Archive for December, 2005

The Great Gatsby

Friday, December 30th, 2005

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – The Great Gatsby

Inspired by a true story

Monday, December 26th, 2005

We begin with a simple misunderstanding: my parents are probably under the impression that I am an insomniac.

I’ll break here and try to address 2 questions:
1. “Why call it a “simple” misunderstanding?”

Well, I call it simple not because I choose to, but because it is. Indeed, its simplicity could not be more evident than a Japanese dining room.

Oh Snap! I will now present that my above metaphor could not be more sweeeet if I had written that in haiku form and rolled my self around in honey… while, simultaneously, eating an assortment of desi sweets including, but not limited to: laduu, golabjamun, etc. All this, while using a candy cane to push the keys on my laptop to type this post in a hyperglycemic stupor. Yes. That’s how sweet that japanese dining room metaphor was.

2. “Uh alright” you might acquiesce, “But why are your parents only “probably” under said impression, dear chap?”

First, if you’re wondering about the “chap” reference, know that I’ve been assuming for some time now that all you readers are British, even though we get absolutely no hits from United Kingdom or England or London… =(

Regardless, to answer the question, we must first embark on a tale fit to be told by Tolstoy…

A few days ago my dad called from mother Russia. This is not to imply that my mother is Russian… I just have an affinity for communist lingo and stuff by Bulgakov.

I’m just kidding; I’ve never read anything by Mikhail Bulgakov… I just wanted to sound intelligent.

Anyway he was on business (my dad, not Mikhail). So there my dad was, waiting for his flight back to Turkey when he decided to call me.

And I? I was up reading blogs. Your blogs. It was about 2:30AM my time.

“Hello?” I said, not recognizing the number appearing on my cell phone.
“You’re still up? – What are you doing up this late?” asks my dad in a surprised voice.

See, now I was caught.

I couldn’t reply with a question like what are *you* doing up because that would not only be rude but stupid since it was 11:30AM in Moscow – a time when people are “suppose” to be awake. And I couldn’t say, “Just reading blogs dad ..” because well .. I’ll just leave that one to you.

Clearly my dad loves to put me in Catch-22 situations.

So I did what every good graduate research student does when their advisor asks them a difficult research related question… I changed the subject:
“So.. uh how’s the weather in Moscow?”
“Not too bad.”
I try again, “How’s the city?”
“Yes much cleaner – Why are you still awake?”
“Touché”, I silently replied.

The last time my dad visited Moscow (for an extended period of time) was in the late 90’s. He had made the mistake of visiting it during the winter. Winters in Russia aren’t nice; they say Napoleon lost because of the Russian winter. Napoleon who had conquered most of Europe. Other than him returning with a fur hat (my dad, not Napoleon), I couldn’t think of anything else that could engage him in a discussion.

Thus back to my original problem. How to reply to: Why are you awake at 2:30AM?

Living on a college campus you take a few things for granted. You can order pizza until 2AM during the summer and 4AM during the school year. Subway is open until Midnight during summer and 2AM during the school year. It is not weird to take a walk at 3AM to get your head straight. The problem is: it’s very difficult to explain this to people who don’t live on a college campus or who have never visited a college town. Their first question is always, “But why would you want to visit Walmart at 1AM?”

It’s quite possible this isn’t a problem with the rest of you (Yes, you crazy Brits, with your chaps and teas and top hats and uh metric systems and court jesters?). Or then again, you could all very well be thinking collectively at the moment: “akds, we love you, but please get help.” To which I would reply, “touché.. mates”

To cut this post short, I finally (and skillfully I might add (note to self: think about adding)) evaded my dad’s question as to why I was up so late on a school night by bringing to his attention that he was using his UK cell phone in Russia to call America and that couldn’t possibly be cheap. The call ended soon thereafter with mutual asalaamualaikums.

Oh and to answer the original question, about my parents being “probably” under said impression, I truely have no idea as to what they think. However, my dad had joked he ought to call me at 3AM regularly from now on to see if I am asleep. But don’t worry. It’s all in good fun.

I think.

Aicha aicha

Monday, December 12th, 2005

“She holds her child to her heart | Makes her feel like she is blessed from above”

Alhamdulilah at 140 kph

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

I’m racing home at a 140kph and I find that fortunate. There have been times, many many times, when I have had nothing to go home to. Nothing and nobody. Empty rooms in an empty apartment. It’s hard to find meaning and motivation in something that sounds so hollow when you walk in. And so alone.

I’m racing home and I am grateful. There have been times, endless times it seemed, when I would be working late hours, and then a few more. I have worked all-nighters and spent nights walking the street. There was no rush, there was no need, there was no nothing. Made me wish I atleast had Sequel back with me (Sequel was the name of my 2nd cat in college).

I’m racing home and alhamdulilah alhamdulilah I am happy. I have two loving parents who adore me and I love them dearly. I have a wife I am pleased with and who is a comfort to my eyes. I have my musallah in my bedroom that I can always use. Verily, I am in great comfort.

Suddenly, driving that fast doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. A 350z roars by, changing 3 lanes in one move. It almost crashs in the rear. I think of giving it chase, to take its license plate number down and reporting it to the new traffic 800 tel#.

Instead I slow down. I have someplace to be, insha-allah. Somplace better.

Firefox 1.5

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

Firefox 1.5 is finally available at GetFirefox

How the mice must roll their dice

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

Behind me, a moroccan man dances away, twirling a darwish tune round and round. In front of me are stalls of Omega watches, with the faces of Pierce Brosnan and Cindy Crawford proudly endorsing their much loved time pieces.

I don’t think I have ever seen so many lost people at one place. People pouring from one store to the next, from one aisle to the other, down these mall halls and then back up again the next hall. Each one peering into shops, secretly staring at the reflections of others, wishing to be them, wishing to be anyone, wishing for salvation in the next sale. It doesn’t work that way but it doesn’t stop them from pushing their way in to the next shop or to the next shiny stand. Look! Salvation! Did you see? It’s at a special season discount! Only AED 10! Oh wait a minute…that’s too cheap…that can’t be my salvation. My salvation is priceless, it’s better then anybody else’s, it’s gonna blow everyone away at the next tuesday night salsa evening at Cactus Neon.

Because my salvation is for my greedy self alone.