of the track. 'I don't want to control it, I want to get rid of it' is more out of frustration than intention. Or maybe I am just tired because I know it's not going well. But I am happy and thank Allah that some crucial times were held very well decently.

I had two friends at home yesterday in the night and they stayed up till almost 2:30 am. For the last two days I have gone to bed only after Fajar. Yesterday mamma asked me around 4:15 am if I would be awake for more time and I only said “yes”. Today my father told me that it might affect my health. My reply was about the 7 to 8 hours I was sleeping in a day. I am still waiting to hear from the consulate – the three weeks they said have ended. I expect them to contact me in the coming few days. I pray to Allah that I get the visa at the earliest. So many people tell me that they are praying for me. If it is Infosys Allah wants me to join, I pray I remain happy and satisfied with it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Used To Be Better

I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
- Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
It's serious irritation to see so much spam in Yahoomail. Until some days back I used to check my mailbox daily and clear all the junk. I always had to delete 8 to 10 messages. And this is just the count of the spam delivered into my inbox - there is always more in the bulk mail folder. Gmail too receives but it goes into the spam's folder - they don't make us look for what is unnecessary and delete it manually. I wonder why a service like Yahoo Mail has no proper protection for it's users. I am not like those who just leave mails unchecked if I don't have to open them. It finds me as disorganized when I keep unread mails for long. But now I have decided that I won't checking my mailbox in Yahoo. It will just be a service I have abandoned using. I already have more than 150 unread there. Gmail seems to be the best. No doubt about Hotmail's crediblity.

I finally took along with five friends for a movie yesterday to a theatre. It was my first since I had watch 'I Am Legend'. My friends had gone for one on Saturday too which I skipped because I wanted to spend time with my cousin. Yesterday too something found me hesitant but I decided it soon. The movie was 'Hulk'. I didn't so particularly liked it but it was entertainment. Around 9:15 pm we went to Eat Street. It was reasonless - we just didn't want to disperse immediately. It's always nice to spend some time together and leave only when we feel that there is nothing more to talk. It was good to sit there in front of Hussain Sagar with three friends without talking anything! Saturday I had watched 'The Sixth Sense' at home. It was very good.

A cousin sister came to meet us yesterday. She arrived from Peoria, Illinois just few days back and had been to her in-laws' place in Guntur. I met her infant daughter for the first time. The thing she knew best was to smile. They were at my house for around an hour and she played all the time. Whenever she saw anybody looking at her she smiled back revealing her small two teeth. Unlike many other kids we see she didn't mind sitting on anybody's lap or going out with anybody other than her mother. It was really pleasing to hear her shout and yell. MashAllah.

Moments before I was leaving for the movie yesterday my mother asked me about the number of friends I was going with. I told her there were six of us. Then she asked me if there were any girls too. I said no. She then asked why I was dressing up. I wanted to argue for a while but found it unnecessary. I have never been out of my house except for nearby places without shoes and belt and I never forget perfume, my watch and combing. It was pointless that my mother asked it. I have taken good care of what I wear for many years now - perhaps since the time I got done with my 10th standard.

I was shaving my beard on Saturday when I thought of trying something new. I didn't shave the part below my lower lip. It now appears like French with no mustache and very little beard below the corners of the lower lip. I am not sure if I am going to keep it for long but my brother seems to be too amused. Keeping any new design on face requires regular shaving and trimming and I am of those who do it only when I am going out. So these days because I don't have any places to visit my beard grows unquestioned. My parents make a lot of fun of me calling me Devdas and failed-lover. I am used to it now. It doesn't hurt anymore.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Can Sense It. It's Not Easy

What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word, and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.
- George Bailey, It's A Wonderful Life
There isn't much that prompted me to write today. I didn't read a book; I didn't watch any movie. I read a lot of sophisticated content on the Internet yesterday- if that can manage to give an 'ununderstandable' explanation of what I read - today I read more of the related but it was rather more elucidated than yesterday's and I watched a comedy show on TV sitting with my father and brother. I have decided that from tomorrow I will give more time to the books and movies I have to finish instead of spending time on the computer listening to only music. The only problem will be that I will miss my friends if they come online in the meanwhile.

I couldn't believe what all they are showing on TV these days. This show named "Comedy Circus" was on a famous Hindi channel and there was a warning scrolling horizontally across the screen at the bottom telling that the show had adult content and children below 18 must watch it under parental guidance. Two things I can tell about this - they do not know what all children of 14 years of age understand these days and, even till 12 midnight it is considered as family time in front of TV at least in the houses of people like me. I know how heavily television channels are being censored these days - even simple bad words are being muted. This show was an antithesis to that.

With a friend today I went to submit my application for the NSR card which Infosys has made it compulsory. We went to the right place at first. When we asked the watchman he asked us to go to some other building on the other side of the street. After searching for a while we called up a friend and took the precise address. The office we had to go to was in the same building whose watchman had made us go somewhere else. And more interestingly, we found flat number 205 at third floor! But talking about Infosys at home is not simple. My mother asked me if we must book tickets to Mysore now; this came at a time when I was looking for the cost of tickets to Dallas Fort Worth Airport and the possible itinerary. I know I am yet to get the visa but I am positive about it. Going to Infy is easy, will have me start earning money, I can spend my own money, but it's something I want to delay. Allah knows what's going to happen. Only time will let me know about it.

My brother returned from my aunt's house today. He had been to some concert in the evening, had enjoyed lots of time with cousins since yesterday afternoon and today he finally decided that it was time to come home. And yes, I think there is something more interesting my brother is doing these days: after putting on the 'spikes' hairstyle, a goatee, playing lots of cricket, table tennis, playing football with the Sudanese, riding almost every bike found on the roads these days, he found a new inclination - snooker. And at nights he is watching Euro 2008 matches. He has already learnt how to stay up till 2 am easily. After he got an assurance that he will get an admission into CSIIT for Bachelor of Architecture for the marks he has scored in NATA he has been enjoying every bit of his time as if somebody has let him off the leash.

My cousin sister who was wholeheartedly preparing for IIT entrance examination couldn't get through the test. Though we all were expecting a lot from her in EAMCET too, we are now very, very happy that she got an admission in VIT for MS integrated five year course in Software Engineering. The only reason to feel sad is that she would be leaving us shortly as her classes start in the first week of July. Even her mother - my aunt - is battling a possible transfer to some other place away from Hyderabad. She had already suffered a lot some years back when she had to make trips to a place named Kamareddy daily. My uncle too has spent a couple of years in Aurangabad away from his family. It's not easy to always get to stay together - stay as the same.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Related Phrases

About 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.
- Bill Gates, Speech at the University of Washington, as reported in "Gates, Buffett a bit bearish" CNET News (2 July 1998)
I remember my father talking about some chocolate yesterday night after he and mamma returned from some shopping. So, today I opened the fridge to check it out. There was nothing there but when I opened the freezer I impetuously uttered "haa" loudly. There was nobody home so nobody heard it. What I found inside was a very big packet of Kit Kat. Though I have seen bigger boxes of chocolate in the fridge before several times this thing was very, very amusing. I am yet to tear-open the pack but I am keeping patience. There is thrill and excitement in the moments I wait to take on such enjoyments. It's called as happiness.

Yesterday after publishing the last post here I began reading some old ones. The one I particularly enjoyed was "Castaway". It was longer than my usual posts and it was satisfying. Though I don't expect most of it to be understood by those who must have read it, I do believe that there are some things very clearly mentioned. I wasn't rambling. There was no redundancy - whenever I write something that might sound unhealthy, I find it quintessential that I provide as many details as possible and be very specific with what all I mean to say. But of course it's majorly for myself that I right, it always feels great to know that somebody is reading. But when somebody ends up misunderstanding it, it aches.

There always has to be something that makes me write. I don't write just for the sake of it. Something has to motivate me, force me or give at least a nimble reason even if it is very trivial. This post is my 450th on the blog and I know that the last 50 have taken a very long time to come. I give the regards to two reasons for this - I had lost a lot of motivation during these days getting myself involved more in movies, music and other activities and I had to give a lot of thinking for everything I wanted to put here. The second reason is more non-trivial that it may appear. At times it gets difficult to predict how a reader might react to what I have written. Not everybody rely on responding, they only react.

We are all prejudiced, we are all biased and we all show favoritism. We might be guided by our ego on several occasions. Doing the right thing when our heart doesn't allow us is tough. It's hard, but it's harder to ignore illogical inclinations when the rightful has to be done nevertheless. If everything had to occur on merit we would have been living in a totally different world today - I would have been a different person, perhaps this blog would have never existed and maybe I would have had very different people as my friends. I am afraid of this kind of world. Perhaps we are all afraid of meritocracy. But we are going fine with how things exist now.

I got a call from my college's junior asking me to send him all the material necessary to publish the next edition of the department's newsletter Communique. I wonder what he is expecting of me. When I worked on my first issue I had nothing with me making me start from the scratch. I decided on the template, I decided the fonts and I fixed the page layouts. I am sure he already has a copy of it. As long as he has nothing from me he can take the liberty to decide things for himself. But when I mail him the details of the templates and the fonts I am sure he will have a problem in adjusting to them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That's How I Know It

We despise all reverences and all objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.
- Mark Twain, Following the Equator
I remember those days when my father had decided to close down his business and moved some of the machinery to a new place handing it over to a guy who used to work for him previously. Mamma too had to go to Sangareddy daily for she had been transferred there as the General Manager of District Co-operative Central Bank of Medak. Daily my brother and I had to take care of what had to be cooked in the nights, instruct the maid, take innumerable instructions from mamma on phone, take care of evening tea and snacks, collect drinking water and even some times wait to see our parents' faces late in the night. It was only after 9 pm that mamma used to arrive home.

Then my father took over the management of a school belonging to his friend. Till date I wonder why exactly he did that. I always wondered how it could be to have a mother who stayed home. Mamma always had to worry about her office, the union leaders who troubled her, the hundreds of employees who worked under her who always had problems with every decision made, the targets she had to meet and the responsibilities she had to carry. She had started to hate her cell phone. After several requests made to the Managing Director of the head office, meeting some MLAs and consulting several people she could finally get herself back to Hyderabad. Then some months later my father started working with his brother for the Trust's schools which had been previously managed by some other relatives who had brought a lot of disgrace to the Trust which was supposed to serve the poor around that place.

It was those months when my father had nothing to do which were terrible. Money was not much of an issue but still mamma had decided that we must cut back on expenses. She had made us stop using the car, we stopped going to restaurants, neither were we getting any food from outside, there were plans to purchase some appliances for home and she had dropped those plans. This was just for a very short period - two months I guess - but it left a mark on me. Though it didn't cause any pain, it taught me some very important things which otherwise I wouldn't have ever realized. Because I was always allowed to handle my money I knew how important it is to save. My father always had opposite beliefs - he never saves.

When I got most of our liquid and fixed assets evaluated as a proof of financial worthiness to be shown at the consulate I realized how well my mother has managed to make it so comfortable for my brother and me. She had earned what people don't in the whole of their lifetime. It was mostly because she was taught about delayed gratification by her father and also because she studied commerce and mastered it. Whatever it was, she succeeded in her objective as my mother. My father on the other hand had different priorities for himself but he always managed to give my brother and me the love we couldn't get from our mother because she was not home when we needed her.

Mamma always spent money on home, my brother and me. She didn't leave even a small gap in what all that had to be filled. But when she comes home daily, I greet her with a big smile and all happiness in my heart and she only greets back with no smile on her face, it beats all reasons to my happiness. She has the habit to remain tensed about everything. Whenever she gets frustrated at her office she pours it at home. She shows love only when it is convenient to her, she shows affection only when she feels like - not when I need it. I don't complain for what she is and how she is. I only wonder how it could have been if my parents had remained more appropriate to their roles. It's all how Allah wants it to be and I am pretty satisfied.

From what I hear from my parents there are people who want my father's schools and the Trust which is in his grandmother's name to be sold. The sole purpose of this establishment is social service through educating the poor and the needy at a very low fee. The Trust was started by my father's aunt when she deposited a huge amount in a bank for the Trust to be run. I wonder why there are people who want to defeat this purpose. There are hundreds of poor who bless those who work for these schools and those who have contributed to it in any form. I know its value runs into crores of rupees but that's not what it is meant for. It is meant for charity. It is meant for the Aakhirat of my great grandmother and all those who are involved in the noble cause. I know as long as my uncle is the managing trustee this purpose will be met in the best possible way Allah decides.

The best part of the whole of my family has been our self-dependence and independence from what other relatives had to decide or do. My parents can take decisions without having to contact anybody else - elder or younger in relation. Nobody has to ask for any big favors now. We chose our directions and live our lifestyles and when we meet each other we are all at peace. I have seen other people who are bound by relations and families and commitments to other relatives. Alhamdulillah what I see among my relatives is all perfect. I am glad for all the people I have.

The other day when I was with my friends we had a short talk on those who are problematic with their swollen egos. Today I did absolutely nothing all through the day sitting home wondering what went wrong and this talk struck my mind. I couldn't get to the other end of the answer to why people are bogged up with their egos and create problems with people around them and some times even friends. Alhamdulillah I haven't really experienced anything wrong going on involving me but there are some distasteful patches at some places. There is envy and jealousy which I cannot understand and I might be unable to explain it to anybody even if I get to the other end. Possession of no amount of money, endurance of no amount of pain and neither does any amount of self-love entitles a person to tell that he can stop talking to others or disregard them. What is right is right no matter how difficult it is for a person to behave right.

I have an acquaintance who was rejected F1 visa today. He said there were eight straight rejections before him and he was the 9th. I really had all my heart with him and wanted him to return home successful but it was saddening when I heard the news. I completely agree that Americans have full rights to deny any person entry into their state and I should not complain even if they reject me. What I pity is the seriousness involved in it. I know I didn't feel good when I was put on hold and I also know what I would have felt had I been rejected. I would have rather become more social if things had become too negative. I will always prefer accepting my ignorance than just talking crap to entertain others to grab their attention. I also believe that being normal involves letting others too remain normal - not in stopping them from being how they would be if there was no pressure on them. That is not normal even remotely. And that is how I know it. That is how I conceive of it.