So I called up Faisal and indirectly asked him what he thought of a Gmail account. He was interested but for the life of him couldn't figure out why I was asking these silly questions. But then he's probably used to that from me by now. As an aside, if I were called up and asked what I thought of Gmail, I'd probably make the connection immediately and expect an invite, but what the hey.... :-)
So, having assured myself that he would appreciate the benefits of having a Gmail account, I sent out the invite and congratulated myself on my wise decision.
Today, I signed in to Gmail and what should I see but 6 -- not one, but six -- invitations that I can give out to friends. Yikes. Sue me, but I think I'm running out of friends to invite. Nevertheless, I think I'll try. Alia could probably use the storage space, given her volume of correspondence, and Marvin, now that I come to think of it, could probably be persuaded to part with Walla for Gmail. Actually, I think I'll just email them, so there.
Now, I've finally finished Karen Armstrong's `History of Islam' -- not that it was huge or anything, but rather because I took a rather long hiatus to read other stuff. Dadiamma could never figure out why Dada leaves a book unfinished to start another one, and then finishes the first after the second, but I think that like me, he gets bored with one book after a while, no matter how interesting it is.
Anyway, Armstrong said something about why Muslim women might want to veil themselves from head to toe -- even though that is not required by the Quran -- that reminded me of my own affinity for my beard even when it was criticised roundly by both friends and family. Part of my rationale for the beard was, I don't care how I look to the rest of the world as long as I can have my way. Or, screw the rest of the world, I don't give a damn what they think. Or even, screw the rest of the world, I'll keep the beard just to irritate them!
So my being like that, I can certainly appreciate why some women might subscribe to the veil. It might irritate people, but I can appreciate the black irony of that and congratulate myself (!) for it.
This might sound shallow after the last paragraph, but I've come to realise that the most important thing I can ever learn is how to put myself in another person's shoes. In another word, empathy. The master's disciple may have concentrated on anger management, but I think if you understand the motivations behind people's actions, you'll find it a lot easier to control your temper. Now if only I could drill this into my head with a chainsaw. But no, it will probably take many years to fully absorb this idea.
 The story goes like this. A master once left his disciples to go on a trip. When he returned, he asked each of them what they had learned in his absence. They each enumerated the things they had learned, and the master was well pleased. However, when he came to the last pupil, and asked him what he had learnt, the pupil said he had learned only one thing. Hearing this, the master became very angry and struck the pupil. Then he asked him what he had learned. Calmy, the pupil replied, `I have learned never to lose my temper.'