Monday, January 8, 2007

101)The joys of friendship and, whats in a signature?

This post begins off topic but, rest assured, it will end on topic.This morning I met a close friend of mine for a breakfast of french toast, maple syrup and coffee at Le Baguette at the Fairview Mall in Toronto. We meet like this about once every 6 weeks at the same place, same time, for the same breakfast and to transact the same business: My good friend Bryan and I have been buying lottery tickets together for about ten years now and I was giving him $20.00 to replenish my share of the kitty. Bryan is a meticulous man when it comes to buying tickets. That is what I like about our "business" relationship. He ensures that both our names(as they appear on our passports) go on the back of the ticket the minute he buys it. He then e-mails me the numbers on each ticket we buy to store and saves the actual ticket to give to me at our next power breakfast meeting. Its a serious business, this lottery quest. So far we have won negligible amounts of money but the real fun is in the anticipation of the big win almost as much as actually winning it would be.

This morning's meeting was special and had a celebratory air about it. My good friend Bryan had just been given some excellent news by his physician, to the effect that the masses seen on the CT scan of his lung were not malignant tumours but rather loci of chronic infection that would eventually disappear with the appropriate medication. I recall at earlier breakfast meetings over the past 6 months the anxiety on his face as we deliberated on the possible grim diagnosis. Among other things, the subjects turned to wills and executors, places he would have liked to have travelled to but never did, his family in other parts of the world and the trials and tribulations of a 66 year old man living alone in a big, impersonal city.

We had met in Toronto in the mid-1980s and hit it off right away. Interestingly, both Bryan and I hail from the same part of the world: The child of an Afrikaaner father and English mother, Bryan lived near the fabled garden route near Port Elizabeth in the former Cape Province of South Africa. As for myself, the child of Ismaili muslim parents of north-west Indian ancestry, whose ancestors immigrated to South Africa during the 1890s, I lived about 800 kilometers north-west of Bryan in Pretoria, South Africa. Both of us have been back to the old country as tourists and have enjoyed many of its natural splendours and vistas, much of which we did not do when we actually lived there.

As the revelry progressed during our breakfast and the good news of Bryan's medical diagnosis sank in, we began to plot our course for the lottery quest of 2007. Its going to be our lucky year, I opined enthusiastically to Bryan; I could feel it in my bones. We would continue to buy not only Canadian lottery tickets but also tickets from New York state for the megamillions stakes, the U.K. lottery and, if we could find someone trustworthy to buy for us, the Spanish lottery, the largest lottery in the world. We strategised about what disguise outfits and paraphenalia we would buy from the spy shop on Yonge street to hide our true identities as we jubilantly marched up to pick up our big lottery cheques. It was heady and enthusiastic banter, filled with hearty laughter. Mostly, we just enjoyed each others company and strenghtened our bonds of friendship.

In ending this post and coming back on topic, I would ask you to focus specifically on the content of my signature post below, to think about it carefully and try to see the continuum of knowledge from matter to spirit inferred to in the utterances, pearls of wisdom that they are, of our 49th and 48th Imams.


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3