December 2007

Today I have been a chameleon in different worlds with in my city. Today I have hob knobbed with the underprivileged and stood side by side with the upper echelon of society.  I do this belonging to neither. 

Today I visited more than one location in the lesser privileged or served areas of Amman for various reasons. Whenever I go to these neighborhoods, I am greeted with a sense of belonging; a belonging to society and humanity with its true daily struggles. The smiles are genuine. Their hearts clouded and heavy, but simple and pure. The people walk, carry their own bags. They know their baker, butcher and candlestick maker. They are appreciative, and ever so giving. They aren’t afraid to loose because they have nothing to loose. They are the salt of the earth, and you can’t live without salt. 


Today I also was in more affluent neighborhoods and places, whether it was the elitist gym of Abdoun, where I took my laptop to work use their free wireless or the mall up the road with all its designer stores. But what took the cake, or chocolate, I would say was the opening of a new chocolate house I went to. This place was full of society men and women, I saw three fur coats, many coiffed heads and the ostentatious atmosphere was all around. What saddened me was I fit right in too. 

I traverse time, space, and privilege nearly everyday with the various duties of work, society and family. The contrast I see is widening, it scares me. I walk a middle ground between the two lives but the path is getting narrower and narrower and it is only a matter of time when me and the likes of me will no longer be able to traverse between the two lives seamlessly. When the time comes to choose, I know that I would be happier being among the salt of the earth, because you can’t live with out salt.  

The Argeela bubbles
The sweet scented smoke clouds
I am lost in the headiness of it all
The coals swirl around, hot, red, don’t touch you’ll burn
I in hale deeply, knowing the danger, loving the effect
Her voice bubbles
In the dark, it gurgles, it laughs
In the dark, she is my vice
She is my release
She is my pastime, my leisure
My quiet voice in the dark
The voice of thought, of anger, of laughter and of pleasure
The voice that whispers sweet nothings all around me through smoke
She is my vice that I can not indulge
She is the voice I can not hear
She is my voice in the dark
She is the argeela.  

It boils
It rages
It reaches the rim
It surfaces
But it stays within 

I anger from silence
I anger from indifference
I anger from pain
I anger from words never spoken
I anger from within 

My pen writes in fury
My mind races with thought
My feet stomp the path way
It is all a hurricane circling within.

How many times have you come across themes like live your life to the fullest you never know when you are going to die? I know I have come across this theme in numerous forms and apparitions. I know I am a staunch believer in this concept. A friend of mine forwarded to me a video the other day. It was of Steve Jobs the founder of Apple delivering a speech at a graduation ceremony. He had a similar message; I found it very inspiring and uplifting. 

He spoke of connecting the dots and how you try to look forward and connect the dots but you really can’t. You need to look back to connect the dots. I thought about that and I thought about how I view life. Am I predestined to do what I am doing? Am I working towards a preordained, pre-prescribed path? I don’t think so. I think that we make our own destinies. What these destinies are though is something you can only figure out by exploring your past as much as planning your future. But even with planning you can veer off track and end up doing something spectacular. I for example am a computer scientist by formal education, however I am so far away from that and it is great. If I followed that plan, which I did for a while, I would be miserable. 

Jobs also spoke about fulfillment. He said something along the lines of live everyday like you are going to die. Death has an amazing way of waking us up. I always think of not my death but what imprint I will leave behind. I was at a meeting recently when a development colleague said something very profound. He said, and he was quoting someone else “Children are the message we send to the future we will never see.” And I agree wholeheartedly. What I want to leave behind is nothing material but positive imprints on people through the interactions I have with them. I don’t think I need to even leave a genetic imprint with a child of my own genes, because I know I can pass on what counts not through genes but through life. 

My cradle was not my choice, and perhaps even my grave will not be. But my destiny is as is my imprint in life. I choose the messages I will send out. I hope my choices are right.

For the whole speech by Steve Jobs click here:

I see a halo of light.
I see a halo of words.
I see a halo of deeds.
I see a halo of history.
I see a halo of promises.
I see a halo of friends.
There are many circles around you.

The light is ever changing like you.
The words sometimes flowing from you.
The deeds speak of the inner you.
The history is what makes you.
The promises are what bind you.
The friends, they up lift you.
There are many circles around you.

These are the circles that I see.
These are the circles that I remember.
These are the circles that are you.
These are the circles that I enter. 

It’s coming close to the end of the year and it’s that time when I look back and remember the year that was: what I have done, where I have gone and how naughty or nice I’ve been. I reflect back on the year and recap the highs, lows and the in betweens. 

I started the year with a bang and will hopefully end it with one. I know that its important to be around people whom you like and enjoy being around on such a special day as the new year. I started mine with some of my nearest and dearest around me counting in the New Year. I was so happy to see 2006 go and to start 2007 that I forgot to set my new year’s resolutions. Which was not a bad thing at all. I floated through the year and did things I didn’t think I would do. 

So what were the accomplishments of the year? I went places I never thought I would go, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I partied through the first half of the year, I came to terms with a troubled past, I lost weight, 20 whole kilo grams, I fell in love, I started a blog and wrote like I never did before, I explored the poet within.

My greatest accomplishment this year is realizing that its OK not to the superwoman I always tried to be. I learnt to acknowledge defeat, to hurt, to feel and to let people know it. I learnt to be human. And that meant to feel, to hurt, to cry, to laugh, to jump, to make mistakes, to be a child, to just be. 

Another great step this year was goal setting. I made a decision last year to travel to Sri Lanka and I actually saw it through. I never was good at long term planning and to be able to actually go from concept to planning to execution was amazing. The trip itself was amazing and life changing in many ways. 

2007 was also the year the cynic in me died, a little at least. I experienced a whole spectrum of colorful emotions that helped me open circles and close others. What a different world it is when the cynic is quieted. You see so much more. You don’t get in your own way with your misgivings about the genuineness of life and its beauty. 

I think back to last year and what the fortune teller on the streets of Bangkok said to me. He asked my birth year, played with the numbers and looked into my eyes while he held my hand and said “30 good, 31 better, 32 BETTER: good money, good job, good lover!” Thirty has been good and if the next two years are gonna get better than this then I look forward to ring the year away and welcome the new one with open arms, closing the circles of the year only to open new fuller, bigger ones.

We have all received them those lovely letters that declare love, friendship, and eternal bonds, good fortune or bad… blah blah blah blah! Don’t you hate those chain letters, messages, Facebook posts…etc.? They are everywhere, and it’s annoying.

I remember being a child and receiving them in my school bag, let there anonymously and even as a child I was unimpressed. I played the game once or twice handwriting the 10 copies that we were supposed to send out before bad luck befalls us, or wait for our true love to reveal themselves. Today they have become a bit more sophisticated with issue relating to health, internet viruses, wealth and even Microsoft shutting down. 

What amazes me is the fact that so many adults continue to press the forward button and send these annoyances into the world. Well the letters die here. Any chain letter sent to me no matter how mushy, cute or touching comes to its final resting place with me, the recycle bin. If something is legitimate I don’t need something devised by a complete stranger being sent enmass from stranger to stranger to stranger until it reaches someone I know and I receive it! If I want to express anything I can do it for my self thank you very much. 

To all my wonderful friends who keep sending me that crap, know that I love you dearly, but I will NOT send back a friendship chain or forward any hacker, virus, money racket letters, or any mushy made up stories about cancer or otherwise. You can continue to send them even though I vehemently detest them (yes I am aware that these are very strong words), but they will not be returned no matter how special you are. So I love you dearly but cut the crap, and don’t feel the need to send this on. 

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