Saturday, 12 April 2014

In loving memory of my father

I do not know from where to begin! How does one sum up the loss of a lifetime of unconditional and selfless love? They say that writing is like cutting open a vein! Today i am going to do exactly that! I am going to open up the most powerful and painful vein of my life.  Many a times i have thought of writing about this particular void in my life, but somehow i could not muster up the courage. But today, on the 15th death anniversary of my beloved father, i am going to write about him.

I clearly remember that morning from 15 years ago, as if it happened yesterday. My mother and me had gone to market for my wedding shopping, when we got a call from my brother, asking us to come home immediately! I still remember the fear in his trembling voice. When we rushed back home, we came to know that my brother had received an over seas call, informing him that my father had met with a road accident while travelling from Iraq to Jordan. Though he had died on the spot, but at that time we were told that he was in a critical condition, just to soften the blow. I must have never prayed so earnestly in my life. We all prayed and begged to Almighty to save my father, but little did we know that he had already left this world.

When we got the real news, our world came crashing down. The fact that he had died thousands of miles away from home, made it all the more difficult to believe. My first reaction was utter denial and disbelief! He was only 49 years old, with not a single ailment or an ounce of fat in his body! How could he die! But then death never looks for reasons or justifications! One has to accept it as it is!  As a 21 year old girl, who was about to get married in a month, this was a life shattering news for me. My father was my hero, my mentor, my teacher, my guide, my world! Being the only daughter and the eldest of three children, i was very much attached to him. But then which daughter is not attached to her father! I used to call him 'pappa', and if  i would be in a very good mood, or if i wanted to persuade him for anything, i would call him 'appa'! Why i would omit the 'p' is a mystery to me as well! :)

We slowly coped with the loss, and life gained semblance of normalcy, though it never became same again. But we somehow learnt to live without him.My mother picked up the broken fragments of our lives. Family and friends were a great support to us. And the most powerful factor was of course the dua and blessing of our Maula(RA), as he prayed for my father near the Zarih mubarak of Maulana Ali (sa). This dua gave us the strength to survive.

 My father was not only an exceptional father, but he was an extra ordinary man. Though he hailed from a small village in Rajasthan, he achieved great heights in his life.He had the good fortune of studying in 'Al jamea tus saifiyah' in Surat, and this institution  shaped his whole life and gave his personality brilliant dimensions. He became a professor in  "Al jamea tus saifiyah". He was a very good orator, and he would mesmerize the crowds with his soft voice and powerful words.He was not only a teacher, but he was a mentor, a guide, a confidante for his students. Many of his students have shared their experiences with me that how my father had touched their lives. Even today, after all these years, if i am in a dilemma about any course of action, i ask myself that 'would my dad have approved of my action'?

He had a dynamic personality, and yet he made people feel very comfortable. Everyone connected to him on their own levels.How i wish i had inherited some of his humbleness! :) He would be the life of any picnic or party! He was a very good swimmer, and a very adventurous being. (This quality i have definitely inherited from him!!) He also had the artistic abilities and he could also stitch really well.

He was far ahead of his times. The younger generation connected to him very well, because he understood them. In spite of his busy schedule, he was always there for me and my brothers. He would supervise and help us in each aspect of our lives. We would have long discussions about different subjects, be it arabic, physics, biology or politics. How i wish his time with us was not so short, so we could have learnt more from him. We took it for granted that he would always be around to answer our queries, to help and guide us!

His vast knowledge on different subjects amazed me. We had cupboards full of books in different languages and on different subjects, in our house. He would read late into night. In spite of his position and status in society, he was a very simple man at heart. His dream was to someday retire and immerse himself in research work.    

Even today after 15 years of his death, people still remember him with tears in their eyes! What can be a greater achievement! For others he was a boss, a colleague, a friend, a teacher, a brother. But for me he was my 'pappa', who was always there for me whenever i needed him. Who nurtured me with pure love, who pampered and tolerated my whims and fancies, who shaped my personality and who gave me the confidence to face the world. He was the one who listened patiently to my non stop chatter, with whom i sometimes fought and got my way, whom i sometimes coaxed and cajoled, and at other times i simply bowed to his wise and firm decisions.

Today (13th jumad al ukhra), on his 15th death anniversary, i dedicate this poem by Shelley to him. (One of my friends dedicated this poem to her mother, whom she had lost to cancer.)

                                    Music, when soft voices die,
                                    Vibrates in the memory
                                    Odours, when sweet violets sicken, 
                                    Live within the sense they quicken.

                                     Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
                                     Are heap'd for the beloved's bed;
                                     And so thy thoughts when thou art gone,
                                     Love itself shall slumber on. 
Pappa, you are and will always be missed and remembered dearly!!

P.s. I invite the readers who knew him, to share their experiences about him. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Sometimes less is more. Sometimes a silhouette shot can portray a message more beautifully and effectively than a regular shot. And i particularly like the silhouette shots because they don't give the viewers a clear idea of what is there, but leave a lot to imagination, and that is the beauty of silhouettes! They evoke a feeling of mystery and suspense.

Lately i have been fascinated with silhouette photography. I like the fact that the silhouette shots are open to one's imagination and fancy, and the viewers can interpret those  in any way they like!  For instance, have a look at this one:

One fine evening as i was standing in my balcony, i noticed these two pigeons and in my excitement to capture them in camera, i did not realize that i was shooting against the sunlight! So it turned out to be a silhouette by default. ;)  This particular image has kept my imagination active and i have come up with so may different situations to interpret this one! The male pigeon seems to be wooing his lady love, and she is using the typical sly female gestures. May be she is secretly pleased with his advances, but she is not showing it!

Or may be they already are a couple and the male pigeon is apologizing for forgetting her birthday or anniversary may be! :) What a typical male thing to do! Even our avian male friends are prone to this particular forgetfulness.

Or looking at it from another angle, may be she is upset with him because she suspects him of having eyes for other females in the area! And the poor thing is trying to convince her that she is the only one in his life, and that his heart flutters (quite literally) on her sight!  :))  And the readers are welcome to interpret this one in any way they fancy!

These images were captured on utraan or makar sankrant, when the whole India seems to be on terraces! My sons dragged me to the terrace, and because i can not fly a kite at all, i was quite  happy and content with my camera. The mood was jubilant all around, and the cries of 'kai po che' could be heard everywhere! What joy is derived from cutting a five rupee worth kite is beyond my understanding! The pride and happiness is so great as if one has conquered a fort!  ;) Or may be it is a case of sour grapes for me! ;)

This festival reminds me of the book "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. What a beautifully poignant book! I have written a review about this book which can be viewed here: The kite runner.

I shot this one on a beautiful morning on the soothing waters of enchanting Dal lake in kashmir. They do not refer to Kashmir as 'heaven on earth' for nothing! Dal lake is a place like none other! It is a world within itself and it will need another post! :)

These are a few other images captured here and there! I invite my readers to interpret the silhouettes in this post and give their witty and imaginative inputs!  :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

You are everywhere!!

O' Maula, you are eveywhere! Forty days_the official mourning period has come to an end. But can we ever  stop mourning you O'Maula? A lifetime would not be enough! And how can we not miss you each second? You_ who have been responsible for our very existence! Though you have departed from this world, but i see you everywhere. You are everywhere O' Maula!

You are in my thoughts when i open my eyes in the morning and look at your huge photo frame in my bedroom. It is from you that i seek benedictions and strength to go through one more day. You are there in the fresh roses in my balcony, as they remind me of the freshness of your benevolent and smiling face. You are there in the first beams of sunlight that stream through my window in the morning, as they remind me of the divine light that would radiate from you.

You are there in the innocent faces of my kids, as they look at your photo and then look at me with sad eyes. They remind me of your shafaqat on them, as you had blessed them many times with different barakaat of tehneek, sehra, qadambosi, ziarat sharaf , and the list is endless.

O' Maula you are there in my wedding album, performing my nisbat (engagement) and then my nikah!

You are there in each moment of my life, silently blessing, nurturing and protecting me. I remember the countless times that you have blessed me with your salaam, qadambosi, talaqqi, and the most precious honour of sitting in front of you for 5 years for shafahi imtehaan. The expressions on your kind face when you would look at us from behind those glasses are engraved in my memory forever.

You are there in each book that i open, because it is you who has nurtured me in your Jamea for eleven priceless years of my life. You are there in each word that i teach, because without your blessings, we would not be able to utter a single word.

You are there when we return home tired in the afternoon, as the thali of 'faiz ul mawaid il burhaniyah' is waiting for us! How can we forget you for even a second! And how can we ever thank your endless benevolence.

And O' Maula, you are there most evidently in your mansoos_ Aali qadar Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin(tus). You are there in his illuminated face, his graceful gait, his powerful voice, his charismatic smile, his magnetic gaze _ each and every gesture of your mansoos reminds us of you. He is your true heir! "Man ashbaha abaaho fama zalam"!

His tenderness and affection for his followers is same as yours. His magnetic personality draws thousands and thousands towards him each day. O' our beloved Maula! You continue to live through your son and mansoos_ Syedna Mufaddal saifuddin (tus) , as he truly carries your legacy. May He live a long , healthy and prosperous life till the day of judgement, and may we continue to see You in Him. Ameen 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Missing you each second O' Maula!!

We Dawoodi Bohras across the world are mourning the sad demise of our beloved spiritual leader, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin(RA). Hundreds of eulogies have been written for him. This one  i have written for him with my humble pen. 

دنيا ميطط تها جو لطف وه باقي نهي رها
جينسس ميطط جــو مزه تها وه باقي نهي رها
                                                                        بلبل كا وه  ترانه جو ميضضها كبهي لككا                                                                                      
سننسس ميطط اْج  اس كو ذرا دل نهي لككا                                                                                
غنححو طط ميطط تها تبسم طراوت جو تهي كبهي
وه تازككي عدم هسس  وه خوشبو نهي رهي
                                                                        اْئي جو نعيِ مولى قيامت كي تهي ككهرٌي                                                                                               
كهـــرام تهــــا مححا هوا اْفت كي تهي ككهرٌي                                                                          
دل نسس كها كه كيسسس بهلا  كرلوطط ميطط يقيطط
كيسسس ميطط مان لو طط كه ميرسس شاه اب نهيطط
هر ســــانس   مــيري   مولى جُرٌي    ْ تهي تمهي   سسس    بس                                                     
هر   اك   خوشي مجهسس تو    ملي تهي تمهي   سسس بــس                                                              
 هيطط  دٌهوند تي نككاهيطط ميري تجهــ كو ححار سو
دكهـــتا نهيطط كـــهيطط بهي اسس مولىْ كهاطط هسس تو

مؤمن كا     دانه دانه    تمـــهارسس كـــرم ســـسس تها                                                             
عالم ميطط اْب   و دانه   تمهـــارسس قدم  ســسس تها               
عـــالي قدر كو ديكها    ميانسس  كسس  ساتهـ      ساتهـ
كيسسس  اب   ان كو   ديكهسس جنازسس كــسس سـاتهـ   ساتهـ
تـــا عــمر تـــيــــرسس قدموطط   ثثه  مولىْ جهكا يا سر                                                        
هــــــائسس جـــــهـــكاهسس  اْج  وه ســــر تيري قبر ثثر                                                                
ديكهي جو جاه و شوكت وشانِ ثثدر كبهي
ديكهينككسس وه   هي  حشمت و شانِ ثثسر سبهي
دشمن كي تيرسس خزيِ ميطط هونككي عمر تمام                                                         
روشـــن جبيطط كي ديد كــــسس مــؤمــن ثثيئسس ككا جام                                                 
هــــو طــول عمر تيري اسس عـــالي قــدر شـــــــها
خوشيــاطط  رهسس هميشه جظظاطط ثثه  هو    تُو  وهــاطط
تسنـــيم باندي ثثر هـــو اسس مـــولىْ بس اك نــــظر                                                  
هر ثثل هو   اُس  كا تيري هي خدمة ميطط بس بسر 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

And the tears continue to flow....

O' Maula! O' Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (RA) where are you? Why did you leave us Maula? We mumineen across the globe were eagerly waiting to celebrate your milad mubarak in a few weeks! What my eyes are seeing today, my heart denies to believe and my mind refuses to accept or register.

My eyes that had always seen Aliqadar maula(tus) holding the Miyana  of Aqa Burhanuddin(RA) , saw him holding his Janaza today. The eyes that had witnessed the grand and majestic procession of 100th milad mubarak, and they had seen thousands of mumineen on the streets of Mumbai with joy written on each face, those eyes today witnessed the funeral of Aqa Maula, and thousands of mumineen on the same Mumbai streets, with grief stricken faces. The eyes that for years had seen Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin(RA) doing sajda near his beloved father's qabr mubarak, today saw Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin(TUS) offering sajda near his father's qabr mubarak with same khushu and khudu. The eyes that had several times observed Aliqadar Maula(tus) kissing the hands and feet of Burhanuddin Maula(RA), saw him kissing his qabr today. Alas! How can these eyes stop shedding tears after witnessing such heart wrenching scenes, and how can the inward eye not flash images from past and not compare them.

My heart and tongue that had always uttered the priceless words 'inni wallahe uhibboka ya maulaya' in Maula's hazrat, uttered the same words near his qabr mubarak. The feelings of over whelming love and devotion that had always flowed from heart in his presence, flowed today near his qabr, but this time feelings of immense grief were mixed with love.

The feet that  for years had been trained to stand in queues and carried me to Maula's hazrat innumerable times, carried me to Raudat tahera today, near his qabr. But this time the spring in my steps was missing, instead each step weighed a ton!

My hands that had been lucky enough to get the sharaf of Maula's salaam and talaqqi several times, are holding the flower petals from his qabr today.

My ears that had always listened Maula's sweet voice, are listening his aza today. His affectionate words of "ae mara pyaara pyaara farzando" keep echoing in my ears.

Each fiber of my being misses him and mourns his loss. As soon as i open my eyes in the morning and look at his huge frame, the sad realization hits me. But then i look at the photo of his mansoos, Aliqadar Maula (TUS) , and his presence gives me the strength to go on. He is our greatest solace. May Allah grant Syedna Mufaddal saifuddin (TUS) a long and healthy life till Qayamat. Ameen.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The D word

A dear friend got divorced recently. It was sad and unfortunate. I had been a witness to their courtship days, their fairy tale wedding and the years that had followed. So it was sad and hard to swallow. But having said that, I had also seen the divorce coming long before it actually happened. Now the reason i am writing this post is not to discuss  their divorce, but society's reaction to a divorce! I fail to understand the stigma attached to a divorce. When the religion and the law both permit a couple to go their separate ways if they choose, then who are we to judge and dissect their personal life? Why can't we accept their decision without wagging our tongues? Why all the tsk tsk and the snide comments?

Since this person is a close friend of mine, i have been a target of endless questions from people who barely even know him! Behind the cloak of sympathy, they want to know all the details. What caused the divorce, who will look after the kids, how will he manage the house, blah,blah... When i tell those people to mind their own business, they give me those suspicious looks. They take me for devil's advocate. As if I care! Sometimes i feel like telling them that if you are so interested, why don't you apply for a governess or a maid in his house! (He can do with one!) 

It perplexes me that why is so much negativity attached to a divorce? It is a sad turn of events, no doubt, and certainly no one celebrates a divorce. But why can't we be a little more accommodating as a society? Why can't we accept divorce as a way of life? Why do we need to tag a divorced person with negativity? Why does a divorce seemingly overshadow all the positive qualities of that person? 

The most common comment I hear is that they should have compromised for the sake of their children. I just want to ask everyone a question that when a couple gets divorced, do they decide it overnight? Certainly not! Love may happen at first sight, but divorces do not happen overnight! They as parents must have thought a thousand times about their kids and how their decision is going to affect them. They must have lost a lot of sleep over this. And if they still feel that they should go their separate ways, then we have no right to question their integrity as parents and their loyalty towards their kids. Whatever may be their reasons, it is not for us to judge their decision!

I end the post with a couple of funny images to cheer my friend up! :)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Kashmir_heaven on earth!

                                        Gar Firdaus bar-rue zamin ast
                                        Hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast!!
If there is heaven on earth, it is this, it is this!! The reason why emperor Jehangir repeated this famous couplet by Amir Khusro when he first set foot in Kashmir, is evident as soon as one enters the beautiful Kashmir! It is a place like none other.

We visited this paradise on earth in may this year, and i was smitten beyond words by the captivating beauty of this place. The visit was therapeutic, and it soothed the mind and body and rejuvenated all the senses. All the poems of Wordsworth about the beauty of nature rushed to the mind.

Everything about Kashmir is exceptional, From the famous Dal lake to the snow covered Gulmarg and Sonmarg , the famous gardens of Srinagar, the quaint Pahalgaam or the valley of shepherds, the saffron fields, the Kashmir willow bats, the Jhelum and Lidder rivers, the Kashmiri people, Kashmiri cuisine _ each of these is extra ordinary. And all these require a separate post. :) This post is the first one in my series of posts about Kashmir. I hope i can capture at least a fraction of Kashmir's  beauty in my words. But as they say that ' a picture is worth a thousand words' , so here are some of the shots that i have captured.
My first sunrise in Kashmir. Jammu Srinagar highway
The houseboat where we stayed.....on the soothing waters of  Dal!
The early morning beauty of Dal lake
Sonmarg_ the meadow of gold
Miles to go before i sleep......en route Pahalgaam!
The famous gondola ride in Gulmarg

So dear readers, this is just the beginning, and there's a lot more to come!  :)