Chaotic Soul

•8 May, 2008 • 1 Comment

I decided to change the look of my blog again. The choices before me are anything but barren, so I select a theme called “Chaotic Soul” because it illustrates how I feel sometimes (%



Still in shock..

•14 January, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’m still incredibly disturbed by Benazir’s assassination. Regardless of political platform or view, no one deserves to be assassinated. On top of that, how can someone assassinate a woman? There is definitely tragedy in this affair.

When I first read about Benazir’s assassination, I felt like crying. In fact, I may have shed a few tears. I met her on two occasions and remember her to be a very personable and friendly woman. While I may not agree with her political view, I still admired and respected her.

The first time I met her was in Abbottabad, when she inaugurated the first women’s police station in the area. I met her for the second time in Ottawa after a talk she had given at the NAC. We were invited for the cocktail party after the function and had a chat and some photos taken with her. She was looking forward to return to Pakistan and to see the PPP take power again.

I still admire her, but I am completely disheartened by the way the PPP has selected it’s next leader. I find it difficult see a party who doesn’t democratically elect it’s leader to be democratically elected by its nation. It is true; the PPP is a family party – formed by the Bhuttos. It is a dynasty. It is not the Pakistan People’s Party, but the Bhutto Family Party.

I’m frightened when I think of what all of this means for Pakistan in the times ahead. It doesn’t seem like it will ever be like the place many of us have come to know for so long. Only Time will be the judge.


•25 November, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I did a few tests online to figure out whether I am right-brained or left-brained (clearly, I have time). I rarely believe in these tests but somehow I believe this one. I went to this link, The Right Brain vs Left Brain test, and stared a long time at the dancing girl. I see her going clockwise. It says that if you stare long enough and concentrate hard, she will go anti clockwise. I tried and tried, but she is still going clockwise – I dont understand how you can just turn this on or off depending on how hard or long you concentrate.

From the link above, here are the differences between left- and right-brained people:

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Another test rendered the following:

You Are 35% Left Brained, 65% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Are You Right or Left Brained?

What are you?


•9 December, 2006 • 4 Comments

After hearing about it for so long, I’ve finally joined Facebook.

This is silly. I should be preparing for my trip, but thanks to the gazillion and one invitations (okay, so I’m slightly exaggerating) I’ve recently received to join Facebook, I have now wasted a couple of hours trying to figure out how the darn thing works.

My generation is too old for this.

Got Visa?

•8 December, 2006 • 1 Comment

Alhamdolillah, we got our visas today.  Now it has really hit me that I will be going for Hajj this year, inshaAllah.

My father called me while I was at work to give me the news.  I nearly cried.  I skipped to my manager’s office to confirm my holiday dates.  Everyone at the office was aware of my condition – being on edge waiting for the visa.  For the past couple of weeks they have been asking me – “so, did you hear anything yet?” –  from my colleagues to the director.   They have been so supportive of this whole waiting game and are anxious to hear about my experiences when I return.  They are not Muslim and are curious to see what kind of person I will come back as and if it will change me (being the spiritually cleansing journey that it is).   I have tried to make my rounds with those who I immediately work with to explain where I am going and why.  I cleared the little debts I owed.. you know, like the random coffee/tea or lunch that someone got when I forgot my wallet.  I think they really appreciated that.  They have even planned to have a “pre-Hajj” lunch for me…  It is nice because they don’t say.. “before your vacation,” or “before your time off”, rather they say “before Hajj”.  Great people.  I am blessed.

I have found a family to look after my cute little kitten while I am away.  The father has had cats before as a child, but the mother has never had a cat before.  At first, this concerned me, but after I saw how she was with my kitty I felt at ease.  She is very gentle and mild mannered.  Her son (4 years old) fell in love with my kitten, so inshallah everything will go smoothly.  I will drop Nimbus off at their place this Sunday.

I’ve also decided to keep a journal on this trip.  I won’t be able to blog (not taking my laptop for obvious reasons), but will definitely carry a journal/diary and a pen, of course.  This is one journey I do not want to forget.  Ever.  So will make every effort to hold on to its memory.  It’s a long journey.  I leave San Jose and arrive in Ottawa via Washington Dulles.  I stay for a day at home and then set out to Jeddah via Montreal and Paris.

I can’t wait to set my eyes on the Holy Kaaba again.  I’ve prayed for this moment to happen for so long.  I feel an overwhelming amount of peace at the thought of entering the City of our Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) again.  What a blessing to be in his (saw) presence in Medina with my family.
I still can’t believe it is happening… embarking on the ultimate journey of a lifetime.

Getting Ready for the Journey of a Lifetime…

•3 December, 2006 • 1 Comment

Inshallah we will be departing next week for Hajj. As such, I have been trying to mentally, physically and spiritually prepare myself for this journey. Not an easy task. This will be the first time that I am embarking on this journey. I feel ill-prepared even though I performed the Little Hajj (Umrah) last year.

I am anxious to return to the City of our Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa salam, (Madina) but am nervous about going to Makkah. I long to see the Holy Kaaba again and catch a glimpse of the Black Stone (Hajar Aswad) if possible, but I know that I’ll feel scared/nervous in Makkah. Makkah is a city of strength – of Allah’s Jalal. Madina is a city of mercy – of Allah’s Jamal.

There are so many things left to do and so little time. I keep wondering if I should prepare a will. I don’t have much but I want to ensure that, if something should happen to me, whatever I have goes to the people I love. It is the “sunnah” thing to do, afterall.

I also need to find a place for my little kitty while I am away. I had something set up last week, but today the lady informed me that she is unable to look after Nimbus. I have less than 10 days to figure something else out. The last thing I want to do is to leave her at some animal hotel/kennel and have her put in a cage. Inshallah I will find someone to take her in for the time I am away.

I attended a Hajj workshop last Sunday to learn about the rites and rituals that are necessary and required for Hajj. The Imam also listed items that we should carry along with us. One was a sleeping bag for our overnight stay in Muzdalifa. I have a sleeping bag back in Canada but it is over 10 years old and I don’t think it will be warm enough (it was used for summer camping trips), so decided to buy a new one from the store that the Imam recommended. Away to the store I went today! As I was perusing the various types of sleeping bags the store had, a sales clerk asked if he could help me. I explained the situation – that I was going for Hajj and needed a sleeping bag. I felt rather sheepish for not having had researched what the temperature would be when I am in Saudi before coming to buy the sleeping bag! He curiously asked me, “So this is why so many Muslims are coming in these days and looking at sleeping bags?” “Yup – the local Imam recommended your store so here I am.” “Sweet.” After I gave him a brief overview of what I would be doing on Hajj, he went to the back to gather some suggested items that he felt woudl be helpful for my trip. Upon returning, he said that his manager had the perfect sleeping bag for me! Apparently there have been so many Muslims that had come in for sleeping bags that the manager decided to go online and research the temperature in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season so that he could better advice his growing Muslim clientele… how considerate!

As I was paying for my purchases, the cashier, in efforts to make idle chat, I accuse, asks, “Going camping?” “Nope.” “Vacation?” “Nope.” “You’re funny – you are not going camping or vacationing, what are you doing with the sleeping bag?” “Going for Hajj.” “Ahh.” So, if any of you are ever in the area, do drop by Mel Cottons – very friendly and helpful staff….good for most of your technical Hajj merchandise!


•3 December, 2006 • Leave a Comment

You are a little soul carrying around a corpse. Quotations Epictetus. Greek philosopher