Monday, December 28, 2009

I can still see the footprints

I'll be honest. Writing is tough. And writing for a blog where others get to see your work is even tougher. But once I find something that I really want to write about, it all flows so naturally. When I was thinking of how to honor my pact with my partner for making a weekly post, I could not come up with a single idea. Ideas are a funny thing. They find you when you're not finding them.

So, here I am. Typing up every single word that pops into my mind. The topic that has got me tapping away at my keyboard right now is a simple one and its something that a lot of you might be doing right now, and that is, looking back at the year that is but a few days from its end. Now this is something that I don't normally do, for me looking back is a waste of time but this year has been so eventful that I can't help but feel that it deserves a highlight reel.

The year started the same. I had given my exams in December so January was spent mostly relaxing and recovering (read sleeping, swimming, eating). In February, I got a call from my college that put and end to my post exam rehabilitation routine. The person on the other end of the line was Mr. Soban, the newly appointed coordinator for the college and it turned out that he had been tasked with the promotion of the college. His plan was to give presentations at various schools in the city about the accountancy profession and the college and he wanted me to give the presentation on ACCA. I pictured it in my mind. Bratty teenage kids, spoiled by their parents, used to having their way, merciless towards any poor soul that tried to hold their attention for more than two minutes. My stomach ached and every atom in my body told me to run away from this journey of no return. So I accepted. I have no idea why but I accepted.

That one decision snowballed over the next three months. When I reached the college I met Taha, a classmate of mine and it turned out that he was assistant course coordinator. Later in the day, after the first practice session I was offered the position of assistant course coordinator which I accepted and so now I was assistant course coordinator too. Later on, another classmate of mine, Asif, joined up as well as a teacher. And so it was that the next three months were a busy mix of teaching classes, conducting exams, going to education expos and giving presentations to bratty kids. During that time Asif and Taha (and many others) went from being just classmates to being really good friends. I also got to know all the students of the college and all I can say about them is that they are one cool bunch of kids.

That brings us to May. Now if you know anything about ACCA then you know what May means for us. Prep leaves. Or as me and Sara Q prefer to call it, exile. May meant total lockdown and complete cut off from the rest of the world so that I could focus on studying for what is easily the toughest exam I ever gave. I was finally released from my self imposed imprisonment in June so that I could give my exam.

Since I had just gone through the ordeal of exams again, it meant another month of relaxation. Or so I thought. Two days after the exams, I was back in the college to fulfill my responsibilities as the assistant course coordinator. The month flew by pretty fast as all I had to do was babysit an empty college and design the college prospectus and website with my coworker Bilal (a.k.a the coolest graphic designer on the planet). By the end of the month, I resigned. It was pretty emotional. I hoped it would not have been, but it was. Complete with a farewell gathering, a speech by me (sort of) and a few parting words from the guys.

July was total bliss. So blissful in fact, that I have no recollection of what happened in it. Seriously. I wish I could remember. If I had to guess, It was mostly filled with sleeping, swimming, golf, a lot of video games and even more food. August was full of good news. Firstly because, it was my birthday and Secondly, because my result came out and I had passed. I was now done with all the ACCA exams. A friend of mine who was studying in Canada was also in town and we got to catch up at his sisters wedding. The very same friend also forgot to say goodbye when he and his family moved to the states (Seriously Alam, not even a phone call?).  That little matter aside, August was total elation.

Moving into the last quarter of '09, September also held good news. I got the spot of internee at A. F. Fergusons & Co. A firm that holds the number one spot among the big four (yes, thats a big deal). If I could pass the test and the interviews I would be inducted as a trainee. But that comes later. Before that I got posted to an audit, my first one, where I met Mr. Abrar (easily the coolest supervisor at the firm, if you're reading this, thanks for the laptop!) and the rest of the audit team. The audit was a great experience, it was interesting to see all that I had studied come into play in real life and well, the food was good :D. Once my work was done I was released from the audit team, just in time to pass the test and make it through the interviews to obtain the coveted position of trainee at Fergusons.

And now, November. November introduced me to my batch mates, students who like me had also made it through the rigorous recruitment process. We all got to know each other over two weeks of the orientation and to say the least, they're an interesting bunch.

Finally, December. A busy month. Quite busy. Mostly because all of us at the firm were involved in one assignment or the other, but the main highlight of this month is that two cool people started one very cool blog (what you're looking at right now). As I write this, preparations are underway to start the new year with a bang, and what makes a bigger bang than a wedding? The first week of January will be full of fun and family as we'll be celebrating the marriage of my uncle to some girl who doesn't know what she's in for :D. I jest. Or do I?

Well, that sums it up. I left out a lot of details, people and stories because this post is long enough without them and some things are best kept a secret. This year was so awesome that to do justice to it I would have to write a whole book. As a person, I feel that I have grown more in this year than any other.

So, to conclude, farewell 2009. You were great.

Oh, and Sara Q, I think I broke all your records for long posts with this one :P

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cutting the ribbon

Ok here goes nothing. What you see here is the combined effort of two people. Two people who on their own were very enthusiastic about blogging but somehow never succeeded in maintaining one. The poor victimized blogs met this fate probably due to time constraints, regular exams or mere laziness. Or maybe, at the end of the day, there was nothing to write about. The two persons being me, Sara Q and my charming co-author, Talha A. B.

A blog, according to me is an opinion, a reflection of inner thoughts and ideas that we’re willing to post on the World Wide Web, thereby declaring it open to the world. A blog is not a diary; it can never be a diary. Those who treat it like one might never desire to reveal their true identity to the world. Somehow exposed identities and dirty laundry are not mutually exclusive. But then again, it’s a world of exceptions. Exceptions WHO usually need therapy I must add.

In short, a diary is a diary, to be guarded away from the eyes of even the most loyal confidante; probably hidden in the depths of some mattress. Let us not break such a tradition because at the end of the day everyone has issues, spur of the moment anger, bitterness and well a sudden high vocabulary for swear words.

Anyway back to our blog. It contains or will contain the amalgamated and separate thoughts of two individuals. On what you may ask?

Anything; ranging from everyday life (read food, friends, likes dislikes and gossip)to sports, politics, philosophy, psychoanalysis, sociology, arts, science, literature, music, movies, media followings, theology, beliefs, events, etc. It’s like one big potpourri.

Describing oneself with a musical genre is difficult but once done is most effective. Put in the fact that all other decent blog names were taken. The way in which ideas for this blog were presented, rejected and ultimately narrowed down was nothing short of a comedy flick as described by my co-author himself. Add in the fact that a conflict of opinions usually resides between two people and this won’t be any different. Thus the title, almost similar in meaning yet different in context.

And so several dialogues later, here we are; trying our luck on blogging yet another time. Please feel free to express your thoughts on our theories of sorts. The theories of two individuals with a background in Accounting and Finance. This is mentioned to tell you that later posts will originate more from general observation and experience than textbook knowledge.

Anyway, I said it once and I’ll say it again; here goes nothing!

P.S : Pleasure, Talha. And yeah I'm sure by now they've gotten what you meant by my signature 'long posts' :)

Setting the tempo

Of all my blogging attempts in the past, I have more faith that this one is meant to last than all the others. After all, a blog that is started on Quaid-e-Azam's birthday is surely meant for great things. Then again, grandeur is like coffee to me. It just makes me hyperactive.

This little space right here is meant to serve as a sort of brain dump for me and my lovely co-author (this flattery has a purpose :D). Here you will find our opinion on anything and everything, ranging from old aunties telling you at weddings how you've grown to the usual ramblings on politics and economics.

But, I forgot the most important thing. Introductions. I am Talha A. B., the man who will forever struggle to describe himself and the lovely co-author mentioned earlier is Sara Q and just a heads up, expect plenty of content because she's the expert on long posts. For some reason, we can look at the same thing and be in agreement and disagreement, hence the name of the blog, Allegro and Vivace (get it?).

That's all for this post, but not to worry, I'm usually shy at first ;)

Keeping with the spirit of the day,
Pakistan Zindabad

P.S. If you're reading this, it means I won and I got to make the first post

P.S. You're reading this because my lovely co-author graciously allowed me to make the first post. Thanks Sara :)