Monday, July 28, 2008

My Parents Came to USA to Visit us

By all means and parameters, July 18th 2008 will remain as one of the most significant dates in my entire life. Because that was the day when my parents landed in San Francisco airport from Cathay Pacific Airlines. I was working from home that Friday and rented a 7 seater Ford Explorer van to receive them in the airport. I needed this big car to handle 4 full size luggages (70 lbs each). They got USA visa at 2nd attempt after a long 7 months of backgrounds check. While they were supposed to come 6 weeks back, at last they reached here to spend the next 3 months with me, Shusmita and their grandson Ahyan whom they never saw earlier.

Me and Shusmita planned a lot before they came here. We bought new sofa, new bed to fit in our second bed room, new LCD HDTV and so on. We were worried of the little high temperature here although so far it has been good.



Shahriar and his parents, Ezaz, Nitol came to see my parents in the afternoon and we shared the fresh Bangladeshi foods together. The very next after my parents landed, we attended the Bangladeshi People's Picnic in Fremont Lake Elizabeth park. At night I took them to show the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It was too cold there and so we didn't stay more than few minutes. Sunday (the next day) we went to Monterey Bay Aquarium and we had lunch in Ambrosia Indian Cuisine nearby. We saw all the creatures there, took photos and videos. This time we were lucky to catch the session of feeding the fishes in afternoon. There was around half an hour demonstration that we enjoyed a lot and wondered why the sharks are not attacking the lady who was trying to feed them despite her skuba diving materials and masks. We covered 17 miles drive, Pebble beach and the gold course where Tiger Woods come to play. It was a 216 miles drive the whole day and no one seemed overwhelmingly tired including little Ahyan.

The weekdays are going good with my parents company. Shusmita started driving car in my absence keeping Abbu in the navigator's seat. She is doing better driving job now and dropping me to BART and picking me off.

I have always wondered whether it was a selfish decision to leave my homeland Bangladesh for a better career here in USA and what else I am achieving here staying away from home. It's true I am getting exposure, reading some good books, traveling new and fantastic places, securing my child's future partially. But the flip side is that I am not seeing my parents, brothers, relatives, friends for a long time. Now as my parents could come to USA through me I feel my decision to come to USA is justified. Now I will have no regret if I have to just leave back to Bangladesh after finishing my job here in USA.

Life is beautifully strage!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Study On Religious Thoughts

I have read Quran, our holy book in Islam, once in Arabic language. I was a teenager that time and didn't understand the meaning and it's impact. Later I attempted to read the Bengali translation of Quran but stopped after making some progress. Few months back, my friend Nitol was talking to our another friend Emon who started reading and telling everyone to read a very good Bengali translation of Quran with Shan-e-nuzul. This is exactly what I was looking for and it ignited in me the desire to finish Quran with proper understanding.

Sometimes early this month I proposed my friends in Bay Area on a systematic and combined study on Islamic history and events from Quran. Some of them seems really got interested with this proposal. Then I started looking for resources considering the following objectives.
  • Resources on Quran, Hadith that are accessible electronically or via internet. I am an IT guy and I have very less time available in a day when I can afford to stay away from computer.
  • Bengali as a reading language to make reading and understanding better.
  • Accessible from mobile so that I can use my train time, waiting time in shops, vacation time from hotels etc that doesn't require me to find new time from an already very busy life in USA.
  • The objective is to learn, have knowledge not only to gain some sawab so that when we talk to the outside community many of whom are non-muslims, we can talk enthusiastically. It's true even when we are talking in a Muslim community.
I have compiled a few resources below.
  1. Athan (Installable Software) - http://www.box.net/shared/x6wlbwtgks - You can easily install and set your city in this software and you will here Athan on your local time. Also it always tells in your dektop status bar when is the next prayer time. I like this very much.
  2. Bangla Quran (Installable Software) - you may download it from http://www.box.net/shared/egvy9ioocw - It is so good that accelerated my energy to read Quran in Bengali. Thanks to Amin who sent the link to me. If I can;t read it from mobile then as an alternate I plan to use the web version here - http://www.islamdharma.net/index.php?m=quran
  3. A general purpose Islamic portal - http://www.2muslims.com
  4. Tafsir of Quran may be found here - http://www.banglakitab.com/quran.htm, but the problem is to quickly find out which surah is in which link/URL. This is courtesy of Shahriar.
  5. To print out and read at home (although Bengali translation in book format is widely available and hence there is no point of printing it for us) - http://www.qurantoday.com/bangla.htm . This is also thanks to Shahriar.
  6. The hard copy of the holy book that Emon (Sazzad of Atlanta) has that includes Shan-e-nuzul and explanations.
I hope this time I will really be able to finish Inshallah, even if it takes few years.

Update: Another friend of mine in the same group sent me the following 2 links.

6 Minutes Daily English Quran -
http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/quran/dailyquran/dailyquran.asp

In Bengali - http://www.quraanshareef.org/index.php?linkid=1024

While surfing in the net for MP3 formats of Bengali translation of Qur'an I found this link -

http://www.aswatalislam.net/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=180

So I should be able to record those in a CD to listen in the car and also I can listen to individual files (each for one Surah) from iPhone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Today iPhone3G came out in the market

When I checked after lunch in San Francisco near my office in Embarcadero, all their iPhone3G were already sold out. I am not surprised because I know the stories when iPhone came out first time last year.

As I will buy 2 iPhone3Gs this coming 1st August when my Verizon contract will finish, I took some effort to figure out the rough estimates for 2 years’ plan prices for iPhone3G from AT&T -

1 iPhone3G Individual Plan:

$70 (+ tax) * 12 * 2+ $200 (+ tax for phone set) + $36 (activation fee) + $30 * 12 * 2 (+ tax) = $2636 (+ a lot of accumulated tax)

So if I apply a flat tax of 8.75% on the total it becomes $2866.65 for next 2 years.
2 iPhone3G Family Talk Plan:

{ $70 (+ tax) * 12 * 2 + $10 (for 2nd line) * 12 * 2 (+ tax) } + { $200 * 2 (+ tax for 2 phone sets) } + { $36 + $26 (activation fee) } + [ { $30 * 12 * 2 (+ tax) } * 2] = $3822 (+ a lot of accumulated tax)

So if I apply a flat tax of 8.75% tax on the total it becomes $4156.425 for next 2 years.

This will be on top of my Blackberry that I get from my office with unlimited voice and data plan. But I like iPhone not Blackberry!

How does it sound to you?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fireworks and Shopping In San Francisco



This independence day long weekend, I along with my wife Shusmita and son Ahyan stayed overnight in San Francisco to watch fireworks and to shop in Union Square. My friend Nitol joined us at 4th July noon when we started in a relax mode. We reached Club Quarters in San Francisco (in Embarcadero) and parked my car in a nearby garage. Then we caught BART for shopping in WestField. In the evening we came back to Ferry Building to watch fireworks, but we couldn't watch well from there. So we started walking towards Pier 39 with Ahyan in Stroller. There we could watch the fires very closely. Ahyan was scared of the sounds and hence started crying loud. We finished our dinner just opposite to my office in market street and then Nitol went back to Fremont while we headed towards our hotel room.

http://picasaweb.google.com/nitol.shabbir/4thOfJulyAtSanFrancisco

The next morning we went to Naan N Curry in O'Farrell street. Shusmita did a lot of shopping from Union Square and we returned Fremont in the evening.

It was a pleasant short vacation and my wife is more inclined to rent in San Francisco for 6 months or a year. :-)

Last week I watched Will Smith's Hancock in theater with Nitol and Amin. Also there were 2 surprise (?!) birthday parties of mine. My parents will be visting us 18th July of this month and so I am planning lot of trips now for next few months.