Anwaar, don’t give up yet…

It’s 5:18 in the Morning, 30th Dec, a lovely Friday, 2016. I just got off watching Rang de Basanti, and I must admit my emotions are a running lil high and this post is indirectly an attempt to write off some part of my life here. Lot’s of this is random and isn’t in any chronological order.

I learnt a crazy thing while I was preparing for my Job interviews as a fresh grad. While at College, I had this crazy habit of picking up and reading books wherever I could find them. And one fine Sunday, I picked up a used book which was either a GMAT/CAT Prep book by Manhattan/Princeton (don’t remember the exact title). What I do remember was a fantastic article and some insights by candidates who’d share tips about how they cracked the ice-breaking interview. One girl mentioed how she used her name’s meaning to tell how that had “brushed off her nature as well”! And I was awe-struck by that! What a powerful way to answer a stupid formal interview question “Tell me something about yourself?” (This is the most stupid interview question I feel an Interviewer begins with. Dammn, is this even supposed to be an ice-breaker? Why not bond over weather or sports or breakfast etc? Hell, this is such a stupid question that’s guaranteed to be asked, that almost everyone rigorously prepares for this question, as if their life depends on it. And bam, 90% of candidates I’ve interviewed later (ohh yeah, I got to ask this shitty question when I sat on the other side of the table) would go on like a parrot not realizing why I’m asking this question in the first place.

Anyways, back to this first interview question, I think I prepared a very solid impressive ice-breaker answer (if I can recall most of it):

Interviewer: Hi, Good Morning/Afternoon. Tell me some (shit) about yourself.

(Let me clear my throat first…)

Syed Anwaarullah: Good Morning/Afternoon. To begin with, my name is Anwaar which means rays of light/illuminating the surroundings. I belive the name has brushed off my nature as well as I’m multi talented and (and some flattering stuff that I now don’t recall after 6 years). I also love helping people around me (and some more stuff I don’t recall)

In the first 30 secs, I’ve made sure the Interview pays attention to me. He/She’s probably thinking, this dude is crazy. I’ve never heard anyone introduce themselves this way. So they stop faking their busyness and give me their utmost attnetion. Knowing that I’ve made my first impression, I carry on…

Syed Anwaarullah: I was born in Hyderabad, but was brought up in Saudi Arabia where I did my Schoolling. Living abroad and interacting with people of different nationalities has given me a multicultural experience and mindset.

Notice how I’m already pushing myself as a highly probable candidate to go OnSite (when that ever happens) :P. Nope, I’m trying to sell myself to an MNC, which expects candidates to be open to different cultures and interact with people across the Globe. Win/Win (ohh, let’s later talk about this Win/Win phrase that actually Won me a fantastic Job with Mphasis, Mangalore. )

And I conclude by saying how I enjoy doing things creatively and love exploring new stuff and reading.

All of the above in around 60-70 secs. I avoid all the shitty non-sensical Biography that most candidates talk about. They tell about their Primary School, X, XII, parents details, siblings, uncles, aunts, pets, watches, hobbies, movies, shit shit and shit. Stop for Christ sake!

I didn’t even start yet the main theme of this post 🙂

(to be continued…It’s 07:03)

So this anecdote revolves around my first year of Engineering.

See you again on the other side Bro…

It was a very sunny  and lazy afternoon in Mina. We (Dad, Asrar and me) just had our lunch and were lazing around. Mom was in the ladies camp, so I think she must have also just had her lunch. The Meccan Sun was shining with all it’s ferociousness and made sure we dare not step out of the camp. Our organizing team had arranged guest lectures by renowned Scholars to make sure we actually learn and renew our faith instead of making it another journey. Tariq Jameel Saab was a regular. We loved how he explained the Seerah of the Prophet and other stuff in his mesmerizing tone. Just loved it!

So this hot afternoon, Tariq Jameel Saab introduces a young, handsome and tall lad and informs the gathering that he’d now like to introduce a pop singer and he’ll walk through his life journey of how he renounced his singing career and devoted his talents to please Allah.

Enter Junaid Jamshed! This was the first (and last) time I got to see Junaid Bhai. Many Pakis aroudn me started telling aah, MashaAllah, Dil Dil Pak Junaid. I then didn’t quite understand the connection b/w Dil Dil Pak and Junaid .

The Ustaad, Tariq Jameel Saab handed over the mic to his Shagird and he opens his mouth to say: Assalamualaikum! That’s one of the most melodious and sweet Salaam I ever heard. He then goes on talking for an hour and half plus about his journey, how he changed tracks and how Tariq Jameel would use to pray to Allah to guide him to the right path. He talked about how he found peace in waking the dusty and hot streets of Karachi doing Tableegh and not finding this peace in those funky 5-7 * hotels. I was mesmerized by his journey.

My Mom later tells me how she was dead tired but didn’t sleep at all and was hooked on to this awe-inspiring journey told by JJ himself.

Time flew. We came back to India next month and then I looked up JJ’s Naaths online. Amazing collection. We downloaded most of them and had it put up on Dad’s phone. We started listening to his Naaths whenever we were down or emotionally sad. It’d just lift up our spirits.

JJ’s naaths are the only *thing* that we used to listen in the background in our family dinners. We don’t have a TV, so we don’t bond over movies or music. JJ’s Naaths/Hamds were the only thing we all sat around and listened. Music was considered taboo in our homes, so even though we listened individually, JJ’s recitations was the only thing we played on a loud speaker in our homes and we all let it sink in our hearts. We never listened to any other reciter, we never really cared about Naaths/Hamds untill JJ came along. And we never got bored of listening to his Naaths/Hamds for more than 9+ years.

My Mom and I would sit together and sing along with JJ’s voice playing in the background. It was like JJ helped us have more family moments together through his Naaths/Hamds.

Fast Forward, Dec 7, 2016. I’m idling around, when news breaks out about a PIA crash and JJ being on-board! My heart sunk! I couldn’t believe this. As I check out online, more news comes in. Some pray and hope for mercy, some for a miracle that might save him. But alas, comes the confirmation that he’s been martyred in the path of Allah. What a noble way to finally meet the Rab.

His last tweet!

Thank you JJ for everything! I hope we meet again InShaAllah on the other side.

I’ll leave you with one of my fav nazm by JJ:

Aye Khudaya…

Koi urooj de na zawaal de,
Mujhe sirf itna kamaal de,
Mujhe apni raah me daal de,
ki zamaana meri misaal de

Teri rahmaton ka nuzool ho,
Mujhe mehnato ka sila mile,
Mujhe maal o zar ki hawas na ho,
Mujhe bas tu rizq e halaal de.

Mere zahen me teri fikr ho,
Meri saans me tera zikr ho,
Tera khauf meri nijaat ho,
Sabhi khauf dil se nikaal de.

Teri baargaah me Aye Khuda,
Meri roz o shab hai yehi dua,
Tu Raheem hai Tu Kareem hai,
Mujhe mushkilon se nikaal de

~ Dr. Allama Iqbal

Thanks to Ms. S B who shared this on WApp.

Saved by Allah, “Just in Time”

I had a great Just in Time experience yesterday (23rd Oct, 2016).

I was coming back from 91SpringBoard, where we had our monthly meetup. I received an Arduino 101 and a Blynk Board and was excited to rush back home to tinker and test them out.

Just as I came on the main road, POOF! My Activa’s accelerator’s wire snapped inside!!! On the main road, on a freaking Sunday. Well, I rode it till I could, and stopped. On the left, there was a Bandi selling Custard Apples. I asked him, “Sir, is there any Mechanic nearby?” And to my utter amazement, he replied: “Yep, there” pointing to a small shed on the other side of the road with tools and spares  hanging out. The Bike Mechanic on the other side was about to leave for somewhere on his Bike and this dude shouted as best he could and asked him to wait.

I hurriedly crossed the road, and went over to the Mechanic’s shed. The shed was shabby and unkempt. My first impression was if this was the right guy to do the Job? First impressions matter and this dude didn’t even have a simple Board hung up that advertised to passersbys that he is a Mechanic. I looked at him and he looked very naive. I asked him worriedly, “Sir, would you repair Activa’s snapped accelerator wire?”. And to my amazement and relief, he said, “Yes, please bring over your Bike here!” I felt so grateful and happy inside. It was as if I found my lost passport at the Airport. I came back, profusely thanked the Guy selling Custard Apples and took over the Bike on the other side.

I asked him how much would it approximately cost, and he quoted: “Saab, 280 bucks for the Wire & 150 Service Charge”. I was like, OOOOOH as I only had 200+ bucks cash. Earlier in the morning I tried to withdraw Cash from a broke ATM and it gave a warning: “Insufficient Funds”. I wasn’t sure if the ATM was broke or I was 🙂 I hoped to barter my newly purchased Helmet in case I wouldn’t be able to pay in Cash.

The work started and I enjoyed him stripping and tearing apart the Activa. This was the first time I got a chance to see the internals of an Activa. I now know how to unscrew one 🙂

Took around 90 mins to get it fixed, during which he also took away from me the only Rs. 200 I had so that he could go and purchase the Cord.

Now, it’s paytime! I asked him if there’s an ATM nearby and when he told it’s round the corner, I kept my Helmet with him and drove to the ATM. Now, here’s the other fun part. Two ATM machines. I dipped into the left one and tried withdrawing 500 Bucks! Beep Beep! Out comes a printed slip saying, Insufficient Funds. My heart sank! Only later to see a notice stuck up on this machine: “Only 1000”. Aha! So, I checked my Balance and it turned out to be Rs. 357. I now dipped it again to the machine on my right and tried withdrawing 300. The sound of the rollers inside the machine trying to spit out my 300 bucks was music to my ears!

Done. I come back, pay him and profusely thank him for saving my Day. We exchange numbers and smile to each other: He happy to see his hard work bear fruit (aka Money) and I happy to get back on the Road.

It was similar to the parting scene from Taxi No 9211 Movie:

Tu apne crore pe, main apne road pe … maaze karenge

P.S: During the repairing sessions, we got talking about life etc. Turns out he’s one year younger than me and recently engaged and will get married next year. I asked him to invite me over to his Wedding. He asked, “Bhai, aapki Shaadi hogayi kya?” And I replied: “Nahin huwi Saab, Dua karo InShaAllah, jaldi hojati” 🙂

His name is Ismail.  Thank you Ismail Bhai for saving my day. This post is dedicated to you 🙂