Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Pack up time

Its time for pack up...with the year wrapping up, its time for me to pack up for the holidays. As usual, I am ending this year with mixed feelings. Has it been a good year or a bad one? Personally, a better year than the last (which was a mess) and professionally too. And of course some spirituality and the discovery of a new ability to write poetry...which made the end of the year so rich and so filled with hope.

But so much has happened all around the world and in my own country...Mumbai terror strike, repeated blasts and the financial crisis...does not make me feel too good. One plus point this year was possibly the fact that people voted for change in America. But how is this going to affect the rest of the world? Barack Obama does not have a magic wand.

So with some trepidation I shall bid farewell to this year to wait for the new year to dawn.. ditto for the winter holidays.

Hoping some of my readers will spare the time to go through my blog. To the lucky ones who do, here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy life ahead! I love you all and God bless....

Thursday, 18 December 2008

A stranger in the mirror

I recently had an enriching conversation where I mentioned that I have now reached a phase where I can see my own self and at times am surprised by what I do or say... Its probably the other me and its nothing out of the ordinary. It maybe happening with everyone else.

In a sort of a way, I could relate to SRK (who else?) in the latest 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi'. The film may seem simple to many who would take it at face value. But from an intensely psychological and philosophical perspective, it is a complex film. (Can anyone, ever philosophise about a Bollywood movie? Yes I can....:-))

No apologies to those who have not seen the movie. Am not going to explain what the movie was all about....But, a clue: Surinder was an everyday guy, but an introvert and boring. Raj was an extrovert, and downright cheap to the core (but endearing) and both were one and the same guy.

Let's see it this way. There is a bit of Surinder and Raj in all of us. Deep down, the Surinder in us admires the Raj, but wants the love of our life to love the Surinder in us and vice versa. Those who have seen the movie may like the way I have encapsulated it in a single sentence.

What struck me was the reason why people fell in love...'Tum mein mujhe rab dikhta hai', says Raj to Taani, his love interest. This is so simple, yet refreshing. We probably fall in love with people in whom we see glimpses of God himself.

Maybe it is something in the eyes or the voice which makes you feel you have known the person all your life, even when you meet for the first time. It is possibly something to do with the soul, and not the heart or mind or body.

This could possibly be unselfish love, with no expectations. Love which gives happiness by just its presence in one's heart for the loved one and not expecting to be loved in return.

This somehow struck a chord, which earlier on, I would have dismissed as Bolly drivel.
Strange but yes, sometimes I do feel I am looking at a stranger in the mirror.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Not my hero for nothing

Now back to my favourite topics.......some keywords being liberal, Muslim, SRK, tolerance, modern India.

Its time the liberal Muslim voice in India be heard. How long can we, who are part of the country's thinking class keep quiet about feelings we have long suppressed? A handful of Muslim intellectuals like Javed Akhtar, Farooq Sheikh, Shabana Azmi and Juzar Bandookwala have been crying themselves hoarse, but was anyone listening?

But here is someone who when he speaks, the whole of India listens. Yes I am talking about the man himself.. Sharukh Khan who without owing any allegiance to any political party and devoid of political ambitions has spoken out and as usual straight from the heart. Am talking about his now famous Dec 6, 2008 interview with CNN-IBN : The transcript is as follows:

PEACE AND TOLERANCE: Shah Rukh Khan slams fundamentalism in an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN.In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan lashed out against religious fundamentalism and stressed on the importance of the youngsters being delivered the correct interpretation of religious text.

I am from Delhi. I have seen the riots in Delhi and when I came to Mumbai in 1993, I saw the blasts and now 26/11. More than a Mumbaikar, I feel like an Indian. And specifically because I would like to believe that I am an educated liberal Muslim, who has a Hindu wife and two kids, Shah Rukh said.

Underscoring the need for proper interpretation of religious texts, Shah Rukh said that it is pertinent that the youngsters are provided the correct reading of the Qoran.

Let me clarify, I have read the holy Qoran. It states that if you heal one man, you heal the whole mankind, and if you hurt one man, you hurt the whole mankind. Nowhere in the Qoran does it say that jihad will lead you to jannat (paradise), Shah Rukh said.As a matter of fact, he added, the book says that in a war, you can not kill any woman, you can not kill any child and you can not kill any animal, or destroy any crops.

The actor said that Jihad was supposed to be propagated by the Prophet himself but unfortunately now two versions of Islam exist.There is an Islam from Allah and — I am not being anti — very unfortunately, there is an Islam from the Mullahs. I appeal to all of them to please give the youngsters, the right reading of the Qoran, he said.I appeal to everyone, if we want to win this time, let's not allow ideological and religious stuff to come in our way. We've come together on a same platform. Let's use this fear in a better way and put it to better use. Fear is the greatest uniting force in the whole world, Shah Rukh added.

The actor also stressed the need for Indias youth to come forward and form a political party that is free of all religious prejudices and biases.There is corruption everywhere but if somewhere down the line someone moves away from it, I am there to support that person. Aamir said something brilliant in his blog that the youth need to form a political party. I am there to support them in any which way possible. There should be a law to ban all hardliner political parties, Shah Rukh said.