Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Friends Really Like Me

My friend T messages me at work.

"Hey, you are going to be on stage at the BSA show this year?"

"Yes," I reply.

"How long is your part?"

"Well, let's see." I answer, full of pompousness. "There is the small role in the fashion show, so let's say 2.5 minutes there. Then there's the 20 minute play where I am there for half the time, and again near the end, so say 11 minutes. And finally, the Disco Mollah #2, which you can put down for 1.5 minutes."

"OK." T goes offline.

A few minutes later, T signs back.

"Hey, Mezba, I just realized one thing."


"I just added up all your minutes on stage, and it tallies up to fifteen. So you will literally get your 15 MINUTES of fame at the show!"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Soccer, Hijab Information Appeal

I need pictures of famous current soccer players sporting headgear/jewelery on the pitch. Weather it be a bandanna, ear ring, nose piercing, caps, whatever. Male or female.

If you don't know, it's regarding this story. I have always said that Quebec is the most racist province of Canada (even more than the so-called redneck Alberta), and immigrants seem to have a harder time there, especially if you don't know French.

If someone also knows the identity of that referee please tell me, as well as any information about her. I would like to know just how "Muslim" that referee is - since that is being branded about as an excuse for this not being an example of racism - which it is.

The right of a woman to wear the hijab is non-negotiable. It is a shame that while Canada fights in Afghanistan to "free" women so they can wear what they want, that right is stripped away at home.

What is it with the French and the hijab?

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Saturday's Good Deed

Car Buyers: People who suddenly realize they are somehow related to me when they need something.

Me: Suddenly elevated to position of "car expert". Basically because I own a car and can drive said relatives around.

Bengali: The code language the car buyers speak in with each other, completely mystifying the sales person. It's like a spy language, only more poetic.

Uncle (Desi):
  • "There is only one car company and it's called Toyota."

  • [Grudgingly] "Yes, Mercedes is also another good car."

  • "Honda is motorcycle company. They make cars?"

    Uncle's Daughter (ABCD):
  • "Because all my fob friends drive one" is a valid excuse to reject the good deal they were getting on the Toyota Corolla.

  • "Let's get this car, I LOVE the color!"

    Aunty (wrapped in shawl):

  • "That car looks good" [pointing to a Ford] - Uncle nearly has a heart attack at the heresy. Thou shalt not praise American cars, woman!

  • "Let's get this one, the back seat is really spacious," - turns to daughter - "you can put all your future five kids here!". Turns to salesman and starts talking about how they are looking for a groom for their daughter. Daughter nearly dies in embarrassment.
  • Friday, February 23, 2007

    11 People Bat ...

    I decide to teach Random White Canadian (RWC) something about cricket.

    "Hey look, Canada is in the Cricket World Cup."

    "Oh, ya?" RWC's interest is piqued. "When does it start?"

    "March 13." I reply. "Canada is in Group C, with England, New Zealand and Kenya."

    "Are we any good?" RWC's next question cuts to the point.

    "Well, sure." I answer. "I am hoping we can cause an upset against England."

    "Hmm." RWC pauses for a moment. Suddenly he has a light bulb moment.

    "Wait, wait." He tries to recollect, "didn't we cause an upset in the last world cup?"

    Uh, oh.

    "Yes, yes." I desperately try to cut him off. "Look, this server is going down."

    "Now, who did we beat?" RWC scratches his chin as I desperately wish I had stuck to discussing why the Maple Leafs suck. His eyes go big and he snaps his fingers.

    "Wait, it was BANGLADESH who we beat last time!" He looks at me. "Is Bangladesh a good team?"

    "Did you hear me? This server is going DOWN!"

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Take A Look At Us

    I was reading two articles from the tabloid The Toronto Sun today.

    In the first one, Thane Burnett laments the fact that his daughter's 16th birthday does not invite him, and her party had over 50 guests, many of whom are boys much older than her, and "now influence my daughter more than I do". He rants against the smoking and the cursing at the party, and fondly recalls much younger milestones.

    In the second article, Michael Coren, a neo-conservative whose previous diatribes were mostly about how the Christian way of life was being swamped by Islam and why the West should care, and why God's law is law and how multiculturalism is a dirty word, gays are the spawn of Satan (or something to that effect) and so on, now rants about how the Western society is slowly sliding into an abyss.

    He compares teenage suicide rate, school challenges faced by principals, women's liberation (an oxymoron amongst religious fundamentalists), divorce rates, single parenthood, rise of STD and other such pessimistic figures and concludes that the 1950s were the golden age of Western civilization.

    I could not but help think back to my own 16th birthday. I had just finished cramming for the hardest exams on the planet (the O Levels). It was just my friends - close friends - and all guys. My parents were never banished anywhere.

    Maybe a more equivalent comparison would be my sister's birthday parties, right here in Canada. Even if there were guys, these were either her good friends or sons of family friends. Never were the parents out of the scene. Smoking? No way. Even my uncle who smokes at the age of 50 would puff out if his father, my grandpa, walked into the room. There is a culture of respect towards our elders, that is undeniable. Family ties are strong, even though it's hard to believe at times.

    What about Coren's worries? In spite of his vast irrational fears of the Muslims taking over Canada, I would bet bottom dollar that all those figures that he mentioned, they are much lower amongst the Muslim (and not just Muslim, amongst immigrant communities of South Asians, Arabs, Chinese, Africans even if they may not be Muslims) population than amongst the general populace.

    It is time we are proud of our qualifications. Most of us finish university, we do no drop out of high school and become vagabonds. We may listen to hip-hop but we do not become gangsters. We may date but we avoid single parenthood and on most cases, pre-marital sex. Yes, we are not ignorant to believe there are no abortions, there are no drop outs, there are no drug abusers, there are no fatherless families, but the numbers are much, much lower. Our way ... works.

    If you want your ideal picture of a 1950s life, or what's the good out of that value system, Mr Coren, take a look at us. If you want to be invited to a 16th birthday, Mr Burnett, come to one of ours.

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Parental Advice

    "MOM!" I yell from the base of the stairs. "I am going out."

    She peers down the stairs. "Lock the door and set the alarm on your way out."


    "When will you be back?" She asks. I am now tying my shoes.

    "I will be late." I reply. "I am going out with T and E."

    "Shall I put food out for you?"

    (Haha. Put food out. Like a cat. We put the food out for our cats. And now, apparently me.)

    "No." I answer. "We are going to this Indian restaurant, Babur, ..."

    "INDIAN restaurant?" Mom makes a face. "I don't know why you kids want to waste money on an INDIAN restaurant. After all, you can eat that stuff here, right at home!"

    Beards - A Woman's Take

    A guest blog post by Nowal.

    So sure, you can now argue with me why the hijaab and beard are obligatory in Islam. Call me a firebrand, but I think beards are just ridiculous when they are worn as a sign of being a Muslim. Hijaabs as a gauge for your “Muslimity”, I understand and approve. I understand the moral and practical reasoning and I have seen the wonders it does for you (bad hair day masks). But let's take beards. Why do Muslims feel this compulsion to sport a beard, which btw, is NOT fard. It's wajib, or makruh or nafl. Not fard. So reasons, right:

    1. The Prophet kept one. He asked his ummah to keep one.
    Fair enough. It's Sunnah. More rewards if you keep one. It's like Tahajjud prayers or drinking fresh camel milk. You can use that extra sawaab.

    2. Distinguishes you from the effeminate men.
    Define effeminacy - "Effeminacy is character trait of a male showing femininity, unmanliness, womanliness, weakness, softness and/or a delicacy, which contradicts traditional masculine, male gender roles." (Google)

    Let's tackle each of them separately, eh?

    Femininity - women who have hirsutism have a massive amount of facial hair. Hirsutism could be congenital, hormonal imbalances (genetic or neoplastic reasons). So for those of you who have never walked past the women's toiletries aisle in Shopper's - go check out those upper lip wax strips and trimmers. A desi women's salon is a lesson in 101 ways of hair removal techniques. And laser hair removal was not just meant for removing chest hair people. Women have "beards" as well. Please read and learn.

    Unmanliness/Womanliness - So manliness is a sign of courage and strength? A lion with his mane sits on his ass all day while the lionesses do the hunting. Or wait, is it ruthless fear? A manly man can induce fear into the hearts of everyone. If this, honestly, is your only reason for keeping that beard ... then dude, you need therapy.

    Weakness/softness/delicacy - So our Muslim men should be strong/hard/tough? Is that what Islam is about?! Force and violence? Are they not allowed to be soft-cored? Well, apparently not. Muslim men = bearded = not effeminate = violent bulldogs.

    Traditional masculine, male gender roles - varies according to culture. In most of the developed and developing nations, I doubt the man is placed under any circumstances to intimidate his business opponent using the aid of his curly, black mass hanging down from his chin. Well, fine. A more realistic scenario - do you think the Afghani militant sends the Canadian soldier off running because of his beard? No. It’s not the size of your beard that matters anymore, neither in the war zone, nor in the conference room. It’s the size of your weapon, be it your gun or your brain.

    3. Distinguishes you from the pagans/Jews/Christians.
    This was mentioned back in the day. I understand. A Sikh man, a rabbi and an imam came out of the pond together after taking a quick dip. 5 seconds. Identify who’s who.
    4. Doesn't let you be a victim of your own vanity. An entire website for your beard. How to groom it, what to apply on it, how to grow it to its maximal potential. Even comes with FAQs! We’re vain. Accept it ... what makes you think keeping a beard is not going to have you obsessively stare at your face in the mirror and apply olive oil once every week?! A clean-shaven man is much less so. Spend 5 minutes shaving off your morning shadow, dab on some of that antiseptic thing and off you go.

    We’re Muslims. We’d rather obsess over moon-sightings than unite our dividing ummah. Trimming a beard so it’s less than a fist-length is haraam! Whose fist do we use as a reference? What if you shave it off because you have a crazy fungal infection growing there? Why ARE we making such a fuss out of the TRIVIAL things when our RELIGION is about to fall apart?

    And while we are comparing and cooing over each other’s beards, Afghanistan and Darfur will self-demolish.

    So what am I trying to get at? Long-winded as it may have been…the reasons why Muslim men justify keeping a beard are impractical. Except for numero uno. Do it because the Prophet did it. Don't do it because it makes you "more Muslim".

    All that being said, some of my loved-ones have beards.

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    Meeting Up With IshyMosa

    First, A Few Plugs:
  • A few friends of mine from McMaster University are involved with a project called Wake Up Bangladesh (Jaago Bangladesh) that aims to get rid of poverty by the metaphoric equivalent of teaching people to fish (skills workshops, education) rather than giving them the fish (charity). It's a great initiative, so do check out Jaago Bangladesh.

  • If you are in Toronto on March 16th, 2007, and can speak Bengali, you MUST attend the University of Toronto's BSA show at Isabel Bader Theatre. Not only do you get to watch the best Bengali cultural show in town, you get to see ME on stage. One of my roles (even though it's only a minute) is called Disco Mullah #2. The other, longer, role is Tipu Bhai. Yes, that's all I can say now.

    Forthcoming Posts:

  • Why I Don't Like Girls Looking For A Guy With Masters (it may have something to do with the fact that I don't have one).

  • My Cricket World Cup Preview (or why the Bangladesh Cricket captain should keep his mouth shut and focus on not embarrassing us).

    On to other stuff:
    I am beginning to hate this winter. Dry skin, chapped lips and what not. Yes, Doctor Nowal did prescribe some treatment (read: Petroleum Jelly) and they did work, but not on the day I was supposed to meet the heads of IshyMosa Productions! Oh quelle horreur!

    We had a great dinner at Rainforest Cafe. I think I am in love - finally I discovered another restaurant that's open late at night other than Lahore Tikka House. I am telling you, that Karahi Gosht was beginning to get a little too repetitive.

    We had seafood pizza. I didn't know such a thing existed. Plus lots of other stuff. Calamari. Shrimp. Must. Come. Back. 1 month of gym gone.

    Waitress: Where would you like to be seated please?
    Samosa [with perfect straight face]: Near those screaming gorillas please.

    Classic IshyMosa Moment:
    Isheeta: That gorilla looks awfully like prospect #2 ...
    Samosa: Well, as long as it's a doctor ...

    Classic Me Moment:
    Isheeta: So, where's your car?
    Me: There! [points at the parking lot with thousands of cars]

    What can one say about Isheeta and Samosa that has not been said already? They are exactly like their blogs - witty, funny, bubbly and very down-to-earth, honest, really COOL people.

    Which reminds me. Next time for our bloggers meet - we must get more bloggers. All the bloggers on my sidebar, you are on notice!

    I am just jealous of the huge marine aquarium they had there.
  • Sunday, February 18, 2007

    A Facebook Valentine Story

    "Honey," the wife suddenly poked her husband. "What gift are you getting me on Facebook for Valentine?"

    "Huh?" Husband took his eyes of Nelly Furtado on CSI and looked at his wife. "Facebook? Gifts? Valentine?"

    "Well," the wife put on her 'hurt-but-can-be-mollified' look. "Facebook has all these 'gifts' that you can give to your valentine, and it will show up on their profile."

    "Oh, I see." Husband nodded. "How much are these gifts?"

    "Oh, must everything be about money to you?" The wife pouted.

    Husband quickly logged on to Facebook and saw he had one free gift to give. Thanking God for Facebook, he selected a Teddy bear and placed it on his wife's profile.

    [3 minutes later]

    "Husband?" Wife's voice now had the 'I-need-something' tone.


    "Look at my friend Baki. She got three gifts. And I have only ONE."

    "Oh, great." Husband was slowly beginning to regret the day he joined Facebook.

    [10 minutes later]

    "Wife?" Husband had a puzzled tone to his voice. "Where is MY gift?"

    "Oh," Wife now had her 'I-am-so-cute' smile. "You know my friend Madiha, who is single? She was soooo lonely, I felt so bad for her. So I gave her my gift. You know I loooooooooove you right?"

    Madiha's profile now had seven gifts, all from girls: "Here you are my choooopooooos! My chinkie pinkie! My gulab jamun!"

    Meanwhile, the single guys who should be giving Madiha gifts are having great fun, giving gifts to EACH OTHER.

    "Here's something you wanted for a long time," Wrote Taufeeq to Adnan. A rainbow colored chocolate box was the gift. "I know you wanted to come out of the closet for a long time haha".

    "Dumbass!" Was Adnan's response. "Here's something you need. Haha."

    A roll of toilet paper was Adnan's return gift.

    Oh Facebook! What have thee done to us?

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Overheard On Bus Today

    One girl telling another, "Oh I dumped him. He was not interested in me physically. Only sexually."

    What does that MEAN?

    How Islam Has Oppressed Men

    *with tongue firmly in cheek*

    That's right. Men. For over fourteen hundred years we men have let Islam (and women) take advantage of us daily, discriminate against us on each and every issue of life, and it's time we fought back and demanded what is rightfully ours, and enlighten ourselves on how Islam is oppressing us men.

    For example, let's start with prayers. I have to put on ten layers of clothes, gloves, earmuffs, then go outside in the freezing cold, wipe the snow off the car, drive to the mosque which is 10 km away, pray in congregation, drive back and by the time I am home, it's almost time for the next prayer. In Islam a man's best prayer is offered in congregation in the mosque. And what does my (future) wife have to do? All she has to do is put the TV on mute, place the praying mat on the floor, quickly say her prayers and then be back to watching Saas Hi Bahu Ko Maar Dala. And Islam says that's her best prayers. WTF?

    So when I time my prayers with the commercials because Smallville is on at the same time as Maghrib, I am neglecting my duties, but for her it's her "best" way of praying and Allah gives her Great Rewards?

    And all those relaxed prayer sessions will no doubt cause her to become lazy. After all we men know women don't really do too much work at home. We have to go out and earn, dammit, it's our responsibility. So if she becomes lazy and gets a little fat, can we criticize her? No, Quran tells us men "it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good" [Nisa: 19].

    We all know women love to shop for clothes. And what does Islam do? Give her an EXCUSE to go shop for clothes.

    "Honey, really, it's for part of my hijab. Seriously. I have to be fully covered, you know. And the Louis Vuitton bag? Well, Islam does not want me to attract men's attentions with my hidden ornaments, so I have to carry them somewhere, right? Besides, didn't Allah tell you men the best dinar spent is the dinar you spend on your family?"

    And we men can't even spend 200 bucks on the Nike basketball shoes because all that is required from us is to be covered from navel to the knee (as if I am some Greek slave). And meanwhile, the wife is going "honey, does this abaya make my ass look big?" Well Islam wants me to tell the truth, darling ...

    What about sex? Surely we men have the upper hand there? Surely a woman who refuses her husband's sexual advances will be cursed by 70 angels for the night? You'd think so, eh?

    First of all, it doesn't say anything about the wife refusing sexual advances during the day. Those Department of Cursing Angels only work the night shift. Second, just because Islam gives you the right for sex doesn't mean you can have it. It's like, A owes me money, but if A doesn't pay up, I can't mug A as he walks down the street. Have to go to court and all that. I wonder if there could be a Court of Appeals (for sex)?

    Husband: "You Honor, my wife the accused has not been having sex with me for sometime now."

    Judge: "How do you plead?"

    Wife: "I plead Not Horny, Your Honor."

    Judge: "Hmm.. well I can't do much here. All Islam says is talk things over and come to a mutual understanding."

    Husband: "What?!! Surely, there must be a verse or two about beating her? All the major religions have it?"

    Judge: "Well, there is, but it's also being constitutionally challenged all the time. And we Muslims are limited to what the Prophet did, and turns out he never beat his wives, the pity. Maybe you can hit her with a toothbrush?"

    Wife: "Well, if he was as built as his toothbrush, we wouldn't be having this conversation ..."

    And I haven't even gotten the tax imposed on Men Who Are Not Thinking Clearly, also known as Mahr. It's time we men called for reformation within Muslim circles. We all know women can't really think properly, so maybe it's time to call for more women to be admitted to scholarly circles so we can manipulate them to make laws on our behalf.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Good V-Morning

    (Me = me, Fib = Friend In Bangladesh)

    Step 1: Kill the joke.

    Fib: "What's up?"

    Me: "Eito, just got to work. Snowing here."

    Fib: "Oh, don't be grumpy, today is Valentine's Day!"

    [me gets more grumpy]

    Me: "So?"

    Fib: "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!!!!"

    [me decides guys in Bangladesh are getting gayer by the second]

    Me: "Actually I am celebrating Single Awareness Day today."

    [cyber pause as I realize Fib may not have got it]

    Me: "So I am going to be in S.A.D. mode all day."

    Fib: "Really? I never heard of that day! It's on the same day as Valentine's Day? Is it something Canadian?"

    [he's serious]

    Me: *sigh* "It's a JOKE! S.A.D. = sad = no valentine = anti-valentine."

    Fib: "oh, LOL!!"

    [five minutes of Fib typing various combinations of LOL, LMAO and ROFL]

    Step 2: Reinforce Desiness

    Fib: "Are there no pretty Bengali girls in Canada?"

    Me: "Sure, lots."

    Fib: "So, pick a proper beauty."

    Me: "Is beauty the only factor? Beauty is subjective."

    Fib: "Screw that. Beautiful is fixed. Slim, and fair skin."

    [me inserts Fair and Lovely commercial here]

    Step 3: Destroy Ignorance which was Bliss

    Me: "For marriage you need to go beyond beauty."

    Fib: "Who the hell is talking about marriage? Just get a girl friend. Have fun. Do furti (masti)."

    Me: "Does everyone in Bangladesh do furti then?"

    Fib: "Sure. Well, all try. Some cannot do it."

    [Fib sniggers]

    Me: "You mean, girls in Bangladesh are so ... modern ... now?"

    Fib: "Hell, ya. Lol you didn't think that? You've been out of the country for too long."

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Dating While Married, Hijabi Pop and Nancy Ajram

    Today while driving to work I heard of this news story that to me appears really messed up.

    Two women were found murdered in the same house in Markham. One was Paula Menendez, estranged wife of Rick Ralph, a radio personality on Fan 590. The other woman was Julie Crocker, the woman Ralph was currently DATING. So here we have a married man dating a woman found murdered in the same house as his wife. And it gets even more bizarre. The suspect, and now accused, is the estranged HUSBAND of this Julie Crocker. So she was dating while married too! [Star]

    You know I am a liberal and all that, but I am disgusted at this "dating while married" thing. If you are married to one person you cannot date another person - that's what I thought. It doesn't matter if you are estranged or not - get a bloody divorce then!

    This Canadian society has made divorce long and hard. Our desi culture makes marriage long and hard. Meanwhile adultery is so easy and common. In my opinion, both marriage and divorce should be easy and simple, and it should be adultery that should be banned.
    * * *

    I listen to Arabic songs occasionally, having been brought up in the Middle East it's soothing when I am in a nostalgic mood. I showed two Arabic music videos to a friend yesterday.

    One was by Haithem Said, and it actually starred a hijabi girl in the video. The other was a Nancy Ajram song (she is one of my favourites).

    As soon as that person saw both the videos, his comment was "Dear God! Why is a hijabi in a music video, that is so shameful and not nice!" Completely ignored was the fact that Dear Nancy in her video was in her night clothes, romping on a bed, shaking her booty in the shower and all that.

    Just because a girl puts on her hijab, do we automatically put her higher up on a pedestal and judge her by stricter standards? Couldn't we just apply the same standards to both girls? And I know I am personally guilty of this. If a normal non-hijabi friend of mine is dating someone, I just view it as "normal" and even though in my view it's not exactly Islamic, I go 'blech'. But as soon as you hear about a hijabi girl "going out" with this guy, all sort of tongues start to wag on why this is so bad and she is so hypocritical.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    The Memo Of 5

    I saw this sometime ago and thought it would be a great thing to do.

    5 things I wish to do before I die:

    1. Get married. I hope to do that loooooong before I die. Like soon. Honest.
    I even made a list of pros and cons and debated the cons. The cons won out
    too. But still ...

    2. Go to a disco after I do no. 1 (with my no. 1). Do they still call it a disco? Look, I could have said I wanted to go to the Great Wall of China or go seal hunting near the North Pole or bungee jumping down Grand Canyon, but I wanted to Keep It Real.

    3. Own a couple of condominiums. Working on it for sometime. But every time I go near the goal, they move the posts.

    4. Convert someone to Islam. Well, everything cannot be about this world (also, I heard the fastest growing group of Muslims is Hispanic young women).

    5. Get my book published. I actually made up no. 5 right now. I have half a
    book sitting on my hard disk for the last 3 years.

    5 types of people I hate: (only 5?)

    1. Pseudo-religious people. Guys with beards who curse are at the top of the list. It's not that they just make out or curse or drink that's bad. It's their sense of hypocrisy, that "I-am-better-than-you because I-wear-this-cloth" or "I-have-more-facial-hair" attitude.

    2. Mean people who are just mean. I am naturally nice and kind (but naturally!) unless someone ticks me off. I don't go around looking to just cause someone trouble and I expect the world to behave that way. Doesn't work.

    3. Welfare frauds. Look, I know you are scamming the system. You don't need to boast about it in the iftar party.

    4. Ultra-Liberal muslims. I don't care if you are religious or not. Seriously. Just don't MAKE UP stuff, OK? Those that go - "prayer was just Allah's excuse to make Muslims meet each other to be friends, and whether you meet at a mosque or at a bar as long as you meet". Also, the "I am going to pray in Bangla" guy.

    5. People who think it's cool to mistreat animals like cats, dogs, pigs, etc.

    5 Things I say often:

    1. Ekta hoileii hoy.. literally means "whatever, anything will do". Usually said in reply to 'do you want the A/c on or off', 'do you want to watch Zee or Sony', 'do you want meat or fish'. Still not reached that point where I reply this to the no. 1 on my first list yet.

    2. "Eeeeesh" - literally meaning "Eeeeesh".

    3. WTF. I have to cut down on this. But I find it hard as so many people around me behave in ways that are so wtf-worthy.

    4. "Well ..." - My diplomatic answer to various diverse types of questions such as "what do you think of so-and-so's new wife" to "is cheese better with egg and bagel or tomato?". Usually appended by "it depends".

    5. "Inshallah." - it means "when God wills". The catch-all phrase I use when I don't want to promise to do something that I have to.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    The New Me

    The tiger has new stripes!

    I know you like it, so pay compliments to designer Shazia Mistry.

    The layout, the color schemes and the banners were all hers - all I did was offer criticism (that too at one in the morning!). So for your next web project, you know the right person to contact.

    At the moment my dear blog is modeling her new dress for me, and I am just admiring her from afar. I wonder if Shazia is doing the same.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    Mean Chicken

    I dropped into my friend Sohail's place after work and gym to pick up some DVDs.

    "Hey, the Raptors game is on in a few minutes." He told me as I hunted around his movie collection for few to borrow. "Want to catch the first half with me? My roommate made Manchurian chicken."

    "OK," I wasn't really into basketball but the bribery of food wasn't to be ignored. "Sure."

    So in a few minutes we were tucking into some delicious Manchurian chicken (and naan bread - weird combo), when there was a knock on the door.

    It was his girlfriend, paying him a surprise visit. I guess I would have to leave earlier than planned.

    "Um," I asked Sohail as he got back and she went to freshen up. "Are we the team in white or blue?"

    Uh oh. Never ask a basketball fanatic a stupid question.

    "You!" Sohail literally got up and admonished me with a pointed finger. "You don't deserve to be called a Torontonian. And you call yourself up-to-date with current news! Man, Toronto is Canada's team! We are white and red, not BLUE! Don't tell me you don't know that Vince Carter has also left Toronto years ago?"

    "No." I shook my head, not really caring. The Manchurian chicken was good.

    "Why, ANYone who doesn't know ANYthing about Raptors is pretty much out of touch, living in a bubble and should move out of Toronto." Sohail declared, oblivious to reality now. "Even my girlfriend knows more basketball than you."

    "Sure," The girlfriend, who had just chosen this moment to enter the room, replied. "What's there not to know?"

    She plopped down on the sofa, took a look at the TV and then turned to Sohail, puzzled.

    "Hey Sohail, where's Vince Carter?"

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    No Fun Please, We Are Muslims

    Snippet 1.

    It was the year 1989. NASA's Voyager 2 had just reached Neptune. The next day at school we were all an excited bunch. Eagerly we discussed the documentary showed the previous night on TV on the sole English channel at that time, Channel 33. It had been on the "slingshot effect", and how Voyager 2 had used it to reach Neptune. I asked one of my class mates, son of one muezzin, if he had watched the documentary.

    "We don't have TV." He replied, "My dad says it's haram. He says the TV is evil."

    Snippet 2.

    2005. RIS. Toronto. The famous Indian speaker Dr Zakir Naik was speaking. A lady stood up to ask a question, "Is music allowed in Islam?"

    Dr Naik answered, "Music is the devil's muezzin. It is a frivolity. Personally, I believe that music is prohibited to Muslims. To me, the only musical instrument that is somewhat permissible is the Daf, because this drum was used during the Prophet's time. We Muslims should be spending our time doing much more constructive things. Music usually intoxicates a person ..."

    Everyone clapped.

    Snippet 3.

    The airport in Pakistan. The year was 1995. The press had gathered to see Jemima (Haiqa) Khan, the new convert-to-Islam and wife of Pakistan's world cup winning captain Imran Khan. Nervous, and feeling slightly uncomfortable, Jemima clasped her hands around her husband's. Quickly, Imran shook his hands free.

    "It's not our way to show affection thus," he told her abruptly, standing stiffly apart from her.

    I remember watching that scene on TV with a sense of awe.

    Snippet 4.

    Fourteen hundred years ago. A young Aisha, wife of the final Messenger of God, narrates the following story.

    "On the day of Eid, the Prophet called me while the Ethiopians were playing with their spears in the mosque saying 'O little red one, would you like to watch them?' I said 'yes'."

    "Then he had me stand behind him and dropped his shoulders so that I could see. I rested my chin on his shoulder with my face against his cheek, and watched from over his shoulder. When I became bored with the exhibition, he said to me 'Have you had enough?' I said, 'Don’t rush.' And so he continued standing for me. When he asked me the second time if I had had enough, I again told him not to rush. I saw him switching his feet from weariness."

    Aisha explains to us, "I really had no desire to look at them, I only wished for the news to reach other women, of the way he stood there for me, and the regard he had for me though I was only a girl. So appreciate the status of a girl young in age and fond of pleasure and fun." (related from Al-Bukhari [Volume 7, Book 62, Number 118] and Al-Muslim)

    And they still say any frivolity and fun is Haram!

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Random Rant

    Dear Human Beings,

    As you know I normally use this blog to sprout my brilliant ideas to change the face of the twenty first century Earth. However, occasionally I go through a boring weekend where I have nothing to do but think. Here are some random thoughts that had been bugging me for a while.

    I realized despite building pyramids that stand to this day and other such marvels, ancient Egyptians couldn't have been too smart. They used to sacrifice virgins to appease the Goddess of the River Nile so it would flood and help their crops.

    What a waste of a virgin.

    If you do have to sacrifice anyone, why not some old people? I am pretty sure you could round up a few relatives who people would gladly volunteer. We all know virgins are rare and non-recyclable.

    Or maybe, those Egyptian high priests were smart after all. Someone had to "test" whether she was a virgin ...

    Then we come to the Islamic world. Somewhere in our books it is said that in the end times, there will be one guy looking after 50 women. Yet, despite this brilliant prediction, we try to persecute gay guys. What gives?

    Think of it this way, the more guys that are gay - the more women that are left for the straight men! So, if one guy is gay, suddenly you can look after 100 women! Why doesn't anyone think like that? If your main competitor looks good, cooks great, knows all the floral combinations and has a keen fashion sense, wouldn't you rather he be gay?

    Then we come to the modern era. Lately I have started to realize that some people are so stupid that they are too stupid to be properly stupid, y'know what I mean?

    For example, dear Dell Technical Support guy. Could you please NOT tell me your name is Harry? It seems EVERY guy in Dell Technical Support is called Harry. When we all know it's really Hariharam Sundarlal Singh Jhunjhunwala.

    Be imaginative man! If you have to pick a name, pick a cool one. How about Guru?

    "Hi! Your laptop not working? I am Guru and I will help you."

    And they never help you! All they ask you is to reboot and press F12 to run the diagnostic. And then they say "Oh it's supposed to be working, we'll just send you a new one."

    Second, we come to Toronto drivers. This is the mantra we follow. When there is snow and ice on the road, of course we can speed. I mean, if we can't see the speed limit sign, that means speed limits don't exist any more, right? And why contribute to light pollution by switching on our lights? Be dark and mysterious, I say.

    Third, do we really need democracy? In the past few weeks, the non-elected caretaker government of Bangladesh has arrested all the top evil politicians (barring the main culprits - the two ladies) and charged them with corruption. In the last two weeks they showed more balls than the previous government did in five years. When the US Ambassador Patricia A Butenis tried to interfere in our local politics, the caretaker government's minister actually had the guts to tell her to f*** off. She got so emotionally disturbed she is now taking an assignment to Iraq. Iraq!

    Now that's called scaring someone off when they prefer Iraq to Bangladesh.

    So it was a crappy weekend with lots of snow and cold and sun. How that combination is possible only God knows.

    Confession: These two females threw themselves at me last night in bed and would not budge.

    Current mood: Sleepy. Tired.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007


    Dear Diary,

    Last night I went to see the latest blockbuster Salaam-E-Ishq with a few friends. Then I came home and watched Snakes On A Plane. And before that I went to rehearsals for this stage show that I am in.

    Dear Diary, here are some things I learnt from Salaam-E-Ishq:

  • To get the pretty lady on the subway to fall madly in love with you, stare down her dress at her cleavage. Apparently this works in London.
  • Cellphones work on the London subways while underground.
  • If you want to woo an old flame, blackmail is the way to go.
  • If you stand in the middle of the streets of Muslim Lahore, Pakistan, and proclaim your love for a Muslim girl while you yourself are a Hindu guy, and she accepts, religious looking people in beards will cheer rather than shout about the gazab of Allah.

    Overall the movie was ho-hum. Nothing ahamori, or extra-special as they say in Bengali, but OK. You won't feel your money being wasted. Some people had told me the 3.5 hours (yes!) would make the movie seem long, but to be honest I didn't feel the movie dragging at all.

    Dear Diary, you know Vidya Balan, my current fav? Well, despite being sans make-up for 80% of the time, she still looked good. Her acting was one the best in the movie. Just to prove I am not biased though, Priyanka Chopra did the best job though in the movie. The songs were well choreographed, especially the title song. Akshaye Khanna was the worst actor, hamming awfully with zero comic timing, while surprisingly Govinda was the best. Six average love stories, an average movie, but stylish visuals and the multi-star cast obviously being the main draw.

    Snakes On A Plane. Now there's a fundas movie! Total B-grade effects, acting, but I had a ball of a time watching the movie. The predictability of the plot did nothing to hamper the fun, it was buckle your seat belts and hold on for the corny script, cheesy special effects and some R-rated fun. Paisa Vasool, as they say.

    You ask about the show I am in? It's on March 16. The last time I was on stage on such a show was three years ago. It's different now, even though some of the people I know are family friends it's such a younger bunch, but as a graduate student I expected that. It might be the last year I can do this, so I wanted to.

    You know what's funny? Sometimes now when I see someone, let's say four or five years younger than me, and he's wearing baggy jeans, tight t-shirts, loads of gel, some bling bling, and I laugh. I can so see right through those characters now, and what they are trying to do. Then when these girls walk into the room in a coat that is chic but really does nothing to protect them against -30 degrees outside, when they emit a fake laugh at some corny joke, you gotta laugh again. Not at them, but that few years back, I was one of that crowd.

    God I feel like Anil Kapoor plus Akshaye Khanna now.
  • Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Writings On The Wall

    Yet another difference between Venus and Mars. Should be really part of this post.

    Message on Facebook from one girl on my list to another:
    WHATS UPPPPPP Girl!!!!! You my shoozie poozie! We missed you last night, chick!!! Wheres our sexy pics of the makeout session lol!!!

    PS. Come over tonight!!!! we r all going for the movie!!!!
    PSS I LAUUUU U.. *muaaah*

    Message on Facebook from one of my guy friends to another:
    Yo dumbass!!! When are you going to return my DVDs? The 'boys' are coming over for the Raptors game.. 7 pm.. be there or be square.

    PS. Bring food.

    And finally, to go down the evolution ladder even further:
    (You need to know Urdu)
    Abeeey baaaeeeeeeeenchoo** *bleep* kaha margaya tu salaaa...*bleep* kamine *bleep**bleep*
    Wanna go for the Legends game on March 3? Woh dono *bleep**bleep* bhi araha hai.

    Phew! Had to do some censoring there. Though, to be honest, I have never understood the reason why "oh ye illegitimate child of one who has done action Jackson1 with his sister" is a term of endearment amongst some people!

    1 (term "action Jackson" copyrighted by Samosa)