Sunday, August 16, 2009

If I had known...

"If I had known that divorcing her would result in my promotion then I would have divorced her much earlier"

This was Mullah commenting on his recent promotion to the top. At home.

The story goes something like this:

When Mullah's divorce came through and when the time came for both of them to part ways, G suddenly developed a new affection for him. May be it had something to do with the fact that her love - the jailbird for who she was leaving Mullah - was denied parole that she had been counting on. Seemed he is to be in for another 7 years with no chance of being out.

The 'Lovers' of today are very good at calculations... And so instead of going through the hassles of living a single life again, she 'promoted' Mullah instead. So now the hierarchy at home stands thus:

1. Mullah -

2. His FPN - i.e. G

3. the internet -

4. Oscar (dog) -

5.Becky (dog).

Mullah just switched places with Becky . Now he actually greeted on his return from work, food is being cooked more frequently than before by the one who never cooked, Mullah is valued far more than he ever been - and yes - he is loving it.

The great game of wooing the opposite sex only to take the one woo'd for granted after marriage is going on all over. And this has always been so. Most of my friends here and in India complain of the same problem. They all see themselves valued in the beginning, only to end up like a "handyman" as marriage fades into a distance and kids grow up.

In some cases, sooner than later.. Even in weeks...

And there are more divorces in the making...

In India, when the elections are announced, a "model code of conduct" is enforced which makes sure that no false promises are made to woo the electorate and to get their votes. Why cant we have the same model code of conduct in our interpersonal relationships? Why do we couples build the foundation of our relationships on falsehood and lies?

In the US the divorce rate is about 60% and Mullah's divorce just became another statistics.

It was not supposed to be this way. It need have been this way... 'Living together' without living together.

(Had uploaded my blog using this iphone... am still trying to get my bearings. on it.. .If I had known more about it...it is good to be back at a good ol' laptop....)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jhoot bolo aur Salaa..

Next month will bring the 6th month anniversary of Siddik Bhai's death. In these six months there is not a single day when I have not thought of him. Not one. My mind has not yet truly accepted his passing away. I still can not believe that a man like him can just go away. I often wonder where must he be now? How is it possible to reduce such a man to just bones and flesh?

He was an awesome friend, fearless, loyal, funny who could size anyone up in less than thirty seconds. Yet, he was full of superstitions and used to visit these Baba log for advice, to help him break his imaginary jinx's, for 'showing' him the way. I used to joke that Baba log should come to you for your blessing on increasing profits and clientele!

One time we drove all over Sion Koliwada area, looking for a certain
baba. There was this girl, who he thought I must have, since I loved her. I told him loving someone is not enough, there is a lot involved in piyar viyar these days. He was confident that after the baba does his chila or wazeefa, this girl would come running to me".

These things never impressed me and my argument was " agar India main ek sacche aur shareef aadmi ko apni mahobbat hasil karne in sab
cheezon ki zaroorat pade, then I dont want her".

He came back with the line that will always haunt me.
"Party tum samajhte nahi ho yaar - Aaj kal sach ko hi help chaaiye hoti hai - Jhoot bolo aur salaa udne lagtaa hai".

Jhoot bolo aur salaa udne lagtaa hai.


We have all seen how jhoot flew from the powerful capitals of the
world and rained as bombs and missiles on innocent women and children. We see how jhoot flies in Parliaments, Court Rooms, in coffee houses, in Investment Banks. We see everyday how jhoot flies in relations, in emotions and expressions...

Back then,we stopped by at a slum someplace near Wadala. He spoke to the baba about my love issue and requested him to do something, "for
her to come running to me." The Baba, who was in his 50s asked me my name. After hearing my last name the Baba reacted unexpectedly and told him " Ye to Sayed hain, ab main inko kiya kahoon? aap sarkaar hamare liye dua karen"

We returned 'emptyhanded' as baba decided the solution was within me.


I thought the solution lay in green backs. But that is a different story.

This January, on my trip home, when we met at the regular adda on the footpath of Mumbai, unexpectedly a friend of his, brought up the
subject of Siddikbhai's divorce and said, 'isn't today the 15th anniversary of your divorce?'. I flared up. I hate people who are not sensitive to others. Why torture him with the past, instead of making him look forward?

Later that night when he was dropping me home, I mentioned that he is settled and healthy, and now he should get married....

I flew back to the US soon after. He went into a coma in four days and
passed away within a fortnight.

Whenever I see a jhoot fly, I hear his words " "Party, tum samajhte
nahi ho yaar - Aaj kal sach ko hi help chaaiye hoti hai - Jhoot bolo aur salaa udne lagtaa hai".

I am recording a song these days. One character in the song is a
Mumbai street smart chap, who says " Apun to salaa bachele main bhi reh gaila hai" - I am the left over from the left overs.

No prize for guessing who this character is.


He left without saying a word to anyone - without saying good bye
!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The victims..


This is the line, a friend philosopher and guide used to calm me down. There is so much wisdom out there which explains the games people play and why they play!

It not only helped, but also made me empathize with some of the characters of my story....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We came in for peace...









40 years ago, this week, man left a plaque on the surface of the moon that reads: "Here Men From The Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We Came in Peace For All Mankind." (NASA)

40 years later, man is still struggling with the definition of the words "peace for all Mankind". It makes you wonder what would have happened, had we discovered moon to have a "hospitable, life sustaining atmosphere?".

knowing the "nature of the beast", one can comfortably say that the moon's hospitable environment and natural resources would have started the new race for the control including violent confiscation.

We would have witnessed same killing machines, bombs, missiles, dead youth, destruction, blood on the surface of the moon, widows, orphans, poverty, diseases, tears....

Just like here on earth!

Aren't we glad moon is not hospitable to humans?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Resisto-Meter...


A majority, over 70%, of the resistance to the Threshold India Initiative is coming from those that it intends to serve: the Muslim community.

Whereas my non Muslim friends get excited about the concept in no time, and have been committing themselves with good counsel and intelligent resources.

Why?

Mullah says 517 years of “self inflicted paralysis” will take time to heal. Inertia has its own God dammed appeal.

The good part is that the kids are enthusiastic about the idea, and know what it can achieve for them. As long as there is one 20 year old who thinks she /he can change the World with an idea, create jobs, provide services or products, we will keep moving forward.

We intend to get to the promised land of entrepreneurship , by all means necessary.
God willing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hue tum dost jis ke...


i like 2459 the best...

the shades of white of the pillars...

the shades of blue of your attire...

the 'so near yet so far' expression of your eyes...

the non-touristy nature of the pic...

you are leaning against the pillar yet not for its support... there is a rock solid nature to your stance....

ps: This is how a friend described this picture taken outside the Jefferson Memorial. Tareef kise pasand nahi bhai? LOL...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wahin Kahin ek ....


Sulagti yadon ka Dariya Udhar jo behta hai
Wahin kahin Ek Be Wafa bhi Rehtaa hai..

On a recent road trip to Obama land, Washington DC, I passed through some small towns that had rivers, broken bridges, one way streets and forgotten paths. I dont know what town I was passing through, when this stanza started descending on me. khair...ab kiya farak padtaa hai...

I would like to complete this ghazal and see where it leads to, but I would rather leave it as it is - just one sher, one khyaal, one lamhaa...

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed

Friday, July 03, 2009

Tere bin...

Bichad ke tum se shahr ye kaisa veerana sa lagtaa hai
Ab to yahan pe hud se bhi rishta anjana sa lagtaa hai

Kal tak to manoos tha mujh se, baaten karta, hans deta tha
kiya hua, aaj ye chaand kiyoon begana sa lagtaa hai ?

Jab se gayi ho, dil bhi chup, hum bhi hain khamosh bahut
Bina tumhare yu hi Jeena, Janaa - Mar jaana sa lagtaa hai

kal hi mile hum, par un nazron main mere khwaab bahut
Sach Sach bataon tum se rishtaa, khoob purana lagtaa hai
(C) shahid Parvez Sayed
This did not turn out the way I expected, but how many things do?.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

WE have the power to...



We realized we may have preempted Mr Obama's speech by about six months - at least a part of it :-)....

That in itself is a reason to celebrate !

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The first signs...


I am sorry...," Home Minister P Chidambaram today told Kandhamal riot victims during a visit to one of the relief camps in Phulbani.

"I am sorry that certain things happened last year and you have been brought to these camps. But you must go back to your villages. I am here to tell you, don't fear, whatever happened was wrong. Build your churches and practice your dharma," ( P.C.Chidambaram, Indian Express, June 25, 2009)

To me, these lines and not 6% GDP growth or Nuclear Club membership makes India a great nation worth living. If a nation can not guarantee life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to its citizens, it has no business to be called a nation with thousands of years civilization behind it.

These lines should have been spoken after mini holocaust of 1984, 1987, 1991 and 2002 so on, but its never too late. The very fact that the home minister made these statements without any political necessity of an upcoming election or so speaks volume about the coming of age of Indian democracy and its politicians. This comes like a matter of fact, honest apology from the government that had failed to safeguard not only Kanhdamal victims, but also the attack on the person whose murder was considered as licence to kill by some people.

I always joke with Mullah Luis that when you guys go to elect the new President, make sure you realize how much influence he or she is going to have on other parts of the world. It is like politician all over the World take cues from the US President and react accordingly.

I don't know how much the man in white (Rahul) or the man in the White House (Obama) is responsible for a different kind of politics in the World today, but one can see the same mindset reflecting through the statements of Mr. Chidambaram.

At the same time I don't want to discount the credentials of Mr Chidambaram, as he has been a great statesman who never indulged in the poliitcs of caste, race, hate and division.

I hope India enters the new era where differences are debated respectfully, where inclusivity is the new mantra, and where each man is looked as the mirror image of God, irrespective of his or her religion, caste and status.

I am sure this is what the great Vedas brought to us thousands of years ago, but we never fully understood and practiced it!

It's never too late...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

India Se...



India Se, a Singapore based Life Style magazine featured Threshold India in its June 2009 issue.

We must be doing something right....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Adriana...


Its been a year now that Adriana left for Jordan, the home of her husband, of her children - her home!

I met her when she was introduced as a new employee, one and half years ago. I welcomed her to the group, and offered her fruits joking that I "sell" them. The next day she came up to me with 25 cents in her hand to "buy" an apple. We picked her on that act for a long time!

What stuck me most about her was that she was 7/8 months pregnant when she came to work with us. Mullah and I wondered what made her decide to work now, and where is her husband? We found out that she is half Arab half South American, married to an Arab she met while in college. They married and moved to Jordan where she had two girls. Everything was hunky dory till in -law bugs got to her. Things got so worst that she left Jordan on a filmy excuse, and vowed never to return.

She was educated at a prestigious engineering university in the South and was prepared to raise her kids alone.

As the D day got closer, we asked her what should we do in case it happens at work? She explained what to expect and how to deal with it. We got her insurance info and all the phone numbers in case of such an emergency.

I have lived most of my life away from home - away from all the natural occurrences that happen in an every day life. It was weired for me to hang around and work with a woman who was so close to child birth. I did not know what to expect. The only experience I have of child birth is from my childhood. I was 12 , when my goat gave birth in Farrukhabad. Even then, I had no clue as to how this goat kid showed up one morning. Those days kids of 12 were really 12 years old. When my nieces and nephews started showing up, I was away travelling to some place or returning from somewhere, usually after long stays. I missed all that goes into child birth.

I grew restless as to how are we going to take her to the hospital from work. There is a long walk to the parking lot, and I was worried about the delay in reaching the hospital. She told me all about expansion and contractions which freaked me out more. She had done it twice so she was calm and collected. I was getting panicky with her description of things to come, and wanted to know who is going to drive her etc. Finally she gave up and said " Shahid, don't you worry, you sit in the backseat and I will drive you to the hospital!!"

She took a 2 months leave after the delivery. We sent her the biggest bouquet we could find in the flower shop. She was very happy, yet sad, for not having her husband around.

When she returned to work, I could sense she did not want to be there. She wanted to be with her baby. A Mother's DNA does not give a crap about 9-5 gig. One day , I saw a bottle of milk in our refrigerator which brought more respect for womanhood. Appearently, on her breaks, she used to milk herself and keep bottles in the fridge, so that she could feed her baby in the evening. I think the scarifies women make in the life cycle should place them in the top position in the food chain. Men should be somewhere in the 7the place...

One day, I engaged her and enquired more about her life. She mentioned all her grievances, the expectations from her in laws and pains of staying in a foreign country etc. I listened and acknowledged her challenges. I ended the conversation by saying "Three girls need a dad around in order to have a normal childhood. When she can act for 8 hours in this job, what stops her from acting 10 minutes in front of her mom-in-law? This is a small price to pay for the security and well beings of the kids..."

The next day she announced that she is returning to Jordan, to be with her husband. She wanted to give her girls their father back. That was a big surprise for everyone. When I inquired what made her decide to go back, she said " What you said Shahid, and how you said it yesterday. No one made me see life that way!"

Soon she started taking interest in my life. She wanted me to get married and tried to set me up with a couple of Turkish girls. One day she brought pictures of them, and wanted me to pick one so that she could arrange for an accidental meeting.

A one liner from me resulted in a laughter, and that was enough to change the topic. She often complained and wondered why I don't take my life seriously. Why do I make fun of everything in life except social activism and films? Why am I so secure with my loneliness?

I had no answer back then. I don't even now.

She left last June, leaving a thank you card for all of us. That card is still stuck at the place where she had left it. No one has heard from her. She had mentioned the non availability of Internet in that part of the world.

I hope she is complete, happy and living a blissful life. It gives me a great pleasure to visualize her living happily with her husband and kids.

Words can be magical...use them wisely!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top 10 indicators that...

Mullah Luis send me these and they are fun...enjoy!

Top Ten Indicators that the economy is bad...
1) CEO's are now joining miniature golf clubs
2) I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail
3) I went to buy a toaster oven and they gave me a bank
4) HotWheels and Matchbox car companies are now trading higher than GM in the stock market
5) Obama met with small businesses - GE, Pfizer, Chrysler, Citigroup and GM- to discuss the stimulus package
6) The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.
7) People in Beverly Hills are firing their nannies and are learning their children’s names
8) Motel Six no longer leaves the lights on
9) The mafia is laying off judges
10) If the bank returns your check marked "insufficient funds" you have to call them and ask if they means you or them!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

He said - She said...


I heard this conversation between an FPN and a small time jebroni here in Atlanta. Even though they spoke english, what they meant would go something like this:

She: Aap hamesha Past ki taraf mudh ke kiyoon dekhte hain?
He: Is liye ke - past main tum ho...

She: Main Past main kiyoon hone lagi?
She: Main Present main hoon...
She, again: Aaj bhi Sath hoon

She, finally: Kal bhi Rahoongi...

He felt secure. God like. At peace....

And then they went thier own ways
Just like two parallel tracks
that never meet.

Ever!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Muslim women MPs..


The learned ones in the Parliment are debating 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. Eeryone is demanding their pound of flesh as they all want to "deliver" something to their customers, when the 16th Lok Sabha rolls in. Muslims and some other national parties including RJD are demanding reservation for Muslim women as well.

My concern is are we doing a Pakistan here? Pakistan has become a family business of about 200 rich families. Like any other family businesses they keep the power to themselves and make sure no outside of the family takes over the business. No matter how unsuitable one member is, the job is for her / him to keep. Top positions are decided on the baiss of the last names and whether or not some one has the family DNA.

We must learn something from our neighbours....shouldn't we?

I think we must create women leaders first, before offering them reservations. Other communities have no dearth of talents but Muslim women needs some help. We must create free thinking visionaries out of them, that can debate on the topics of national and international interest with ease. We seldom allowed them to have an opinion of their own, and now we are going to give them a nation to run? A nation with dramatic complexities and extremes as ours...

I am in favor of some version of the bill ( for some period of time), but we must develop women leaders of morrow before we hand them responsibilities...unless ofcourse we are looking for Bahu-Beti Brigades to take over!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Obama engages the Muslim World...


Jhnthesavage I'm a Fan of johnthesavage permalink

As the leader of "one of the "largest Muslim countries" in the world, I'm sure Barack Hussein Obama will find a warm welcome in the Saudi kingdom.

urnumbersix I'm a Fan of urnumbersix permalink

How do Republicans "get" to call Obama a Muslim - and at the same time "hit" him for the unquestionable Christian, Rev. Wright, at the same time? It's as foolish as the "birth certificate" matter. 

shovelready I'm a Fan of shovelready permalink

how blessed we all are to be alive while our dear leader is doing the hard work to bring peace to this world. The mere fact that we have a leader willing to reach out with an open hand and not a clenched fist. We are the ones we have been waiting for, hope and change!

nichtviel I'm a Fan of nichtviel permalink

What's with all the excitement over meeting with one of the world's sponsors of terrorism? Or over calling the world's most brutal cult-religion a respectable thing? Is this a "say goodbye to American values" tour our President is on?

pamelagoodenough I'm a Fan of pamelagoodenough permalink

If we do not make peace with the world, after the insolent arrogant way George W. Bush the little klown prince ruled, we will have not world to worry about.

If America does not mature, or cannot mature beyond the fundamentalist religious buffoonery that is now advanced to the murdering of doctors, then we will become the enemy of the world.

We must have PEACE IN OUR TIME. That or misery and destruction. That is the goal. That must be the message.
 

All humans deserve respect. All cultures are equal. All religions are equal, they are the same with different patterns

pangurban I'm a Fan of pangurban permalink 

I hope it is a great speech. I hope it is well received. So grateful Obama is our president. There is so much to be done to repair the damage of the Dub Ya administration and its l00ny foreign polic

bluejoni2525 I'm a Fan of bluejoni2525 permalink

It is such a pleasure to have an intelligent person as the President . Yes, after eight long years I am PROUD to be an American again !!

BeachBubbaTex I'm a Fan of BeachBubbaTex permalink

Honestly, I think he's safer there. It scares the bejebbers out of me every time he runs out for a burger. I don't care if he waits for the press but he sure as heck better be waiting for those dudes with the lapel pins.

HawaiianPunch I'm a Fan of HawaiianPunch permalink

I'm proud of my President.

A bizarre, unfamiliar fe
e
ling.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Left, Right and Democracy






Democracies do not flourish when a single party rules a country. In fact the democratic institutions get weakened when a single party calls the shots, without opposition asking tough questions and demanding answers.  Furehe'r had no opposition, when he unleashed holocaust on jews in Germany. George W. had almost no opposition when he decided to change the face of the World post 911, as majority of the congressmen and senators had caved in  and made Capitol Hill a one party residence. The results are for all of us to see and suffer, while 43th re-writes history.

An intelligent and visionary opposition has the power of saving the country from catastrophe. A case in example would be of Left playing hard balls with the Congress on allowing 100% FDI. Communist slowed down the juggernaut of super capitalism and halted the corporate greed in its tracks. If its not for left the newly created Indian middle class would have known the true meanings of CDO, CDS, MBS and other derivatives, albeit at a higher price. India owes a lot to the the left for staying their ground against the most powerful forces.

A party in power with absolute majority gets arrogant and see no need for seeking consensus on important issues. Opposition is ignored and silenced. In India there were a few states that had become a political jagerdari of Left, RJD and the BJP.  They thought they owned the political  agenda of generations after generations of voters. They were wrong.

These parties lost in touch with the new voter who is getting wired 24X7 to the outside world and is seeking the finest things he/she saw on TV. That voter is looking for a higher standard of living, clean parks, transperency, and adequate infrastructure.  It was easy to fool his / her parents in the name of Mandal, Kamandal and sickle, but he / she is a pragmatist, who wants all the finer things in life . Now!

Every party has a "base" from which it draws its strength and affords political maneuvering. It also seeks to fufill the wishes and aspirations of this core base. But Elections are not won on  theJustify Full baiss of the "base" alone, you need others (sometime include Mulims, Dalits and other weakers sections). in order to win elections. These ID based parties cater too much to the base, and try to win those those that are already sold out on the idea. In this election the parties that suffered most were catering to that " base." 

You don't rule a country of 1 billion, 18 major languages, and every religion on earth by just catering to your core base.  

And then there is this 39 year old jebroni; a student of Michael Porter  ( Harvard professor who formulated Five Forces Model in the field of strategy management), who has  been covering length and breadth of the country  connecting with voters, expanding network and discovering India. There is no surprise that he is called the architect of the congress win. Two force of the five forces model are: a - threat of substitute, and b - bargaining power of customers. While Rahul Gandhi understood these forces well, other seasoned politicians assumed the customer has no choice.

These parties can still redeem themselves by becoming a model opposition. You can work for the people even while sitting on the opposition benches!

BTW Al-Qaida means "the base" in Arabic...

(Picture Coutrsey: Boston Globe)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Look who showed up at Five Guys today...


Incidently Mullah, Walty, Powell and I were at Five Guys - Lindbergh for lunch at the same time. Mullah chuckled Great minds think alike....