Monday, June 30, 2008
Lionel is a handsome Malaysian engineer who is one of the few I respect, for his commitment to humanity. He doesn’t blog, but he is one of my new readers who have showed me that his handsomeness is not limited to his face but also in his heart.
So here is something that happened sometime back on my way to a work location called Bamboo.
I have often wondered why that place got that name because I haven’t seen any Bamboo trees around there and I presume that the name must be African slang.
My errand was to update some drawings by visiting the location and to mark the modifications that have been done and add it in the task book for trainees. It was not a hurry burry job and so I started from base camp at about 9AM in my pick up truck.
Bamboo is almost 25 km away from our camp and in worst seasons the road becomes a challenge to us, until it reaches the private road to the station.
I was almost half away in the private road leading to Bamboo station, when, for a second, there was nothing visible in front of my eyes…a total blackout.
When I opened my eyes I noticed that I was slightly off the road, neverthless not out of the road totally.
It was difficult for me to believe that for the first time in my life that I dozed off for a second, while driving.
That was close!!!!! Really really close!!!
If there was a vehicle around in front, the result would have been disastrous. I know very well what to do if you happen to doze while you drive.
I remembered the words of the instructor in my defensive driving course at Shell training centre long ago.
“Stop the car and get down and relax, walk around, if you have water in your vehicle splash it on the face and at worst case, take a nap at the driving seat for 5 or 10 minutes.”
I parked the truck properly on the right side near the shade of the small tree and got out of the truck and stretched myself, took a deep breath, splashed some water and walked around looking at the flock of white cranes that crowded around a nearby pool.
A few of them strolled away from the group but a bunch nearer to me, were watching me with their curious eyes.
I got in my car again and decided to take a small break by adjusting the alarm in cell phone for 5 minutes. I rolled down the window, adjusted the seat for a comfortable position and closed my eyes. Ten seconds might have passed as I heard the knock from some where.
Tuck! Tuck! Tuck! Tuck! Tuck!
I opened my eyes and looked at the windows…nothing!
Looked at my rear view mirror…nothing!
I straightened my seat and looked around…nothing!
I thought that may be it was just my senses playing with me. My cell phone will go in about another 5 minutes.
I closed my eyes again.
Tuck! Tuck Tuck Tuck
I got out of the truck…not a soul around the car. I walked around the truck.
The area was empty except a lone white bird standing underneath the truck pecking at insects from the mud. It didn’t even look at me.
A little away north was an oil well with its pumping accessories but no one was seen except those few pure white feathered birds.
The cell phone alarm went on in my pocket, freighting me; making me jump.
I cancelled the alarm and went in the pick up, opened the glove compartment, looking for a magazine.
Instead of magazine I found some left over of roasted sun flower seeds I brought from Khartoum. While Leaning back on the seat properly, I fingered the first striped black and white seeds from the small paper bag as I heard the unmistakable sound of knocks again; this time feeble but sharper.
I looked in the rear mirror and side mirror ….nothing there.
Turned my neck a 180 degrees and couldn’t find any a trace of any creature. All quite round me and the truck.
Tuck tuck….the knocking again!!!
I got out and did the same procedure…no body except the small pure white egret pecking at insects.
I looked at it with suspicion and it looked back at me with its small innocent eyes.
It is weird that no one was around yet somebody was knocking!
I got inside the car again and the knocking appeared from backside.
This time I waited for the next knock, looking at the side mirror and then I saw a flashy white movement through my side mirror.
It was the Egret knocking on the metallic bumper and the same time looking at the door and it waited for me to open the door to go underneath the car like an innocent baby.
I saw the mischievous bird moving in calmly under the car as I opened the door.
OMG! I couldn’t hide my laugh!
My laugh probably looked alarming to her, as it flew a few yards and sat staring curiously at me. (I don’t know if it is he or she but as it is so cute and me being male, I for the convenience will call it her)
I took out the packet of sunflower seeds and threw at it. Though freighted first, she came and pecked ate it, swallowing it one by one.
Now it was my turn to take a pic of this girlie!
I took out my camera and was ready in minutes. At the sight of the camera she got wise and went underneath the truck.
The moment I put my camera down on the seat, she came out to watch my moments.
Now I know it was playing with me
I took the camera out one more time, to make sure about her sequence. Yes, she jumped under the safety of the truck.
Now I know I need to take a pic of this naughty friend, no matter what!
I entered the car with the camera and I looked through the right side mirror, the little rascal was peeking out from the safety, with just its head out.
I kept quite and continued watching her through the clean mirror with out getting out. she slowly came out tiptoeing, all the while keeping her eyes on my driving side door.
I waited and watched. Now she seemed disappointed at my loss of interest and moved near the bumper and pecked it vigorously, and immediately jumped under the car again.
I didn’t move as I wanted her in my camera. I took my grey working gloves and slid it on my right hand.
Looking at the mirror I slid my camera out through the window with my right hand and positioned it towards the back of the car, my eyes focusing on the viewfinder through a reflection from the mirror. I adjusted the distance and exposure to make sure I get her clear without giving her a chance to see my hand. All done under 30 seconds, with just a hand and a finger resting on trigger and my gloves worked as a camouflage to fool her.
Now I saw her head coming out with caution.
A full minute she waited with just her yellow beak visible to me, looking intently at my door.
Seeing no moment, she came out fully away from the truck, with her neck leaning high to watch me in case I get out.
I pressed the trigger and got my first pic.
I thought she was going to will fly off; unsure … instead she moved further expecting me to come out any moment and I clicked again a second time.
I have her second pic here.
This time she heard the sound and in a second she was flying away from me and joined the group, far away near the pool.
I was sorry when she flew away.
She wanted to be friendly with me and I feel that I took advantage of her for a few pictures???
I think I am to blame!!!
BTW: I am taking a short break for 4 weeks. I may read you all, but I may not comment in your blogs, unless I have a post for you.
Who knows, I may post too !!!
Bye ! Bye !
Friday, June 27, 2008
let me just see you enough, my need
times recent, I have this feeling that you are a virus
brimming happiness, vaulting barriers as in circus
a smile that forms in thee, here with you
something special gleaming in those eyes, I knew
this way, unlike others, I do love you my virus
be with me all day, rule me, my world; like great Cyrus
walking away as you do often, as you said you wanted
crazy I am; I just feel inside empty, my soul haunted
The current song was played here once before. But I feel that it is worth playing one more time.
“Little wings” by the corrs.
Use a head phone if you really love music.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday was a fine sunny day until the early noon hours.
Then the clouds all of a sudden started to roll on like a crazy spinning wheel. They came from all over sky to join this exodus of a virtual vortex in the sky, darkening and covering the whole area like a black canopy
I reached before the rain and stood watching the clouds before entering by office with out putting down my back pack. As usual, where ever I go I carry my backpack.
It is a bit heavy, considering the not so small laptop and the camera I carry daily.
Haven’t you seen it here before? I have posted the picture some time ago.
Oh, come on! It is ridiculous if you say u can’t remember it. Well, not every one is smarter than me. LOL
If you haven’t seen it before, you can see it here.
Let me continue now.
I was standing in the balcony with this special second skin of mine… my one and only back- pack, the hard & cool voice of my friend and my laundryman Hamza, jolted me
“Hi jac” the large smiling man with lot off sparkling white teeth, beamed at me.
“Hi hamza” I answered shaking his hand but not averting my eyes from the sky.
“Tell me Jac, what is in your damn bag” he tried to frisk and patter my bag.
“I haven’t seen you with out it” he was now taking a dig at me “are you keeping all your savings here… may be in diamonds in this ? hahahahaha” he continued in his gruff voice.
“I am sure that you sleep with it too man!” he is now laughing loud.
I smiled looking at the clouds but not bothering to answer.
“Or else tell me really what you have in this” he was not going to leave me alone to watch the clouds.
So I thought I will answer him and get rid of him.
Before turning around and facing him, I tried to remember what was inside the bag.
My laptop, my camera and its lenses, my mobile charger and then I stopped….I didn’t know what else was there.
I thought it as ridiculous that I can’t remember what was in my own bag.
I turned around to tell him that I don’t know what is inside, and saw him walking away saying “Jac is day dreaming, Jac is day dreaming”
“Day dreaming… my foot” I swore at him under my breath.
I forgot all about the incident since I was busy correcting my trainee’s filled up task answer papers at my desk.
Back in my room at 7 PM, while I was placing the bag on top of the fridge, I remembered Hamza’s question about the contents of the bag.
With out changing my coverall, I cleaned my computer table that I normally use doing something with my laptop and empted my bag taking out all, one by one.
Take a look!
Gosh! I didn’t know that I carry so many things every day on my shoulder.
1 HP Pavilion 17'' lap top.
2 My camera.
3 Two lenses for the camera.
4 Two mobile phones, one with ear phone .
5 An mp3 player with earphones.
6 A mouse for the laptop, in case if I needed one.
7 My wallet .
8 My travel pouch with next vacation ticket, work permit and residence permit.
9 My 2 passports.
10 Pair of spare batteries for the camera.
11 A can of lens cleaner.
12 My leather key case.
13 My chap stick for my lips if it gets dry.
14 A tube of glue.
15 A roll of toilet tissue. (See I am Mr Clean ) .
16 A flash memory stick.
17 A Bluetooth adapter .
18 Half rapper polo mint.
19 Half used pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum.
20 17 office clips.
21 3 pens.
22 Half strip of pain killers.
23 One mobile phone charger .
24 My laptop charger.
25 An external hard disk of 160 Giga.
26 A brush to clean dust from laptop key board.
27 A comb (I don't know why I keep it, I am bald :D)
28 My sunglasses.
29 A mini tube of hand lotion.
30 A set of ear plugs.
31 My driving license.
32 A mobile tooth brush( I don’t know how it came in my bag)
If you carry a bag like mine or a hand bag or even a ladies bag, then check it out and see what an amazing array of small arms you are carrying !!!!
You think I am joking?
You do it now and see for yourself.
Come on lets do it now!!!!
For the past 2-3 months our company server has been experimenting with softwares that prevents people from misusing official internet for downloading and listening music. It has affected my uploading of music in the site and to play. But I have ways to tunnel in dicreetly. But I can't hear any music playing in my blog. I get the feed back only from you.
Inserted music is Elton John singing "Dont let the sun go down on me"
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Prologue: My Parents are no more.
I could neither see the two small girls who were waiting with a bunch of neatly tied wild roses at the exit of the railway station, nor did I see a group of elders waiting along with the girls to receive me…............ instead I was looking at the changes that came in that old railway station since I last visited it, almost 7 years ago to attend Henry's funeral.
I was looking at the neatly painted wood and concrete fence, painted fresh with a cute white and pink on alternate pillars.
The old building that was the parcel container was replaced with a new concrete structure. The old building was donated by my mom and what was left of the building was a board with her name in faded chrome paint still shining in Congo red colour.
My eyes went beyond far end of the railway station, scanning for something so vivid. I saw what I was looking for, the huge old May flower tree still blooming with red and yellow flowers.
I remembered that the tree was older than me and my mom.
I used to play the soldier and robber with those buds of Mayflower with her while waiting for the train to arrive.
She would win easily, giving me a chance to watch her beautiful laughter of victory. She was the one who taught me how to play that game on one of our very few journeys together.
Though our tickets were always booked first class, she would refuse the guard’s request to use the VIP waiting room…instead she would lead me to the crude wooden bench beneath the tree with yellow and red flowers covering the earth all around us.
She was well known around this country, where she was born and brought up.
At those times while she was in her territory, she was a kid mostly, and acted like a wild butterfly.
A few minutes of the news of her arrival would bring a dozen young girls at her door.
She would play with young girls keeping an eye on me and winking wickedly at me.
With my Dad she would always politely refuse travelling by car when he tries to reson with her to use his car and driver, simply because she wanted to enjoy the country. What she would say to my dad was that the roads being bad and the train being safer.
I knew what was her likes and dislikes.
She was not woman at those times. In her country she was a girl fluent in her language, talking to the old grannies as if she is one of them, and also to the cute black skinned children like a bubbling kettle.
Some body touched my hand calling me ‘little master’.
I saw the black guard, who was standing on the platform looking at me at the door blocking the pathway.
I was still "little master" to him.
“There are all waiting for you at the gate Sir. We are about to go…just waiting for you to get down” He added and smiled.
He looked at me intently for a second and then added gravely “My respect to the late master… I always waited for him whenever he came by train”.
“I know Mickey" I answered looking elsewhere as I didnt want to look in to his mellow eyes.
"Thanks for remembering him” I answered to Michael the guard.... visualising in my mind, his surprise and wonderment in his face when he realised that I remember his pet name so well.
That was what my dad called him fondly…Mickey !!
I slowly got down from the first class cabin, as he ordered some one to take my luggage.
I shook my head and showed him my backpack, letting him know that it was my whole luggage.
I also wanted to tell him that I was here on a mission, and what I needed was just a pen, to sign a legal document that would be my last link with the place.
I was aware that I won't see this place again, but I just kept my mouth zipped.
I walked towards the exit gate nearby, waving to Mickey as he was whistling the train to go.
Just before the exit gate I had the urge to turn around, and I did, towards the platform and at the moving train, watching each and every compartment…each one flashing in my mind, gaining speed like a movie, spontaneously giving me glimpses of her and her laughing eyes.
I stood still with my tearful eyes a long minute, looking at the tail end of the train fading away like a big python, while I waited for the moisture in my eyes to subside.
I regained my posture and turned around facing the group and smiled. "Here I am" I said.
I accepted the bunch of flowers from two little black beauties...my late uncle's grandchildren. I looked beyond the group and saw a pair of dark and deep eyes behind the faces looking intently at me.
When it comes to music, I don’t have a language barrier.
I can enjoy music when I am in a happy mood or when it dips to the lowest too… provided that the music suits my mood.
Here is one of my favourite Arabic songs, a sentimental ballad by the famous Lebananee artist Hussein El Jasmi singing “Wallah ma yeshwa”
Thursday, June 12, 2008
An old cowboy sat down at Starbuck's and ordered a cup of coffee.
As he sat sipping his coffee, a young woman sat down next to him.
She turned to the cowboy and asked, "Are you a real cowboy?"
He replied, "Well, I've spent my whole life breaking colts, working cows, going to rodeos, fixing fences, pulling calves, bailing hay, doctoring calves, cleaning my barn, fixing flats, working on tractors, and feeding my hogs, so I guess I am a cowboy."
The old cowboy eyed the woman and asked ''what do you do young lady ?"
"I'm a lesbian."
"I spend my whole day thinking about women."
"As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. "
"When I shower, I think about women.
When I watch TV, I think about women. I even think about women when I eat. "
She continued with a gleam in her eyes, "It seems that everything makes me think of women."
The old cowboy looked surprised at first, but later nodded his head in agreement.
The two sat sipping in silence.
A little while later, a man entered and sat down on the other side of the old cowboy.
He surveyed around and finally his eyes lingered on the old cowboy. There was remarkable respect in his eyes.
He asked him with admiration , "Are you a real cowboy?"
The old cowboy hesitated a moment before replying, "I always thought I was, but I just found out that I'm a lesbian."
Current music :- "Bye, bye traveling bues" by Merle Haggard
Sunday, June 08, 2008
labels intact, each day polished to a shining hue
neither silver nor gold, it’s whitemetal so rare a few
hand made art, studded stones in red, yellow and blue
to know it now... it is no more a dream to boast
glanced with pity one more time, before it is lost
it is alive for you to look, time enough for a final toast
flung away it will stay, dazzle lost; stone cold as frost
Current song is Backstreet boys with their "show me the meaning" which is one of their all time favourite.