Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kisse Rakhi aur Sania ke...

What is this post **not** about?

1. Its not about the kiss betweek Rakhi and Sania ***shudder***
2. Its not about the festival of raksha bandhan and its significance.
3. Its not about celebrating rakhsha bandhan with Sania ***shudder square***

What is this post about?

1. Its about rakhsha bandhan but not as you would think
2. Its about Sania Mirza but has nothing to do with rakhi.
3. Its about anything but Rakhi Sawant.

Here it goes...

Part 1 - Kissa Rakhi ka...

Day before yesterday was the festival of Raksha Bandhan. So, I decided that I will buy some mithai for that day but like always forgot. The night before rakhi, I came home and my brother was showing me something on our dining table. It was a mithai ka dabba that came from India, send by my Didi. I was like, "Wow, isee kehte hain behen ka pyar. She knew that we will forget to bring some mithai and she send it along with rakhi". Anyways, we called her, talked and everything. Now, the mithai ak dabba with rakhi came from a service called We were very impressed as the mithai was awesome (kaju ki barfi) and delivery was on time.

The pack only had one rakhi though with few rice and red tilak in a packet. Me and my brother decided that we will wear it one by one, instead of only one wearing it that day (as we were expecting more rakhis in a day or two). So the next day, brother tied me rakhi and we ate mithai and then I tied the same rakhi on his wrist back. (My actual rakhi kissa has nothing to do with the above story but I was just setting everything up)

Mithai with rakhri from

Next day, I came back from work and bhai again pointed me to the dining table and guess what? Another mithai ka dabba and exactly the same as before but this one didn't had any name and this one too came from but from Mumbai. We thought, maybe Didi send us two because it had only one rakhi. Didi was online and we asked her if she did and she said, "No, I just send one mithai ka dabba".

The question is, "who is this mystery sister of ours?". Me and my brother laughed about it, that maybe Mom-Dad lost our sister in kumbh ke mele and maybe she found us by searching online or through my blog. Although later, we told our Didi to check if tajonline folks send the second one by mistake and charged her credit card. If it was a mistake then only problem is that it has increased our expectation because we will be now checking everyday to see, if we got a new mithai ka dabba. I think we should sue them for emotional distress of not getting mithai everyday (Mr, if you are reading this post please atleast send us complimentary mithai for all the publicity we are doing here)

Part 2 - Kissa Sania ka...

Today in the morning, I opened my tv while getting ready for work and to check if any of the US Open matches are going and guess who was playing? Ok, its like the lamest guess, but it was "her" (ab main apne muhn se unka naam kaise loon, chalo le leta hoon to avoid confusion, Sania Mirza). I think, I am in love again. She was looking super-hot in pink dress (and nose ring which is the sexiest thing about her) and as my brother remarked, she was looking very slim esp. since the time we last saw her playing. Infact, our good friend here saw her in Stanford a month back and said that she looks better in person than in pictures...oh la la.

Sania playing the running forehand August 31, 2007 (US Open)

The cherry on the cake was when she won that match albiet nervourslesy. Sania is really doing great with her ranking almost 25ish and can break into top 20 if she does well here. I think she should be the Idol for most Indians esp. girls rather than Malaika Sherawat (as was chosen by CNN-IBN poll). It just shows that hard work, talent and dedication can take you places (and good looks like Sania never hurts). Unfortunately, Malaika can say the same thing about herself but in a totally different context (hardwark, talent and dedication in dropping clothes that is).

My point is, Sania Rocks!! Here's wishing her all the best in future...

Kisse khatam ho gaye yaar, jaake apna apna kaam karo, ab kya mere se Ramayan sunoge...

P.S: Ok, am bad at remembering such things (typical guy) but Happy Birthday to the most wonderful blogger and person... Juneli (and thanks Aindrila for reminding me)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stench of poverty...

As I boarded subway (we call it LRT) back to home tonight and took my seat on the corner seat, an unfamiliar sight caught my attention. Six African Muslim women were sitting in the front row in their burqas. The sight would not have been odd, if it was some other part of the world but here in Canada, it raises a few eyebrows. As the subway was crossing the North Saskatewan river, my mind crossed seven seas and seven years back in time.

It was my last year in degree and me and my friends were returning back from Delhi to our hostel in Bidar (Karnataka). Usually, we would take luxury bus from Hyderabad, which would take 2.5 hours to reach Bidar but this one time we missed the bus as our train from Delhi got delayed. Our only choice was to take a local train that used to take 6-7 hours for the same route. We boarded the train late at night for an overnight journey. The train didn't had any booking left, so we had to buy general tickets. As soon as we boarded the train, we knew that this won't be a regular train journey.

The light inside the train compartment was flickering and was so dim that one wouldn't even realize it was there unless you noticed the flickering. The mood inside the compartment was even dimmer. It was the train of poverty. I had never seen so poor people before, maybe didn't even knew that such poverty existed in a country whose economy was booming or as our government was calling it, "India is Shining". 90% of the train was filled with poor Muslim families from Bidar and surrounding areas, returning from Hyderabad. One could see a sea of black burqas, which was making the dim room even dimmer. The look on the faces of the people could have depressed even the most happy soul.

The train would stop at the smallest of stations, which were never more than a shed with small kids selling water and tea like in the movie Swades. The stench of poverty in the train compartment would force us to come out to these small stations to get some fresh air but the women in those burqas would keep sitting inside tending to their crying babies while their men would go out to get some water/chai to drink. To me that train itself looked like a burqa of poverty that many people are never able to get out of. They can only see outside with their piercing eyes and only imagine what life would be without one.

We were relieved when we reached Bidar, our destination, but it seemed we left the train with its poverty and the people behind. We never talked about that train journey except that we would never take another one again.

I am not sure why but after seven years that same train journey came in front of my eyes tonight, as I saw those women. I think even though we may ignore certain images in our mind, they remain somewhere at the back of our head and some random images, like today it was the burqas and the train journey, may bring it back even though you tried your best to forget that stench of poverty.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The 'other' country...

As the 60th Independence Day dawns in one country, its neighbor sleeps to another one. Its been sixty years and still both the countries are trying to live together, forgetting thousands years of living together as one region without borders. As I watch special episodes on India and Pakistan on BBC, it never fails to amaze me how a country that separated the region into two countries is trying to reflect if the decisions made by them more than 60 years back, had a happy ending afterall. Lord Mountbatten had summed up his analysis of partition, when he said few years later, "I fucked up!!"

India and Pakistan before/after partition (courtesy: BBC)

You can take people out of a region but you cannot take region out of people. For my family, we are still from Pakistan part of Punjab. Even today, when someone asks me where is your background from (most people generally assume I am from Punjab), I say, "Pindi and Sargoda", refering to Rawalpindi and Sargoda region of Pakistan. Even though my Mom was born in India, her each and every attribute is very Pindish and my Dad can't be more Sargodaite.

An Abstract Art depicting India-Pakistan partition

For my grandparents, it was as if they never left Pakistan. All my Nanajis stories revolved in the gaalis of his pind in Pindi. It was there he was born, got married, had most of his kids, built and run his corner shop and made most of his memories. I believe in my heart, he would have loved to spend last days of his life back in the courtyard of his dusty pind. On the other hand my Dadaji was a loyal British soldier, who moved from Sargoda to Lahore to Bannu, where my Dad was born. His stories revolved around his army life as a British soldier with traces of Pakistan in each one of them. I think he mostly missed the diary of urdu poetry he wrote and forgot to pick it up while leaving for India.

My stories about my grandparents hardly includes my Nanijee and Dadijee but I never saw my Nanijee as she passed away before I was born and my Dadijee had a paralysis stroke when I was a very young, so never heard words from her. Although, I have no doubt both of them would have preferred to cook in the sanjha chulhas of their pinds, that still burns without them...

As both the countries celebrate their Independence Day, please spare a thought for those whose heart lies in the 'other' country...

Happy Independence Day India-Pakistan !!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Jagriti Yatra - A Journey of Awakening...

It is literally the lifeline of India. It connects the country from Kashmir in north to Kerela in south to Assam in east to Gujarat in west. Indian Railways, a microcosm of India, where people from all over India travel together to reach their destination. Its amazing how Indian trains covers every aspect of Indian life, from large families traveling together for a marriage, to an executive going to his conference, to students from smaller towns going to big cities to give their entrance exams, to army jawans going to their posts away from their family, to a villager going to a big city to find a suitable match for his daughter, to a newly married couple going on their honeymoon, to an elderly couple going to take their flight to goto Haj...

After 60 years of Independence, India - the country, represents an Indian train journey, taking along people from every aspect of life, to their destination. The Indian train maybe running a bit late but its because it wants to carry with itself people from every corner of the country, from every strata of society, from every religion of the world, to its ultimate destination where everyone reaches together, bonded together with the thread of journey itself.

It is this dream that has given birth to Jagitri Yatra - Awakening Entrepreneurship. Its a journey criss-crossing the country to awaken the entrepreneurship among Indian youth, with whom lies the future of the country. Its a bold initiative taken by Indians from around the world to travel around India, to meet India's youth and to find the DNA of the country that makes it so unique. This discovery of India's unique DNA can inspire Indians to find solutions to problems plaguing the country.

Take the first step towards discovering India by supporting the organization and the journey itself that is being organized by my Dear friend Gita along with Indians from around the world.

Come on board, let the journey to discover India begin...