Saturday, June 13, 2009

Through the Bus Window

Salam all.


As I'm writing this, I've been awake for about 21 hours - searching for my supervisor at the hospital, trapped in an elevator car for about half an hour, running to and fro between banks and the laundry, going shopping, going partying with perfectly fun, amazingly beautiful, but half-sane flatmates, doing a bit of quite unsuccessful tidying up to my room, despairing over the collapsed rack in my cupboard leading to my clothes being packed in four miserable LIDL carrier-bags, watching anime, and attending to the usual spiritual moments (prayers, Quran, etc).

Head a bit stuffy, tummy growling with hunger and the nausea floating up somehow killing all appetite, site of tooth extraction behaving funny and eyes slightly blurry (what else would one expect?).

So don't expect anything too intellectual. Don't be surprised either if something overly complicated came up. I don't have any clear clue now what I'm going to churn out, other than typing away and away. No, I haven't been overdosing on caffeine - haven't taken any for quite awhile now since I realized how the side-effects are cranking up my systems more than doing them good. I'm not dopey on those codeine painkillers either. (Though I don't think they ever get me any high - only waves of horrible nausea and flatulence.)


The idea for the title came when I was journeying to Sheffield by a bus two days ago, dashing through the rain. Funny how frequently when I booked a train ticket to Sheffield, they gave me a bus. Never mind. My visits to Sheffield were very frequent and for no urgent reasons either.

When I wasn't dozing off, I saw that the majestic Peak District looked so wonderful in the white shower blasted by the wind. I remembered the hills being golden, brown and barren during autumn, snow-capped during winter, sparsely green with hints of timid, graceful colour during spring and parading its unashamedly lush yet modest coat of summer. I seldom - perhaps never - had in my memory of the hills in a rainstorm-splashed vista. How I wish I could jump out and dance in the wet, sharp rain, as liberated as the wind.

I saw a lot of thing through the bus window. My night-time travels are accompanied by visions of ethereal clouds, of bushes and trees spread out in valleys and hills barely visible under the pale half-moon, or of the full moon herself shining silvery-gold, its glow the only thing in motion across the sleeping sky. Sometimes if the moon is away, I could see the glittering stars. I never bothered to count them up. There are times when neither the moon nor the stars are within sight, but I was content looking at the dark outline of hilltops and tree branches, barren or leafy. As I stared, lips chaste of speech, through the bus window, strings of words and rolls of tales unravel themselves in the depths of my head, merging the seen and the unseen, the fiery nights and the icy days, the transient life and the eternal after, until my eyes close of their own accord.

I don't really enjoy daytime travels, especially long-haul bus journeys in bright daylight. I tend to get bus-sick.


My wardrobe is not exactly bright and colourful.

Most of the colours are dark. Mostly black, dark blue, occasional purple and earthy brown somewhere. Was it a conscious choice? Was my selection of attire something I subconsciously built over the years, corresponding to my inner intuitions and tendencies? My mother used to comment that "such and such colour is your elder sister's type of colour" when talking to my younger sister about choosing baju kurung dress patterns. People used to comment that I look mature. I guess it's just a gentler way to say I look older.

Sometimes I felt that wish to be more colourful.

Nevertheless, everytime I went shopping with the intention to buy something 'out of the norm', I end up buying something that would fit in exactly with my current, drab, serious, plain, wardrobe. My recent purchases over the past few months - I don't shop often - include a black scarf, a white scarf, a black blouse with blue trimmings and a brown blouse. Yesterday I went to Primark, hoping to get a colourful, perhaps flowery dress. I left the shop with a plain black skirt and a black-and-white dress. Hardly revolutionary.

One thing that I noticed then - I was actually afraid to get something that I don't usually adopt as my attire. I was afraid of making the wrong choice of colours that would not look good on me, that would give me a tough time matching it up with other pieces of garments. I was uncomfortable with the idea of breaking away from the way of presenting myself, as I had been doing for years and years, with no groundbreaking transformatory revolution, only gentle nudges and shifts here and there by way of changes.

In short, I'm a conservative who feels safe in dark colours.


This writing is a me, me, me, writing. Everything is about I, me, yours truly. Self-centred, ain't it. Heck, a lot of blog writings, although seemingly touching other issues, are self-centred, although it might not touch on the writer's personal life - or pretend to not touch the writer's personal life.

When the elevator car that I took to descend to the ground floor from the second floor (as Greg and Dr Venning used to imply, I am too lazy to take the stairs) took too long to reach its destination, I sensed something is not right. Indeed it wasn't. I was alone in the car, stuck somewhere that I was unsure of its whereabouts. Pressing the alarm button a few times, the next alarm tending to be longer in duration than the one before that, led me to no responses. Ten minutes passed and I wondered if anyone actually monitored the lifts, if anyone would suspect someone is trapped inside, if there is air supply flowing into and out of the car, and if there were none, how long would it last.

I thought that if there is no air, I wouldn't really die retching and choking with asphyxiation, perhaps I'll simply pass out gently, less painfully from hypoxia due to breathing in low oxygen concentrations before the business of dying is finished. Morbid thoughts do come in handy when you're trapped alone in an elevator car in the middle of nowhere between the floors with no phone reception and no idea of knowing your orientation with relation to the outside world. I thought of shouting for help, but some scrap of pride told me to keep that aside until it's really urgent - even in that situation I still feel that it is necessary to maintain a measure of cool and not get reduced to a screaming panicky mess. I wasn't even sure that the car isn't soundproof. I pressed the alarm button again, praying to Allah for help.

Praise be to Allah, after less than fifteen minutes being trapped, I heard women's voices asking if there's anyone inside, to which I replied in a steady enough voice. There were some reassuring muffled sounds, then quiet. I considered shouting again but reconsidered it. They must be out seeking help somehow. I think it's only psychosomatic, since I do not think elevator cars are airtight, and I do not think there would be any problem with air supply in the elevator, but I started to feel the air getting warmer and stuffier. To cut the story, after about fifteen more minutes, and several well-spaced, rather suitably infrequent reassurances from some male voices (maintenance worker -cum -saviours) out there, I was free. Turns out I'm still on the second floor. Most probably the car didn't move at all after I got in.

Lesson learnt :
1) Accidents could happen anytime.
2) I am quite morbid.
3) It is helpful to learn a bit of engineering with respect to elevators. E.g. how much air supply is circulating, whether the elevator car can actually be stuck between floors instead of smack on Floor 2 or Floor 1, whether the door is soundproof, would equip one better for such accidents.
4) Some accidents don't kill. Some others do.
5) Use the stairs, it's healthier and safer.
6) Allah holds my life in His hands. I pray to live in faith and die in faith.
7) I like to dramatize things.


I have been awake for almost 22 hours. Listening to the gentle melodies of Joe Hisaishi and some composers - was it Nobuo something? - who wrote the score for Final Fantasy. Thinking I should either get some sleep or some food, and making the move to get neither.


There are a lot of things playing in my mind these days.

Women's rights and positions as defined by the Faith. Whether men is always correct in their judgment and views of the world, or need to be acknowledged as being correct because without approval these sorry men wouldn't be able to function. Without approval, acknowledgment, and leeway from properly behaved women, our men would be so forlorn and sidelined they'd have no motivation to lead, to even prove they're worthy of the power that ironically they proclaim should be theirs.

The issue of jama'ah, liberalism and conservatism. Banning and banning, unable to provide intellect capable to crash the opponent in an equal court. Books that threaten the faith - ban. Conferences and talks that threaten the faith - ban. What exactly faith is, what exactly would threaten it? Any proactive, productive moves to actually strengthen the faith without alienating the non-believers? Any such moves that doesn't involve banning and obvious prosecution of some sort?


Tummy growling. My table is so cluttered - both on top and underneath. Remnants from the OSCEs. Funnily enough, I felt reluctant to clear the mess that was practically my most loyal companion throughout the grueling revision hours. Stockholm Syndrome? I was practically in love with my captors that are these mounds of notes and books spread out all over the place. The instrumental version of Melodies of Life from FF9, in the lyrical form beautifully sung by Emiko Shiratori is now playing.


I was stuck by how certain people put more attention on intuitions, drive and spirits to push them forward and determine their actions, than proofs and practicalities. Certain people who claim that newbies should understand the meaning of Islam and da'wah first before joining jama'ah, but then brainwashed these newbies into their brand of Islam which effectively cancel out possibilities of seeing the other side of the lawn. All the way saying that they don't mind people making choices. Act on your words, pals.

Implying that knowledge, facts, information and practicality matter second to "purity of heart" and "burning spirits of da'wah" is not only incapacitating to the individual, it is also dangerous to da'wah as a movement.

I don't wish to elaborate on this further - I'm sick of certain actions of people that are akin to firing bullets to certain groups of other people, who, for certain reasons, aren't exactly free to answer and retort back out in the open. If only we can really play fair and fight in common grounds. But then again.

But then again, if it's completely equal then it is not actually an exciting competition - as someone told me someone says, the newbies are a target market and it is an open competition to determine who gets them first. I don't know if anyone actually said that, it's just a hearsay.

The suppressing of free thought and opinions, the relegating of intellectual endeavour as unimportant, that leads to people saying "I don't really know about dalil, but I can give opinions." to object against something with which there are dalils allowing it with the merit of personal opinions, the supremacy of the heart over the mind.

But then again.


I'm just rambling. Don't pay much attention to what I say. And yeah, I know I don't get much comments, and I don't really respond to comments, but if I chose to, I can be a bit merciless.

It's 9.38 a.m. It might be a good idea to crash on the bed for a few hours of shut-eye. Tomorrow morning, Allah willing, I'll be off to the Student Union exec-elect training camp.

I am deathly scared for the results of my semester assessments.

I am not exactly happy with the kind of thoughts, ponderings, and impulsive urges that are quite rampant in my mind now, especially at certain times. No, I'm not going crazy like one of those melancholic writers. I'm not as good as them yet.

Do pray that Allah lets me be successful and strong, and not go astray, folks.

If you read this far, thank you very much.


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