Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fall in Kashmir

Walk with me sometimes
upon nature's carpet of gold
Hum with me old rhymes
till we both grow old

Let's hear the leaves fall
on a lonely stretch of God
where the trees stand tall
upon a reddened sod

What if we hold hands
to look in the distance
we come across free lands
people lost in some trance

As we walk towards bliss
Would you latch onto me
No step do we ever miss
on land or upon a blue sea


Extinguished Young

We may be one of the World's largest -- and the fastest -- growing economy. In Feb 2006, the benchmark Sensex index of the Bombay Stock Exchange breached the 10,000 mark for the first time since its launch in 1986, propelling us in a select list of bourses which trade above the magic figure of ten grands. We recently renamed our national airlines --to Indian from Indian Airlines-- signifying our growing confidence. Our growth rate is well above expectations -- at 8% -- and second only to China. The Indian government allowed IIMs to set up foreign campuses. At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, arguably the globe’s most important gathering of corporate elites -- this year -- the omnipresent slogan was: India is “the world’s fastest growing free-market democracy.” Achievements that do every Indian proud.

It is however in small, nondescript parts of the country -- outside of the glare of media flash-lights, neon glitz and the Ac-ed comfort -- that India fails miserably. It flunks to understand its rapidly growing global stature. And the institution that brings in this completely unwanted shame is perhaps the most revered. The Indian Army. Quietly in a remote Kashmiri hamlet of Handwara, army troopers -- in a state of battle readiness -- kill 4 kids last week. In cold blood. The kids, as late reports pour in, were playing a friendly game that is at the heart of every Indian -- Cricket. Ages 8 to 9. Plucked unripe. Perhaps too young. A promising future cut short in a barrage of death-beans. Software engineers, Sachin's. Who knows? Nothing now!

There was a furore in the valley for one day. A shut-down. An army spokesperson -- expectedly -- rebuffed the reports. Sonia Gandhi -- India's real power centre -- issued a statement saying sorry.

The news appeared on inside pages in major media outlets. The front page is too crammed up these days explaining in finer details how Prez Bush will alight from Air Force one. Hand around hip with Laura, the librarian. A good wife. Meantime, lesser mortals like mom's of the slain children cry silently at the fresh graves. One mother, I learn't, put a cricket bat near her son's eternal resting space. Trying to seek some shy solace. The newspaper's won't tell you that, stupid. They are busy checking what the visiting Texican shall have for breakfast on March 1.

Why do we forget the respect for humanity? Why do we deliberately hurt? Why do we appear so heartless? How can we pump bullets in 7-year olds, playing in their school ground? Ruthless, ain't it? Incidents such as these must shame us all!

As we continue to grow, we forget many things that come assocaited with power. Accountibility is just one of them.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cronicles of Gitmo

I don't like my persistence with many things. Like the humungous US casuistry, world over. Especially in their dark-dens on alien lands. I think I have this activist streak that drives me to go on! I must have been with the Human Rights or American Civil Liberties Union. Pity, I am a financial hack and interact with hard-nosed guys who smell of oil!

God! Adjust my strings.

Here, an excellent piece of journalism. Institutions like The Guardian and people like Moazzam Begg always compel us to think and question!

An innocent man's dairy. This clearly moved me to tears:

That Ramadan was absolutely unique. It was probably one of the best ones that I have ever spent in my life. Despite the extreme circumstances, the cheerfulness and spirit of everybody was unforgettable. The highlight was the congregational prayer, particularly Taraweeh, the final evening prayer, exclusive to Ramadan. The usual noises of talking and shouting reverberating across the blocks was replaced by a solitary voice, melodically reciting verses of the Qur'an, which brought tears to my eyes. Who knows what those hundreds of others were feeling, remembering, contemplating, at the same time as me? But I knew one thing: everyone there had a reason to weep. And the sadness was almost sweet.



Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mixed Messages

Compare this:
First week of Feb, 2006:
European news-media harps on Freedom of Expression.
Contention: Prophet Muhammad's cartoons.

Third week of Feb, 2006:
European news-media has mixed reactions.
Contention: Historian, David Irving jailed for denying the Holocaust

The leitmotiv is 'Freedom of Expression'. Europeans seem to hold it like the holy Grail. High, Hallowed and Holy. They go about bruising emotions as they use the trite theme. It is repeated often enough. Last year, a rightwing European newspaper commissioned cartoonists to lampoon Prophet Muhammad. The nutty caricaturists drew the prophet in bad mood. Bombs on head. That Kind of stuff. Twelve poorly etched lines hurt a billion and five hundred million believers. No matter. Freedom of Expression. Invoke Voltaire. Throw it at their face. Media has the final say, everyone was unanimous. Paper after paper re-published the tacky toons. Still crushing beliefs. Across Europe. An Italian minister had the cartoons printed on his Tee and wore them to office. He got the axe, next day. Freedom of expession, the war-cry roared.

The same Freedom of Expression fizzes out in a fortnight. David Irving is a noted historian. His detractors call him a charlatan amongst other names. Despite himself the man is a holocaust revisionist. He does not believe that 6 million jewry were summarily executed by the Nazis in WW-II. Austria -- this week -- send him to prison for three years for voicing his diametric opinions more than a decade ago. European news-sheets shamelessly defend the decision. Many chose to be luke-warm. My fav, The Guardian included. Anything against the holy cow is dangerous. David's extreme views are a threat to the European fabric. How dare he? Freedom of expression, one asks them? Selective usage, the eerie silence suggets.

What mixed messages we send out. We may publish cartoons which any sensible person knows are grossly offensive to followers of a major faith and do so under cover of 'freedom of speech' yet we send a man to prison for claiming the Holocaust never happened when we have more than adequate proof that it did. Does he not have the right to 'free speech'? Is it the western world's lack of understanding of Islam. Or perhaps a deep-rooted racial bais. Or double-standards. Or simply their gulit-ridden consciences. The answers haunt!

True, Holocaust is religiously cronicled but we can't shut voices trying to dispel such a notion. If we believe in the God given freedom of expression, why use it scrupulously?

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. This line was used by hundreds of newspapers when the cartoons were re-appearing like bugs all over the enlightened European continent. Though attributed to Voltaire -- who never said it -- the expression was first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in his work The Friends of Voltaire (1906), as a summation of Voltaire's beliefs on freedom of thought and expression.

Voltaire must be turning in his grave!
A little unjust, Voltaire. Ain't it? Both the mis-quote and theatrics!

Sameer Bhat

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

oh God

I am a soul whose intentions are good
Please don't let me be misunderstood

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I don't know

I don't now why you so gloomy
on a summer's beautiful date
All the world is so bloomy -> ->
Don't feel sad, old mate

Wish I knew the secret of glee
to tickle you in a hundred spots
as your troubles would flee
and joy blest you in lots

Laugh: Perk up a dull day
Bring back the beauteous cheer
Like the sun's luminescent ray
fill-in the gaps without any fear

Life is but a travail
but we live it jolly strong
There are times when we fail
when things go really wrong

We fall to rise again
we weep to laugh again
we stumble to dance again
we part to meet again

We loose to gain again
We holler to sing again
We toil to rest again
We envy to love again

Cheer up, mate!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

An officer and a gentleman

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. 
~Mark Twain

Feb 16, 2005 Lt Col Muhammad Sayed lost his lone battle with life. I am sure, he must have kicked the bucket laughing. That is what Colonel uncle always did. Laugh at life's myriad complexities. With an incredible bounce for life, Col Sayed, as locals would lovingly call him, walked straight in a place where people often stoop very low. He was a decorated solider, a gallant officer and a spunky gentleman. One of the very few people who served in the Indian army -- that too at an officer rank -- from Sopore, a tiny Kashmir township famed for its excellent fish and fierce separatist sentiment. To exist -- as an army vetern -- in such a place at the height of insurgency was in itself quite an achievement.

I don't know how old Colonel uncle was. Must have been in his late sixties. With a balding head and a daily-shaven face -- an army hangover perhaps -- he didn't look a day older than fifty and a half. He would joke with me in a palsy manner and his pat on the back was more friendly than avuncular. Colonel uncle talked to me in English -- again an oddity in Sopore -- and I had to follow suit. 'Hey, young man!' he would holler. The words still reverberate in my eardrums. 'Hey there, Colonel,' my standard response, I recall. No plebian sensibilities. Simply informal -- man to man. Army style.

I reckon he helped a lot of people with his connections in the military. Often enough during the difficult militancy years when one or the other army units world apprehend innocent young boys, on suspicion of being involved in militancy, it would eventually fall upon Colonel uncle to have the fellows released. He would do it -- being a neighbour I know it for a fact -- again and again. Like a guardian angel. On cold nights and wintry mornings. Colonel uncle once told me he had a gun -- M4 US Carbine -- which I sadly never had the chance to see.

Two years back, Uncle was given charge of arranging a tea and cake function -- for 100 people -- at a neighbour's home in which a death had taken place. At night he realised that all things done, the Waza had not ordered milk for the tea. Now -- in the Subcontinent -- milk is the most important thing in your tea. The party was supposed to begin at the crack of dawn since people were expected to arrive after attending the morning namaz in the local mosque.

Uncle called the Waza. The poor boy was shivering. Everyone was quiet. It was like a court martial. Colonel began, I remember vividly 'You bloody civilian',  'What is a tea-party without milk?' And then added in his wry humour, 'It is like my M4 Carbine without bullets, which I would have gladly pumped into your stupid arse right now'. The milk was arranged pre-dawn, thanks to Uncle's ingenuity. The Waza's rear was saved!

I hope he fires his gun at pheasants in the Paradise. And misses all the shots.

Lt Colonel Muhammad Sayed Yosufi
My neighbourhood uncle,
And a very fine gentleman

God speed, officer.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheer up!

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's day

Or lover's day for short. Time for chocolate aroma, rose fragrances and a sweet, sensous sparkle in the eye { and mobile texts too}. No one knows for sure how it all began. The first recorded association of St. Valentine's Day with romantic love was in England and France in the 14th century, where February 14 was traditionally the day on which birds paired off to mate. Legend has it that a saint called Valentine, who was the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni, Italy) started it all. Historians rubbish the fact. Whatever it was, God bless the loving guy, if he ever walked upon the face of earth.

There are times in your life when myths and legends tango in the heart. What does it take to believe in something -- purely -- because it makes our boring lives a little perky? This is one such day. Valentine's day is often symbolised by a small angel, holding a bow. In Roman mythology, the cherubic naked boy with wings and a bow and arrow is called Cupid. He is the god of erotic love. He is equated with the Greek God Eros and one of his Latin names is Eros. He is also called Amor, Latin for love. It is often said that if he fires an arrow at you, you are love-struck. May he shoot his entire quiver at the world {one dart at Bush's butt coz he needs it the most} !

Loving someone is an utterly beautiful feeling. All of us may not find love all the time. One may bump across love on a lonely evening or take an entire age to find it. If we are unable to find love, I'm sure, love may look around and find us. Eventually, all of us end up loving someone in our life. It may be anyone ~~ a gal, a guy, a parent, a friend, a sibling or God. It can either be platonic or amorous. Love does not depend upon the attributes of the lovable but a person's ability to love. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Love has no end. It defies a standard definition.

I forgot BrokeBack. I am content with the surreal looks and surprise hugs I took this special day!

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes.
Being vexed, a sea nourished with lovers' tears.
What is it else?
A madness most discreet,
a choking gall and a preserving sweet.~ William Shakespeare


Monday, February 13, 2006


There was air, water, greens, children, colors and then there was ~~ Samy Posted by Picasa

Our Tom

On a beautiful, Sunday mornin-out.
Wasy, lets a feeble smile out.

Lazying in the Lushs

Navvy stretches for a very different take!

Green effect

Turn your head, chap.
You are in nature's lap.

Lean machine

Posing against a scarlet sage beauty. Our car is parked a few vehicles away!

Boy in the Buff

Wasy, splashing it in the spring sun! Posted by Picasa


Into the skies they went flying!!!

Ace shooters

Raj and Wasy try their hands at the shot-gun. No baloon was left intact on the firing wall.

Marks-men, as they say in the US.
JNU activism:
India's intellectual hub wants Prez Bush to go back, much before Air Force One cranks up for Destination-India.

A sneak-peak of the JNU campus

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The world's my Oyster!!!

He is Stupid
He is Amorous
He is Mystical
He is Weird Posted by Picasa

Click on the image for a bigger impact
Raj, at 6 ft 4 does all cameramen a lot
of good by agreeing to sit while being shot!

Enjoying the Lushes! Posted by Picasa
Love is the enchanted dawn of every heart Posted by Picasa
An idyllic romantic deep blue sky.
Isn't that beauty?

Samy Posted by Picasa
The ranches of Wyoming. Lots of white sheep.
In a way it symbolises
we the people.
We the people represent the sheep,
Lord is the shepherd!
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

This love

Words don't have wings but they travel much faster than the swiftest of birds. I wrote a generic piece yesterday. Albeit jotted with much honesty and meant to be a frank assessment of the general state of affairs, it ended up offending some. I apologise for the hurt but I guess it was never intended as a take on anyone. What confusion, God! Frost, my fav American poet says, I'm not confused, I'm just well mixed.

I hate a couple of things about me. I can be terribly boring at times. Too engrossed with my books to notice people around. Like an empty chair in an ante-room. I can be fanatically choosy too. I have a select number of people on my friends-list. I love them. I can be either too dependent on them or shut myself up completely outside of this charmed circle. I think that's not something I should be proud of.

I love expressing myself and I like to be candid in my postings. There are moments when I reckon, I don't quite belong here. I can't align myself to the plebian sensibilities of people around. I never want to sound arrogant. I never deliberately hurt people. I can be angry and often feel hurt when I am. The short fuse is anchored somewhere in my genes and so are the gentle touches of generosity.

I have this terrible bug in me that asks me to laugh at the world. Most of us look for beauty day-in and day-out and yet find her elusive. What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for beauty, and never see the Dawn! There is so much beauty in it. I find beauty in the most secluded and senile of places. Call me a romantic. I can't resist loving the blue-tint of a spring sky. I love wyoming mountains. With lots of white sheep and a lonely shepherd to tend his flock. One of my greatest dream is to amble across old alleys and touch history with my index!

There is so much beauty still left in the world!

Sameer bhat

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Love: What love?

God, I wish I knew how to quit you!
Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain

We live in a simmering cauldron called earth. These are times when religion is pitted against reason. Sparks of hatred fling by. Emotions have reached a flash-point. Global events are meshed with homemade outrage. Ordinary blokes -- on ranches and farms, in the countryside and city perimeters, upon mountains and deserts -- look stupefied and flabbergasted. There is killing and there is misery. Lots of it. People work frenetically as if there is no tommorrow. Stress: What is that? Global warming and Cold-age waltz to an indifferent age. US is the biggest power and it is arrogant. Vain glory. A stupid president flanked by neo-cons. It doesn't get any worse.

There is no love. It is all lost. Splattered. Killed by forces of the market. Overrun by lust. Emotions: What is that? Heart has gone fishing. Mind rules. Money only matters, not unadultered feelings. Bourses are on fire. Pockets are full. Banks are filled. Tummies are bloating. There is no wind. That is taken care of by air-conditioning units. Fake smiles. Fictitious promises. No place for sanity. No one cares for the hungry.

I have loved cartoons since childhood. Tintin and Asterixs still come in my dreams. Snowny wags at me on solitary evenings. The whole world is fighting over toons now. The clerics blame the Danes. A puffed up Condy blames the Iranians. The French invoke Voltaire. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities, the great frenchman once quipped. There is no love lost between the warring factions. To my mind, one can't take sides in a round world.

You can't find love these days. It is rare. Near-extinct. Endangered. It has long been commodified. No one understands you. You wish to draw back. Can't. You are one of them -- you think -- but still unlike them. Your heart is not taken by the silly spectacle around you. You continue to be innocent.



With no companion to my mood,
Against the wind as it should be,
I walk, but in my solitude
Bow to the wind that buffets me.

The Ruski Groom

Tanu was home recently for his wedding. A glimpse of his usual colorful life

Is that the way we go to office! In-formally yours: Tanseer

Tip: Never stare directly in the camera

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Chevrolet Corvette: Ain't that classy and comely

Lost samy

Islands packed with people
Meadows full of flowers
Trees laden with fruits

Birds that glide in air
Ducks that swim in ponds
Songs that make us glad

Eyes that drop me dead
Hands that touch my head
Lips that swell me crimson

Touches that do me good
Tugs that leave me soft
Hugs that halt the clock

A world of endless attempts
A city of countless stems
One big maze of neural systems

Am I lost in 'em?


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The toon war!

A rightwing Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishes 12 cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. I've seen the toons. If I were the editor of JP, I'd reject the cartoons outright because they are too crude. Stupid, substandard and silly. Surely cartoonists and editors ought to be able to spot the difference between Indian turbans and Arab ones, as one expert throws in. In the 1930's Jyllands-Posten was very in-famous for supporting fascism. The newspaper maintains that the drawings were an exercise in free speech.

I don't think we can completely blame the Europeans for these flukes. They cherish the liberal,democratic, free values that Europe espouses. Another matter anything against Jews -- dubbed anti-semitism -- can immediately land you in trouble in Europe. Now, an Iranian rightwing newspaper Hamshari is planning to run cartoons lampooning the Holocaust. Rightwing vs Rightwing! Iran knows where it hurts the most. They are attemting to hit the Europeans, right there.

What Posten and Hamsari flunk to understand is that beyond the EU and Persian borders, in a globalized world, these alleged actions can have some serious repercussions. A strained relationship especially between Islam and the west has a frightening tendency to imbalance the precarious world order.

Islamic world is seething. The western audiences may find it a little disturbing. Why are the Muslims so continuously angry that any insult can set off violence? Do these groups feel so powerless, so callously dominated that they are willing to wage war over the alleged actions of a single newspaper? What about the freedom of expression? This is just satire, so why don't they just chill. The truth is slightly different!

What we seem to forget is the simple fact that Europe has had a strong Imperial past. Tabish Khair professor of English at Aarhus University, Denmark, and author of The Bus Stopped notes that Islamic fundamentalism and European imperialism are horribly interlinked. As a reaction to European imperialism and, later, a political development of the west's fight against communism and socialism, Islamic fundamentalism is a quintessentially modern phenomenon. Hence, in their own way, Muslims are much more bothered about the opinion of the west. Any insult or an attempt to pick on the Islamic values is stepping on the thin-line.

Islam and West are two different entities. "You can't expect Muslims to behave exactly like Westerners do. If the Muslims feel as a matter of their faith that they do not like to have the picture of their prophet then that view should be respected, a US academic said to BBC world. The French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy perhaps put it aptly: "Freedom of expression confers rights, it is true - it also imposes the duty of responsibility on those who are speaking out."

Frankly, much of the Islamic world believes that truth is selectively presented in the western media. Truth that is touched over, gnawed and tarnised. The Arabs, to my mind, have a reason to believe what Al-Jazeera says rather than embedded CNN hacks. "Media is a mistress", as one analyst says. One hardly finds European newspapers dedicating edit spaces or front pages to the capers of -- or search for -- Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. These gentlemen led to a genocide in the heart of Europe in 1990's. What happens to the expression-decibels everytime a Palestinian kid is run over by an Isreali monster battle tank?

Sure, we share this small globe. Different values and norms. There are influences of one on the other. The world has been living with such contrasts, for aeons. We must let it grow amidst the confluence of faiths, ideas and convictions.


Interesting links:

{Source CNN: It ends with an unusual note -- CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.}

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Miracles and Marvels

There are times when the heart takes precedence over mind. Generally rationale, I was stumped to read a news-story in Guardian, Feb 2, 2006. Now Guardian is one of the world's best newspapers and my fav news-sheet.

I never believe chain e-mails. I'd have perhaps not trusted a religious website on this.
For once, it humbles me.



Adduce of the day

“Nature has made us frivolous to console us for our miseries”
Voltaire (French Philosopher and Writer. One of the greatest of all French authors, 1694-1778)