Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy New Year

Have a great holiday everyone. I hope it will be a beautiful year for all of you and your loved ones, filled with peace & laughter & sunshine.

Congratulations & best wishes go to two of the sweetest bloggers around: Rain - on her upcoming Katb ketab( official/technical marriage) to our fellow blogger Medo. Mabrook to both of them. And to Charismatic Soul & her fiance D. - on their coming engagement. Allah yitamim bikhair yarab & ISA you will all be very happy. I will want to read all about it when I get back so both of you girls better start blogging from now!

I want to thank everyone who has been good-natured enough to subject themselves to my self-obssessive rants, whinings & handwringings. You've all been absolute sweethearts. Inshallah(God willing) I hope to hear lots of good news about all of you when I come back so you better start blogging too!

I shall want a lot of reading material when I come back. Lots of interesting, happy stories please. You have been warned.

Am on my way out right now & will be stopping by the office to hand in my laptop. We're not supposed to keep company laptops when we go on leave. And so these are my last few minutes with my laptop, my blog & you guys until we meet again.

Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas All


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Conversation Overheard

X: It's time. I must go.
Y: Aha. Because your wife is not here. Otherwise you sit around for hours and you don't want to go home.
X: No, no.
Z: We stay. Our wives are home. We have nowhere to go.

Oh no!How depressing to hear when you're about to get married.:(


Sunday, December 18, 2005


One of those days. Phone rang & woke me up this morning at 5:30am. Was kind of confused at first. Thought it was the alarm. But then I realized my alarm isn't supposed to go off for another hour. So it was the phone. My boss. He wants me to come in early today. At 6:30 instead of 7:30. It's fine for him. I mean he goes to bed everyday at 8:00pm.

Just because am going on leave doesn't mean they have to do this to me. Am already working late everyday. And taking work home.

Had my silent whine & then I got up anyway. Showered & changed & then I went into the kitchen for a glass of water. Don't usually have water on empty stomach. But I was feeling hot & thirsty. And I was feeling so sick. The water made it worse. Couldn't finish the glass. Felt like I was going to throw up. No time so I just put it down & rushed out.

The car made it even worse. Some kind of motion-sickness. Had to stop more than once on the way. But I made it on time. My boss was in his office but I couldn't face him without coffee. Was not awake yet. Went to the coffee room & made myself coffee. And again it made me even more sick. Everything was making me sick today. But at least it woke me up.

At 8:00 o'clock the teaboy brought my usual morning coffee to my office. Without thinking I started sipping it. It took about 2 sips & that was it. Just made it to the bathroom. Threw up all the water & coffee.

Went back to work. It's crazy at work these days. At around 10 I realized it was useless. I wasn't going to able to concentrate. Just couldn't ignore the sickness anymore. Decided am going to go to the hospital & get an injection for nausea or something. Couldn't face the thought of swallowing pills or I would have just bought Motilium.

Mistake. Big mistake. It's the hospital where my mother used to work. And there was someone else in her office. They already replaced her. It was so sad. Am never going back to this place ever again.

People were nice. Everyone asked about Mom. But I was angry with all of them for some reason. Stupid really. I mean they haven't done anything. But there you have it.

Of course they wouldn't just give me the injections without tests. Which pissed me off even more because I had no time. And then I had to see the doctor who replaced my Mom. He said it was a viral infection. Felt like a traitor taking the prescription from him. But at least I got the injection.

Still feeling sick though. And I want my mother. I don't trust any other doctor. What if they poisoned me?What if am dying slowly of some long-term toxin?Called my Mom & told her what happened. She said the only long-term toxin I was likely to die slowly of was nicotine if I don't stop smoking. She thinks it's a viral infection too. She said there's usually quite a lot of them around this time of the year. Change of climate or something.

Mom is too busy with the wedding to worry about my health. And now I've got to get back to work.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Closed Doors

A conversation about evil with my husband and a friend of his has left me feeling unsettled. More than unsettled. Disturbed is a better word. Such conversations often have this effect on me.

Was going to post the conversation itself but decided not to. It's not really what was said that I need to deal with. It's my own response to this type of discussion that I find unsatisfactory. People often accuse me of arguing for the sake of argument. The two of them certainly did today. Whose side are you on, they kept asking.

The thing is I can see everyone's point. I can sympathize to some degree with any coherent argument. When someone else attacks your argument in a manner I think is unfair I can't help defending your position. I don't like unfairness. But defending both positions doesn't mean I accept either of them. That's the problem. What do I accept?Whose side am I on?What are my own convictions?I don't know. That's what am left with in the aftermath of such conversations. Am a lost soul.

Am I irrational?Sometimes I feel I lack intellect. When I reach a point in thinking that I believe will lead me to see something I don't want to see I just close the door. But the question remains in the back of my mind. And am always aware of all the closed doors. So whatever I believe in I never believe fully or passionately because I know it hasn't passed all the tests. And not being too attached to a personal point of view makes you open to all points of view. Open enough to appreciate the merits of their argument but not enough to accept it because I can also see the merits of too many counter-arguments. I can critique other people's thinking just as easily as I can defend it because I really do see both sides. There are too many good theories out there. There really are. Am so overdosed on theories.

Am not a complete ostrich though. When an unpleasant truth makes itself undeniable & doesn't go away I accept it but not without bitterness. I never seem to get past how horrible it is and how much I don't want it to be true to think about solutions. So people who accept it as a fait accompli & adopt a practical attitude to it kind of irritate me. Pragmatists irritate me. I respect them but they irritate me - even though I married one.

Don't know where all this is going to lead me. What I do know is that when I sit with people who have convictions that they're willing to defend passionately I feel left out.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Not Just On The Blogs

Love is in the air all around me offline too.

Today after work I went out with a group of friends. Just a simple get-together at one of those cafe's. Lots of people coming & going to have lunch or just coffee or tea & sheesha. Un-winding on the last day of the working week. Relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Comfortable seats. Raised voices talking over each other sometimes - saying nothing very important really. Lots of topics but nothing covered in too much depth. Some people reading newspapers. Some with their laptops open pretending to work. Arguing over seating space. Melody TV on with the sound muted. Occasional sarcastic comments on the videos. Lots of laughter & teasing. My natural habitat.

Usually I'd jump right into the conversation & lose myself in it. I find it comforting. Like wading slowly into the sea when the water is just right.

But today something struck me & made me sit quietly listening & smiling to myself. Two of the people present - a guy and a girl(I'll call them A & B) - clearly had something going. You could feel the electricity. Was almost getting static in my hair. On the surface they were brutal to each other. He would make fun of everything she said. But it didn't change the fact that he never missed a word she said - even though she wasn't sitting next to him & she was talking to other people.

Don't really know them very well. He(A.) is my banker. Thought he was a nice guy so I invited him to join us for lunch once almost 2 years ago. Everyone liked him so he just became part of the group. Funny thing is he ended up a lot friendlier with some of them even though I was the one who introduced him. Me & him still don't have much of a relationship outside the bank & the group.

She(B.) is a friend of the girlfriend of one of the guys. Pretty convoluted I know. Same story. I see her around a lot but we never really sat down & talked. She's a very gentle, refined, shy sort of girl. Sometimes I got the impression that this group is kind of too rough for her. You need to have a pretty thick skin to hang around with them. They don't do please or thank you or nurturing here. If you can't take being teased all the time & can't hold your own you're bound to feel a bit uncomfortable. And I could tell she was sometimes. She would get this startled look on her face. Or look really embarrassed.

What caught my attention was that when A. would tease her she wouldn't draw back or get embarrassed at all. She'd give back as good as she got. It was the only time I'd see her come out of her shell. That was a dead give-away. He brings out the mean in her. It's got to be true love right?

I couldn't miss it because they remind me of me & K. I mean am no shrinking violet but the way he always seemed to be half-listening to her even when he was talking to others across the table. That's me & K. Am always half-listening to everyone else when he's around. Sometimes I'd get a little irritated by it - the way I can't get my mind off him. It's embarrassing & I get teased a lot about always being distracted when he's there. So I'd say something I know is guaranteed to provoke an answer from him to whoever I happen to be talking to. And sure enough K would pounce on it. Even though he'd say something mean & horrible usually it would still make me smile & think gotcha you've been listening in too. And I'd know the meanness is just his way of saying:"Will you please get out of my head?"

Just couldn't miss that little routine playing around me. Spent sometime silently speculating on how involved they are. Have they come to an understanding that they're just keeping secret for their own reasons or are they still playing the chase game with each other?Couldn't tell. I guess my insight has its limits.

Was shaken out of this reverie by one of the guys telling me his kid brother - a university student - has a C++ test on Sat & could I help him cram. Here & now?Who can study in the middle of all this noise?Just move to another table everyone said. So I gave the kid my keys & told him to get my laptop from the car downstairs. And I took his textbook & the test material & found a table that was a bit isolated & more quiet. Everyone knows teaching is not my forte but luckily he was a smart kid. He didn't give me much trouble. He got things right the first time I explained them & he asked smart questions. We actually spent more than an hour going over the test material. Enjoyed it sort of. I think that if he spends the weekend practicing everything I told him to practice he should do pretty well on the test.

I left him to it when I saw a group of girls arrive. One of them was the love interest of my friend R. Their story is still in a state of inertia. Remembered that I had plans to speak to her. And it was a good opportunity to catch her without him around.

Just went up & asked if I could speak to her in private. She said sure & we found yet another isolated table. It was a bit awkward. Don't know when I developed into such an interfering, meddlesome busybody. Good thing no one else was around to catch my performance of Cupid. Got right to the point. Wasn't as difficult as I thought because she seemed to be relieved to have someone talk to her about it. As soon as I told her that he thought she was taking too long to respond she just started talking & talking. In a nutshell she does have feelings for him but she doesn't feel ready to think of marriage yet. She wants to date for a while - to see what kind of couple they would make. But because his feelings are so much stronger than hers she's scared of giving him hope when she's not sure of the outcome. Basically she's worried that if she got into a relationship with him & then didn't feel it was going to work it would be difficult to end it. Told her that she needs to explain this to him because he needs to know where he stands. So she asked me if I would explain it to him. Didn't like that. Told her that what I can do is tell him I had a talk with her & that she is interested but that there are issues they needed to discuss. But that I was not going to be carrying messages back & forth about the intricacies of their relationship.

Maybe I was a bit too blunt there. Frankly thought less of her for not being brave enough to talk to him herself. Don't like people who beat around the bush & have problems being open. She seemed embarrassed, started apologizing for troubling me etc...And eventually agreed to what I suggested. And she got up first. Had the feeling she wanted to escape the situation. So we went back to re-join everyone else.

Am happy I have some good news to give R but if necessary I will explain to him too that this is the end of my involvement. Don't expect it to be necessary though. He's not like that.

Love continues to be the recurring theme in my life these days. And it still makes me happy.:)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blogging Love

And it's not even Valentine's yet.

Rain is writing the sweetest little heart symphony. For Kayla, love brings an early surprise visit from St.Nicholas. Haal is up past midnight with something to say. Charismatic Soul has a Thanksgiving to remember this year.

I love it!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Case For Torture?

Condolezza Rice thinks Europeans should be grateful to the US for setting up secret jails in Europe as it saves Europe from terror. Well the Bush Administration is certainly not the first government in history to find that torture is sometimes a good thing. Torture has existed about as long as human government has existed. And I seriously doubt that Condi will be the last to make the case against things like the Geneva Conventions.

I have to admit that the Bush Administration's policy of incarcerating people outside America confuses me. Without getting into the morality or immorality of it if you're a democracy - why go abroad to do things your own laws prohibit?If you need new laws for the treatment of prisoners for security or whatever purposes why not just change your own laws & make provisions for that instead of constantly finding yourself in a position where you have to make awkward & lame-sounding excuses for doing in secret what you couldn't do in public?

To me it seems a cumbersome, tortuous & confused means of doing things. Is it that the administration doesn't think it can convince its people to approve new laws?But then doesn't that just mean that the entire concept of rule of the people doesn't work because the people don't know what's good for them and should therefore not be allowed to rule?


Saturday, December 03, 2005


The last memory I have of being asleep is about 9:00am on Tuesday. The day Mom left. Didn't go to work. Crazy morning - running around picking up things that she remembered she needs at the last moment, helping her pack etc....She almost missed her flight.

What did I do for the rest of that day?Went into hyperactive mode. Constant motion liberally interspersed with bouts of hysterics recurring whenever I find myself still for a few minutes. On the way back from the airport I called for a hair appointment. Surprisingly enough I managed to get one immediately. But when I arrived at the hairdresser's I realized I was too hyper to sit still & get my hair done. Fortunately I was asked to wait for 15 min so I said sorry I can't, that I'd call for another appointment & escaped gracefully. Good thing too. The mood I was in I would have told her to cut it all off.

Ok so no hair, no facial, no manicure & pedicure. Nothing that involves sitting still. And I was alone. Everyone was at work. So I ended up just driving around & around for hours. Half way to Al Ain & back. Then out on the road to Dubai & back. And all over the city center. Speeding of course. Was snagged by radar somewhere in Khalidiya. Damn. Is there no where one can be safe from these radars anymore?

When I finally made it home I spent the rest of the day being Mom. Feeding my Dad. Helping my sister study for her exams. And packing. At midnight after everyone was in bed I sat in the living room trying to watch TV. Didn't work. Not a TV person. So I spent the rest of the night between my laptop & the phone. Talked to my friend M. in Tunisia until she fell asleep on the line. Then talked to K. until he fell asleep too. My last victim was my uncle T. but he only managed about 20 min. No one can keep up with me. It's depressing sometimes the way - one by one - everyone drops off to sleep & am left alone. Was chatting & blogging from 4:30am until 6:00am. Time to get ready for work.

Except am not the only one who's in motion these days. Dad called me at work on Wednesday to tell me that he's flying to Riyadh on business the same night & ask me to pack a bag for him. That's one thing about my Dad. He never packs or unpacks for himself. Mom always does it for him. If she's not there it becomes my job.

So Wednesday was packing day. I packed for Dad. Then after he left I started packing up our living room in boxes. Can't believe the amount of stuff we have stored in drawers & cupboards there. Had K, T(my uncle), & my younger bro all helping. So I got to be in charge which was nice. Didn't change the fact that it was depressing work. Stayed up all night on Wednesday cleaning up my room & organzing my stuff to see what I was going to move & what I was going to give away etc...Got carried away reading old papers & looking at old pics etc....Lost track of time until I heard the call for Fajr(dawn prayer).

Thursday was a surprisingly good day.Talked to Mom in the early morning. Found her in good spirits. All excited about being with everyone there & all the wedding plans & stuff. Too excited to be breaking her heart over me. I felt better immediately. The fact that she was happy was an indicator that things aren't that bad. Then Thursday was the last working day before the UAE National Day holiday. Long weekend. We don't go back to work til Monday. Holidays are always nice.

At lunch my brother said he was going to spend the holiday in Dubai with his friends - all 4 days of it. Thankfully I don't pack for him. So Thursday afternoon it was just me & my sister at home. Took her out shopping & spent way too much money on her because I couldn't be bothered to argue. She was supposed to be spending the night at a friend's house. So I took her over there, thanked her friend's parents for having her etc...& felt even more like a parent. And then it was just me. But not for long. Home alone just translates to out all night with K. It was really nice to dress up & go out clubbing. We didn't make it home until after all the clubs closed at 3:00am. He stayed with me until 6:30am on Friday then he said he had to go home & get some rest for his trip.

He's in motion too. He left on Friday afternoon. Camping trip with friends. They're coming back tomorrow. Should I feel abandoned?Maybe I do a bit. Everyone leaves & am left behind. Everyone sleeps & am left awake. What is the matter with me?Why couldn't I have been born normal?

He keeps sending me photos & videos taken with his cellphone from his camping trip. Looks like he's in paradise. Thank God for multimedia messaging. And yes it is nice that he thinks of me every 3 hrs or so. It probably means he's not in some other woman's arms right?I mean it's not conclusive but it's a good sign.

The rest of Friday I spent packing with my sister & T. Then in the afternoon I asked him to take my sister out & keep her entertained because I hadn't slept in 3 days & I wanted some rest. But I never got to bed. D. called & told me they were going ice-skating & get to ready. So ice-skating it was. Got home around 8:00pm but I had D. & some other friends over with me. We ordered pizza. And then we were watching videos of each other ice-skating. Then being a gathering of girls of course at some point we put on music & it was time for dancing practice. My sister loved it. She loves being allowed to spend time with my friends.

After everyone left I was cleaning up & surprisingly enough my sister helped out a lot. And then I had a bath. Came out to find her asleep on the couch in the living room. So I woke her up & helped her into bed.

Then I went to bed with my laptop - and stayed online until 7:00am today(Sat). At 8:00am I gave up on sleeping & I got up to eat something. K. called & he was having breakfast too. Told him about the insomnia - that I was feeling light-headed. So he said that I didn't sound ok at all & asked if I wanted him to come back - which was sweet - but of course I said no. Everyone who has seen me or talked to me has told me that I don't look ok. Nevertheless I spent all morning today on the beach. We're supposed to be teaching a friend to jet-ski. Very badly sun-burned. Yes I don't tan. I burn.

And now?Well I have D & my uncle over. And my sister has friends over too. Am sitting in the living room with them blogging because the two of them no longer need me to carry the conversation ball. Infact I don't think they even noticed that I've been typing for the last half an hour or so. They think am working. Am glad they're getting along so well.

But am I going to sleep tonight or are we looking at a new world record here?

Robert Frost writes:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep."

But I don't have promises to keep. Just miles to go before I sleep.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Alice in Wonderland

This is what working with my current customer's IT department makes me feel like. Everything about it is topsy-turvy upside down like the nursery ryhme says. They have DBA's developing complex, multi-tiered .Net applications. And they have computer programmers who just give you the data - i.e. they just know databases & table names - but can't answer any questions about the logic of the application or what it means in the business sense.

Today they point me to some guy in their finance department because apparently he's the only one who knows what all the data is for. And when I spoke to him it turns out that he actually developed the entire application & the IT department are essentially just hosting it for him in their servers. So now they have finance professionals working as System Analysts AND Application developers!

This is crazy. I've never seen anything like it. You have the user's level & then the DBA's level working together to get everything done while an entire department of IT consultants & programmers get paid exoibrant fees to do essentially nothing! No wonder they're outsourcing!I don't know how they survived as long as they did!

Needless to say they have huge information security & coordination problems. Their insurance company is going crazy. They're being hounded by external auditors. And they failed to get ISO certification last year. Surprised anyone?

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don't believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!