Thursday, August 24, 2006

Plans for today

Parents are in Dammam for a day, brother and sister went with them so I have the house to myself for most of the day. Once I get back from work I will have to take care of myself. Scary thought, last time I had the house to my self I was in high school and had my high school exams comming up. Unfortunately I don't know enough people in Riyadh to throw a house party so I will probably grab lunch at Faisaliyah or maybe I will go to Kingdom towers... Interesting I just considered having lunch at the two tallest buildings in Saudi Arabia talk about your high tastes. There is a restaurant on the 11th floor of Faisaliyah towers that has a pretty good lunch buffet and it's cheap, considering the location. So I will go to lunch, grab a bottle of orange juice for dinner and spend the day indoors. I might have to take a few family friends out today but I really don't want to. I promised to take them out yesterday so I guess I should. The rest of the day will be spent with T.V. and the computer. I might do a little reading, but I won't kid myself, compared to the computer reading comes in a solid 2nd. T.V. comes in 3rd, but the ability to turn off your brain while watching T.V. is great and you can control it like nothing else on the planet. You have a remote that changes channels, controls the volume, can turn it off, turn it on and do lots more. I mean who invented the remote? Such an amazing thing... I wonder if we can make something like that for people too. It would be nice to mute some people or just turn down the contrast so you can hear them but won't have to see them.. Or better yet turn them off and turn them on when you are good an ready to deal with them. This song kicks ass Trans-Siberian Orchestra feat. Metallica - Carol of the Bells. I know it's a Christmas song ,but if you are in NY during the winter and stop by Rockefeller Center there is a place, I think it's Macy's but I might be wrong, that has a light show co-ordinated with that song. It was very cool, not to mention cold, last winter when I played host to friends who came to NY and we went there almost every day. I love tuna, I used to hate it before I went to Chicago but after eating it for about 6 years I have come to love it. So even though I am in Saudi Arabia where all the meat is supposed to be halal, Muslims eat halal food just like Jews eat Kosher, I still find myself getting tuna sandwitches everywhere. Sad but true, Tuna is my new chicken. But I have to get my protien from somewhere and being a vegetarian is not an option in an Indian family. If you saw the movie "My big fat greek wedding" I would like to draw your attention to the part of the movie where the girl tells her aunt that her husband to be is a vegetarian and so, he doesn't eat meat. The aunt says, what do you mean you don't eat no meat? Everyone in the house looks at him like he is an alien. Something similar would happen in my house if I ever tried to turn vegetarian. Btw, if sea food is so good for you why are whales so big?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pet peeves

So I know I hate people that smoke in a 5 mile radius of me, but I just found another thing I find exceedingly annoying. People that wear dark sunglasses in buildings are annoying me to death right now. I don't know why that bothers me, it doesn't harm me like second hand smoke does, it just erks me for some unknown reason. I go the the Faisaliyah towers for lunch almost everyday. Its got the closest food court to my office so I go there very often, soo much so that I can find Panino's sandwitch place blind folded and order a tonno (Tuna sandwitch) without moving my mouth. I can do this because the guy looks at me and automatically knows what to make, I get the same thing everyday. So the latest trend amongst men and women at Faisaliyah is to wear dark sunglasses inside during lunch time. WHY ?? It serves no logical purpose indoors. Are their pupils so sensitive to light that they can't even take a little bit of light? And even if it were so, it would be for one or two people folks, not the entire female & male population in one go. Could be that I am being very insensitive to their sensitivities.. Right then of to meet a high school bud.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I was born in Saudi Arabia, though I am not Saudi. My parents were Indian and so I am Indian as well. I wasn't given the option of choosing my nationality at birth, none of us are. For the rest of our lives , usually, we are branded by the color of our passports along with the color of our skin. I have lived in Saudi Arabia for the majority of my life, so I guess I can say I have earned my opinion on the place and the people that live here.
Based on a lifetime of experience I have this to say about the people: Blah (This is a generalization, some of them are actually quite nice)
This blog posting stems from what happened yesterday at the gym. Usually during prayer time, Muslims pray 5 times a day, some of the gym lights are turned off. This encourages people to come and pray. After finishing the evening prayers my brother and I decided we would finish our billiards game before we went down to the pool. Just as I started lining up the qeue to try and corner a ball one of the desk guys, there seem to be about 6-7 of them for some reason when 1 or 2 would do, started shouting at one of the workers. The worker just happened to be Bangladeshi and the guy screamed and yelled at him for about a minute for turning on the ligth 10 seconds too early. I was too dumbstruck to say or do anything. He made fun of his Arabic accent when the guy said "Aasif", sorry in Arabic. When I say shouted and screamed I mean public humiliation, the gym was full of people and this guy was shouting his head of just because the other guy wouldn't say anything in response. What an as**ole. I should have stepped in but I didn't. Next time, if there is a next time, I plan to step in between and just stare at him. If he throws the first punch, great! I am a customer after all and the customer is always right.
In other news I have started programming in php, not that bad really, I think I like the way it declares variables.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rest in peace Nikunj

A friend from IIT and a great guy passed away a few days ago. I just found out, he was a great guy. Excellent sense of humor, quite around new people but once you got to know him he was a blast. He made short quick comments which threw everyone into fits of laughter, played poker, laughed hard, played halo with the rest of the guys and was amazing to everyone. It's really sad, we don't think of our mortality often and when something like this happens you think life isn't assured. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, or today for that matter. He was killed by a drunk driver in Houston. It's surprising how something that happens half the world away can so completely affect you and make you realize how people who you are not even in contact with are still connected to you. I had not talked to him in about eight months or so and I still feel a sense of loss and sadness. I guess it's good to know that he had a happy life. It's sad that he had to go when he had just graduated and had his whole life ahead of him.. Rest in peace Nikunj, it was great knowing you. I will pray for you & that God gives your loved ones the strength to bear the loss.
Think about it, the loss of one person can affect you so much, what happens when you loose your entire family? I am talking about Lebanon and Palestine here. Hopefully there will be peace in the world, life is short enough without young people dying in war.
This post was originally supposed to be about how Pepsi is cheating everyone with the diet Pepsi 1 calorie thingy but I am in no mood to post about that now maybe later.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A lull in life

I'm not completely sure if that is how you spell the word lull, but I don't really care. Been a little boring around here recently, there really isn't much to do in Riyadh.
About every 2 months or so I try to take a week off from working out, that week is approaching rapidly and I must say I am looking forward to it. My body has started to show signs of aging, pains and aches don't go away as quickly as they used to and my legs are starting to complain from all the running. It will be nice to be a couch potato for a week. Though I don't enjoy watching TV too much, my family tends to watch the news all the time and that is pretty depressing right now, the other two alternatives would be to play on the computer, and yes at 25 I still play computer games, or read a book. Reading a book would be the mature alternative but I try to stay away from things that might make people think I am mature. No sense trying to be mature before you are ready for it. I dreamt about skiing yesterday night, I have only been skiing once in my life and I loved it. It was a three day trip and I spent the first day on my back side slipping and slidding down the "bunny slope" it was only after a friend, thank you Basel, convinced me to get on the greeen slope that I finally learnt how to do it right. Getting the tickets for the trip was an experience I will never forget. It was a school sponsored trip at IIT and me and some friends stood in a line all night, outside the student hall, on one of the coldest night in Chicago. We played UNO, had a soccer match, built an igloo and slept underneath the HUB, the name of the old student activities centre, stairs. Despite the misery of being out during the coldest night that year we had an awesome time. It goes to prove that even the worst conditions can be made bearable and even enjoyable by the presence of a few good friends.
I don't think I have any photos from the event but I think it would be cool if I could find some to post here. I will ask around and see if I can find some.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Syed's guide to surviving a Desi wedding

These past few days I had the good fortune of being able to attend the wedding celebration of an old school friend. Seeing the wedding and searching for a guide online made me realize there are no really good guides online on how to survive a Desi wedding. First though lets start with the word Desi, it means anyone from the Indian subcontinent. Even though the governments might be at odds with each other, the people of the subcontinent have a lot of similarities. For example every wedding has rice, lots and lots of rice. At a regular wedding there is more rice than there is fissile material in all the nuclear war heads in the United States.

So how do you survive a Desi wedding? Well it depends on what you mean by survive, there is no hope for the bride and groom, they are treated like prized monkeys in a zoo. Everyone takes pictures with them, feeds them to death and analyzes their choice of clothing/accessories etc(which btw the bride and groom have no choice in) till its 4 am in the morning and the bride and groom can't sit straight anymore and the fake smile is etched into their face forever. So my goal at the wedding was to be as self effacesive as possible, I didn't want to draw any attention to myself so I situated myself as close to the groom as possible. This strategy works rather well, the closer you are to the centre of attention the farther you are from it yourself. If you don't want to be force fed till you feel like you are about to explode in a fury of rice and sweets you have force feed others. If you sit around silently someone will come around and put a feeding tube down your throat and pass rice into you till it backs up and flows out of the tube. This actually isn't too far from the truth, A Desi wedding means gaining about 5lbs in one night, and then there is the singing, god help us. The women folk start singing old wedding songs, these songs have been around for about as long as anyone can remember and have been passed from generation to generation at weddings. After the course of many millennia something that, in all probability, started out as a simple song has ended up becoming a full orchestral ensemble with a choir group an everything.
I survived this one and many people asked when I would be getting married, with the looks of horror the poor groom gave me at being made to sit through a 100 photo sessions I don't think I will be doing anything quite that stupid anytime soon, why put your self through all that trouble?. I plan to elope, that is I plan to elope as soon as I have someone to elope with. Probably go live me life out in Timbuktu or some thing.

In other news some one rear ended my car. It’s like when your little finger gets hurt and you try your best to avoid injuring it further. You usually end up hurting it in every possible way.(ohh the little bunny couldn't possibly hurt me if I pet it, but noo, it has bite the little finger) The more careful I try to be with my car the more I seem to scratch it.