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.