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


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.


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