Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Chronology In Randomness

You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count.
- Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne
Most of the cars in the lot are still fully sealed in a thick hard layer of ice. The leaves on the hedges shine when the bright sun looks at them but the crystal ice refuses to melt. Until a couple of hours back most of the leaves were frozen with coverings of solid ice on them. The harshness seemed to be reducing a bit then again the sun is about to set now. The present temperature is 4 degrees but it's going to fall back to freezing again in a couple of hours. It was around -9 degrees in the morning. University closed yesterday at 3 pm and will open only on Thursday now. There was some good freezing rain in the night and I hoped to see some snow. It didn't happened. It's just ice outside; no snow.

I had to recollect what all I missed since the last time I blogged. The difficult part was to decide what to stick here, what to delay and what to forget. Not much can be easily forgotten and there is not enough wisdom in me to guess what could end up being mistakes. All I have had always is hope; whether it's right or wrong. I have found wonderful friends in both my present room mates else my time here would have been bland and sore. Memories of back home still haunt me in form of dreams. When I wake up I am reminded where I am. It always takes a couple of seconds to get back to reality. I am yet to refuse I am glad I am here. I will never.

I thought my time at engineering went like a whisker. After almost two weeks a friend from Hyderabad called me only to remind me how beautiful my life is. She told me so much about her husband, so much about how happy she is alhamdulillah and how beautiful it is to be married. I remember telling her a bunch of things but all I remember now is I told her how I feel I never spent any time with any of my friends there. On the contrary there were weeks and months I was with them yet it all seems to be insignificantly small. I am not sad those days are over leaving me asking for more. I pray I get more in my time ahead inshAllah.

To come to think of it I recently realized a new dream. The bliss that seems all sinful got me to feel guilty about it - just because I felt that. I went half way to share it with a buddy but took a fast retreat. Some voices never fade, some faces don't stay, some people can't remain and love always denies them. It's the same thing over and over again asking for the same end. Back in the drawingroom in my home in Hyderabad there stands an antique showcase at least 80 years in age. It houses many more antiques inside it belonging to my maternal and paternal grandparents. But there's a sea shell my grandfather had given me some years ago which is not an antique. It has words engraved on it. They say "forget me not". I remember the last time I stood beside my grandfather's grave and could feel nothing but cried later after I reached home.

InshAllah now I will be able to visit the nearby Masjid frequently. It's in the city of Plano almost 7 miles from my apartment. Being independent here makes a lot of difference to social life and other possible activities. InshAllah I will also be attending conventions and other Islamic programs here in the coming days. I just can't thank Allah enough for making me free from public transport here. InshAllah in a day I will return the Accord I am using and get a Civic for myself. My parents are paying for it of course. I know someday inshAllah I will repay them for everything they do for me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The excesses of love soon pass, but its insufficiencies torment us forever.  
- Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
The moment I entered the second class of the day on Tuesday I could feel myself inferior. There were all these people who seemed to be there a lot before time, waiting seriously for the class as if it was going to be something like a very formal workshop or a seminar or something and all of them appeared elder to me. Being my habit of sitting in the front row in every class, I silently moved myself onto the fourth chair in the front. I knew once again I was going to face a lot of competition for grades in this class, that I will have my team mates who would be elder to me and I have to put in a lot to get an A. I have this class again on Thursday at 5:30 pm. I have a three-days a week schedule. This particular class is for Software Project Planning and Management.

I had my dinner very late. We went to a movie in the evening around 9:40 pm. It was "Religulous". I felt so great for having parents who taught me about Islam so well that no amount of illogical talk assumed as logical can deviate me. The movie was a documentary trying to disprove Christianity, Judaism and Islam as logical. Alhamdulillah my faith just got added up. It's necessary that we learn how to answer people when they ask us about our religion. Just because the Muslim guys who were interviewed in the movie didn't know how to answer well, the director succeeds in making a mockery of Islam. Any halfwit or a person with weak faith would fall into such arguments and buy them.

There is a millions of dollars worth beautification project for my university going on currently. They are even going to build a park worth $20,000 for dogs. They seem to be spending a lot on everything except for students. There are hardly any scholarships, fee waivers or aids. With very few jobs available on-campus we students get more dependent on our parents. Somehow alhamdulillah things are fine with me. I know many students have problems here paying for their fee. They even transfer to other universities. I know it's worth studying here. It's good alhamdulillah.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The American Screw

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop. 
- Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland     
As I sat down at the table for a while I felt I had never been out of this place. Slowly the reality began to move up through the threads to the head to bang it hard and press the sharpness down. I am fine now but somehow couldn't figure out what happened. I suppose it was around 9 pm when my uncle dropped me at my apartment. Some minutes later a friend called me and I left for Denton. My friend who arrived from India a couple of weeks back came to pick me up with his brother. We went to his university. He is going to stay there now. I suppose University of North Texas is about 35 miles from my place. I am not sure when we are going to meet again.

I wanted to call my father to talk to him but I realized I had wished him his birthday just around 10 pm. I thought of calling up my mother but I had spoke to her too on my way to Denton. I like Dallas more than Houston for I know more places here and the place I call home in America is here. But back there in Houston I had my people. I miss them now. I miss my parents. This just seems to have become a routine habit - miss  a few people, get busy with something only to realize later that I was missing them. But it bleeds when I miss them. The head keeps getting banged harder with every memory moving in cycles and the sharpness getting more severe.

I saw the new schedule sometime back. My first class of this semester is at 7 pm. A professor from Washington DC will come over to UTD every Monday to teach us this course 'Semantic Web'. I had to take some elective, I wanted it to be something new and so I went for this one though I have little idea what it precisely is about. I have read some vague things about it and it sounded interesting. That's all I need to know to feel the need. I am not much into Computer Networks or Database Design though I would still go for one of these in the final two semesters as electives. The harder the head is banged, the deeper it goes. Someday it will break open this way.

As we left my friend at his university in Denton I recollected how I used to feel at the beginning of Fall when I was new here. He is new here now. I know he is going to think a lot, shed some tears, speak to himself, look in the mirror a few times but he will rise above the pain. That's what we all came here for. No success is achieved at the comfort of home. We all need to move out of comfort zones, let ourselves hurt, sacrifice and allow the groves to set in more firmly. The problem is with the head being hit so harder every few days. It's supposed to be driven in, not forced to cracks.

By the time we make this place our home the cracks gets filled but the head looses a lot of gloss. I haven't read much into what philosophy talks about religion but I do know something like abstractions are spoken about. Belief in God is said to be an abstraction, faith is called a high form of abstraction, love too at times is measured in abstracts like life and hope are. It's so soothing that Allah prescribes us straight forward rules which saves us from the pain of trying to find out what abstract which part of faith is or faith itself is. We have a set of rules and they take us to our end. Philosophy might help, prescription helps in concrete. Prescriptions fight cracks, smoothen the head and make the journey appropriate. Alhamdulillah.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Oh! She's nice, she's kind, innocent too. She's probably pretty, the right one for you. So just forget me: I'm only a friend. Though I'll be with you, until the end.
- Unknown
Waiting has always been so difficult. Waiting for the right time to come. Waiting for people to get convinced. Waiting to hear answers. Waiting with no control in my hands. It seems dumb at times. Irritating most of the time. Annoying always. It eats from inside. I had Lazania for the first time today. It was good alhamdulillah.

This would be my last post from Houston as for now. I have little or no idea when I am going to get here again. InshAllah by nightfall on Sunday I will be in Dallas. I cannot guess how I am going to feel once I am there. It's different worlds on both sides - family here and newly made friends there. I have began to love both of them though there are preferences depending on state of my needs and necessities that make me ask one of the two at varying times for varying lengths. The premise remains the same - satisfaction. If family never changes, I would love to be with it always. If friends don't change and never get replaced, I would give more preference to staying with them. But neither is possible. Future sometimes like past looks scary.

Never in my full senses did I ever hope that I move back even a day in my life. There were times when I wanted time to go pass very fast. Some occasions also saw me asking for a pause but I always knew I was being ridiculous. I always found it foolishness to believe that doing the same thing over and over again the same way would yield a different result. I tried to make things proceed in different ways to see if something works out favorably. Things happen only when Allah wants. Waiting in hope is self-defeating.

It's middle of the night here. Tomorrow I know it will be a different place and a different tempo but it's going to be the same me with the same things in my mind. Monday I will have my first class of Spring inshAllah. I will have so many people around me, asking me, telling me, smiling at me; all people I have met less than five months back. Though I never came here with expectations from people, alhamdulillah everything has turned out very well. Some thing always remained missing. Somehow I always knew Allah was going to punish me using this. Once I said about this to a friend but couldn't explain it.

We just can't walk away from anything we don't like because everywhere we go we take with us all the past we have and the hope of future we have dreamt. We all grow old, we stop dreaming, our dreams die away with time and one day we face the same end. Life starts with dreams - the dream to be the best, fastest, strongest, wealthiest. They all fade away showing us the same path. What comes and goes in between is said to matter the most. I don't understand how it can matter more when something as important as a dream has to die. From those who say my talk makes me seem like I live in a dream world to those who say they don't understand what I write... I am just waiting.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Pink Camera

We are each burdened with prejudice; against the poor or the rich, the smart or the slow, the gaunt or the obese.  It is natural to develop prejudices.  It is noble to rise above them. 
 - Author Unknown 
My 13 year old cousin asked laughing why my digital was pink in color. I said when I went to buy it was the only model I liked which fit my budget and pink was the only color available. I got a bit uncomfortable just after finishing that. I had to add immediately add that I desperately wanted to buy a camera so didn't want to wait till other colors were available. But now, I don't feel like using my camera in front of everybody thinking somebody would laugh again. A guy having a pink camera sounds sissy and gay. Whenever I get a chance, I will send this camera to my parents in India. Colors are not much an issue there.

When I was shopping for clothes back in India and deciding which of the old ones I must take with me to America, many of my friends would tell me I should avoid clothes of colors like yellow, bright blue, green, red and pink. What I failed to realize is that these people had never been to America and what they talk is only about whatever half-knowledge they had. Just because I heeded to them I left so many of my favorite shirts back in Hyderabad. Here my aunt gifted me shirts which were yellow, green and red in color. My cousins say even pink will go fine. My friends from Hyderabad know nothing.

Accessories that are pink in color are what I need to avoid, not clothes. Perhaps things are a bit different up north in places like Chicago but here in Texas all colors are good for guys. I have been having so many waves of anger for a friend who used to continuously asked me to avoid these colors. He is still in Hyderabad and when he sees me wearing those colors in the pictures I send him he comments saying I should avoid them all. He sounds illogical. He has little awareness of how things are here. It irritates me. I have come to a new understanding about we Indians - most of us think we run the world.

I had never worn T shirts in India. When I bought them for here I was made fun of - we Indians have this 'resistance to change' syndrome within us. I bought sizes I thought fit me well. Here my aunt and cousins told me I need to wear loose sizes. And now when I do that, all Indians in my university look at me as if I have committed some big sin. Keeping hair small is what everybody prefers here unless there is some specific styling adopted. When I cut my hair small for the first time I had a host of questions to answer. I appreciate change as long as it doesn't go again what Allah allows us. We Indians have a tendency to stay deeply faithful with our culture no matter what Allah allows us to do.

The other day at a party my cousins and their friends were having a discussion on having Chicken from outside - chicken which is halaal but not zabiha. After some detailed contentions that were put forth and comments from scholars, most of whom say it's perfectly alright to eat this meat, somebody asked "so why do we make such a big deal about this?" and there was a Chinese friend who replied "desis make it a big deal". We Indians are like that. Though I am convinced I can eat Chicken anywhere outside, I don't eat it only because my father doesn't seem to be convinced. I am avoiding it for him and it's alright with me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
- Eden Ahbez
I passed my road test for driving license on Friday morning. I had to be at the DPS office before 7 am with my aunt who took me there. After waiting in the queue for a long time an African American lady took my test. She was very polite and ignored a couple of small errors I made. I had not come to a dead stop at one of the stop signs and didn't slow down enough at a right turn that had no lights controlling it. She did point out my mistakes and asked me to be careful. I thank Allah so much for all this and everything. I take my driving license as a big achievement I have made here in America.

Some times I end up having myself reminding to me that I am in America. It's looks so much like home frequently. And there are times I feel terribly sad and lonely. I feel like going back to my parents, spending a day with them and come back here. There are times when I talk to some of my friends I end up asking them if we could meet at least for a while and get back to our lives again after that. But all along when I think of such a thing I know I don't mean it. Even if that were possible, it's illogical. I just love them so much I can't resist doing this wishful thinking. I was so glad and happy when my friend who got married a few days back called me up. It was a little before 4 am when I was sleeping when she called. Though I could recognize her voice I asked her if it was her because I couldn't believe I was talking to her. It was great talking to her husband too. I thank Allah and pray they both find peace in both the worlds.

I returned from a barbecue party sometime back. It was at my second cousin's house here in Houston. The party was hosted by him and my first cousin. There were several of their common friends and though I was never a part of their conversations I enjoyed being with them, listening to them and learning from them about them. For the first time I ate something which doesn't come under the Zabiha bracket but was still Halaal. It was Kosher hot dogs. Alhamdullillah Allah has made everything so simple and easy for us that there are options to choose from in every context of life we get to live in. There were around 25 to 30 guys who attended the party and they included Indians, Pakistanis, Americans, Egyptians and other Arabs as well - all of them my cousins' friends. We had lots of fun.

Last week I attended a protest rally which stood in front of the Israeli consulate in downtown Houston against the attack on Palestine. I could fire up a huge topic on what's going on all over the world, how Jews are controlling world politics, how India is doing it all wrong, RSS, BJP, terrorist attacks in India all carried out by Hindus, Gujrat, Pakistan and Kashmir. It's all burning within me these days. My perspectives have changed since I have come here. All we Indians are just frogs in the well not knowing the truth or simply refusing to understand it. Now that when I see things from a distance, I get to see the whole picture and see who is doing what. I am in support of Pakistan and I don't fear calling Israel the axis of evil. May Allah bless all my Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world, bring peace to everybody and protect us from all sorts of evils even we can't imagine but Allah is aware of.

A few days back I went to watch the movie 'Benjamin Button' to a theatre here in Houston with a cousin and his friend who was here from Chicago. I liked the movie though found it something very different and amusing. I had seen quite a few movies since I came here to Houston. We have been using my laptop and a projector to watch these movies in big size on a wall in the living room. It gives a great experience. The other day I watched 'Get Smart'. There were few more before that.

I had seriously been wanting to spend some of my time with my cousin sister in Austin. After so much of planning and timing, we finally decided that she would come down to Houston with her family for the next weekend inshAllah. I would be waiting for that. I am pretty much relaxed now that I have my driving license with me. When I get back to Dallas one of my first priorities would be to get in touch with some people there, find ways to make things easier and if necessary buy a car inshAllah. Alhamdulillah things have been going very well though not like how I had planned when I was back in India. I have seen better and bigger things than I had thought and imagined and I am pretty sure there is more to come. InshAllah. There is just something going on at home in Hyderabad and I pray to Allah I get to hear everything very positive at the earliest. I pray for everybody's happiness.

I try my best to stay in contact with as many people as possible though it is not always in my hands to be as I would ideally want myself to be. Lately I have found myself getting slightly critical about a few people and thinking about them is turning me away from them. It's not just about a single such person, it's more than that. I am trying my best to be how a responsible Muslim should be but still it's not easy to control my heart. I keep falling in love daily with people I already love. But when I look at some people through the rules set on us by Allah, I do find them incorrect in many ways one of which includes 'being indifferent'. I pray to Allah that He guides me onto the right path. It's love I want to be made of.