Monday, November 19, 2007

I am not OfficeMax

Contrary to popular belief, I am not OfficeMax or Staples or any other office supply store.

Yet because my cube is the nearest one to the photocopy/fax/printer area, people assume that I keep the necessary appurtenances for these 3 machines on my desk. And I wouldn’t really mind it except for the fact that all these things are actually available right on top of the shelf unit between the copier and fax machines.

This is what happens: someone copies a pile of papers and then, instead of looking down and picking up the stapler, turns around, walks to my desk and asks, “Do you have a stapler?”

“No, I don’t, but there are three right behind you.” (I say it nicer than this of course, but right now I’m venting so I’m not bothering to sugar-coat things)

Then, not 2 minutes later, the same person might realize she didn’t mean to staple those papers together after all. But instead of looking down and picking up the staple remover (I’m not making this up by the way, this really happens), she turns around, walks back to my area and says, “Do you have the thingie?”

Now, having just gotten back into my work, I’m a little at a loss as to what thingie she’s talking about. With the help of some descriptive gestures we usually figure it out after a few minutes, but still—those are minutes that could have been spent stapling something.

So just for the record, the only office supply I keep at my desk is post-it notes (which I used to call "stick-ums" until I was teased about it).

Well, I also have pens, but please, please don’t take the blue pen, I have to edit in blue or my boss can’t read my changes—and someone in the office must be eating blue pens because I think the one on my desk is the only blue-ink pen left in our whole building.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Criminal "Justice" in Saudi

Gaaaah! This makes me mad. What is it, exactly, that makes people think it's a-okay to beat a victim of gang-rape and then more than double the number of lashes and tack on a prison stay for good measure just because she appealed?!?!

"But the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia's laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.

On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.


The Arab News quoted an official as saying the judges had decided to punish the girl for trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

[BBC: Saudi gang-rape victim is jailed]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The stains mystery

I finally solved the mystery of stains on my pants.

For the last few months, I kept noticing my pants having oil-like stains. First, I thought it was just a sign that I am just getting older and clumsier. I thought may be I am just not being careful when eating my food or drinking coffee. It was so embarrassing to be in a meeting or right before giving a Khutba (Friday sermon) and then notice the obvious stain circles, in various sizes and shapes, all over the pants. Of course, I learnt my lesson quickly and the hard way that trying to clean such stains with a wet towel will only make the stain larger and more obvious.

So I decided to start tracking my actions to find out when and how I was causing those stains. Three nights ago, after finishing our last Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast) I checked myself and was happy not to find any spots. I assumed that by being careful, I won't spill anymore. So I went on with my daily routine playing with my little girl Safiyya. Safiyya is one year old (next week) and is very playful. She would crawl and slowly walk away then back to me, repeatedly. She would get more excited every time she succeeds. It then occurred to me that every time she came back to me, she was actually wiping, rather stamping, her drool from her mouth on my pants, creating a wet stain. I finally solved the mystery. So I carried Safiyaa and tickled her in celebration. Little did she know that she was, both, the cause of that mystery and the key to solving it. May be one day I will tell her about it and that I even wrote a blog post about this matter. (Of course, by then, a blog would be as foreign to her as a letter to today's teenage kids.

I was relieved to know that I wasn't necessary getting clumsier (though I was still getting older).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mass Ramadan Greetings

Greetings everyone,

This is my first post, so I'll make it short and sweet.

So Ramadan is finally upon us. It's a great time for spiritual rejuvenation and atonement. I love the family atmosphere that overcomes the community; people smiling at each other when they cross paths, saying salams to strangers--it's great.

But Ramadan is also a time for mass text messages, which are not so great. At the beginning of every Ramadan and every Eid, I get at least 10-20 new text messages on my phone. They're all mass text messages, all forwarded, and almost all identical. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate people wishing me Ramadan mubarak and I appreciate the dua'as from everyone who offers them, but a mass text message is so impersonal, and it usually drones on and on--which can become annoying after the 10th identical message.

Moral of the story: pick up the phone and call your brother or sister!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Row Formation

Just got back from was really nice and made me excited about Ramadan.

Since moving to the DC-area, for the first time in my life, I actually have a choice about which masjid to go to. This may not seem like a big deal to y'all big city folks, but having grown up in a place where going to the only masjid meant a 35+ minute drive, this is huge.

Last year, we lived about 10 minutes from a masjid, but we were kind of bad and didn't really go as often as we should have. The ladies at that masjid had this shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot theory of row formation and would pluck at your clothes or pinch your elbow until they felt that you were sufficiently close. I found this to be insanely annoying. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but considering the female anatomy, being shoulder-to-shoulder, foot-to-foot also means being plastered together shoulder-to-foot--not exactly fun because:
(a) your neighbor is a complete stranger who is a good eight inches taller and likes to stick her elbows in your ribs;
(b) you concentrate more on keeping your balance than on praying; and
(c) it's really hot.

Anyway, we totally had this perfect strategy for ending up at the end of the row or on the back row where one has more of a right to define one's personal space. But it's not really the best feeling in the world to leave taraweeh and realize that you spent more time thinking about avoidance techniques than prayer. The last straw was when some lady tried to put her foot on top of mine. Umm, no...I will put up with being jammed up so close to someone that I can smell what she had for iftaar for the last three days, but I draw the line at having her foot on top of mine.

Alhamdulillah, we've moved since then and we thought that this Ramadan we would have not problems because now we live close to our favorite masjid. It's really cute and has a great mix of people. It's traditional without being uber-conservative (unlike aforementioned masjid), they do 20 rakat for taraweeh, and we actually go there regularly for Zaytuna classes anyway.

So we go tonight and the place is packed. But as people start leaving, we discover that the women have adopted an ignore-the-gaps-and-resist-your-neighbor's-sleeve-twitching-and-maintain-your-position-at-any-cost theory of row formation. These weren't just a loosely spaced lines, these were lines with three foot holes every half-dozen people. It's awfully ironic, but having these huge gulfs was almost as distracting as standing next to the footsie ladies. What's up with that?

I miss Knoxville.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting

Have you ever been inside a mosque board meeting? Or even better, a general body meeting with the mosque board?

Let me tell ya...HILARIOUS!

I've never seen more finger pointing in my entire life. Someone in Hollywood needs to make a movie about the drama that ensues inside these board meetings. It would be a comedic hit! Of course only Muslims would see the comedy, everyone else would just be scared.

I can already see the title of the first episiode, "Moon Sighting - Moon Fighting" (That title alone is hilarious...just think of the dialouge, and the finger-pointing!)

I should write a script about this, I'm sitting on a gold mine!

Friday, August 17, 2007

You have won a Free Visa in the US Lottery

I am US citizen. When I got this I was really laughing hard. But the sad part is people might be desperate enough to fall in the trap and lose out on much needed money as well as have their identity stolen:

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

Dear Winner,

It is my pleasure to congratulate you on your success
applied and processed by our agency. You were selected
as one of the lucky winners on our internet screening
machine,for the DV2008 USA national visa lottery
program. Your visa lottery winner's identity is
ID-6200DV and your serial net visa passport with us is
SNVPh700IU. In this respect, you are directed to
forward the following requirements:
1. NAME:......
3.DATE OF BIRTH...........
5. PRESENT CONTACT ADDRESS (for correspondence)
You can also send your photo(s) by regular mail. The
photo must be between 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 and 2 by 2 inches
(37-50 mm) square, with the applicant's,spouse's, or
child's name printed on the back. Please mail
the photos to:
Immigration Services:
PA/PL, Rm. 3206
U.S. Department of State
2301 C Street NW Washington, D.C. 20720
Or preferably, you can scan them and send via email
for faster processing.
For information on how to send across the fees,please contact
the Clearance Officer with your contact address attacted to it.
Mr.Trevor Blair through his
email(, ).
Your payment
confirmation shall be sent to you as soon as
clarification is done on your payment...


Mr. Matthew Brooke
The thing I could not copy was the authentic (no really it was) letter head from the State Department it had originally come with. Mr. Brooke will probably not get caught, but the e-mail address do give this away. But really " whats up with these" e-mails about rich Nigerian princes dying of some African disease you can not even pronounce or rich Oil Sheikh's you would think the english would be better.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Black, new, Quiksilver brand- Please return at your earliest...

I was a bit disappointed this weekend. I stubbed my toes really hard and broke some bones. I needed slippers (chapaals in Urdu) and I didn't have a pair because I couldnt wear closed toed shoes. In fact my favorite pair had been stolen and I was upset at how this came to be.

Yes, they were stolen. I don't know who would want to steal a pair of slippers, and get this, a pair of slippers from the Masjid at Isha prayer to be precise. I guess some one came bare foot and decided my pair of chapaals were perfect for them so they went off wearing them. They were only three days old. (I just bought an expensive pair because the ones I had previously had lasted for a good two years so I thought might as well buy another expensive pair)

Or maybe, they had crusty old chapaals and decided that my pair was new, not being worn, so they must have all rights over it. They walked away wearing my 9.5 size chapaals leaving their crusty falling apart size 10 chapaals.

Whatever the case might be, I looked and I searched for my chapaals for twenty minutes after Isha prayer and did not find them anywhere- no one wore them to the restroom, no one picked them up and placed them on another rack, no lost and found- so all i can say is that there is a chapaal bandit out there and they took off with my chapaals!

But what is up with stealing chapaals at the Masjid, after Isha prayer?!! (there is no way they could have thought my chapaals looked like theirs because there were no chapaals that looked like mine left at the masjid) - I am tempted to say which masjid this happened at so people are careful about their chapaals, but my conscience tells me otherwise, since it might be more a rare occurrence (until this person destroys my chapaals and needs another pair).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Dear Neighbor Chronicles: Sound the Alarm

Dear Neighbor,

If you're going to have such a high-tech alarm system installed in your car that it sounds for 20 minutes when someone so much as sneezes near it and changes tone every 5 seconds, and if you insist on arming it every night even though your car is parked in a patrolled lot, please have the courtesy to turn it off when it sounds at 3 in the morning. Some of us can't sleep through that kind of din.

- Your Neighbor

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Say what??

This past weekend, my family and I drove down to Buffalo for a day of good ol' American shopping. Midday, we decided to take a break. I got in line at a popular joint in the food court. When I reached the front of the line, this is the conversation shared between me and the cashier.

Cashier: (Upon seeing me) "Oh you'll have to wait, she will help you, I don't understand you." (indicating to the cashier on her left).

Me: "Excuse me?" (giving her a look of disbeleif).

Cashier: "Oh you cool, I understand you, ya I can help you."

Me: "Excuuuuuuuuuse me?"

Cashier: "Oh I couldn't understand the other lady *giggles* (an elder Indian lady was in front of me in line) but you cool, your English is good."

Me: "You know what, that is extremely racist and you are stereotyping me, just because I wear a scarf doesn't mean I don't speak English and that certainly isn't the way you speak to customers."

Cashier: (glances everywhere but at me). *giggles* "Okay so what can I help you with."

Me: (Through clenched teeth I gave her my order, it was for someone else otherwise I would have promptly stormed off.)

I got my receipt and went off to my family's table and blew off my steam. When I went back to wait for our order, I saw the manager in the front. I told him what happened, and told him that whatever her views/problems were, that wasn't the way to speak to customers. He gave me a weak "okay I'll talk to her" which wasn't very convincing.

In short....WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!?! (yes I'm still fuming)