Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jaisalmer Is a Nice Travel Destination

It takes 17 hours by train to reach Jaisalmer from Delhi. The railway station is under-crowded. If you have ever travelled to UP or Bihar you will even feel the train is vacant. The railway station is well designed like a fort with minaret and other signs of ancient architecture.

Jaisalmer Railway Station
Jaisalmer is a small city. From station it hardly takes 10 minutes to reach Gadisagar lake by an auto-rickshaw. From there, Jaisalmer fort and other Havelis are just walking distance away. Lake is serene, filled with clean water. You can enjoy boating there and spend sometime peacefully sitting on its shore.
Gadisagar Lake, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer fort is huge like all other Indian forts. It is a living fort with people living inside. The fort is not just home to humans but many varieties of birds and animals too. Walking inside fort is like visiting an old Indian city. There were narrow lanes where children were playing with ball. While walking inside fort you can hear cooker whistling, women chatting while washing clothes, youngsters biking and other things common in an Indian small town. I even spotted a rusted abandoned scooter.

Camel Safari, Jaisalmer
Inside fort most people have converted their homes into temples, restaurants and hotels for attracting tourists. There are many handicraft shops and travel agencies inside fort. I tried shooting a cattle with my camera in one of those narrow lanes, it got annoyed and started chasing till I found shelter in a temple.
Sunset Point Jaisalmer
The most amazing part is watching the setting sun in desert. Desert is about 30 kilometers away from Jaisalmer. After half an hour of camel ride we reached the sunset point in the middle of desert. For us, it was really difficult to walk on sand but camels treated sand like a newly built highway. They were seamlessly running on sand. Slowly the bright golden sand turned grey after sunset. Chilliness in air started rising. The moon started glowing. Unlike the Delhi sky, stars also appeared there. I even spotted a meteor falling. Preserved all those images in my memory and now here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Unpardonable Sins

Photo Credit : mr_bmonroe

Is it reflection of my past,
My unpardonable sins.

Result of what I have done,
Or the deeds of my ancestors.

My mistakes are too many,
Why am I eligible for  big rewards?

What I already have is no less than blessing.
Maybe, I can only think like a human.

Suffering is not the only type of test,
A reward can be a test too.

My creator has his own ways,
Intentional ignorance may lead to punishment.

He don't seek revenge,
Even if we fail to ask for forgiveness after failure.

Why this achievement is not enough?
That he considered me one of those who are testable.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Idea Of A Perfect Weekend Morning

A Saturday morning:
 I got up and immediately searched my phone on my bed. I remembered, I left it here-somewhere last night. I wanted to be sure its not on my bed, to get out of warm sheets that covered me and land on the cold floor. Finally, I found it below my pillow and pressed the big semi circular button at the bottom of its screen to light it up and check the time. It was 6:15 A.M. I covered myself again and closed my eyes. But before going back to sleep I realized, still there are 20 minutes left for Fajr and I am missing it continuously for months and preferring sleep over namaz(and within few seconds I traversed through all my knowledge of hell and heaven). Still, it took me about 5 more minutes to gather all my courage and defeat shaitan. I got up and worn a shirt, hanging nearby, on top of the T-shirt I was already wearing. It was while returning from the toilet I realized, I was wearing my newest shirt.

After performing Fajar a few seconds before the announcement, “Hazraat Fajar ka waqt khatam hua.. Qaza namaaz 20 minute baad ada karein”, I felt too fresh and satisfied(the guilt of not going to mosque remained).
Photo Credit: Will Keightley on Flickr
Although, getting up at 11 A.M and having a freshly baked Sheermal, a steaming hot tea and an omlette while unfolding the newspaper is also my idea of a perfect weekend morning.

Today’s morning was perfect too. After namaz, reading a few pages of Quran and understanding them, followed by freshly prepared Poori-Sabzi and later enjoying weekend newspaper with a mug full of steaming hot tea have no comparison.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Women Looking for Rotten Apples and Bones

The other day when I was buying apples, a woman with a child in her arms arrived. And asked the fruitwala "Chhate hue seb hain??". She wanted to buy rotten apples. Actually, those apples which are not completely rotten but to an extent when they cannot be mixed with fresh apples. So fruitwalas keep them aside and sell them at throwaway price. Anyway they are of no use to them.

When I was checking each apple before he packs, her words stirred me. Later I realized she was too poor to afford  fresh apples but wanted her child to eat them. So she compromised with "Chhate hue apples".

The other woman was eating with her family of three in a posh restaurant. And I was waiting there with two of my friends for a table to get vacant. They had their food and were just finishing it with water. I suddenly observed the woman started collecting the leftover bones from all their plates. To my surprise she wrapped them and took them with her. Even my friends had no idea why she did this. It took me 5 minutes to realize she must have taken them for her dog waiting at home.

These two incidents prove that women speak universal language of love more often and they are full of kindness.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Voters ID and "Neeche ki Biryani"

Saturday, 28th September:

I got up at 11:40. It took me about 10 minutes booting my brain. The first priority task I found in my memory was getting registered for Voters ID. I took 20 more minutes to clean myself and boarded a rickshaw which got stuck in heavy traffic jam near Batla House Kabristan. I had to cover rest of the distance till Okhla Head walking zig-zag, making my way jumping two wheelers stuck in traffic. I walked in sun on such a hot and humid day first time this year. I kept moving with my nose and mouth covered with handkerchief observing irritated people sitting in their cars and rickshaws, stuck in traffic. After walking about 500 meters I reached the Voter Center.

The place was crowded with men and women of all ages. About 12-15 people queued outside the window where a middle aged men wearing spectacles on the tip of his nose was accepting forms and shouting irritably on people with mistakes in their forms. Some people came only to inquire about their voters ID cards. They were all frustrated and angry about delay. Few of them started shouting and even abusing all government employees. Everybody is aware of irresponsible and unprofessional behavior of government employees. But I observed even people whom they deal with are not that innocent.

I went to the window and asked for a blank form, took it and found a bench under a tree where some others were also filling the form. Suddenly the crowd near the window dispersed. The guy next to me informed "Its their lunch time". The thought of lunch made me also feel hungry. I fetched some more data from memory and found that I am surviving on last night's dinner. By the time I filled the form my brain started receiving interrupts from my stomach. In a few minutes my brain had to prioritize them.

As obvious, brain assigned topmost priority to filling stomach and I found myself moving towards gate. I moved slowly while searching my memory for a decent place to eat nearby. The choice was a biryani point at Okhla Head. It took me five minutes to reach there and another two to find a place to sit. The quality looked good so I ordered a bigger plate which contains about 1/2 Kg of biryani.

That shop is a newly opened branch of Salman's Biryani which is famous in Batla House. The guy who took order did not behave as if he is doing a favor. Maybe because its a newly opened shop. A group of three people came and ordered Biryani with leg piece. And the guy at counter made sure they were served what they want. Even my plate had a leg piece but I never order it specifically. However I made sure my plate is served with no chutney and extra raita, in case Biryani is too spicy raita makes it better for me.

Another guy walked in and ordered "Neeche ki Biryani". I was surprised by his order. I traversed back my memory and found that my father once told me that when he was young "Neeche ki Biryani" was preferred and considered good. But in todays health cautious world I found this young guy's order strange. Actually “Neeche ki Biryani" is the Biryani near the base of degh. Its most oily part of whole degh. In my Grandfather's generation day to day activities required lots of physical work. So maybe people at that time preferred stuff with lots of fat. I was too busy engulfing my Biryani, one spoonful after other, to turn my head and judge him for his strange choice. Maybe he was too thin and required some fat or maybe it was about taste.

After having Biryani getting registered for Voters ID again became 1st priority. I went to the office and submitted my form. After half an hour I was on my bed. And within next few seconds weekend celebration begun in my dreams.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ghost Movies

All ghost movies are almost same. Initially only one person feels the presence of someone else and rest all characters deny ghosts. Later, people start dying or disappearing. Ghost generally kills coward people first. One ghost is enough to deal with all the actors. There is lot of shouting and loud music to scare viewers. Ghosts wear dirty, blood stained and torn clothes and dark makeup. They open big mouth shout even louder than their victim or some do not speak at all and convey written messages through walls. Most have long hairs. They have big dark circles too. I understand they don't sleep during night but what do they do during day??

Ghost movies require small budget. No big stars. No big sets. No foreign locations. You can show any amount of bakwass. No need to justify anything.

The most shocking and time waste recent ghost movie is Talaash. Where in the end all the blame is put on a ghost. You never expect this from Aamir's movies.

I recently watched Conjuring, its a decent ghost movie.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Bench Poem

In a Big Corporate Office I work,
Surprisingly, Not having much to do.

Reading blogs of random people,
What am I up to?

This period is called bench,
When I am waiting for work.

I think I am getting insane,
At colleagues, who are busy, I smirk.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Are They Really Beggars?

On hearing "Beggar". The first few images that form in my mind are of a sick differently-abled adult wearing filthy, old and torn clothes. A helpless widow with a child crying in her arms. A hungry and thin teenage boy or girl. All of them asking for food or money in the name of Allah and give you Dua in return.

However, you cannot relate these images to beggars in Zakir Nagar(My locality) during Ramzaan. During this holy month you come across a new breed of beggars. By simply looking you cannot differentiate between a beggar and a common man. There is exponential rise in their number as if someone have outsourced them to my locality for this month. Zakir Nagar and adjacent Batla House are muslim localities and as prescribed all the people here indulge into good deeds like charity in holy month of Ramzaan. This is what attracts beggars from all across Delhi and Allah better knows from what other places they arrive.

These new outsourced beggars are well trained for begging. They use very different and new tactics for attracting attention. I faced some of them:

1. The other day I was returning from office a women in burqa called me "Beta suno". I thought she knows me or she is lost and she is asking for some address.
I stopped, "hmm. Bataiye".
She replied "Beta bhook lagi hai, kuch khilva do". And pointed to the Nihari shop in the corner.
I was surprised. She didn't look like a beggar from any angle.
I started moving and she followed me for about a minute shouting "Beta suno. Beta suno". I was embarrassed.

2. I was buying pakodis today just before a few minutes to iftaar. Someone poked me from behind. I turned and found a girl standing behind. She didn't say anything just spread her hand for begging. Being already late and irritated with sudden poke. I said "Maaf karo yaar".
And I turned back expecting the girl to have gone seeing my irritation and angry look.
To my surprise she poked me again. Controlling my anger I again said, "Maaf karo", and turned back.
She again poked me and also poked the guy standing next to me at that crowded shop. He also turned and gave an angry look. Then she again poked me the fourth time. I got my stuff packed and left the very next moment. I cannot describe how irritated and helpless I felt at that time. I really hate poking.

3. One of my friend offered Biryani when a beggar came while he was eating at a shop. 
Biryaniwala asked "Bhai bade ki(Beef) biryani dun ise ya Chicken".
My friend replied, "20 Rs. ki beef biryani de de".
To this the beggar added, "Chicken dilva do bhai".
And my friend was shocked. He was himself eating Beef biryani and the beggar asked for Chicken. For your information Chicken biryani is costlier than Beef biryani.
There are many other ways they attract attention and ask for money as if you have borrowed it from them.
They are so professional I even found two beggars sitting in sun with umbrella at mosque's gate. They don't want to miss any opportunity even if they have to sit in shining sun during summer.

The most important thing to note here, Allah is no more involved in any of these transactions. They have stopped asking in the name of Allah. Don't expect Dua in return.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Want More Social Pressure

Today I am not surprised to realize that I am living my life in a particular way which is very common. This is the way life have to be in my world. This is how everyone lives here in my society. My problem is that I think I am different and I should not live like this. The most obvious and immediate questions are:
  • What is wrong living this way?
  • What is my way of living, if there is any?

Good grades in school. Respecting parents and other elders. A Bachelor’s degree from a well known institution. A well paying job. These are the social expectations till early twenties. Your neighbors and relatives create lot of pressure on children for good grades. They destroy your teenage life by constantly asking about your percentage, admission and later placement.  After you achieve all this. Later they want you to marry a girl of your parents choice. Then you are supposed to keep earning  good amount of money and keep your family happy. Even a slight deviation from this path may attract severe criticism. I am fine till here. But what doesn't matter now a days is how you are bringing that “good amount of money” home. These ideal social characteristics can be relaxed to any extent if you are rich. Is all the pressure I faced since childhood was only for money?  There is no emphasis on being a good human. Everybody even pretends to be religious. Though no religion teaches you to be only rich. No one is ready to sacrifice. All great people were selfless and some even sacrificed their life to teach us. Today even donation is for the sake of showing off.

I haven't developed any new way of living. But I just want to live like what I have read in books since childhood. Our society is full of double standards. I was made to learn so many chapters of moral,social and environmental sciences for scoring good grades. But now when its time to implement those concepts. I can easily follow the opposite path. I don’t feel any social pressure. I am not a superhero nor I am a saint. I still need those relatives and neighbors who should stop me from doing anything wrong and push me for doing good work.

Some more Questions:
  • Why some people have to be poor and their life full of problems in society?
  • Why not these poor and rich settle among themselves and let middle class people like me live in peace?
  • I am not doing anything so why can’t I become a little more selfish and stop even thinking all this?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Romance and Realizations

After this long and tiring week, tonight I watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The movie I once watched in childhood and later kept watching it in parts on TV. Everybody knows it was a blockbuster, but I felt this today after facing the magic of this movie. I think this is my age when I could give value to every scene. It really is one of the most romantic movies. Which makes me realize that there is right time and age for everything. I did not liked DDLJ in childhood that much. But its really awesome.

A Scene from DDLJ
And, Its so hot outside that you cannot think of going out on weekends in Delhi now a days. This makes it best time to watch movies at home. After spending whole week in highly Air Controlled environment in Office it is more difficult to face heat now. You can imagine how people cannot live without things which are considered luxury in society. This is one of the ways to make people slave. 

This is the end of this weekend's realizations. And the search for "Mere Khaboon Me Jo Aaaye.." begins.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Turning into James Bond

My every morning begins with a chase. I chase a 15 seater Tempo Traveller, picking up corporate slaves across South Delhi. This vehicle reaches Batla House Bus Stop at exact 7:55 AM. Even I reach the place at the same time. And sometimes a few seconds late. I am supposed to board that Tempo along with few others at the Bus Stop to reach office.

I leave my apartment at exact 7:50 AM. Five minutes is just enough time to reach Batla House Bus Stop from Zakir Nagar by a rickshaw. The time is so idealistic that if rickshaw-wala is lazy(or Old) or there is traffic its sure that I will miss the tempo by a few seconds. Then I have to hire an auto-rickshaw or board a Red DTC bus if its there in the vicinity at that point in time. And the chase begins. I have to reach Kalindi Kunj before the Tempo via another short route. This way I have my share of morning adventure. Nothing is more refreshing than reaching that point and catching the Tempo. This becomes my first achievement everyday.

I run like Bond but I don't look like him. He is too old.
My list of similarities with James Bond:
  • Like all Bond movies my day begins with a chase.
  • I am dressed in complete formals.
  • Like Bond, I have to answer my Lady Boss if I fail.
  • I am working for a big organization which operates across the globe.
  • I am connected with others who tell me the location(of Tempo) via my Sony phone. :)
  • I use multiple transports while chasing. (Rickshaw, Auto-Rickshaw, Bus and sometimes I run too)
Although I can rephrase it in many ways but being late is a bad habit. And I am doing this since college days. Many times I missed attendance and good grades coz of being late(there is always something to blame for bad grades). However, college is not just about attendance and grades. Vaise bhi "Old habits and bad habits die hard".

Friday, March 29, 2013

No Place to Die Peacefully

Death sounds like the end of everything. All thoughts, aspirations, feelings everything. But there is one thing you should not expect even after death. Peace. Especially if you have spent all your life in the middle of chaos in a modern Indian city and you die there.

You must have struggled whole life to find a decent place to live. But you will also need a place to get buried. Some space in a nearby graveyard. And if you think you will get that space easily and will sleep there till the Day of Judgement, you are wrong. Even after death you are not supposed to sleep.

If you live in one of many overpopulated localities in Delhi like Jamia Nagar. Let me tell you that there is just one graveyard which is already full. Whenever a new grave is dug now a days, its found to be already occupied by someone else's bones. So people try at some other place and even there they find bones. Then after repeating several times they find a place with no bones or maybe a place with only few bones which they hide in a corner.

Modern expectations after death:

  • So even if you find a place near the boundary of the graveyard. Please expect children, from the locality next to the boundary, playing on your grave. And don't think you can scare them by making strange sounds and pretending to be a ghost from inside your grave. Now a days nobody is scared of ghosts. 

  • Please expect loud music because humans are also living nearby. And if you want you can go and dance in their functions too. You can easily mix up with ladies with excessive makeup. Just make sure to take a deep bath in mud(to look similar) if you are lying in grave for more than a decade.

  • Please do not mind if people dig your grave every few months and hit your old decaying bones with a hoe or shovel. Actually they are just trying to adjust one more person in the graveyard.

  • And please do not get annoyed if people slowly acquire the graveyard land illegally and build their house on the top of your grave. And even I expect you to repair their sewer pipes if they pass through your grave or they are nearby. Come on! You were human once.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jamia vs Madras Match

Jamia Millia Islamia played against Madras University at Jamia Sports Complex on 27th February. And very first time after renovation of Sports Complex, Jamia students got a chance to watch a National Match which is broadcasting live on TV. Jamia has earlier hosted many Ranji Trophy matches and even Women's World Cup.

Union External Affairs Minister, Salman khurshid and Jamia VC, Najeeb Jung at the match.

Jamia Team worn green dress and Madras team was in blue. It looked as if India is playing against Pakistan. The difference was everybody supported the same team that day. Actually, In Jamia Pakistani and Indian supporters are almost equal in number. Even sometimes I feel Pakistani supporters are higher in number or maybe they are more passionate than Indian supporters. So, there is always a chance of clash. Keeping this in mind the University Administration always deploys Jamia Bulls(security guards) at hostel common rooms.

Supporter on a Tree

The stadium got fully packed even before the match begun. Hundreds of students came to cheer for their own team. Girls turned up in unexpectedly high numbers. There was separate seating space for girls. They shouted even louder than boys whenever Jamia team took wickets in last overs. Many girls got inked in green color for supporting their team. Even some of them shook a leg on their favorite song.

The entry was closed within an hour after the match begun. But as always Jamia students found a back door to enter in the event. One guy climbed a tree to support Jamia. Students had a hot exchange with security over entry inside the pavilion.

About 20 students gathered near the gate.
"Ander aake kya karoge? Wahin raho", argued the guard at the gate when students asked him to open it.

"Yahan khade hain. Ander baith kar match dekhenge. Plz open this gate", replied a student.

"Ye match dekhne ki jagah nahi hai. Chalo peeche hato yahan se.", guard shouted angrily.

"Mujhe pata hai ye Hospital Emergency Ward hai. Aur me Doctor hun. Ab to khol de gate", said a student sarcastically. 
Everybody around laughed.

"Aur ye peeche mere saath nurse bhi hain", added another student.

"Aur mujhe heart attach aa rha hai", added someone else. 
People laughed gain.

University Administration put this banner outside the venue. I think it was for controlling the crowd.

Jamia won and everyone shouted all the way till the last ball of the match. This was an easy win for Jamia. In typical Jamia Language, "Halwa match tha. Agar hamari team bayein haath se khelti to bhi jeet jaati". :) 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Next Big Event??

In last 23 years, I always had something in my mind. Something that was supposed to happen a year or two down the line. Something that was supposed to change my life, if not forever, for at-least the coming year. Something that needed preparation. In childhood it was annual exam. Later, it was admission to a good College. Then it was finding a nice job. But now I feel really strange. Now, I really miss that feeling. That feeling of some big upcoming event that can change my life.

There were new books to read and new problems to solve every year. New teachers, new classmates and new lessons. Now life is somewhat monotonous. There is nothing exciting in life for coming few years. Nothing that have potential to change my life forever. I realize I was getting everything cooked and dried till now. There were things that were already planned. School and College and all. From now on, I need to decide myself what I want to do in future. I am supposed to create those Big Events for myself.

This is strange. I never thought life can be like this. Although decisions are what make us humans different from Computers. But its really difficult. Is this freedom?? I will be responsible for my failures now. Even earlier I was, but I always have option to blame others or the system for the miseries of life. Parents and teachers were always there to decide on my behalf.

I have an option to kill few more years refusing to take a stand like others in my generation. Or, I can become socially awkward and criticize everything and everyone around. But I decide to choose the third option. Pretend to be confused. And ignore the fact that now I am responsible for my actions and even my actions can harm others.

Am I going through what they call “Quarter Life Crisis”??But I am happy. I just cannot choose. Am I turning into a Robot?? But ignoring everything is also a choice. I may be on self destruction mode but I have chosen this. Thank God! At-least I am human.

Humans cannot be happy or sad for a long time. The situation is going to change soon. Some disaster, disease or a girl (J) will strike soon. This time I will face everything unprepared. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Republic Day Breakfast

26th January 2013, 10:50 AM
     I looked at the wall clock in my room at home. That was the third time I looked at the clock. But this time I could not ask myself to go back to sleep for ten more minutes. I remembered Walida(My Mothershouting from the other room several times since morning.
     “If you don't get up now, forget breakfast”, I told myself.
    Suddenly the thought of visiting all my uncles and aunts along with other relatives struck me. I was on my monthly visit to my hometown Amroha. Even if I am there for a single day I make sure I visit at-least my close relatives. 
     My father always says, “Talluqat milne-jhulne se hi qayam rehte hain”.
Moreover, if I come to Amroha and don't visit them, everyone complains.

11:05 AM
     I finally got up from my bed and moved to the other room.
     I greeted my parents, “As salamu alaikum”.
     Walid Sahab(My father) replied, “Waleikum as salam”.
Walida also gave a reply but I could not hear her words clearly.
    “Ali, itni der me uthe ho yaar”Walid Sb added, concentrating on T.V wearing his spectacles.

    I moved inside and sat next to my mother and covered me with her blanket. She was busy watching Republic Day parade on T.V. I kept watching for a few minutes as if I was really interested.
     “He is the King of Bhutan”, I announced just to start conversation with my mother as soon as the focus came to the ‘Guest of Honour’.
     “Magar isne itna bada dupatta kyu lapeta hai?”,Walida asked. “Its their dress I believe”, I replied.
    And suddenly, powecut..!!

    T.V screen went black.
     "Ye log 26 January ki parade bhi nahi dekhne dete”, I said, trying to shift Walida's anger to the electricity suppliers.
     “In logon ko Eid, Bakra-Eid, Diwali, 26 January se kuch farq hi nahi padta”, she added angrily. 

     Although I was happy, I would get something to eat now, still I nodded in agreement. Ten minutes later she got up and within next ten minutes my breakfast was ready.

     By that time electricity supply was back. As soon as the T.V screen came alive. I spotted almost a dozen people on a single bike. And the voice in the background announced, “These are jawans of Indian army who hold the Guinness World Record for most men on a bike”.
     “Not all the tax I pay is being wasted. Atleast some of my tax is being utilized for creating a world record. But is this what the tax is really meant for?”, I thought.
     Then I took my breakfast to the adjacent room.

     Wasted some time browsing through some old pics on my laptop as I finished my breakfast. Rest of the day was spent meeting relatives and friends.
     I celebrated Republic Day eating my favorite breakfast. Meeting people who really love me. But I still wonder if this is the way we should celebrate this day.
One of my favorite teachers once told us to celebrate Republic Day by saluting and admiring the morning sun while its rising. But getting up early for office already makes me feel like a slave.