Sunday, 16 November 2008

After many days....

So a post after about two months... There is good news to share. And some not very bad news too. 

Good news: I'm going to be a mom, for the first time! Alhamdulillah.

Bad  news :I find it difficult to read, watch TV, look at my laptop and talk in a fone :-( . My first trimester is over, and with it, the other difficulties too. But still having some small problems like I said. So, sorry for not posting anything regularly. 

Thanks for your comments.... i'll try to keep in touch, and do forgive me if i'm not able to.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Where have all the people gone?

I open my eyes and find myself surrounded

With only the squirrels and doves in the garden.

I open my mouth for a refreshing yawn,

But it ends in a cry of despair.

I search for my shadow 

But the sun has locked it up.

In  my dream, my room was filled,

Filled with friends, family and relatives.

But I'm alone, so alone now.

I wish I could sleep again...


My grandmother-in-law passed away this morning. May Allah rest her soul in peace, forgive her her mistakes and gather us all in His paradise.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The 50th Post

The 50th one,

Now celebrating my half century.

I hope I'll make it a century,

And go even beyond that,

To the horizon before me.

I don't know who will follow me

To the land where the sky touches the sea.

But I'm sure, 

I will have my shadow to accompany me

Althoug it may change with the sun rays.

I fear if I'll fall down to unknown,

After the end of the sea.

But the sight of unknown lands

Defeats my fear, and fill my hear with thrill.

I belong to the Nomad world,

And I've known it for long.

So here is my 50th destination.

Let me celebrate my half-century.

Through the Years With Ramadan.

The first years of Ramadan for me were spent in Fujairah, an east cost emirate of UAE. Fujairah is a peaceful place, unlike Dubai, with some farms, many villas and a peaceful and wide sea – the Gulf of Oman, reaching up to the costs of Cochin in Kerala. The thought of my homeland on the other side of the sea made me more attached to the sea than anything in Fujairah. I also loved it for its calmness, there were only few people at the beach, and so we had our own area in the beach.

There isn’t much to remember about the Ramadan in Fujairah. Ramadan came during the school days, and we were not allowed to take food to school on those days. One thing I remember about those days were lying that I was fasting. Also, our parents encouraged us to take half day fasts only. So it was two half day fasts into full day. And when somebody asked me about the number of days we had fasted, we would say four and a half or five and half and so on. I would compete with the number of days we had fasted with my younger brother, who is two years younger to me. The most difficult thing for us then and now is the shuhoor, or the late night dinner which you have in the middle of the sleep. I remember my brother getting for the shuhoor, and then the next day he will be saying, “I don’t remember anything I ate for the shuhoor.” On day he said, “I saw only the white walls when I got up for the dinner.” Hehehe. The thing that fascinated me more was the plates full of fruits and snacks at iftaar.

We were shifted to India, when I was in seventh grade, to an Islamic residential school. During the first two years, the school closed during the Ramadan. That was the time of mischief for us, me, my brother and our cousins. We had nothing particular to do in the mornings of Ramadan and so we all get out of the house into the near by farms. We would steal mangoes, gooseberries and guavas from the farms and hide it under our dresses till night. Sometimes, we will also go to the near by shops and buy some locally made toffees, with the money grandpa would give us. At night, when the elders have gone to sleep, we would get up and share the pieces of mangoes and other things between us. For this, we would all sleep in the same room, or near by rooms. We used to take all the 29 or 30 days of fast.

During the last days of Ramadan, grandpa would give us money to buy bangles and hair clips for eid. The boys would buy fire-works or toys like guns and cars. We would also buy some sweets. Grandpa loved us so much that he won’t allow us to take fast till the dusk. According to him, children need fast only till the noon. For him, I was a child even when I was at college! He used to scold grandma for making us fast till the dusk, even when I was in my late teens. According to him, we were still his kids. He passed away some three years back, or we would have been his kids even now! May Allah shower his forgiveness and peace upon him, make his abode wider and gather us in his paradise. Ameen.

From my ninth grade onwards, our school started working for Ramadan. That bought a change in me. We had schools only till noon, unlike normal days when we had schools till the evening. After school we, me and my friends, would sit to recite some Qur’an and we had Islamic classes in the mosque. I was getting into the real Ramadan, with all its life in me. The saddest day and the most memorable day of my life in Ansar, my school, was the day when my friend’s mother gave birth to twins, and they died with in an hour. Friendship in Ansar was something that I have not known before or after, it was a very special bond. My friend’s tears seemed to be my own, and it was the same for everybody. We all wept a lot that day. The Ramadan was also special in a way that we had great and good seniors to guide us, who were very loving. And yeah, I remember the day when one of my roommates’ father died. I came to know of the event before her from my teacher. My teacher asked me not to tell her about it until somebody came from her home. She was good at singing, and used to sing a song which meant something like this:

Why is my father, who gets up for fajr everyday, sleeping under this white blanket today….

Why didn’t my father call me today in the morning, to pray the fajr with him…..

Why isn’t my father talking to me, what I have done to make him angry with me….

Those words of the song still echo in my ears, and that was the last Ramadan she sang that song. During the last year of my school life, we celebrated the last Eid with our friends in hostel, one of my best Eids!

After school, I went to an Engineering college. Thanks for the Muslims friends I got at college, or Ramadan would have been a difficult time for me. There were some 20+ Muslim students in out hostel, and some really nice boys in our college. A lady in the town promised to cook iftaar and shuhoor for us, and the boys would deliver it on time. That was how we spent our first year at college. During the second year, we changed our hostel to another one, owned by a Muslim management. Fasting was made easier for us since w had iftaar and shuhoor cooked for us by the hostel cooks. We had tharaweeh prayer in jama’ath and we celebrated the Eid with our friends, while usually we did it with our family. Ramadan lost its life when at college, since we had a busy schedule of exams, practical works and records while at college. And yeah, we were in our late teens, which meant years with boiling blood in our veins. We used to fight with our wardens, cooks and management for every silly problem that came across our way. Even though we had jama’ath prayers at hostel, we would never take part in it because we hated our warden so much. Forgive us, Allah. It was bread when we wanted bun. S we would go to the warden and shout at her. It was fish when we wanted chicken. We would sit there without eating anything, and the whole fish would be wasted.

But we soon realized our mistakes, when our college lost its recognition and we were transferred to another college. That was the last year of our college life. We decided to take a rented house, as we were all tired of our hostel life. It was one week before Ramadan that we got the house. We had no cooking utensils with us, and so we were not able to cook anything. We decided to seek help from a hotel near by, and Alhamdulillah, they agreed. They delivered the food for iftaar and dinner. It was tough, taking the food from hotel everyday. We started to regret for the problems we made in the hostel, when they would provide us with food. Here we had no choice of bread or bun, and chicken or fish. Just eat what we got. May be it was a punishment we got for making mischief at the hostel and a way Allah chose to teach us to be thankful to the food we got. That was the most difficult Ramadan we had so far, and a memorable one too. We had seminars at college, which extended till seven or eight, and magrib would be at six. We would keep apart the snacks we got at seminar, and use that to break our fast. We would be so tired, with the long busy day at college, and sometimes seminars would turn to sleeping time. It will be somewhat eight or nine, when we reach home, to the food from the hotel. The food would taste better by that time. We missed home so much those days.

After college, I was married. Ramadan was easier then, at home, with so much of spare time to do the ibaadaths. Ramadan became lively once more, after the school days. Food was also not a problem, when at home. The next year, I came to Dubai with hubby, and there was my co-sister’s mom to help during the first Ramadan at Dubai. I find the heat a bit of problem in Dubai, but I think I can stand it. And this Ramadan is my first Ramadan alone, with me doing all the cooking myself. I sit here, now and think of the days of Ramadan, every Ramadan special to me, in its own way. Some Ramadan bought so much of time and rest to me, so that I can pray and make a lot of ibaadaths. But during some Ramadans, I had to fight to keep up with the feelings of Ramadan. I believe it’s all over now, and Ramadan would be the same for me from now onwards, with no friends, brothers and cousins to make the days active. The life as an adult is really boring, na?

Heat, Fast and Me.

So i have left out two days of Ramadan. I feel very sad, not being able to fast, but what can I do when the doctor says a 'NO'? Its the urinary infection again, that made me leave two of my days in Ramadan. Seems I cannot take in the heat and the Fast together. Doc has asked me to take 1 or 2 glasses of Pocari Sweat every hour ( that leaves no place for food which mean I have to fast on Pocari Sweat!!), along with some medicines to be taken thrice daily. This happened last year also. But that time I left only 1 day of Ramadan. Heat has been my enemy since my childhood. I used to get all sorts of heat sickness during the summer. But once in India, I had no problem at all. Thanks to the moderate climate of India. And now again in the burning Dubai, all the heat diseases that left me years ago have come back, stronger, I think. So what do I do? :-(

Sunday, 14 September 2008

WhEn eNDs ArE tHE BeGinINgS.

I thought death was the end of my life,

But it is only a start to the life hereafter.

And I thought the fence closed my world,

But when open, it brings a horizon before me.

In Maths, the point ended the line, but in truth

The point begins a plain with no lines in it.

When Ashoka’s victory ended the war kalinga,

His fight for internal peace, then, he began.

To me, the sea was an end to the land I saw,

But then, beneath the sea, there begins the land unseen.

I thought ends put an end to everything,

But then I understood, ends are only the beginnings.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Sleeping Men

The rock will tremble,

And bow in humble,

If Quran has been sent on it.

But a man’s heart

Never even shivers

When The Verses, he hears.

The plants and trees,

The sea and breeze,

Bow in supplication,

On the night of revelation

Of the Holy Qura’an.

But the men do sleep,

A sleep that’s long and deep,

When angels wait for him to wake,

To list down his extra good deeds

In multiples of tens of thousands.

Sleep, oh ye men, Sleep,

For thy abode will be in the hell deep.

The Devil shall rock thy cradle,

Sleep, oh ye men, Sleep.

Published here.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Where is the Middle East?

I was going through the web pages of CERN, as it has hit the news lately. I looked at the member countries, mostly European countries. The non-member but observer countries include many Asian and American countries, with UNESCO as the observer organization. There were many under developed, developing and developed countries, but no where in the list I saw any GCC countries. There was Iran from the Middle East. I am sure these GCC countries are more developed than countries like Iran, India, Pakistan etc but their contribution towards the field of science and technology is either very less or a big zero, when compared with the said countries. Well, as far as Dubai is considered, science and technology means building the highest tower, the biggest water theme park, the longest bridge ( Did you hear it? There is no sea or creek big enough to build the longest bridge. So I hear they are digging the sea to widen it, and build a big bridge above it!!), the largest man made islands and so on. Guess whose brains and hands are behind these projects? The Europeans', or Americans’' or the Asians'. This is the birth place of Prophet Muhammed (saw) who made it obligatory for every muslim man and woman to seek knowledge, even though it be in China. And the people of the same birth place of Prophet (saw) stands last in the list of scientific and technical research centres. I feel shame as a muslim, as these 100% muslim countries has got nothing to do in the fields of higher education. But I also feel proud as an Indian, a country that has got her small but important contributions to the development of CERN.


Some months back, when I went to the Ibn Bathutha mall, I saw the works of so many talented Arabian scientists of the past displayed there. Looking at those displayed discoveries, a new thought came to me. Some years back, I read a novel written by the Malayalam writer Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. The novel was titled as "My great grandpa had an elephant". Having an elephant was a prestigious issue among the Malayalees those days, like having a Rolls Royce car now-a-days. The character in the novel, a muslim lady, believes that as she is the grand daughter of a person who owned an elephant she should be respected by the society, and she goes on describing to everyone about the elephant her great grandpa had, although now she is poor and unworthy of a penny. The people around her, including her daughter and husband, get angry at these remarks of her and start mocking her. In the end, she understands that there is nothing like gaining respect for the glory of your ancestors.

I feel Ibn Bathutha Mall is like this character of the story, shouting loud that “My great grandpa was a scientist, so respect me!” No one ever turning their attention towards it. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Multi-Cultured Ramadan

Dubai is a multi-cultured city, with people from almost all parts of the world. And so is Ramadan here. I think the only similarity between these people will be the dates they take when breaking the fast. Even prayers seem to be different, if you really want to find any difference in it. When I go for tharaweeh, Masha Allah, what lots of people are there! With so many types of dresses, so much languages and yeah, so many type of prayers. Until Ramdan, I went to the masjid by the Malayalees, and so I never came across such a variety except while performing Umrah in Masjid-al-Haram.

Well, there are the Africans, may be Sudanese with their long hijab (I don’t know what it is really called) reaching below their knees. They are so tall and I feel so small when I stand with them during the prayer. The masjid near to us has got the 23 raka’th tharaweeh prayer. The Africans usually pray all of the 23 raka’aths.

There are some UAE nationals too. They come up fully covered from head to toe, with only the eyes opening. Once inside the ladies’ only area, they remove their abaya and hijab – and beneath it, it will be dresses similar to the western styles, sleeveless T shirts, jeans pants reaching up to the knee, or long sleeveless/ full sleeve but see through frocks. And there will be all sorts of make up on their faces.

There are also some Pakistanis who come in their Salwar-Kamees, with an abaya on top. The difference with the Pakistani and South Indian dressing is that Pakistanis use the shawl of their Salwar-Kamees as the hijab, but in South India we use the black hijab of the abaya itself. North Indians also have a similar dressing to that of Pakistanis. Some Pakistanis also wear the Niqab, which is very very rare in South India. During the prayer, most of the Indians and Pakistanis stop at the 8th raka’ah, to be continued only during the last three of the remaining 15.

There is one woman who looks like a westerner, and speaks English. But there are so many who look like them and speak English like them. So I’m not sure. There are also other Middle East nationals coming from Lebanon and Iran. I love the way the Iranians dress – their long (????) I don’t know what it is called, a piece of cloth from head to toe which they wear while at prayer. After prayer they take it off, and beneath it they wear the usual dress – also my favorite, the topcoat and pants with a special type of hijab. I saw some Iranians keeping a piece of wood, round in shape, at the place where their head touches the floor while in Sujood. I don’t know why.

Some days I see some Mongolians too, I don’t know if they are from China, Japan or the –asian islands. They have long hijab, reaching up to their knee, and wear loose pants, made up of the same material used for the hijab, underneath.

The minor differences I find between the people are while standing for the takbir. Some tie their arms below the stomach, some on their stomach, some on their chest while some never tie it at all. Some of them tie their arm when standing straight after the rukoo’h. And while sitting for the ‘Aththahiyathu’ during the second raka’h, some people keep their fore finger straight all the time. Some open it at the ‘ashhadu alla ilaha illa allah…..’ and close it immediately after that. Some keep on pointing the forefinger till the end of the prayer, while some keep it opening and closing through out the sitting position.

I pray only 8 raka’aths, and then continue with the last three, so while waiting for the last three, I sit and watch all these differences between people. And the children, they also make a difference. While the Pakistani and Indian children are busy playing around while their moms are at prayer, the children of Middle East nationalities stand with their moms in prayer. May be the reason is, in India (I don’t know about Pakistan), the Imam and other people of the mosque discourage children in the masjid. So they never get a chance to learn the importance of masjid at the younger age. But in Middle East, it is entirely different. You can see children from 3+ months in the mosque. They get to learn the importance of prayer and masjid at a younger age.

About thte iftaar, I don’t know much about the food of other countries, because I have never gone for such an iftaar. Once I went to an iftaar by a UAE national. There were many dishes of which I didn’t even know the name. I recognized the haleem and custard. The main food was kabsa, and I loved it a lot. It was a dish prepared of raw rice.

So, Ramadan is fun, with this variety in the muslims. You can call it – unity in diversity

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Poem

 There is nothing to do in the mornings of Ramadan. I get up at nine after the late night dinner at four in the morning, the Fajr prayer at 4;45 and an hour or two, of Qur’an recitation, and till around eleven, I just end up walking here and there. Sometimes I try dusting the furniture, sometimes I browse something and sometimes I try rearranging my kitchen and bedroom. But that cannot be done everyday. So after three four days, I end up having nothing to do. It was on one of those days, while simply cleaning the last-week-cleaned shelf, I came across my college magazine, published when I was doing my sixth semester, or third year. I have cherished this magazine, after throwing away all other magazines published during the other three years. I have kept it with me because I was the student editor of it. Titled the ‘Scroll’ with a grey cover, the magazine lay at the bottom of my bookshelf. I still remember the day it got published. I was happy and proud. There was a small speech by the Principal (we call him Princy for short), after which we, I and our staff editor Anila madam, passed the magazine, neatly wrapped, to our Princy. He tore the wrappings on the magazine and held it high for all of us to see it, and then presented it to the guest of honor, I don’t remember the person. I was so proud.

After the event, we returned to our classes and the magazine was distributed in all the classes. The next day, one of my classmates Nisha came to me and asked, “Where is the poem I gave to you? You haven’t published it!”

Yeah, I remember her poem. After I was elected as the student editor for the magazine, I began asking my friends and everyone who I saw on the campus corridor for articles. Nisha was one of the first students to come up with an article. I was pleased with her. She has given me a beautiful poem named as ‘Rashtreeyamen bhoovil’ meaning ‘Politics of My Country’, describing the political situation of present India. I was really wondered to see such a talent in her. I scolded my self for not getting close enough to her to know about the great blessing God have given her. I took it to Anila Madam, for her verification.

“Such a big topic described in such a small and wonderful poem!” Anila madam exclaimed. She was happy to get a good work from her students on the first days of our endeavor.

Days flew by, and within two months we had been loaded with a huge amount of articles from around the college. My book shelf was full of A4 sheets, and so was Anila madam’s table. We burned the midnight oil in our editing process for so many days, selecting the good ones, selecting the not so good ones to be given back and editing the average ones to make it a good one. There were only a few articles that was too good to be edited, one of them the poem of Nisha.

After about three months as the editor, students started asking me where the magazine was (as if a magazine was something you could pluck from a tree!). I was busy running behind it to get ads for it, and get good and affordable printing press and also preparing for my internal exams. Some of them even asked me if I have used the money provided for the magazine by the college to have some dinner party. I kept quite to those mocking questions. They complain of the busy schedule they have when it comes to practicals, records and exams. So why can’t they think about me? I am also having those practicals, records and exams, and also the magazine to do with. Do I have an extra hour in the day that they don’t have? Well, I was under tremendous pressure those days.

After the exams, I started again with my work of the magazine. I have got enough ads with me now, thanks to the ad team and I have found out a good press. Anila madam was also there to help me. We were coming to college after the meeting with the press owner, when Anila madam spoke about her cousin, a well known Malayalam author. I have seen him before at some meetings. He was an old man, may be in his sixties. He was almost bald, and the remaining hair was snow white. There was a pleasance in him with a sweet smile always on his face, and he seemed like a loving grandfather to all.

“Why don’t we ask him to help us with our editing?” She asked.

I thought it was a good idea. He could edit the articles better than us. The next day we fixed an appointment with him, and gave him all the articles. He asked us to come back and collect it the following week.

The next week, I along with my classmate went to meet him to collect the edited work. Anila madam was busy with some work, so she asked me to take someone else with me. We had tea with him and a little chat. He was really a great man with so much of knowledge. I instantly became a fan of him, even though I haven’t read any of his works. After the tea, he introduced his family to us. Then he went inside his library and brought the articles with him.

“Here are your articles. I have edited them all. Some are too good to be edited.” He congratulated the young talented generation of authors and expressed his happiness to see such good budding authors. We were also happy to hear it. He was complimenting our college. We were beaming.

He then took a paper from his pocket, and said, “I haven’t edited this poem. Can you please collect it after two days?”

I noticed the poem by Nisha, and wondered what was there to be edited in such a good poem. But I gave him my consent.

After two days, I went with Anila madam to collect the poem. Aftr the usual salutations, he went inside his library.

He came out with an old magazine. The pages where yellow in color and it broke where ever he bent it. It smelt of cockroaches and there where some silverfish running on it. He turned the pages with utmost care. He stopped at one page, and held the magazine at us. Anila madam took it in her hands while I moved closer to her. The page was yellow in color with letters of the old Malayalam font printed in black, and curiously I looked at the date on the page. August 1970.

There was a poem in it, named ‘Ente Bharatham’ meaning ‘My India’. It was written by the man sitting in front of us. I stared at the lines of the poem and it seemed very familiar. Yeah, the poem by Nisha. This was it.

We both looked at him in shame. But he seemed cool. Anila madam started to apologize for Nisha. But the author never took notice of it. He started speaking, “You know why this student of yours selected this poem for the magazine? Because India still faces the problems it faced in the 60s and 70s. This poem stands true even today.”

He was not angry with Nisha for stealing his poem. I thought he seemed happy that Nisha stole his work. He went on.

“That was my first article that got printed in a magazine. Even though I have forgotten my other works, I never forgot my first published work. It was like my first child.” He started explaining the history during the 60s and 70s.

We had no time for these long lectures, and so we said goodbye to him soon. Anila madam apologized once again for stealing his work. But he was never bothered about it. He asked us to give him a copy of our magazine as soon as it got published. We promised him we will do that.

Days flew by and at last the magazine got published, thanks to the layout team, editing team, finance team and all others who directly and indirectly helped with the work. Phew! I was more than relieved to see that all the problems where over. But I was wrong.

It was on the next day when Nisha came to me and asked me about her poem. There were many of our friends and classmates around us and so I didn’t know what to say to her. Saying that she had copied the work in front of these many students may make our friendship end forever, and make her feel very bad. And to be honest, I was a little weak in such matters. I muttered something about giving it to the press to be published and simply wondered why it was not there. I thought that solved the matter. I still don’t know if I have done the right thing.

Two days later, an office staff came to our class and delivered a notice. ‘The principal wants to meet Najeeba of sixth semester Electronics and Communications Engineering branch’. I saw some fifty pair of eyes turning at me. Usually Princy only calls students who have done something against the rules of college, or somebody who still haven’t paid the fees. Moreover, Princy was the last person we would want to meet in our college life. I felt something stumbling inside my stomach.

When I reached the cabin of my most dreaded Princy, I found I was not alone. There stood Anila madam. So something about the magazine. I thought. May be he is not satisfied with the financial account of the magazine. And yeah, he is not satisfied with anything. I thought.

I asked permission to enter. I stood near Anila madam, and the expression on her face told me that she knew nothing about this enquiry. Princy was looking at some papers and never bothered to look at us for a few minutes.

Without looking at us, he started, “I have got a complaint here against the editors of the magazine.”

A few moments of silence when Princy carried on his paper work.

“What is the complaint, Sir?” asked Anila madam, with as much politeness as she could. I mused in the irony of her politeness, when she shouts at our mischief in the class. We stand in politeness in front of Anila madam, while she stands in politeness in front of the Princy. Wonder where he stands with his head down. May be in front of the Technical Education Officer. And that person in front of – well, I don’t know. I thought I have found a new pyramid here apart from the one I learned at school – The Pyramid of Food Chain. Now, my new discovery will be called The Pyramid of Politeness. The top most part will be for God. And then -

My thread of thoughts was broken by Princy’s voice.

“I got here a complaint from Nisha, that her article was not included in the magazine.”

We were surprised. The thought never even occurred to us. Nisha complaining for not publishing her stolen work! How dare of her! And that too, let alone me, against Anila madam.

Princy looked up at us for the first time, expecting an answer from either of us.

“Sir, her work was a stolen poem sir, from the People magazine dating august 1970.” Anila madam explained.

“Oh, yeah? Where did you get that magazine now?” Seemed princy did not believe what Anila madam said. I became angry with him. What reason does he think he has to believe Anila madam is lying?

“Sir, we edited our articles with the help of …, the famous Malayalam writer. It was his article that she has copied. He gave us the magazine in which the poem was published for verification.”

Anila madam explained. I stood there with my mouth shut. I never dared to talk to this person.

“Well then, you can go.” He dismissed us. It was when I came out that I found I was sweating all over. His cabin seemed too hot. May be because of his high temperature.

“What a girl this Nisha is! Wanting to publish the stolen work!” Anila madam exclaimed.

“Yes, she asked me about her poem the day after the magazine was published.” I said.

“Really?” Anila madam seemed surprised. “What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything.” I said. “She was my good friend, and so I thought keeping quiet was better.”

“But you were not her good friend,” Anila madam observed, “or she would have not gone to complain about us.”

Yeah, may be. I tried not to humiliate her in front of others, but this is how she paid me back.

“Leave it, Najeeba.” I heard Anila madam consoling me. “Just take it as some of the funs during your college life, for you to smile at your old age.”

“Yes, madam.” I smiled. Actually I was too happy to be out of Princy’s cabin to think about Nisha and her poem. “And keep this between you me and the Principal. Not a word to anybody.”

How nice of her. I wanted to report this incident to all so that they could understand the real nature of Nisha. But Anila madam has put an end to it.

“Yes, madam.” I gave a reluctant consent.

We dispersed into our classes, Anila madam as a teacher and me as a student. Friends came asking me why Principal called me, and I answered it was to ask about some financial matters regarding the magazine. I saw Nisha two benches apart from me, looking at me, happy for her revenge. But a few minutes later, another notice arrived asking Nisha to meet the Princy. I saw her going to meet him, and everyone in our class was surprised. It was rare Princy calling two students of the same class to meet him on the same day. She came back after some fifteen minutes, with her head down. I heard someone asking what the matter was, and she replying something about not paying the fees. The matter was over.

Nisha never spoke to me after the incident, and I never wanted to be the first to speak. So we ended our college life.

 All this happened some five years back. I still have contact with Anila madam, she has been retired and now leads a happy life with her children and grandchildren. I heard that Nisha was married to an engineer working at Baba Atomic Research Center, Kanyakumari. She works as a software engineer. I have got her email id with me in our classmates’ database. I send mails and forwards to everyone in the database except to Nisha.

When I was going through the pages of the magazine, a new thought came to me. It is Ramadan, a time to mend broken strings of friendship and family. So I thought, why not send her a mail. With much difficulty I typed one, and sent it to her, with a ‘BCC’ to Anila madam. I took care not to say anything about the incident or the magazine. That was two days back.

Today I received her reply, with photos of her hubby, herself and their cute little princess attached to it. I was so glad to receive it. And there was Anila madam’s reply too, saying that she was very happy to see that we have built up the broken parts of our friendship.

Thank you Ramadan!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

When Time Declares The Winner

Surah Al Asr
Surah Al Asr

By the time, or by the declining day,

Allah swear, into the loss is man’s way.

Except those whose faiths are strong,

And the list of good-deeds are long,

Those who join each others in the right,

And in their souls, patience shines bright.


Recall the life of the Egyptian lord,

When he declared he was the God.

But time brought him into utter loss

To humility, from his death bed, he rose.

So goes the story of the Roman kings,

His empire,to a fall, the time brings.


So hold your faith strong, Oh ye men,

And let the list of good-deeds lengthen,

Do the right and advice others to do it,

And patience too, never ever quit it.

Then, by the time, you shall win, I swear,

And heaven will be your home forever.

Read the poem here.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Ramadan at my home.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Ramadan Kareem "]Ramadan Kareem[/caption]

Yesterday, I was face to face with Ramadan. I smiled and exchanged salutations with Ramadan. I loved Ramadan so much, because Ramadan was responsible for closing the hell, chaining the devil and making the good deeds weigh more. So I was more than pleased to see Ramadan in front of me yesterday. I’ve been planning for the last two three weeks for Ramadan’s visit. There is a long list of to-do’s hanging on my kitchen shelf, for the one month stay of Ramadan. I’ll surely miss Ramadan when gone. I was staring at the beautiful Ramadan when Ramadan asked me the first question.

“What do you have planned for me during my visit?”

I was glad Ramadan asked me that. I wanted to make Ramadan fell that I was eagerly waiting for Ramadan, with a lot of activities for us. I wanted to make Ramadan feel at home during the entire stay. So I spewed the entries of the to-do list on my kitchen shelf.

“ I plan to pray as much of Sunnah I can, read at least 1 juzu’ of holy Quran everyday and finish it within this month, stay away from sin, pray Taraweeh and Thasbeeh prayer, make Thasbeeh and Salaths to Prophet….. Blah blah blah…..”

“Good work, Najeeba. You’ve put in a lot of effort,” Ramadan interrupted, “but you see, once I am gone, will you go on praying all the Sunnah’s ? That too during your office hours? I prefer an activity that stays with you even after I’m gone.”

“Er….I think I’ll…….er…… keep up with……” I went up to the to-do list.

“So you haven’t planned such an activity for me?”

I was ashamed to admit no, and unable to say a yes. I kept quiet.

“A simple activity, let it be the smallest one in your list. But you should keep it with you even after my departure, for the memory of my stay with you.”

I made a quick scan of my to-do list, searching for something I can keep with me all the time. Reading one juzu’ of Quran was not possible everyday, with the hectic schedule of my life. I can read up to five or six pages, or ten pages everyday, and sometimes a juzu’ on weekends, but reciting a juzu’ everyday seemed impossible. Staying away from sin all time is easy said than done. I don’t think I can stop shouting at anybody when I get under pressure, but I’ll try to get rid of it this Ramadan. So what is there that I can do my entire life? I was busy thinking of a solution when Ramadan came up with another question.

“Don’t you exercise every morning?”

I was surprised. What has exercise to do with Ramadan? Even though, I murmured a meek ‘yes’, I do have a half an hour warm up session in the mornings.

“While doing the exercise, in between don’t you lie down for some time, take deep breaths and count till ten?”

Yeah, I do it. Everyone does it. Another ‘yes’ murmured. Where is Ramadan taking me? I waited for the next question.

“Instead of counting till ten, why don’t you recite some Tasbeeh? Let’s say ‘Ashhadu allailaha illa allah, asthaghfirullah, allahu akbar walhamdulilla’ for three times.”

Wow, isn’t that a great idea? Remembering Allah even during my exercise sessions! Why didn’t I think of it earlier? And here a simple way of worship that I can do all my life! Instead of finding the easy and simple ways to keep my contact with Allah, I’ve selected the difficult path, which will soon make me tired. And then I’ll sit wondering why Allah has made everything difficult for me.

I thanked Ramadan for this little but useful peace of suggestion. And I promised Ramadan that I’ll do it all my life, Insha Allah. Ramadan smiled, patted on my head and kissed on my cheeks. I was the happiest person on earth.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Changing my dwelling....

So here I'm in my new home. I feel thrilled and excited, at the same time a little lost at my new dwelling. I don't know where the sugar is kept, where the flour is kept, and where are my shawls? I have to run around the home in search of something... But I'm sure I'll soon get rid of this and become happy here.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Enjoying the seasons...

Let me dance with the raindrops,
Until the tears from the sky stops.
Let me dive into the summer sunshine
And with moon, my dinner, let me dine.
Then I wish to dance with the breeze
And sing to the lovely big trees.
Let me stroll down the streets
Where lay the autumn leaves.
And when winter comes creeping by
To cover in snow, the earth and sky,
I'll sit by the warm warm fire
And the snow flakes, I'll admire.
Until peeps in, the spring of the year,
To say 'wake up', in the blossom's ear.
Let me enjoy the seasons around
Until to the earth, I get bound.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Orderly Disordered

At school, college and now at my home, people come to my room and wonder, "How neatly you have arranged the room!" I used to take pride in these exclamations, until I found out the disadvantages of it. At college, in our boarding, there were three of us in a room. We had our own shelves, beds and racks. As I said, I always kept my rack neat and tidy. There were separate columns for text books, note books, files and other paraphernalia. I kept my dresses on the racks, with separate columns for civil dresses and college/school uniforms/dresses. I prided myself in the "Oh! How neat!" exclamations of my colleagues.
My room mate, Seena was just the opposite. Her books used to be on her bed, below her cot and in her dress rack. Her dress rack was one whole pile of everything, uniforms, civil dresses, socks and towels! Sometimes her files turned open with papers from it flying around our room. Now I feel the fun of running behind the papers, while I used to feel very angry with her at those times. I used to ask her to keep things neat, but she never bothered to do so. I sometimes tidied her shelves myself, but it was of no use. Within two days, the shelf will be looking like a place after a storm. Even with this difference between us, we were good friends, and went along very well, although I used to complain to her of her disorderliness.
But one morning all my pride in my neatness dried up. The story goes like this:
We were asked to submit our semester's bus fee bill, to get the free bus identity cards for us. Students with the identity card could use the bus service provided by the college. As soon as the notice was read in our class, Seena started panicking. She doesn't remember where she has kept her bus fee bill. I scolded her for being so careless about the bill, and internally prided myself in keeping all the bills in one of the files. That night I found Seena busy searching her bill. I went to my book shelf, opened the file of bills and started looking for my bill. To my surprise, the bill I was looking for was not in the file! I didn't know what to do or where to search, for I never kept my things out of place. But still, I searched my bags, my purse and everything I could. It was nowhere to be found. By this time, Seena has dug out her bill form her dress rack and came up with that to me. I told her about my missing bill, and she helped in searching it, but without success. I had to pay Rupees 25 for a duplicate of the bill the next day, to get my bus permit.
After this incident, I started observing Seena more. When someone came to her for her books, she would reply, "It will be on my book shelf, you can take it."
The person won't find her book there, and will say so to her. Seena will think for a while, and then answer, "Ok, can you please look in my dress rack, under the blue file near the white CD?"
The person will find it there.
But in my case, if someone asked me my text book, and if it was not on the bookshelf column of text books, then that meant trouble to me. I had no other places to look for, even if I must have misplaced it somewhere. And I hated searching for anything, because searching meant throwing all the articles out of their place!

So what is better: to be neat and tidy and ordered or to be orderly disordered?

Monday, 25 August 2008

People Who Never Learn.

It was my friend, working in the HR department of XYZ company, who related this incident to me.

One fine morning, she saw a tall and blonde women waliking towards her. She seemed to be in her late twenties. The women upon reaching her, asked, "Good Morning, Madam. Can I get an appointment with the HR of this company now?"
My friend, Nancy, replied, "Good Morning, and I'm from the HR department of the company."
"Oh, thats good. I'm Augusta Denwarks, working in ABC company for the past three years. I've wanted to leave them since last year, but they are not going to give me a leave."
"So why don't you work with them?" Asked Nancy.
"Because I want to work in this company. You see, I speak English very well as I am an American with a scotish mother. I'm beautiful, tall and intelligent. I can .......blah, blah, blah...." The lady went on speaking.
"Fine", interrupted Nancy, "Give me your resume so that I can forward it to the HR Manager."
The women started searching her heavy ladies bag. After a few minutes, she dug up a visiting card, and handed it to Nancy.
"Thats my visiting card," said Augusta to a stunned Nancy, "You can call me in that number for appointing an interview."
"But we need a CV from you, to give you an interview." Nancy tried to make her understand.
"You need a CV?" asked Augusta. "No problem." She started searching her bag again. After some two or three whole minutes, she came up with a pen.
"Give me my visiting card."
Nancy returned her her visiting card. She scribbled something on it, and gave it back to Nancy.
"Now that's my site address. You can download my CV from it."
Nancy felt herself fuming. She wants the interview, and I should download her CV for her, Nancy thought. But she had to be polite with customers.
"But madam, we want a CV with your photo in it." Nancy explained to her. She saw the faces of her co-workers turning towards her.
"You need a photo? Please wait." Augusta searched her bag once more. This time it was a CD.
"Please take a print of my photo from this. There are five of them, you can print whichever photo you find suitable."
Nancy had no more politeness in her towards this weird job seeker.
"I want a printed or emailed version of your CV, Ma'am. And it must be in the MS Word format." Nancy found her voice raising beyond the limits. Her colleagues where curiously watching her to see how she managed the situation.
"Ah! Have you got an email id? Please give it to me so that I can forward my CV to you."
"Its nancy dot 1982 at the name of this company dot com."
"Ok, what's the name of this company?"
"You don't know the name of this company?" Nancy was more than stunned. She noticed her surprise on the faces of her co-workers too.
"Sorry Madam. No." A geek reply.
"Its XYZ, madam." Nancy replied.
"Thank you, Madam. I ill forward you my CV within two days." Augusta replied.
"You are most welcome, Madam. Have a good day." Nancy smiled, happy to see off this person.
The entire HR department roared into a loud laughter as soon as Augusta closed the door behind her.

I remember my earlier post about the interviews I had, and how westerners are good in their behavior. But when Nancy described this incident to me, I felt there are some westerners who haven't yet learned the way to behave. And yeah, Some People Never Learn.

Friday Sermons and Muslims: Sr. Najeeba

Please click on the title below to read about an incident in my life.

Friday Sermons and Muslims: Sr. Najeeba

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Interviews.

I had the luck to attend some interviews these days, as I'm searching for a job. The first interviewer was an Indian, and this is how the interview went.

INT1 (interviewer) : Explain yourself. ( My resume lies on his desk).
me : I'm Najeeba, doing my alphabets now, and I've reached the "M"th alphabet in caps and small letters.
INT1 : Ok, can you spell 'cot'?
me : No, sir. I haven't learned "T".
INT1 : Ok, Then can you remember a word starting with "P"?
me : No sir, I have learned only upto "M".
INT1 : I see. Then give me a sentence with the words you have learned.
me : (OOOppppsss...... What do I do now???? Think for sometime, and then write : He liked me.)
INT1 :Fine. Thank you for coming. We will contact you later.
me : Thank you sir. (Happy to be out of that place!!)
I wait for two weeks without any reply from them, and then finally conclude they have selected someone else.

The second one was with a westerner. Let's look at that one.
INT2 :Good morning, Mrs Najeeba.
me :Good morning, Sir.
INT2 :I see from your resume here that you have learned upto the "M"th alphabet. Well done, Mrs Najeeba.
me :Thank you sir, and I'm trying hard to finish with the rest of the letters.
INT2 :Good. Now can you spell me 'Mall'?
me :Yes, sir. M-A-L-L.
INT2 :You are right. Do you have any idea about the letters after the "M"?
me : I know capital "N", "O" and "P".
INT2 :Its ok. Best of luck for the rest of your letters.
me ;Thank you, sir.
INT2 :Thats all Mrs Najeeba. We will contact you in a few days. Thank you for coming here, and lending your precious time for the company.
me :You are welcome, sir. And thank you for the interview.

With in two days, I get a reply from them thanking me for coming to the interview, and sadly saying that they have selected another guy for the post. They have also wished me best of luck for my future job search.

See the difference? We Indians still lack some of the manners to be shown to our elders, youngers, superiors and inferiors. "Thank you" and "Sorry" are seldom heard among Indians, and some find it very irritating to speak out such words of thought. Shouldn't we change?

The X - chromosomes

I was reading an article about how to care our eyes, when I saw a tip in it saying 25% of men are more prone to eye deceases, while the rate of women are only some 5 - 10%. The reason - the XX chromosomes in women. I remember reading an article in Gulf News, with the heading 'The X chromosomes'. Oh, I thought at first, another silly article about women, shouting aloud their duties as mother and wife. I was just turning the page, when I caught a sentence explaining why women are less prone to big deceases. I sat to read the full article, and when I completed it, I was really happy to have an extra X chromosome in me. While the Y chromosome have got no major role in the human body except in deciding the sex( and may be some smaller areas), the X chromosomes provide immunity to the body.
Do you remember Robert Langdon's Divine Proportion in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code? The number 1.618. The number of females are 1.618 times more than the number of males. I used to wonder how this could be true. The chances that a baby born is girl or boy is 50% and so shouldn't the male to female proportion be 50 - 50? But statistics prove it to be wrong. Even if the birth ratio of bays and girls is 50 - 50, the number of boys that die at younger ages is greater than that of females.And the reason - the X chromosome. And so more girls on earth. Well, I do not take in account the countries like India where abortion and infanticide on the basis of sex is popular.
Females should have more immunity than men. right? Because they have to bear 1(+) children for nine months in their womb, attend surgeries for the delivery and lot of such activities that makes them sick. So they should have the best immune system, and it is provided by the extra X chromosome. Now for parents who brood over not having a boy, be happy that you have a more healthy girl child with you. And ladies, thank to God for the Xtra X chromosome in you.
I wonder if the tears ( another happy news here: tears are good for the eyes, another reason why women have less eye deceases than men), chattering, backbiting, kindness, love and patience are also the gifts of the X chromosome.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


So big dreams have I got,
With little time in my lot.
So long way I want to travel,
To see the world and marvel,
But my foot is in severe pain,
Which puts my dreams in vain.
A master piece, I want to paint
But my hands seems to faint.
A solo song I wish to sing,
But I feel my voices always sting.
A long long ballad I wish to write,
But it strains to hold the pen right.
I brood over my shattered dreams,
A lazy girl, at myself, now I scream.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

What is Perfect?

I was going through the pages of my autograph book that I had at college - a way of running away from the present to the past. It had the words of advices, wishes and friendships, words by my friends who have shared with me the last days of my student life. It was the words coming from a youthful soul, and youth is a stage between adult and child, where you lay the foundation for the adulthood with the stones you have picked up at your childhood. So i treasure my college autograph book more than anything else in the world. One of my greatest possession. Some of them where simple best of lucks, coming from the hearts, while others, just an artificial wish that is not so deep or warm. On one page I found out this words from my friend Sreekanth - You are one of the Miss Perfects in our class. Not too good. And not too bad. Sreekanth was not a great friend of mine during our college life, but after college, we often have short chats and funs. I'll always remember his autograph, even if I forget my best friend's birthday. His words - Not too good. Not too bad. I sat thinking about his words. For me, Perfect meant something very good, without any sort of flaws in it. You can say "Without wax"- stealing the words from Dan Brown's novel Digital Fortress. But according to Sreekanth's words, Perfect means something that is neither too good nor too bad. So what is perfect?
At our boarding during school days, we used to do all kinds of mischief together. Once when we were in our higher secondary school, while coming from the mosque after our Asr prayers, we saw two or three tender coconuts on the coconut palm. The water inside the tender coconut is very sweet to drink. It is sweet, sour and bitter all the time. And it gives you a small shock at the tip of your tongue, the feeling you have when you put a little of 'Blast Toffee' in your mouth. The thought of it made us to want the coconut badly. The palm was small one, so we could get the coconut if we climb up to the second floor of our building. But it was against the rules to take coconuts from the palms. The mischief souls inside our body was always good in breaking the rules, and so we decided to get a coconut at any rate. One of us borrowed an abhaya ( the black long and wide dress the Arabs wear) from our friend, and we took off for our adventure. With a knife tied around a ruler ( or scale, whatever you call it), it was easy for us to bring down the coconut from the palm. We sat in silence in our classrooms for a bit of a second, to see if anyone has noticed the coconut falling from the tree. After we made sure no one has noticed us, we went to take the coconut. We put it inside the abhaya and went to our dorm. Once inside the dorm, we had nothing to break the coconut to drink the water inside. After many hours of thought, with smoke inside our head, somebody came up with an idea - to put the coconut on the floor under the foot of our bed, and then jump on the bed. I don't remember whose idea it was, but as there was no other way to break he coconut, we decided to carry the advise. We kept the coconut under the foot of the cot, and four of us jumped on the cot. CRASH! The coconut was broken into many pieces and the water, splashed all over the floor! We had to be satisfied with the fleshy part of the tender coconut.
As I said, I'm not too good, and not too bad. I've stolen mangoes from the farms of our neighbors and hostel, I've lied to the hostel matron about special classes when actually I was enjoying a small tour with my friends and I've not been a teacher's pet during my school and college life. In Sreekanth's word, this is known as Perfect life. But is it really perfect? What about it in the life hereafter?
Suppose I was a Perfect girl in the right sense. The bell for the morning prayer goes at 5.30, and after the prayer we have a coffee, followed by half an hour for bathing and washing. Then to the study room for an hour, followed by breakfast and then school till 4 pm. Another one or two hours of leisure time, and to study time after the magrib prayers till the isha prayer. A happy dinner after that, and lights off at 10. This is the life of a Perfect girl. But in my life, the one hour study times where not really study time but time for indoor mischiefs and the evening leisure times where meant for outdoor mischiefs. That brought some smile and giggles in the otherwise bore life of ours, especially when there were sparks and fires among the 20+ of us in one single room. So wasn't it better to be not too good and not too bad instead of being too good? Or is it just an excuse that rises within me to justify my mistake? What do you think? What does Perfect mean to you?

NB: I believe the only 100% Perfect is God. "Without wax" is just an illusion, like we have for parallel line - when they are assumed to meet at infinity.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Independence day - II

I was bed ridden with viral fever for the past two days, and had nothing to do except watch the buses, cars, pickups, lorries and all the vehicles that pass by, through my window. I was having severe headache, and so hubby never allowed me to even take the laptop. It was really boring days, to just lie in bed.
It was August 14th, and I could here the sounds from the TV in my room. I listened to it, as I had nothing else to do. I was not able to watch it, due to my headache. I heard the words, "Independence day special programs", in between the national song and national anthem. It was only then I remembered. August 15th was the Indian Independence Day. The day India declred her freedom from the colonialists - the Britons. I have learned about Mahatma Ghandhi, Nehru, Jinna, Azad, Ambedkar and so many freedom fighters of the British India, and the leaders of free India in history. But later in my years, I found out half of the history we learn in just rubbish, or false. I felt these people are not really great. I think the real heroes are the lakhs or crores of the public mass whose names no history book have revealed, in whose name there are no memorials and who never desired any positions or status for their life they gave for their country.
When in India, I used to look forward for the day, not because I was patriotic, but because I got a day off from school, college and work. And yeah, I was a little patriotic too, until I reached UAE. But when I watched the multicultured people here in UAE, it seemed to me that all human beings are the same, regardless of their nation, caste or gender. They all have same basic needs - food, water, shelter and clothes. What does an African need more than an Indian? What is there more good about an American from a Chinese? Is pain and misery for a person from middle east different for a person in Australia?
Well, I was thinking about these when I saw a pickup being pulled in to the parking lot infront my window. It had a Pakistani flag flying on its bonnet. It was then I remembered, August 14th was Pakistan's Independence Day. The day when Indian subcontinent was divided into India and Pakistan. According to history, it was Mr. Jinna's request for a separate country for muslims (although I don't believe in history), and Pakistan was born. It is said that India and Pakistan have always been enemies since then. But I don't agree with it (another big rubbish written in history). I don't hate Pakistanis nor do I think a Pakistani will hate Indian. Its the political leaders, with the help of other countries like US, that play a major part in making India and Pakistan enemies.
Next day, I sat at the window to see cars flying with an Indian flag. But to my utter disbelief, there was none. I saw some two or three more cars with the Pakistani flag - flags they have not been removed since yesterday. But not a single Indian flag. I sat till dusk, without any success. Why aren't there any Indians who are as patriotic as Pakistanis? I think there are more number of Indians in UAE than Pakistanis. And yeah, less (or zero) number of patriotic Indians than Pakistanis (I don't know about any other country's independence day to count the patriotic persons in that country). But then again, patriotism is not in the flag on our car. I don't think loving our nation means believing that "east or west, India is the best". To love our country means to obey the rules of our country, to keep away from destroying her properties ( and in this, I feel I'm more patriotic than any political party member, because they are always interested in destroying public properties when on a strike). But loving my country doesn't mean I'll support her when making wrong decisions, or decisions that go against my belief and morals.
Any way, I love my country. Jai Hind. And I love all countries. Jai Sare Desh.

Independence Day

Well, once again the august 15th. The Indian Independence day. Some thoughts on it.

The drums roar to the national song,

And the flag blows, to the wind, so strong,

Soldiers march, with pride and honor

When patriotism rises in heart’s every corner.

The picture of the Independence Day

In our minds, it always does lay.

But turn your hearts to the unlucky ones,

For whom home is the earth under the sun.

And food is only a handful of rice-water.

When curses fall on their daughter

For the dowry they have to spent for her,

Who can complain if its sons they prefer?

They never heard the word independence

Because in school, they have no attendance.

Boys are born with pistols and guns,

And bomb blasts, everyday, is more than tens.

When we celebrate our freedom day,

In Champaign and Chicken fry today,

Our country men plunges deep into slavery,

Slavery of illiteracy, terrorism and all the misery.

But still, to the you, my dear brother or sister,

I wish a Happy Independence Day, dipped in tears.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

What is Sweet About Your Laptop?

Some months ago, I read a post in Nishana's blog, describing the problems of foreign products in India. She complains about how her USA made iPod and mobile phone got disrupted due to the high temperature of Hyderabad. Its better we use home-made products for long durability ( a little patriotism is good for everyone).

I went to my hometown, Kerala, for two weeks last month. I had my laptop with me, but it was of not much use since I was busy with so many functions to attend, and so little time, that I become very tired by the time i reach home. I kept the laptop in my shelf, and I couldn't even touch it for so many days. It was the marriage of my cousins- two of them. After the marriages and the receptions, it was almost some 10 days when I finally got enough time to have a look at my laptop. I love my laptop very much, and I have got a special attachment towards it. I have asked a laptop as the mahar ( the gift given by the bridegrrom to the bride in Islam), but as such things were not common in Kerala, and as we were sure that the old generations of our family will never allow anything other than gold, both of us have put it aside. Now, when my husband bought me a laptop after our marriage, it was my first costly gift from him. I took it from my shelf, laid it on my bed and opened it. GOD!!! I was shocked!! A whole lot of ants crawling on my laptop! I felt like crying, shouting.


I didn't know what to do at first, I tried blowing them away, killing them, rubbing the laptop with my fingers - but it didn't work. There was a lot of them. I called my husband, cried and explained the situation. He asked me to keep the laptop in the sun. I did it, but then again, I was afraid - what if my something in my laptop got melted with the heat? My father in law came with another idea, to keep a cup of sugar near the laptop. The ants would come to the sugar cup. I did as he told, but it seemed ants liked my laptop better than sugar. Only one or two ants came to the sugar cup.

All day long, I sat and killed the two or three ants that came out of my laptop - from under the keyboard, under the screen, and all other holes. I was relived only when there were no more ants coming out of the laptop.What is there that is so sweet inside the laptop? Do anyone of you know?

Stealing from the Beggar's Pan

I was reading a magazine when I found this article written by a social worker in Kerala. She was describing one of her train journeys with her fellow colleagues - a group of teachers, some years back. When the train stopped in a station, they all ordered for a cup of coffee. According to me, the railways provide one of the best coffees in India. At that time, when the now social worker was working as a teacher, the railways have not introduced the disposable paper cups, like they do it now-a-days. Coffee and tea was served in steel glasses, which were washed and then reused. The boy serving the coffee, gave the social worker and her colleagues their cups of coffee, and then went to the next compartment. After he has served in his three or four compartments, he came back to collect the cup and the money. But when he reached the compartment where the author and her colleagues where sitting, six of the cups where no where to be seen. After drinking the coffee, they kept the cups together on the window, so that the boy could collect it easily. But it was not there now. They station master blew the whistle, and the train shrieked into motion, slowly gaining speed. They searched franticly for the cups, but in vain. The author describes the situation in her own words.
"I still remember the face of the boy, running with the train, holding the window-bar. He ran with the train till he could run no more, until his little feet could not take him along with the speed of the train."
The cups are provided by the railway, and losing six cups from his collection meant getting not paid for two or three weeks for the coffee boy. That might result in starvation for those weeks for the boy, his parents if he have got any, his siblings if he have got them, and all those who depend on him.
After the train have left the station, a teacher opened her bag and displayed the six cups.
"I took them so that we can have our own glasses at the school to drink tea." She explained.
"Good work, yaar!" Exclaimed all others. "Well done!" said another teacher from behind. Everyone went on congratulating her for her 'great good deed'. Nobody thought of the family that will starve for the coming days for letting them have their own cups for the tea the school provided.
I finished reading the article, of which this incident was only a small part. Another picture (or video?) came to my mind. It happened some six years ago, when I was at college.
I was coming back from college to my home for a short vacation, and I was traveling by bus. Two lady polices got into the bus, and sat behind me. As soon as they got into their seat, they started talking, about their salaries, their jobs, lockups, prisons, politics, religion and everything under the sun. The breeze that hit my face when the bus sped through the country, made me sleep within minutes. I woke up an hour or two later, when the bus has stopped in a small town. I heard the shouts of little boys, selling juices, water, newspapers and nuts. It was their shout that woke me up.
I looked outside to find a little boy waving a small packet of nut at me. He was not more than thirteen or fourteen, with torn shirt and dirty pants. He was bare foot, and his face was full of dust and dirt. His eyes spoke of the hardships in his life, and they were begging me to buy a packet of nuts.
"How much?" I asked. I don't like those nuts much, but his face was so innocent and sad, that made me buy it.
"Two rupees." He replied. He could not reach my window, he was so small, and so he leaned on his thumbs. I gave him the money and took the packet. He moved on to the police women behind me.
"Ma'am, packet of nuts, ma'am."
"How much?" came the question from one of them.
"Only two rupees, ma'am." His sounded like pleading them to buy.
"Two rupees is too much." I heard one of them reply. "Can you make it three rupees for two packets?"
Bargaining for two rupees!
"No ma'am," replied the boy. " I have to give the money to my master. He won't give me my salary if I don't give him the full money."
That was an innocent answer.
"Ok, then give us two packets of nuts." One of them said.
I saw the boy leaning on his thumbs again, to give them their packets. I heard the clinging of the coins when they put it in the boys hand. The bus took off.
"Two rupees is too much for this packet of nuts." I heard one of them saying to the next one.
"Oh, I haven't given him four rupees for the packest!" The other one said.
"What? Didn't you give him the money?" I heard the first person ask in surprise.
"Oh, no!" I heard the second one. " I gave him four coins of fifty paise. Only two rupees. The bus took off before he could count the money!"
"How cunning!" I heard both of them laugh at their cleverness.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Truth and Light

I searched my life for truth and light,
Searched my whole life, day and night.
But when light shone before me,
I lost me sight, and now I'm blind.
And when truth knocked at my door,
My ears became dumb.
Now I live in darkness and silence.
Now I'm free and happy.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


"That egg is mine!" Shouted Nida.
"The egg with the black spot is mine!" Shouted Huda from the bathroom.
Nida and Huda were my twin cousins, in eigth standard. They were fighting over the eggs in the nest of the little birdy, who have come to stay with us two weeks ago. Nida and Huda had come only last Saturday. I went to the kitchen, and looked at the whole on the roof. There was two tiny eggs, but both were alike.
"Which is the egg with black spot, Umma?" I asked my mother.
"Look closely and you will notice one. Not a black spot. But a gray one. Thats how they differentiate between the eggs." Umma replied and pointed to one egg. I peeped closer to see a light grey spot on the egg. You would need a microscope to notice it! How did they notice it?
"They had never left the nest after they came here." Umma said, as if she understood my thoughts. "They have already spotted some six or seven differences between the eggs." She laughed.
Nida and Huda had come to stay with us for their ten days Onam vacation. Onam is a festival of the people in Kerala. It comes after our first term exams and so its a time to enjoy. Nida and Huda came to our home to enjoy their vacation with fishing and swimming. They don't have a river near their house, and water is scarce there. So usually my cousins from my Umma's side come to stay with us for a good one hour bath, and the fun with the river. But this time it seems they haven't gone out to the river. The birdy and its eggs have kept them inside the home.
Huda came running in to see her egg.
"Oh, Aunty!" She shouted, "The eggs have gone a little bit!"
Umma smiled at her, and gave her a cup of coffee.
"You say that everyday, and I don't find any difference in it!" Umma said.
"That's because you are not exited about the eggs as them." I replied.

* * *
The birdy came there some two weeks ago. One morning when I came to the kitchen, it was sitting there. I tried to shoo it away, but Umma stopped me.
"The bird also have got its right on the earth." She said.
Oh, yeh. I thought. The birds, cats, squirrels, dogs, lizards, ants, cockroaches, bees, flies, bats, rats, mosquitoes, snakes and everything have got their right to live on this earth. Who are we to get rid of them when we are the real intruders? We have cut their forests and pushed them out of their dwellings. So they have come to live in our dwellings. These are not my thoughts. I've read it in the book of the great malayalam author Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, in his short story, Inheritors of the Earth. Umma and Baba ( dad) believes in his philosophy - every animal has got a right to live where ever it likes. I also liked that philosophy, until I saw a snake in the garden. Now I have excluded some animals from the big list of Mr. Bahseer ( sorry sir, but I cannot live with a snake in my garden) - first of all, the snakes, then the scorpions, the centipedes, the big black ants and such insects and animals that are harmful. There was a rat in the house. Every night it will come to eat the food in the dustbin. Once inside it, it cannot get out. Every morning Umma will take it outside to throw it away in the bushes, but it returns to the dustbin at night. I have seen this cycle going on for at least two weeks. Umma won't kill the rat, nor the rat will go away. It seems they have become good friends, now the rat waits for Umma in the morning, to take it out. It isn't afraid of Umma anymore.
Well, coming to the birdy, it has found a nice little hole on our roof. I was not able to put it in a specific species or class, so i just named her birdy. I didn't even know the gender of the bird, but the feminist in me regarded it as a 'her'. But later it came out to be a female (feminism wins!). Sometimes when we sit for breakfast or lunch, we could see small the birdy coming with small pieces of twigs, wires, clothes, cotton, leaves and paperbits. Within days, a small and cute nest came into sight.
"I think we are going to have a new family here." Umma said.
"But Nida and Huda are coming here next week." I replied. "Will they disturb the bird?"
"Well, we can teach them to take care of the birds." Umma suggested. "They will have a fun filled vacation."
We watched the bird. Everyday at sunrise, it goes out. May be, in search of food. By noon it arrives and takes some rest. In the evening it goes out again to return at dusk. The bird became a member of our family, and we became members of her family. She won't fly away when we go near her. We would pat her head, take her in our arms and feed her with some of the leftovers. She never flew away. She would put her beaks on our hands, as if kissing it.
One evening when I came from college, I saw her sitting in the nest.
"Why haven't you gone out in search of food?" I asked her.
I felt she had a happy look in her eyes. I went nearer to her nest, to see a part of two tiny little eggs. "Wow!" I cried to her. "So, you have become a mother of twins!"
"Congrats, birdy!" I said to her. Now she had a thank-you look in her eyes ( or is it my imagination?).
Next day morning my cousins arrived. They were very excited when they saw the bird and the eggs. Umma asked them to be careful, and never allowed them to touch the eggs. They could watch the eggs, and softly touch the bird. That was more than enough for them.

* * *
"Aunty, when will the eggs hatch?" asked Nida for the hundredth time.
"I don't know honey." Replied Umma, also, for the hundredth time.
They want to see the chicks before the vacation ends. But, there are only two or three days left for the vacation to end! I could have searched the Google or anything like that if I had known the species. But without any specific word to search, how can I search for 'How many days will it take for birdy's egg to hatch?' If the Google search engine was a living creature with hands, it would have slapped me!
Days flew by and it was the evening before Nida and Huda left. They were playing outside when it started to rain. Umma called them inside, because they had to go to school within two days, and fever was the first thing she didn't want them to have. She poured them some hot milk to keep away the cold. I made myself some hot coffee to keep away the cold. We saw the birdy squeezing herself into the nest to keep her eggs warm.
"Aunty, can we give her a blanket?" Asked Huda.
"God have provided them a blanket, sweety." Umma replied. "Her feathers are her blanket. It keeps her warm."
"We won't be able to see the chicks." Sighed Nida.
"Don't worry. May be they won't leave us at all. When you come here in December for your Christmas, they will be flying around. You can play with that time." Umma consoled her.
But it didn't comfort her.She wanted to see the tiny chicks, the process of hatching and their first flying lessons.
The evening became more rainy, and at night, when we were in bed, we could here the storm blowing the trees. It was a scary night, with the rain and storm, and I was grateful when I finally fell asleep. Morning was calm, and the sun looked at the earth to see the damage the storm had brought. I got up and walked into the kitchen. It was a pathetic sight.
The eggs lay cracked on the floor, with the nest. Birdy was flying in circles around the broken eggs. I called Umma, to show her the scene. She asked me to clean the place quickly before Nida and Huda arrived, or they will be very upset at the sight. I cleaned it, with bird flying over my head, and threw the broken eggs into the garden, with a heavy heart.
When Nida and Huda arrived, they enquired about the nest. Umma replied that birdy must have changed her home, as the cats usually do with their kittens. They had to be satisfied with the answer.
The bird flew away when I threw the broken eggs out. It never returned.
We love you, Birdy, and we are sorry for you.