Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wedding On The Cards

It turns out that I am getting married next month. See the countdown on the right in web version.

All of my friends find this news a little difficult to digest. I think I am one of the reasons for this. I kept this news secret from most of them and when they directly receive invitation they get surprised. Many of them feel its not my decision, I am being forced by my parents. I will answer this in FAQs below. Even if I wanted to tell some of them, I could not meet them in last few months. After switching to this new company I have worked either from home (Amroha) or Bangalore office.

Another reason for their indigestion is that I am the first guy in our college group who is getting married. Everyone had this Bollywood thing in mind that weddings are some form of extravaganza lasting a few months. But it doesn't work like this in our culture. They are generally a private affair in which the family gets more involved. I must confess, in my case, because of living away from home the Groom's friends and he himself had missed even those preparations in which there was a chance to get involved.

There are a few questions which most friends asked me when they heard the news. I felt rather than giving all of them different answers I should think and create a list of answers so that I don't get confronted when they meet me/each-other on the wedding day. Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are you being forced by your parents?/Are you sure you are doing this?
Ans: Yes, like all arrange marriages it was initiated by parents, they asked me the Wedding question and found the Answer for me as well. However, it was me who took the final decision.

Q: Who is she?/Where is she from?/Her education?
Ans: Her name is Sana Aziz. She lives in Delhi with her family. She has a post-graduate degree in English literature from Delhi University. I have already posted how my mother found her here.

Q: Is she a working woman?
Ans: Yes, she works. But for herself, on her hobbies and not for money.

Some awkward questions:

Q: Show me her picture?
Ans: Come to the wedding, I will make you meet her/ You know her name, you are a computer guy, go and find yourself. :P

Q: So, our friendship ends?
Ans: I am not shifting to another planet. But you have to invite one more person in your party next time. ;)

Q: Did you invite him/her?
Ans: Dua kar de jab tera bhai bada aadmi ban jayega he will throw a big party at Taj for everyone / Unfortunately, even if I want to I cannot invite everyone but we definitely remain friends. :(

Please remember us in Dua.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Two Religious Men

This morning while waiting for my train on a cold bench at Amroha railway station, I observed something strange. A man wearing a white kurta-payjama, having well trimmed clean beard and a skull cap was running towards another man. The other man was sporting a big red tilak on his forehead and a beard. He was walking in front of me towards the other end of the platform wearing knee length saffron dhoti. By their looks it was clear that the first man was a Muslim and the second was a Hindu.

When the Muslim man came closer, I observed he was having a few coins in his hand. The other man wasn't begging but he looked poor, he was probably a saint. He gave a blank expression when the Muslim man stopped him. The Muslim man smiled and offered him the coins. He accepted them and smiled back. I was watching them curiously. Later, both of them moved on to their business.

I felt good after observing this inspirational gesture by a human for another human. I also felt that this is the idea of a true secular country, a Muslim helping a Hindu, and vice versa. I regretted that I couldn't capture that moment on camera.

I also tried to analyze why such a small and normal incident stirred me so much. I realized its because of the communal tension we are facing in India now a days.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Shopping With Women

Last month, I went to shopping with mummy and Maria, my cousins. I was accompanying them to pay for their shopping and carry their stuff. I had no idea about women stuff so I had nothing to say, I only observed. I found their shopping very different from the way men shop and it was also funny.

It's not just women who make strange faces, doesn't get impressed easily and simply walk away before listening anything if they doesn't like the stuff, even the shopkeepers behave differently with women customers. They make sure to use an adjective with everything they show. They use finest, exclusive, behetreen, umda, different, latest and best, interchangeably with everything they show to customers.

At one shop, the shopkeeper said, "Baaji it is something really exclusive, it's imported stuff. It is the best item in my shop". It looked nice to me. Mummy and my sis did not even cared to look at that. While he was giving speech in praise of his stuff. They turned around and pointed at something else, "Do you have any other color in that design?"
I felt that was the worst response to someone who is showing you something with such enthusiasm. Just to keep the shopkeeper's heart I nodded and touched that cloth to unsuccessfully feel the fabric. But I observed he was not offended at all. He behaved as if it's a routine, he showed them other stuff with equal interest and enthusiasm.

Another lesson I learnt was that we men should never argue about colors with women if we don't want to get embarrassed. The color we call red is not red. Actually when you are with women do not call anything red, green or purple. Its not that simple. You better ask them because its definitely going to be some other color. Or probably learn the below chart if you really want to discuss colors with women.

How women and men see colors.
After checking out more than two dozen suits women simply get out of a shop and walk away without any guilt or sympathy for the shopkeeper. If they decide to be very humble they sometimes add, "pasand nahi aaya" before walking away. At times I used to whisper "thank you" to the shopkeeper while leaving. However, I observed they don't expect any courtesy. Rather, they always behave nicely and show as much variety as they can to women customers. They know a woman will never buy stuff from same shop again and again. If they want to buy three suits they will pick them from three different shops. So behaving nicely will give them a chance in future.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Qata: Shab Bhar Neend Nahi Aati

#urduPoetry #poem #poetry

Posted by Syed Ali Rizvi on 12 July 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Flying Towards Bangalore

I suddenly got up and started searching for my phone. I barely slept for 2 hours that night. I checked the time, it was 3:45 AM. I got up fifteen minutes before the first alarm out of a series of three was to start ringing. It was excitement and concern about my first air journey to a new city that gave me sleepless night. I got ready and boarded the cab I requested earlier that night for going to IGI Airport. My first checkin at IGI T3 was really smooth. I was amazed by the size of T3 terminal and the number of shops there, its like a complete shopping mall.

I would be lying if I say I was not at all nervous about the air journey. After boarding the aircraft initially I was very excited. It later turned into nervousness and fear once the aircraft hit the runway. I always thought an aircraft to be a very high performing, efficient and smooth machine. When it started running it made strange "khad-khad" noise and started trembling like an old bus. I doubted if everything is ok with it and if it can really take me to Bangalore safely. I found relief in fellow passengers on whose face there was no sign of panic. And by looking at the faces of Air hostesses with heavy make-up whose smiles were becoming more wider on every passing second, I convinced myself that its normal. As soon as the aircraft started flying the noise and vibration reduced. Within a few minutes things outside the window started to grow smaller as if someone is zooming out the view.

If you have ever used google maps you will not be very amazed by the view outside. It looks very similar to the satellite images when you do maximum zoom out. Its flying above the clouds that was breathtaking. On looking down from the window you realize there is nothing outside, its just one big white cloud expanded till the end of the sky.

It took us just 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Bangalore.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Wedding Answer

It took my mother just a few days after asking me the Wedding Question to actually come up with another shocking revelation. While I was busy checking out the number of "likes" that my new facebook DP fetched, my mother interrupted and handed me a cup full of tea.
She asked me about the work I was doing. I said, "Nothing, just reading something."
She ignored me and continued, "We have found a girl."

I was still busy thinking if posting a new picture fetches more "likes" on weekdays or weekends. Within  seconds I calculated and concluded that posting on weekend is better. Then I took a sip and discovered how a perfect tea tastes like. I looked at my mother out of love. She raised her eyebrows. I realized she is waiting for my response about something she said a few seconds ago.

"What did she say", I tried to recall. "About something... a girl... she found a girl !" Suddenly, I put the cup down on the table.
I asked surprisingly, "You found a girl?"
She smiled and said, "Yes, this is what I just said."
I became nervous, "But you said it takes a lot of time to find a nice girl. Please take your time and find someone nice."
She smiled again and said, "Yes, it takes time. We had several girls in our mind and recently we heard about another girl. Your father and her father were classmates. We have known their family for years. We think she is perfect for you."

She told me about her family and education in detail. All that sounded good but I was not ready for such a news. I reminded her about the promise that they will not force me for marriage anytime soon. To which she replied that even they are not in hurry, it takes at least one year for preparation.

She called my younger brother, "Hamza, show him the pictures which they sent."
"Without my confirmation you even asked for her pictures," I was more surprised.
"You don't know anything, this is how it works. Just have a look. Isn't she beautiful. MashahAllah," her eyes lit up on seeing the pictures.
I looked at the picture with disgust, "Yes, she is. Do you want me to finalize her just by looking at this picture?"
She gave an angry look and added,"Its almost final. What else do you want to say? You know nothing. Actually, boys have no idea what to actually look for in a girl. Still you can tell me if you have any concerns."

In the next few days our parents set up a meeting and as obvious they liked each other. Few more awkward discussions, meetings and events later, everybody happily agreed.

This way I found my answer to the Wedding Question.  :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Net Neutrality is Necessary

Everybody understands that charging extra money for some of the favorite apps is not just expensive for consumers but also puts free speech, equal access, innovation and equal opportunity in danger. Actually there is limited bandwidth for each network. If providers start charging for specific apps they will give them preferential treatment by providing them more bandwidth. So you will be left with limited bandwidth for the rest of internet. Moreover, they will throttle the speed of all competitive new apps. This way they will control what apps consumer uses.

Now, internet providers in India are coming up with other tricky plans like 'Airtel Zero' in which consumers have access to some websites for FREE. Sounds Good? Think again.

If allowed, plans like Airtel Zero, are going to destroy the internet in India. Here is how:

1) Every telecom operator will offer something similar to Airtel Zero. The companies that are going gaga over Airtel Zero, including Flipkart, won't only have to pay Airtel. They will have to pay all other operators too if they want to reach all web users in India.
2) The companies that don't pay money to telecom operators will see that their service costs consumers money - and possibly a huge amount of money because even general access to internet may become more expensive. In the long run, these services will lose out to the ones that are already paying money. This will decrease competition, stifle innovation, and eventually lead to fewer choices and higher prices in the market.
3) For now, Airtel says that the Zero data plan just gives start-ups some marketing push. But it is almost a certainty that in the future, start-ups will have to pay more for Zero data plans and any service that doesn't  pay the telecom player will be discriminated against. For example, those who pay will be in the fast lane as opposed to those who don't. It is a slippery slope and once we allow companies like Airtel to go down this route, there will be no end to it.

Check out more details in this video:

What we can do?

In India, TRAI has called for comments from all stakeholders (internet users, internet service providers, telcos, industry bodies among others) so that it can make a decision on subjecting internet services to an additional licensing fee and whether these providers should pay telcos for using their internet pipes. You can share your opinion with TRAI before 24th April, 2015 using this website:


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ghazal 3: Mera Aangan Mehakta Hai

Image Credit: Margrit
میرا آنگن مہکتا ہے تو انہی کو جلن ہوتی ہے
درختوں کو کاٹ کر جو دیواروں سے پھولوں کی آس رکھتے ہیں

اب انکو راز کے فاش ہونے کا کیوں در ہے
حبیبوں کو بھولا کر جو رقیبوں کو اپنا خاص رکھتے ہیں

آج زمانہ فرشتوں کو بھی دھوکے میں رکھتا ہے
جو باتیں حجاب کی کرتے ہیں ووہی جسم بےلباس رکھتے ہیں

شب-ا-ہجر کچھ اس طرح قرار پاتے ہیں
خود کو دنیا سے دور انکی یادوں کو دل کے پاس رکھتے ہیں

English Version:

Mera aangan mahekta hai to unhi ko jalan hoti hai,
Darakhton ko kaat kar jo deewaron se phoolon ki aas rakhte hain.

Ab unko raaz ke faash honey ka kyu darr hai,
Habibon ko bhula kar jo raqeebon ko apna khaas rakhte hain.

Aaj zamana farishton ko bhi dhokey me rakhta hai,
Jo baatein hijab ki karte hain wohi jism be-libaas rakhte hain.

Shab-e-hijr kuch is tarah qaraar paate hain.
Khud ko duniya se door, unki yadoon ko dil ke paas rakhte hain.


Only those are jealous of my garden's fragrances,
Those who cut the trees and expect walls to produce flowers.

Now, why are they scared about revelation of their secrets,
They themselves forgot their friends and preferred the company of rivals.

Today, people are trying to fool the angels(those who keep track of good/bad deeds).
Those who talk about Hijab(head scarf), keep their body uncovered.

I try to find solace in the night of seperation, this way,
I keep myself away from this world and keep her memories close to my heart.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Wedding Question

"We are looking for a girl, for you", said my mother with her mysterious smile.
I knew they had a plan. Although my father was pretending to be completely occupied by newspaper, I knew they were waiting for my reaction.

That wasn't the first time I was dragged into such discussion. But the difference is that it used to be a question earlier. It was more of an FYI this time. I knew something has already been cooked. My earlier excuses are no more valid. The search is already on or maybe I am late to the party. It has already ended.

"For how long have you planned to remain confused?", I asked myself. I still wondered how can I so casually take such a big life changing decision. All sort of negative thoughts filled up my abnormal brain.

"Is it the right time?"
"Living with a complete stranger?"
"Is this how it works?"
"Life?" :)
"Heaven?" :)
 Many more weird things.

"We are not asking you to get married tomorrow. Even finding a nice girl takes time. Come on, be normal. This is how it works", she added very casually.

I talked to myself, "Be reasonable. You cannot run away from this any further. Bring on something concrete".
I knew all my past Google searches have made me more confused. No one in the world actually have an exact answer about my concerns. I knew this nervousness will turn out to be "very normal human behavior" later but I was not convinced by her.

And like always, I turned to Allah for help. However, I realized, I cannot expect straight answers to my silly questions from him. I knew when Islam comes into picture, I satisfy all the conditions for "nikah". These realizations made me reach the root cause. I ended up asking Allah to make my mother find someone who is best for me. I wanted to be a little specific but all I could add was "someone who takes me to heaven".

Somehow I felt better. And reluctantly I gave mummy a green signal.

It took her just a few weeks to surprise me with The Wedding Answer.