Thursday, 28 May 2009

Summer of 09 (This is not a new song)

May is ending for a new beginning.

It's a little too early to announce officially the arrival of summer for this year. But it's summer anyway. What else can it be when you're out there in the day, the temperature is as high as 49 degrees Celsius? A friend told me that it could be higher; but they would never highlight it as above 50 degrees or else they have to declare a holiday. Outdoor workers have started their siesta from 12:30 to 15:00 or else their employer will be fined up to Dh30,000 and banned from getting the permit to work. The sky is totally bare and blue. The clouds have gone away. Humidity is still bearable now but it is said that the monsoon in Mumbai will bring moisture that will push humidity to the uncomfortable zone in Dubai soon.

The AC runs the ultra-marathon daily. Thank God it's a centralised AC in my building. For summer's sake, it's not Haier.

Drinking water business should reach its peak as people are advised to drink more regularly. But it is the ice-cream that has been the popular craving.

Thin and skimpy clothes are popular summer wear. Some people really dress for it.

As the skirts get shorter, the days get longer. The sun is up as early as 05:30 and set as late as 19:00. Thank God, it's not a fasting month just yet.

Night time is a short retreat. Parks are merrier after sunset with families and friends having dinner picnic during weekend.

Runners like me, eat early dinner to have the night running, sometimes midnight running too.

And by the way, I have a pimple up there at the centre of my forehead. A pimple at the age of 36?? Strange. I thought of blame it on the weather. But on second thought, I like to believe that the summer makes me feel young again, like a beach boy of 17, carefree and footloose.

For all those staring at the sun at about the same angle from where I see it, have a happy summer....

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Many Happy Returns

Aimi is now seven. It is still clear in my mind that seven years back, I was sobbing shamelessly when I was alone at the hospital corridor. I lost all the ego and pride after going through an intense experience in one of the labour rooms in Putrajaya Hospital, after watching Aimi's head stuck on her way out and my wife kept pushing for hours. When my wife did the pushing, she squeezed my arms so I can imagine how painful it was. Aimi had somehow made a wrong turn just before her delivery. That had caused the complication. She was kind of hesitated to be with us. At one point in the labour room, I had thought of losing her. Eventually, with God's blessing she is now here with us in this world. Aimi's birthday is one of the most important event in my life. It is the day I have had the best gift from God which I have no words to express how thankful I am. So I travelled from the Middle East to Malaysia to be reunited with my girl. I was with my family, isolated and off lined to get the best out of the little time we had.

The simple celebration

She's not into any kind of dolls because they're not alive. Instead she loves animals.

She loves almost all sort of animals, including the slimy cold-blooded creature.

We're in our little hut seeing the rain

Indeed we had seen enough of the rain and when it stopped, we're thankful.

The girl and her father, messing with the sand.

At the floating edge feeling the wind and the waves

x x x x x x x x x

In one hot and humid afternoon, I dropped by at my son's school to see him in his Tae Kwando class. He was very happy to see me. He is a new kid in the arena. He just joined the class a couple of months back and has a white belt wrapped around his waist. In that class I can tell that in my presence, he has done his level best to show off all he's got. On our way home we had a little chat.

Me : Why is it so important that you must have the yellow belt, Dif Dif?
Hadiff : Neshan has a green belt. Kak Aimi has yellow. So I want to get the yellow and green belt too.
Me : I can see that you did great in there but did you do that because of your friend, your sister or me?
Hadiff : I told you that I want that yellow and green belt. My teacher says I 'm good.
Me : Of course you are. Then let's agree on something now. You want to get the yellow belt, then green and all the way to the black because you want to improve yourself, not because of your friend or Aimi or your teacher or me...
Hadiff : Papa, what's 'improve'?
Me : To do better la. And get better and better than who and what you're now. Your friend might go to a different school. Kak Aimi might find other interest. I might not be there to see all the great things you do. But if you do it because you want to improve yourself for the good reasons, then you'll always find yourself feeling good doing it. Got it?
Hadiff : Got it.

I am not sure how much of the idea of self-drive to self-improvement has really sunk in his head. I am not sure how much he has understood the depth of our little conversation. My point is that I will not be there to motivate him in all his future undertakings. I wish he is aware that within himself, there is a source of inspiration and motivation and this will make him mentally strong to survive even when he is alone in the barren desert. He did not say ' fifty, fifty ' this time. I'm sure one day he will get it.

x x x x x x x x x x

My wife has finally made her decision to sub-specialize in neurology, despite her initial intention to be a cardiologist. This has a lot to do with me being away and the kids' well being. Being a neurologist, she can spend more time with the kids since there will be less time in the hospital doing the on-calls and etcetera. I respect her decision which is purely a mother's sacrifice. She has put aside her own interest. Her decision has somehow disappointed her boss and the team in cardiology. Anyhow, she will be graduating with masters in internal medicine in August. Insyallah, I will be there to see her walk the stage to receive her masters. I still feel bad for not attending her graduation in Tasmania, years back.

It is going to be a while for me before my next home trip in August. This beautiful image of home is a magnetized milestone that keeps pulling me back.