“Aya”, with a shivering tune and nauseous sensation in mystomach, I uttered. For a 7-year-oldkid, “what’s your name” wasn’tsuch a big deal. However, for me it was rather a conundrum. Aya–whichmeans the miracle in Arabic–was the easiest-pronounced word to utter to aquestion that was much harder for me. I might have been too shy to answer,overthinking how I would sound: Arrogant, idiot, or funny.
Regardless of my confusionback then, why I was named Aya –why the miracle– was a question that has alwaysintrigued me. Miracle intuitively comes to my mind upon seeing the unpredictablegoal of Roberto Carlos against France. The deviation of the ball’s trajectorythat left the whole planet dazzled by its incredible spiral curve mesmerized me. I strove to bend the ball likehim; I used to stay after the training for an hour or more to practice my free-kicks,and every strike was hopelessly going out of bound. I tried dozens of times,but I have never perfectly swerved a single ball. I was running out of tricks and I had to find analternative to help me master the impossible kick.
Another “why” startedchasing me: why it neverworks out with me? Fair enough, to master the “football miracle” I hadto master another miracle: physics. Fortunately, that kick was a catalyst formyriad of studies about aerodynamics. Differences in pressure, Magnus effect,and simple Newtonian mechanics were ample explanations for the weirdtrajectory.
With a physics flavor, I learned the steps of swerving the ball by heart and startedapplying them. After several trials and calculations of the required spin,speed, and the position of the kick, I–ironically– couldn’t score the goaleither. However, I managed to curve the ball’s path by a considerable angle.I threw my head inecstasy, lay my back in the pitch, and gazed in admiration at the intricaterealms overhead. Once more, the only thing I could utter was: MIRACLE! Imeticulously stared at the black skies and got lost in contemplation.
Theconstellations were evocative of cherished memories of the bed-time tales mymother used to tell me about the truth behind the names of thoseconstellations: ancient mythologies; tales that lead me to the profound courseof the riddles of our exotic existence. Although physics is always thought of as driving peopleinsane, it always ignites my curiosity. It is an adventure that starts with athought-provoking query of a trivial mundane aspect of a daily routine and endswith a plausible explanation that changes the way I perceive the world. In an aestheticscene of the scribbles of ink-written numbers on scratchpad –while trying toalgebraically manipulate an equation – and the blank blackboard that has beenfilled up with chalk-written deductions, physics reveals the vividness that it givesto our imagination.
World duality,backward causality, and the multidimensional reality of our universe imply thatlife per se is a miracle.Based on the premise of our existence–that everything isrelated to a specific reason, throughout my life I’ve been collecting pieces ofthe puzzle, wondering about the reasons why I was named Aya. Asking about myname is a more profound plunge into my past, my passion, and my future. Thisquestion turned from being irksome in my childhood into a one that motivates meto persevere and reach the height of my ambition in every aspect of my life.
Ina pursuit of a name’s meaning, I believe that if I found myself on the edge ofan abyss I will cross the threshold and dive into the adventure to collect themissing pieces of the puzzle, and at the bottom if I were asked about my name,I know that I will confidently utter Aya, and I’m not willing to give up whatthe name implies.