Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Meet Ayman Johar

In case you are wondering I am still around! I didn't go anywhere. :)

There are hopes that phone and Internet at home will be introduced to our building soon. Everyone is in high-anticipation mode. Will keep you posted.

I am in the US these days. Yesterday, I literally had my first day off in weeks. I decided to walk around San Francisco and check it out.

Amazing city; loved everything about it. The houses, the people, the shops. South Beach, North Beach, Market Street, Columbus Street and those amazing Italian restaurants, Fisherman's Wharf.. etc.

Had an interesting encounter though. I walked into a grocery store to pick up a can of diet coke and a packet of napkins. I saw a sign that says "Shawarma, Falafel and Hommus." An Arab looking young fella stood behind the counter. "Arabic food, No?" I asked while pointing toward the sign. "Yes," he said in a typical Ara-english slang. "You Arab?"


"Oh really .. min wain enta?" which means, where from in Arabic.

His face lit up. "Min Falasteen. my name is Ayman Johar."

Like myself, Ayman was raised in Kuwait. His family left the country to the US when he was 10 years old after Saddam's 7 months uninvited visit in 1990.

We talked for a good 10 minutes. We talked about names of schools and streets in Kuwait. Shops and neighbourhood. His family, his life. We talked about how does it feel to be an Muslim Arab living in the US these days. "Are you planning to live here?" he asked. "No, i just work for an American company. I live in Dubai but I come here from time to time."

"Its good you live in Dubai. Its is close to Kuwait. 2 to 3 hours drive and you see your family."

Its a bit further than that really. Also, i can't get into Kuwait that easy. You know, VISAs and stuff.

"Visa?," he asked. "But you are Arab. Why do you need VISA to visit another Arab country?"

I didn't know what to think or say. Should i mock his naivety and his lack of any form of comprehension to Inter-Arab politics, geography or the way the treat each other in their own backyards? Or should I admire his self-sketched picture of Arab nationalism - which happens to be so far away from the "real deal."?

I laughed and said "It must've been a while since your last time in the Middle East." He nodded.

A Chinese woman came in to buy a newspaper. She asked if she can pay him later. He said OK. At that point, i felt i overstayed my welcome and excused myself.

"Stay my brother. Why don't you sit down? Lets have some tea."

I can always tell when someone is inviting me just for the sake of 'common courtesy'. In Egypt they call it "3ozomet Marakbiyah = The invite of a boats man. Remind me to tell you the story behind that anecdote.

Ayman wasn't just being polite. I felt that he really wanted me to stay and hang around. I felt he had many questions he needed answers for. He needed someone who is fresh out of Arabsville. . Not Palestine, nor Kuwait, but from the Arab world.

I walked out of his shop. I walked out with that feeling you get when you go to bed without finishing your homework. When leaving your office without replying to that urgent email you received. That heart-sinking guilt-filled voice saying "you could have stayed for a few minutes."

I decided to walk out.

Its better for him. Let him keep that 10 year old child image of the only thing he feels he belongs to.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

To all Facebook junkies

Check this.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Keep the change

Change is great.

Brings the best in me.

I thrive on change

But lately, I just want to settle down. No more please.

I hate this place.

I miss this place. I miss this freedom. To say thing, express my thoughts without being judged and irrespective to who you think (or already) know who I am.

Things haven't been that wow lately.

In Absolute terms, I have everything any man can wish for. A great wife and a beautiful child. A family that loves me and a career that growing faster than most of my peers (and managers in some cases). Touch wood!

But to me, its just not cutting it. I am not impressed. I am tired.

I've so much going on in my life, its taking me away from God. I am not spending enough time with him. I have some serious catching up to do with the All Mighty.

"how was your week end?" a colleague at work asked me the other day. Silence was my answer. I didn't know why.

He said that he looks forward for the weekend.

"I look forward to my weekend," He takes the wife and kids to the beach, meets his entire family over the Friday lunch and enjoys a good laugh or a wild game of cards.

"I look forward to it week in, week out." I nodded; hoping he doesn't notice my disregard to his holiday routine on one hand, and the brain energy i was gathering in a desperate attempt to see if my holiday agenda matches his.

Was I worrying about my next trip? next conference? Or was I worrying about this house that i still don't have phone or Internet access in. Do i need to pull another Gulfnews on this frigging landlord?

Then everything went blank. I think i was suffering what geeks call, memory overload. I can't think of anything else anymore.

The flickering elevator light grabbed more of my attention.

Why is it flickering? Did the elevator guy miss it? Maybe i can call people? What happened to my car maintenance? These fkers never called? I have to pay my phone bill? Did I pay my credit card bill this month?

I am failing to see any substance. I am loosing what ever shreds of creativity i have left in me. Life is becoming paper of "Things to do" check list.

So much i have to look after, too much to worry about, so much to pay for. And thanks, keep the change please.