Thursday, October 21, 2010

Left Chevron

You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness. Courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn't want me for your son.
- Commodus, Gladiator
I didn't want to navigate away from 'New Post' page without publishing one. It was after I opened this page I realized I don't have anything to write. I had my dinner a few minutes back - rice with purple hull beans cooked in diced tomatoes. This was my second dinner in over a month with no meat in it. The last time I had dinner with no meat was two days back when I had a cheese pizza. It has become easier to have food outside than cook at home. It relieves not only the cooking part but also the cleaning one. Cooking just turns out to be cheaper. I anyways have my lunch outside - McDonald's most of the times but today it was Church's Chicken.

I hardly had anything to do when at work today. I think I worked for around two hours out of the 10 hours I spent there. I even found time for couple of naps in between. My willingness to use my laptop has declined a lot ever since I got my new phone. I see people playing around so much with their phones and customizing them, downloading new applications every other day and copying so much music into them. The only customization I did till now was changing the wallpaper which was promptly replaced by a friend who explained the new one to me as macho. He even changed the ring-tone from the default one to something else. I didn't bother to do anything to the changes he made.

It's very rare that I end a post thinking that I have written apparently nothing. I thought I had so much to talk when I reached this page but everything seems to have evaporated with the touch of the keyboard. I get a sound sleep only when I don't sleep properly for a few days and get tired to a point where my back starts aching like it has no strength to stay erect but is managing only on my will-power. I wake up every two to three hours and check the time. Every time I wake up I feel and hear my heart thumping. I have mostly been like this for over a decade. I am not tired. I am trying to pray hard. Perhaps I am not doing it hard enough.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Remember

There'll be a day when you will wish you had done a little evil to do a greater good.
- Sybilla, Kingdom Of Heaven
Few months back when I was drawing my plan for the time till December, 2010, I knew there could be one major thing that would change the whole scene and make many things don't matter. It looked like an impossible scenario back then but somehow I had that intuition deep in my heart that things would change rapidly. When I look back at the last few months, I don't know how it happened; Allah made it happen. Perhaps more than my prayers, it were my parents' prayers that weighed more in Allah's service.

A month back I was testing some sites in the city of Frisco when I had to pass by a few neighborhoods that had houses costing multi-million dollars. Some days later I was in Preston Hollow - George W Bush and Mark Cuban are among the very famous who live here. My restlessness started with bugging one of my friends asking him what I can possibly do to get enough money that I can own a house of that kind. He said I must start a music band. I said I would rather write a book; I can't sing.

I don't get the point why cars manufactured under the brand Infinity are so expensive. They look awesome but they are just cars which are not even so popular in other parts of the world. I am pretty sure they are worth the money but one would rather buy a German or an Italian brand's vehicle instead. One of my distant cousins from Houston tells me he sees too many high-end cars in Dallas. I remember a colleague telling me something about cars: "if it ain't made in Germany, it ain't worth any shit".

Corvette, though not so popular outside America, has always amused me. I like the idea of driving SUVs - they are big, powerful and you can walk into them. The other day when we went for a car wash to get my friend's Camaro washed, I was telling him how much effort it takes to own a car when you are living in states that see a lot of snow in winters. Apart from just cleaning the ice and snow from the top, there is a bigger problem that eats from below - the salt sprinkled on the streets. It rusts the vehicle's body and eats into the metal. No wonder why car-wash places in Texas don't make good money.

Some times I miss my old job though I am very happy now for what I am doing. I miss those people I worked with, I used to deal with and fight against. I was there for eighteen months and learnt what nothing else could have taught me. Alhamdulillah; it left me so much prepared for years to come inshAllah. I wish I could have got my hands on that Mercedes that Hispanic guy was trying to sell it to my father's friend. There was a metal label on the door from the side which, among other details, read "Made in Germany". The problem was with the title of the vahicle.

Saturday morning I had my first mid-term test of this semester. I have the second one on Tuesday in the evening. I graduate in December inshAllah after which I cannot conceive of anything now. I don't even know how to plan. I want to stay in Dallas as long as I am in this country. For sure I wish to travel and spend time in all it's ends but I like Dallas. There is nothing here to visit - no special monument, no natural site that's attracting and no place that would make one say "you should go to Dallas and check it out".

I like big roads, big houses, but cars and big sandwiches. There are restaurants everywhere - all kinds of; hundreds and thousands of them. A colleague recently quoted "everything in Dallas is 20 minutes away; even if it's just across the street." I like this guy a lot - he was a marine corp, has been to Iraq in 1993, lived in many places of the world including Saudi Arabia and has read a lot of history. He is a Christian and he said he drove through Mecca. He was not allowed to step out of his car. I was surprised to know Saudi government lets American citizens enter that city who are not Muslims. He lives in the city of Lancaster and he says "yes, I live in a hood".

I worked in a hood for eighteen months and I know what it is like. I would never choose to live in a place like that even if it was for free. I like many neighborhoods in the city of Plano. I am not talking about the million-dollar houses here but the kind which won't need me to start a band or write a book inshAllah. That same colleague of mine was making fun of himself when I asked him what should be the minimum value on throughputs for some specific tests so that I can decide if it has passed or failed. He replied "20 Mbps on downlink and 5 Mbps on uplink". It's good to know the minimum threshold. I need to know what a failure is.

He told me why oil is not a fossil fuel and how our textbooks have duped us all through our childhood. I was thinking about Theory of Evolution taught to us in middle school. It was engraved into our minds - many never manage to figure out it's just a theory and goes against the Holy Quran and even the Holy Bible. Oil is a naturally occurring carbon compound in earth - just like how sand is a compound of something else; something else which I don't remember now and don't feel like looking it up. We are expecting speeds of 100 Mbps very soon on downlink on wireless devices. It won't be a big deal.

I would have spent so much time feeling lonely these days if it was not for this present job that takes away so much time from me alhamdulillah. It is difficult to decide whom to talk to and when. Though, of course, the number of people I am in contact has come down drastically, alhamdulillah I still cherish close friendship with a few people who shall remain the same for me forever inshAllah. My apartment is in a real bad shape right now with lots of cleaning needed. I don't have a plan for it. Someday I will do it for sure and I know nothing about that someday. Loneliness is not the only problem; laziness is on many occasions.

Sanity is a very heavy virtue to carry along for a long time. Either we need to become strong enough to keep that on our shoulders forever or find good explanations to why deeds which were thought to be sane are no more of the same goodness and that we can shed them to make our lives easier. The difficult part comes in when we need to take care of what Allah wants from us; the difficult part is to translate deeds into religious acts and perform them because we know we are doing it for Allah. We are always short on knowledge and wisdom no matter what we read and how much we read. We always leave stuff for Allah to decide - even if we don't, it's the same case. Our test lies in that proper translation.

Material life is exciting, a part of it is necessary but it only occasionally translates into acts of religious correctness; not always. We don't follow Islam occasionally; it's for always; for even after our life here. Allah has made clear the minimum threshold. Acts are heavy; they are expensive in terms of time are willpower; they are necessary. Owning an Infinity's model won't help in deciding correctness and neither did Allah forbid us from getting cars imported from Germany. If Allah has blessed us, driving a Corvette is a gift from Allah and we must cherish it with gratitude.

Somebody has to own the skyscrapers, somebody has to run big companies, somebody has to produce high-end vehicles, somebody has to launch satellites into the space; and eventually somebody will definitely make money out of it - I see no sin in these acts. Jealousy is a sin. Not affirming that Allah has blessed a person is a sin. Planning for the future is not a sin - we all plan for the day of resurrection. The complications in the tests have become more intriguing. The sophistication involved in the analysis of the translation of our daily acts into deeds supported or rejected by Islam is more stressful now.

There are always people telling us what's wrong but nobody willing to take responsibility for any decision we might take. Behind many sins is a reason of which only Allah has knowledge. We repent. We are drawn that way. We repent, sin and repent. Allah decides what act translates as deeds that will help on after our death. Telling others what's wrong could also be charity but telling them that to belittle them, taunt at them or to show ones own superiority translates into a demerit. My job is not just to test a site and say if it's working or not - I also try my best to get enough data to declare that it has passed. Allah loves us. We know how to pass the tests. It's the effort and repentance that count.

Tomorrow I might make some bad decisions and I might incur Allah's anger as well. But next year, if I am not with some person, that would be because Allah has decided that that person shouldn't be with me - not because of some insignificant decision I have made; insignificant in terms of this world and the hereafter. I might hurt myself, I might hurt somebody else, I might sin in the process and even regret. I need to decide and though I know what's right I don't have it in my means to stick to the correctness. Human beings are not commodities. We are lives; each of us; individuals of our own; created by Allah; loved by Allah; each of us; heard by Allah. We some times don't get it right. We repent. We apologize.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If I Regret

Night and morning are making promises to each other which neither will be able to keep.
- Richard Shelton
I remember the days I would put up a new post everyday before turning off my computer. I was back in India then. Looking at how the economy has been doing here in the US I know I am going to have a tough ride ahead. I guess it's always a difficult sleep for everyone who tries to think big. For once I even started wondering if I did the right thing by coming here. Not being a citizen of this country hurts my progress, not having a credit history is disappointing, time usually people take to build one seems to be too long and the means to get to that point even if the wait is accepted sound unacceptable to me. If I don't make it big enough then my very decision of leaving India and coming here would become bad. If I make it big enough, enough that I can say I made it real big, I might get too humble. Nothing is bigger than Allah.

It's a different world I see now than the one I used to when I published the previous post. I feel like calling my father again and ask him too tell me what I must do. But I know nobody can make decisions for me. If I am making a mistake, it might as well be mine. It always feel good to blame others when things go wrong but I would prefer taking it on myself. Decision making is the toughest thing. That's where experience counts. And when it comes to the most important things of life we usually don't have enough of that to help us, we are not in a position to explain it to others what we think of it so that they can guide us using their experience and it gets too risky for us to just decide on whatever our heart says for that moment.

With a friend I visited Winstar Casino in Oklahoma a few days back. My parents didn't ask my why I went to a place like that but as I expected I was expected to answer that question. My contention that I didn't go to gamble wouldn't suffice but I couldn't explain enough how much I enjoyed driving to that place at 2 am in the morning and getting back to DFW at 7 am speeding through the heavy traffic in HOV lane. It's a different thrill with a discrete intention. I am pretty much aware of my limits alhamdulillah. I don't even have to force myself to stay away from something when I hate it. I just hate it and with it ends every question.

I hate to see myself as those thousands of students who come to the US every year, finish their masters, join a consultant firm, work with it for a few years and get into a job for some other company directly, get a green card after 5 to 6 years, buy a house, have their parents visit them, see their children grow here and eventually just live here on their 40 hour a week job. Somehow I feel doing this could be lot better in India. Though quality of life is different back there, leaving our country and starting new life according to me must be more rewarding. I am just not in a position to talk any big. Ideas make no difference - that's where the bottleneck lies. We need plans and resources.

I didn't call my father for there days because I was afraid he would get mad at me. I spoke to him yesterday and then again today. I could figure out from him tone of voice he wasn't so happy with me but was just being good to me. It's hard and it's harder to explain. I know things will be fine soon inshAllah. They have always turned better in the past alhamdulillah and this time too it will be the same. What I am worried about is something else I might not talk to him again. I feel loosing the willingness to write more. It was different when I started writing. Many things cut across my mind. I even keep loosing people I can talk to. I don't write this as a problem or a complaint. It's just how it was meant to be. I will start with my classes in August and inshAllah it will be my last semester finally. I wanted to see my parents visit me but it doesn't seem like a possibility now. Even they don't seem to be interested. It's kind of difficult when I find nobody to talk to. But for the record, I am still in America and I am enjoying it. Things couldn't have been better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Need That One Insane Move

I'm a scientist, remember, and I don't believe in fairy tales.
- Dr. Grace Augustine, Avatar
It's necessary that I write so that I can write more. I thought not graduating this semester would give a sense of relief and some time to think and put my bet on the right areas. The thought was perfectly right but as expected things never turn out as expected. For me they have always turned out better but I never forget other possibilities. It can't be a good idea to decide based on past experiences. I wish somehow I could have food - full meal - three times a day. It's been like ages since that happened. I think it was back when I was in India but even there it was never continuous for more than a couple of days at once. We rarely have breakfasts and lunches together at home.

We went for some bowling late in the evening. Two of my friends have left Dallas and one more will be leaving next week. People who started their masters with me are done with me now. Though of course I am glad for the decisions I have taken, I wish things had ended in some other way. I can't talk more on it - I don't even know what other way could have been better. Everyday comes with surprises and new people shouting. This summer might make a large difference to me. I am going to loose more people, spend more days with little food and spend more time in finding out how I can avoid those several years people take to start making bigger differences. No science talks about drops making oceans.

I laughed at my brother several times when he said he was taking horse-riding classes. I couldn't understand from where he got that very idea of learning something nobody in my immediate family is doing right now. But I happy for him - he is doing something of his choice and my parents don't stop him. If time pleases with me someday I will get myself a flying license. It takes around two years of part-time studying before I can pass the tests and complete the necessary number of hours. It gives me so much pleasure to think I never wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid. Horses excited me but I never thought of riding them. Like it is for all boys, guns were always amusing. My present visa status doesn't let me buy one.

I slept for several hours today and it's again time to go to sleep now. Some times I wish I could call all my close friends and relatives and talk to each of them for hours. But it's just like many other thoughts that just find some amusement for a while and fade away. I expect nobody to have such amount of time. I expect myself never to fall for such frivolous ideas. Calling is so easy, talking on the contrary is not. It's suffocating every time I listen to any phone that rings with the ringtone I had in my phone when I was in India. So much I wish I could use that phone again.

I at least wish I could find somebody to go on a holiday for a few days. I want to visit Key West, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We were having some plans for Spring break back in March but nothing worked out. This time around there is nobody who could possibly give me company. It's difficult to find company these days - the precise kind of people I would want to have for a particular thing I feel like doing. It accounts for the need to learn something new - doing it alone. It feels as if another phase has passed by. It's time to make room for fresh air. I am afraid of debts I am getting into which can't be paid with money. DFW is now filled with people who know me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Though Only A Few Times

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh Allah! You Are Awesome

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

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

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

Friday, January 15, 2010


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