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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

About The Dictionary below

One of the members at the writing workshop I attended some weeks ago wrote that.
I found it absolutely beautiful and true... it was spiritual without being religious -- my favourite way for things to be!
We try to find solutions and proof for everything in science. We take refuge in it, and then the line blurs. From trying to cure diseases, genetics becomes about designer babies.
From finding alternative energy resources, nuclear science becomes about destruction.
I am all for science... don't get me wrong. But not a science that disprespects and rapes nature. Definitely not that.
And for me just as how science is misused, so is religion.
From providing solace for the soul, it is now a weapon to discriminate and kill...
That the sun rises and sets, and in Qatar is it is a perfect ball in the evening, unlike how sunsets are back where i come from; how sometimes the sun and the moon are visible up in the sky at the same time; how there are shades of pinks and oranges in the skies that I've never ever seen -- not on an artist's palette, not in a weaver's loom, not on photoshop... colours that we find impossible to translate; that every day we learn new aspects of species, attributes that we cannot even begin to imagine...
and when you see or hear or experience all this, and just take it a wee bit down, from the head to the heart... a humbling moment, that trivialises the wars we wage at work, home and in the world.

The Dictionary by Farwin Zulfikar

"The universe is godless they say. And thanks to Darwin's meticulous years we can explain its existence. It all happened by chance! come the big bang and voila we have the world! A sun that would rise and decsend at the same time in the same course everyday. It's like saying the dictionary was born out of an explosion at the printer's.
Imagine that! An explosion at the printer's leaving us with a perfectly and alphabetically ordered booklet. With words - the windows to our soul, a casket containing little trinkets with different sounds, a Pandora's box, if used incorrectly or insensitively can result in war."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

chef in the house

starters: cashews, mixed with stale cornflakes, with warm seasoning and salt.
main course: open packet of ready to cook pasta, add to bowl of warm water, some butter, 8mts in the microwave. an expert cook will stir the mixture every 3 mts to obtain right consistency.
dessert: crumbled marie biscuits topped with left over ice cream, for a smooth crumbles.
beverage: strongest alcohol in the house, to get guests drunk, before they begin to ponder over the meal served.

ps: the devil is in the details, so don't scrounge. bring out your best china. not the disposables.

psssttt: make sure you receive your guests wearing a frilly apron, and strategically placed flour on your forehead and nose.

bon appetit!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

still not weaned

that's me
two days ago, the baby cot was dismantled, and a new, bigger one was set up, right next to our double bed.
after 6 years and 3 months of sleeping in the same baby cot, she nods off to sleep without so much as a murmur of nostalgia. me? i stayed up a couple of hours, fretting over my baby, who needs a cot, not a crib.
then today, it was time for the high chair to join the crib on the loft. She hasn't used it in a year, but it tore my heart to put it away. finally we did it today. again, it is i who stares at the vacant space next to the dining table.
it is breast feeding all over again. the night, when she was 14 months old, i decided to give her a sipper of milk instead of the regular feed, she only gave me a quizzical look and grabbed the sipper.
and i spend the next several nights weaning myself off her feeding, as she sipped her milk from the silly pink and blue cup.

Monday, February 18, 2008

the Guru also Hates

i can heal you. wash away your pain and give solace to your malice (does it even make sense? but rhymes!)
i have enough philosophies, thoughts, solutions and words to find a way around every problem and emotion you throw at me.
take deep breaths... breathe out your hate and breathe in your love...
feel your body relax as all the hate flows out of your body. distance yourself from what cannot breathe and die.
distance yourself even more from what can.
look inwards.
and then go crazy!
all that is missing is a white or saffron robe.
but here is the thing... i can forgive most things. even racism. if it is born out of ignorance or an inferiority complex.
what i cannot and will not forgive is the racist who wears his philosophy on his sleeve and ass. who does everything, short of wearing a KKK mask, to make it clear he/she is a white supremacist, who takes every opportunity to reaffirm (?!!?) that he/she is better because she is white and so the rest of the world is her doormat.
and in all my life, i have come across just one person who is so despicable, so bitter, so full of hate, it almost rubs off on you.
i hate this one person so much for being such a rabid racist... and who gets away with it.
her name is frances racist gillespie, formerly known as clare racist gillespie (my husband reading over my shoulder wants to know if i am ready to be sued! I am. I speak the truth).
to speak openly about her heals my hurt. that's my excuse for using my blog to bitch about a person by name.
i am healing.
and it is accepted that you can voice your opinion about public figures, and for the purpose of this discussion, she is. She has written some books. uhmm!
Here is a case study of why I hate her so much.
In the last place I worked, there was this Brit guy, a paedophile, who was forced to leave the company.
Her first reaction was: "Oh so it is all Indians again, we need a Brit" or something to that effect.
She also had the gall to comment loudly that non-native English speakers (meaning Indians) were being recruited for the English newspaper only because they were cheap. And that was compromising on quality.
What is truly amazing for me is that in my wide open, and easily forgiving heart, I have found no sympathy for her, pitiful as she may be
Last week, after years, I run into her... and the anger was still raw. And it burnt, when she said "we prefer Qatar the way it was before..." Yes, before, when an illiterate could be the principal of a school, if he had the right skin colour!
Oh, did I mention, the reason she and her fellow racists give for not going back to UK? Too many Asians/Asians have taken over/Britain is no longer what it used to be...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

do i cease to exist

just because no one has scrapped me on orkut
wagged a finger at me on facebook
mailed me on gmail for 2 days running
even the junk on hotmail is down to a trickle
and there are no comments on my blog
do i cease to exist if my virtual identity is on the wane?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

name does matter

the watchman usually grunts us in and out of the school. a grouchy fellow, from south east asia, who reserves his smile for just a few.
nasty man.
and then this morning he gives me and O a big smile and a loud greeting. i am surprised, but manage a smile. since he is of no importance to me, i forget the change in attitude and carry on with my day. till it's time to pick her up. this time i am with my husband. again smiley, formerly known as grouchy, waves out. hi chris, replies my husband...
how do you know his name, i grumbled under my breath. "i asked him yesterday."
all that grouchy wanted was to not be treated as the annoying watchman, who gestures rudely to the motorists and ensures that the children find safe passage in and out of school!
so come sunday, chris will get a greeting, however grouchy he looks!
because what he does, i realise rather belatedly, deserves our gratitude.

The F Word

People are rather easy with the term Friend.
People they work with, live next door to, car pool with, are all referred to as FRIENDS. Being Friendly with someone does not mean you are Friends with them.
For me the F word is sacrosanct. I don't like people taking liberties with it.
I would never call myself someone's Friend, unless I've earned my place as one.
And I won't refer to someone as a Friend, unless they have earned their place in my life.
I am not talking about signatures in blood or duels won.
But there has to be some give, some take.
Give a little time and confidence, take a little humour and joy.
You don't have to labour over your friendship or draw an agenda and work on it.
It has to come easily, but not taken for granted.
It has to have a meaning. A responsibility. A duty. A commitment.
You need to be able to fart and burp without embarassment (an 'excuse me' is mandatory tho'). You need to be able to count on them.
Just because we share a workspace or parking lot does not make us friends.
We need to share an interest, a worry, a laugh, a cry.
We need to share the good and the bad times. And we need to share those mundane, boring days, as well...
We need to fight freely and vocally, knowing well that the fight has helped us understand each other better.
So next time you call someone a friend, pause and ponder. Are you worthy of the F word?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


is that they appear worse than they really are.
and more often than not, they are who they are with.
remember that irritating classmate who clinged to you? maybe if you hadn't avoided her so much, she wouldn't have clinged to you as much.
and that ass-licker at work. if you treated him with a wee bit more respect, he would rise to that expectation.
if ever i need to undergo rehab for the influence guilt has over me, the list of people i have to call and apologise to would be really long!
for character assassination of people who have done nothing worse than getting out of bed on the wrong side.
when at the very first meeting someone lands up 15mts late, and i decide to brand him as the one who has no respect for another's time. doesn't matter that he was well on time, till someone crashed into his car!
we are too stingy with the chances people merit, in making an impression. and while on that, first impressions are way too overrated!
i have realised, after repeated misjudgements, that there aren't really that many bad people around. there are just people who get a bad deal, or are in a bad situation, and are not strong enough to not reflect their desperation/frustration as their personality.
like in India. of the thousands of people who live in dire poverty and filthy barracks, only some turn to a life of crime. the rest are still smiling and laughing, and wouldn't hesitate to share their last piece of roti with a stranger. and then there are those who will share the last piece of roti, but will not think twice about stealing from a neighbour.
'being bad' is really not about character -- it is about circumstances.
so the next time you want to judge ME harshly, maybe it's not because i am a 'bad' person, i am just having one of those days!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

what sex is your esteem?

male or female?
here is the deal: yesterday, i was at a writing workshop. one of the exercises was a dialogue with a body part. while almost all the women picked on a body part they are not comfortable with, and had a rather tormented conversation with it, the men chose a body part that was giving them trouble -- physical/medical.
for women it was clearly about self esteem, appearances -- breast/stomach/teeth/skin/double chin!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

where else?

few other places will offer an opportunity like this.
in a class of 13 in my arabic class, we are 2 indonesians, 3 indians, 1 pakistani, 1 russian, 1 dane, 1 norwegian, 2 iranians, 1 filipina, 1 brit...
anywhere you go here, you will find such diversity... i've heard that there is even a sole icelandic out here in Doha, somewhere...
that's the interesting part about the Gulf. how people from across the world see it as a shot at a better life.
the not so interesting part is that there is not much melting in this cultural cauldron... so your take out in terms of experience is much less than it ought to be.

retard behind the wheel!

that's the bumper sticker i am going to mass produce and distribute.
so the idiot who wakes up an hour later than he should, drives like a maniac, endangering the lives of every other motorist on road, to gain 5 minutes.
this is my reading of the nutcases who weave in and out of traffic at crazy speeds, at 7 in the morning. is there never a correct side to the bed they get out of?

Monday, February 04, 2008

guthra, kifaya... sexy by any other name

some guys make it pansy-ish, some make it sexy... guys who wear a baseball cap for instance. or hair falling over their face... or just the way they wear a smile.
Out here, that one thing is the kifaya or guthra... the long flowing headscarf. A really common site at traffic signals, malls, near any shiny/reflective surface -- arab men adjusting their kifaya. there is a precision to making it look casual. right above the forehead, there maybe 2-3 light pleats. the scarf is also casually thrown over the head on one side. older, more distinguished men, let it just flow, but are particular about the crease above the forehead.
in some countries, they tie it like a turban... on Omani men, it just looks, sexy, sexy, sexy...
but my personal favourite is when one end is casually tossed over the head, the other end rests behind the shoulder... a perfect fit is a day old stubble, twinkling eyes, a sweet smile, and a gentlemanly gesture that says, 'yes you are welcome to cut in, and cross the lane... go ahead'
oooh, the guthra, with some traffic etiquette, can go a long way!