February 15-21, 2006

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Silicon Alleys - Gary Singh

Silicon Alleys


By Gary Singh

ACCORDING TO Ellie Crystal's metaphysical and science website, "Synchronicities are people, places or events that your soul attracts into your life—to help you evolve or to place emphasis on something going on in your life. The more 'consciously aware' you become of how your soul creates, the higher your frequency goes and the faster your soul manifests. Each day your life will become filled with meaningful coincidences—synchronicities—that you have attracted or created in the grid of your experiences in the physical."

I've always been interested in this concept, since several instances have occurred when two people I hadn't seen in years were sitting around talking about me, and then all of a sudden I walked into the scene—whether it was in a restaurant, or at the beach, or whatever. Here's another example, as the Russian newspaper Pravda recently told it: "A ship sunk near the shores of Wales on December 5, 1664. Another ship went down on the same location on December 5, 1785. A third ship sunk to the bottom of the sea on the same location on December 5, 1866. Each of the shipwrecks had only one survivor. In all the three cases, the survivor's name was Hugh Williams."

This topic is on my mind these days because a recent personal synchronicity occurred just a few weeks ago. But in order to explain it, let me first take you to the village of Chambly, Quebec, about 30 miles east of Montreal.

The last time I infiltrated Montreal was September of 2004, and I just had to check out the Unibroue brewery in Chambly, since those famous Belgian-inspired Quebecois brews are some of the best gourmet beers anywhere. In San Jose, you can only get them at Beverages & More and Cost Plus. They are strong and expensive as hell, but well worth it. And they're famous not just for the recipes, but for the elaborately designed labels based on classic Quebecois mythology. For example, the label for their beer, La Fin Du Monde—which translates as "The end of the world"—features a glowing relief map of Quebec and is dedicated to the great explorers, who believed they had reached the end of the world when they discovered Quebec. And Unibroue's masterpiece brew Maudite—which translates as "the damned one"—features a smiling Satan against a red backdrop of passengers in a flying canoe. An ancient Quebecois legend has it that a group of lumberjacks struck a deal with the devil to fly home in their canoes, guided by Satan himself, to make it home in time for Christmas.

The folks at Tourisme Québec set me up with a tour, and the folks at the brewery told me I was the only American journalist who had even been granted a solo tour of the place. But, by far the most bizarre fact I learned was that a Pakistani guy, Asaf Mirza, is the one who designs these elaborate labels. There we were, in Chambly, Quebec—where everyone is French-Canadian and there are no minorities anywhere—and it's a Pakistani chap who's behind these magnificent and highly creative labels. No one in Quebec even knows who this guy is, let alone in the United States.

And then one day a few Saturdays ago, I was sitting around in a San Jose bar over a glass of Pyramid Snowcap—one of my faves—and the subject of gourmet beer came up. As soon as I mentioned Unibroue, the woman sitting next to me turned and said, "Oh yeah, my dad's the one who designs the labels."

My jaw dropped. I looked at her incredulously and said, "What? You're kidding."

"I'm not," she said. "Asaf Mirza."

"I've been to your dad's office," I said, blown away.

She was equally incredulous and it turns out she lives in Morgan Hill. It was the craziest synchronicity I've ever experienced. It is said there are no coincidences. This mind-blowing occurrence was something beyond the laws of nature. I know it.

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