Friday, October 31, 2008

Sometimes I feel like packing it in, giving up, and laying in bed all day and every day until I die.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This is just to let you know, I've eaten the plums in the icebox....

Wait, no. Sorry, wrong stream of my brain. Shall we start over? This is to let you know...I am currently running on 1 hour of sleep, 1 atomic fireball, 1 falafel sandwich, 1 litre of mango juice, 1 cup of coffee, and a whole lot of deflating adrenaline (sing it in the tune of that partridge tree christmas song).
"It's crunch time," says Asmaa as she munches away on dad's cookies. "No pun intended. ha. ha. ha."
Anyone has to admit, 2 papers due on 2 consecutive days in grad school is just pure evil. One down, one to go.

In other news, I think I want to dress up as a witch on Halloween and walk around campus with a similarly inebriated friend of mine. Any opinions on the halalness/haramness factor?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008


I had a dream that I would like to share. It was long with many nonsensical links in the narrative, like any dream.

Right before I woke up, near the end there was this man groaning on the floor. It looked like he was a traveler who was just making his way home. The people passing by didn't think to stop and help him, so he was just laying there. I stopped and asked him what he needed. He needed water so I ran off to find some water. People stared at me, even scoffed at me for trying to help him, as if he was too dirty and unworthy to be helped. But I didn't care.

I found water, and on my way back to the man, I saw a young boy running towards the man. I just knew implicitly that the young boy was his brother. This "boy" was more like a teenager. And at the very moment the boy reached the man, the man lost consciousness, and went limp.

The boy stood looking over his older brother's body thinking that he had just died. Knowing that he had no one else in the world to take care of him, the boy began to shrink. His body was quickly becoming smaller, and more vulnerable until he was about the age of a toddler. He had an expression of utter pain on his face, as one tear rolled down his cheek.

As it turned out, the man was not dead. After being roused and given water, he and his brother reunited, and all was well. It was at this point, just as an onlooker and fairly uninvolved person, that I began to cry. I went and hid behind something so that I wouldn't be crying in public. It was uncontrollable. The people around me thought I was crazy. After all, the man turned out to be okay, so why was I crying?

But they didn't understand that I saw that boy shrinking. I saw him becoming more vulnerable. I saw pain. And it wasn't something that I could just forget.

It strikes me that the same thing happens to us when we lose someone we love or go through a traumatic experience. We shrink on the inside, we close up because we're more vulnerable, we feel our chests being constricted, and our hearts beat slower and heavier in our throats.

I'm awake now. But I still can't forget the shrinking.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free hugs for idiots like me

Apparently Sunday was "Free Hugs" day. I happened to be at a crowded mall and saw a man and a woman holding up two large posters that said "Free Hugs." I watched them for a while, and then felt that I should participate, mostly at the behest of my friend who dared me. And apparently I never turn down a dare.

So I went up to the woman and gave her a hug, and started asking her about the social experiment and making conversation. After all, I felt it was only natural to exchange a few words with someone I had engaged in voluntary physical contact with. So then I turned to the guy and said "sorry, I can't hug guys."

Much to my horror and embarrassment, this individual said "umm, I'm not a guy" in a very feminine voice. So I fumbled for a moment, and then gave "her" a hug, too (what else could I do?). Then I promptly ran away, cheeks flushed.

I swear she looked like a he! Even my friends from afar were surprised that I was hugging a random male, until I explained it to them.

In short, if you're a woman, you should grow your hair long lest someone like me call you a man in front of 10 other people.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Need for Marriage

This post comes in response to some discussion on marriage in the blogger world, as well as various conversations I've had recently.

One of the statements I need to talk about is: "men need to get married because of raging hormones."

An argument I often hear about the difference between men and women when it comes to their need for marriage is that men need it for sexual purposes, and women need it for emotional purposes. This is an exasperating and incorrect viewpoint. On the one hand, it denies a woman's physical needs and thus makes a woman feel unnatural when she has those desires. On the other hand, it also negates the possibility that a male has emotional needs which can be satisfied through marriage. A man who exhibits emotional behaviour is thought to be effeminate or unmanly.

Furthermore, I think this argument is debasing for men. They are made out to be these uncontrollable sex machines. And not that I'm a big fan of men anyways, but I still don't think that's an accurate or fair description of them.

Why do we limit what the genders are allowed to feel? Every human has both physical and emotional needs. To deny their wants and needs is irresponsible and hurtful in the long run.

I think this viewpoint gives rise to a sense of urgency for men. They feel that they need to get married as soon as they can. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can become dangerous if they rush into something they are not mentally, emotionally and financially ready for.

The fact that many Muslim females are pursuing post-secondary education, and may not wish to get married until they finish, seems to push males to find wives from "back home." Plus, young women from the motherland may be easier to "control" because of the collective type of culture they live in. Since women here are brought up in sync with an individualistic approach, I could see how they would be more difficult to "control." I'm not sure why men feel the need to control their wives, but that's a topic for another post.

Marrying from "back home" is dangerous trend. It's more difficult for a woman to marry a man from back home due to issues like cultural differences, but also more tangible and logistical problems such as the male's foreign credentials not being recognized here. Because of this, we find many good women getting older who cannot seem to find a spouse. And it's not like you can get up one morning and get on a flight to marry a stranger from overseas. My individual values would not allow for that.

I suppose now, since I'm "next in line" in my family, I'm starting to feel these pressures at a higher degree. As the months pass, my confusion towards this issue grows. My own wants and needs seem to be in conflict with those of my parents, which is also another cause for concern.

I do not know how to proceed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Places to Cry

My good friend got married a few days ago. And at her wedding, I struggled not to get teared up. I told myself that I needed to maintain my tough-guy image, so I couldn't start bawling in the company of so many people that I knew.

But then I started thinking of all the places I have actually cried. Here is a list of some of them, for your convenience:

1. On a bus in Egypt.

2. At the airport.

3. At my sisters' weddings.

4. On the subway.

5. In a public washroom.

6. In prayer.

7. In front of a computer at school.

8. In an elevator.

And I'm sure I've missed some. When I consciously made this list, my previously-held belief about being a tough guy evaporated.

How can I change the world if I'm just another crybaby?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This video seems to be a bit old, but I just saw it today, and I think it's pretty amazing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

TTC Delays

This morning I routinely got on the subway at Kipling station, westbound towards the University of Toronto. I found a seat and made myself comfortable. I turned up my MP3 player to tune out the world and veg for a while. But destiny didn't allow me to sit like that for long. At Islington station, an announcement was made for all passengers to exit the train and the station, and shuttle buses were to be provided to various locations.

Delays on the subway aren't uncommon. So I exited the train and saw a woman crying uncontrollably, being comforted by a random passerby. It was a strange and unnerving sight. I heard the sirens of police cars and fire trucks in the distance, and was ambling amongst the hundreds of passengers who seemed confused and unsure of what was happening.

As it turns out, someone had jumped onto the tracks on the subway, and was hit by the train as it pulled into the station. Some passengers had witnessed the event.

I was sitting on the shuttle bus on the way to the next station, and thinking how commonplace it seemed, that someone had committed suicide on the subway today. It's obvious that it's a regular occurrence on the TTC since within 5 minutes, they had staff to drive shuttle buses set up for people who wished to travel to other stations, and more employees to direct people in an orderly manner. It was a routine day for them.

But I thought about that person who had deemed life to be so unbearable, that he or she decided it was not worth living anymore. I wondered about what drove that person to the brink, to the edge of the platform in what was such a violent end. I would think that circumstances must have been difficult indeed.

And it surprised me, too, that many of the other passengers were pushing and swearing, and generally in terribly foul moods because they were "inconvenienced" by someone's death.

And while people were put out at the fact that they had to wait that extra 20 minutes to get to their destinations, I wondered about the concept of suicide and how accepted it is in our culture. How does a culture unwittingly accept and internalize the taking of one's own life? Think about it, when was the last time you offhandedly said something like "I feel like killing myself!"? If you're anything like me, that type of phrase isn't uncommon in your daily conversations.

Suicide is not a topic we like to hear about, nor is it one that is often addressed by politicians or the media. It's a taboo subject that is swept under the rug, that is simply called a "delay" on the subway line. Is that how a life's worth is measured at the end of the day?

I think suicide is incredibly perverse in the sense that someone is able to get to a point of such blatant desperation that it feels there is no alternative than ending life. But what's even more perverse is the uncaring, nonchalant, and annoyed reactions of the rest of us towards it.

We don't need police officers and massive fire trucks to be on hand in case of an emergency. We don't need to further develop strategies to clean up the "messes" that people cause and to insure normal, uninterrupted service. What we need is to recognize the underlying reasons why people take their lives, address those reasons, and work hard on developing preventative measures.

Otherwise, we can easily spend the rest of our lives putting out fires that could've been prevented simply by taking away the matches.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Apparently today, my face looks like it just "woke up from 1 million years of sleep." Courtesy of my little sister. Sibling love never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Video Summary of Face

This is the summary of my face today: Mostly because I had to come to class at 8:30 in the morning, and there were 3 girls behind me talking all throughout the class. And putting their feet up on the chair next to me, which I thought was horrendously rude.

I felt like throwing my grapes at them. But I'm too nice. Plus, I wanted to eat them.

I hope tomorrow will be a better day.

ps: is it obvious that I've just discovered Windows Movie Maker?