Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Meeting of Alphas - Kenya Trip 2022


I along with my family and friends were surveying the beautiful landscape of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in two land rovers. Our drivers took us to a lion family consisting of 22 members, 3 of those are male lions, 8 female and the rest are cubs. From the distance, the magnificent male lions with a powerful, majestic mane emerge, exuding an air of authority and strength. One of those just stopped in front of our cars. 

I was murmuring - What a stunning creature!

The lion catches my scent and becomes intrigued, gracefully turning his head towards me just from 5 feet away. My heart races as I realize the significance of this encounter. He is no ordinary lion; he, too, is an alpha, ruler of his own world.

The lion starts with a low growl - Who dares to venture into my domain?

Me (calmly) - I come in peace. I mean no harm to your realm, great lion.

The lion looks at me with a combination of caution and curiosity, recognizing the power emanating from my presence. He nods - You are unlike the others who have come here before. Your aura speaks of authority and strength.

Me (respectful) - As yours does, noble lion. We are both leaders, alpha beings in our own right.

The lion locks eyes with me, a head-to-head eye fight of sorts, where neither of us backs down. The intensity in the air is palpable, each acknowledging the other's dominance and power.

Lion (grudgingly) - I sense no malice in you. Perhaps we are not meant to be enemies.

Me (agreeing) - Indeed. We share this land, and it is not my intention to challenge your rule.

Lion (relaxed) - Nor mine to challenge yours.

A sense of understanding passes between me and the lion, a mutual respect for each other's strength and territory.

Me (smiling) - Perhaps, as leaders, we can learn from one another.

Lion (intrigued) - Indeed. The ways of the human world and the wilderness differ, but there may be wisdom in both.

I and the lion continue to share a moment, the tension of the initial encounter now transformed into a mutual appreciation for each other's roles.

Lion (raising his head) - I bid you safe passage through my realm, alpha of your world.

Me (nods) - And I, too, wish you peace and prosperity, noble ruler of the wild.

As the sun sets on the horizon, I and the lion part ways, each knowing that though your worlds are different, there is a shared understanding and respect for the power that lies within both of you. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Embracing the Unexpected: A Memorable Father-Son Adventure

Life has a way of surprising us with incredible adventures, even when we least expect it. Recently, as I dropped off my son, Ahyan Zaman, in Los Angeles, little did I know that our journey would take a detour leading to unforgettable experiences.

Our first stop was Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park, where we were eager to witness the awe-inspiring General Sherman Tree. As the largest living tree in the world in terms of volume, its towering presence at 275 feet tall with a diameter of 36 feet and an age of 2200 to 2700 years left us in awe of nature's wonders.

Continuing towards the Giant Forest, we encountered an even more astonishing sight - bears! Not just once, but twice, we had the incredible opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, a moment that etched itself into our hearts forever.

However, our adventure took an unexpected turn when we faced a flat tire situation near Bakersfield. Nevertheless, we quickly contacted AAA roadside assistance, and they efficiently helped us replace the flat tire with the spare one, allowing us to resume our journey.

To ensure a smooth ride for the rest of the trip, Ahyan found a 24/7 mobile auto mechanic shop where we acquired a new tire for our rental car, a Dodge Charger. With our vehicle back in top shape, we headed to Kasturi in Los Angeles for a delightful dinner, cherishing the flavors and toasting to the spirit of adventure that had filled our day.

The surprises didn't end there, as I had a wonderful reunion with my friend Chandru, who lives near LA. We met in a cozy coffee shop and delved into discussions about AI, chess, theatre, Marqeta, Twin Health, and more. It was a delightful encounter that added an extra touch of joy to our already exciting day.

From there we went to Aladin Sweets for lunch and then visited Griffith Observatory. We didn't have enough time in hand to attend the planetarium show which I plan to cover in another trip.

Later, after dropping Ahyan off at the UCLA Sproul Hall for his theatre performance summer course, I made my way back to Fremont. Despite the long day, the memories we created together were more than worth it.

With my wife and daughter on a separate journey in Malaysia with my mother-in-law, this impromptu father-son adventure was a cherished opportunity for bonding and creating lasting memories.

Life's unexpected turns often lead to the most extraordinary experiences. So, the next time you find yourself on a journey, be open to detours and embrace the surprises that come your way. You never know when you'll stumble upon an adventure of a lifetime!

Saturday, July 01, 2023

A Rollercoaster of Events: Car Theft, Recovery, and another Epic Road Trip

The past couple of weeks have been nothing short of eventful for me. It all started with the shocking theft of my beloved Honda Accord, a car I've cherished since 2009. Little did I know that the decision to install LoJack, a vehicle tracking system, would play a crucial role in the eventual recovery of my stolen car. As fate would have it, amidst this turmoil, my nephew Iram arrived from Toronto, and together we embarked on an unforgettable 2000-mile road trip along the captivating West Coast. Additionally, we celebrated Eid Ul Adha by participating in Qurbani rituals both at home in Dhaka and here in the Bay Area. Join me as I recount this rollercoaster of events.

With a heavy heart, I discovered that my Honda Accord had been stolen from right in front of my house. A recent similar incident involving my neighbor's car heightened our suspicions. I promptly reported the theft to the police, harboring little hope of ever seeing my car again. However, the memory of the LoJack device installed at Fremont Autowest Honda came to mind. Determined to explore all options, I visited the dealership, where I was directed to contact LoJack's customer service. The police added my car to the national stolen car database and remotely activated the LoJack device, which emitted signals within a 3 to 5-mile radius.

Against all odds, just past midnight, I received a phone call from the police informing me that my stolen car had been located. Accompanied by my wife, Shusmita, and armed with the spare key, I rushed to the scene. To my relief, my car was unharmed, parked on a dimly lit street surrounded by other vehicles, some bearing the scars of previous thefts. Grateful and humbled by this fortunate turn of events, I extended my thanks to both the higher powers and the Fremont Police Department for their swift and efficient work in recovering my car within 24 hours.

Coinciding with the turbulent car theft incident, my nephew Iram arrived from Toronto, infusing the atmosphere with excitement and adventure. Undeterred by recent events, we embarked on a breathtaking 2000-mile road trip along the West Coast. Our journey took us through iconic destinations such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon West Rim with its awe-inspiring Skywalk, the magnificent Hoover Dam, and the mesmerizing Death Valley's Badwater Basin. The trip offered us unforgettable sights, experiences, and quality time together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

While immersed in the whirlwind of events, we were also fortunate to celebrate Eid Ul Adha, an important religious occasion, both at home in Dhaka and in the Bay Area. Demonstrating our commitment to tradition and community, we arranged for Qurbani, the ritual sacrifice of a cow in Dhaka, and two goats in the Bay Area. These acts of devotion and charity allowed us to connect with our cultural roots and share in the joy of the festival. On the other hand. Suhaila is performing in Ohlone college the musical show "Madagaskar" for 3 days. And it turns out to be by birthday today.

These past few weeks have been a true testament to the unpredictable nature of life. From the shocking theft of my car to its miraculous recovery with the help of the LoJack device, it was a time of intense emotions and gratitude. Amidst these events, my nephew Iram's visit and the subsequent road trip added a much-needed dose of adventure and joy. Furthermore, the celebration of Eid Ul Adha allowed us to embrace our cultural traditions and foster a sense of community. 

Thoughts on Life, Death, and Overcoming Fear

I've been pondering a topic that's universally relevant yet rarely discussed - death and the anxieties it evokes. As I delve deeper ...