Friday, May 29, 2009

Three Forty One A M

Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house like a lot of other houses, a yard like a lot of other yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back, with wonder.
- The Wonder Years
I lay myself on the floor wondering how different it is now and woke up suddenly to the sound of the main door opening. I had fell asleep and my room mate who was out to attend a party had returned. I had called him a while before that just after returning from work and he had informed me that I need not pick him up and he has found a ride. The first thing I look for every night as I enter the parking lot is my room mate's car - my friend who left us two days back. It wasn't there today because he is in Chicago now. I spoke to him finally and he said he has reached there safely alhamdulillah. It was 12:50 am when I reached home today.

I don't like entering a home which has nobody in it and no lights turned on. My other room mate was already asleep as expected. He has to get up early daily to go to office. As a thought that came to my mind some minutes back, I guess I have begun to bore others now. Some days back one of my co-workers said I was talking less and today I was in fact talking less. I can't help it. I just don't find things to talk about anymore so easily. Or perhaps it's just a passing thing. It's all good as long as I don't bore myself. I never get bored. I can sit at one place for hours waiting for or listening to anybody. Alhamdulillah.

I spent a big part of my return journey today thinking how good it would have been if I didn't have to take favors from others. I spent a part thinking about why I can't be more good. I remember my father asking me every few days, when I was going to become a good boy. That was of course until a few years back when I finally grew up enough not to be asked such a thing. But most of the times my father had asked me that I would ask him if I was not good already. He always said I was but that I needed to be much better. It was never a serious talk though - it hurts me now somehow. Failing others hurts more than failing oneself.

I went to a mall in the morning looking for a gift for a friend back in India. I spent a lot of time there looking for the right thing but it didn't help much. I had something in mind already but soon realized it was not possible for me to make that as a gift. I need to think more now and find something else. It's going to get even more late now. My father's friend is going to leave for India next week. I have to send it through him or wait for him to come back by the end of June when he is going to stay here for a couple of weeks and go back again. Anyways someday inshAllah I will have my gift delivered. There is still so much left to give and return to so many people. I am afraid.

Last Monday I went to downtown Dallas and later to a place called Main Even nearby to have some fun with bowling. It was a long day and between these two outings I even had to go to Irving. Perhaps that day I travelled about a 100 miles and yet I was in the same place. Whenever I went to the outskirts of Hyderabad I used to hear somebody say how wonderful it would be to have our home built in a place like this. Texas is a place like that. All cities are so spread out that except for downtown everything else appears to be a suburb. No other place in the world has freeways like Texas has. It boasts luxury, serenity and low cost of living. That also  makes Dallas stay on the second spot on the 'cities with highest crime' list. It was at the top until last month. It's San Antonio now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Still Waiting

That first week of high school, as I watched our class band together. I realized something about these strangers I'd just met. Strangers I hardly knew. Strangers who were just like me. We were all sharing the same feelings. The same fears, the same loneliness. We were just starting out, and there was only one direction to go. So we went - together.
- The Wonder Years
It was 12:25 am Sunday when I entered the freeway to return home and the traffic started slowing down. That's pretty unusual at that time of day. Soon I came to a dead halt and remained for more than 30 minutes. First few minutes I spent getting entertainment from the radio I had already turned on. Then I called up two of my friends in India only to come to know they were not available to receive my call. I am not sure if I did connect to their phones or not. My mother called me up and I told her I was far from my apartment and didn't know how much more time it was going to take for the traffic to clear. At 12:30 am that day I was between at least a few thousand cars most of them coming from downtown heading north.

I had no complains as I stared at the red tail lamp of the car in front of me. Instead of keeping a minimum of one-car-distance, two-feet-distance had become the standard. I thought of calling few more people and some calculations told me it's perhaps distance I need to appreciate. I stared at the red lamp thinking how different we all need to be, how it is not necessary that we explain everything to everybody, how we need to respect boundaries and how everything can't be stopped or started at our will. That night I reached my apartment 40 minutes late than usual with no complains in my heart praying for pleasantness everywhere. About 10 days back too I had spent an hour each in a similar but slow-moving traffic on the same freeways.

One of my roommate-friends is leaving for Chicago in a few hours from now. He met me while I was on a long journey hoping it ended sooner, brought loads of fun and happiness into the loneliness, made me know everything about him, came to know everything about me and is leaving this place leaving me on the same journey. He is definitely going to come back inshAllah but even he doesn't know when. I hope and pray he finds success in what he is trying to do. I would never take a risk of the size he is taking but I appreciate his courage. I have learnt a lot from him. From an elder respectable person he was to me some months back, he became one of my closest buddies here. Age doesn't matter more to me when making friends alhamdulillah.

In a world that had become so big for me suddenly, there have been wonderful people close enough to make that world all familiar. Clearly, people who have travelled more and have been to many places have lots to teach and volumes of maturity to share. I don't think it's real possible for any normal person to grow staying in a single place. Though I didn't go to many places, I have some people who have done a lot of that and are always there willing to make a difference to my life. When I go to some new place here in Dallas, I don't feel like an alien anymore. I feel how I used to feel back in Hyderabad to the extent the place is concerned. When it comes to people, it's a different story. The downward curve on my lips occurs not because I am far from them, but because of something else. I was just tired of always being the only one wanting to talk.

Lots of times I have been asked about my grades as the semester ended. It was good to see concerns but somehow I felt there were more important things to be spoken now that the semester was over. Of course one would complain that when I am here for studies, grades should matter more than anything else. It's simple: I am here to take life forward. I am going to stay here for many years even after my studies are done with. Planning for that is more important. But for sure, nobody who has seen things here would understand what I mean and what it is that I mean. For the record, I scored a C, a B+ and an A making the GPA for Spring semester 3.11 and bringing my overall to 3.22. A few of us roughed up with a professor to receive a C. It's alright; for me.

It shows in black and while when a person we are talking to is interested in our talk or not. It's shows in black and white when somebody shows more concern and interest or tries to give a cold shoulder. These might happen involuntarily but a few actions are supposed to be done to keep relationships no matter what the intention is. Faith is belief in action. I just can't keep calling somebody my friend doing nothing else; being nothing like a friend. At times it's good to have things moving fast but I know I am not liking it. What's the difference. No questions when answers are already there.

When the day breaks I won't have this friend with me around if the weather gets clear. He is just one more who is leaving. I remember that day I stood at the sidewalk of Eat Street in Hyderabad watching a friend leave. I could have stayed there for few more hours watching. Things are very different now; not at all like how I thought they would be standing there that day. I know I can look at the the calendar, put some efforts and gather the exact date and time of that occasion but it has no point. I feel like turning my face away from my computer. That's not the end of course. Alhamdulillah. There are going to be new people, new bondings and more people leaving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yes, Waiting

When you're thirteen, it's a long way to Albuquerque. Teri told me about getting her learner's permit, and taking her first drive with a stick-shift. She wrote of our night at the beach. She told me she missed me so much that she cried herself to sleep at night. And she promised to write to me, until we saw each other again. I keep that letter in an old shoebox. It was the only letter she ever wrote me.
- The Wonder Years
I am writing today just to push the previous post down to second on this page. I don't mind having such reasons as long as I am writing for myself even if it's termed as being illogical, aggressive or anything. I had even considered making the whole blog protected again but then I knew I would make it open very soon and I would also have to invite people just to keep them as my friends - it would get all messy then. At a time when most of what I do and think goes unrecorded, it's not a bit easy to write posts like these with a reason so bland. It can be called that too. It's necessary because i don't know when I am going to write next. I am worried about people at times.

My semester ended that I received my grade in just one course. Alhamdulillah I am happy I could do well in it given that I was among the only 3 students in the class who had no professional working experience to take up a course like Software Project Planning and Management. I was asked by many how I feel that my semester is not over and I am done with half my masters. I don't feel any different. It's just like there were some very important things going on and one of them just took a three month vacation. It's going to be back again to join the rest of the very important things. I can't help if I am supposed to feel any special good and party that my semester is over.

Until a while back I was talking to a friend and told her how three of our other friends seem to have changed. We think they are busy these days and that they have picked up new directions. I appreciate everybody and complain about nobody. I secretly wished we could be the same in spite of all those changes we have opted for. It mostly depends on what we want and how we want things to be. So frequently I think of not going back to some people but it hurts to think they have been so important to me and I guess even continue to be even now. I am not sure if it is I who takes things wrong or if it is they who disappoint me. Either ways, I hope no matter how much they change they remember their friends.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Love is never simple. Not for fathers and sons. We spend our lives full of hope and expectations. And most of the time we are bound to fail. But that afternoon as I watched my father sheltering his son against a future that was so unsure, all I knew was they didn’t want to let each other down anymore.
- The Wonder Years
I just had perhaps what was the most difficult conversation I ever had with my father or with anybody else. He called me up when I least expected and he was clear with his sole intention of making me speak up. I guess if I had to tell him the same thing just four months back it wouldn't have been so difficult for me. I knew already what he would think of as a reason for my changed behavior lately; I just had to tell him it was not that. I told him I would write him an e-mail after a few days thinking I could take some time, think peacefully and put things in the right words. But he wanted to hear it there itself. There were many seconds spent between him and me on the phone with no words said at all that looked like endless moments. I had to tell him. My heart's still beating fast with a fear of what could happen next.

A few months back things were different. I could say it to my parents so many times all by myself even without being asked so seriously. Things all changed. That's what I have always liked. Even the fear I have now welcomes one. But it's all so uncertain; it's like not waiting for things to come to me but running to them trying to grab them ahead of time still keeping in mind the uncertainty of it's correctness. I know it's correct and in perfect accordance to Islam inherently to what Allah wants from us. It's the time I live in that doesn't easily support this hurry. It's a wait I cannot wait but get frustrated.

I had to write today on my blog so that when I write or talk to my father again I don't end up reacting but give a responsible response to what he expects from me now. I am sure not even one out of 10 people get to have a father like I have. The way I told him this thing after going through so much perceived complications I had, I know it takes only a man like my him to stand up for me. The biggest gifts he gave me are himself and his trust. It's going to be another large volume if I write about my mother. Life refuses to be clean. We are not designed to take clean lives. Allah has balanced out everything perfectly. My father told me there is no problem that cannot have a solution. I agreed but said the problem is with something else - the stretch between today and the solution.

Some weeks ago a friend mocked at me making fun about me waiting. I just couldn't take it. Every time I think I am over it, it knocks me off. Perhaps if it was somebody else telling me that, it wouldn't have hit me so hard. Or maybe she just mistimed it. It's perhaps my bad that it had to bother me so much. I can't complain against anybody. I am just drawn that way. It's my compass; not the ship; not the wind's direction. Freedom is a sophisticated weapon which can work in anyways. I have relationships to fulfil, friends to keep and favors to return. I simply can't try to mould everything into how I want to see it as. I don't try that much; I never put that urge in my behavior. I instead keep it within. I wish I didn't have to take favors from people I am taking now. May Allah bless them with all happiness.

The highest paying jobs in the world are the ones that involve taking very big and very important decisions. Making the right decision is more important than even executing major plans. A simple 'yes', an intelligent smile, an indifferent face or an even a more simple 'no' can make irreversible changes. I get into this at a time when I am finally beginning to settle down with things here after spending more than eight months. I know a friend who asks me frequently "why so early?". I have a friend who says "you will end up hurting yourself". I might never have answers to give them unless I am finally through it inshAllah. Then inshAllah my answers will be in the form of love. The last word sounds so good. Alhamdulillah.