Sunday, February 28, 2010

Of Seerah: Lessons :)

Assalamualaikum


The long weekend (Fri, Sat and Sun) has passed by in a blur. This always happens when sis is here. Tomorrow, she leaves early morning (Insha Allah) and I'm already feeling low about it. I wonder when this will cease... the low-ness. It's been almost two years!


Khair *sadly*.. this is life. Got to deal with it.


Lately, I've been reading this book called 'Seerat-e-Ayesha' --  written by S Suleman Nadvi. The aim behind reading this book was to form a complete and correct picture of the sahaabia, who had been a close companion of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), and had lived nearly 40 years after his death, spreading the teachings of Islam. What I have been discovering in that book, is something very very different from my expectations. I had expected a personality who will be impossible to follow -- all I, a lowly idiot on the planet, will be able to do will be to read about her halaat-e-zindagi and then, that's it. 


:) Things turned out to be different. Hazrat Ayesha (May Allah be Pleased with her) had been very young when she got married, but her intelligence, memory and sharp mind skills proved her maturity far beyond normal girls her age. Certain characteristics of hers prove to be a huge lesson for all the muslim women out there, who aspire to be at least a fraction of what the Mothers of Believers were - Some characteristics made me quite pleased .. , and I'll tell you why.


1. There were times when Hazrat Ayesha used to make small breads out of flour, keep it to cool and .. :D .. go to sleep. The neighbour's goat used to enter the house (there were no doors, only a curtain at the entrance), and eat those pieces of bread, which was the only dinner. (How utterly cute :D). So you see, clumsiness is HUMAN. (I should narrate this to my mum). Yeah, the lesson here is that when she woke up one day, and saw the goat merrily eating her hard-worked upon food, she ran after the goat with a stick, and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) stopped her, saying that the goat was a neighbours' and we're not supposed to hurt neighbours, so that includes their pets as well!


2. Hazrat Ayesha used to do everything in the house herself. For a long time, she had no helper in the house. The house was just a small room, nothing big - with a few utensils for dining purposes, and basic necessities of life. Nothing else.. :S... And she didn't complain about this either. It's a huge reminder for people like me, who have ample comfort in life, and yet complain when asked to do some housework :S:S:S


3. There are very few narrations on Hazrat Ayesha's beauty. There are quite a few traditions on the beauty of other wives of the Holy Prophet -- saheeh ahadith I mean. Yet, she was the most favourite wife out of all. Why so?
The reasons outlined in this book, and verified through Ahadith are Hazrat Ayesha's above-normal intelligence, and sharp brain. These were characteristics far more important than the outwardly factors. And that is another huge lesson for people who take surface beauty as integral factor, and leave the rest.. 


4. Hazrat Ayesha's immediate acceptance of whatever and whenever she did something not very right... both at the time of the Holy Prophet and after he passed away. It has been narrated that because of the incident of Jang-e-Jamal, she used to regret it so so so very much that she used to cry till her head garment would get soaked... :S ... How many of us are THIS sharminda, when we do something not intentionally wrong, but still that act produces an undesired result? Heck, we're not even sharminda (regretful) when we DO do something wrong, intentionally!


These are big lessons for Muslim women and men out there. Apology is the best remedy. The mind is way more important than physical beauty. There is no shame in doing housework and it is okay to be clumsy - if one doesn't make a habit of it.. :D. I think I've found my....







Thursday, February 25, 2010

Self-analysis, laughter and lessons

Salam

The day was interesting. Not only did I get to grill the critique (friend from my previous post) more about the personality flaws I possess, but also got some valuable lessons on ... the "self."

So the improvments I have to make Insha Allah are:

1. Lesser interest in toy snakes and lizards, that look pretty real and are way coo.... *stops*..
2. Should speak maturely
3. Shouldn't talk while class is going on
4. Should think carefully about the maturity-level of whatever I'm about to say
5. Remember at all times that I am not a teenager.

Phew.

That done, the laughter portion came when Dad came home from his lunch today. There was a doctors' lunch thingie at a local hotel here, and Dad and Apa (phuppi) had gone there. So they narrated, that there had been a lucky draw at the function. When the thirty or so doctors had put in their names, the winners were announced. Now, this doctor's name was called out, and he received a DVD player. My Dad (a/c to Apa), says "Yar, yeh maulvi kia karay gaa DVD player kaa"... :D (the doc had a beard)

The next name was called out "Dad's!"... :D:D:D [Apa narrated that... she turned to Dad and said ... lo bhui, tumhari to white daarhi hay :D aur baray maulana ho.. what will YOU do with a dvd player]

A/c to Apa, Dad jumped about a feet in the air, and rushed up the stage to receive it ... *tries not to laugh*. When he came back beaming, the first thing he announced to me was "I won a prize!!!" and I was like "Whaaaaaatttt"... (i become insanely excited at the mention of 'gift' -- be it a ball pen :$:$:$ -- should put it in the improvement list waisay). We both excitedly tore off the wrapping paper and exclaimed and what not (yeah yeah, I know.. dvd player...big deal :P).. but hey, it was a gift!

Waisay :D.. what indeed are we going to do with a DVD player. We don't even have a decent monitor (and the TV dates back to when I was 5... cuz I had broken the first TV :$) -- Khair.. :D its a gift!

So a lot of laughter there. Then just now, came this lady. And she always gives me a lesson.... A lesson of humility, thankfulness, sweet generosity...etc. Her story is that she is financially quite limited, and has three sons. Her husband... weirdly, doesn't work. So she teaches in a nearby school and somehow, runs the family. The tragedy is that her youngest kid is mentally challenged.. :(. So she has to take full care of this lil kid who is I think 10 years old now.. and support the family as well... I just can't fathom... how can a person bear so MUCH aazmaish (challenges) and YET remain so sweet, generous and non-complaining... It's beyond me. Gives me a lesson every time, and I hope her story gives you a lesson too. We should be very very thankful for whatever we are handed with, and always always look (and take lesson) from those who are less fortunate..

May Allah Grant us sabr, and shukr, and humility in prayer. Ameen.

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today...

I want to remember today because of some criticism I received from a friend :).. now this ain't a smiling matter, but the fact is that I'm so darn sick of school, college, university colleagues thinking that I'm quite studious and what not ... that I gladly accept any criticism that comes my way (er, not that I appreciate the one which comes from Mum -- hey, that's like, all the time!).

Khair, so this girl in my Quran class, she, Nas (a very good friend of mine now) and I were talking about something. Some or the other topic came up. And she says to me:

MK: You know Uni, I couldn't believe your personality when I came here
(she had joined a week or so late waisay).
Me: Hain. Kew?
MK: Because when we had introduced ourselves, I was thinking that hey, this girl has done her engineering and from a reputed university, plus masters and all. She must be something.
Me: And :P... what did you find..
She: Yarrrr... it's like... hard to explain. You're not what I expected!
Me: Aray bhui.. batao to sahee. What did you expect?
She: Well, you know I thought you'd be sophisticated... intelligent... and
Her voice was cut off when two other people intervened :D:D:D and said: What do you mean you THOUGHT she'd be intelligent.
I beamed at them, but then again, that wasn't what I was looking for (as mentioned in the first para of this post).
MK: See, you were so weird, that at first, I had to check and re-check, because I had seriously thought you were acting!!
Me: (now feeling a lil weirded out): Er, acting. What type of acting?
She: Like you're all babyish, and immature ... all the time. Non-serious. I mean, you're old! But you don't act like that! And that is something I find very very weird.
Me: *no answer*

But the almia (problem) is that I don't have any means to cure this weird-ness. So critical analysis has yielded no fruitful result :S. Well, I can try to act all old-ish, and not .. *pauses*... skip in the corridor...
or
run with Nas upstairs --
or
argue with the teacher when she tries to separate me and Nas...
or...
Being all scowly when the teacher DID separate me and Nas...

:$:$:$
Enough.

I wonder, how you, readers, handle criticism... (or if you even appreicate open criticism! Or get angry :P)

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ZUMBEEL | Femtocell security

Can you extract the mobile number of any user connected to a wireless network? Yes. Is it possible to do so with a Wi-Fi network? Yes. How about Bluetooth? Absolutely.

But were not about to discuss (or disclose) that here. It is for big retailers to figure out how to keep track of their customers and map out their spending habits as research for better sales. Here, we will talk about one technology that is quite secure with regards to mobile number extraction. The wireless technology that is mobile snoop proof is femtocell technology.

There are certain reasons why femtocell prove to be a secure tech as compared to other wireless networks. Firstly, your phone number is never transmitted to the femtocell. It is the IMSI (International Mobile Subscribers Identification) that is required to be transmitted and it only uniquely identifies your SIM card. When you place a call, the IMSI gets transmitted to the femtocall, your mobile operator (who will also be specific to the femtocell or rather, the femtocell will be specific to the operator), will match this IMSI with the record they have, obtain your phone number from the HLR (Home Location Register) and place the call.
Another reason is that femtocells are specific to a mobile network operator. Users are scattered all over the region, and they may not remain under one femtocell all the time. Various different femtocells (by the same operator) have to be engaged for a roaming user. So tracking becomes a lot more difficult, since one is limited to users of a single operator at a time. Also, the user may enter a femtocell region for a very short amount of time. Transient passer-byes may not even be registered, hence are secure from any tracking.

These are some of the reasons behind femtocells being one of the most secure 3G wireless technology that is coming up. An alternate view argues with the fact that if the femtocell itself ever gets into the hands of criminals, all the records can be sniffed out. The IMSI, if tracked, can give serious trouble to the user, because it can lead to SIM card duplication and resulting fraud. Even with the risk, femtocells offer a more secure solution than open Wi-Fi and unsafe usage of Bluetooth in public places.

ZUMBEEL | Femtocell security


The world... within

I try not to listen
Too carefully
Lest I penetrate the veneer
Of their voices
And hear the hope... within

I try not to look
Too hard
So as to skip the skepticism
Of their expressions
And see the disappointment... within

I try not to step in
Too deep
In the prickling discussions
To avoid the questions
And see the smugness... within

I try not to keep up
Too well
With the speed of time
To turn away and hide
And escape the fateful twists... within

I try not to feel sorry
Too much
Of myself, no one else
To look ahead, and see tomorrows
And feel some hope... within

Copyright Uni_Bleary_Eyedoony 2010

 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sore and sorer

Salam

 


The day was eventful. Man, this was one of the reasons why I had aspired to be a doc when I was 12. Tooo many perks :D

So today, the perk was a 12-6pm trip for docs and their families to Arena, a club thingie which has stuff like food, rock climbing, ice-skating, games, bowling and what not. I was only interested in ice skating... (even though of course I have never done it before).

Anyway, so the food bit was nice. Bhanja stares so interestedly in food that one can't help feeling sorry for the lil dude, and I can't wait till he starts proper eating :P.. he'd enjoy it. After we had had a very nice buffet lunch, we went on to the bowling area.

:S:S:S

Now (for those who have never went bowling -- I hadn't too till today), bowling is a game which requires arm strength and more than that, co-ordination... where exactly should you place the ball so that it hits the maximum pins. My first thought when I entered the bowling area, was to instinctively turn on my heel, and run for my life. EXTREMELY loud music. Extremely! No two views about it. The place was thundering with music. The lighting was low. The people were... er, different. Usually, I run away from such places. But the tickets were free and TB was already getting our names down - then he headed towards the game.

Lol. I stared in surprise when TB put his thumb into one hole (in the ball), and middle two fingers in the two holes above it. Weird position, I thought. He easily ran up (didn't run -- it was a different kind of running jump) and swung his arm, the ball went zooming down the alley, and hit most of the pins. *awed*

He played his turn, then it was "Uni" 's turn (lol, the names looked funny on the screen - TB, Uni and Nana) :D... Dad was very very interested in learning this game too! Anyway :D. I took the ball, stuck my own fingers in, and had a rude shock. The ball was heavy! :S:S. Man! Me and my wrestling inclinations :S. I glanced at TB and asked him, "Aren't there any lighter balls in here?" He was like, "There should be." But there weren't.

Khair, me staggered over the lane and released the ball. It rolled slowly slowly slowly down the alley, all the length, nudged the pins and all of them fell down! (except one). I turned back, beaming and well :S it was just beginner's luck I suppose. Since I didn't have any technique, after my first two lucky attempts, ALL the balls went into the gutter. All! Embarassing! Even Dad was better than me! And he was all gloaty about it...:D *grinning*. Oh well. Some people just learn up faster maybe. Sigh. What a bowling-loser I am. Tried to console myself with the thoughts that hey, I'm better at Arabic Grammar than both of them :P, but under the lighting effects, pulsating music and loud chatter of people, that didn't help at all.

That over, we went to the ice skating rink. There, we were supposed to put on skates, knee pads, elbow pads and helmets. As TB remarked "I feel like a clown" :D. I did too. Probably more so, since I was in Abaya/scarf. Looked extremely funny.

 


Got onto the rink. The guys (guards maybe) were superb skaters. *mournfully*.. There too, I grabbed the side rails for support and tried to skate gracefully along. Wished there were more females in there too ... **ruefully**.. This one girl, she was consistently refusing to come onto the rink, despite her parents' pleading with her to "be brave -- and go in the rink - daikho yeh bhe to jarahi hay (pointing towards me)" :D... I tried to encourage her too... told her I haven't ever skated in my life. But to no avail.

SO... fell twice I think, lurched and hobbled along, tried to keep my balance... 20 minutes were over only too soon! I asked the training guys, keh how did you guys learn it? They were like (quite proud of themselves, and I dun blame them), that we had never skated before too. Just that they have been working here for 3 months. That's it. They learned it themselves!

Man! Do we have natural athletes or what! Sports should really be promoted in this country. We'd be champs without training :P.

Finally, drove back home. Mum and sis, all this while were busy changing Bhanja and playing with him :D .. they were least interested in bowling and TB thought that if sis goes onto the rink, and breaks a bone, who will look after his kid ...eh eh eh eh.

So now, after quite a few hours have gone by, I can only groan and wish I worked out better or something. Every pore aches, and complains right now.

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Base Station Antennas to the Rescue!

 


If you have wondered what good will the subject 'Antenna and Microwave Engineering' do, this article is a must-read for you.

The amount of research that is underway on this very antenna is phenomenal. One such research is mentioned below. This makes one realise that the beauty (and complexity) of research lies in the simplest of concepts.

We all know that rain attenuation is one major interferance factor in mobile phone signal transmission. It is a terrible nuisance, for which methods are taken to account for the resulting signal attenuation that occurs. Rieckermann and his research team at Eawag’s Urban Water Management department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology devised a technique by which rainfall could be measured with greater precision and accuracy using this very concept of 'rain attenuation.'

The idea is very simple. They asked the mobile operator Orange, to provide them with the exact signal attenuation data which enabled them to calculate the intensity of rainfall between two base station antennae. This calculation was repeated for all the antennae (and hence, pretty easily, covered the entire area/region effectively). Now they had the rainfall intensity in a particular region, and this proved to be superior to the readings made by weather radars or rain gauges. Radar signals can be severely affected by heavy rainfall, but mobile signals are dependent on a network of overlapping microwave radio links and these can be easily analysed to calculate the amount of rainfall that has occured, and whether a rain-storm has started or not.

Application

What exactly will this research produce? The concept behind this is that rainfall intensity measured in a more accurate manner will give analysts a clear idea of how much more rain to expect. This data will be used to prevent the frequent water pollution - something that Pakistan is very very familiar with. The rainwater mixes with sewage in pipes, which leads to sewer systems overloading and this dirty water pours into the streets and dirties everything around it. This contaminated water is discharged into the streams, rivers and canals that lead to further water contamination and harming sea life. So if weather analysts and environment engineers have a better way to predict rainfall intensity, steps can be taken to prevent the sewers from overflowing, and thus a huge step can be taken towards combatting marine pollution.

Zurich-based researchers gathered data from 23 microwave radio links, compared these signals with data measured from 13 rain gauges, 2 disdrometers (A disdrometer is an instrument that measures the drop size distribution and velocity of falling hydrometeors) and Albis weather radar station controlled by the MeteoSwiss. This analysis went on for two months and thus became the basis of the researchers' findings. They are hopeful of including drop size distribution in their carefully calibrated model so as to account for the fact that huge raindrops increase the attenuation factor, but do not mean that rain intensity is high. These calculations and modeling aspires to achieve early warning before heavy rainfalls, to preserve a pollution-free atmosphere, especially the water. One can't help wishing this kind of practically applicable research takes place in Pakistan as well, for, after all, we are a country whose teledensity hit the 59.60 mark as the year 2009 ended. The rise in telecommunications awareness and progress in the country warrants some research work to be done in this area, especially if it is related to a very noble cause -- prevention of overflowing sewage systems.

Source: Zumbeel

Senseless typing

Eyes half-closed, ears desperate
To shut out the noise
I sit, slumping without poise
And type, and type away

The distant blare of horns
The noisy fan of the PC
Extremely disturbing, you see
As I type my fingers away

The wrists aren't happy
The laptop heats up in anger
To drop down, I'm in accute danger
But still, I type away

Stupid, one would say
Idiotic, another might think
As I try not to blink
And pitter, patter away

The television hurts my head
My books beckon, with a smirk
A test tomorrow, loads of work
But still, my fingers dance away

Why in heavens am I doing this
Right now, nobody knows for sure
Composing a poem has its allure
And so I just type, type away

I don't want to stop, although I should
Where is my sanity, I wonder
Why do I make so many blunders
Why don't I stop typing away!!

The truth is, if you should know
There is a charm in this senseless action
Your brain relaxes, even if by a fraction
As you sit back, and type away

Copyright Uni_PoemComposoony_WhileSenselessoony 2010

 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rollercoaster of emotions

Assalamualaikum

Today I learned something important. Our tajwid teacher started this discussion a couple of days back, titled "Dunya kee haqeeqat" (The reality of this world), and we had a good discussion on things that SEEM tooooo important, but in reality, your heart is just hanging on to it, and it's only a matter of careful thought that you realise the MORE important things in this life (Like the Hereafter), and let go of the things you adore easily peasily and with a smile on your face. NOW. The practical bit. We were asked to bring stuff from our homes that we can NEVER part with, things we hold MOST dear and can't even think of giving them away.

People got interesting stuff... Some brought their diaries, notebooks where they'd written their shairs (verses), watches and pens, gifts and cards given by friends, one lady brought her often-used Holy Quran etc :). I had taken my precious Physics books (which I sadly don't let people touch :$), my netbook (dad's suggestion, I had forgotten), and my toys. Er, :$ that toys bit was really embarrassing. Imagine the girls' shrieks when my theli was opened up, and the jumping spider, snakes, lizards and flies were brought out, ughed and ewwwed over, and passed around with revolted looks. "WHO in the world would hold THESE precious!!" remarked one disgusted young lady. I couldn't sink in my seat lower :S

Khair. The point to note is that the teacher had brought jewellery items (as HER precious things) and she calmly distributed her stuff among the students. After we had exclaimed over her gesture, she says "This is the maqsad (aim) of this exercise - to inculcate the feeling that yes, I can give these precious things away - I'm not holding on to anything in life because my life here is temporary and not permanent." We were rather silent and awed by this gesture.

But .... HOW can I give those Phy books awayyy! *wails*..

 

--------------------------------------------------------
 There was a friend's wedding a couple of days back. All the A-Level crowd had gathered together and Masha Allah those friends were also there who live abroad ... so it was a huge reunion. Sigh. EVERYBODY who met me exclaimed "OMG ... is this U!!!???"... :(

Today, I took out some old CDs of our A-Level farewell and graduation ceremonies.. *nostalgic smile*. Those were the years, seriously. 2004 was I think, the very best! Anyway, the emotions struck me pretty strongly, as I watched myself entering the farewell hall, accompanied by friends and other teachers (the graduating class had quite an entrance), and something that struck me a lil too high was that right beside me, another student was entering the hall, chatting on the phone: And he was the President of our batch. Ahmed Mehroz. He's no longer there. This was what hit the hardest -- and i guess that's pretty normal when you see somebody laughing and talking, completely normally around with friends, not knowing that only 2-3 years down the line, his life will be over... *sniffles*..

It was worse watching the Graduation video, because the Students Council had entered with the flags, and there he was again. Then he was supposed to give the vote of thanks and me the valedictorian speech -- these things brought back such amazing memories ... it was a truly happy time and we really and truly didn't care much about our futures, our lives, what we were going to do next etc...

I don't really wish for that time to come again, because obviously I wouldn't want a repeat of these times... but I sure do wish there was a warning period, where a person would have known that the end is near - and would have turned a new leaf or something. I am so scared of dying while watching Wizards of Waverly Place (yuck).

 

We talk about "emotions" to be 'expressed' on particular days of the year -- We should realise that this life is so temporary, that anything we do must be weighed against the scale of "right - wrong" ..  even the smallest deed we do, like setting a Facebook status that mentions the V word... (in a mushy way)

This Valentine's Day, I have a suggestion for all those who consider this day to be stupid, idiotic, un-Islamic - you name it. The suggestion is: Why don't we all, call up the various FM channels broadcasting special shows in which you're supposed to dedicate lovey dovey messages and mushy songs to your Valentine -- and protest against this entire profitable media frenzy... express our opinion in a clear, calm manner that says that we don't believe in V-Day and is this really necessary for a nation who is already suffering from a total moral decline..? I think we can make a difference, if we all contribute in some way or the other. The trouble is that the anti-V group remains quiet the whole day -- we should also jump in the field, and make some noise (with opposing voltage levels :P.. so that it balances out their noise).

What d'you think?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Testing times :S:S

I don't think I deserve this harsh a treatment. *doleful*

What happened was that we had a test (AI) today. I had (as usual) studied at the last minute, and had franctically looked up some stuff at the very end. So hua kuch yuun keh when the teacher handed us our papers, I wasn't able to recall ANY question's answer. 10 mark paper. 3 questions... :S:S Blank. I was a total...

 

I saw similar expressions around the room where kids had received the same paper (there were 3 different test papers handed out). After racking my brains for like an eternity (we had only 15 mins for this test), I raised my hand and dartay dartay asked the teacher whether I could exchange the paper with another type. She had around 4-5 of them and she handed me one (not looking very impressed with such blatant display of jahil-pan). Others also hurried to do the same exchnaging business. But obviously, the good paper ran out pretty soon. I got lucky...

Anyway, as I tried my best to solve the questions, my neighbour asked me "Yar what is the answer of this question, LOOK hereee..." (her paper was different to mine)..

I, erm... didn't look, and didn't answer... and it was quite uncomfortable (because she is a friend and we happen to spend a lot of time together in univ). Sigh. After the test,  she was very very upset, because her test hadn't gone that well (mine had been okay).. and then she goes like .. "ALL I was asking for was a HINT - and you didn't even bother giving that to me!"... Again, I had no answer. She hardly spoke to me for the rest of the time, and won't really forget this thing...

I wish I were brave enough to tell people loud and clear, that I consider ANY form of cheating wrong (be it hints, be it outright discussion during a test), and I don't think any result is worth lying to oneself and obtaining marks through wrong means. 

Oh well. The teacher wasn't taking papers back (because there had been such amazing cheating all around). She was furious. And I understand why. I would have been extremely mad too, were I in her place. Because the tests really did look as if they had been prepared with hard work and consideration... and this is the way students were treating it. 

As students tried to plead with her to consider the test and to please collect it from us, people were offering excuses - one of the excuses was "Miss, please daikhain... gultiaan bhe to same same hee hongiiii" (Miss, please think about it, our mistakes will be the same too won't they!). *double sigh*.. Man were they proud of their cheating or what!

Another shameful factor here. Many in my class are faculty members of the university. And yes, they were also cheating. Tells us a lot about the future of student population in this country. How I wish people would realise that they will be accountable for every minute (and second) of their lives. And any lie uttered or acted upon - they will be answerable for it. And I don't think this excuse will work ... "Oh come on... it's just a 15-min test!"


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Changes :)

Assalamualaikum

If I compare the present situation to a few months back, there are few changes that strike me as extremely huge.. and things I never expected to happen. Some changes are NOT for the better, I mean, I am certainly not happy over them .. But some are actually cool :)

The cool ones I will touch upon in this post insha Allah.

1. In yesterday's OS class, Sir was talking about "records" and then he mentioned "Data Structures" .. The reason why he just mentioned them was that these were just being USED in our lecture, not to be studied in detail. He (as usual) asked the whole class, "Data structures are an integral part of computer systems engineering, you must have all done this in your undergrad." Everybody nodded :D.. except me .. And then he asked, "Who hasn't done them before?" .. Among people's disbelieving glances, I had to raise my hand. (It really IS an integral topic ... **apologetically**). But the change is that previously, being singled out on THIS used to turn me completely off the lecture. I used to sink in this depression kinda thing that hey, I don't KNOW this so I can't DO this... and learning new things all over again sounds IMPOSSIBLE.. All negative negative. But now, I just raised my hand, he instructed me to work hard, I smiled and nodded... and the lecture went on. Lol. And then it was a great moment when one of the best students in class asked me to explain some lines of pseudocode to her .. (this programming stuff btw is really really hard: Ada - but I'm not being negative here, I love the challenge).

2. Currently, in my university, there are some job openings which previously I would have jumped (very high btw) to apply to. I would be rushing around to meet the deadline, getting documents and what not. My friends are going for it (and I wanted to teach too :S). But you see, these jobs are for my undergrad dept. And those people weren't very happy that one of their students chose another department over theirs. And this is never in favour of future teaching applicants. I was said this very bluntly at my MS interview, and by one of the classmates who is teaching now. So the change is that instead of moaning and goraning about my fate and how unfair these policies are, I decided to forego this one chance here, get myself capable of applying to the current dept (which I will only be eligible after this elongated MS **tries not to scowl**) :) - OR try for a PhD.

Khair. What else did I note within me and my circle of 'happenings' .. Hm. Oh yeah. My Quran course.

3. We had this Fiqh test which I was quite apprehensive about (no surprise). The test was all notes-based, except for the last question, which was "Koi aisay chaar jadeed masaail likhain jin main fiqah kee zaroorat paish aayy" (Name any four modern problems for which Fiqh is needed to provide an answer). This was the only question we had to answer using our own knowlegde. This test wasn't marked, but the teacher had added comments to everybody's paper. Nearly everybody got either Shabash (Good), Hasanti (Er, it also means good I believe), or no comment (if the paper hadn't gone very well). My paper (surprisingly) got a different comment. And it said "Alla-humma Zidd Fa-zidd" (if my memory serves me well). I stared at the comment in puzzlement, could only make out the Alla humma bit which means "May Allah" - Khair :). The test paper was passed around the whole class, and nobody could figure it out. The teacher's class had ended and she had left. I came home, showed it to parents... they scratched their heads over it and Dad said that it MEANS something positive I tell you *grin*... sis thought it sounds like I need to improve and Chotpo agreed :D.... (and btw, I agree too .. I need to improve in almost everything). So the next day, I went up to the teacher and asked her what this means, and know what she answered ?

She: Well, it is a duaĆ” which means that May Allah increase you more and more in your ilm and your fehm (ilm = knowledge and fehm = understanding I think). And she said it so smilingly that I took it as a positive comment and went away smilingly :D. Not bad for a first test. Another change.

4. Arabic Grammar had seemed like a nightmare - but the full marks in the first test seemed like another ray of hope to a stupidly negative heart.

5. I met someone very very inspiring Masha Allah. I don't think I should mention names, since there is a privacy issue, but there are some people on this planet, from whom you learn a lot... and you tend to look up to them, ask their advice, and trust their judgement. Their struggles (though they must have seemed hard to them) act like a beacon of hope for you, and you start believing that your struggles might just prove fruitful someday. Their hard work is an inspiration, their passion for their work and management techniques are impressive and one can't help hoping that one is going to end up hopefully something like such people. Their caring attitude surprises you, and their words encourage you. *grins*. I probably shouldn't have dedicated this whole paragraph to this story, but I'm amazed at the nice-pan of certain people who don't hesitate to help virtual strangers and gratitude should be shown, I think.

I should be signing off now. What a day to write a positive post :S.. I have an AI test tomorrow, and haven't been able to figure out the assignment due tomorrow. *sighs heavily*. ANNs (Artificial Neural Networks) are SO not easy to implement. Sniff.

Ahem. And I thought I was turning positive :P

 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And Why?

Why are our egos so large?
In other people's shells
We're so eager to barge
Shameful

Why aren't we satisfied
With the little that we have
What do we have to hide?
Revolting

The state of affairs is such
We're sinking below humanity
Who bombs a hospital?
Brutal

We harbour ill feelings and hatred
Within us, our hearts
Centres of nursing bitter regret
Foolish

Wish we learn, wish we accept
What we cannot change
Change ourselves, try not to be inept
If only...

Written at 4.21 am :S:S What do you expect... **stumbles off**

 

Friday, February 5, 2010

So Karachi Bleeds Once Again

It's beyond horrible. The news is depressing everywhere you look. The only option of getting some good news is ... not to watch local news at all. We've descended so low in our misery and brutality of humankind, that I feel we can't get any lower. The first blast that happened near Nursery area, main Shahra-e-Faisal confirmed a lot of people's worst fears. Everybody had been wary after the Ashura Blast. The loss had been too great. The Chehlum Blast was no different. Only, it hadn't been in the midst of the juloos, it had targetted a bus carrying mourners (for the Chehlum).

The second blast took place outside the Emergency Ward of Jinnah Hospital.Yes, things apparently COULD get lower than the first incident!

The injured were more injured. Doctors ran for their lives. Paramedics were injured. Ambulances were destroyed. What kind of an enemy does that to you?

Take a look at the following piece of news which came today only:

Iraq Bombing Kills Dozens of Shiites Near Karbala 
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- A bombing killed at least 27 Shiite Muslim pilgrims as they left a shrine near the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, state-owned al-Iraqiya television reported. Al- Arabiya later said the toll had risen to 41 dead and 144 hurt. The attack today in Qantarat al-Salam, just east of Karbala, wounded more than 60, al-Iraqiya said. Two mortar shells hit the area after a car bomb exploded, Agence France- Presse reported.

It's ONE common enemy. It's not about ethnicity. This enemy isn't going to let any practising Muslim state survive on its own. We all have two paths clearly laid out in front of us. And it's our duty to choose the right one.  We can choose to harp on about Talibans taking over Karachi, or recognize the enemy walking freely within our land (and btw, our politicians lie blatantly to protect it too). Take a look at the following pieces of news:

Nov 21, 2009: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said he will resign if it is proved that US-based security firm Blackwater was operating inside Pakistan. (Dawn)

Nov 23, 2009: At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.(The Nation

Nov 26, 2009: Members of an elite division of Blackwater (Xe Services) are conducting a secret programme from Karachi in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigative report by US-based newspaper The Nation has revealed. (Daily Times)

Dec 5, 2009: Barrister Zafarullah, the petitioner’s counsel, cited several news reports according to which American and Dutch nationals were found patrolling the federal capital’s streets with sophisticated weapons. He said the diplomats and marines of both the countries had also beat up the people. He said the “culprits of these incidents” were set free and no action was taken against them for violating the law of the land. He said an American magazine, The Nation, had disclosed the presence of Blackwater in Pakistan and its hideouts in Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad. The counsel also said that the Sihala Police Training Centre commandant had also complained that explosives were being heaped in the centre and he was not allowed to visit the sites.
Illegal weapons: Seeking search of US embassy, he said the day Blackwater had stepped into Pakistan, terror acts and suicide attacks had been scaled up. The counsel also alleged that in the US embassy illegal arms and ammunition were being stored, which were being used for “sabotage acts” in the country.

Dec 11, 2009: The US contractor Blackwater is operating in Pakistan at a secret CIA airfield used for launching drone attacks, according to a former US official, despite repeated government denials that the company is in the country. The official, who had direct knowledge of the operation, said that employees with Blackwater, now renamed Xe Services, patrol the area round the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan province. (Guardian)

Dec 12, 2009: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had asked private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide to kill Dr AQ Khan, the Pakistani scientist “who shared nuclear know-how with Iran, Libya, and North Korea”, agency’s founder Erik Prince admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair. (Daily Times)

Jan 22, 2010: Visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said the US is considering giving Pakistan drones for intelligence and reconnaissance purposes, a private TV channel reported on Thursday. 
Gates conceded that US security companies Blackwater and DynCorp are operating in Pakistan in private capacities. He said the companies would comply with Pakistani laws. 

Jan 24, 2010: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday denied the presence of the Blackwater security agency in Pakistan, adding that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has stated that he was misquoted by the media when they said that he had admitted to Blackwater’s presence in the country. Talking to reporters after the hand-over ceremony of explosives scanners to Islamabad police at the Islamabad Sports Complex, he termed the reports regarding presence of Blackwater in the country “part of a conspiracy”.

Feb 4, 2010: Special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has rejected Taliban allegation that the soldiers killed in Lower Dir bomb blast were working for BlackWater. Talking to journalists in Washington, Holbrooke said that the American soldiers were training FC officials in Pakistan. He said that there is nothing secret about the presence of American soldiers in Pakistan. He said that killings of American soldiers in bomb blast at girls school is a big tragedy. 
(SAMAA


And finally, something that really opens one's eyes:

Sep 22, 2007 (yes, 2007): Congressional report blames Blackwater for battle of Falluja
A US congressional investigation today said the private security firm Blackwater triggered one of the bloodiest battles in the Iraq war when it sent an unprepared team of security guards into the insurgent stronghold of Falluja. (Guardian)

Nov 13, 2009: Huge rise in birth defects in Falluja
Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants, compared to a year ago, and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting. The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born. Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable. Other health officials are also starting to focus on possible reasons, chief among them potential chemical or radiation poisonings. Abnormal clusters of infant tumours have also been repeatedly cited in Basra and Najaf – areas that have in the past also been intense battle zones where modern munitions have been heavily used. The first battle was fought to find those responsible for the deaths of four Blackwater private security contractors working for the US. The city was bombarded heavily by American artillery and fighter jets. Controversial weaponry was used, including white phosphorus, which the US government admitted deploying.
(Guardian)

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As I said, one common enemy. The same story, told time and again within Muslims nations around the world today (those who refuse to bend of course). What's important right now is to...

 



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nasheed vs Taraana

Assalamualaikum

taraana = a poem sung out but not with any musical instrument

So in Calligraphy class two days back or so, our teacher (who is also our tajweed teacher and happens to have a very powerful voice Masha Allah) asked us in general "Do you guys know any taraanay?"
People generally murmured, "Yes Misss"... 
Me not generally mumbled, "No Misss".... (I didn't say that I know our national anthem :S..)

So students requested her to sing a taraana. She replied, "I won't sing it till I hear three particular students in this class sing a taraana... a complete one." ... Then the three students were pointed out, and to my horror (and astonishment), one of them was me...

"But I don't know any!" .... I finally blurted out.
"You DON'T???"
Me: No!
She *disbelievingly* ..How come?
Me: Er, we never had any taraana played in our school, home or any other place, so never heard one, never sung one (like I can dare to sing in public)
She: That's very strange! You should know taraanay.
Me: (having had enough of NOT knowing stuff): I know nasheeds you know..
She: What's a nasheed?
Me: Uh, it's an Islamic song kind of thing without music
She: Must be in English... :P
Me: (thinking that if I were a gora, I would have blushed right now): Yeah, the ones I know are in English
She: Tumhain kia Urdu samajh nahi ati? (Don't you understand Urdu?)
Me: Er, I do... it's just that I don't know taraanay... They dont necessarily have to do with language..
She: Acha sahee hay, jo bhe nasheed ati hay, sunao!
Me: (thinking OMG)... Miss, chore dain... Ap suna lain aisay hee... meri nasheed is NO MATCH for salees Urdu walay taraanay ...
She: No.. (smiling widely). Sunao foran shabaash... Kaunsi suna rahi ho? (Sing it now... which one will you sing?)
Me: (thinking wildly and wondering what in heavens have i done wrong in life to deserve such an embarassing moment in life) ..I know Zain Bhika's Give Thanks to Allah
She: Sunao..
Me: (drowning in shame).. sings out the lines..

Waisay it might sound extreme that I feel such embarassment on such things, but ...hello. Singing is NOT my thing. I detest dholkis and i don't know songs. I enjoy nasheeds (and even singing them)... but in private. Nobody around! Ugh...

Oh well. The reaction wasn't bad. They didn't cover their ears and grimaced.. :D ... They were more like .."why were you making such a fuss earlier, when you could sing and all?"... Sigh. You just can't win sometimes.

The taraanay which the other two students recited were excellent.. :S Extremely good MA. And the teacher finally fulfilled her promise and sang one too... it was out of this world MA. I've decided to learn one particular taraana up and post it here. It should be known... its so cool. And it adds to my vocab as well. (its called Ay meray zindaan kay sathi)... [and zindaan means jail *proudly*]

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I JUST heard the sad sad news of Dr Afia Siddiqui being found guilty of all seven (weirdo) accusations that were leveled against her... and I have no words to express the grief, anger and frustration I feel right now.

 

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Just searched on YouTube, and found the zindaan wala tarana... :S
It's SO applicable to the above news item :(