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.