Sunday, June 15, 2008

The first day of rest of my life

A 25 years old single wakes up next morning as 26 years old married man – quite a transition, init? – from being young to being old and from being single to being married. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Being a mother is the hardest and the most un-thankful job I have ever known. No perks, 24/7 duty, selfless dedication, unadulterated love and commitment and what you get in return is a child like me - total unthankful, rude and cranky (well, some moms are luckier than mine but still ...)

To all the moms out there ... no matter how much do we take you for granted, deep down we know that we cannot thank you enough for each and every thing that you do for us. So, if there was ever a right time to say thanks, that is now.

Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Of peace ...

“I am so sorry to hear about the situation in your country. Is your family alright?” is a common response I get when I introduce myself as a Pakistani to anyone here. Similar was the response from a barber who was doing my hair the other day. She was an old lady from an east European country who had settled down in Canada a long time ago. She, then, sprang a political conversation in a manner which is only typical to Pakistani barbers. During our conversation, she gave this remark (about people in our part of the world)

“Peace is a good thing. Once they have it, I am sure they’d like it.”

A simple statement yet posed several questions in my mind. Did we, as a nation, ever have peace to know how it feels like? How could we strive for something we have never tasted in our 60 years of independence? Do we need to have peace first to establish peace (an endless recursion) so that people fall in love with it and won’t let anyone (General/Punjabi/Sindhi/Balochi/Pathan or any external agent) take it away? Would we ever be able to get there? And, If we do, would we like it at all?

Monday, December 31, 2007

My Last Adventure of 2007!

The fact that these Christmas holidays were falling in line with a weekend provided me with a perfect opportunity to make a road excursion to California. Zeeshan, a friend of mine in Redmond, was the instigator of the plan. So I went to Seattle last Friday (Dec 21st) where on the same day, we (I, Zeeshan and two other friends) set off for a road trip to California.

After nearly 15 hours of long, tiring but fun-filled journey, we were in downtown San Francisco. Luckily our hotel was right in the heart of downtown which allowed us to experience a real downtown Christmas celebrations. After staying in San Francisco for a day and having been to places like The Museum of Art and Golden Gate Bridge, it was time for us to head to Los Angeles – another 6-7 hours drive from San Francisco. One day was never sufficient to explore San Francisco but that leaves me with a reason to visit it again in coming years, hopefully with family.

On the night of Dec 23rd, we were in Los Angeles. Our stay was in a hotel in Orange County – very near to Disneyland where we had to visit next morning. Next morning we were in Disneyland. It was an awesome feeling; here I was visiting a place which was, before, only a childhood fantasy for me. We spent an entire day at Disney, watched the Christmas parade of all the famous Disney characters, enjoyed all the dare-devil rides and to top it all off, there were fireworks in the evening right on the top of Snow White’s Castle. Amazing! the best fireworks I have ever seen in my life; be it live or broadcasted.

The next day, Dec 25th, was for us to explore LA and Hollywood. We went to Huntington and Newport Beach, had a lush lunch at a desi restaurant and then headed straight to Beverly Hills (aka Hollywood). Visited wax museum and wasted the remaining time walking on the Hollywood boulevard. Now it was time to catch a flight back to Seattle. We dropped the rental car at Avis and headed straight to Airport. In the night, we were back in Seattle and guess what, we were greeted by the same familiar wet weather. The next evening, I took a bus back to Vancouver.

Given that I have had really busy couple of months, it was a welcome break and I am glad I spent this time in California. If I am to pick only one thing out of the entire trip, I’d say it was weather. Amazing Californian weather! Clear blue sky with bright sunshine.

Life returns to normality. Heading into 2008, I know I have plenty and some more work to do. Hopefully it’ll be a great year ahead, Insh’Allah.

That finally brings me to the end of this essay-cum-post – the last for 2007. A very Happy New Year to all of you! May it brings peace and prosperity to all of us!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

O Canada!

Nearly four months ago what appeared to be a remote possibility is now a reality - Yup! I am here in Canada to work for Microsoft. Canada but you got an offer for USA? you would ask. Well, it's a result of H1B saga of 2007. I spent nearly 4 months in limbo waiting to hear an update on my H1B application. It was a painful (read horrible) experience but as they say what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. After my H1B application wasn't selected in the lottery, Microsoft offered me to work for them in Vancouver and now I am happily employed here. Anyways, all is well that ends well.

It's over a month since I have been here. I am currently staying in temporary accomodation which is in Richmond, Greater Vancouver area. I have so far liked the Richmond city - it's quiet, green and peaceful. The Vancouver downtown is just 20-30 mins drive from Richmond. Just like anyother downtown area, you could see the metro lifestyle prevailing all over - skyscrapers, shopping streets, malls, resturants etc. Oh and clubs, of course. Surrey is also 20 mins drive from Richmond. Surrey is a desi place with all the essential ingredients that make up a desi lifestyle - desi food, grocerry, halal resturants, cinemas etc. (by the way, did I mention I had a poori-halwa breakfast today in Surrey :) )

As for Microsoft - Although I am still in the ramping up phase but it's been a good experience so far. I am on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) team. Just in case you are wondering how this vancouver office setup looks like, here is a sneak preview.

What else ... and if the word hasn't reached you yet about my engagement then now you know that I jumped on the engagement bandwagon just before leaving Pakistan.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Going, Going, Gone

Okay, so this post comes straight from a transit hotel in Taipei, Taiwan where I am staying en route to Canada from Pakistan. What I am going to do in Canada is a discussion for another post. Right now, I just wanted to say goodbye to all my friends in Pakistan. Shortage of time meant that I could not call everyone to say goodbye - so, this is a goodbye post to all of you.

Good luck everyone! Take care and have a lot of fun!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Starfish Story

Recently I stumbled across this beautiful piece of writing called 'The Starfish Story'- short, simple and mighty inspiring. Here it is for you to get inspired.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."