Saturday, August 25, 2012


The last few weeks I've had several things remind me of my 'smallness'.

I am learning about Voyager and the Golden Record it carries.  It was launched 35 years ago, and had this amazingly romantic idea. It would carry this small record meant to encapsulate our planet.  On it, there are sounds of so many things including baby's cry, greetings in numerous languages, animal sounds and the brain waves of Ann Druyan who was in love and would later marry Carl Sagan.  The Voyager has been traveling at about 36K mph since it left in 1977.  There are countless stars out there; thousands of stars you can't see for all those that you can and the Voyager won't reach the closest one for another 40,000 years.  The idea that someone or thing might find this and might be able to listen to this and might be able to interpret this is  so enchanting.

Jimmy Carter said so articulately, "This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.'

A couple weeks back Curiosity landed successfully on Mars a mere 60 million away.  Against the odds, the 7 minute landing controlled and monitored far, far, far, far away was a success and inspired and united a whole world by pushing the bounds of what humans have been given the capacity to do.

The other night I watched a stupid Nick Cage movie that gave some crazy stats about the size of our world and it's expanse of time. There are 1,000,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy and 1,000,000,000,000 galaxies out there, give or take a zero:P  The mathematician in me wonders can our planet be 1 in a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000...(you get the idea), how romantic an idea is that? In a blink of an eye in universe time there were dinosaurs and in another blink our sun will be burnt out.

And the other night, the biggest thing or rather the thing the put this size in perspective was mom's letter.  I'm a believer in determinism, things happen for a reason.  This amazing experience with this amazing Moula that I'm a beneficiary of, that my kids are a beneficiary of is unbelievable, it is beyond any math or logic.  If I ever think things are random or without purpose, I will feel sorry for myself.

Also, I saw 'The Dark Knight Rises" today for the first of probably many times to come and it was out of this world  AWE-some!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I've heard the lore of Aqa Moula's first visit to Chicago in 1978, first utaro at mom and dad's house, but I got a new even more fantastic perspective of it yesterday.

Last night I got to be part of something so special.  I got watch as mom read 'the letter'.  I can't go into the history of the letter too much for fear I would be incomplete and I would not do it justice.  The letter's content and journey has a story that can't be made up and I can only understand as my naseeb to be witness to its reading.

All the stories I've heard before have been from memories and amazing experiences people remember and many of them I've heard second hand.  At the time, mom wrote a letter to her parents in India.  35 years ago India may have well been another planet.  The letter is about 15 pages and rich in detail and emotion.  After many years and some amazing trip, the letter made its way back to mom.

I watched mom read the letter word for word.  It was filled with details like dates, times, the clothes Aqa Moula was wearing, the food Aqa Moula ate and so many more details, details that would have otherwise been lost. As mom read the letter, it was magical.  She was reading, but also reliving every moment and it was moving.

In addition to the letter, Dad had the incredible foresight to document so much of the trip with moving pictures and portraits.  A video camera was no small thing in 1978.

By the end of the 45 minutes, I was so captivated that I could hardly digest what I had just been a part of.  I think about this amazing, amazing thing that mom and dad have to pass down to Aziz and Zahra and as my great luck would have it, me too.

It occurs to me now that mom was round about my age when she wrote the letter.  She was even in just about the same stage of parenthood.  I doubt very that mom and dad could have imagined the legacy they would have to give to us so many years later.  I can't think about Yusuf and Nooriya so many years from now.  It isn't obvious to me the legacy Zahra and I will pass down to them, but I don't want to take it for granted that it will be so valuably documented as mom and dad have been able to do.