Back in the
days, on my way back from ATL, I decided to take a Parisian detour and stopped
in the city of art and love for a few days.
Paris......Its a gold mine for an artiste of all hue n colors. Paris is young,
Paris is feminine and Paris is beautifully healthy. A few minutes of stroll by
the river .....is enough for you to fall in love with it.. There is no other
I landed in
Mumbai and was trying to catch some sleep when I heard someone calling me out.
It was Mirza on his bike. So I went down and he drove me to our usual adda at
Nariman Point footpath. I was still sleepy and after a usual talk I wanted to
sleep. I made myself comfortable on the bench and slept. Mirza, realizing my
jet-leg situation allowed me to rest in peace.
hour or so when I woke up, I found Mirza reading a newspaper. He looked up and
" Yaar Ek Hafte Pehle Tum US main the, Kal Shaam Tak Paris Main,
Aur ab Footpath Pe So Rahe Ho!"
Farak Padta Hai? Arsh Ho Ya Farsh Neend Aani Chaiyye. Baki Sab Semantics
something else on my mind to discuss with Mirza, so I told him I want to
confess something. He put down the paper and look at quizzically.
Mirza, Main Ne Galti Se Paris Main Sharab Khayi Hai!"
down to "smell" me for sharab.
Beta Ab Tum Ne Sharab Peena Chalu kar Di?"
Main Sharab Nahi Peeta.....Main ne Sharab Khaayi Hai Paris Main"
Haram Hai......Tumhen Malom Tha Na?"
Peena Haram Hai......Lekin Main Ne To Sharab Khayi Hai!"
I told him
the whole story about one of the days when I got my "free hugs"
outside Amsterdam Church I felt hungry for "more", so I went to eat
at the nearest cafe by the river.
I could not
read the menu as it was all in French. I signaled a waiter and told him that
"No Pork for me". I chose one
good looking dish and and inquired if it was pork. The waiter realizing my
concern made sounds of chicken crowing "Kukdu Koo". I said Yes thats
what I want!!
exactly what he got me. It was tasty - very tasty and delicious. I enjoyed
every bite of it. But soon I started feeling a little "tipsy". My
body has zero tolerance for lies and Nasha and a small amount of it is enough
to make me feel weird. When I inquired from the waiter about the content of the
chicken dish, the waiter pointed his finger at the bottle of Red Wine and told
me in something in french. Apparently the chicken that I was served so nicely,
was marinated all night in wine and spices and which made it more tasty.
Kiya Hum Logon Ko Mullah Ke Paas Jaa Ke Is Ka Hal Maloom Karna Chaiyye?"
Usually Mullah Murge Ke Khilaf Nahi Bolta, Woh Us Se MarOub Hota Hai. Mullah
Tum Se Paris Ki Detail Lega aur Footage Khayega"
Mano To Jab Tum Agli Baar Kisi Jungle Main "Fabe Aiye Aala Rabbe Kuma
Tukazzebaan" padh Rahe Ho Tab Tum Apne Allah Miya Se Maafi Maang Lena. Woh
Raheem Hai...Maaf Kar Dega!"
Thats what I
Its been a
few years but even today Mirza brings up this story and reminds me how I slept
on a footpath. Even today I tell him the same thing that in the grand scheme of
things it does not matter where you sleep as long as you sleep. I am fortunate
to have frnds that are like me only. We are not born to carry weight of
unrealistic expectations of others. Why should I eat, sleep and carry my life
in a way that suits your immature fancy?
A friend of
mine once drove me in his brand new Mercez convertible at the speed of 150 MPH
( 230 KMPH) in Atlanta. In a few months he met me at Ville Parle station and
from where we took local to Church Gate in sardine packed compartment. Both of us did not compain about anything as
we had no time .... we were busy cacthing up on each other and laughing away to
This is the time n place I feel sorry for myself, being stuck like sardines in a local train. No matter where u go there is no escaping this in India. This is what others economists call the "population dividend" - a dividend I can live without.
So here I was pissed off n angry, more concerned about the health my MacBook Pro than myself. And suddenly a guy started singing a sad song:
" main ne chaand aye sitaron ki tamanna ki thi
mujh ko raaton ki siyahi kuch na Mila!"
I tried to inject some humor in a F&%$# Up situation so I told him " yaar ghar jaa rahe ho office nahi, u shud be singing happy song!"
He came back with " Ghar jaa raha hoon isi liye to sad song gaa raha hoon. Biwi hai ghar main. Aap to experinced honge"
Except perhaps I was always happy going home back in the days....
Agha Jaani Kashmiri, was a legendary writer n actor who wrote some of the memorable films in 40s, 50s, and 60s. Some of them are Anmold Ghadi, Humayun, Amar, Mujhe Jeene Do, Chori Chori and almost all of Joy Mukherjee's films. In fact he was the one who saw Joy, and pressured his father S. Mukherjee to allow him to act....saying he will take care of his diction and teach him acting.
Anyways. this post is not about him. Its about Ashok Kumar. The picture below is from his autobiography called "Seher Hone Tak", published in 1967 or so. He had dedicated his book to many frnds from the Industry and to Pt. Nehru. In this page he is dedicating it to Ashok Kumar with an interesting anecdote. He writes " Ashok Kumar is a 30 year old frnd, and it was he who dragged Ashok Kumar to Anmol Ghadi and Humayun".
Well, this post is about what he writes next. He says "Whenever I run into Ashok Kumar, he hugs me and says yes to everything I say - even though I may not see him again for a long time. Ashok believes in "Milo to Khush aur Na Milo to Aur bhi Zayada Khush".
That line gave me the 'aha' moment after I bought it from a raddi-wala on a footpath of Bhindi Bazar. This book made me and old man even when I was suppose to be a teenager. This book has lived in two different continents with me.....traveled to many cities internationally. It contains many gems, but the one I internalized was "Milo to Khsuh aur Na Milo to Aur bhi Zayada Khsuh"
Just think about it for a second.....
By believing and living with this dictum you are offering freedom to everyone in your circles. No one is be pressured to see you, at the same time no one is stopped from seeing you as well. Happiness is the result whether you meet or not.....
When frnds meet me after a long time or meet me daily or weekly, I thoroughly enjoy them. I go full throttle on my humor and laugh like there is no tomorrow! I seldom complain to anyone ke why you didn't meet or never called. For me, meeting me after many years is not the topic of reverence, what is important is what we are going to do next......
Coz I have set everyone free with by living Ashok Kumar Mantra " Milo to Khush aur na Milo to Aur Bhi Zadya Khush!"
"Shahid ji, how would you like if we get Bhupinder ji to song your ghazal?"
"Which Bhupimder? Dil dhoondta Hai wale?"
I remember exactly where I was when Apurva ji called. I felt like I transported to the moon a minute.....my first film, my first ghazal going to be sung by a singer I grew up loving.....too good to be true!
Before that for about a few months we were looking for a singer in the Atlanta and neighboring areas. Apurva Ji would audition singers every week and reject them. After we exhausted all the potential singers he auditioned me as well. I was rejected in less than a minute....this is how my career in singing ended....
I was feeling depressed and frustrated and this call from Apurva ji lifted my spirits.
However, on the day of the recording I was away on a business trip to Burnswick, GA. Sandhya ji, narrated this incident to me:
Bupinder ji, while rehearsing the ghazal realized a word not fitting in well so he mentioned that to her, who told him that "Shahid could not make it....please feel free to make changes as you like".
Bhupinder Ji said " Nahi rehne den.....without writer it would be improper to make changes. I will sing as he has written.."
Here is some Good News for people that were afraid of death the other day on my timeline. (Ye zindagi ke mele duniya main kam na honge / afsos hum na honge!)
Look at this IQ chart closely and recall how an ordinary person was when we were young - and how they are now?
Aren't you glad that you will not be around in 2050 to see the idiots running amok everywhere? We are having difficulty making sense of whats happening around us, and how, twenty something good looking kids have become religious bigots, intolerant discriminators and just plain dumb.
What these kids would do when they are the temporary occupants of 16, Pennsylvania Ave,10 Dawning Street and and 7 Race Course Road?
Trust me you are better off dead than dealing with an IQ below 80. So enjoy your time now......death will be a welcome relief....whenever that happens!
Mirza says, The graph is on a higher side due to the stats from "some" western countries, imagine how it will look if it was just India....LOL
My friend Mirza, now confesses that once he fell in love with a "Brahmin Ki Bitiya" and came close to marrying her. She too liked him and agreed in principle to explore the option....LOL
The story of Mirza falling in love with her is interesting: One night Mirza called up that "Brahmin Ki Bitiya", requesting her to wake him up at 4 am since he had a 5:30 am flight to catch. She called and used these lines in chaste awadhi accent -
"Suniye.....Dekhiye....uthitye.....Sahar Ho gayi.....aap ki flight hai....dekhen please uth jaiye....please suniye..."
Mirza loved it, and fell in love with her. Next thing we know is Mirza offered a quick marriage with only a small condition that she will wake him up every morning, using the same lines she had used that morning.
Grapevine has it that, even Mirza offered to be converted to Hindusim provided he be made a Brahmin...He was told that as of now he is a "Mallachi" and his wish can never be granted.....:))
Sometime later, better sense prevailed and they decided to remain friends!! Mirza says he did not want his marriage to become a politico - religious football. Later Mirza even played cupid and found a Brahmin match for her....however, she refused to consider him.
I think Inter-religious marriage happen coz youngsters don't find match in their own communities. It is scary to marry someone who has different eating habits and prays to a different God.
That Brahmin ki Bitiya could not find a match in her own community and is against dowry system, our Mirza could not find a Muslim girl coz Muslim girls are taught only to cook, clean and bear children regardless of educational qualification ....... their intellect is considered too weak to be developed by their handlers.
These days Mirza and "Brahmin Ki Bitiya" are debating how long they have known each other. Mirza says 10 years whereas she confirms it is just 7 years....to which Mirza asks "why it feels like 10 years?"
Brahmin ki Bitiya has no response to that Question.....LOL
Are you in any way RESPONSIBLE for this 15 year old kiddo, dropping out of school and picking up the gun to safeguard the honor of her family?
I can hear a resounding NO.......think again!
Are You NOT responsible for increasing the hyper religiosity in your time line on FB, in your house, Mohallah, City, Country and eventually the World. I am talkn' all Gentiles and not so faithfuls, Hindus/Muslim/Christians and Jews.
When the HYPER- RELIGIOSITY or what I call religious temperature Index (RTI) of the World increases so does crimes against people of other faiths and denominations. Your God asked you to be a faithful but not HYPER faithful. He asked you to protect the weak and not even cut down a tree even during a battle.
Then why, in your name this beautiful kiddo has to forgo her teenage years of fun and care free life? Just because she belonged to a certain tribe in Kurdistan...and her tribe's name is Yazidi. Is that it?
What I am noticing is a maniac like obsession with religion on all sides. This single minded religious fervor has taken the word "Tassawuf" and "Ijtihaad" from our lingo. Its all about symbolism now......
Here is a story of not too long ago......
My friend's father in Allahabad area was a trustee of a temple. Once, he was in the temple attending the meeting of the trust when Muzzin called for Namaz. My friend's father excused himself to attend the prayers. But the Hindu trustees asked him to pray right there in the temple complex and HE DID.
Do we have such example of secure faiths in our middle now? Why not? Because we have become less secure about our faith, because we have become hyper -religious, because we are less tolerant now....
And that's why this kiddo is out there under the scorching desert sun......walking with a bottle of water and a gun....while we dream awesome dreams for our daughters.
As far as I am concerned, I would be proud to have such a brave heart as my girl....a girl who can go from holding pen to holding a gun, can only be my daughter and I will not allow anyone to kill her in my name!!
As you go about hosting the National Flag tomorrow morning, distributing sweets and appreciating the efforts by the founding fathers in securing the freedom for you, remember the story of a Pagal ie a man man of Lukhnow.
The year was 1928, and Simon Commission was in India to determine the future of India. It had seven members but none of them was an Indian leader, and as result India's political leadership decided to boycott it. Commission went from one town to the next but always met with protesters holding black flags.
When it reached Lucknow and was holding the meetings at the British Residency near Aminabad. British government had made sure that protest are broken up and no one is allowed near Residency.....
Azzadi ke Jiyale were frustarted as they could not voice their opinion openly. They were wondering what to do when a neighborhood pagal, a man with who never made sense and was considered useless suggested that we "fly kites with the message "Simon Commission Go Back" written on it". And that the kites battles should take place resulting in kites falling in the Residency with the message written on it..
Hundreds of kites were flown within hours that day.....It was raining kites in the English Residency.......Englishmen were embarrassed and surprised at the ingenuity of the Indians...
No one cared to pay respect to that Pagal who came up with the idea....a pagal whose name we don't know....a pagal who too wanted freedom just like you and me......a pagal who knew his life would not change regardless of India gains freedom or not....still he did his part in our freedom movement.
A un-named pagal who deserves to be remembered tomorrow.....by all means necessary!!
It was on 21st Roza, Hazrat Ali (RA)'s 1316th Martyrdom Anniversary that her husband left her for a heavenly journey.
Their marriage was not the usual one. In addition to other usual stuff, it had Shia-Sunni Divide to bridge. And they did a splendid job at it - I think. There are many stories of what challenges they faced and how they fought all opposition. When the CUSTODIANS of Shia-Sunni Divide, could not stop them from marrying, they banned entry of mother to her home. It remained that way for 20 years....till father's death.
Its been 37 years since father died, still each Ramzan she recites 2/3 Quran on her own and dedicates it to fathers soul on the 21st Roza. This ritual is suppose to help the departed soul in the hereafter specially in making the day of judgment transactions easier.
She has been doing it for 37 years, yes thirty seven years.....except this year. She was too in-firmed to recite Quran this year.. I asked her whey she did not delegate it to me or to someone else. She said " I like to do it on my own and will do it once I feel better".
I see her acts as epitome of Wafa and love. No one forced her to do what she has been for 37 years...no one cared and there was no reward for it. Still, to improve the conditions of father, my mother has been doing the Quran Recitation for so long.....
I never look at Romeo - Juilet, Shireen - Farhaad stories to know what love can be....I got a better and more real example -- right here at home!!
The Moral of the story is: No matter how nasty a woman behaves with me, after doing the usual Maatam (Mourning), I go back to my default mode of being in love with the concept of women. I think they are far far capable of more Wafa then we, men can ever achieve!!
Here is to my first love....my mom!!
ps: My rebellious streak to break all the walls of color, nationality, caste, religion, age and social status comes from them......Mind it!!
PPS: This should also explain why I have "admirers" in all colors, nationalities, caste and religions including Pathans.....LOL
Ever since I read autobiography of K.A. Abbas, I kept searching for the picture of a woman in his life called "Mujji". I Googled many times, looked in the old book stores of Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal but nothing, not even a picture of hers showed up. I always wondered how she looked and what was so special about her that captivated Abbas's imagination.
Muji was Abba's girl friend ( wife as normal people call it) and a major source of inspiration for his work.
When Abbas brought Mujji home to Mumbai, she asked what he expects her to do? Abbas Said " just sit there and inspire me to write and make tea for me when you think I need it!"
Abbas wrote 73 books and many films including the first that made it to Cannes Film Festival. Read here and get a shocker as to who Abbas was:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0007815/
There union lasted a few years only. She died very young, of not a very complicated disease. Abbas being a principled man chose a government run hospital to treat his wife, in-spite of the fact that Mumbai's who's who knew him and he could afford a private hospital.
The night before she was to be operated at Mumbai's KEM hospital, Abbas asked her "what she wants before Dcotor sedate her? Mujji said "she wanted to see his handwriting in case she died in operation".
Abbas wrote a letter to her that night and gave her. She was holding that letter in her palm when Doctors sedated her took to the operation theater.
The operation was successful.....
she died during recovery!!
I am teary eyed as I write this....feel a joy of seeing so many pictures of Mujji but at the same time....re-living what pain she felt during those last days!
After her death Abbas wrote that "He knew that there can not be a woman who could replace Mujji and he will have to walk alone for the rest of life."
And alone he walked....for 45 years....never married......because there was no one who could take Mujji's place.
"Happy Fathers day Dad. Thanks for being with me when I needed you. I love you Dad!"
I can explain...
The writer of that message is 24 years old now. She is a convent educated graduate in Psychology and a practicing professional in that field. The period she is referring to by saying " standing with me " happened some 20 years ago.
I vividly remember, when a friend of mine had mentioned this family that needed my help in a certain way. I was not ready for it. I was FOB from USA ( Fresh of the boat that is..LOL) and my moral compass had no margin of errors. I refused to give that help on the grounds of ethics and morality. Also there was an untimely death in the family. We were devastated.
The night we recited Quran ( Quran Khwaani), this friend informed me about the favor, which I had refused. This time he said that "family is here, why don't you meet them? I was like "NO WAY...its wrong and un-ethical and I won't do it"....My friend pointing his finger behind me said " oh they are here".
I turned to see a man and a woman with this 4 year old girl. They said salaam and as a courtesy I went towards them. The cute girl was standing between mom and dad. I bent down to touch her chin and asked her name.....she responded with a big smile.....and that innocent cute smile blew away all the principals of ethics and morality in a hurry. When I stood up, I told them " Okay, I will do it!"
That night she called me "Dad" for the first time....Next morning, I did whatever was expected of me ....all went well. Everyone was happy and there was celebration!!
I went back to the US and lost touch with them except for an occasional calls here n there. Wahtsapp connected us again....and this message showed up on my whatsapp!
Still enjoying it.....
ps: When kids grow up they become best friends, so I promoted her to a friend and asked her to join me on FB. She calls me dad on FB....you will recognize her!
When I met her the first time she came across as a different girl. A girl with higher IQ, higher purpose in life, love for poetry and what attracted me the most was that she was a Khush Zabaan! Born and brought up in Luckhnowi tehzeeb she was a great combo of beauty and brain.
When I was done blowing up my last relationship, and was ready to reconstruct another one - I thought of her. Back then I was in the US, so I used to call her often and speak with her. Each time I used to enjoy our conversations. Each time she used to impress me with her wit and sense of humor.
And then one day she told me about her medical condition. Her kidneys were failing and she did not know how much longer she has left. I was shattered again. She again impressed me with her attitude to life and death in those circumstances.
I still used to call her to make her laugh, share a joke or some time share my new nazm. It was yahoo messenger in those days and whatsapp was years away. The last time we chatted she shared her nazm and I realized how deep she was capable of thinking.
I lost contact with her some time later......life just went into an over drive and I had no choice but to run with it. As a result I lost touch with her.......
She died today in Lucknow!
Whoever is up there, better have a good excuse!
Rest in peace Shama!!
My last conversation with her was on June 30th, 2012 when she said
"Jun 30 10:52 PM sayed.shama:ap achche writer hai
and her last word was a smiley!!
Jun 30 11:38 PM sayed.shama::)
ps: My mind went blank when I heard the news.....its time to cry.....I will, as soon as I finish writting her obituary!
Dekh le...kina accha writer hoon main shama....dekh tere baare main kaisa likha!