Saturday, September 29, 2007

More fiction

(Just some more fiction. Similarities to reality are purely and merely coincidental).

I watch dazed as you walk away. I dont know what I'm feeling. Maybe I'm thinking, "Why me?" Maybe I'm pittying myself. Maybe it's what they call hurt. Maybe it's heartbreak. It's like being numb after anaesthesia. Only, I'm fully conscious and able to move my body. But I dont move. Just stare emptily at your silhouette as you drift away.
I cant help but ponder on where'd I go wrong. Deep inside, I hope that you'd come back soon. Sooner than I might think. Right now. But your mind is made up. You know what you're doing. I can feel it. Yes, I can read your mind. We bonded, I can feel what you're thinking. I can actually hear your voice when you whisper my name in your thoughts.

Hurt aint gonna last forever

When love puts you through the fire
When love puts you to the test
Nothing cures a broken heart like
Time, love and tenderness

You think your world is over
Baby, just remember this
Nothing heals a broken heart better than
Time, love and tenderness

Friday, September 28, 2007

Only Hope

There's a song that's inside of my soul.
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold.
But you sing to me over and over and over again.

So, I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope.

Sing to me the song of the stars.
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now, you're my only hope.

I give you my destiny.
I'm giving you all of me.
I want your symphony, singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs, I'm giving it back.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I pray, to be only yours
I know now you're my only hope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fiction

Some of my students have been asking me to write, but I've always shrugged it off. Here's just some aimless scribbling with very little editing and no second looks. Please dont use this in one of your novels or whatever.

I spotted a vaccant parking slot to my left and quickly turned my car into it. Bringing the gear into neutral, I switched off the engine. I drew the windscreen reflector from the console near the gear lever. The powdery substance falling off the edges of the reflector had been reminding me for weeks that it needed replacement. The suction cups on the reflector didnt work either, but they had given up on me a long time ago. I put the reflector against the windscreen and pulled down the sun shades over it to keep it in place. Looking over my shoulder to check the backseat, I found my backpack lying there. It'd be safe there for a while.
I opened the door and stepped outside. A pleasant breeze greeted me. Having been parked under the sun for hours, the car's interior was hot. Wiping the sweat off my face and neck, I slammed the door and armed the car security system with the remote keyless entry, paying attention to the sound of the door lock actuators to make sure my backpack would be safe inside the car, and that I'd have a good chance of finding my car still here when I got back.
I walked through the park entrance and onto the jogging track. I wasnt going to do jogging, just take a walk. As I walked I pondered on the day's events, and found myself satisfied with what I had accomplished that day. I had prepared a progress report for the latest project my team was undertaking, with which my manager was thoroughly satisfied, but I wasnt. The progress I mean. But I decided to shrug it off. A walk in the park isnt the time to think about work.
I watched people walk by me. All kinds of people. Young people holding hands, ageing people trying desperately to loose those extra pounds with the brisk walk, kids playing with their air-inflated footballs. Trying not to think of anything, I made a lap around the track and went back to my car. Unlocking the car as I approached it, I got in. It started quickly on the first ignition. As I turned the key in the ignition, I always paid attention to the temperature gauge as it slid upwards slowly. The petrol tank indicator wasnt working. I need to get that fixed. I also need to get some petrol, to be a safety net in case I run out of CNG some time.

Threaten me

History does repeat itself.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Topi

At the last minute, we found that Kamran Nishat bugged out. He instead asked Zahid to go with us. We left about 45 minutes late at 4:30 pm from LUMS. We stopped at Thokar Niaz Baig to offer Asar prayers. Usman Ghani did the imamat. We then moved on and did the iftar in the bus and stopped at the next rest area to say the prayers. The iftar arrangement was plentiful for me. We bought some cold drinks and chips and the rest area. We also stopped at Bhera rest area for dinner and offered the isha prayers. There was actually taraweeh going on there. I had a cup of tea with Usman. I've rarely tasted worse tea in my life.
Topi is so far off that it seems out of this planet. The road is so pathetic that anyone who commutes to Topi regularly, I think that all his sins should be forgiven. GIKI, in my opinion, is built at a very wrong place. No easy approach and away from everything. While that makes for some calm within it, with a difficult approach, it was anyone's guess why the only teams at the competition were from Islamabad or at most Lahore.
Billions in funds were spent on this place, which might close down because the funds are not flowing in any more. The staff has been cut down and the facilities are not well managed. The hostel accomodation was double rooms for the first year students and single rooms from second year, which is useful. We were accomodated in the common room of a hostel. We got there at 1 am. I couldnt sleep because students were making noises outside the common room somewhere. We got up at 2:30 am and went for sehr at the cafeteria. It was raining lightly and a wind was blowing, making it a bit cold. We beat the cooks to the cafetaria and had to wait for a while until the food was brought to the front. The service was extremely slow as we received our sehr. After eating and having tea, we decided to get a glass of milk shake, which turned out to have a lead time of 30 minutes. We went back to the common room and tried to sleep for a while. At 6:15 am, I got up and got ready to go the AHA auditoritum. Once there, we found a couple of other teams waiting outside the locked auditorium with no one outside. After about 45 minutes of waiting, one of our team mates found a posting at a distance saying that the quiz will start at 8:30 am. We cursed the organizers and went off to get a few things done. Once back, time went by as we saw the organizers in the auditorium trying to set up the computers and projectors. The projection was done on the back walls of the auditorium, which were cream color and with some design on them, which made for extremely difficult reading. With the figures impossible to see, the anchor had to come and draw the figures on a paper for the teams every once in a while.
Several questions were repeated and after objection from participants and audience, they were changed. The planning and execution couldnt have been poorer. The questions and answers were in PowerPoint slides. Several decks of them. The computer operator would blank the projector, sift through his slide decks to find a question and then put it up on the screen, which meant a very long competition. There was absolutely no audienec, except for a few supporters that came with the teams.
The slide decks were also from previous years and you could see 2005 and 2006 occassionally. Plenty of answers were incorrect. For instance, "There can be more than one instructions executing at a given instant of time in a multiprogrammed system." We challenged this and the judges dropped our objection. Then there was "hacking is negative activity, cracking is positive." Now this is extremely controversial. Then, there was the question that resulted in our ouster from the semi finals, "Redundancy in data results in loss of integrity and consistency." We answered that it results in loss of consistency only.
We had two teams from LUMS, two teams from Military College of Signals (MCS). We ousted NIIT, MCS 1 and MCS 2 in the first two rounds and PUCIT lost in the semis, too. The LUMS 2 team gave an excellent fight, but eventually lost on sudden death to Bahria.
You could clearly see from the body language of the organizers how they were biased against LUMS teams. For instance, how the volunteers near the computers running the questions and timers, said, "Shit" when at a crucial stage, LUMS 2 had to get an answer correct to move to the next stage and got an easy question. Then, the judge started pointing his finger at us when we lost in the semis, as if asking for us to get off the stage. Then, before the finals, a volunteer stepped on the stage, to remove the sign saying "LUMS1" form our table since we had lost in the semis, saying "I'll remove this with great pleasure."
By the way, the timer and the question were on separate machines and projectors. How long does it take to build an application that operates that quiz with the timer, the questions, the scores all on one screen? GIKI claim to have excellent programmers, so it shouldnt take more than 15 minutes. I guess they were too busy to do that.
In the second stage of the competition, the teams objected to the projection on the wall, and asked the organizers to project on the regular projection screen. I wonder why the organizers hadnt thought of that themselves. That request was granted. However, it did result in the fact that now, the screen was to our left and the timer to our right. So, while thinking for an answer, we had to look from side to side.
In the end, the organizers apologized for the late start saying that they were rehearsing in the auditorium till 12 midnight. I wonder what they were rehearsing, because they set everything up in the morning hours after scheduled start time.
After collecting our speed programming and software design teams, we got in the bus and headed out. Back on the GT road, we got one of our friends on a bus for Peshawar to see his family, said asr prayers and set out for Lahore. We stopped at a truck stop and had iftar in the form of khajoor and pakoray. We then stopped at Rawalpindi to have dinner at a small roadside restaurant. I listened to the radio for the Pakistan-NewZealand T20 cricket semi finals and reported the proceedings to my friends. Pakistan won the semis and we were on our way after dinner. We dropped Zahid off at Sadar, Rawalpindi and headed off on GT road to Lahore. I slept a little on the bus. We stopped at Mall Road in Lahore at a few minutes past 12 midnight, and had the famous Chaman Ice Cream. Back at LUMS, we shook hands with each other and went to our dorms. It was about 2 am and I had to wake up again at 3:15 am for sehr. Malik Jahan woke me up and we went for sehr.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Topi

In about half an hour, I'll be leaving as part of IEEE LUMS team for the Quiz competition for SoftCom 2007 being held in GIKI at Topi. It'll be a long drive and we're expected to get there at 1 am. Soon afterwards there'll be sehri and then fajr prayers. Our competition is at 7 am, so count sleep out of the equation. I cant sleep during travel in bus/train/aircraft. No preparation for the quiz, just going there for the heck of it. See what happens. With me will be my talented student Usman Ghani and another class fellow here at LUMS Kamran Nishat. As it happens, all quiz team members came to LUMS from Karachi.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Education department

Check this out! Several Masters degree and Bachelors degree holders apply for Peon job (BPS-4).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Little Ms. Saqib





Yesterday, September 4, 2007, I was blessed by Allah with a daughter. My wife and daughter are doing well, alhamdulillah.