Friday, July 31, 2009

Year Ending

My father and I never had "the talk", and we never finished the treehouse. I guess some things between fathers and sons are left unspoken, and unfinished.
- The Wonder Years
I finally got my hair trimmed on Monday. I woke up late in the afternoon and straight away went out without thinking what kind of hair-style I was going to have. All that's important to me is I please myself when I look in the mirror. I don't need different styles to make me feel good - I just want simple hair that grow well, don't fall and keep the original color. After the haircut I shaved my beard and looked into the mirror only to get surprised. There has never been a person like me and there will never be one. My parents love me, I love them, I have wonderful people around me and I find nobody else more blessed by Allah than me. That leaves nobody for me to envy. I never have any complaints alhamdulillah.

I had been waiting to get to writing. I was too tired when I returned home yesterday and a trip to Walmart had already become a necessity - I forgot rice when I went there on Monday. The same day I went to Main Event to give bowling an hour. I wanted to play more but my fingers started aching. I wished I could find somebody good at it who could teach me the right way to bring down the pins. I tend to rely more on speed rather than angle. I might be having wrong postures too. Today I prepared Tandoori Chicken and forced myself to write an update. I even went to Home Depot to get some stain remover to clean our carpet and to a desi store to get naan to make chicken more enjoyable.

This was the fourth time I had my hair trimmed. Twice I worked with the trimmer myself, once I went to a Hispanic saloon we have here at walkable distance and the other day it was this place half a mile from here called Great Clips. I had already experienced a lady working on my head when I visited the Hispanic saloon but this time at Great Clips I apparently realized that it was a lady trimming my hair - she was American. The very idea was a kind of different - it wasn't strange, just different. She commented that I have lots of hair on my head. I don't know if that was a compliment, a taunt or just social talk. I could have guessed it perhaps if I had seen her face while she said it.

Tomorrow one of my roommates is leaving of Baton Rouge, Louisiana to continue with his studies there at Louisiana State University. When one of my friends left for Chicago a few months back I knew we were going to meet again and so, the pain was relatively less. But now, I am not sure if I am going to meet this friend again - Allah knows it for sure. I hope we both meet again, we both find success inshAllah and everybody is happy. I am surely going to miss him. Though I never write on my blog what I am going to do the next day or what place I am going to visit - I don't find it safe and writing that never gives me comfort - I would still like to mention that I will be the very person to drop him at Greyhound station tomorrow and say him peace. It wouldn't be any bad - it will just make me feel sad later.

Our living room and bed room is full of stuff spread out all over. He is packing his bags and getting things right. I can understand his excitement, his worries and his pain of leaving a city he has spent almost a year. I was going through something very similar to this a year back in Hyderabad and today alhamdulillah it's like I have been living here for ages. In just the last few weeks I gained enough sense of direction too that I learned many new routes, visited new places and gained more confidence while driving alone alhamdulillah. Last week with two friends I went up north to McKinney to watch Transformers 2 at Cinemark 12. That was far, the movie was just fine but the drive was sweet. I need to explore some Fort Worth and more of west DFW inshAllah.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Colored Transparent Glass

You know Sean, the Japanese have a saying, "The nail that sticks out gets hammered".
- Fast And Furious: Tokyo Drift
My hair have grown too long or perhaps longer than the longest I ever had. I thought of writing why precisely I am not putting the right effort to get them trimmed, but writing so much about how I look these days apparently sounded lame to me. Alhamdulillah I like them and would never think of having hair like anybody else's. I would inshAllah go to a barber in next few days though. I am not sure how long or how small I am going to get them now. This will be my fourth trimming since I left India.

I am having a crises with my clothes here. I love and prefer wearing formals and I have too few of them. Back in India alhamdulillah I always used to have too many options whenever I looked into my wardrobe but here, it only troubles me. I have some casuals and I don't like the ones I got from India - they are too short. I am going good with jeans but prefer formal shirts on them. When I go to India again, I am going to bring a full load of all those clothes I miss because I had to leave them back on advices of some friends who thought they were right with color choices. They always told me it was gay in America to wear many of those shirts - I see many people wearing them here and it's perfectly alright. Lesson: never take crap from those who haven't seen it.

When I give an advice I use words like "I did so and so when I faced it", "I would do this if I were in your place", "I think this should be right" and at the end I add "we all are different and things for each of us are different though and it's you who has to decide" and even "you should talk to your elders too". I guess in a way I confuse the person and ask him to talk to his elders. The important thing for me is the "I" I quote everywhere. My life revolves around me, my experiences and what I have learned. There are millions out there who have seen different 22 years; I have seen a different 22. There are in fact a few things always we need to seek guidance and advices for. These are the things we are risking. That's always the price we pay to let others decide or think for us. It might help; it might turn into crap. That's just one of the ways we take lessons. Alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paper Chasing

You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You're one of the few who put up with me. That's why I think it's so strange you're a fireman, it just doesn't seem right for you, somehow.
- Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
I was going through some website that was worried about Olive Ridley Sea Turtles going extinct on the eastern coast of India in a place called Dharma due to a port being built by Tata Group. There are numerous protests being carried out by Greenpeace activists who put some turtles, majority of Indians haven't seen, as more important than the country's growth. I have written on this previously but every time I think about it gives a new low on how people spend so much time on animals. Tata Group in one of those organizations that have taken India ahead globally. They should be supported with all development activity they take up and encouraged to do more. It generates employment. Turtles don't feed Indians.

Thursday and Sunday after returning from work I went to downtown Dallas - once to drop my friend at the Greyhound station and once to pick him up. He visited Corpus Cristi at the weekend. This was the first time I drove among those tall buildings and on one-way streets. It's a different place full of people partying even at 2 am in the morning. It wasn't so safe for me to drive there alone so I had another friend to give me company on both days. It was a new learning exercise. On my way back I crossed a traffic signal when it was still yellow and the camera flashed possibly to take a picture of my car. It doesn't amount to felony to cross lights when they are yellow and at 45 mph it was impossible for me to stop when lights changed from green just before I was about to cross. InshAllah I won't get any ticket for this. If that happens I will hire an attorney and get myself cleared. Alhamdulillah I have people to guide and help me. I never break any laws - I can't accept City playing around with my money.

Early Monday morning I woke to my room-mate's loud noises. I saw him shouting at something in his sleep. Thinking I should wake him up slowly, the way my father used to wake me up, I held his hand softly and whispered his name. Even with his screaming on, he opened his eyes and started screaming louder as if I appeared like a ghost in darkness. I still can't forget those wide open eyes filled with extreme terror and the loud scream that could have even scared a lion. For a moment I thought I should scream too and I guess I did start but soon realized I had to help him first rather than worry about my horror of having somebody who was out of control in front of me. I know if someday I see a ghost like creature coming out of a grave with blood dripping from its mouth I would shout the way my room-mate shouted. I will never forget that terror I saw in his eyes.

A couple of months back loud noises of kissing woke me up. This dear friend was kissing somebody in his sleep. I think nobody would ever kiss so loudly even in reality. He stopped doing it before I could get my camera and take a video. A few days later he repeated the same act of kissing but confined it to two kisses but added an "I love you" to it. Once he punched the wall hard in his sleep and got blood clots on his nails. Once he raised his hand and started shouting as if he was calling somebody. I had a third room-mate that day in the bedroom. We both were on either sides of this shouting guy. We woke up, saw him, saw each other in a sleepy surprise and showed pity. Monday, after shouting his name a couple of times, he woke up and from his sleep in which he already had his eyes open and said he was sorry. He got me terrified too.

I was well in contact with many friends until last week and suddenly everything seems to have gone dull. When I woke up to my screaming friend on Monday I called up both my parents. A friend from Hyderabad kept coming to my mind and I wanted to call her up too - I took the sleep route instead. It's 3:58 AM right now and I have an off today. It feels good even to know that. There isn't much I am going to do. Some times I wish holidays for me could come the way they come to everybody - at weekends. But I am happy and grateful to Allah that I have a job - I am not among the 12 million who went jobless because of the recession, Alhamdulillah. And for those who think the recession has come to an end: we just had one of the worst weeks of this decade here. InshAllah things will get better soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

And Saturday

At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled.
- Marshall B. Rosenberg
Three times today I had to listen and reply even though I was hardly interested. I went to the largest Mosque we have here in DFW for Jumah prayers because it's closer to my place of work and that I could reach for work early. I returned home at 6 pm and went straight to sleep. Ever since I woke up two hours later I have been doing three things in particular - complaining, running and driving around trying to find what could soothe me and thinking with my mouth kept open. At 5 pm I looked at the watch and thought I still have to wait for at least four hours before I could call back home. Even then I knew I was not going to call immediately after four hours, the arrival of the end of those four hours made me feel good thinking I could call home anytime I wanted. I spoke to my mother when it was 10:20 pm here.

I have been thinking of talking to my father for a few hours now but didn't call him yet. If I talk to him I will have to wait till tomorrow to talk to him again. I just got irritated today. Though I don't have a family here or anything like a group of friends, I still strongly believe I should be allowed to have preferences and have an option to take some time for myself. I just can't let anybody decide if I should be free or not. Today I had somebody forcing me to do something yet making it sound like a request. There seemed like there was no talking over but I had my way. I wasted more than three hours for nothing. Nobody can bring them back to me.

There was already something running trouble in my mind and when a thing like this comes up I tend to get a little cold toward everybody I meet. I avoid talking fearing I would end up appearing rude. At the back of my mind I keep recollecting that thing I heard a couple of months back: "I am 19 and I can take care of myself". Somehow I need to finish this paragraph. Recent few months have helped me learn that indifference is one of the major things that can hurt me. I tend to remember every single word of affection and appreciation said to me these days. Alhamdulillah.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Guesses At Truth

There are offences given and offences not given but taken.
- Izaak Walton
I thought I should write. It starts with a thought always. The way this idea came up three years back then had me writing everyday when everything became too dull to give any further reasons to write. Perhaps I developed new ways letting out or I lost some energy. I am yet get tired or stressed out dealing weired people for 10 hours for six days every week. Inshallah I will go fine till I get into working for what I am studying. I started writing this paragraph just because I felt like doing it and I didn't want to spend more time to see if that feeling would stay or leave. Thoughts need to be turned into actions the moment they appear appropriate in the first place.

I received a call from a friend from India a little before I was about to leave for work on Wednesday. When I received it there were three more friends on the conference and I spoke to them till I had to take the exit from I35. I guess it was all for 30 minutes including a short break from the conversation I took to get some gas on my way. I knew my tank had gone below one-fourth but I didn't realize until I saw the level again when I started. Three months back it would take around $25 to fill up the tank. It goes almost to $35 now. America needs to keep invading countries that drill lots of oil so that we don't end up paying more for gas. I only use Shell.

It was wonderful talking to friends. I wish it could last longer but the night in India was getting deeper and my calling time shorter. I still had lots of minutes but seeing something like this come to a place in sight of the end doesn't fell good. I never like seeing my gas tank fall below one-fourth and in the same way I don't like my minutes reach 300 for a month though I can go beyond that with no problem. My night time usage per month exceeds 1000 minutes. It's kind of strange that even in-coming calls are charged same as out-going. Phone usage in India seems cheapest when it's day-time here and in the nights nothing sounds cheaper than America.

As a fair bottom line I find America cheaper looking at how people get paid. It's not a big thing to get a night's stay at a five star hotel for around $75 but back in India it takes at least Rs.15,000 for the same piece. A day's work pays at least $64 on an average and having a stomach-full dinner costs less than $10. A person working in a similar way in India earns less than Rs. 100 and if he goes for a good buffet he won't afford it. It's exorbitant pricing there. I guess there is no point in comparing. The government in our country wants the gap between poor and rich grow. US government instead wants even the poor to enjoy their lives. Luxury shouldn't be reserved to any specific class of people.

Every time I talk in favor of this country I find at least one person telling me about my changed behavior or attitude. I find no necessity in commenting on this. I need to be loyal to everything that treats me well. I keep good regards for the place I come from. For me the only classification that matters is based on religion. It doesn't mean I would discriminate on basis of that. In fact I even tend to be more soft with people who do not accept Islam. That's a different point - it's just how I classify. Though I strongly believe that discrimination starts where we begin classifying, I give more importance to what Allah asks from me. Me, feeling a thing is not at all worthy enough to stop me from being what Allah wants me to be. I try to be good to everybody so that the other person returns the same favor - at least when he meets me second time. Alhamdulillah.