Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There is no doubt that Amazon Kindle is a great device. The eInk technology revolutionizes the whole book industry. It is a great experience for readers. How amazing it is to put thousands of books, magazines, and newspapers on it and have it everywhere you go and still keeping the feel of a printed book. Intrigued, I started looking for it here locally. You know whenever an iPhone, or an iPad or anything that matters, comes out and there we have it few days later. But a quick search ever after years of Kindle's release produced zero results. Guess maybe we are not crazy about book reading. That’s what nerds do anyway. So, for about couple of years, I waited for someone to come from US or UK to bring me a Kindle. Finally, an amazing miracle happened.

An old friend of mine, who went to London for studies, came Lahore to get married. I was thrilled to meet him after four years. We really couldn’t get time to catch up until a day after his marriage he drove all the way from Gujrat to meet me. And, and, he brings a Kindle for me. It was a huge thing for me. I kept admiring the beautiful device and how screen looked exactly like paper. I put all the books I always wanted to read on it. Sent some articles from web to read. Everything was working magical. But I was so tired after seeing him off that I really didn’t get a chance to read anything. Next day, I put some more books on it, charge it full so that I could bring it to bed for lazy Sunday afternoon reading. Now the real shit happens.

I put the Kindle on bed, went to drink some water and while keeping an eye on TV, I try to lie down on bed. Suddenly in the process, I hit something with my elbow and, fuck; I had just hit the Kindle's screen. At first, I couldn't believe what just had happened. I shook it, tried to reset it, looked at it helplessly while nothing happened. It was so sudden, unbelievable and dream like that I really thought it was a bad dream. I even fucking pinched myself. I was so depressed, embarrassed, and angry with myself at the same time. How you keep waiting for something anxiously for 2 years and when finally you have it and before you can even see it properly it's gone.

Take my word for it; it's a shitty feeling.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When I was about 9 years old and in 3rd class, I remember hating English, particularly the long words that were hard to pronounce and spell. The teacher was no help either. She was very, very strict. Since then in my mind the name Safia has become associated to a stern face, short stature, piercing shouts, and a lot of pain in my back. When she was caught and later expelled for reading Urdu story digest in classroom, everybody was ecstatic.

So, back to difficult English words. I distinctly remember struggling with the word Building. To my tiny little mind that was the hardest word that there could ever be, and was sure that nobody would have ever heard it in the whole district. It was so difficult to spell. I before U, or after? But why do we need U at all? There's a second I but where?
It was tricky and mysterious.

During one of those hot days came a huge storm. A lot of trees fell. Some houses were also damaged. It was the biggest storm I had ever seen. A huge old tree fell on the railway track and lay there for few days and no trains passed. Electricity was out for more than a week. One of the few trees that stood the calamity was our neem. Just a couple small branches fell off. I was very proud of it.

On a hot afternoon, when me and my grandmother lay under the neem, waiting for electricity to be back, grandmother started assessing the damages the storm would have done. "I am wondering how many houses would have collapsed, how many people left homeless or dead, how many electricity poles uprooted. God doesn't care" she said in Punjabi, the only language she knew. "I am thinking" she continued, "if these small houses were destroyed, what would have happened to such tall buildings in the city." All of it was said in Punjabi, except when she said "buildings." I was so shocked that my grandmother who had never been to a school knew the hardest word I could have imagined. I thought maybe she was well educated but living secretly.

Later when I told my father that grandmother knew the hardest English word, he laughed. And it formed a long running inside family joke that still, whenever told, makes everybody laugh.