Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Woh Chota Sa Lighthouse Tha Na..
Jise Tum  Ek safar Se Khareed laayin Thi
Aur Jise Tum Ne Apne Kitchen main Sajaya Tha

Kiya Woh Ab
Bhnawar Main Phanse Kisi Maahi Ko
Raah Dikha Sakta Hai?

Zara Dekho to....

(C) shahid Shahid Parvez Sayed​, December 31st, 2015 @ 2:09am

Friday, December 25, 2015

Sadhna and Asha Parekh

Agha jaani Kashmiri writes in his memories’” Sehar Hone Tak’  that when he narrated the story of ‘Love in Simla’ to S. Mukherjee he asked me go and narrate the same to Shami Kappor. He wanted to sign Shammi for the male lead.

And then a college going kiddo with books walked in and greeted them. When Agha Jaani found out that that kid was the son of S. Mukherjee he said ‘ we have a hero in the house, why sign Shammi?”

But he can’t speak a word of Hindi

I will teach him.

That kiddo later came to be known as Joy Mukherjee.

For Heroine, R. K. Naiyyar, another young man from the stable of S. Mukherjee was adamant that he will only take Sadhna else he will not direct the film.

Another one of S. Mukherje protégé Nasir Husian was adamant that he will only make ‘ Dil Dekho Dekho’ with Asha Parekh.  S. Muekhrje wanted Sadhna to be in that film opposite Sahmmi Kapoor.

S. Mukherjee, the producer gave up on both the occasions…..

 And ‘ Dil Deke Dekho’ was made with Asha Parekh n Shammi Kapoor in 1959.

And this is how ‘ Love in Simla’ was made with Sadhna n Joy Mukehrjee in 1960.

Agha Jaani has to say this about Sadhna " Is ki Zabaan bhi saaf hai, dil bhi saaf hair aur hath bhi saaf hai. Tabiyat ki shareef, Dil ki Shareef, Nazar ki shareef - ye apne shikar ko door se shikar karna jaanti hai aur is trah ke marne wala khushi se jaan de deta hai" - Sehar Hone Tak, 1967

I discovered these geniuses during my college days. My frnds used to love Jeetu and Mithun song n dance routines – but I was in awe of these masters for their arts. I used to see these films ‘alone’ at Imperial Cinema matinee show whenever they were shown..

Even today I see films and plays alone…..

'Tumhi Ekla Chalo Re'... to yaron ki hamehsa se policy rahi hai...

But that’s another story!

Sadhna - RIP

When the good looking people that taught us how to ROMANCE go away, that is when it hits you...hits you hard.....what we are up against.....RIP

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


" Why u want to do story on me? I am old...lonely and not doing films?
"Leave that to me, I am the director. I will find the story. Aur jahan tak lonely hone ki baat hai to aap ne Ismat Chugtai ko nahi padhaa? Woh Kehti Hain One can be alone but not lonely - as u have a heart for company!". Aap to shaid Ismat Chugtai Se mili bhi hongi...."
Kiya Naam Hai Tumhara, Baaten to acchi kar lete ho? - She asked.
Right then, I knew.... I got her!
That was Nadira and the year was 1996. I was working for Anupam Kher's media company, and we had a show called " Good shot" on air at Sony TV.
I wanted to do a story on her!
Yesterday, while flipping radio channels as I drove home, I came across an old Vividh Bharti interview of her. Here she was, with her unmistakable voice and rare honesty - baring it all. That interview must have been recorded in the 80s or so I think.
She spoke about many incidents and the one that hit me was about actress Meena Kumari and how she died a lonely death. Nadisa said " Un Se sab Cheen Liya Gyaa tha. Tanha Gayin Woh Duniya Se. Main Ne apne Hathon Se Unhen Kafan Pehnayaa tha"
" Main Ne apne Hathon Se Unhen Kafan Pehnayaa Tha!"
I felt guilty for not taking my story on her further than that phone call. I dont know what she thought of me. I hope she understood that I had a boss....
I came home and googled her only to read about her painful lonely death in 2006, exactly 10 years after I had spoken with her. I felt bad, and thought more about her.
Here She was - the star of the 50s. The most sought after actress for a while, specially after Aan. The first actress to own a Rolls Royce.
A woman who had everything going for her at some point of life....died lonely! Just like her frnd Meena Kumari about whom she had spoken in that interview.
" Un Se sab Cheen Liya Gya tha - Tanha Gayin Woh. Main Ne Khud Apne Hath Se kafan Pehnaya tha Unhen!"
In the case of Nadira we dont even know who did Kafan Dafan for her and where she is buried....
PS: Why we make a big deal out of this thing....this small ...short little life of ours?
Just why?
PPS: The reasons I wrote this entry is to overcome the feeling of guilt that I felt yesterday, for not communicative enough with her! I hope she reads this somewhere....and says " Kiya Naam Hai Tumhara...baaten to acchi karte ho?
RIP, Nadira!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

What is wrong with Muslims?

This is it: the Saraansh of what went wrong with Muslim community with each passing decade.
The sign in blue, is from Archaeological Society of India (ASI) and says "this mosque and other 6 mosque were built by Khan e Jahan, a Minister of Feroz Shah of "Hisar" fame and his MOTHER!"
The sign in Urdu is from smart people of the Delhi Waqf Board, which replaces the word mother with FATHER!
So who do u trust?
I wud go with ASI version, rather than from a bunch of 15th century loonies. ASI folks are historians whose bread n butter n passion is History. Whereas loonies.....oh well....we all know what loonies do.
Bottom line is this: We know we are F$&^#@ up BIG TIME, if we are afraid to give a dead woman credit for what she did for the community - 700 years ago....

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Moms always know the best...

Mom was furious as I moved closer to take pictures of her kiddos.

She had those "WTF u think u doing?"  kinda expressions.  Exasperated at my refusal to step back, she started indulging in howling n growling or whataver they do to make their points heard.

Passersby told me to stay away from her as she might bite me bad. She is a new  mom and she wont like anyone messing with her kids.

I retreated to the other side of the street, but kept pleading that I found her kiddos to be cute and only wanted picture for FB post. I whistled and things like that.

In a minute her tail started wiggling as if she is saying " alright I love u too - I can see u are harmless... go ahead and take as many pictures u like".

And then she left me alone and went away. But she kept an eye on me from the other side of the street.

I took these pictures with her permissions...

The Universe engages u...if u know how to talk...I always find it easy to "communicate" with strangers, dogs and kids. Its the adult that I have problem communicating!

Ps: That dingy little street has many non veg restaurants, and I dont see her or her kids going hungry. What I am concerned about is with the cold n brutal Delhi weather setting in, how will she take care of them....and it is not just one or two, but bloody 8 of them.

I think she will be just fine....she is a mom....moms always find a way to negotiate hard times!


Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Humayun was easy with tears. One can find many examples of him breaking down into tears when something hurt him.

Once he wrote a letter seeking forgiveness from his Harem (wives, mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters) for being negligent in his duties towards them. He told them please sign it so that he can fid peace.... knowing that he is forgiven.

Entire Harem, all his women signed it except ONE!

That one, who REFUSED to sign it, was Bega Begum!

Moral of the story: When your woman does not listen to you, don’t lose heart as she may have other things on her mind.

Other things like building a magnificent tomb over your grave...all with her personal savings...

Not a bad deal...

Mind it!!

Sunday, November 01, 2015


Tumhen Maut Ka Phobia Tha
Maut Kisi Ki Bhi Ho
Tum Pareshan Ho Jaatin..

Yaad Hai...
Itwaar Ki Ek Duphar Hum 
Apne Bistar Par
Ek Doosre Main Uljhe Hue Pade The
Ke Main Ne Mazakan Keh Diya Tha
" Kitna Accha Lag Raha Hai na?
Chal Mar Jaate Hain!"

Tum Mujhe Jhatak Kar
Bistar Se Utar Khadi Ho Gayin thin
" Aap Maren, Mujhe Jeena Hai!"

Qudrat Ki Sitam Zareefi Dekho To
Dono Ki Khwahishen Poori Huin Hain
Tum Wahan
Jee Bhi Rahi Ho
Aur Main Yahan
Mar Hi Raha Hoon!

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed, October 29th, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Its Dona's birthday today!

For me, Atlanta winter used to begin with her birthday. Every time I wud have dinner with her on this day, we wud talk about winter setting in. I love winters...specially lonley cold winters....they unleash a new world for me.

I loved going out for dinners with her. Flowers in hand I wud show up at her house in the evening. She wud appreciate the flowers first and then wud ask where wud I like go for dinner? Everytime my answer wud be the same " doesn matter, anywhere", but she wud always chose a restaurant that I liked the most.

Thus used to begin my memorable evenings covering all kinds of personal, professional, political and family issues. I wud make her laugh with my stupid comments on issues.  She wud burst out with laughter at my keen sense of observations!

Life is multiple times meaningful as we grow old with friends that love you unconditionally. Nature has been kind to me in bringing these folks in my life!

I miss her today as there is so many issues I need to discuss with many webs to untangle....

PS: On my birthday, she stood for hours at a book store to gift me a signed copy of President Jimmy Carter's autobiography. No one has done this gesture for me....nor anyone else will.....she is special!!

Akbar, the lesser great...

Apparently, Akbar "the lesser great" minted coins with images of Lord Ram and Sita!! ( If I am not mistaken, there is an Akbar Mint at Fathepur Sikri, right below Dargha of Salim Chisti. May be these coins were minted there...)

Imagine a bunch of Mullahs visiting ancient books to pickup images and then seeking approval of Akbar.....they even kept the crown of Lord Ram on his head....thats so cool...

I find the images and calligraphy awesome! (But that's just me!!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Amal Ramzi Cloony

The fact - "80% of child's intelligence comes from the mother!"
The other fact - All the major religions of the World ( or their followers) want women to be confined to three rooms ie Living Room, Kitchen and the Bed room.
In the words of Mullah Luis Vazquez " Cook and Clean" jobs.
Here is one woman whose parents did not confine her to three rooms nor got her married early. In fact they gave all her all the freedom to choose a career path she wanted for herlsef.
In the end, the most sought after bachelor of our times, went down on his knees to beg her hand. A 
Bachelor who promised and bet money with Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Michelle Pfifer that he will never marry. Ever.
Any woman between the age of 19 to 60 would give her arm and a leg to marry George Cloony. He could have married a princess, a Bollywood siren or whatever else he preferred. He chose an unknown human rights attorney from UK.
I would like to attribute it to the overall personality of Amal Alamuddin. Its a well known fact that Amal Alamuddin is an intellectual and a well read woman who can hold her own in front of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the World. She is intelligent and charming woman who earns her own living by fighting for human rights.
Here is an another example: When my frnd Mirza's Rukhsati was taking place. His father in law took him aside to say just one line " You will be in safe hand, Mirza!". And I think he was ALMOST correct in that assessment. She became a rock like anchor for Mirza in his struggling days....khair woh kisi aur din...
The point is this: Give your girl child room to grow. Help her with new exciting and challenging experiences. Someday she will make you proud of her. Also, as a bonus you will get an intelligent grand child too.
I think the way things are being "stirred and heated" up today, there is a high probability we will end up killing each other. The future would need some dispassionate empathetic intelligent fellas to save this mother earth from ourselves.
PS: These days I ask my frnds, that are proud fathers of teenage daughters whether they will be able to say " You will be in safe hands" to their future son in laws?
Oh well...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bakri Eid and Ban Ban...

I found Mirza lost in the neighborhood goat market on the eve of the bakri eid. He was absorbing the ever changing dynamics between buyers, sellers and the goats.
He came towards me with puzzled looks
"Ek baat samajah nahi aati"
" Yaar Ye Muslmaan Jab Koi Bakri Dekhta Hai - Khaa Jaane wali Nigha Se Hi Kiyoon Dekhta Hai? Phir Chahe Bakri Apni Ho Ya Parayi"
"Shhhhh Marwaoge? Dheere Bolo"
"Kab Se dekh Raha hoon. Musalmaano Ne Jab Bhi Kisi Bakri Ko Dekha Phaad Kar Khaa Jaane Wali Nigha Se Hi Dekha. Ek Hum Hain ke Nighaon main hi atak jaate hain"
"Isi liye Tumahri Qurabni Kamyab nahi hoti. There are standards for buying goats for Qurabni......unko bakri main Salli boti, Qeema, Paya, Roghan Ghost dikhta hoga"
"Yaar........suno to.."
PS: Since India is in the middle of banning things, places, books, words, films and other good stuff, I have decided to BAN the remaining part of this conversation.
Everybody deserves a power trip!!
Peace. LOL

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

KAise the Hum...Ye Kiya Ho Gaye?

Yaar Kaise Hum Juda Ho Gaye ?
Acche Khase Be Wafa Ho Gaye

Saath Jeene Marne Ki Kasme
Waade Woh Saare Kiya Ho Gaye?

Chaand, Taare, Phool, Baarish
Manzar Saare Khafa Ho Gaye

Ye Zindagi to Meri Saughaat Thi
Kiya Karz Saare Adaa Ho Gaye?

Jin Se To Mera Koi Rishta Nahi
Wohi Gham Be Panah Ho Gaye

Kal Jo Ek Lamhaa Alag Nahi The 
Aaj Har Janam Juda Ho Gaye

Haseen, Ek Khwaab, Khush Naseeb
Kaise The Hum,Ye Kiya Ho Gaye?

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed, September 9th, 2015 @ 5:45pm

Friday, September 04, 2015

Dreams of my father...

Today 37 years ago, 4th September, 1977, he left me to figure out the big, bad World on my own!
I am still working on that...
I was playing in the Maidan ( which was a Mangoe, Guva Orchard till he chopped it off) when some frnds came running and informed me.
" Badhsha, Tumahre Chaccha Ko Ghar Le Aaye Hain"
I ran home only to find Mahollah women breaking bangles of my mother. She was only 41 then. I did not know what does that means to be a widow at the age of 41...
That too I had to figure out myself..
I remember when he went to Fategrah hospital and got himself admitted there. His brothers in Mumbai wanted him to be treated at a Mumbai hospital. He refused.
Now I know why did not get treatment at a Mumbai hospital. He was ready to go and wanted to be die and be buried in the family Qabrastan outside our house.
I figured out that too...
What I have not been able to figure out is the complexities or simplicity of a father - son relationship. What it means to be a son? What it means to be a father? How relationship works out and what direction it takes? How do they communicate? Do they use words or assume things out?
I dunno. Yet!
When they carried off his body for Namaz e Janaza, I could not give it a Kandha. I was too young then. I remember walking behind everyone not knowing what to do. No one ever told me anything about his death. Not a word. No one tried to reach me then, or thereafter.
I had to figure out the death part myself. Alone!
When they buried him, I was standing by the lone Guava tree he did not chop off for some reasons. I was quiet and watching the whole thing unfold like a dream. I remember every detail of his face even now.
Later that night I wud go and sit by his grave and cry.
Alone. Still do!
A father is a must in a man's life I would conclude later! A father must try to stay alive till his kids are settled in life. I would figure out later.
When teenage years hit me and I take interest in opposite sex, I would crave to have children first so that I can settle them in my life time. Leaving young children behind to negotiate a cruel, selfish world is not fatherly!
Years later I wud take my in-house girl frnd on her honeymoon, to his grave, his house, his city. She wud just follow me like a true frnd without complaints.
I am yet to figure out why I did that.
I have some of his letter that he wrote to mother. I read them often to know if he had any expectations from me. I was his last child - always a special one in a father's life. I find nothing. No expectations. I guess I was too young for him to think along those lines.
In those letters he calls me ' Shahid Miya'. I enjoy reading that.
" Shahid Miyan, poora din Kahaniyan padhte rehte hain" he writes to mom. He forgets to add that I was a topper in class and had secured a double promotion from 3rd grade to 5th.
So, here I am. Close enough to an age in which he died, yet I feel like 12, as I write these lines...
Nawab Shaddan Miya, sleeps at the feet of his mother under a Tamarind tree he himself had planted as a child. No better place to be buried than by the feet of ones mother.
However, I do wish he had more time. I miss not "communicating" with him. I miss not knowing what he wanted in life. What was his unfulfilled dreams? What kind of a life he lived? Who has hurt him along the way? Who were his frnds and enemies? Things like that
I know I would never be able to figure these out, no matter how many more yeas I live...

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Ishq Mahal Ki Shehzaadi...

Be Wafa Thi, Ya Kahen Use Zaalim
Par Sath Wohi To Deti Hai
Mere Sapno Ke Ishq Mahal Main
Ek Shehzaadi Jo Rehti Hai

Jab Waqt, Waqt Pe Ghar Nahi Aata
Aur Raat Ko Deri Hoti Hai
Bahar Sadkon Pe Door Talak Jab
Sunsaan Duphari Hoti Hai
Waise To Hai Himmat Us Main
Par Be-Taab To Thodi Hoti Hai

Mere Sapno Ke Ishq Mahal Main
Ek Shehzaadi Jo Rehti Hai

Jab Chaand Ufaq Par Aataa Hai
Aur Raat Ki Baarish Hoti Hai
Methe Lafzon Main Haule Se
Baad E Saba Kuch Kehti Hai
Aur Ghar Ki Chatt Pe Pade Pade
Har Raat Basar Yu Hoti Hai
Jab Din Naukri Pe Chala Jata Hai
Tab Der Talak Woh Soti Hai

Mere Sapno Ke Ishq Mahal Main
Ek Shehzaadi Jo Rehti Hai

Phir Hijr Ka Mausam Aata Hai
Tab Kon Sath Nibhata Hai?
Qismat Ka Likha Ho Jataa Hai
Kehne Ko To Duniya Kehti Hai
Tab Saari Yaaden Samet Kar Woh
Ek Naye Safar Ko Hoti Hai

Par Jaate Waqt, Palat Kar Woh
Aakhri Baar Kuch Sochti Hai
"Saath Hamara Bas Itna Tha"
Ye Kehti Hai aur Roti Hai

Mere Sapno Ke Ishq Mahal Main
Ek Shehzaadi Jo Rehti Hai

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed, Sept 3rd, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Internet...what a terrible thing to waste!

One look at the FB time line and u get the feeling how "closed" minds WE have about everything and anything!!
The thoughts...ideology....tradition....culture....wife....GF...children are the best and this is it. And lets not forget the biggest of them all - ur religion! We had once last chance to experience "others" at no cost and we are screwing that up too.
It gets over, even before it begins folks....the journey to something NEW!
Good luck for a journey from yourself to yourself! (with a total distance of travel a mind boggling zero miles in a period of avg 80 years!!)
Internet...what a terrible thing to waste!!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A rebel with a cause..

After a gap of 20 years or so met up with a few old frnds . They come from different backgrounds and socio ec status. They all are hard working, model citizens and good people who broke the glass barriers in the US and moved many notches up on the career ladder. They are living a dream they saw while siping Thambi ka cutting chai in Mumbai. Yet, I found them to be struggling with a few issues which bothered me. Gone are the days when we used to meet each other and solve engineering or applied mechanics problems. These new problems are tough ones are they are mostly the following:
1: The indifference of the wives
2: The growing rebellion of the children
Lets talk about the rebellion first.
It is romantic to be a rebel. Is that’s why these 17 year olds turn into rebels? What is it? It is downhill slope which only adds misery to life of all concerned parties then why we see more kids joining its rank?
Since I know the personalities of my frnds, I can take a calculated risk of analyzing it.
I think the word “huge disappointment” comes before the word “rebellion” comes into play. Them kids when they are going to school, they pick up images and construct a life for themselves. The father mostly has other more workable plans. You throw in no communication and a full blown rebellion is at hands.
Sometimes even communication does not help.
In the known history, there is no bigger rebel I know of other than Aurangzeb. History books are full of his letters detailing his trouble in managing Deccan with meager resources. Since Deccan was full of non agri land and had water shortages, he is seen constantly begging for more land from either Gujarat or Karnaktak from ShahJahan. ShahJhan allowed none and ridiculed him. You throw in his sibling rivalry with Dara and we have a rebel who did not stop rebelling even after ShahJahan was buried inside Taj Mahal.
Later on, all his remaining life he can be seen rebelling against his four sons. He is seen humiliating them in Darbaar and all that good stuff.
Management 101 says “discipline in private, praise in public”, but I guess when you are a king you make ur own rules.
Now, we see new Auarangzeb showing up in modern homes.
The way my frnds are dealing with the issue is this: Those with the money are saying “ My way or the high way”, those without major bank balance have reconciled by saying “ its happening in every house – Vidi Ka Vidhaan. Kiya Kar sakte hain?”.
The other fact that emerges from these stories is that these rebels don’t rebel against any Tom, Dick and Harry. It’s always against someone they love deeply. Additionally they don’t move an inch from the spot the first rebellion broke out.
You all remember the famous scene of Shakti between Dilip and Amitahb at the sea. See it again. Even though Dilip wants something else from that meet, Amitahb still stuck in the past. Not moving an inch.
Sufiism is the way forward someone said. I think its gross injustice to expect these kiddos to think like a sufi at at the age of 17 or so.
I think we should meet them where these rebels want us to meet. Eye to eye. Gentle talk.
Father son relation is the best one in my opinion and can be a source of real fun. There is no better sight than to see a father with his hand on the shoulder of his son watching the sun go down at the nearest sea. Life is all about seeking breadth taking moments. Here is a man who wants best for his son… here is a son who obviously wants to return the favor to his father for all the hard work he did in raising / educating him. They have a lot more at stake then they acknowledge.
In regards to the fist issue, I believe every woman deserves to walk 6 inch above the surface of earth while she is with his man. She undergoes many changes in her after marriage and needs assurance from his man. In the words of an American philosopher Jeff Shipman, “for a woman a pregnancy is like a head-on collision of car. Every part of her body gets affected sometimes beyond repair”. A man must still treat her the way he treated her in the first spring of their life.
A man must make her feel special every time - All the time. All you need is ability to speak ur heart…honestly….humorlessly!
I have done it. It works every time!
Good Luck!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Khud Kashi

Jab barson Se bichde Hue Ek Dost Ne
Achanak Mil Kar
Poorani Tasveeron Main Tumhen Talash Kiya
"Yaar, Ye Kaise Bichad Gayin?"
Aur Jab Koi Jumla Mada Ko Nahi Aayaa
To Chand Toote Hue Lafzon Ne
Kisi Palkon Se Gir Kar
Khud Kashi Kar Li!

(C) Shahid Parvez Sayed, August 15th, @ 1 am

Jimmy Carter - what a journey!

Someone taps on my shoulder. I turned back.
“Hi, I am Rosalynn”

I found an elderly women greeting me with a big smile. I just saw her on stage with Jimmy Carter. OMG. She is his wife Rosalynn. She was the first lady of the US in 1976-80. What an honor! She herself came down to greet us. I was not expecting that.

We were in a Church at Plains, GA. hometown of the Carters. I have been his fan since my college days at Georgia Tech, so when I found out he teaches at Sunday school of the church, I drove to Plains, GA 160 miles south west of Atlanta. One of my first project in has named Jimmy Carter Blvd. gotten a National Award, so I had one more reason to go.

We shake hands.

“I reckon you guys drove from Atlanta?”
“Yes we did. She just got here to the US and this is her first time outside ATL. I wanted her to see Mr. Carter on her first visit”.
“Oh that’s so sweet.  I am glad both of ya’all you cud come. You gonna stay for the picture?”
“Yes we will”
“We will see you then”
She said and moved on to her next guest.

You can safely flashback to the time when her husband was the tenant of the White House and you could imagine her greeting and exchanging pleasantries with the kings, queen and dictators the same way.

My appreciation of Jimmy Carter is not an accident. Even though he was the President before even I cud spell America, I am deeply touched by his entire life.

He has done so much for the World after losing the second term that it will take pages after pages to write them down. The most significant one I think his peace initiatives in every conflict the World saw after 1980. His involvement in ‘Habitat for Humanity’ by constructing cheap houses for poor has been remarkable.

He has been a man of deep deep convictions. For example when he was the President and Iran Hostage was crisis was raising the passions in America for a military strike. He had the choice to drop half a dozen nuclear bombs on Iran, he refused to do so. He negotiated and then authorized a rescue operation which failed miserably making his second term impossible.

American resentment for Iran was at its height, he and his advisers knew this is going to hurt in 1980, yet he stayed true to his belief of “killing each other’s children is no way to peace”

What a story the Carters have!

He went to my Alma Mater Georgia Tech. He used to joke about his career path by saying “ I am a son of a farmer, trained nuclear engineer, worked on first Nuclear submarine, was President of the US and sell peanuts for a living!”

I had driven my then in-house girl frnd to Plains, GA hoping she would fall in love with him. I wanted her to volunteer her time to ‘Carter Cente’ in Atlanta.

As we drove around town square, I was hoping to see his picture all over. There was none. Any street named after him. Nope. I was shocked as I am used to politicians of all hue, size n shape welcoming me with maa-baap smiles in every town I visit in India. No sign of Carters here.

We asked for his Museum. We were directed to his high school which was converted to a Museum. We walked around the classes and halls thinking how it must have been those days.

On our way back I asked the old lady at the main reception about where can I see Mr Carter. She said in the evening you will see an old man cycling around the main road – that’s him!

It turned out she was the classmate of President Carter while he was in High School, same high school where she was sitting then!

PS: Even though Jimmy Carter lives in the land of Satan, please google him or read one of his books and be surprised what it will teach you and your child. We are in a global village and chances your daughter and sons are not gonna be getting born-grow up up-marry -bear children and die with in 5 miles of your house. They cud go as far as 5000 miles. They need to learn a few things about others.

Mind it!

Sunday, August 02, 2015


Ye Qabar Kis Ki Hai? - I ask a group of men standing by a 15th century tomb.
"Pata Nahi. Poorani Hai bahut.."
I climb up to take a look and realize that they were the graves of two women. This is very rare to see women in Medivial India given so much respect by building tombs over them. I am thinking who they cud be? Malik Ambar's women? Malik Hameed or Fateh Khan's wives.
"Dunno who they are but they are the graves of two women of the same age". I declare as I climb down from the graves.
"How do you know they are women?" asks a man who approaches me.
"I know" - I say with dramatic authority.
"Aap Ka Naam Sir?"
"Sayed Shahid Husain".
I move on to see the hillock behind the tomb that has captured my imgagination. A small hill with a lone tree. What a place to sleep forever. All I wud need is a 50x50 plot. I can plant a yellow / orange Gulmohar tree there and thats it. I am thinking what to do as I hear a murmur in crowd.
" Uncle pahunche hue hain....Sayed Sadaat...oonchi family se. In ko maloom hoga"
"Suno bhai?"
"Ji Sir!"
"Yaar mujhe Dafan Hoe ke liye woh Jagah Mil Sakti Hai? Woh ped ke neeche wali?"
That guy reacted as if he just saw a ghost. His mouth went dry as he gulped some saliva to moist it.
" Haan kiyoon nahi!" He managed to say.
"Kis se Baat karni hogi?"
"Sir yahan ke trustee se...."
I gave him my number asking him to inform me how much will it cost and what are the formalities.
Two weeks later as I am sitting with my frnds practicing my humor, I get a call from an unknown number. This was from the same guy.
" Sir, Main ne Trustee se baat Ki. Woh Kehne lage woh Jagah Dargha Ke Upar hai. To is se Dargha wale Baba ki insult Ho Sakti hai. Aap neehe kahin batayen mil jayegi"
My frnds heard the conversation. They too saw ghost!!
It looks like Death has no frnds..
Autumn, 1992, Atlanta
I have booked my flight to India. I am going home. I am happy - yet apprehensive.
I feel like a warrior who faced insurmountable challenges, but remained steadfast in his determination to achieve his goal. A warrior who did not indulge in any act that he can’t share with his family n frnds. A warrior who sacrificed budding romances because he knew he will eventually return and did not want to get tied down to a country for wrong reasons. I have seen many in the US that came for education, but lost the sight of that goal and drifted in wine and women never to return….
I am keeping date with my destiny. India is my Karma Bhoomi as I had decided long time back. It’s time to walk the talk.
The night before my departure Dona invites me for the last super at the same restaurant we have been frequenting all these years. She tells me “ Whenever you return Shahid, it will be the same here”. (And she will keep her words, as I will see her again in 1999 and will realize nothing …not even the smell of her house has changed”. She is an angel….
After the dinner, I wanted to say good-bye to my frnd Ted Schelling. Dona drives me to his home. It is pre-mobile days, so I call Ted from pay phone at the lobby of the restaurant and take directions to his place. I write that address on a piece of paper I find in the restaurant lobby. We meet him and his family. Dona drops me back late at night. SK in the meantime has done all my packing on my behalf. Frndship it is…
Years later Dona gives me that piece of paper in which I had written the directions to Ted’s home. Apparently, I might have dropped that worthless piece of paper in Dona’s car after reaching Ted’s home. Dona must have found it while cleaning her car the next weekend. It was junk, yet she did not junk it. (The only other people who would not throw anything with my handwriting are my mom and my last in-house girl frnd). Blessings they are...or were...oh wait...
I am at the airport. All teared up. I have never worked in India and don’t know what awaits me in work scenario. I have some relations that needed to be entangled from the web of miscommunication… life is not going to be easy …not this fast.
Good byes are always tough for me. In my chilhood Maa had left me with my relatives after admitting me in class 1st at Chor Bazar Muncipal Urdu School. I had experienced the cutting away of my heart in two pieces at the age of five…. So its psychologicaly painful for me to say good-bye. (Mom still cries when I mention that morning when she left me to fend for myself…. off course I am glad she did. Else I wud not have gotten education in that badlands of U.P.)
When Steve says “ This is it man!”… I cry like a kid. I did not realize till then my little world has already taken roots in the soil of America. I had beautiful caring frnds that took care of me like a family. My roots had grown in that soil unknowingly…and am uprooting it. When I was falling in love, actually I was not just falling in love with A or FDR but the system…the culture…the air.
But, my world awaits me in India. There is no turning back now.
It’s a chilly autumn morning as my flights takes off from Hartsfield International airport. I look down from the window at the world I am leaving behind. I hear:
“ India is a dumpster…don’t go there”
“I love you. How do want me to meet you knowing that in a few months you will go back and I will never ever see you again?”
“I never thought I would fall in love with someone from overseas…. I love you with all my heart Shahid”
“You took a big leap from a municipal school to Georgia Tech, why undo it all? Don’t go back.”
"Ye Aasmano main kiya talash karta hai? Chal Cheetah 3 main tujhe Taare dikhataa hoon!!"
“This is home Shahid, this is home…there is no India for me now!”
Autumn, Mumbai, India
I reach Mumbai at 7pm.
And India refuses to recognize me immediately.
It’s a shocker I was not prepared for. Never thought about it. Have I changed? What part of me has been changed by America? I never picked up anything that did not meet my sensibility criteria then how come I am not recognizable now? I had frnds who never encouraged me to be anything but myself...I did not even pick up the damn accent?
I am confused. I am angry!
A story of a Hen and her chicks comes to mind.
A hen had 9 chicks. She used to hang out with them. Take care of them. Feed them. Protect them. One day the 9th chick fell into a drain full of colors. When he came out he went back to join the rest of his brothers. But they all refused to recognize him. They were seeing him in different color, while he was not aware of any colors on him.
The hen throws him out of the family. You are not one of us ..
Its been a while I read that story. I don’t remember how the story ended for that chick.
Just like I don’t know how this one is going to end!