Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Truth


As I sit at Maa’s grave wondering where wud she be, what she be doing? Is she missing me or its over? A lot paases thru my mind and there is no stopping it.
Beliefs tell me that she has moved on to a better world. A world of Karma - Imaan. Since she has been a faithful follower of her beliefs, I need not worry about her future. For 60 years she has been a good human being. For 60 years she added value to peoples live whatever way possible. She must be in a good company.
No need to worry!
Science tells me there is nothing called soul and afterlife. That was it. She went back to nature and there is no possibility of you seeing her again. Ever. Time out. You are on your own. U cry or go nuts there is no turning back on this one. Go on with ur life and forget her.
There is nothing called Soul and after life. That was it.
My entire life I have taken humanistic approach to life, regardless of what society, traditions and beliefs tell me. What is human shud automatically be part of any great religion, if it is not, too bad. I always followed my heart in finding peace in life. It worked. Always.
This is the only time when my human side has no answer. It is silent. It is offering me no direction. No insight.
It will be too selfish to move on from her grave and join back the circus called life, saying that the ‘show must go on’; to pretend as if nothing happened.
It will be foolish to stay stuck in these moments of paralysis and lifelessness. Maa, wud not like it. She wud want me to complete my circle of life in the best way possible.
Maa used to say “ My Shahid is a deep thinker, when he decides to find out the truth about anything he goes deep”.
For 6 months I have been doing just that.
To find the truth. No answers forthcoming Maa. There is no truth forthcoming.
The only truth that I know is that I am broken beyond repair Maa. Its been 6 months, yet I wake up in the middle of the night crying like a baby. My tears are showing no signs of drying up any time soon.
I go to bed every night thinking I may not wake up in the morning. I tolerated cruel, insensitive uncivilized barbarians because you were around. Not any more.
I will be drifting from hereon.
That is the only truth Now!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Total Strangers



And then I run into a ‘Ram Bhakt’ in the city of Agra one night.
The train arrived couple of hours late. It was almost 11 when I checked in the hotel. I walked out for the dinner and returned very late.
A bunch of men were sitting outside around a bonfire trying to beat the chilling weather last January. I sought their permission to sit with them. They were courteous men, mostly drivers, cleaners, support staff at the hotels nearby. The one chanting “RAAM” once every minute asked me if all is ok?
“Aap tourist nahi lagte Babuji, kiya baat hai?”
I tell them about Maa and why am just wandering around aimlessly.
His concern turns into a smile and he invokes shlokas from his holy book ‘Bahgvad Geeta’ to tell my why I shud stay with life. Why I shud not run away like this.
“Accha Khayen, Accha Pehne, Khsuh Rahen – Yehi Aap Ki Mataa Aap Se Chagnegi!”
I nod in agreement controlling my chest which was ready to explode due to intense emotions.
Cut to Burhanpur, MP, April 2017
I wanted to have Biryani so I went to Old City areas of Burhanpur. The Biryani was awesome and as I step out of the restaurant I see a man selling desert.
“Chai Hoti To Khareed Letaa…Chai Ke Bagair Maza Nahi Aayega!
Chai Bhi Aa Jayegi. Aap Tashreef Rakehn.
An Old bearded man offers me his chair. Reluctantly I sit down and Chai arrives in no time. I am surprised by his hospitality so I thank him. He tells me that this is not his business. He is just helping a frnd who has gone for some work.
Meanwhile the conversations drifts in all directions. I pay attention to him more closely when, all of sudden he talks about how his mother died of Asthama and how he cared for her.
I tell him about Maa and her Asthama.
“Jo Hua Allah Ki Marzi Thi. Duniya Ko Hansne Ka Mauka Na Den. Ab Aap Seena Nikal Ke Chalen. Fakhr Se. Khsuh Rahen. Accha Khayen. Accha Pehne. Kuch Karna Hai To Ye Karen Maa Ke Liye!”.
I tear up listening to him. I wonder why these total strangers meeting me in these towns and conveying just the same message. Why? Who is prompting them to tell me those words? Their backgrounds are different but the message remains the same.
What If we all behave like strangers? How wud life be then? We can speak to each other without inbuilt safeguards or “calculations”. We can value each other’s time knowing these moments will never come back as this encounter is temporary.
It is the illusion of 'permanency' that creates walls amongst us. We build these walls of ego, status, color, nationality, religion around us and get trapped for life. Life is beautiful even in grief once we knock down these walls.
Oh well..

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Shab e Barat in Vegas







What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas - is the LAW.

There are always exceptions to the rule.

Here is one!

‘Heaven or Hell, I am going to gamble tonigh’t – I had decided as I checked in the hotel in Las Vegas on my last trip.

I took a cursory look at the inviting machines flickering with lights and dollar signs for miles and miles to get an idea which table this adventurous night of mine shud begin. Having pretty much settled on one, I went to my room to freshen up.

As I got out of bath and changed my clothes I called India. Mom picked up.  I don’t think I told here where I was, and what am about to do, but this is what she said before I hung up.

‘ Tum Ko Maloom Hai na Aaj Shab e Baraat Hai Beta? Namaz Padhni Hai?”
( Tonight is the big night of Islam, u must pray)

I cud barely managed to say ‘Haan Maa’.  I knew then that with that ‘ Haan’ went away one of my last chance to commit a sin in Sin City.

It was always hard to ignore Maa’s words.

I took a deep sigh and went down no to gamble but to take a Philosopher’s walk.  

This walk enables you to look at things as they are, without passing judgments on them. Good bad or Ugly, just observe, smile and keep going.

So I walked and walked till I got tired. I went from one end to the next end of the Vegas Strip, getting in and out of the most beautiful hotels n pubs. 

I saw smiling faces with cans of beer. I saw strangers talking with strangest without any inhibitions. I saw signs and magazines displayed on streets that had the power to increase ones pulse rate. Someone handed me ‘visiting cards of pictures and phone numbers’. I still have them as a memento.

I had dinner somewhere along the road. Came to the hotel dead tired and crashed to a good night sleep.

Tonight is that night.

I will be going to Maa’s grave to cry. And yes I will be thinking of the call I made to Maa that night a few years ago.

I wonder of Maa knew what I was going to do that night.

I don’t know.


Bottom-line: Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flowers


Nature is showering maa with my favorite flowers. She deserves each one of them. Someone is very kind... somewhere...
BTW I always envisioned myself be buried under a Gulmohar tree. This ensures not only shade but also a non stop supply of beautiful flowers. You don't depend on NO ONE to bring u flowers. U live a fiercely independent life, u sleep an independent depth. That's so cool...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Maa 2

I reckon Maa must have had the time of her life watching me chase my own version of the ' The Great American Dream'.
That too on a 4 - seater Cessna Beach craft!!!
The fact that the Governor of the State used to travel on the same plane, is a testimony to the ' The Great American Democracy', but that requires a separate post.









Friday, March 17, 2017

Maa




Maa’s last picture in good times was taken when she was dating my father. That was taken on March 31st 1953.
Then the Indian Patriarchy took over, and a beauty of a woman was reduced to a pale shadow of herself. It would be me who would take her picture in 1982, all thirty years later. ( and I wud take thousands till her last night on this earth)
The hurt and insecurities that are visible on her face in 1982 are because her rights on her husband’s properties were taken away from her. She was betrayed and was thrown out to a 10feet x 10 feet pigeon hole. She

knew she was too weak to fight fight the powerful, so she concentrated on raising had no idea where the next meal is gonna come from – yet she never gave up. She her kids.

That 10x10 room was nothing short of a magic. It used to change its designation from Bedroom to kitchen to Study room to Bathroom to Dinner Room all in the same day…within hours. :)))
When I went to US and learnt the word ‘abuse’ I was shocked. It wud always bother me that my mother was abused by her in laws who ganged up against her.
Once I told her “ Maa you were abused by your in laws”
“My Shahid made if up for it…by sending me for Hajj and showing me the World”. She wud instantly demolish any regrets or anger developing inside me.
I grieve not just a mother but a fine feisty principled compassionate woman.


Sunday, March 05, 2017

Gaddar...

Aye jaate Hue Lamhon
Tum Bhi aakhir Gaddar Hi Nikle
Kis Trah Dabe Paaon Aa Kar tum
Mujhe Zindagi Main Uljhaa Kar tum 
Maa ko Maazi Kar Rahe Ho!!


Aye Aate Hue Lamhon
Kar Lo Jo Ban Pade Tum Se
Magar Yaad Rahe
Ek Din Mahobbat 
Maut Pe Bhi Haavi Hogi..

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed, March 5th 2017