Monday, 16 August 2010

The Best Thing in Life is Still Free

This is me in my most superficial, shallow and basic being. When people bragged how Ramadhan has rebuilt  their faith, cleansed their mind, heart and soul, I just want to tell the world that in this holy month, I appreciate food more than ever. And considering that the temperature out there during midday can soar as high as 47 degrees Celsius, I must say, I value water and my cups of coffee too.   

Food and drinks comes in many form and style, but they serve only for just one purpose. Yesterday, I forked out AED200 to be served for food and drinks at a Ramadhan tent of Mina Salam, next to Madinat Jumeirah. It was a perfect setting, super service and wonderful ambiance but the food was below par in comparison to all other elements mentioned. Nevertheless, I finished everything on my plate. I was happy that it would fuel me well so as to keep me moving.

Today, I went to a mosque in my neighbourhood to observe human fuel in a different form and style. The food was handed from one hand to another in a line of men, it was then arranged like lights on parallel  runways. It was a mélange of simple meals. I didn't pay a penny for my portion. Yet the food has satisfied my basic need. I felt a deluge of fuel fixing my weary and deprived body. It felt greater than the great ambiance and the super service of a chic place. When they say the best thing in life is free, believe it. It's no bullshit.

Friday, 6 August 2010

When A Chocolatier Meets A Winemaker

I have the pleasure to meet Greg, the winemaker from Napa. We had series of interesting conversations. This guy is something else. He rejected medical school to pursue his aspiration of becoming a dreamer. I asked him why and he said he did that after realizing that physicians in America are becoming like puppets and they are ridiculed by the administration of the healthcare system. These were more and less the words I once heard coming from my wife when she complained about her work in Malaysia.

Greg hates milk and loves wines instead. Voila! He conjures a passion and that is, wine making. He worked  in San Francisco, then a city of the south island of New Zealand and next, Sicily. Well, he knows his shit damn well. He narrated well on the types of grapes, their attributes and the variety of wine derived from the vineyard bunches. His articulation about his trade really delighted the chocolatier. I was really entertained and inspired to exchange similar story about cacao from the farm that we have in central Africa, the dwindling yearly crops and a little bit of chocolate making.

The tale of his trade is not exactly the most appealing part about him. We came to a moment when he uncorked the fact that he is an atheist. He believes that he is one of the billion consumers in the universe, who lives to consume whatever that comes along and then one day, will cease to exist. Period. No God, no angels, no devils, no heaven, no hell, no divine intervention, whatsoever. He is a non-believer but not out of ignorance. In fact, he has done a lot of reading and research to support his thinking. I guess he did that, more than I ever read and understood Quran. Meeting him, strikes me with one important realization in life. Having faith is not entirely our choice. I was born a Muslim and I didn't choose to become one. It is a gift I inherit with. A gift from God. Engaging in the delicate conversation with Greg about God, has made me look within to appreciate this dimensionless gift of faith, inexplainable by scientific and logical evidence. It is there in me as a congenital element. I just believe and grow with it. I couldn't be any luckier than this and I am thankful for it. Faith may have somehow eluded Greg's life so far. But anything is possible. He may find it later in his life. One who has it now, may even loose it along the way. 

Back to the surface, Greg is an awesome guy. He is socially skilled. He engages in conversation very tactfully and interestingly. He really lives for the moment, enjoys his time being a so-called consumer of the universe. He is very appreciative. He is young, curious and adventurous and there's no doubt in my mind, that he would die saying 'I ve had the time of my life'. I thank him for shaking up my mind just a bit to make me realize about the little gift I have, which others may not have it in a million years. Indeed, the little gift needs a lot of polishing. Next week, the Ramadhan starts. How appropriate....

Greg pointed that the slim decanter is for champagne, the middle one is for white wine and the fat one is for the red wine and he explained the conceptual design for each.

For good life ahead, Greg. Cheers.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Melt Like Chocolate

It has been a while since I last found myself reflecting life and zooming the depth of my being. I have been busy with the superficiality of life, moving around, getting things done and delayed. I have left this tranquil temple in the blogsphere that provides a stopover to fish my thought and reflect. I blame it on the Facebook addiction, my busy work, my laziness and perhaps the heat of the summer. I think I can blame it on everything else but that doesn't change the fact that I have been a bad blogger, a real bad one. So here I am, making another attempt to come back.

I was kind of sick for the past few days. I had thick phlegm stuck in my chest and I had been coughing them out every single chance I got. I enjoyed watching that yucky yellow stuff swimming away into the sinkhole. Now the congestion on my chest has been cleared but I am having a dreadful time holding back that glue-like juice that keeps sliding down my nose. I called my boss at 6AM that I couldn't make it to work. She said sleepily over the phone, 'take care of yourself'. So I did just that...taking care of myself.

I made myself bihun sup with chicken and tomatoes. I drank lots of warm water and peed a lot too. I took my medicine every 8 hours that really helped to dry up my nose. I cleaned my room, kept my washing machine busy with loads of smelly garments. When the sun was on the verge of setting down, I drove my Jeep, Lucky to a petrol kiosk. I had  juicy Subway sandwiches while waiting for Lucky to get washed, wiped and vacuumed dry. I heard myself saying when I started the engine, 'Lucky, I love you, you're so handsome today'.

I went back to my room looking at things that I have been neglected for so long. My plants and my toys. I found myself talking to the plant in my room and toying with the stuffed kittens, the gifts from my kids. I called home to wish my wife and kids good night. They sounded sleepy and related briefly about the things that happened today in their lives. After they hung up, I was alone again looking back at the plant and the stuffed kittens. I just realized that when the plant talked to me earlier, it used my wife's voice and the stuffed kittens I played with, mimicked the voices of my kids. I cried and tried hard to hold back the unstoppable tears and the snots that came along. It was a mess. I tried to find the reason for this madness. I have somehow mustered the strength to get back and carry on.

I am thankful that I have had this moment. Being sick, being selfish, being me with the little things that mean nothing to others, but only matter to me. I have to admit I was a little lost lately and now I found myself again. I think I will get back to work tomorrow.