Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just in time?

Assalamualaikum and hello!

There's too little time and much to say about 2011... So I'll do the lazy thing and skip it! 2011 has been both humdrum and life-changing. Now praying that 2012 will give me more (good) stuff to write about! Happy new year everybaady!

Friday, December 2, 2011

56 worst/best analogies/similes

:D I just found this list here: http://bethanyamandamiller.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/the-56-bestworst-analogies-written-by-high-school-students/

These were apparently entries for a Washington Post  contest.

Enjoy!

  1. Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
  2. He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.
  3. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  4. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  5. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  6. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  7. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  8. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  9. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  10. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  11. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  12. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
  13. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  14. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  15. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at asolar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  16. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  17. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  18. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
  19. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  20. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  21. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
  22. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  23. Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it hadrusted shut.
  24. He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.
  25. She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
  26. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
  27. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  28. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  29. "Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.
  30. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
  31. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  32. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  33. The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
  34. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
  35. Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man."
  36. The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
  37. The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.
  38. She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
  39. Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.
  40. Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often.
  41. They were as good friends as the people on "Friends."
  42. Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein's Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances.
  43. The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.
  44. He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
  45. The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747.
  46. Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light.
  47. The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas.
  48. I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don't speak German. Anyway, it's a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don't know the name for those either.
  49. She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can't sing worth a damn.
  50. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.
  51. It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.
  52. Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.
  53. You know how in "Rocky" he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in.
  54. The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.
  55. Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.
  56. The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.

Leaving on a trayn

We leave for "our native" today, insha'allah. There's the usual mix of trepidation and excitement, this time there's just a wee bit more of the former.

Things at work are slowing down, alhamdulillah. I need to start picking up the things I've been ignoring, even at work. My actual manager is so pissed at me right now that he won't even speak to me. I used to think I was sentimental, now I find there are people much older than me who take things extremely personally and then behave like this.

These days I'm beginning to feel the urge to just clap my hands on my ears and drown out the million voices around me. Leave me be, please.

We still haven't packed and all I want to do is go back to bed for a snooze. So I shall. There's no point sitting here and rubbing my bleary eyes hoping something meaningful will find its way out here. Goodbhai! See you on the other side! (I have no idea what that means. Why do people say that?)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good news!

I have good news…
The husband got promoted! (MWAHAHAHAHA! Gotchu! What did you think?)

In other news, I have been busy and behind on many things including NaNoWriMo (barely got started), updating ze blog, studying Arabic, updating the Ramadhan tracker… everything. The client has a big deadline coming up on Dec. 1st and the client’s client has been driving everyone up the wall, including yours truly. I’ve even begun having nightmares about things going wrong (which they have) and apparently this happens to everyone around Production (you need to be in IT to know).
In Ammaarah news, apart from asking my parents questions about people’s inteqals, she had enough of hearing "abhi aapku nai samajh mein aata Ammaarah, badhe hue baad samajh mein aata". So the other day she got her notebook and told Mummy, "Meku jo bhi samajh mein nai aata na, main yeh book mein likhtyun. Phir main badhi hogayi baad samajh jaatyun". And later, when Mummy and Baba were studying Arabic (yes, almost the whole family is), she came up to them and said, "Boliye" and Mummy said, "Kya?" so Ammaarah said, "Aap boliye, main likhtyun. Phir main badhi hue baad samajh jaatyun" J

A trip home is coming up in a week – yayy! I hope I get to meet Aroush and co.!

Dec. 1st is a big deadline for the mommy too. I hope everything goes well, insha’allah.
That’s all for now. Peace and lou-u.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crazy times

I was just reading up on Shashi Tharoor when I came across Lavasa LitLive. Surely, it can't be a coincidence that The Hindu and The Times of India both have launched a literature festival for the first time? Even though The Hindu launched the program to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Literary Review, I have the feeling that Times of India would have thought of this idea first.

Also interesting is the fact that both events are sponsored by real estate -- Hirco sponsored The Hindu's festival and Lavasa (which I initially read as Lavazza and thought Barista was promoting the coffee and books combination :-s) is sponsoring LitLive. Yinnteresting.

I know I'm really behind on updating this blog and I feel terrible about it but I've been so busy at work that I barely have time for anything else. The client is in its testing phase and the whole world has turned upside down. They want this, that and that was well. Their demands are endless and I now realize the downside of being a BA -- when you're the only one talking to the client, then you have to be prepared to handle the bad news as well. Yesterday, I was so frustrated that I wanted to scream. I followed the "Audhubillah" strategy of controlling my anger and it worked, alhamdulillah.

I had a wonderful time at the fest, it was eye-opening to have such intellectuals speak, no matter that they could be talking about things I was remotely interested in -- cinematography, books on cricket, Dalit literature. I made friends too!

I also got an autograph -- from Vikram Seth, no less! I used to be so obsessed with his poetry and prose.

On Diwali, husband and I went shopping and I picked up nearly five books for 650. They're now standing by the books that I bought from the Lit Fest and the two mammoth books that I'm yet to begin reading -- The River of Smoke and The Emperor of Maladies. Honestly, I began reading the latter and it terrified me -- as if I would catch cancer simply by reading the book! I've banned myself from reading these books until I get something substantial done during Nanowrimo. I'm behind my daily target but sticking with it so far.

To anyone who ever gets stuck with writers' block, please, please, please check out this site. Use the web app and feel the pressure! I'm quite grateful for the nanowrimo forums where I first came across this site.

That is all for now. I hope the crazy phase at work ends soon.

Peace, love and :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

... for life

Aadaar Aaadaab Abhinandan Aahar!* (and assalamualaikum)

On Wednesday, as we drove towards the city to have lunch, the M thrust The Hindu into my hands after having picked it up from outside the apartment door. He insisted that we take it with us, so I did and unfolded it while we were on the OMR. An ad that I hadn't seen (given that all my news reading happens via Google News) caught my eye. Here it is for your viewing pleasure (turns out I can't find the original image, so here's one of the programme):


 It's been amazing, can't wait to go back tomorrow. I hope to be back with all the details soon!

PS: Apologies about the messing-up of the previous post. I have no idea how that happened and when I finally saw it, it was too late to fix it. My to-list overfloweth.

Goodbye for now and fee amanillah.

* KBC is the only TV (rather Youtube) program that we watch regularly these days

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

:O I forgot the title!

http://www.lavanyad.com/madmomma/?p=6389 . I am so, so, so grateful that I am content and happy with my marriage and that I love M, alhamdulillah.
17th October, you were ispecial. I’m very grateful. Alhamdulillah.

I’m quite behind now on updating the blog with our weekend getaway. I just hate looking at my pictures so I’ve been postponing transferring the photos from the camera. Sigh.

I’m also behind on a document I’m supposed to create at work. It’s extremely dry and uninteresting, and staring at it for long periods makes me want to go to sleep. I’ve increased the font size, changed the font colour to white and changed the background to a dark blue, it seems to be helping for now.

I’m in a better frame of mind these days, at least a trifle more productive.

The idea of participating in NaNoWriMo is reeling me in. Considering that I’m cooking more often these days, that ARB112 is much more difficult than I thought and this document I’m working on is chewing on the few working neurons that I have, it’ll be a crazy attempt. But I still want to participate... as soon as I figure out what I’m going to write!

A friend finally got out of a marriage where her husband was cheating on her. Another colleague who I hello-hid with told me today that she and her husband separated after five years. Now another colleague pings me and tells me she needs marriage advice – she and her husband got married against her in-laws’ wishes and now her MIL (who’s educated and working) will not let both of them go out together because she’s insecure! Her husband works from home so meeting at office hours isn’t possible. Friend thinks she should just keep going out till her MIL gets used to it but can’t bear the guilt she’ll have to bear this way. And yesterday I read this scary yet inspiring story,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Running out of steam

As we walked into the airport today, I was filled with urge to just fly away somewhere. Of course, we didn’t have any passports on us so we couldn’t go out of the country, but I so badly want a change of place. Sure, we went to Hyderabad and that was, okay, because I hardly spent any time outside (and I really miss the place and hated the hot Chennai sun when we got back), but I really, really, really, really, want to go somewhere – somewhere that SCREAMS different from Chennai.

Somebody’s pictures from their Scotland trip have not helped X(. In fact, they might be the catalyst behind this sudden urge. I don’t even mind going to Coonoor once again, I JUST WANT SOME CHANGE. I just wished we could forget our trip back to Chennai and instead be really impulsive, buy some tickets and scoot off. In VERY recent history, such impulsiveness has not paid off, but I just love being impulsive anyway.

So here I am, back in the office. Apparently, I look terrible. Not surprising considering I barely slept last night and slept fitfully thanks to ‘IT’ by Stephen King. I must really stop reading things just because they happen to be on the Kindle. Finally decided to put an end to this really meandering, brain-damage-inducing hulk of a book by reading the plot summary on Wikipedia. I am SO glad I did that.

I have been ‘training’ people – two different sessions on the same topic – the banking and financial services domain. The one-eyed king teaches the blind. This is the fourth training that I’m doing and I’ve discovered with considerable surprise that I *can* manage public speaking. Of course, this still constitutes training people who for the most part are completely clueless and I think I might die of fright if I were speaking in front of people like my manager or M’s manager. In the first one, I did put two-three people to sleep, the ones that were the farthest away from me -- but having been in their shoes more times than I can count, I only empathized with how I must’ve made my professors feel. On Thursday, which was the first of four sessions, a fellow MBA and new colleague also joined the session and I was jittery as this would be the first time I’d be judged by someone at my level or close. I don’t feel comfortable doing these sessions because I’ve never really traded and I often feel that I’m talking about things that I only know in theory. But then, what did you call a ‘consultant’ anyway?

However, in spite of putting a few people to sleep, I was told that I did a decent job save for going a little fast. And the new colleague told me that I was in the wrong profession and that I should be a teacher AND something about how intelligent I sounded (which reminds me again of school with Zai saying that I look like the girl who sits in the first bench but doesn’t understand anything K ) ! That really made my day. On Friday, I spoke to a batch that was right out of college and managed to engage a few people without putting anyone to sleep.

I pulled a Peemmi on Friday too, but Alhamdulillah, thanks to an honest auto-wallah everything turned out okay. Left for the airport, spent some time with Neesha and her hoozband who were also at the airport. Everything considered, the weekend barely managed to reach the ‘okay’ level, and I still feel really sad that I didn’t get any quality time at home. Poor Ammaarah was sick, though she still looked adorable in her Dora-like haircut, and spent most of the time moping. I miss her so much… and my mommy and my daddy and my sooster… sniff :’( Met many cozins and aunts and uncles at Ammaarah’s bismillah but didn’t get to spend much time with them.

I’ve lost the constructive streak I’d picked up in Ramadhan and the disappointment is pulling me down further. There is so much I want to get done, but my motivation is sliding. Sigh.

Last week was overwhelming so I hope this week will be better.

Goodbye of you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Times are changing

I just got off a call that was between two people in Chennai, one in Dublin who's originally Tanzanian and another in Hong Kong. Half an hour before that, I was talking to another BA in Dublin and a presumably Pakistani BA (going by his name) in London. Between all the Tamil hubbub around me, I had to sort out the Irish, British, American-Hong Kong and the Irish-Tanzanian accents. Not to mention that I sent the meeting invite for the wrong time because I got confused between GMT, IST, Ireland Standard Time (which is essentially the same as GMT--that I only learned yesterday) and HKT.

At my previous job, I used to get confused with the ESTs/CSTs/PSTs and the American accent was sometimes difficult to catch. Now all of that seems so simple!

Yesterday, I was quite happy to have got my own conference code (yeah, roll your eyes) but now I'm wondering how many more invites I'll mess up. And this is not even considering Daylight Savings Time. I used to think GMT was a world standard until I realized even GMT has summer daylight savings time! Thanks to my favourite BA from Chicago, I did go to the World Clock but still got the time wrong. Let's hope things get better with time!

Still (if it isn't obvious), I'm quite enjoying all the accents, especially the British accent (as always). Maybe I should go join a call-center.

Goodbhye.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Achucho

Her neighbour drops her off a block away. She's exhausted; her neighbour is talking, "I hope I pass my mock visa interview". She wants to reassure her neighbour, but the words are floating away in the grasp of her fatigue. She makes an attempt: "I'm sure..." she says, rubbing her eyes, "that you'll mop... you'll mop... ugh, I'm sure you'll pass your mock visa interview..." She rolls her eyes at herself and signals that she'll leave for her apartment now. She staggers to the apartment, struggles for the key and walks into the empty apartment. 

Her phone's lying on the table where she'd forgotten it in the morning. Three missed calls from her parents. She picks up the phone and finds herself answering that inescapable question, "I'll make dal chawal" she says. Two days of forgettable food and she decides she should cook for the next three days. She washes the palak somehow having mustered the energy to sing while she drains the water (thrice). She's already soaked the dal. She rinses the pressure cooker, adds the dal, the condiments and the palak wishing that her husband was there to eat the  palak-dal. She fixes the cooker's lid and sets the stove knob to high. 

There's only rice enough for two in the jar. She pours it into the bowl and rinses the rice while she's singing. There's an odd high pitched sound in the kitchen. She freezes, the singing stops. She realizes it's the pressure building up in the cooker. She goes back to singing, lost in her own thoughts. She realizes with a start that there's no flame under the pressure cooker. She's forgotten how many times she's washed the rice. It's no use trying all the other burners. She comes to terms with it: they've run out of gas.

She leaves the kitchen and settles into the chair that she barely got out of half an hour ago. Pizza Corner is bringing her pizza. So much for wanting to do the right thing.

PS: the title is ayyayyo in Tamil
PS2: Play Station 2
PS3: Sorry. I'm just braindead. I have to give a presentation on Thursday and I haven't even begun preparing. 
PS4: yes, this is the end of this post. Please don't curse me.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Muddled

Thanks to a terrible headache, I barely slept last night. There were many interruptions in the morning. Neesha came over in the afternoon, we met after a long time in spite of being in the same city. It was good to talk to her, even better to get a ride in her new Honda Jazz! Such a beautiful car! And she drives it with such cool confidence. I drove for an hour or so on Saturday and wondered why I was torturing myself! Blind, dumb and deaf pedestrians, bad roads and the fear of damaging an already injured car don't make for a good driving experience. Neesha however insists I must persist; I hope it gets better, because otherwise I think I'd rather enjoy the view from the passenger seat. 

Arabic 2 began this morning. There are at least two classmates from Arabic 1 attending this slot and both I've been racing with to answer the teacher's questions. It's great to be enthusiastic about something again. I felt even more excited when she said that we'd be learning the 10 main verb forms in a few weeks and a new world in Arabic would open up to us. Can't wait! She also said it would be a good idea to go ahead and order the Hans-Wehr Modern Arabic dictionary that costs nearly 2K+. It's unique in that the dictionary doesn't go by the usual alphabetic order but is ordered according to the root-words, and all derived words are listed below each root word. I thought I'd get the pdf version but when she reminded me that this was something I'd be using my whole life, I'm now considering buying it. Flipkart has it but I think it'll take some time until I get my hands on it. When I asked the mother about this decision, she said, 'Why don't you cook at home instead of eating three Rs. 600 pizzas? Then you needn't worry about the cost of the dictionary' :| 

Okay, I've just remembered something terribly important. Good bye for now!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eid Mubarak

I have a splitting headache. I had a restful staycation for the last five days but I still came to office today with a lead head. Mother gave me an assignment which I didn’t do on time and then spent too much time on it late into the night.

*  *  *

Eid was special because we went to the Himayat-e-Anjuman mosque here for the Eid namaz. Seems like it’s mostly the posh Muslims of the city that visit this mosque; there were many flashy cars to be seen. Given that it’s in an upscale area of the city, it’s possible that only people with cars visit that mosque. We go there because we don’t know other mosques that have facilities for women and the khutbahs are in Urdu (as opposed to Tamil). I’ve come to appreciate the importance of praying in Arabic after M attended taraweeh where the dua was in Tamil. If you know Arabic, you can pray at any mosque anywhere in the world and still understand everything!

Eid was heartwarming because I saw so many Muslim women and I don’t know any here. It also made me sad because the experience would have been so much more special with Mummy and Blister and Immu and M-PAX and all the other girls around…

Eid was fun because we went to Blur which is a video game arcade (I don’t know what the right word is). We played tennis on the wii, M won a teddy bear from one of the machines and we decided to try out a game whose graphics looked good. It’s called Assassin’s Creed—Brotherhood and it turned out to be really stupid. Or at least I thought it was.

Eid was sad because I missed home, sheer khorma, hating-dressing-up-but-still-having-someone-to-see-or-comment, visiting black chacha and white chacha, visiting Kamalapuri, and the general feeling of celebration.

Eid was yummy because we made biryani. This time I modified Y mami’s recipe to add more onions a la ZaiqaMona. It still didn’t turn out perfect but was tasty enough to keep wanting more.

I want a more Eid-like Eid next year, insha’allah.

*  *  *

Arabic 2 starts this Saturday! Because I wanted to continue with the same teacher, I’m now scheduled for the 7:30 AM slot. HOW am I going to wake up that early on a Saturday?!

*  *  *

I finally took my new red (burgundy?) handbag to office today.

These are the reactions I got:

“Oh! New bag?” (twice)

“Is that leather?” (once)

And that’s it. Maybe people can’t reconcile red with my abayahed image, just like N who made fun of me when I told her we got a red car. Of course, when she saw the actual colour, she said, “Oh. This colour is okay”. I half want to hide the bag myself.

I shall console myself that it’s awesome and people just don’t know it!

*  *  *

I got my award on Monday. It was quite disappointing.

*  *  *

Yesterday while I was waiting for M outside the trial room at Big Bazaar, two little boys danced around their mom to jhing-bang Tamil music. It was quite amusing.

Then their dad stepped out of the trial room wearing the new shirt he had just tried on. The two boys rushed towards their dad like Tamil hero fans shouting “Suuupper” (the Tamilian version of Super has to be heard to be appreciated—it sounds like soup-pair!). I think I’m beginning to appreciate Tamizhness.

*  *  *

I really, really, really, really need to start working on my fitness again. I am SO out of shape.

*  *  *

Okay, bye.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guilt

Ammaarah and I have a game we play. She pretends to be a guest and I have her over and offer her food, and a choice of games to play. This is all done over the phone. So she goes, "Ting-tong!" and I say, "Cone hey?" (I like spelling it that way) and so it continues. Yesterday, I was in a hurry and Ammaarah began ting-tonging. Soon the guest had to leave, so she said, "Khudahafiz, fee amanillah, pappuuz", so I said goodbye to her too but then she started the conversation all over again, so I had to entertain her again. The next time she said "Khudahafiz, fee amanillah, pappuuz", I thought she was hanging up, so I hung up, even though a tiny voice in my head told me she was just being the guest.

Today while I was talking to Mummy, she kept begging for the phone. So Mummy handed her the phone, we were talking about this and that, and all of a sudden, Ammaarah said in an anguished tone, "Peemmi, kal jab main khudahafiz boli thi na...main woh seriously nai boli thi, main khelri thi. Lekin aap phone rakh diye..." and I felt so bad. I apologized to her then but I still feel terrible. 

And of course, I find it quite amusing and amazing that she said "seriously". :D

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Updates

1. The birthday has come and gone. Shota cake cut at 12 in the night, dinner at Rainforest the next day. Had the Rainforest chicken steak -- yumm-mee. The "surprise" (as Ammaarah likes to call presents) is the hardcover of River of Smoke. Something that I've been waiting to get my hands on and the hardcover, it's so pretty! It's been ages since I've seen such soothing typesetting! However, the book shall remain in its wrapping paper until the end of Ramadhan when I shall haul it to Hyderabad.

2. We made 'kachchi aqni ki biryani' yesterday. I thought it was lacking in tezness but M loved it. You should really try out her method of smoking the chicken -- yumm-mee. (with due apologies to those who're reading this post while fasting!)

3. I believe that is all that has happened of note since the 1st. The couzins and I are busy with Ramadhan when we're not busy with the usual stuff.

4. Oh wait, Google bought Motorola Mobility?! Still trying to wrap my head around that.

Okay bye.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hunger

Ramadan starts tomorrow inshaallah but i'm completing my pending fasts today.

I have so much to do but it's not enough to distract me from thinking about food.

How do people who're afflicted with droughts and famines manage? They don't even have the certainty of knowing there is a meal to be had in the evening...

Alhamdulillah...

Done with Arabic 101!

I spent so much time preparing for this exam and the question paper turned out to be a shocker!

Here's the question:

Compose a story consisting of 15 sentences that meets the following requirements.
(1) The story must contain at least 5 verb sentences
(2) The story must contain at least 3 follower constructions
(3) The story must contain at least 3 association constructions
(3) The story must contain at least 3 j-constructions
(4) The story must contain at least one dual noun
(5) The story must contain at least 3 pronouns (either attached or separate)
Perform a formal sentence breakdown (i.e., word-level analysis, construction-level analysis, and sentence-level analysis) of each sentence.

So I thought and I thunk and I finally came up with this story. There were many constraints: my Arabic vocabulary, time (complicated sentences implies a complicated sentence breakdown) and my half-asleep brain. So, yes, by Arabic standards, I might as well be 5 years old!

Ali is the merchant's son
-- عَلِيٌّ وَلَدُ الْتّاجِرِ
S1
He is small and generous
-- هُوَ صَغِيرٌ و كَريمٌ
S2
Ali went to the school in the car
-- ذَهَبَ عَلِيٌ المَدْرَسَةَ في الْسَّيّارَةِ
S3
He played with his two companions
-- لَعِبَ بِالْصّاحِبَاهُ
S4
They (dual) are Khalid and Waleed
-- هُما خالِدٌ و وَليدٌ
S5
Then they went to Ali's house
-- ثُمَّ ذَهَبُوا بَيْتَ عَلِيٍّ
S6
Ali's house is big and beautiful
-- بَيْتُ عَلِيٍّ كَبيرٌ و جَميلٌ
S7
A man entered the house in the night
-- دَخَلَ رَجُلٌ الْبَيْتَ في الْلَيْلِ
S8
He spilt the milk and made a noise
-- سَفَكَ الْحَليبَ و جَعَلَ صَوْتً
S9 & S10
Ali's father entered the room
--  دَخَلَ أبُو عَلِيٍّ الْغُرْفَةَ
S11
He hit the man
-- ضَرَبَ الْرَّجُلَ
S12
Khalid and Waleed and Ali helped him
-- نَصَرَهُ خالِدٌ و وَليدٌ و عَلِيٌّ
S13
Ali's father thanked them
-- شَكَرَهُمْ أبو علِيٍّ
S14
The boys became happy
-- فَرِحَ الْاولادٌ
S15


Now to pray that I've made only a few errors... insha'allah!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The week that was:

Unearthing an old poem that I love:

The Way Things Are - Roger McGough

No, the candle is not crying, it can not feel pain.
Even telescopes, like the rest of us, grow bored.
Bubblegum will not make the hair soft and shiny.
The duller the imagination, the faster the car, 
I am your father and that is the way things are.

When the sky is looking the other way,
do not enter the forest. No, the wind
is not caused by the rushing of clouds.
An excuse is as good a reason as any.
A lighthouse, launched, will not go far,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

No, old people do not walk slowly
because they have plenty of time.
Gardening books when buried will not flower. 
Though lightly worn, a crown may leave a scar, 
I am your father and that is the way things are.

No, the red woolly hat has not been
put on the railing to keep it warm.
When one glove is missing, both are lost.
Today's craft fair is tomorrows boot sale. 
The guitarist weeps gently, not the guitar
I am your father and that is the way things are.

Pebbles work best without batteries.
The deckchair will fail as a unit of currency. 
Even though your shadow is shortening
it does not mean you are growing smaller.
Moonbeams sadly, will not survive in a jar,
I am your father and that is the way things are.

For centuries the bullet remained quietly confident
that the gun would be invented.
A drowning surrealist will not appreciate
the concrete lifebelt.
No guarantee my last goodbye is an au revoir, 
I am your father and that is the way things are.

Do not become a prison officer unless you know 
what your letting someone else in for.
The thrill of being a shower curtain will soon pall.
No trusting hand awaits a falling star
I am your father, and I am sorry
but this is the way things are.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In my head...

I’ve been having a crazy week. Not crazy-busy at my job but in my head. There is too much to process, things that make me happy, things that make me sad and mostly, things that make me anxious. I think I had my first-ever anxiety attack on Wednesday night but alhamdulillah for the husband who didn’t flinch for a second but calmly held me while having me inhale some Vicks so that I could finally breathe properly. I think if I were in his place, I would have had a bigger panic attack myself!

Insha’allah, everything will get resolved soon enough. I’m not worrying this weekend insha’allah though I expect some exam-anxiety coming up with my final Arabic 101 exam beginning on Sunday.

* * *

I just realized the other day that if you’re in a bad mood, the best thing to do is to direct your focus somewhere else, and a good khutbah always helps.

“In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” – I believe in this more and more with every passing day. In fact, it’s a funny coincidence that a favourite blogger’s just made this post (much more elaborate though).

Thinking about how much you’re hurting just makes you more bitter and resentful so you just continue in your downward spiral.

The next step? Don’t just direct your focus somewhere else, but make the effort to behave generously even though you feel like doing the exact opposite. The bonus: you’ll be in a better mood from when you started. And that’s a good thing because moods are contagious!

‘* * *

On to some humour: My cousin regularly sends me these sexist jokes. Read and roll your eyes!

I.
Good news:
The Japanese have produced a high speed sports camera, that has such an amazingly fast shutter speed that it can take a picture of a woman with her mouth shut.



II.
Life mein hamesha hanste,
Gaate aur muskurate raho…
Taake tumhe dekhte hi log samajh jaaye ki…
.
..

….
…..
You’re unmarried!




III.
A husband gave the key of his new car to his wife with a warning:

“Darling, remember… if you meet with an accident, the newspapers will print your age!”




IV.
Boy’s vs. Girl’s brain:

Boy: How many apples can you eat on an empty stomach?

Girl: I can eat six apples

Boy: You can eat only 1 apple on an empty stomach because when you eat the second apple your stomach isn’t empty anymore! Ha!

Girl: Super joke! I’ll tell my friends!

Girl to her friend: How many apples can you eat on an empty stomach?

Friend: I can eat five

Girl: Hat yaar…! 6 bolti toh mast joke sunati thi…


:D
Ciaonara!

Monday, July 18, 2011

And today we learn...

“Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Saabir) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’mmin.” [Muslim]

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home Alone







The M's visiting his parents until Tuesday so now I'm home alone. This is the first time I'll be staying alone-alone (as opposed to hostel-alone) and ze parents are paranoid (Mummy: "Tum kaam hi aise karte", hmmf!), but I'm looking forward to it. It's been a long time since I've had a room to myself, and now I have the whole house!

*  *  *
It's unfortunate how we always choose to spend time over the bad news rather than the good news: I'm talking about the whiny posts on my blog. My last post was written on a Friday two weeks ago, unaware of what the Monday would bering. On Monday, I attended the weekly project team and heard the assistant manager say, "We're releasing six people from the project. The client has made budget cuts across all projects. The six people have been informed and the processing is underway." I had entered the conference room in a dark mood, mad that nobody from the project team had even bothered to tell me about my release and then I realized, that I wasn't the only one. At that, I felt even more pain; the project team is quite close-knit and I really didn't want to to see them break up...

I walked out of the meeting room in a daze, and then the project manager called me. I thought he was finally going to tell me in person. He seemed too mortified to get the words out of his mouth, but he eventually said that the two onsite BAs that I work with mostly, one who I actually report to and the other being the BA for this particular project, had been pressing for my retention, so they were reinstating my role. The assistant manager too called me and said, "Looks like you've really impressed X and Y with your work. Keep it up!" So, it turns out that at least for the present, I am somewhat indispensable, alhamdulillah. I also won a "Biz Whiz" (BhizWiz according to my manager :| ) Applause award for some "domain-building activities". Nothing to shout about from the hills, but appreciated nonetheless.

Yesterday, I met with my new pseudo-manager, he's someone who really commands my respect, both for his manners and his extensive knowledge of capital markets. Na-heee! My workdays are going to get more demanding!

*  *  *

God works in mysterious ways, it's true. During the time that M was away, I was mad at him for almost half the time. Withdrawal symptoms?! Who would have thought?

Since he's been back, I find I appreciate him so much more and we've become even closer, alhamdulillah.

And I have quite a few material reasons to be grateful for the trip! He got me a beautiful handbag and

this:


and this:


aaaaaaaand *drumroll*:



...ze ipad2! As I did with the Kindle, I wasn't too excited, in fact I urged him to gift it to his parents or mine because I couldn't figure out what we would do with three compooters. But after putting it up in the kitchen, listening to a khubah while cooking, browsing for recipes (looking up til ki chutney on zaiqa), and the funnest part, facetiming with Immus Naini, I think I'm beginning to convert. Truth be told I could have done all of these earlier too, we always had a netbook with its own built-in webcam, but that was languishing in a drawer as a substitute for the BigLaptop. With the amazing case that M got, just opening the magnetic case switches the ipad on and voila, it's ready to use! No waiting for startup, the great battery life means you don't have to be worried about charging it frequently, just touch and vroom! :)

*  *  *

Last week was scary too: Amita's dad is still partially on ventilator because his lungs are too weak, P bhai still hasn't recovered completely but has made great progress alhamdulillah, both MIL and FIL are having some medical troubles, and Nanima went through a heart-failure scare... we take so much for granted, every breath included. May Allah ta'ala make us more mindful of our shortcomings and more grateful for our blessings.

Today is Study Arabic Day, so I'll be off now. Take care of you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Take me away

The work emails in my inbox are the same as always, completely normal. No one with the exception of my manager has told me, hello honey, you gotta go soon. Is that why? Because it's soon and not now? I realized after Fajr in the morning, that the major chunk of work that I was handling is expected to end in a couple of weeks, at the same time that they expect me to be 'released'. That makes me feel so used. But considering that "human capital" is always talked about in terms like 'resource management' or 'utilization', why should that even be a surprise?

 

What is a surprise though, is an email asking me to take on some additional responsibility from the client's side BA. I'm guessing he hasn't been told yet. Now I'm wondering whether I should tell him or just go ahead and work on it, and two weeks later, he'll find that I've Poof!ed. Actually, I'm going to Poof! In a week's time thanks to a visit to Hyderabad.

 

Funny, I'd nearly forgotten about it. I hope I can spend some time with MPAX and her baybees, insha'allah. If it was really possible, I'd just ask her to escape from her place as often as I could, in that one week! I really want a break. I wish I could go to New York L .

 

When ze manager told me yesterday, my brain started the QUIT! QUIT! QUIT! chant out of the blue. But what's the use? I know the money will keep me grounded.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dumped

I've been thinking, for more than two weeks now, that I must write about how much more satisfied I am with this job than my previous one. I thought I would mention that it was possibly because of a) lesser workload b) non-crazy deadlines c) I was creating some value that I could identify with d) the lack of cut-throat competition and politics. Or maybe the last one is because I'm in the account-bubble. But what I wanted to say most of all was that it felt better because I felt more indispensable. Not very much so, but just that tiny-weeny bit that's enough to get you through the day.

 

And then my manager called me today and said that my project is ramping down, so they're going to release me from that project considering my billing rate is way higher than the  developers'. There is nothing groundbreaking or fall-in-lovable about my work , but it took me a while to get where I am and it feels like a waste of time. In the meantime, I've started abhorring non-project related work, having got enough of it in the first six months at this job. Now I'm going to have to pick that up again.

 

What feels worse is that until yesterday, despite some mentions of good resource management and cost-cutting, nobody in the project call indicated anything of this sort. My manager seemed to be playing George Clooney from Up In The Air; why couldn't my project manager have given me the bad news?

 

I know that is just the same as being released from a project and I shouldn't feel like I've been fired, but how come it does?
 
Alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sigh

It's 10:20 pm and I'm still on the way home... Mummy and baba are already having dinner at home ... I'm stuck in crawling traffic, breathing in suffocating amounts of fumes...  I had a call until late in  the night... In the afternoon, I had a headache because I slept very little last night... I hope our anniversaries will only get better than this inshallah...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Qatra hai ya khatra hai?

 

The M left on Friday night; Baba and I dropped him off at the airport. Last week was quite stressful, what with the parents arriving and M's packing still to be done. There were a zillion errands, though I guess the lion's share fell to M. In spite of that long rambling post, my (self-inflicted?) struggles with housework/cooking continue (which is actually stupid if you consider how little I have to do given that I have a maid). All that and general listlessness meant a bad week – lots of grrr and sniff. So maybe the One above thought: I'll send him off to New York for a month and we'll see how you feel then. OKAY, I FEEL AWFUL, now send him back already!

 

I'm quite grateful that M had a smooth, uneventful trip. He'd been worrying about the immigration routine (after I told him about our Homeland Security experience and some terrifying story about a cousin who was apparently detained for six hours), his family was worrying about it and all the recent O(b/s)ama happenings had him worried even more. Being a meticulous planner, he did everything he could to prepare in advance, including studying his documents on the plane! By the time he left, we were all nervous too, and everyone was waiting to hear that he'd arrived with no trouble. Turns out his fears were all in vain:

 

He had selected a seat at the rear end of the plane, so it took him half an hour just to disembark. I had told him there'd be huge lines once he arrived at the airport but thanks to that half-hour there were none by the time it was his turn. He went straightaway to the immigration desk where the following happened (at least what my sieve-like memory says):

 

Immigration officer: Hello. Aap Hindi bolte hain?

 

<At this point, I asked, 'Oh, a white immigration officer asked you that?' And he said, 'No, an Indian'>

 

M: Jee

 

IO: Aap Hyderabad se hain?

 

M: Jee

 

IO: Is this your first visit to the U.S.?

 

M: Yes

 

IO: Achche mazey karrein!  Welcome to New York!

 

<And then he stamped M's passport>

 

Aur welcome bhi kis se? Imran bhai! Kyaaa bhai!

 

And then he waved him off. :D So there's M's extreme fear of the routine and there's the anti-climax: a Hyderabadi immigration officer welcoming him! I put it all down to his mom's fervent duas. (Lesson of the day: Never underestimate the power of the 'maa ki dua'!)  I was so relieved when I heard this story, that I was guffawing (do girls guffaw?) all throughout his narration of it (which I must say, was quite entertaining).

 

He'd been scoffing at my oohs and aahs marveling at the wonder that is New York Sittayh (that's how our sunset cruise tour guide said it) but when I asked him how he liked the city, he sounded quite awed himself. Humph.

 

*  *  *

 

Ammaarah very kindly offered to sleep beside me on Saturday, stating that I'd feel bad sleeping alone. She sometimes asks me for my hand and wraps her arms around my arm and goes to sleep. I am supposed to tell her stories, and she doesn't like being told stories with morals or those that she's heard before. I've woken up a couple of times in the night to some sound kicks to my side -- like most little kids, her position in bed mirrors the hour hand on the clock. I'd woken up much before her this morning so when I was in the bathroom I heard her walk up to her Nanu crying, 'Peemmiiiiii, Peemmmiii kidhar gaye' and her Nanu said in her no-nonsense way, 'Uthte hi rone ki kya zaroorat hai? Yahin hai, bathroom mein'

 

In one of her extremely affectionate (and sometimes violent) moods she wrapped her arms around my legs and said, "Main aapku godh mein uthaoon?"

 

I said, "Nai, aapku maar lagti, mat karo"

 

And then she said, "Uno uthaye the na aapku?"

 

I was busy tidying up, so I said without thinking, "Kaun?"

 

And she just signaled with her head to her right, "Uno"

 

I started laughing but pretended to be ignorant. I wondered why she would feel shy to mention his name. "Kaun ji?"

 

"Unoich, jisse aapki shadi hui thi!"

 

:D :D :D

 

I said again, "Kaun?"

 

So she said, "M uncle! Yaad hai aapku?"

 

I said, "Meku toh yaad hai, lekin aapku kaisa yaad hai?"

 

To which she nonchalantly replied, "Main dekhi thi na picture mein"

 

*  *  *

 

Last night while going to bed:

 

Ammaarah (fidgeting and fiddling with her lip): "Aap yahan haath lagao meku – ek hole hogaya. Sssssss – bhot dard hora"

 

Sleepily, I said, "Aap choro woh, khud theek ho jaata"

 

The complaints continued. I was thinking about the litany of such pains and aches that I'd heard from her during the day and wondered how many were just pleas for attention.

 

She brought my attention to her lip again.

 

I repeated, "Aap so jao. Khud theek ho jaata. Kitne toh bhi dard hote Ammaarah aapku?"

 

I thought she'd get offended and defend herself against my (unmentioned) allegations of faking them.

 

She just giggled wonderingly - hi hi hi. "Hau… sahi bhi, nai?"

 

And I felt really bad to have said so.

 

*   *   *

 

The muster, fuster and I played Old Maid yesterday and the day before. It was so much fun! Especially how Baba knows immediately whenever Mummy gets the Old Maid card and then he's afraid he'll be the one getting it next and goes "Iqbal bhai, bolo qatra hai ya khatra hai?!"

 

*   *   *

 

I have no complaints about the client work that I'm doing – I feel useful. But I've come to HATE making decks. The writing, the formatting, the smart art-ting so that the audience doesn't get overwhelmed by the text, the editing, the re-editing, the comments… ugh. I just got an email asking for help on another deck.

 

Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin! (Btw, must add, 'na-hee', with the cutest emphasis on the 'h' is Ammaarah's favourite response to almost anything)