Lets forget about 26/11

I know that on reading the topic of this post a lot of people will brand me unpatriotic, heartless, and what not. For these people, the post ends here. I do not give a hoot about what they think and feel, and so if you are one of them, you are not welcome here. But if you are not among those who judge the book by its cover or the post by its title, read on.

We recently “celebrated” the second anniversary of the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. The people held candle light vigils which was covered by the media, which spent the whole day deciding where did the responsibility of the attacks lie. The politicians held innumerable shok sabhas, where they gave speeches about how India will never forget about the day and how sad they were for the terrible losses and the lives lost. For a better measure, they even went ahead and abused the neighbouring country for harbouring terrorists and threatened it with dire consequences lest anything like this happens again.

While all this happened, the families of Major Unnikrishnan, Hawaldar Gajendra Singh, SI Tukaram Omble, ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, and Shashank Shinde and nameless other victims (for a complete list of victims, please visit here) tried to come to terms with their loss. Ajmal Kasab enjoyed another three meals while his appeal lies in the court, people went about their business as usual, and the zealots across the border kept planning on how to break our country down.

And once the date changed, all this was packed – the programs, the speeches, the candles – all went into packing, to be brought out again the next year. 26/11 has now become a “national holiday” in our country, almost like 30th January, 14th November, 5th September etc., where we have forgotten the meaning of why we do it, but we still do the same thing every year.

It is a shame that this red day in the history of our country has come down to this. I mean, haven’t we been able to analyse what went srong in the last two years? Do we actually need the politicians, the media, and the candles to remind us of what had happened? If so, then well, there is no point in remembering this day at all. Seems we all have moved on.
And if not, then why do we need all this? In my opinion, one should not try to show the world that s/he is grieveing. It is supposed to be a private emotion. And, if you want to give a warning to somebody, please be ready to back your words with action. Otherwise they are Geedad Bhabhki as they say in Hindi – plain words that have no value what so ever.

But it seems to me that we all are hell bent on creating another holiday out of this date, so it is my humble request to all of you out there to please – forget about 26/11.

This is Hashir, signing off

Over and out


As I stood there ……

Mecca Masjid

Mecca Masjid

As I stood there in the compound of the Mecca Masjid, I reminisced the last 4 years I have been in Hyderabad.

I still remember clearly stepping out of the Begumpet Airport, filled with dreams and visions of the blaze of glory I will leave behind me in every thing I will do in my professional career.

Once out of the airport, the first words that came out of my mouth were, “This is so like Lucknow, so like Home”. I come from a small city called Unnao, and Lucknow being the place where I did my engineering from and where my relatives stay has always been home to me.

Being from a small city I can never get used to the hustle bustle that big cities like Delhi and Mumbai have to offer. But, I never felt out of place in Hyderabad. The markets, the roads, and above all the people always made me feel at home. And nothing comes closer to my heart than the old city.

Bylane in Old City

Bylane in Old City

This part of the metropolis with its old world charm, narrow lanes and narrower bylanes, old time ambiance and with its people always made me feel as if I had stepped back in time to an era long gone and forgotten. Some people say that this part of the city is not safe, and some may never set their feet here or venture out alone, but to me this place denotes what we have forgotten in our race to become a modern, growing economy.

I have visited the old city many times, mostly just on a whim to be here, and have always returned at peace with myself and my surroundings. But today, as I stood there, I was not filled with peace, but with the sadness. I never thought I would feel what I felt then — the feeling of going away, of leaving home, and of not knowing when (if ever) I will come back.

Charminar in full glory

Charminar in full glory

I know that when I decided to move to Bangalore it was a conscious choice, and I had the option of staying back here. And yet I decided to move out of here for personal and professional reasons. But I also know that when I leave this city, I will leave a part of me behind — roaming aimlessly in the bylanes of the old city like I do now. I just hope that someday I get a chance to come back and meet him — and maybe listen to his experiences and tales over a cup of hot, steaming Irani chai and a serving of Hyderabadi Biryani.

This is Hashir, signing off

Hasta la vista — my beloved city, my home.

P.S. – There is a legend about the stone benches in the compound of the Mecca Masjid which states that anyone who sits on them will always come back to Hyderabad. I never believed in this legend until today, and so I sat there for some time. Lets see if it is true……..

P.P.S. – The above images are my own. If anyone would like to reproduce the images, please contact me.

Earth Hour brings Dramatic Changes to the Environment

The earth hour celebrated on the 27th of this month has been successful in cleansing the atmosphere of all toxins, dust, and pollution. This correspondent has seen for himself the great good done by switching off the lights for an hour. The rivers are clean again, the forests have grown back, and a number of endangered species have a dramatic increase in number, all thanks to the switching off of lights for one hour. There are reports coming from all big cities of clean starlit skies – which the citizens have seen for the first time in ages.

Meanwhile a political battle erupted in the capital city with various political parties clamoring to take credit of this positive development. While Bahen Mayawati, the CM of UP, claimed that she should get the credit as UP has been celebrating “Earth half day” for the past many years of her rule, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the ex-CM of Bihar, poo poohed her claim by saying that his contribution was bigger as he did that in his state for close to two decades. He also expressed hope that the people of India would realize how great his contributions are and hoped to form the next government at the center with his allies of the fifth front. He also promised to increase powercuts so that India soon goes back to the time of the Indus Valley civilization.

Mamta Bannerjee was quick to point out that all this happened because she did not allow the Tata Nano plant to come up at Singur. She promised more such protests in future across India, and has vowed to convert India into West Bengal.

There are reports that experts from US and Europe are very excited with the dramatic change that has happened in India and are planning to send a joint committee to analyse the causes that brought about this turnaround. This correspondent wishes them all the luck and hopes that they too can achieve the spectacular results that India has achieved through the Earth Hour.

Review – The Blind Side (2009)

How do you classify movies? For me, movies can broadly be divided into three kinds – the totally forgettable ones, the ones you watch maybe twice and forget, and the ones which touch you deep inside, which change you, the one’s you can never forget.

For me, The Blind Side is one such movie. Based on the true life story of Michael Oher and how his life was changed by one lady and her family. The movie depicts just how easy it is for all of us to change the lives of those around us if we can get out of our prejudices and show genuine kindness to them. It also shows how some people will always be there to question your motives behind being kind and helpful – and how that should never be a deterrent.

Quinton Aaron stars as Michael Oher, a boy who has been to a number of foster care centers and has learning problems. Sandra Bullock in the role of her lifetime start as Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman who changes the life of young Michael. They are ably supported by a cast including Jae head (as SJ), Lily Collins (as Collins)m Tim McGraw (as Sean Tuohy), Ray McKinnon (as Coach Cotton), and Kathy Bates (as Miss Sue) among others.

Watch it specially for the powerpacked acting of Sandra Bullocks (which also won her the Academy Awards for her role) and for the feel good factor of the movie. Also watch it to get inspired into helping those who need your help. My Rating – 5/5. A must watch if you ask me.

Till next time, this is Hashir, signing off

Over and out

Movie Review – Public Enemies

Film Poster

Public Enemies (Film Poster)

I am a big fan of Crime movies – specially those based on true people and events. Public Enemies is one such movie based on the life and times of John Dillinger. Starring Johnny Depp as Dillinger and Christian Bale as Agent Melvin Pervis, it is an almost true story of the last few months of the first “Public Enemy No 1”.

Set in the depression era, the movie details the last few bank robberies committed by Dillinger, and also showcases some of his (spectacular) jail breaks. Depp is impressive to say the least, charming and scary at the same time. Bale on the other hand is restrained, and showcases his acting abilities in portraying Pervis.

A lot of attention is paid to the actual facts and to the period in which the story is based, and the movie manages to transform you into the era of 1930s. There are some historical inaccuracies though, like the deaths of Baby face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd occur before Dillinger in the movie, while in reality they outlived him (by a few months though).

My rating for this movie would be 4.5/5 – with the .5 deducted because of the historical inaccuracies. Watch this movie if you are a fan of true crime movies, if you like serious stuff, and specially if you think that the only role Depp ever portrayed was that of Captain Jack Sparrow.

In the mean time, this is Hashir, signing off

Over and Out

P.S. – The movie poster has been taken from Wikipedia. MoTA Blogs does not hold or claim to hold any copyright for the same. The copyright of this poster is most likely owned by either the publisher or creator of the movie. It is believed that the use of this image to provide critical commentary of the “Public Enemies” qualifies as fair use. If such is not the case, please feel free to bring this to our notice, and the image will be removed promptly.

Why I re-read books and other quirks of mine

I am a very eccentric person, and have quite a few quirks. Following are a few of them –

1. I re-read all novels that I have. My reading speed is kind of fast, and I tend to skip through lines at times. So, everytime I read a book again, I find something new. Also, did not have a lot of options when I was a kid as I grew up in a small city with no proper library, and the school library did not have a huge collection as well. So, I had to always repeat books. I also usually read the last chapter of a novel first.
2. I hate very clean places. I find them kind of unnatural. Does not mean that I like garbage piles n stuff, but if everything is sparkling clean then I feel as if I do not belong there.
3. I hate wearing sandals. This arises from the fact that my Dad prefers them, and was always telling me to wear them as well. And I have always been a rebel when it comes to obeying him on how to dress, behave, and the likes.
4. I do not like to sleep unless my eyes are drooling and closing with exhaustation.
5. I am a night owl, again because my father wanted me to do the reverse. College only solidified this behaviour pattern.
6. I am very openionated about certain things.
7. I dislike the fact that my face shows what is going through my mind.
8. I do not know what I want from life, but am pretty sure that this is not it. This uncertainity and undeciveness is what is killing me.
9. I believe in first impressions, though I do not judge a person by his/her clothes, manners, or any other “expected” criteria. My judgement of a person is on very vague terms, and I usually try to sense whether the person infront of me is likeable or not. The perspective is always mine, and I can never define what I look for.
10. Usually I prefer to keep to myself, specially when in the company of new people. But once I get to know a person, I am the exact opposite.
11. I used to beat my younger sister and brother a lot when a kid. Then one day, I stopped. I don’t think I can ever hit them again. I love them too much to do so.
12. I always missed the presense of an elder brother in my life, and still do. I just hope my siblings never say the same.
13. I have this habit of fast viewing a movie. I keep forwarding the movie and finish it in 10-15 minutes. Then I sit back and watch it in full.
14. I love history and historical places, specially ruins. Where other people see broken walls, I see the past granduer of the place infront of me. I once the whole day in Lucknow Residency building (which was destroyed during the 1857 war of independence) just reading the tomb stones and imagining the war there.
15. There was a time when I had an immovalbe belief in numerology. But gradually I realized that I was becoming a slave of that knowledge, and so I chose to ignore it.
16. I am an amatuer graphologist, and like to go through handwriting samples and doodles. I miss that in the HiTech world that I live in, though.
17. Off late I have come to realize that though all my life I tried to be as different from my father as I could, we are more alike deep down. There are a lot of his characteristics that I have inherited. Surprisingly enough, it makes me swell with pride. Though I have a difference of openion with him on a lot of things, he is one of the most admirable and genuine person I have ever met

Think this is enough for now.

This is Hashir, signing off,

Over and Out.

P.S. – Did you hear that youtube will be allowing download of 3 Idiots 12 weeks after its release. This will ofcourse be for a small price. Think the producers are trying to curb Piracy by this means, though am not sure if it will work. It also marks the entry of Google into the “Pay per View” Video business.

The Vande Matram Controversy

A few weeks ago the papers were filled (again) with the VandeMatram controversy, with the various madarsas claiming that it is against Islam, and the Sangh pariwar (again) questioning the “Indianness” and patriotism of Indian muslims.
I find this to be stupid and irrelevant on both parts. On one side, I can’t think how can singing or not singing a song determine your patriotism? And, on the other hand, I find the reaction of the Maulvi’s to be a bit too orthodox and bookish. I am no expert in Bengali or Sanskrit, but from what I know and have read, the literal translation of Vande Matram is “I bow to thee, mother!!”. Now, bowing in itself can refer to a lot of actions. For example, it can refer to anything from the action one does in front of the audience when he “takes a bow”, to the “rukuh” or “sajdah” of Muslims, to the bowing and touching of the feet of elders in Hinduism. I believe it is this diversity of actions and meanings that is the base of the controversy.
For the Muslims, Sajdah is something that is reserved only for God Almighty. We do not perform the sajdah to anyone else, not even to Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him). So, to ask us to so Sajdah to the motherland amounts to shirk. (Mind you, in the words of Moulana Mufti Syed Shah Badruddin Qadri Aljeelani, the then president of All India Sunni Ulema Board, “If you bow at the feet of your mother with respect, it is not shirk but only respect.“). Thus, the main bone of contention is the actual meaning of the word “Vande” and how a person takes it.
Another reason for the hooplah is the actual poem written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, which depicts the country as Maa Durga, which obviously does not go well with religions like Islam, Christianity, Sikhs, and others who do not believe in idol worship. However, this is not of much importance as the text taken for the National Song is from the first two stanzas of the whole song – which is an unexceptional evocation of the beauty of motherland.
For most people, Vande Matram just means “Praise to thee, O’ Motherland”. If you ask me, I have no problem in bowing before my country, but my bow will be similar to how I bow before my Parents, my elders, and those I respect. For me, it is similar to how I refer to Allah when I say Bhagwan or Ishwar, and I know that God Almighty does not go looking into the words or the language in which he was referred to or called. It is for this reason that I do not find myself agreeing to the fatwa against Vande Matram, as long as one refers to the National Song and not the whole text.
Another angle to this nonsense bawaal was added by those who want us Muslims to pay reverence to the idols of the motherland. This is against what I believe. If one wants to depict the motherland in some way, I am fine by it. If someone wants to pray to her – go ahead. But, please, for the sake of God! do not force others to do what you are doing, do not question the patriotism of others who fail to toe the line. Do not throw us out. Do not shun us. And, above all, do not try to tell us how to love our country.
This land belongs as much to us as to you. We both have lived here for centuries, have shared the same sorrow, the same happiness, the same turbulent times, the same low and highs. Please do not forget this. Do not Nazify this country in the name of religion, appearence, states, status, languages, or cultures.
We have enough trouble with our neighbours, one of whom is hellbent on destroying itself in the fire it started to burn us down, and the other who speaks one thing and does the other, to have time to fight within.
Please give it a thought.
This is Hashir, signing off
Over and out