Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Midsummer's Love Tale - Chapter Thirty - Old Memories





                                                ALL COPY RIGHTS RESERVED


                                            A MIDSUMMER’S LOVE TALE          


                                                          CHAPTER THIRTY


                                                           OLD MEMORIES

Sure enough as soon as I entered the house through my side entrance, my mother walked into my room. She had apparently been waiting for me.
‘Where have you been beta (son)?’ she enquired sounding most concerned. ‘I thought you’ll come back straight to the house after your office.’
‘Oh Ma (mother), just went to meet a friend of mine.’
‘Oh, I know, you must have gone to meet Rahul, who else?’ she exclaimed and knew she was bang on.
I nodded my head in agreement. ‘No one knows me better than my Mama.’
I pulled her cheeks in a burst of maternal love, and she broke out in smiles.
‘Leave me alone; you are not a small kid now, are you?’ she was embarrased but happy.
‘But for you, I’ll always be a small kid, my sweet little Mama.’
‘My baby,’ she cried as she lovingly stroked my hair. ‘
May God bless you with abundance in life’
 A mother’s blessing is what I needed at this difficult time.
‘Have you had dinner Ma? Let’s go have dinner in case you haven’t had it.’
I led her towards our dining hall.
 The doctor had in fact told her to have her dinner by 8 o’ clock but invariably if I was late she delayed having it.
I didn’t approve of this as she was a heart patient and a punctual food habit was a must for her.
At first I thought I’ll discuss the topic of Sohana with her but sensing this was neither the time, nor the occasion was right, I let it pass.
Instead I enquired how her day had been and she delved deep into her travails with the servants.
Having a big house is in itself a challenge and then being able to manage it well was indeed a daunting task.
A task which I felt my Ma had been performing diligently. Even when my Dad was alive, never had I seen him bother about daily happenings in the home, my mother took care of everything so well.
I kept listening to her and knew instantly it would indeed be difficult for both of us to leave this city. The bonds were pretty strong for both of us……
It’s not only the old who get attached to their memories, but also the young...especially if the memories are those connected to an old house, relationships, or things.
I couldn’t be so unattached to all these things myself…..after all, my entire childhood had been spent at this place, my existence had come into being here, my schooling started from this place.
Come to think of this rationally I was equally attached to these memories as my mother was. I would be fooling myself if I denied this.
Our house was one of those big sprawling bungalows. It was a joint family property and my other siblings were all a part of the inheritance after my father had passed away.
All the persons had a share in the property. It was because of this there were misunderstandings in the family from time to time.
It was actually weird how property and money had this uncanny knack of creating disturbances in the best of families.
Parents build homes so that the whole family can stay together, but the same family rips it apart after the death of an elderly parent.
They start treating it as any other house and not the home which had been built so lovingly by their parents. A home where people can live in peace and harmony.
 For many it becomes simply a place to be destroyed, sold off to make money.
I sincerely wish God would provide mankind with this much sense and understanding that homes are not meant to be destroyed, only to be lived in.
Blessed are those households where the adults growing-up don’t attack each other only for their share in property; 
They sit peacefully and settle matters; some even going to the extent of giving up on their own rights to safeguard that of others.
End of Chapter Thirty - A Midsummer's Love Tale 
All Rights Reserved

Candid Expressions.......

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Monday, 30 December 2013

Musings and incidents of my life.....


My first prize in school : I can't forget this one.....I stood first in my class, but was tied in marks with another boy who always used to come first.(Class 5) There was commotion. Who should be given the first prize? My marks incidentally in English language were the highest so I was awarded the prize for outstanding student and English.....I remember the event clearly....the Chief Justice was the Chief Guest, and when my name was called out I walked up to the stage with deafening applause in the background.....my steps were quick and fast - I was in a hurry to receive the coveted prize....a book by Enid Blyton...with the school logo imprinted on the inside page....a prize I still retain and cherish. My parents sitting among the audience were witness to this.

My first glimpse of Mother Teresa: I had just come back from school when my father informed me that we had to go and meet a great lady who I later came to know was called Mother Teresa - I had heard of her of course but was not fortunate to see her in person. I was excited.....when we reached the venue there were already lots of people there. What I saw from a distance really shook me.....a frail old lady was sitting in a corner with hordes of people either touching her feet or just walking past with folded hands.....as I approached her face was wrinkled in smiles and a kindness emanated from her eyes.....the kind you could expect from a saint....she blessed both of us and my father congratulated her for her good work....I was too tongue tied and overawed to ask anything and was content to observe and appreciate.......


My first glimpse of Indira Gandhi: She was the greatest source of inspiration for millions - we were seated in the front row so I could have a clear view and hear her as well. She came in to the venue with a dozen followers and was walking fast....she climbed up the steps to the specially erected stage with a flourish and acknowledged the crowds with a wave of her hand and folded hands.When she started to speak her voice was clear and high pitched and had a clear definite tone to it....she spoke extempore with the confidence of a lady who knows and speaks her mind....She took the audience with her who acknowledged her speech with cheers....her words were not nasty, she never criticized, she knew and depended on her own charisma - a great lady indeed.....

Shakhsiyat with Farooq Sheikh

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Aam Aadmi Party - myth or reality

Aam Aadmi Party - the name is catchy, their actions are on expected lines, their appearances are humble, their words are measured, their moves are watched........and they know they have to perform or perish.

So is this party a throwback to all the negatives prevalent in society? Is it an opportunistic alliance of people mostly from the lower urban middle class who have got together to 'fool' the people so to say.....if that turns out to be true or any of their ministers or workers are caught at the wrong time in the wrong situation that could surely mean the beginning of the end of this AAP....

Don't get me wrong. The purpose of this article is not to scare anyone....however accountability they surely have to show.....if the Aam Aadmi Party compromises on its 'so called honest' profile or if they are found to be indulging in any act whatsoever where their character is called into question that would indeed be a sad day for them.

All politics is not dirty is the slogan on which the #Aam Aadmi Party has bounced back into power....therefore they have to perform as fast as possible and in a clean transparent manner....there are no ifs and buts on that.....now we are hearing things like 'we don't have a magic wand'.....and 'we need more time'......'let us settle down'......

Before criticizing a Govt in power the other side is always shouting them down, making things impossible for them....now they are faced with a similar situation and I hope for good governance that they perform....or be prepared to perish.....

Moral of the story - keep performing - stop hoping for miracles to happen in their personal lives - the biggest miracle is that people with nil experience of governance who had no say in public life have been reposed with the biggest seats of power - only on the expectations of the people - the common people who saw in them the ray of hope of expectation and gave them the ability to perform....

They should also be thankful to the Congress party who have been magnanimous enough to give them a chance to form the Government without turning away like the BJP did.....

Call it whatever the Congress party is surely entitled to a word of thanks for their support however hesitant or reluctant as it may be....

The members making up the AAP are not all dead honest or the apostles of honest behavior, yet if they make up for this by sticking to their promises of giving a clean governance they can survive. The day power goes to their head and they start filling their own pockets whether directly or indirectly they should be prepared for swift retaliatory action from their supporters as well as supporting party.....

So keep in mind, good governance comes only from your conduct and the regulation of your conduct is in your own hands - this advice is as much relevant for Congress as much as it's for AAP or any other party for that matter.....

Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Godhra Riots 2002 - and their after effects



The 2002 Godhra Riots in Gujarat - a period in history which India would certainly like to erase from the annals of history books - thousands of people mostly minorities burnt alive, killed mercilessly for no fault of theirs, their homes plundered, their women raped, displaced and driven out - and the administration looks on the other way. The CM of the State who is directly responsible for the well being of the people shields himself from all responsibility.

When fingers are pointed at the CM himself and his ministers he cries foul. No less a person than AB Vajpayee proclaims from a stage in open glare of the cameras that a CM of a State is expected to fulfill his duties towards all subjects regardless of religion caste and creed. The CM is taken aback smiles sheepishly but only for a second before he regains composure and recoils back by cockily saying ''I'm doing just that......''

All said and done - fact remains that after the riot the people were subjected to so much terror that most of them didn't complain....something similar to what's happened here in Muzaffarnagar in UP. After the riots took place how many people complained - most of them are living in misery in relief camps provided by Madarsas with no help from the State.

Those who complained were Zakia Jafri wife of a Congressman Ahsan Jafri whose husband was roasted alive along with others when the building they were in was set on fire by mobsters....

The matter was handed over to a SIT which came out with a report which can't be looked as very appreciative of what happened, and the matter is still dragging on....

Meanwhile the people who actually did all these horrific acts on the instigation of a well thought out conspiracy planned right at the top with complicity from the State machinery are merrily roaming around as if nothing has happened. Is it possible that nobody was responsible for these horrific acts committed in that State? The people burnt alive did this themselves? Nobody locked them in and set them on fire? 

Moreover  the man in charge has slowly and steadily emerged from the shadows of death and havoc which was created in his State and has gained in 'confidence' and 'stature' after a polarized electorate gave him victory after victory....without realizing the pain they are inflicting on their less fortunate brethren in their State whose only fault being that they settled down over there, in what was otherwise a peaceful State where Gandhi had chosen to set his feet down....

Without going too much into the history of these horrific episodes it is useless to presume that justice has been done to anyone in that State. The people are left to reconcile themselves to their fate as they know that in this land of Buddha and Gandhi when facts are allowed to be twisted they can be assured that no justice would ever be done to them...its a tit for tat situation which prevails in that State.....most of the people who spoke out have been silenced by the majority of the people who have gained favor from the State....in a situation like this no justice is actually possible, unless the affected people come forward in large numbers and claim justice from the courts.....yet it seems so much of a herculean task....

To add insult to the injury the media has been entrusted with the task of ensuring an image makeover of this man - and we can see that everyday - work in progress.....happening day by day....carefully planned and orchestrated.....all for money and filth which comes from money they have been given the ugly task of wiping away the blood of innocents and repainting the entire top brass with a new brush of 'well being' and bonhomie......

If Congress questions these acts of horror they are shown the mirror of the 1984 Sikh riots thereby justifying the horrors committed in the State of Gujarat....yet there is a marked difference - all those leaders of Congress found remotely involved in the Sikh riots their political careers are finished and they stand isolated with cases going on against them...

On the other hand in the State in question, we find most of the leaders roaming around free with no accountability whatsoever, gloating on the fact that they've been acquitted. In fact these same leaders are floating out their hands in the hope of grabbing bigger pastures with of course an image makeover done to them.....which they believe is enough to catapult them in to the corridors of power....

It would be simply ironic if this great Nation was to fall prey to the protagonists of hate politics who believe in the rule of the majority with no voice of the minority but #India is a land of diversity where no one can really claim majority....so dividing people in the name of religion caste and creed and spreading hatred among them is a criminal act likely to be condemned by all....

The scholars, the intellectuals, the business class, the media who have still not sold their souls to this sort of arrangement being made in India to project a particular party should awaken and spread a movement throughout the Country, as per the aspirations of the common man which includes minorities, to work for a  prosperous and moderate India, where all castes and religions can proudly and peacefully work and live together....

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Aam Aadmi Party - its ascendancy and challenges ahead


A historic day in the history of post Independence Indian politics has dawned with the advent of #Aam Aadmi Party winning 28 seats in the just concluded Delhi Assembly Elections. They received among other things the outside support of the Indian National Congress which won 8 seats. Together they form the magic number of 36 seats needed to form a Govt in Delhi. As if destiny had laid out plans to bring them together in this elections.

I consider Congress support to AAP as the need of the hour and the requirement thrown up by the seats given to each of them by the electorate. It's not as some vested interests are making it out to be an 'unholy alliance' or an opportunistic act. Basically the ideology of AAP and the Congress is same and the Congress has walked the extra mile in seeking to fulfill this - the Food Security Act and a host of other welfare measures is proof enough of that. Its only that the Congress has not been able to dispel the myth that a large number of problems which the people face today is due to them. The arrogance which stems from remaining in power for far too long has simply added to their problems. To top it all they don't have a beating stick with which they could wallow somebody with. Anyway that's the problem which the Congress will sort out with passage of time as they have a capable leader in the form of Rahul Gandhi. He will make sure that his party men learn from their mistakes and propel the party forward. This is more important than just fulfilling constitutional obligations. There has to be a drive to succeed and let the people know that the Congress is the solution rather than the problem. The false notion has to be dispelled.

The BJP which had won the largest seats in Delhi totalling 32 took the 'high moral ground' and 'refused' to form the Govt in the vain hope that if they back away the world would come to an end. Considering their past conduct when Yeddy needed the MLA's to support him this sort of 'eyewash' is simply being done with an eye towards the coming Lok Sabha polls in 2014. After all Dr. Fix It is now coordinating everything from Gujarat so there's no dearth of out of the box ideas.

Enough of destructive politics....its time to look ahead. Congress has at least realized its obligation towards the people of Delhi and given support to AAP to form a Govt and fulfill some of the aspirations which everyone is looking forward to. The referendum they carried out also supports this view. So whatever the 'doomsday pariahs' may say (and if I don't have a worse word I'm sorry) the people of Delhi deserve a good transparent Govt - they wanted the AAP and now they have the AAP. The Congress party simply recognized the desire of the people and have gallantly extended 'outside support.'

The hawks should realize this and let the reigns of democracy take over. In fact its a positive sign for the common man - when was the last time you saw ordinary people taking over the reigns of democracy - they have actually been elected by the #Aam Aadmi - so don't take them lightly. I find it extremely heartening that for once the people have spoken and acted to elect a Govt of their own choice. All those criticizing this are no less than 'anti nationals'. If people have spoken and elected the party of their choice and liking, nobody has the right and prerogative to question that choice. After all this is what 'participatory democracy' is all about. All those making fun of these people winning these seats don't really want change. Are the rich only entitled to win seats and come to power? Do those who speak English and make life miserable for people with their manipulation only entitled to come to power?

The answer is there for all to see and its a big emphatic no.....In fact it makes me tremendously happy to see people from the grassroots being elected and come to power. They come from the people and if allowed to perform fearlessly will become the true voice of the people they represent.

The AAP should now take the reigns and rule well - They have reached till here and will lead well. Now they have to think ahead and prepare for the Lok Sabha polls in 2014. The States where the BJP is in power need the most cleansing as the maximum corruption is prevalent there according to reports. The flurry created by modi has simply lead to massive corrupt practices with absolutely no check as there is no effective Lok Ayukta there or any other authority to check them. Unlike the Centre where the BJP is always asserting its high moral ground there's absolutely no check on the States where the BJP is in power as the Opposition there, mostly the Congress is just sitting pretty and not highlighting the mistakes of the BJP Govt. This is a fallacy and needs to be filled in.

The AAP along with the Congress can fill in this space provided as a viable Opposition in BJP ruled States. Even in States like UP and Bihar the AAP can give tough competition to all present in the fray.

Whatever one may say, the AAP is a viable alternative and is here to stay. It will give the political parties something to ponder about and improve their conduct if they can. It should give impetus to the big media houses also to stop being cynical about peoples democracy otherwise the day is not far when the people will literally take the media to task for making fun of participatory democracy. Media should realize they have a duty towards the common people irrespective of their commercial interests ...in fact its a shame that the media is picking up favorites and attacking their rivals in order to benefit some powerful individuals who if allowed to come to power will destroy the very existence of what India stands for....

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Congress Party - Resurrection and Revival


The Congress Party which has a grand old tradition behind it is bruised in the Assembly polls held recently in the four States of MP, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

It finished on top in Mizoram.

The reason why Congress got defeated is different in each State but mostly its lack of a cohesive unity in the Party. In States like MP and Chattisgarh Cong faced rebel candidates and 'structured' independents from among its own ranks who tore at the vote bank of its own party. What these rebels don't understand is they'll never come to power if they carry on this policy of eating away their own votes. This can clearly be seen all across both BJP and non BJP ruled States which were once Cong ruled States. This also includes States like Gujarat, Bihar and UP where the Opposition has now entrenched itself firmly because of infighting to start with, and weak organization now.

 It's leaders are good no doubt but the Opposition they face in the BJP is wicked to say the least. The PM in waiting they(the Opposition) have appointed is a man from the grassroots and he has a coarse uncouth uncut quality attached to him which has to be matched in ways different from normal. After all the leader they have appointed is hardly a gentleman...and obviously his educational upbringing is suspect.

The kind of crass language the gestures and vocabulary which this man uses is difficult for a sober party like Congress to keep pace with. On the other hand it suits the BJP which is a party with absolutely no moral ethics or character. Their present leader fits in perfectly with the kind of image they already have. They have acquired a buffoon much like Raj Narian was - in the times of Late Indira Gandhi, except that this time the buffoon is much more smarter than the earlier one....he's a thinking buffoon and 'hungry'......hungry for power.....

So what should the Congress do? I feel they should have a two pronged attack launched on BJP and the Opposition. One set should be lead by sober leaders like Sonia and Rahul Gandhi who should do their constructive politics leaving modi to be dealt with others.

The other attack group should be by lead by equally uncouth people to match the 'skills' of the Opposition leaders especially BJP. They should match them word by word gesture by gesture in open defiance - that's the only way they can take on this 'so called aggressiveness' of the Opposition. The buffoon can only be tamed by another equally 'aggressive' buffoon....this is no ordinary buffoon....

One thing needs to be said here about the AAP....while its good and nice that they have won so many seats and provided a nice alternative - yet their candidates don't have the necessary experience or any training to conduct themselves in 'responsible' positions - thus there's a grave danger of the whole system going haywire...that's not to say that these people can't learn - they certainly will but 'trappings of power' could easily 'sway' their agenda leaving them vulnerable to open end corruption in high places - they have to guard against that. They should also stay away from vanity.

The Congress can learn from their ideologies of connecting with the common man but for that their leaders have to shed their flashy cars and red lights and make efforts to really make a connect with the people - mere symbolism won't work.

The Congress has to make attempts to stay in tune with the common people - don't do anything stupid to raise the 'hackles' of the people any further. Try and control prices and give good governance all over including Delhi as they still have a chance here under L.G. rule.

The Congress has an able leadership which can easily take the bull by the horns - just don't do stupid things now and keep the people and the media happy - with which there should be more of interaction.

The top Congress leadership of the Congress including the Gandhis' should interact with the media at least once or twice a month....and attend media conclaves - there's no harm in that....the media also goes by perception and hype.....while some may be motivated to take sides by and large they will see reason and project the Congress party - I'm sure of that. The media can also see the tremendous work Congress party has done for the all round development of the common people, the various schemes brought out....they may call it sops but then all beneficial steps are sops and 'perks' - the same way salaries include 'perks'.....yet they are all a package aren't they?

The leadership should also promote interaction with the common people...don't sit in ivory towers.I strongly believe that Congress is a party which will not fall prey to 'false and malicious' propaganda - it should rise to the occasion and carefully project its image - first thing is to start development work on a war footing - keep the various sections of society in good humor - that's the mantra - work hard and project well....keep your media representation high and put in people who can deliver - not necessarily by their 'anglicized diction' but by their presence of mind....sometimes the simplest of persons can say a lot for you....of course different media houses need different kinds of representation depending on the 'nature of questions' the party is likely to face.

Congress is a great party and it will bounce back - no worries.

Forget the hype around the Opposition new found hopes....just let them be for the time being....they'll sink on their own.....God has a great way of leveling out the biggest of crooks.


Adieu Nelson Mandela - Madiba