Friday, May 30, 2008

LUI: Life Under Influence

Total strangers can play a role in our lives without even knowing it.

There are always those who rule the society or are in the government or are somehow leading some part of the world, which has something to do with us. Who can deny the influence that let’s say Saddam had on our lives? Part of me still shakes inside and panics only by hearing any kind of alarm because it reminds me of bombardments alarms. Fire works still are not as joyful as they are for most of the people, only because of the reminding sound of explosions that I had experienced. He had his specific influence on my life, without even knowing it.

Then there are those who somehow inspire us, no matter if they are still alive or not. Lance Armstrong or Marie Curie (or anybody who inspires one at one stage in one’s life) are in this category for me. They change your perception of life, shape it, or make a new one for you. Strangely enough, there could be even fictional characters in this category sometimes. I have one of these, a fictional character, my favorite one from one of my favorite writers. He shaped my character without even existing in this world, which sometimes surprises even me, myself.

And then, there are total strangers, who don’t seem to be very important in one’s life, but they are. Simply because they are so strongly connected to a special part of one’s life that coming across their name, suddenly awakes thousands of good and bad memories related to that stage of life. I noticed this, when I came across the name of a theatrical Iranian actor in a magazine, in a short simple condolence message for him. His name, took me to almost 10-12 years ago, in an instant. To the time that I used to watch any plays and movies and teletheaters that I could. To the time that I used to read like crazy (not that I don’t read these days, but it never is the same, getting up at 4:30 am, just to read until 6 am before getting ready to go out). To the time I started to know myself…

Is it possible that each of us play a role in somebody’s life, even if we never realize it?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A play in one piece

- Knock, knock!

- Who’s there?

- It’s me, Nava the alchemist.

- Come on in!

(There is a man sitting behind a huge desk in a huge room filled with the sunshine through the huge windows, looking busy, half hidden by a bunch of papers and books)

- So, let me see, what was your name again?

- Nava, the Alchemist. But…

- Well, I cannot find you on the list.

- Yes, I know that. I was hoping maybe today can be an exception for me?

- And what makes you think you are eligible for that? You see how busy we are, with all those desperate prayers and requests coming from all over the world…Here! A new heavenly truck just arrived this morning from china.

- (Smiling humbly) I know you are very busy, but you know, today is my birthday!

- (Looking up for the first time) OK! Happy birthday!....What? What are you staring at?

- (A bit surprised and confused) Nothing, it’s just that…Sorry, no offence; I just didn’t think you’d look like this.

- Look like what? (Gets up from behind the desk, checking himself in a mirror appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the room) Wohoho! Interesting! Well, what can I say? I am your perception of an angel at this special time. Although I myself didn’t think of looking like this at all… I look like…who’s that guy in one of these countless TV series?

- (Still not believing) Dr. Gregory House?

- Yeah, I suppose that’s him! Well, at least it’s no cliché. I was so bored looking like the Blue fairy with blue gown and blond hair or with white gown and long beard, similar to this so called "Dumbeldore", or nice handsome guys and cute kind gals…Oh! Never mind. (Scratching his unshaved face, and still checking himself in the mirror) What’s the reason that you attended "out of order" in the Minitry of requests and prayers?

- (Trying to keep polite and gentle) You see, I was thinking as it’s my birthday, maybe I could have a meeting with God, maybe?

- (Sighs and gets back to his desk) Oh! Humans, humans! Lady, didn’t you check the sign outside? This is the ministry, and I am the responsible angel . Meaning that I can arrange for the wish lists to get to God. There is no direct meeting possible, unless it’s time for your death, which is not related to this ministry.

- (A bit hopeless) Can I at least ask some questions? I have so many questions I want to ask, so many Why’s and How’s and when’s. For example…

- Wait, wait, wait! These are not the questions that can be answered so easily. Oh, god, dear god! How many times you humans should be told that it’s not in your power to know why and how and when? Huh? If there were obvious answers for these questions, there wouldn’t be any fun in running the world, don’t you get it? You should figure out how by yourselves, wait to find out when, and it’s very likely that you’ll never know why. This is how it is. And reminding you again, this is the Ministry for requests and prayers. Now let me see, are you or anybody in your family seriously sick?

- (Looking not very happy) Well, not now, thank god. Although there is this lady in my relatives who is very sick and is suffering herself and make others suffer…

- (Checking some lists) Yes, yes! God knows about her. It’s a matter between herself and God. Nothing much that you could do, although I’ll keep your prayers considered. Anything else?

- (Bringing out a paper with some writings on it) Maybe you could at least consider this wish list? And please add some extra luck? I seem to have missed "luck" recently.

- (Taking the list and reading through the lines quickly) OK! I’ll see what I can do. Although I should say there is no guaranty. God almighty goes along with the special plan and time table for each person, which from my experience, you humans are usually not very patient to go through with it, and want to have your own schedule, you in particular. I wonder if you somehow missed the “Patince section” when you were going through the human production line….Anything else?

- (Ready to leave, and somehow disappointed) I guess not. Would you say hi to God for me?

- I will. (Hesitates for a moment) Do you want a piece of advice? Live your life to the full extent of it. Try hard, be honest, be kind, and don’t want bad for others. Just live. You hear me? This is a precious gift God has given you humans: a definite life with so many opportunities. Use it the best that you can. You have used thirty something years, go live the rest. OK?

- (Standing more straight and smiling faintly) Sure, thanks.

- Good luck, take care. (Going back to the desk) …and close the door behind yourself. Next!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So you think you can sleep?!

In our small household, an early bird lives with a night owl.

I am the early bird. I often turn off the clock alarm before it starts beeping, a good 10 minutes before it. My head is clear and well organized, I have the motivation and the energy to do any troubleshooting at work, I am full of ideas.
As it gets closer to the evening, I get more and more tired, my brain stalls, my ideas fade away. I tend to sit or lie down, and worst comes to worst when it gets dark. It’s as if my brain shuts down completely. I feel not very aware and smart, tending to sleep so much that I start yawning every now and then, and prefer not to do anything which has something to do with “thinking”! You can imagine how I suffer in winters when sometimes it gets dark around 4 pm here…My efficient hours during the day decreases considerably.

Then there is Mr. Alchemist. He is a night owl. When I go to work he is often still sleep, or forcing himself to get up. And by forcing I really mean it, using the shower and a couple cups of tea usually. In the evening when we are both home again, he is full of energy though. He sees the world brighter than it is, optimistic, full of ideas. He can stay up late, long hours into the night, until he forces himself to sleep, as he has to get up again the next morning.

The funniest scenes in our home happen in these two extremes: in the morning, or at night! One classic scenario is usually around 11 pm, when I feel the most stupid, my eyes are half open, yawning my lungs out, and begging myself to get up and brush before passing out. Right then, he is so energetic, walking up and down in the living room, talking science, ideas, analyzing the complex situations at work or in life. I hear half of his words, nodding and thinking to myself why I feel so ridiculously dumb!
Then, if for some reason we have to get up early together, it’s time for my revenge! While he is half conscious, half sleep, complaining about life and everything in it, I am singing a song, enjoying my breakfast (my favorite meal in the day) and laughing at him burning his tongue with the damn hot tea…

But the whole issue is bigger than this. He is neither lazy, nor undisciplined. He is just suffering from Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS). It’s as simple as the fact that he is right handed. There are even suggestions that it is associated with hPer3 (human period 3) gene, but no remedies. At least it’s known that it’s familial. The problem is that it’s as if he is constantly living with a jet-lag. No wonder when we go on a long trip, the actual jet-lag neutralizes his body’s jet-lag, and for few days his sleeping habit changes to normal. And then is being an “early bird” really normal and he is abnormal? His only fault is that unfairly, he is living in a 9-5 world. If there was such a world which would be run between 3 pm and 11 pm, everything would be so different for him. Maybe his whole fate would have been different.

In my opinion, this is again another unfairness in the world, maybe another bug, not a critical one though. The upside is that at least we can laugh at each other starting or ending the day…

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The power of trust

"Damages" has become my new favorite TV series recently, other than "House, MD" and "Family Guy".

There are many reasons why I love this series. Glen Close and her brilliant performance as Patty Hewes, the strong script and the style of the whole series which resembles a movie and not merely a TV series, great cinematography and good usage of different filters to show different timelines, moving between “the past” and “the present” in a way that you wish there could be another way to prevent what has happened and you already know it, etc. It’s not perfect though, as some of the actors do not have the same level as some of the others, but still they have very high levels of acting, which is not very usual in TV.

One of the issues which comes up frequently in this story is "trust". People trust the wrong ones, don’t know whom to trust, and being trustworthy or not is an important case, resulting in life and death.

The thing is it often has a high impact in our lives too. I mean one doesn’t need to be trapped in a lawsuit to know how important it is to have somebody to trust. And it’s not just trust as in "not telling my secret to somebody else", it’s having trust in one’s decisions, in friendship, in not lying and being lied to. Somebody whom you can "put yourselves in their hands" as Ray Fiske said, before he killed himself.

For some reason, finding such a person, is not an easy task. I believe if any of us can find a handful of trustworthy people in our lives, we should consider ourselves blessed.

On the other hand, there is an important question: how trustworthy we are? This one is one of those questions that when you are alone with yourself, at night before going to sleep, or in the mirror when you can see inside your soul through the reflection of your eyes, can answer to it, frankly, really, honestly.

It’s not easy being trustworthy and having somebody to trust in completely. If one has both, it’s a great prosperity…