Monday, September 19, 2005

On My Own

Yesterday, I rented my first apartment. Holy shit I am an old frigging bloke now. Its a funny thought to say "Mera Ghar" and mean it. I have been renting apartments and rooms for the past two years but they were always temporary. I knew that in a semesters time, maybe in 8 months I would be moving out to a new place. But this time its totally different. This place is probably going to be there for a while. Its not going to be a house, but a home. That fact, added to the additional responsibility of maintaining the place like a home, furnishing it to my taste, repainting the pasty walls to a more vibrant colour -basically just giving it "my touch"-make this an adventure with mixed emotions.
So the place itself. Its almost like my dream apartment, except that its not on a 20+ floor nor does it overlook a body of water, but its very roomy with wooden floors and a great neighbourhood. The landlords are a fabulous italian couple with two really cute children. Theres a park right infront of the apartment and the neighbours are very friendly. Its a stones throw from the subway line and around the corner from the highway. Since I would just kill myself if I lived alone, I agreed to inherit the apartment with a room mate. The dude is a really nice Indian kid who is studying to be a film maker.
So on October 1st, I make the big move of going on my own. Earning some, loosing some, saving some and still trying to party like it was 1995 (good old O Level days). Its quite symbolic that all this is happening in October, since thats when I turn 26. So how about three cheers for my big move ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Only A Pakistani

So these days, while waiting for my work permit and all to come through, I am killing time in Windsor by hunting for apartments in TO, looking up cars and insurance rates, and playing cricket. I hadnt played cricket in almost 6 years when two weeks ago I took up a friends offer to join him for some cricket in the quad. Considering that frosh week was about to start, I went to the quad hoping to meet some hot new comers, but ended up getting totally involved in the game that I would play religiously as a child.
That led to me being a part of a team of friends participating in a cricket tournament today. The students association at the unviersity organized the tournament (in a soccer field, but still something is better than nothing) as a part of the Frosh Week. My friends put in a team and I played along. It was'nt much of thriller, since our team was way stronger than the others there, but it was still a good way to kill a lazy sunday afternoon. After the match ended there were five us, all Pakistanis, heading for our car, when we come across a huge tractor tire lying in the middle of our way. It was being used by the soccer team for some training exercise and they had not kept it back. For some reason, we all instinctively thought that we need to move the tire to the corner, so two of us put the tire up and started rolling it towards the corner of the field.
Our soccer field at the University rec center is made in an unusual way. Theres the parking area and then a grassy incline that plateaus into the soccer field itself. While we were rolling the tire to the corner, yours truly opined, wouldnt it be fun for someone to sit in the tire and roll down the incline. Everybody laughed, we made jokes, asked for volunteers and made fun of each other about rolling down in the incline in a bigg ass tractor tire.
Five minutes later, the tire was held upright by two of us, while a third person, Hasan, was taking position in the tire. We had two engineers among us, and they decided the best position for a person to sit and what would be the best position for the tire to begin its descent. Myself and one of the engineers were asked to play the role of a break at the end of the incline. Our job was to stop the tire from rolling into the parking lot. Two people took position at the "launch pad" and one person was all set to roll down the incline in a Good Year tractor tire.
The fun began when the tire started rolling down. We could clearly see Hasan with expressions of panic and curiosity as he held on to the tires inner wall. I was the first break, Salman was my back up. The tire was initially rolling very slowly, but gained momentum as it rolled further down the incline. I was all set to grab a hold of the rolling monstrosity when I realized that it could actually run me over. Behind me, I could hear Salman saying oh, its suddenly gotten a lot faster. I was feets away from the tire, when I decided to jump of to the side. Salman miscalculated the speed and by the time he moved away, the tire crashed into the side of his body bruising his shoulder. It fell off the path, onto the grass, and we could all hear Hasan laughing out loudly inside the tire.
Although the ride did not end as planned, yet it was still a great thrill. Everyone caught on and soon all five us were ready to roll down in the tire. We figured out a better braking mechanism and decided to use cricket bats in tandem, instead of bare hands. For the next 30 minutes, five Pakistani men, in their early and mid twenties were rolling down an inclince in a tractor tire.
What makes this even more funny is that there some caucasian, some indian, some sri lankan and bangladeshi people before us who had walked past the tire, but it took someone from Pakistan the brains to figure out that a tractor tire on an incline makes for a great time. Hence our unainomus conclusion was that no matter how good people from any other country are in any other field, no one can take the cake from Pakistanis when it comes to screwing around. :D

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Life Is A Highway ...

...and I am driving in the express lane right now. The past few weeks have been BRUTAL to say the least. Interviews, shifting, setting up the new place followed by the anticipation of the response from the interviews. Plus the fact that right now I am camped out in a friends living room doesnt make things peachy to begin with.
One thing I have perfected in over the last four months is what I call doing the Superman. Doing the superman is all about changing clothes quickly in a place other than a house. Now dont think that its about stripping down in the middle of the street and then quickly putting on another set of clothes. Heres an exmaple of "doing the Superman". Last week on Monday I had an interview in the outskirts of Toronto at Noon. Living in Windsor, Toronto is a 4 hour ride at least. So I hopped on the 6AM train to TDot (as some people affectionately call toronto) and reached downtown toronto (Union Station) at 10:30. I was wearing a pair of shorts, my favorite led zepplin t-shirt (its my lucky charm) running shoes and cap.
Prior to leaving Windsor I had shaved and I had showered. All I needed to do was my hair, and put on the interview attire. I also enjoy travelling light, so I had carefully folded my trouser, shirt and tie into a small duffle bag and I was carrying the coat on a regular mettalic hanger with the cleaners plastic wrapping still on. As soon as the train came to a halt, I picked up my stuff, jumped of the train, dashed to the mens room and quickly changed into a "pro". The technique is to pack your stuff exactly the way you are going to take it out, shoes and socks, followed by the trouser and the belt followed by the shirt and the tie in the end. Its a quick change, out of one dress into the other. A quick wet comb and a dab of hair gel further complement the look and the cologne adds the finishing touches. From a skid to a debonair in five minutes, thats a good feat eh.
Anyway, thats how lifes been everythings been moving quick. When it came to shifting I had to help my friend move in so that I could move in with him and he has a boat load of stuff. We eventually had to rent a truck and since he doesnt have what they call a "G" (meaning graduated) License in Ontario, I was required to drive the truck. It wasnt one of those small U Hauls that you see here and there it was this bigg ass F-450 which this huge carry on that can pass of as a lift van. So there i was rigging through Windsor at odd hours of the night. towing stuff from one place to another.
To make matters worse, it was the very the night that the remains of Katrina were hitting the Mid West, including Michigan, so it was light showers all night long. Adding fuel to fire was the fact that the condo that we were moving too did not allow shifting stuff after 8 at night. So waited out till past midnite and actually sneaked in our stuff, including matresses and couches, at 3 in morning with a constant drizzle drenching us.
And now that all that is done, its the really bad wait and see period. I have had a few job interviews, a couple have the potential to reach fruition, but the wait to actually hear a yay or a nay is absolutely nerve wrecking. Every time the phone rings between 9 to 5 on a week day my heart skips a beat I say Bismillah before answering the calls only to realize it some person irrelavant to my career prospects. This coming week holds the key, its make or break time. I have raised the ante on two opportunities, what I need now is a straight flush.