Religion

I was going down the stairs in my faculty building.

One of my old friends [we attended a couple of classes together 2 years ago] was going upstairs. We bumped into each other.

“Hey, man. Long time no see. How are you?” I said.

“Hi! I`m good, how are you doing?”

We started chatting right in the middle of the corridor, as people were passing by.

“I thought you already graduated, bro.” I told him being confused.

“Man, I have been studying forever… I am at this uni for 7 years, and still haven`t graduated.”

We walked to the ‘lounge’ on the first floor, so we could chat a little more.

“What`s new with you?” he asked me.

“Well, I`m graduating soon. 11 weeks… and I will officially become a Computer Science engineer,” I boasted.

“Great. What next?”

“Honestly, I don`t want to stop studying. I want to continue…”

“Like what? You want to continue in IT?”

“Nah… not IT. I want to study something religious.”

“Oh, really? Like what?”

“You know, I come from a religious family,” I confessed. “I always wanted to learn Koran by heart — and right now that`s all I want to do.”

My friend was a little confused about why I chose to study IT if I had actually been more interested in spiritual studies.

I tried to explain to him that the main reason I  studied IT is not because I liked it, but because I wanted to study something that would bring me consistent income.

Now that I have IT degree, I can find a job anywhere in the world [be it America or Uzbekistan].

If I studied Koran first, I wouldn`t be able to make a living out of it.

Now that I have a stable salary, I can spend my time doing things like I actually enjoy — for example, learning Koran 🙂

After all, I do believe in the life after death. I believe that, when we die, we will either go to Hell [if we were bad people] or to Paradise [for good people].

I also believe that knowing Koran by heart will help me immensely to get the keys of Jannah 🙂

[I`ve done so many bad things. Maybe now is the time for me to do something good].

If you want to help me, please, make du`a: ask Allah to make learning Koran easy for me [or at least, just say “Ameen” here]. This will help me a bunch 🙂

I Like Psychology [more than IT]

“My name is Daniel Balcha… ,” our Psychology teacher introduced himself today. It’s the first lecture at this semester.

The lecture hall was full of students. Some of them couldn’t even find a place to sit down, so they had to STAND the whole lecture.

I was sitting in the very first row.

“Who can define ‘Psychology’?” Mr Balcha asked the audience, with an African accent [his English was perfect].

A few students raised their hands to answer the question.

“Yes, please” the lecturer pointed at one of the students.

“It’s a study of human bahavior…”

Usually during my standard IT lectures, I barely keep myself awake.

But this time… Throughout the whole lecture [almost 2 hours], I was so focused at the lecturer that even I felt weird.

Why this happened to me? I have 2 possible explanations:

1. Either because I was sitting on the first row and had no other option but to sit straight.

2. Or because I am naurally more interested in Psychology rather than in IT.

And something is telling me that the second reason is the case here [because I always sit at the first rows at lectures, and still fall asleep at IT classes].

When Your Boss Appreciates Your Work

My boss pinged me on Skype today: “Hi, Abdulla.”

“Hi,” I texted back.

“Are you in the office?” [it was 6pm and almost nobody was in the building]

“Yes, I am.”

“Can you please walk by my desk?”

His desk is like 30 meters away from mine. I walked towards him. He said with his Dutch accent [smiling, as usual] “Hey, Abdulla. I’m trying to find…”.

He was sitting at his big desk, next to a large flower plant, with some papers in his hand. He was trying to read the papers and understand what they are about. After a few seconds, he looked at me and said:

“Zeid told me you wrote a post about him and me.”

“Yeah, I did,” I replied being slightly embarrassed. “But I never mentioned your name anywhere… so you don`t have to worry.”

“Oh, that`s okay,” he calmed me down.

“Did you read it?”

“Yes, I did. I actually liked it. It`s good. ” he praised my little work. I felt appreciated [the best feeling ever].

These people — my bosses — are the ‘engine’ of my development.

These little ‘encouragements’ [even when sometimes my work is poor] from the people I admire is everything I need.

Football And Podcast

Today was a ‘football day’ for me [like any other Satuday].

Take the ball. Pass the ball. Take the ball. Pass the ball — This is the football style Guardiola taught Barcelona players between 2008-2012 — ‘tiki-taka’.

Result: two times the champions of Europe.

I enjoyed this style of football so much in Barca, when Pep was coaching the team.

I love watching players make these ’smart’ passes. To me, that`s a REAL piece of art.

We finished playing at around 5pm. I changed my clothes. Said goodbye to everybody. And headed towards metro with my blue bag on my left shoulder.

One of my friends was with me.

“Hey, you know what I`m thinking about?” I said to him.

“What?”

“I`m thinking of starting a podcast, where I would record my blogposts as AUDIO content with my own voice.”

“Podcast? What`s that?”

“It`s aahmm…It`s kinda ’radio’,” I tried to explain it to him in simple words, but he seemed to not understand.

“Look,” I said, trying to explain in another way. “BLOGGING usually comes in 3 ways: written posts, video, or audio.”

“Aha,” he exclaimed. “So, blogging with AUDIO would be ‘podcasting’.”

“Yeah, bro. You got it. They say podcasting is the FUTURE. It is a new TREND.”

I get all these ideas coming to my head all the time. But these ideas cost nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I remember when I was studying at a British university, one of the teachers said:

“Most people have brilliant BUSINESS IDEAS. But only few people are actually able to turn them into REALITY.”

Apple had an excellent idea to manufacture high-end tech products. But if they wouldn`t turn those ideas into reality, those ideas would cost ZERO dollars.

What I am trying to say here is… it`s great that you can tell people that you have this idea of podcasting.

But if I don`t actually start doing it, this idea is a total crap.

Friend Got Promoted

“So… Zeid is leaving to another company…,” my boss told me today, using the tone of voice he usually uses when he tries to start a chitchat.

We were moving our stuff in boxes to another floor.

“Yeah, I know…” I said.

Zeid is my friend. We study together at uni. But at work he is kinda one of my managers [one rank above me].

“Zeid is now a big boss at the French company,” I muttered, smiling.

“Oh yeah, he is a big boss now,” he agreed.

“There he has kinda the same rank LIKE YOU do here,” I replied.

“Actually, I think he has a higher position than mine. Because he has 5 direct ‘reports’ [meaning, 5 employees ‘under’ Zeid who kinda work for him],” he made a pause, feeling proud of Zeid.

Of course he feels proud of him. Zeid is his protege, after all.

“We have to call him Mr Sleiman now. I think calling him by his first name wouldn`t be appropriate anymore.”

“It`s true,” he replied immediately, smiling. “He might get NERVOUS if we call him by his first name.”

At this point I laughed out so loudly that some people looked at me like at an idiot.

I am honestly happy for Zeid. He has been always so nice to me all these… [I would say ‘years’, but I`ve worked at DHL for only half a year now]… all these 7 months.

And even before coming to DHL he`d always been a good friend to me. I wish him all the best at his new job. I know that he is gonna KILL IT there just like he is killing it here.

[Mr Sleiman! Yalla, habibi 😉]

Buy or rent a house?

According to Business Insider, 37% of Americans are ‘renting’ a place to live, rather than own it [and this number is rising]. It`s not only about Americans. More and more people around the world nowadays prefer to rent a place, not to purchase it.

“These days it`s not smart to buy a house anymore,” my man told me 2 years ago, chatting in a cozy hotel room [we were traveling somewhere together]. “The prices are so high that you might even save some money if you simply rent a place for your whole life [he laughed].”

“Investors would argue that,” I thought.

Investors have always believed that real estate is one of the best investments you can make in.

The prices of city apartments will always grow over the years. It may stay the same for some period of time, but eventually it will keep rising.

When you are ‘on rent’, you always have this FREEDOM to move wherever you want… and whenever you want. Nothing forces you to stay at one place for a long time.

What`s the point of spending crazy amounts of money to buy a house, anyway?

To look ‘cool’ in the eyes of friends?
I can be cool even without a house.

To be ’smart’ with your money and not give it away to LANDLORDS?
Well, think again. The prices for real estate are so high nowadays that you might be smart with your money if you NOT buy a house and just rent it.

To leave a legacy to your kids?
I would rather spend all my money on giving my children good EDUCATION [for example, by letting them study at a good private school in England or Germany]. Good education will make my kids happier and wealthier for life. Besides, they can buy a house for their own money later on [if they want to].

Renting a flat gives me the ‘freedom’ to travel. This year I am in the Czech Republic. Next year maybe I will get a job in the US. In 3 years maybe I will get job offer in Australia. You know what I mean? Freeedddoooom!

I would buy a house only in 2 cases:
1. If I decide to become an investor and make money buying and selling real estate.
2. If somebody gives me one million dollars to spend on whatever I want.

Because I know myself: if I have a million dollars, I will certainly do whatever it takes to ‘look cool’ in the eyes of my friends.

📙 Reading Books

[on the phone today]

Me: “Qalesan, ukajonim? [Hey, how you doin’, my lil’ bro?]”

Him: “I`m good. What`s going on?”

“Nothing much, coming back home from a library. I was prepping for exams.” [Gosh… exam period is starting at university o_0].

“What`s new?” I asked him.

“I got a new job,” he said proudly.

“Really?! Where?”

“At Click.” [“Click” is an IT company in Uzbekistan].

“Congrats, man. I`m happy for you.”

“Thanks so much 🙂”

He is only 20. So you can say this is his first CORPORATE job in his life.

“How did you like your first day?” I asked him, excitedly.

“Honestly speaking… I got so freaking BORED,” he said. “Man, it was SO BORING.”

“Why?!”

“Because I have to sit on a chair, answering calls from angry customers, for 8 HOURS STRAIGHT.”

He is pretty “energetic” young man. [sometimes he doesn’t know where to spend his physical energy to.]

That’s why sitting in one place for the whole day might feel like a real TORTURE for him.

Nowadays, however, this is what MOST PEOPLE do for a living: sit in office for 8 hours… everyday… Monday through Friday.

“So boring… I was looking at my watch every 5 minutes [waiting for the work to finish],” he complained on positive tone. “Time was passing SO SLOWLY, you have no idea.”

That reminds me of one really GOOD FRIEND of our family. He once told me:

“I love my job,” at that time he was working as a senior project manager at a big telecommunications company in Tashkent [at “Ucel”, if you will].

“Every morning when I wake up,” he continued. “I look forward to going to work as soon as possible. Usually I`m the first one to come to work. I love reading books,”

[now this seems to be “out of topic”, I thought].

“As soon as I arrive at my office,” he said. “I open my e-book reader and start reading from where I stopped the day before. Even in the middle of a work-day, whenever I get some free time – even 5 minutes – I open my book and read at least 1-2 pages.”

The last thing that he said – about books – remained in my memory really well.

I`m working in office too. For eight hours. Everyday.

But I love my job. Why?

One of the reasons is that I’m trying to follow the wise man’s advice – always have an INTERESTING BOOK to read when there’s NO WORK to do.

My cousin is 2 years younger than me, so I have RIGHT to give him advice [at least that`s what I tell myself]. So I told him:

“Get some book with you every day to office. Make sure it’s an INTERESTING one. Whenever there`s no work to do [even it`s for 5 minutes], take your book and READ. This way you will not be looking at your watch all the time, you’ll be learning and growing instead of wasting your time. You`ll be feeling more fulfilled, happy, accomplished by the end of your work-day. I promise.”

You always GROW when you read a book.

And who hates the kind of job where you constantly grow… 🙂

I am Uber driver from Pakistan

“Where are you from, if I may ask?” I asked my passengers, who were sitting at the back of my red Skoda Octavia [It wasn’t a CAR. It was my BABY].

“From Palestine,” answered the gentleman with strong masculine voice and typical Arab accent.

The lady sitting next to him was his wife.

Their business trip in the Czech Republic was finished and now they were headed to the airport to catch their flight back to Palestine.

“And where are YOU from?” the gentleman asked me back [he was trying to be nice, although he was not in a “chatting” mood. I could really feel that].

“I`m from Uzbekistan.”

“Oooh… OzbAkistan…,” he exclaimed again with a strong Arab accent [he called the name of my country wrongly].

People NEVER get to say “Uzbekistan” right. But I never correct them. You know why? Because I am happy if they at least KNOW that such country EXISTS.

[I totally get this, though. After all, it`s not the most popular country in the world.]

However, I want to tell you this.

During the last 3 years I`ve lived in the Czech Republic, Germany, and the USA. I traveled in Germany, Poland, France, Belgium, the Netherland, Denmark, and a few States in America.

I met so many nationalities. So many different people from different parts of the world.

In fact, at the company where I`m working right now, there are more than 60 nationalities [60!!! 😳].

But no matter in which country I am… Whenever I meet somebody and I get to say “I`m from Uzbekistan”, you know what 90% of people say?

They smile at me nicely and say “O-o-o-h PAKISTAN! That`s great!”

Next time when somebody asks me where I am from, maybe I should NOT waste anybody’s time and just say: “I`m from Pakistan! That`s great, isn`t it?”

My Stupid Excuses or Conversation With Myself

You are TIRED.
You just finished work. It`s 6 PM.
You had a difficult day.

You have NO ENERGY.
You got problems at home.
None of your FRIENDS are there to support you.

You are mad at your friends.
You don’t have enough MONEY.
You broke the screen of your phone.

[the list goes on]

IT’S OKAY to be tired. Get used to it. GET SOME REST.

IT’S OKAY that your friends are not supporting you – THEY HAVE PROBLEMS OF THEIR OWN [just like you do].

It’s okay that you have problems at home. Graduate from university, get a good job.

Send her flowers [or something]. Improve your relationship with her.

It’s okay to be short of money. SPEND LESS ON DUMB STUFF. Cut your expenses.

It’s okay that the screen of phone is broken. YOUR PHONE IS STILL WORKING.

Stop “crying”.
You have to work.
What’s the next thing on your to-do list?

Blogging With Smartphone

“90% of what I publish on my page,” he said. “I do it with THIS DEVICE.”

He showed his iPhone 5, lifting it above his bold head, so everyone could see it [in 2014 iPhone 5 was STILL cool]. He was addressing some 50 business students in the audience.

He was middle-height. Middle-aged. Bold headed. One of the most popular bloggers in Uzbekistan.

He had beard.

“This guy should be really brave to have a beard like this,” I thought. At those times it was forbidden to grow beard in Uzbekistan [it’s not totally allowed even now].

“I write my thoughts and ideas whenever they come to my mind,” he continued. “I can be in office. On commute. In a car. Or outside working out.”

Obviously, when you are working out, you don’t have your laptop with you. So what do bloggers do when “inspiration” comes?

They blog with the device they have AT HAND – a smartphone.

I believe, smartphone is one of the most incredible inventions of the history of humankind.

I cannot imagine my life without my smartphone [in fact, nobody can. Unless you’re 70].

Chances are, you are reading this ON YOUR SMARTPHONE right now [ isn’t it true? 😉 ]

The possibilities of your phone in your hand is incredible.

We should APPRECIATE this device WAY MORE.