Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Terrible Two's

My daughter, Amber, is turning two on December 4th. They say that two-year-olds are often terrible, bad-tempered, hard to control, reactionary and impatient little critters. I'm starting to see that!

From an active, happy, easy-to-manage toddler my little girl has become scared, with tantrums and can get into fits of jumping or screaming or both. She has mastered the art of stealth and invisibility that you can look in the bathroom one minute to see it is all clean and tidy and with just a blink of an eye, you discover this pint-sized person splashing water all over and drenching herself in the process!

So I do not really look forward to these years. But then, she can now express herself more. She shows preference for food, clothing and can even crack up a joke or two. It is amazing how quickly they grow. The silver lining in this particular cloud is that...she'll only be two for a year! That isn't that long now is it? We'll just have to bear it as millions of parents have.

Perhaps it is time to teach her some "bad" words? She had indeed learned "Aw shucks!" from me! I really need to check what I say to make sure she does not pick up more!

Aw shucks!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

So Many Deaths

November 2. Rumour spread quickly like wildfire that HE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at 82, had passed away. He had been ill and had been at close calls a couple of times before but this time, it seemed that death had finally claimed him.

Everyone was sad and the entire country spent eight days of mourning. It seemed appropritate that he passed on during Ramadan, when Muslims fasted and prayed, because it seemed proper to mourn him in this fashion - fasting, self denial and meditation - for his life was one of incredible leaps and bounds that benefitted not only his people but a lot of those who have chosen to find greener pastures on distant shores.

Not long after that, Yasser Arafat too passed on. Whilst CNN and even BBC was busy talking about the results of the US election, HE Sheikh Zayed got a customary "running" byline on the TV screens reporting his demise. A week after, Arafat got more coverage for his life and death and news on him ran longer.

It seemed a bit odd. Sheikh Zayed, who lived a life of peace, made his people prosper, gave back to the country the wealth and developed the UAE to an outstanding metropolis got nothing more than a running byline or an end or closing report from one of the Arabic stations broadcasting via E-vision. While Arafat, who had spent his life, ok promoting and supporting the Palestinian cause - but had been, according to CNN reports greatly involved in terrorist actions got more air time. Surely he was more prominent as a personality. Indeed he was more popular. But compared to the achievements of one man against the other...?

Makes us realise what our priorities are, even when how we deal with what's notable and what's not. Acts of violence and division will definitely get more air time. Just take a look at the Gulf War. Meanwhile, stories to inspire us, real human beings to take on as role models for our youth go running by at the bottom of the TV screen, more often unread, unknown, unshared.

Sadly, I'd rather watch 'The Apprentice' than the frigging news anyway. "Money, money, money, money..."

Dada died.

Her name is Brenda Mapa. She was taking up Library Science in UP Diliman and was an active member and later officer of the Center for Nationalist Studies, CNS - an activist organisation in UP Diliman.

Dada as we fondly called her could effortlessly blend in the background of a small square room when she chose to. Her face was very kind and approachable...someone whom you won't be intimidated to ask a question or, the time.

Despite her soft-spoken, almost-a-whisper voice, she could be forceful when needed. I remember one such situation when everyone was arguing and heated comments have been tossed around. She spoke, her voice like a thin spray of cooling ice to put everyone back in perspective. A subtle yet powerful voice of reason.

When a friend emailed me that she had died, I remembered her and suddenly missed her. How sad for someone so young to have your life and energy snuffed out of you. But perhaps, her time has come and she is meant for bigger and better things, not of this world.

They say that 'only the good die young'. Dada was indeed one of the few good ones. I only wish I had the chance to properly say goodbye instead of this lousy blog.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Talata Talatin!

That's (the title of this blog) thirty-three in Arabic. Tatlumpu't tatlo, trenta y tres, trent trois, san ju san...33. Whew! It seems like a hundred years to today, this age, when I was 16 but now I am actually in this feels good to be 33. I have my family, my health, my sanity (and lack thereof), my job, my friends. They say that double numbers are lucky - like in mahjong you get double-pay, double numbered years also get twice the blessings (and the abd luck!). I have an entire year to actually prove this right (or wrong).

It's the end of the world as we know it....!

I've just watched "The Day After Tomorrow" and always when I watch films with these theme (Armageddon, Deep Impact, Independence Day, etc.) where man is pitted against a foe so powerful there is not other choice but death or survival of a very (to a point unlucky) few, I'm reminded of human frailty and the future generation.

Truly, I would not wish any natural calamity of such magnitude to ever scare, beset, upset or be experienced by, my daughter. Naturally, I would not wish it on any of my loved ones in our life time. But what if....?

I tossed and turned in my sleep last night just grappling at the idea that such things, though remote and highly unlikely still have a percentage of possibility. Catastrophes like this truly will check if we are made of sterner stuff...and brings us into perspective - the things that really matter and that is life and the lives and well-being of our loved ones.