Search This Blog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

In the area where I live, it never snows unless you're willing to drive about an hour or so to outside the Los Angeles city limits towards the nearby mountains. And believe me, if anything looks remotely close to snow, Angelenos will be out with their cameras trying to capture the moment like a tourist who has just seen the Eiffel tower for the first time. The first year I moved here, it actually hailed. Me and my classmates were so excited as we ran outside, only to be hit by a whole bunch of ice balls. It was fun.

This year, My cousin and I decided to head out to the Grove/Farmers market for an early dinner while watching the fake snow, Christmas decorations, the trolley and Santa's house. There are two sections: The Farmers Market which has been around for years and the Grove which was added not long ago. Farmers Market is more flavorful and traditional with boutique shops and no frills eateries and the Grove is more modern with chain restaurants and stores, movie theaters and a large round water fountain which dances to Italian music. It's easy to spend an entire day there, but the parking can be pricy even with validation.

While there, I got inspired by my cousin's enthusiasm to take some photos. So, do enjoy and a Merry Christmas to all of you.  

On top of the movie theater behind me, there is a machine that spits out snow.
Moved my phone camera up for a better view.
I have no idea who is the man with a hood. I guess he was too tall for me to avoid him.

Last photo opp before we start walking towards the ginger cookie house.
Heading back. Taking a hurried shot before someone passes in front of my camera.
The crowd shifting in my direction.
Ginger cookie house where parents and children line up for a photo opp with Santa. 
Side view of the Trolley. It takes passengers from the west end/farmers market to the east end/grove. 
Last photo: The rear view of the trolley as it rings its bell for fun and for the crowd to move out of its way. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The finality of death

Image by farconville

My mom passed away on July 13, 2011 and I have been so depressed that I haven’t written anything since then. It’s been very difficult dealing with her death, especially since I’m not all that religious. I was born a Muslim and I have no intention of changing into a different religion because I believe my character is not defined by religion, nationality, race, sex and etc. I am who I am, regardless. I am enough. I don’t need to defend myself to others and frankly I really don’t care what anyone thinks about me because those who love me, know the kind of pain-in-the-ass I am, but they also know that I am loyal and will always be there for them, no matter what.

Anyway, getting back to my concept of death - I suppose people who are religious or those who believe in after life, heaven, hell, souls, ghosts and things as such, have an easier time with death. I have been searching for an answer over and over, but to date, I have none. The truth is that nobody knows what happens after we die. I’m even skeptical of people who have had a near death experience and say they’ve seen light, tunnel and etc. I can’t help wonder that their stories was nothing but hallucination and a figment of their imagination based on the stories of what others have said. Bottom line, I don’t know. I’m not sure of much these days.

I was talking to my older cousin the other day and as usual we started to have an argument.

She said, “If there was no purpose and this was it, then everyone would start cheating, lying and killing each other.”

And I said, “people are already doing that; just look at all the leaders, politicians, CEOs and their friends.” 

She said, “Then how come you’re not going after someone’s blood?”

“Well…that’s because I have ethics, morals and principles. I am definitely flawed, but when I compare myself to the rest of people living in this world, I realize that I am a good person,” I replied.

“And how did you learn all those things?” she asked, goading me to blurt that it was my religion who taught me all those things.

“I didn’t learn it,” I responded. “It is inseparable from who I am and has nothing to do with religious beliefs. Some people have it, some just don’t and some sway in between. Besides, most killing and wars are done under the pretext of religion.”

After we hung up, I realized that my cousin’s fear was getting punished after she died. She was afraid that she was going to be judged and so, that’s why she tried so hard to be good.  Someone once asked me if I go to church on Sundays and I said no, I’d rather go out with my friends and have fun. She said, “well, some of us need to go to church. Some of us need guidance.” 

Anyhow, I’m not writing this to discuss religion or lack thereof; I’m just writing to ask the difficult questions. What if this is it? What if when we die, everything comes to a complete halt? What if there is no purpose to life. We are born, we live and then we die – end of story. And if this is the case, then everything in life becomes meaningless. If you spend your whole life building strong relationships with those around you and then suddenly that relationship ends completely because that person has passed away, isn’t life just a waste of time?

Someone long ago wrote, I’m so tired of living. At the time, I thought what a strange comment coming from someone so young. But now I understand the statement after losing my mom who was also my best friend. I feel like I have lost not one, but two of the most important people in my life. And when I sit down, lost in all the paperwork, bills and other responsibilities, I say, “I’m so tired of living.” But we’re all stuck here until one day, we too will go away. Where will we go? I have no idea. Most likely nowhere.