January 03, 2009

Refresher Course

The earliest recorded post on ARNABlog was on June 7th, 2006. This was the day I graduated from Simon Fraser University (SFU) as a proud holder of a Bachelors of Science degree from the schools of Computing Science and Business Administration. As I specialized in Information Systems, it was actually a joint major in both these disciplines. I had the option of taking more difficult courses to obtain the BSc, or I could take easier ones and settle for a BBA.

I crisscrossed the globe in the next two and a half years, collecting a profusion of experiences and leaving behind a legacy of goodwill. I flew off to India, worked tirelessly for a year with Satyam, traveled to Europe, returned to Vancouver, found a job with ResponseTek, and took a few courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I finally returned to the SFU Burnaby campus when the annual open house was held.

Eager students demonstrated their projects and explained why they were drawn to one field or another. The students had not changed much from my years, although the physical infrastructure had improved vastly. New buildings had popped up on the fringes of the university that I remembered. The bus stops were now covered, protecting today's students from the harsh elements of Burnaby Mountain. I also discovered that SFU had an impressive Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, something I had never stumbled upon during my years as a scholar there.


Refresher course definition: A course that reviews and updates a topic for those who have not kept abreast of developments.

January 02, 2009

Vaisakhi, Vancouver Style

In the month of Baisakh in 1699, the first Sikhs were baptized and became known as the Khalsa ("pure"). Vaisakhi is celebrated by Sikhs around the world every year as they come together to observe this occasion. Around the same time Bengali's celebrate their new year, Naba Barsha. The first time that crops can be harvested in the season also occurs around this time, so everyone is generally in a good mood.

In Vancouver, it is not just Sikhs who come to to celebrate Vaisakhi. Around 100,000 people showed up for the annual Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver's "Little India". Hymns were sung as part of the street procession, an activity called Nagar Kirtan. Main Street was filled with revelers who watched floats pass by as they munched on tasty snacks provided freely by the Sikh community. The food was as diverse as the parade participants, ranging from pakoras to pizzas. Among the local celebrities in attendance was photogenic TV personality Tamara Taggart, who waved at me.


"Share our similarities, celebrate our differences." - M. Scott Peck

January 01, 2009


The indigenous tribes of North Africa go by many names. Berbers. Touareg. Moors. Imazighen. The term Berber stems from a variation of the Latin word "barbarian". Moor was also coined by Europeans to describe the invaders from North Africa. The Tuareg, a tribe within the Berber community, speaks the language Tamasheq. The tribesmen are famous for wearing their distinctive headgear and blue robes as they cross the Sahara. Imazighen translates to "free men", though this is not solely a reflection of their nomadic lifestyle as some settled near oases or in the mountains. Its singular form is Amazigh. As 2009 dawns, I too find myself a free man. Having exited from ResponseTek near the end of the previous calendar year, a whole new world of adventure and discovery awaits me in this one.

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom." - Albert Einstein