Friday, December 31, 2010

Half a Month of Awesomeness

I don't think there could be any better month to end this year. December, or the second half of it, has been jam packed with three very significant events, probably for my life. First of all there was the three days I spent on a jamaat, this time with my dad! Those who know me (or the unlikely souls who read my blog) know pretty well that I try to spend some time of the path of Allah regularly. I've been wanting very badly for a long time now to take my father with me some day. He's been eager a few times as well, but health issues and other mismatches were getting on the way. Finally thanks to Allah we went out together on a jamaat on the 16th and spent the next three days in the environment of a masjid. A long awaited wish of me and my sister has been finally fulfilled, Alhamdulillah.
Then came the biggest family event, ever. The place where my father and my uncles grew up is the native village of Fuljhury, in Pirojpur district of Barisal. There, the more than a hundred year old building of ours made by my great grandfather have recently been reconstructed from ground up, furnished with modern facilities, so that we can stay over there from time to time and reestablish the ties to our roots. A grand family reunion was being planned for that place which finally happened on the 24th. The crown jewel of our family, my grandma returned to her home, now built anew, after many many years, along with her sons and daughters and beloved grandchildren. It was a truly remarkable event, a memory that cannot be forgotten, and most probably will not be repeated.
As for me, those three days in the village were just simply awesome. I've been there last year, but only for a few hours. But this time I got the opportunity to truly explore the village. And guess what, I just loved it. It's a real pleasure to break free from the caged life of Dhaka city and live a few days in a place where nature rules, instead of industries. My fun was particularly heightened cuz I had the chance to walk around and take shots with my uncles Nikon DSLR. Although I've learned the basics of photography theory, but this is the first time I got the chance to put 'em to the test, and boy did I love it!
If I wanna write, I could write volumes about this particular tour, as it has been a truly unforgettable one in many different ways. But as you know me, I'm feeling lazy already, so I'll just leave it here. Inshallah soon I'll post about the photos I took there, they're now in the process of editing! Thanks to Allah that everything went so smoothly without any mishap, and for letting me be there to witness this huge event in our family history. It would probably be a sin not to mention Shapanku, as from the construction of the building to arranging this mega event, he deserves most (if not all) the credit. Hats off to him.
Well, December didn't end there though. As you probably know since completing my studies I've been looking to work somewhere to gain some experience, without deviating from my line of studies. After several months of ... you know.... nothing, I finally got accepted for an internship at Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd. I got called for interview on the 29th which was not quite a formal interview, and was asked to start from January 1st. Alhamdulillah. I know it's not a job, but still I'll get to learn a lot Inshallah, and for me, that's very important. Thanks to another uncle of mine, Milanku for his support in this matter.
And so it ended, the amazing month of December. A fitting end to 2010, I guess, cuz the whole year has been truly unforgettable.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The IELTS Chapter

I took a very rapid decision to take the IELTS test last month. I got registered just one month before my exam date. At that point l wasn't even aware of the format of the exam. So I just downloaded some practice materials from the net and started to give some practice tests by myself.

The first three parts of the exam, namely listening, reading and writing were on the 27th of november at the Bashundhara Convention centre. I was actually pretty impressed by the way the exam was conducted. Speaking test was on the 29th at a hotel in Gulshan. Thanks to Allah the exams went pretty well indeed. The exam was a pretty good experience for me. I was in serious need for a break from my seemingly infinite boredom, so the whole thing was a breath of fresh air for me.

Judging by my small practice and the way the exams went, I was hoping for a decent enough score. But when my results came out as 8.5 out of 9, I was actually overwhelmed! My individual scores are as followes: listening-9. reading-9, writing-6.5(!) and speaking-8.5. Alhamdulillah that's quite impressive actually. I just hope something good comes out of it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My Tiny Little Nephew

Although I’ve seen a few of my cousins get born and grow up a little, but since they didn’t actually stay with us I never really got to handle a baby before. We all needed a big change in the family, and this big change comes in the form of a tiny little boy! Yup, he’s small, believe me, like a pet. He’s the first baby of my sister cum friend. We’ve all been waiting for this little bundle of joy for a long time now, and when he came to us two weeks ago, instantly the youngest member of the family became the most popular one!
As I’ve said before, I’ve had no previous experience with babies. The first few days I couldn’t even carry him properly, as soon as he came to me he would start to cry. But in a few days, when he first slept on my arms for more than an hour, I got to feel something I’ve never felt before. It was really amazing. I now have some sort of idea about how my uncles and aunts must feel for me; since I’ve grown up in their hands from an age my nephew is in now.
He’s been named Zubair Abdullah. Strange thing about his first name; his dad, me and my brother each individually thought of that very name without consulting each other! That’s too much to be a coincidence right? Zubair has now become the center of attraction of the whole family. I never was the idle sitting kinda guy, but now I could spend hours just staring at his magical face even when he’s just sleeping (he actually doesn’t do much other than sleeping and crying, so far). The innocent sweet face casts a kind of a spell on my eyes, they just get stuck on him.
Looking at him I can’t help but wonder how helpless a human child is. He can’t talk, he can’t tell us what he needs and when, he doesn’t have strength in his arms and feet. Yet, a group of grown-ups are always on their toes to fulfill all his needs. My dad was saying one day, this is the grace of Allah Subhanu wa Ta’ala. Deep into the hearts of the people around the baby, The Almighty Allah injects the most important ingredient for the growing up of the child; love, pure and unconditional love.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On the Path of Revival - Part 2

Ibn Abbas Radiyallahu Anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam said: Today you listen to me about Deen; tomorrow you will be heard. And then it will be heard from those, who heard from you. (Abu Dawud) 

Although I’ve been acquainted with Tabligh for several years now, but only after going in this jamaat that I finally got to see and participate in the Dawah activities in full swing. The effort that is going on in the name of ‘Dawat-e-Tabligh’ in every corner of the globe now is the effort to re-establish the missing bond among Muslims. Deen cannot be rejuvenated in the hearts of the Muslims without the proper understanding of Allah Subhanu Ta’ala. So our Dawah consisted of just that, to remind the people of Allah’s identity as the controller of the whole creation. The goal of the Dawah is not to preach to others and give Hidaayat, but to acquire Hidayat from Allah for ourselves by preaching the very words that we want to set in our own hearts. Once this purpose of Dawah is clear, you’ll never be disappointed or grow tired in calling people towards Allah. The urge to improve your own Imaan and set your Yaqeen straight will drive you onwards.
So wherever we went in Khulna, we got totally blended in with the local people. We stayed in a total of twelve masjids in and around the main Khulna town, so that’s a dozen different localities. In the period of forty days, me and my Saathis (it’s a norm in Tabligh to call another fellow Tablighi a ‘Saathi’ which means companion in the dialect of the subcontinent) got acquainted with numerous people, and we truly got acquainted with them. I mean we didn’t only get to know their names and whereabouts, but they truly became our brothers. Even when we changed a masjid and went over to the next one, the connection with the people of the previous area were not hampered, we would often visit them, keep in touch over the phone, and often they would come over to our current masjid to join us for lunch or dinner. Even now after almost two months, I call many of them back in Khulna regularly, and they call me as well.
In each of the areas we visited, there was a great stir in the place due to our work there. Thanks to Allah, all the members of our jamaat spent a lot of time in Gasht (preaching walks), talking to people in all sorts of places. Houses, tea stalls, shops, student dorms, you name it, we’ve been there. So within the very first day of our arrival at an area, the local people were well aware of our presence. And I must admit, I loved the people of Khulna. The hearts of the people are much softer compared to the stone cold people of Dhaka that I’ve come to see for all these years. In attitude they are much more cordial and polite, and more importantly they are eager to listen whenever the words of Allah and Islam are spoken to them. The foundation of our bond with the people of those areas was the Dawah towards Allah, and when you love someone for the sake of Allah alone, the bond that’s created is the strongest. So we totally blended into the lives of those people, who were just a few days ago total strangers to us. This is indeed a very basic necessity of Dawah, to create a true brotherly connection with the Ummah. Once that happens, the work of Dawah becomes much easier and fun, and the effect becomes more prominent. Thanks to Allah, through our work there, twenty four people returned with us to Kakrail for the purpose of spending time on the path of Allah at the end of our time in Khulna. Among them were brothers from varying levels like students, businessmen, government officers and even a renowned Mufti of Khulna. So, we went to Khulna sixteen men, and came back forty!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On the Path of Revival - Part 1

How can we correct ourselves if we don’t know what to correct? How can we adhere to Deen Islam if we don’t know what it asks from me? How can we follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) if we don’t understand its importance? How can we obey Allah if we don’t love Him? How can we love Allah if we don’t even know Him?

It’s not possible to understand the value of something if there’s no effort behind it. Those who are brought up in rich families don’t understand how precious food is, because they never had to struggle for it, they never knew hunger.

We claim nowadays that just because we have recited the Kalima we’ve become Mu’min. But how strange is our Imaan that it cannot prevent us from an action which we ourselves know is a grave sin, in what level is our Imaan that it cannot improve our behavior, doesn’t make us humble, kind and soft hearted. What kind of Imaan do we posses that makes us arrogant and selfish? What sort of Imaan do we have that it cannot take us to the masjid when the muazzin calls? It is thus evident that the faith that we claim to have is not enough to keep us in the path of Deen, in the path of Allah’s satisfaction. The reason behind this miserable frailty of our Imaan is the simple fact that we have never struggled for it, never put effort for its betterment. Striving in the path of Allah, struggling against diversities to uphold the order of Allah makes our Imaan stronger, and that’s the very thing that we lack. And that’s why it is absolutely necessary now to spend some time in the path of Allah for the improvement our own faith and correct the concepts that we have towards Allah and the Deen Islam.

Since I’m acquainted to Tabligh for several years now, I’ve been raring to go out on a Jamaat for a long period for quite a while. The completion of my BSc presented the opportunity I was looking for. So after getting over my exams and dealing with the thesis papers, I left home for the sake of Deen on 22 March.
The first step is always the most difficult one. And I felt it on the early morning of that day. I got to Kakrail Masjid, which is the Markaz (center) of the Tabligh movement in Bangladesh (and one of the three major centers of the world), and enlisted myself in a Jamaat of 16 men. I have never met any of the other guys in my life, so the first moments were a bit uneasy I must admit. Our Jamaat was designated to work in Khulna city, due south.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Few Out of Many

This post is not a very good idea. How can it be? I've decided to mention just a few of my 'friends' here, out of so many. Section A of our batch is like a freak show. Each and every character is unique and has his/her own set of ideas, morals, attitude, pros and cons. So it would be better if I could talk about them all. But instead I'm just going with my short list.

For a couple of friends, staying together in the same school, college and university and always in the same section is rarity probably in the whole world. Yet, starting from class four at Udayan School, going through the time at Dhaka City College together and now here at AUST, me and Shuvro have spent 13 friggin years together. Amazed? Even I can't believe it's been that long. But the irony in it is that despite spending such a long time together, me and Shuvro never got to be close friends. Our conversations mostly comprised of me hitting on Shuvro, giving him a healthy dose of pochani, or otherwise over the phone, helping each other in our studies. I take all the blame on myself for not being able to be a real friend to Shuvro, I wish I could be a lot more closer to him. A big thanks to him for staying with me all these years despite my shortcomings, and thanks for all those precious notes as well.

The other friend I carried over from Udayan was Nobin. Although we were friends from school, but I really got to be close to him in the varsity life. Most of the guys here at AUST know him for his hilarious and irritating gags which make us all laugh out loud. Jokes he would throw at someone would definitely make him scream "Nobin-er bachchaaaaaa" (the direct english of that won't be appropriate, at all). But I've known him for more than that. In the early days at the varsity, I remember telling him that he has a gift that many don't, conscience, and I told him to make the best use of it. Everyone expects a lot from the ones most dear. It scares us to see our loved ones go in the wrong direction. It's out of this expectation and fear that I often had to yell at him, scold him and put up a frown. I think he understands that as well. Writing any longer about him would flatter him too much so I'm gonna stop without mentioning the things I would like to thank him for.

In one of the very first classes of university, some teacher wanted to know where we all lived. After that class a guy with curly hair and an enlarged nose came up to me and said he lived close to my place (although it's not as close as I thought). It was the first time I met Kanto. Probably our route back to home helped in bringing us closer. If you consider our class as a star connected network, Kanto is probably the central hub. Any gossip generating in any corner, would surely reach Kanto (thanks to sources like Fahad), and thus reach all the other folks. So nothing could actually remain a secret for very long. Over the course of four years, Kanto has been named a lot of things, mostly by me, agreed upon by all. Dalal, Dhandabaj, Gutibaj, Geen-er Badshah, Gero mia, Kutna Kanto, in short DDBGBGBGMKK has been a very popular attribute for this pal (again, I'm incapable of translating those). A characteristic of Kanto that always stood out (and sometimes bugged the rest of his friends) is the tendency to keep to the safe side of things. All these things and more makes Kanto a friend on the 'Most Wanted' and 'Most Needed' lists.

Now, what to write about Pulak? Although we knew each other from beginning of varsity, we really got to be friends from 3-2. It all started when Pulak called me up to work with him on a project for the Electrical Day. We chatted on the campus and over the phone on a regular basis. Soon I found out that we had a lot of things in common. I don't know about him, but from my part, in just one and a half years, I got much closer to him than I thought would be possible in such a short time.The tour to Sylhet strengthened our bond. But the thread that ties us more strongly (and Inshallah will keep us tied forever), is our inclination towards Islam. I've seen how selfless this guy can be. People from all four sections, friends or not, could rely on Pulak before the exams to make notes and help them on the studies. I've seen his concern for the safety of the whole group in the unforgettable Sundarban tour. We always joked about his many short lived interests. For days he would keep talking about buying a car, and all of a sudden it would fade away ('Hujug' is yet another word I can't translate properly). Many other things caused 'spikes' in his heart, you know what I mean, but all of those interests had the same fate, they just died.

Rumman is the self proclaimed one-member 'Committee' of our section, and honestly he has lived up to that title. From arranging funny yet entertaining cricket tournaments in the campus to hitting a guy on the face just when it's needed, you can always count on R-Man. He and I had a special sort of bond. Due to the.... ahem.... striking size differences between us, we were like Chacha Choudhuri and Sabu. More so, we were like the devil and the angel (or should I say, the devil and the devil in a good guys appearance, hehe).

Before 4-2, Taneem was in the Bhai-Bon group of our class. It's in the very last semester that we actually got to be friends (although he's been a silent but regular reader of my blog for the last couple of years I guess). Here's a guy I really wish I could get much closer with, could spend more time with. From the very little time he had to ourselves in the tour to Sundarban, in the campus after that, and in brief chat sessions on the net, I really feel like we could use a little more time to get closer. By the way, why do they call him 'Guardian'?

The same could be said about Imtiaz, our Pasha bhai. One could look at him and say that he's moody, with a serious look in his face and in the way he talks all the time. But once you get close to him, you would definitely get another picture. So it really amazed me when I saw tears in his otherwise rock solid eyes on the very last day. I wish I could get to know him a little earlier, I wish we could get to be closer friends.

As I've said at first, everyone in our section is special, and unique in their own ways. It's the presence of them all that makes our section complete. Imran with his selfless service of providing chotha throughout the four years, Fahad (khashi) with his endless wisdom, Pritom the ultra high speed chatterbox, Farhan with his...... I can't say, he might just lash out on me, Fokha's broad smiles that doesn't fit his pumped up body and everyone else's unique features that would take a lot of time to write down about, all come together and add up to make Section-A such a great family. It's been my second home for the last four years, and home is where the heart is.

Why have I used inverted commas for friends in the first para? Friends. I've always felt that a true friend is he to whom you could say it all, to whom you could express all your feelings, emotions, tears and joy. Before I started university, I wanted one thing from it, at least one friend just like that. Now, I'm asking myself, does anyone I've mentioned in this post match that description? I could express myself 90% to some of them, but a 100% ? It hurts me to say, no. And that's the reason it feels so bad that it all has to end now, cuz I deeply feel that if only I had a little more time, I could push hard and make up that remaining 10%. But harsh as it may sound, now is the time for relationships to dwindle, not for strengthening them. Yet another bangla word pops up in my mind, Afsos.

My greatest friend in life has always been Allah Ta'aala. And every time I talk to this Friend, I never forget to mention the others. May Allah keep us all together, on the Right Path, for eternity.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tears Inside Me

Since we've come to our senses, one particular thing has been part and parcel of our lives, classes. So now that our classes are all over, it's been a little hard for us all to accept the situation we're being thrust into. It's hard to imagine that I'm not gonna wake in a hurry anymore, putting on the clothes as fast as I can, grabbing my bag and dashing out of home without taking breakfast, to catch the first class. There will be no more staring at the white (or black) board and struggling to keep up with the pace of the lecturer, no more staring blankly into the eyes of the teacher, not understanding a word yet pretending to know it all. No more attending the quizzes with zero preparation and not regretting about it at all. Not gonna have to submit anymore lab reports, although most I did was change the font of someone else's hard work. But above everything else, the most striking fact is that there will be no more of friends. Sound too harsh I guess, cuz you're probably thinking, hey friends will always be there. But the fact is, one can never find the friends as they were in the magical times of student life. Without classes we won't be in touch on a regular basis, and without that, relations can never remain the same. Once I differed myself with the last statement. When the classes of school came to an end more than seven years ago, a very close friend of mine mentioned it on a letter he had written me. It sounded strange back then, but I was soon to realize that it was true. The school pals who I couldn't spend a day without talking to, soon started to fade away. We had each others cell numbers, and we still exist in our messenger lists, but something inside us have changed, that prevents us from knocking each other. Harsh as it may sound, the same is bound to happen with my varsity pals as well.
It is probably the realization of this very fact that made all the 'macho men' of our class cry out loud on the last day. I stood at the doorway of our classroom and watched with amazement, that all the grown up friends of mine who would otherwise consider crying as a girly affair, showed no shame in crying on each others' shoulders.
I've always been rather emotionless. When the situation demands a strong reaction in me, the true sense of the situation doesn't settle in into my mind. It's like I'm watching a film without much concentration. So when I really should cry, and my eyes just start to get a little blurry and a clot starts to form in my throat, the stronger part in me holds back the tears, and swallows hard, and keeps a totally indifferent reaction about the face. For this reason, my family members have always labeled me as a totally emotionless person. But yet when all is over, and I'm alone sitting in my room or lying down on my bed, another part of me takes over, and I really wished I could cry, and let it all out. It's a strange dilemma that has been my bane for my whole life so far.
The same sort of thing happened to me when all my pals were crying. I somehow didn't shed a single drop of tear. Instead I was smiling, and took a very good look on the unforgettable scene that unfolded in front of me. But as soon as I came back home, I started to regret how things went. I really wish now that I could let it all out, that I could hold them hard and shed all my tears on the shoulders of Nobin, Shuvro, Pulak, Rumman, Tanim, Imran, Imtiaz, Kanto, Kanon and all the others, and scream out and say "I'm gonna miss you all like you'll never know". May the blessings of the Almighty Allah be upon my dearest pals all through their life, my He keep them all on the Right Path. May Allah keep us together in this life and the next.