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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

for poetry lovers

the other side of burning hell/minus 20 maiN ish'q ki baataiN

the other side of burning hell
it is chilly
moustaches freeze up in this frost
we recall whispers nor heart aches

divinely (we) sense
where this anguish emanates from

sky crystal clear
cold piercing body and soul
finger tips singeing chillinferno*
we recall whispers nor heart aches

minus 20 maiN ish'q ki baataiN

sardi hay buhat, sardi hay buhat
moochaiN, aahaiN, shikway
sub jum say ga'aye haiN

hum bhool ga'aye haiN
dar'd kay sub qissay
hum bhool ga'aye haiN

ehsaas ho gaya humaiN
kahaaN say oothta hay
ghazal ka woh dhoo'aaN**

aakash hay saaf neela
sardi aisi hay jo
jis'm o rooh ko jhulsai
oongliouN maiN paNjouN maiN
aag aisi hay lagi
hum bhool ga'aye haiN
dar'd kay sub qissay
hum bhool ga'aye haiN
sardi hay buhat, sardi hay buhat

* chilling inferno
** a ghazal made famous my Ustaad Mehdi Hasan
yeh dhoo'aaN kahaaN say oothta hay...

am wary

am wary of
lines that begin
'if truth be told...'

when chanced upon
such revelations
i look around
and make plans
should the truth
unveiled, shatters
(my) harmonious

Monday, February 27, 2006

God is In Control of This Vehicle

Who wants to mess with God? Given a warning I tend to avoid a flight where someone proclaims God is my Pilot.

This morning as I turned on to Kipling Avenue the SUV (sports utility vehicle – a euphemism for gas guzzlers) in front of me had this sticker: God is In Control of This Vehicle.

I pulled into a parking lot and took three deep breaths.

Who wants to mess with God? Given a warning I tend to avoid a flight where someone proclaims God is my Pilot. Look at what happened to the twin towers?

You may be religious or irreligious. You may believe in my god or favor your own. I understand She comes in different colors and flavors.

Or you may prefer not to believe in one.

Digression: I always wanted to ask an atheist this question. After a 8+ hour flight when you land at New York or Toronto in blizzard and zero visibility what goes through your mind? (My communication speed with the Maker goes in overdrive.)

Back to this sticker.

What does oxygen, water, food, money and God/s have in common? We breathe, we drink, we eat, we earn and spend and we worship. We take these for granted.

When was the last time someone proclaimed in a sticker:
I Inhale Oxygen
We Drink Water
I Eat Food

You won't find them HERE!

For the believers God exists. He is everywhere, like oxygen. What is it with this proclamation business? Does She need all these affirmations? I was taught His signs abound everywhere.

Again, back to that sticker. I pulled over because I did not want to mess with God.

I want a vehicle operated by a licensed driver. Preferably not under the influence. A driver who can take evasive action, drive sensibly and courteously.

With Gods in control we cannot be sure these days. Look at Chechenya, Iraq, Darfur, Balochistan, Kashmir.

As it is I have enough problems with folks in driver’s seat. (Honestly, I am not talking about you M dear.)

Then there are kind folks like Bush, Gaddhafi, Khomeini who talk with God. Look at the mess they have driven us into.

No! Give me a licensed or even unlicensed driver any day. I know how to deal with them.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

canned laughter

if i could have
canned your laughter
for eternity
would this sojourn
have been easy
or easier?

Desicritics Is One Month Old Today

Desicritics, the South Asian offshoot of Blogcritics is one month old today.

In just a month, Desicritics has made huge strides. There are more than 160 authors on its rolls and the quality and range of articles has been mighty impressive.

Here is a message from the publisher, Aaman Lamba, to mark the occassion:
It's been a pretty good month, far better than one expected when we conceived of as an online magazine delivering quality news and opinion on all things South Asian with a global focus. Conceived by Eric Berlin as an extension of the successful paradigm established by Blogcritics publisher, Eric Olsen, and technically powered by Phillip Winn, I've been honored to do my part in creating a new reality, closer to the heart.

I do believe Desicritics, Blogcritics, and the ilk are the harbingers of Media 2.0, a citizens' response to big media, embodying the best of blogs as a personal communication medium, and the power of the collaborative, interactive paradigm. The paradigm reflects South Asia, the world's perceptions of the region, and vice versa through the blogosphere's ability to diffract news via opinion, delivering something more than news and opinion.

Eric Olsen commented once on the concept behind Blogcritics,
It's a place to the advantage of both the writers and the readers - they can interact - because we have open comments. You as the reader can participate in the ongoing discussion: you can agree, you can disagree, you can bring in new facts, you can reference materials that you think are important. I think that's something that sets us apart from the traditional media.

The exceedingly fine writers on Desicritics have consistently delivered a delightful variety of news and information on topics ranging from Rang De Basanti to the Cartoon protests. We've covered Arcelor, and joisted on the Indian Army in Kashmir. We've been noticed by the media and the blogosphere as well, and our regular readership continues to grow daily.

One month on, we've got over 160 writers, 100,000+ page views, we added on two more editors (temporal & Sujatha) and we're only just beginning.

Desicritics come from Pakistan and from Australia, from Bangladesh, Toronto, and Bangalore.

If you'd like to be a Desicritic, check this out, and send an e-mail to We look forward to adding more quality writers to our rolls.

thanks Sujatha

Saturday, February 25, 2006

infusion not confusion

my comments on DESI Confusion

when a person moves adjustments are the order of the day...a good rule of thumb will be this: the adjustments made are directly dependent on distance moved

my digressions:

infusion not confusion

we (desis) provide a greater infusion and add much more to the social, cultural and economic fabric of the countries we move in to...(generally speaking and based on my N.A. experience) we are already educated...meaning the local taxpayers have not spent a dime on us...we are hard(er) working and have a better work ethos ...(no flacks please, these are my observations;))...we tend to save more...make big ticket purchases....thus putting back in to the local economy...are generally more supportive of our kids taking up higher education...are more law abiding...the list goes on but suffice it to say you will get the drift...

so the next time some one smells curry off our clothes and makes a face, smile and say salaam/namaste to you too:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

carrying cross

is not
just another day
the cross
gets carried
on the back
to the next

the sign post cross
here lies
and naively
i carry it
with my shadow

and call myself

Uncle Sam Needs You: Two Cartoons

Wish I were a cartoonist. Let me share two cartoons.

1: Uncle Sam Needs You

Imagine a caricature
Of Mullah George bin Laden
In a recruiting poster
For Osama bin Bush

2: It is All About Democracy

While a city is cluster-bombed
Buildings are leveled
And the smoke is rising
A little bird says to another
It's all about freedom
And democracy

Monday, February 20, 2006


sometimes i wonder:

where there is smoke there must be...
where there is hatred there must be...

at the end of the day:
and how about another cliche?
when all is said and done

it's only a matter of time
when we turn to dust or ashes
pick up some dust for me, some ashes, anyone
and pray tell me its caste, religion, nationality


we will continue to throw darts
of suspicion, misgivings and hatred
am sure it is written in some book
oh words have such longevity


those who seek love, understanding, pyar
would be shunted, ignored and called names
condemned to the fringes
this also is life and
clichés reign supreme
like un-ordained prophets
dancing in desert's infrequent rain-storms


i will go for green tea
wait! is called green tea...not because...!

Qissa Kahani Ka: The Story Tellers

Dosto, grab your drinks, and smokes (if you do), put on something warm and comfortable and follow me to the fields. Let us find a large tree. There, that one would be fine. Make yourself comfortable. Let's get the fire going.

Come with me to the waning days of the Mughals and the rising days of the Raj.

India was largely agrarian and feudal. Fort Wlliam College and the invitation of tum likho, hum chapay ga (you write we will publish) surreptitiously whispered into Indian ears was yet to come. (My conjecture: another seedy ploy to divide and rule through cultural subversion.)

Gutenberg's revolution through Fort William College was yet to show its mixed impact.

The nights were long. After a long day in the sun people would gather around the campfire. And the duel between the spell and quiet of the dark and the magic of the storyteller's yarns and tales would begin. The storyteller would spellbind his audience and try to win them away from sleep.

The calm and peace offered by the night will be fought with magical tales of bravery, romance, wisdom. The intuitive story teller would introduce turns and twists in plot to keep sleep at bay. He would draw tricks from his bag of oration. This magic lasted till later into the night.

In later times the campfire gave way to shama(lamp). And the crowds would move into courtyards. But the wooing of the listener's attention by the storyteller would continue.

The aural traditions still held sway over the visual.

The qissas people heard were a blend of those passed from generation to generation as well as those created by storytellers on whims of creativity.

Enters the Raj and the centuries old traditions of Mother India with contributions from Persia and beyond began to disintegrate. The printed word became a blessing in disguise killing off the oral traditions with a merciless stroke.

The only tradition that withstood this onslaught was the mushaira.* But Urdu had to pay a hefty price too: by adapting itself to continue the oral traditions of the classic ghazal only! The jadeed (new) ghazal and naz'm, qissa-kahani (short stories and tales) were abandoned and orphaned to fend for themselves in print only. Other forms of poetry like marsia, qasida also suffered.

The qissa-kwani (storytelling) succumbed to the imported versions of the short story and later novels. Intezar Hussain quoting Jean-Paul Sartre said literature is created by the writer and the reader.

When the story telling gave in to the printed word, the immediate and spontaneous interaction between the narrator and the listener withered away giving rise to the more distant and aloof relationship between the writer and the reader. Millions who could not read became the casualty. Fort William irrevocably cut off the umbilical cord between the story teller and the listener.

The tradition brewed over centuries met instantaneous death. Few of the qissa's oral traditions survived or were incorporated in this new printed form.

Disappeared forever the flexibility, innovation, voice inflection and the theatrical gestures of the animated story teller.

Now more digressions: Let us move from the qissa kahanis of old to the short stories and novels of today. And continue this journey from the novel to shaeri

The old classic ghazal survived through the offices of mushairas, but the jadeed ghazal (or new ghazal) and the naz'm (poem) found itself unwelcome there. Like short stories and novel they also embraced the printed word. Because of the education spread it was accessed by an ever shrinking percentage of the population further decimated along ethnic and linguistic lines. The erosion of Persian from court language and its replacement with English also contributed to the decline of qissa-khwani.

Ending digression: the film director of today is perhaps the true successor to the Chahar Dervish (story teller's) of yore.


* This is not entirely correct as I learned here from Anil

In the 70s and 80s, Staal showed how the ancient Indians devised elaborate cryptographic schemes (Kramapatha) to ensure that nothing in the main Vedas -- RigVeda and SamaVeda -- was lost during oral transmission. And it wasn't. As the British discovered to their astonishment, different groups of Brahmins across the country were still chanting the very same verses, almost 3500 years later

The above was from various sources but in particular this owed a great deal to an excellent essay/column by Urdu short story writer Intezar Hussain. (Those of you not familiar with him can go to Dr. Muhammed Umar Memon's the Annual of Urdu Studies - where you will find articles about him and some of his stories translated into English). I read the essays and articles a while ago.

Caveat: While Intezar's column/essays provided the catalyst for this some of the wider curves and liberties I have taken are entirely mine-t

Some more links for those interested:

Bagh O Bahar -Introduction by F.W.P.

A Tale of Four Dervishes


gift from the waves of Time
ghungroo or mangal sut'r
current symbols are they both
of a timeless slavery

waq't ki lehrouN ka toh'faa
ghung'roo hO ya mangal sut'r
zanjeeraiN haiN donouN hee
ik azli ghulami ki

Monday, February 13, 2006

Are There Any Hookers in NYC

I recall this story I read a long time back.

The Pope was invited to visit the US. There were no planes in those days. He boarded a ship from Civitivecchia for NYC. During the voyage the Pope was briefed on how to handle the US press.

They were very pushy and would distort words to get a scoop and mileage, he was told.

So to counter them each evening the papal aides would throw questions at him and he was trained on how to respond to them on his feet. One trick he was taught was to repeat the question to buy time while he mulled a proper response in case he found the question perplexing.

Finally the ship berths, gangway is aligned and the Pope descends. At the foot is a hoard of press reporters and photographers and each one is shouting questions at him. Out of the melee a loud voice booms 'Your Holiness what do think of hookers in New York?'

This perplexed the Pope. To buy time he rhetorically repeated 'Hookers? In New York?'

Next morning's New York Post's lead head was:

Pope's First Query in the US
Are There Any Hookers in NYC?


On News Coverage & The Art of Reading Between the Lines

This post is prompted by a comment by cynical nerd on Another Occupying Army and from the article and comments on One Simple Rule For Improving Your Writing.

The cartoon disturbances would not abate any time soon. (My personal views? The reactions should be non-violent and legal.)

Am picking the coverage from BBC for the coverage of today's protests in Pakistan's largest city Karachi which is controlled by Mutahhida Quomi Movement. MQM is headed by Altaf Hussain from exile in London. He has an iron clad control over MQM.

(If you are familiar with Mumbai politics Altaf Hussain enjoys more power and support in Karachi and areas of Southern Sind than was enjoyed by Bal Thackeray in his hey day.)

Check out the BBC coverage of the protests in Pakistan Fresh Pakistan cartoon protests.

It begins:

Several thousand people have protested in Pakistan's Karachi city over the publication in the West of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

In the fourth successive day of demonstrations, tens of thousands of protestors joined a rally called by religious parties.

At least five people have died after protests against cartoons across Pakistan turned violent this week.

So far my only concern would be this: a good reporter would have emphasised the real news behind the ongoing protests. This protest was peaceful unlike others. The organizers had appealed prior to the protest to ensure that the protest remained peaceful. (I monitored ARY and Geo TV Networks and some local papers)

Only if you scroll down to the 12th paragraph will you read from this coverage:

The protestors disperse peacefully after the demonstrations, reports said.

(This is a quote - it did say disperse - very poor editing!)


It is interesting to read and compare the coverage of the same event from different sources. And it helps to develop the art of reading between the lines.

I for one do not believe there is any bias free or unprejudiced coverage anywhere. There cannot be. We have our prisms to look and filter events with. And wittingly or unwittingly the slant happens.

What we can do is to compensate using our judgement. And try to be fair.

The BBC news I quoted can be fixed easily by:

1: Adding one word in this paragraph:

Several thousand people have protested peacefully in Pakistan's Karachi city over the publication in the West of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

Why was it overlooked? BBC slant? Poor editing? Unskilled reporter or editor?

2: The twelfth paragraph I have quoted from the news report should have been moved up to the third.

An informed reader leads to a better writer.

Another Occupying Army

The army in Pakistan is the occupying army. It is a tetra-headed monster that favors k(h)akistocracy.

Its many heads appear to work off independently while attached to one body. That is why sometimes it appears to the outsider that the ISI* works independently of the CinC.

But there is one factor that can be counted on. It is a well oiled monster that primarily looks after its interest first: country and people next!

Ruling over 162 million unruly folks spread over 800,000 sq. miles, (LINK) divided by religion, ethnicity, provincialism is not an easy task.

I did say religion!

To an outsider one word description is Muslim. But that is not entirely correct.

The majority Sunnis, the minority Shias and many others like the Zikris and others who all profess a belief in the same Allah and the same Prophet, and invoking them kill each other without remorse.

There are areas of Pakistan where the federal edict does not run even today. They are mainly in the outlying regions of the west and north west including parts of Balochistan, the Northern Areas and the Frontier with Afghanistan.

Over the last 59 years the GoP has failed to extend its laws over these areas in toto and instead has become adept at administering these areas through political agents and tribal leaders.

The view expressed in An Orchestrated Protest Such a level of violence which included gun shots unseen even in bastions of Islamism such as Iran and Syria couldn't have happened without the support of the military-ruled government

and the inference

The rulers of Pakistan wanted to send a message by attacking prominent American symbols like Citibank, KFC and McDonalds (as happened before).

is somewhat off the radar screen.

The occupying army is not that well oiled or resourceful.

It has its enemies all over Pakistan.

In addition to expressing their (misplaced) anger at the Cartoons the populace is also expressing its anger at the K(h)akistocracy**.


*Inter Service Intelligence: headed by an active officer from the Army

Pronunciation: (kak"u-stok'ru-s?), [key]
pl. -cies.
government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.

valentine poems


also realistic


also realistic


Temporal, I went to the link.What a disturbing ,inglorious end!! It pains me to even think of the circumstances that might have led to it.. Dont you feel all this is avoidable? What does it cost any of us to be caring, loving, giving individuals? Kuljeet, even after her death got such a raw deal from the press, I was appalled.She was a pulsating, vivacious young woman. It would have been a pity had I not done my bit in presenting her the way she deserved to be. How can we ignore these occurrences as if they have no bearing on us as a people and a society? In a world where there are organisations as PETA(People for Ethical Treatment of Animals),human lives are to be dismissed as non-events? We are then not worthy of considering ourselves a species even worth reckoning.

from HERE


These are the queries that sensitive folks struggle with every day of their life.

These are the dichotomies of life and living.

Here in the West some folks care more for their pets then their children. Here also some lives are more important than others. A gunning down of a cop or a security guard merits more column inches on page 1 or 2 of the local newspapers. While twenty dead in Europe is a page 2 or 3 news item. And a few hundred killed in a train mishap or flood in India merits less coverage. And African dead even less.

The human (and seemingly humane) face of the West is wrinkled and blemished. It is laden with double standards and dichotomies. It is an enigmatic conundrum when it places a value on human life.

There is a price on human life as seen through the Western prism. The Americans are at the top of this totem pole followed by Western Europe and the RoW (rest of the world) is lower then them. No wonder they practice discrimination and duplicity of the highest order when in all but official practice they treat one US or Western life as worth many time more than the lives of others.

The idealists and the poets in RoW live in a dreamland that is not shared by the West.

The US is the new brahman in the world pecking order. The family pet's life is more important that person living in that unpronounced/mispronounced country.

Sorry Kaveetaa...I was going to complete this and post it as an article...tying in this perspective on human life from a country's p-o-v to an individual's perspective and then tie them in with the individual that we have been talking of...the suicidal person and the value s/he attached to his/her life.

But I feel I cannot do this at this stage. Why?

I was looking for some things I have written on this subject. And came across this On Life and Death, particularly the three paragraphs in the conversation with the self

I have expressed it there much better.

Maybe another time I will finish this chain of thought.

Monday, February 06, 2006

sunday morning inging

what is it when the well versed
end in head-on crashes frequently?

the asphyxiating suffixing
of the ding prefixed with stan
(which in some indo-germanic
languages means an abode)

together it means
being in upright position
on the feet, tall, resisting...
ready to face the winds

this is far from being over
over can be prefixed
to overspending
overstating, overstriding
but seldom to (over)standing
--overstand to lose a sale, yes
but no inging there

before i come to the mis
another s to the prefix
would conjure pleasant images
(without being naughty or sexist)
and i hope this sunday morning
you're still standing beside me
............on standing
before i discard over
and move to under

life's journey is seldom a straight path
or gods would not arm us with understanding
nor would we feel its absence profoundly
when the turns and banks accost us in eyes

the paths and weather turn ambivalent
when mis is (pre) fixed to understanding
leading to sunday morning's dense inging

The Pause Button


This place I worked once in downtown had a park round the corner. I had an appointment at the bank four blocks away and left the office in plenty of time and decided to take the scenic route through the park.

It was a fine warm morning defying T.S. Eliot's cruel April predictions. A nanny had brought her wards to the park and there were other children running, shouting, chortling, enjoying the mid-noon mirth.

A man was feeding the pigeons out of a brown bag oblivious of others. Another panhandler was drinking out of his paper bag.

There was an empty bench. I sat down.

People were crisscrossing the paths. Some ambling, jaunting, rushing, strolling, determined to reach somewhere.

And there were birds chirping too. Flying singly and in groups. They seemed to be as happy as the frolicking children in the park.

I must have sat on the bench for a long time.

"I was caught in the traffic, can we reschedule for Wednesday at 3.30?" I said when I returned to the office.


Am very lucky to have this pause button. I can press the pause button and enjoy life's little pleasures and gestures. My pauses can be short or long. The stay in park was one of the shorter ones.

Other short ones will be enjoying a washed dished, (digression: dishwashing is a very satisfying experience for me. Rinse, soap, scrub, wash, dry. Job completed. How many other things can be finished in such short order?) birds feeding, catching lovers eyeing each other, squirrels storing food for the winter, boats sailing in the lake, a big plane landing, an hail-mary in slo-mo, a painting in the window, traffic and signals at a busy intersection....

M has almost given up asking why am late;)

Am known to have quit and gone on travels lasting months. Well, not really. They needed me so much they would give me leave-of-absence. They would qualify as the longer pauses

During one such pause I spent an afternoon in a very interesting conversation with a couple in their eighties on the Rajdhani heading towards Trivandrum. After inquiring where I was from, why I was travelling, where I was going, was I married, had any issues - this puzzled me at first - had no idea whether they were debriefing me on Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechenya, Croatia, Palestine - the grilling went on for some time.

Afterwards, they shared their tiffin with this stranger. What was more interesting is what they said later. They said they would have loved to take a pause from their lives earlier on to travel on a whim like I was doing.

I had encountered similar comments everywhere I went.

And I would tell them the same thing in reply. If you want to do something and are determined to do it nothing can come in the way. Just some fore planning and some mule-ness is all that is needed. Oh, and how could I forget, a very supportive spouse.

This leads me to a recent exchange with a very hyper super achiever friend


You need to slow down. How?
Two quintuplets would force you to slow down.
But, let us not even consider that!
Explore other ways.
Find that pause button!

Once you make that discovery you could pause life at will and begin to appreciate and enjoy it more. Of course you will have to curb all the high-flying go-getter tendencies and throw all them over-achiever urges out the window.


tough choices

slow down with quintuplets?
what r u high?
pause button?
arey bhai pause button use karnai ka time hO tO slow down hoon na
u and ur brainwaves


If we do not voluntarily learn to use and enjoy the pause button now mother nature will impose it upon us. Only then it could be sans enjoyment..


fate deals, we play
we don't own the deck
play best as we can
whine, thank, pray, scold
for the allotted seconds
we play

dropped in waters
we swim
with or against the tide
in shallow and deep waters
for the allotted seconds
we swim

is there anything
we cannot do
to stay afloat?
tell me then why
are we segmented?

On Arrogance and Humility

I was discussing humility with Kat. She had posed this query: are great artists arrogant or humble?

I answered from a personal perspective. If the artist (could be any creative person) is cognizant of his/her talents and reach then s/he would be humble. I gave her the examples of Faiz and
Sadequain. There are many more...

I have used the word cognizant very judiciously. There may be very talented individuals who are not truly aware of their talents or potential. Will ignore them for now.

The real talented individuals in any field have two essential requisites. Passion and Yearning: a yearning to learn in their chosen field. A passion that makes them oblivous to the rat race.

The pursuit of yearning makes them aware of how little they know and they realize that on the vast shoreline of existence they are but a speck of dust. This awareness leads to humility.

Arrogance and haughtiness I associate with youth and ignorance. The less one knows the hotter one gets:)

If I see a mature person act arrogant I immediately sense weakness or insecurity. They are trying to cover up some shortcoming. Confidence and assuredness do not lead to arrogance.


he never yelled
just pushed the gajras* in view
and looked with baleful eyes

when the traffic halted
other hawkers, beggars pounced
seeking alms, selling wares
............but this kid
and his younger sister
merely looked at you

they could've been mute
i never heard them peddle
the only thing i traded
was a dismissive
maaf karo! nahiN chahiyay**

* * *

stopped at red on islington*** yesterday
and the scent of jasmine wafted in
i looked around for baleful eyes


*....a bracelet made of flowers
**...forgive me! don't need it
***..a T.O. street

Saturday, February 04, 2006

painting with words

if i were a painter
with whisks
would wipe away scowls
make faces smile

she smiled at my folly
i thought of the rancor
between religions
........and sullen gods

but am a stargazer and
armed with word-chisel
would work to wipe away
a few more frowns

Let Us Divorce God

Is fatalism inherent?

The age old and ever inconclusive debate over Jab'r and Qad'r, Ordained or Free Will, Determinism or Indeterminism is being lost to Ordained without a whimper.

Uttering meaningless InshaAllahs and MashaAllahs, invoking His help without doing the leg work, hoping without effort, are the hallmarks of the New Desi Muslim.

There are three broad categories of Desi Muslim.

1: The vast majority who are too impotent or apathetic to do anything. Their first struggle is for survival. The divine handlers of opium see to it that they do not come out of their stupor.

2: A minority debates and pontificates interminably over issues in vain.

3: And an even tinier minority takes matter in their hands. This includes the likes of Edhi and Burney and some NGOs.

The latter pay their respects and homage to gods in their own way. But from the practical stand point they have all but divorced God from their efforts. They practice their religion or belief system but do not wear it on their sleeves.

They exemplify the tolerant and practical face of Islam that is in such short supply.

this was written earlier in another context but it is relevant to today's discussions

Thursday, February 02, 2006

am no god

when i was young
i knew everything
could do anything
i was GOD
today i know i know
so little
am barely inches
above ground
and contentedly
am no god

on take-offs and blast-offs

in those days we used to take turns to travel to Karachi...M would visit her parents and i would baby sit the kids for a week...some months later i would take off for a week...on one of those trips i decided to take our first born along...he was perhaps 4/5 then...there were no direct flights...TO, NYC, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Islamabad, Karachi...five take-offs...

at each take-off our conversation went something like this:

a: we are blasting off
t: we are not blasting off, we are taking off
a: no, we are blasting off
t: nahin baitay, we are taking off...

at about this juncture i would go into a somewhat detailed explanation about aerodynamics...weight of aircraft, the jets' thrust to propel it into air...and then compare similar dynamics of the rocket...the weight of the rocket and the total thrust of its engines to propel it out into a language that a five year old would comprehend...understandably, this lasted for quite some time...he would listen attentively for a while, drift off to some other subject, will return to the take-off-thrust discussion again and this would be repeated till he nodded his understanding...or till the next take-off!

finally, we landed in the terminal as we lined up for immigration someone tapped my shoulder...i turned back to find a fellow passenger...he said, 'I hope you do not mind my saying this but I have been sitting in the rows behind and I must commend you on your patience in explaining take-offs and thrust. You are a wonderful single parent....' or words to that effect...

suddenly all my jet lag dissipated...

that was then...

today...he is an irreverent iconoclastic young man who is opinionated and sometimes brash...and friends meeting us for the first time say we are so alike...and i can we be similar...i show respect and courtesy...even to not use/abuse language like he does...

we did inculcate mental open-ness...inquisitiveness...thinking outside the box...but always with love and respect for others...but all is not lost...

if i sound harsh and narrow-minded you should see when i come to his rescue when M wants to dispatch him to moon...well, sometimes have no choice...have to defend him...won't you if she would start off as 'your son...' a big hint of what is about to follow or 'he has taken after you, he....' followed by the latest...ahem...indiscretion?

the other son never lands in trouble...of course he is her son:)

what is happiness?

(an old exchange with jonty)


...shandy speculated the difficulties of being creative when one is happy in her ilog...happy people can't write

...been mulling over this since yesterday...what is creative folks hug and nurture miseries to be creative?...more on this i was searching for the above quote read her latest entry...

reetika vazirani's work moved me because i relate to the terror she speaks of. i know myself, and i shock myself nowadays with the intensity of my devotion. i have learnt from experience that that will make my eventual breakdown even worse.

did any of that make sense?


...yes it does...makes me wonder if these lines were written with confidence, a sense of resignation, apprehension or foreboding...also wonder if i should be wondering aloud here?


...a couple of years back learned of an ex-friend who was diagnosed with bi-polar condition...upon inquiries i learned this could be very serious if not kept in check...medication (lithium and tlc in equal doses) can keep it in check...this is the short version...mind goes in overdrive...sleepless nights...checking with other friends...finally learning that the person diagnosed took it very casually and i had worried myself unnecessarily...guess we are all programmed differently...and react differently to the same news...khair back to exploring happiness...

...happiness is a state of is a built-in leveler that steadies the boat in rocky's boat runs its course and we develop our individual course corrections and mechanisms to stave off unforeseen disasters...or we try to anticipate and make provisions...but they seldom work...or they may work and we ward of the anticipated disasters and upheavals...

life being what it is there are all those unforeseen banks and is mostly how we deal with those that marks our mettle...and then there are afflictions...bipolar, clinical, and various other psychological scars...some of these can at best be controlled through equal doses of medication and tlc...some perhaps are overwhelming and all too consuming...

...tragedy occurs when we are overwhelmed or lose control...

...minor tragedies sometimes result in creative outburst...perception and sensitivity is a must along with a mode of expression...and of course time...creative persons face a choice not faced by others...what to do with ‘normal’ responsibilities in the face of impending expressive urge?...should babies or work or other responsibilities be put on hold or neglected...can they be?...for how long?...(perhaps more on this another time)

...major tragedies result in termination of life and other losses for the living...(plath, vazirani)...the need is to train oneself to view the glass half full...with some practice it can be achieved...just a matter of properly fixing the bearings