Thursday, August 27, 2009

Superfluously rich

"You dreamt of well filled with full ears of corn? Omen of prosperity" Kumar's wife was guffawing with hollow mouth.

Kumar, the farmer, came out of his hut and looked at the sky. The sun is retiring.

The lifeless weedy field was beckoning him. He got into them in search of rats for his dinner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lady with chequered shoes

"Are you sure? I just can't believe that they are prostitutes" a wave of ecstasy has started ebbing in my stomach. I was wishing the words of roommate to be true as the green devil in me has started arraying fantasies in my utopian world of imagination.

My friend, as he was slipping into casual dress, looked at me briefly and asked, "Why that glitter in your eyes on hearing this, Mohammed?"

"Oh nothing! I would assimilate this too as an inevitable element of Metropolitan life". Those words of me were rushing to prevent my friend from suspecting me that one day I would be seen knocking at the door of our neighbours, a bunch of Russian prostitutes. They have recently moved into flat 402.

Life was not so interesting on the floor of our Black Tulip Apartment, as I have expected earlier, save the moments of occasional share-smiles with those Russian ladies in the elevators. Most of the times, I was too tempted to talk with them more than the greeting words. My complex mind, which was seasoned in my country life, had always been a hindrance in such occasions. My eyes were always lowered in the presence of those ladies. I started remembering the colors of their shoe pairs and at one instance, I could recognize the ladies by their shoes. Amidst of all the pairs, my eyes got glued to a pair of shoes with chequered design. I used to laugh to myself over the absurdity of the shoe designer for chosing such a design for ladies footwear. He should have had a domestic feud with his wife or should have blasted by his boss on the day of designing such a lifeless pair of shoes. The owner of these shoes was a thin lady who was always looking impeccable dresses.

"The thin lady? She's Alina", my roomie, Wassim was sounding irritated over my recent curiosity over the neighbours.

"How did you collect their names?"

"I just asked them. You don't want to roll cart wheels to know anybody's name in this city. Go to bed. I've got a project visit tomorrow"

The next day evening, I met Alina in the elevator. That was the usual time, she used to go for her 'duty'.

"Alina?" I cracked the ice atlast.

"Me Elina. No Alina", her bad English eccentrically encouraged me from that day on. I used to have monosyllabic dialogues with her during our confined spaces within the walls of elevator. The second reason for such short dialogues, other than her bad English, was the time constraint, we had. The 20 seconds travel time, were just enough to share only brief dialogues. I started developing a good acquaintance with Elina.

It was a Saturday morning. Like anyother first day of the week, I started to my office with malice. As the doors of elevator opened, Elina emerged. She was in a very bad shape. Her eyes were swollen out of crying, her facet was reddish than usual. She was uncontrallably sobbing. As she saw me, she started howling and her words were broken. I could not understand anything as she was speaking to me in Russian. All I could understand was she she had a bad 'client'. As she walked past me, I did not fail to notice her ugly gait. She was unable to walk properly. As the doors of elevator were closing in front me, I spotted blood spots on her white skirt.

I did not see her for few days. I started worrying about her and dared not to enter her room or ask her friends about her.

After a month, while I was returning from work, I saw a tiny figure on haunches near the garbage container at our building parking. As I neared, I understood that it was Elina. She was inspecting the garbage container as her long fingers were clenching a small soft doll.

"Elina! How are you?" I could not resist my anxiety.

"Mohammed! see. This for my daugher Ursula" she was exhibiting the small doll in the twilight. My eyes were instantly clouded to witness her motherly love. Also, I was exposed to such a strange form of motherly love in the heart of a demeaned lady. In silence, I raised my thumb and uttered an another monosyllable to Elina, "Great".

My mind has already discarded the slightest lust that I had possessed over Elina. From that day on, I envisaged a small girl lurking in the shadows of Elina. There were a tiny pair of chequered shoes on the feet of Ursula.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My third foot print

"Handle is of Solid Brass", the Shop keeper neared me.

My hand was fondling the Walking Stick's body.

"It's Walnut finish Sir"

Then he added, "We give 25 years warranty for these models"

Aged 70, I smiled at his deceitful words and ironies of life.

"Will my life last more than warranty of Walking stick?"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Beacon of light

About two weeks back, I came across an article in a local weekly (Friday, Gulf News, UAE) about a mother of two children, who is balancing her life on the needs of her children. Sandhya Perera, a Srilankan mother, had given up her job in a bank so as to dedicate her entire attention towards her daughters. There is no wonder in this story as numerous women who were working either before marriage or before child birth are bidding adieu to their promising career for the betterment of their families. In the group of these house wives, Sandhya is special as both of her daughters are special needs children.

Again, Sandhya's story could have paralled with stories of mothers with special need children but for the courageous compassion with which she has adapted her life. Her one daughter, Dilni has cerebral palsy and the other daughter, Dilani has acute learning difficulties. Sandhya has not taken a year or two to come out of the grief to bite the reality of her fate. She admitted her daughters at a Therapy centre and taken up a job in a reputed bank in Dubai. Her entire life got enlightened in a single moment when she came across a poem written by Edna Massimilla (the author of much famous book, Heaven's very special child & the family). The following words of Edna has had severe impact in the life of Sandhya Perera.

A meeting was held, quite far from earth
"It's time again for another birth"
Said the Angels to the Lord above,
"This special child need much love"
Her progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments she may not show
And she'll require extra care
From all the folks she meets down there

She may not run or laugh or play
Her thoughts may seem quite far away
In many ways she won't adapt,
And she'll be known as handicapped
So let's be careful where she's sent
We want life to be content
Please, Lord, find the right parents who
Will do this special job for you

They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild
Is heaven's very special child.

A person, whose mind is hoavered with questions for God for why he or she is chosen for the fate of breeding a special need child, read this poem. Sandhya understood that she is one of the chosen mothers gifted with these children to be taken care not with mere attention but with great attention. She gave up her banking job and pursued an international diploma in special needs education. Having reached upto the doctorate level, she is now working at Dubai Autism Centre dividing her life equally between her daughters and the children of same nature.

I do not want to share in this blog, all the dilemmas and sacrifices that she has encountered as I would be sounding more like Suchitra Bajpai, who has reported about Sandhya in this weekly. The lesson that I have learnt from Sandhya's life is that we as parents do not want to take pride with the fact that God has given us healthy children. The Almighty has not chosen us. Or anyone who is reading this blog is having a special need child, I invite you to add a fourth dimension to your life with the words of Edna. Or anyone, who is reading this blog is having a special need sibling, please remember that you possess the precious human being as your brother or sister. Or anyone, who is at the verge of failures, learn life from the life of Sandyas. God has not created anyone or anything without purpose. Also, if we are destined to have a sorrow in life, rather than wailing on the Toilet floor, we should toil to understand "God! why me?". I am sure that we will get an answer.

In my journey, Sandhya has implanted the seeds of hope and empathy. Sandhya Perera, I salute you, Senora.
(Image Courtesy : Friday, Gulf News)
(Poem Courtesy :

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marriages overrated

I was busy rolling the mouse wheel in hunt of facts and factors about Swine flu. The aroma of steaming coffee and Hugo fragrance of a female colleague did not plea my dire attention, as like any other days. A rollicking colleague of me, working in other department, was whistling for a Rihanna's hit. He has observed the advertisement slot for, flickering in the right-end of my web page.

"Yo mate! can you click on that link?" his morning snack bar was precisly touching my monitor.

I tried to veil the wrath on my face by raising the coffee mug close to my mouth. I clicked the tab and a new window popped-up like a balloon.

"Is that the site for dating Indian girls?"

"Not really, it is an Indian matrimonial site for searching brides and grooms"

"Bridles and brooms?" that far-eastern Asian guy was smirking with his words.

I was totally displeased with his assertion and not in the mood of starting a conversation to hear his dopey explanations in the morning. My mind is bemused with the deadly pandemic spread and the call to protect my dear-ones. At the same time, I could not defy my wonder for his wits.

"Aiee Mohammed! Why not you speak today?"

"Mike! What are those bridles and brooms?"
"Indian marriages unite bridle in the name of bride with man and broom in the name of groom with woman. After marriage, either the brides keep the bridles on men or the grooms become the brooms of women"

"Your words are offending me Mike. Don't you dare to debate with our customary marriages? What do you expect off a good marriage in your dictionary then?"

"Marriage is the last feat that I would like to accomplish before I see my coffin. What matters to me is relationships (note the plural lingo). Marriages should be the fruit of good relationship. As for you, marriages are like the fruits that you prefer to buy in the markets. They sour most of the times. Grow up Mohammed", he punctuated his statement with a gurgle and started gobbling his snack bar.

"Mike! Would you exuviate your skin if you don't like? Will you give up your life, that God has bestowed on you, for all your failures? Very rarely you would see you a victim and that would be your end. In the same way, we seldom give up on our relationships. A bond is made out of marriages. We mutually sacrifice for each others until our relationship reach a saturation point. Sometimes, the relationships may be on rocks, but once there is a perfect match-point of emotions, our life is heaven"

I saw the deposit of sugar at the bottom of his glass tea-cup. I fetched the cup from his hand and stirred with a spoon. I gave back the cup to him and told, "Mike! old beliefs should not be left deposited at the bottom of your heart. Stir up the same to add a new tang to your acculturated life, like this yellow tea"

Mike was glaring at me thorugh his bespectacled eyes and nibbling to the last bite of his breakfast. I found that my reply has directed the argument to nowhere. The moment was sinking with Ilayaraja's score of an old Tamil song and the words were clear,

"Ore veenai, ore raagam (Same Veena, Same rhythm)"

I asked him, "Do you understand?"

He nodded in refute and with that I told, "Even if you understand this language, you won't understand the meaning of these words. Grow up Mike"

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I was tagged by Shruti and Shilpa Garg, one of my favourite bloggers. Although I thought that this one is an easy break, I was quite wrong.

Tag Rules:

  • Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the 20 questions
  • If the person before you has the same first initial, the answers need to be different
  • You cannot use same word twice
  • You cannot use your name in boy/girl's name question

1. What is your name : Mohammed Ali

2. A four Letter Word : Muse (one could frequently see me absorbed into this magical world)

3. A boy's name : Manesh Nehova (School buddy, who was good Christian)

4. A girl's name : Muppidathi (Again a school buddy, who was famous for her unique name)

5. An occupation : Money Surveyor (how deftly rephrased my profession)

6. A colour : Marigold

7. Something you wear : Muffler (a rare fashion when on the heights)

8. A food : Muffin (liked the Tiramisu flavor, lately)

9. Something found in the Bathroom : Mirror

10. A place : Madurai (from where my wife hails)

11. A reason for being late : Movie-mania (watching movies late night had toll on numerous appointments)

12. Something you shout : Man (it's actually Oh man! trimmed to suit the needs...hehe)

13. A movie title : Message in a Bottle (me a Kevin Costner fanatic)

14. Something you drink : Mango shake

15. A musical group : Metallica

16. A animal : Mule

17. A street name : Mariamman Koil Street (Chennai)

18. A type of car : Mercedes

19. A song title : Munbe Va (Tamil Song from the movie Jillendru oru kathal)

20. A verb : Mourn (over the swine flu victims)

I tag Kenz and all others who visit my page. Keep tagging..err...keep blogging :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prayers answered

"Mummy! come in papa's dream today to tell him to buy a cycle for me" Sadia cried.

Aiman, reading in the next room, was hearing her.

Next morning, Aiman told, "Sadia! we are going out to buy bicycle"

In all smiles and tears, Sadia ran upstairs to cuddle with her mother's sari and whimpered "Ma"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review - Tears of the giraffe

Book Review - Tears of the Giraffe

Alexander Mccal Smith’s series of books, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, are the greatest hits in the world of “keep-it-simple” literature, recently. Any of the book wanderers, happening to have an instant touch with these books, would be yielded to them without any air of denial. Africa is belittled in front of all worldly eyes owing to its image of a skinny child waited to be preyed upon by a vulture or the price of blood being spilt on its soil daily. As showing the other side of coin, Alexander has succeeded in showing us the gracious life in Africa, Botswana in particular. In near future, I would be proud to mention to my daughter that her father was one among the malgudi-days-watchers in his childhood. The spell that R K Narayan casted on his readers with his stories narrated in a picturesque and beautiful Indian village, which would have one School and one Post Office as the entire amenities. Alexander reminds me of R K Narayan with his words in more than one occasion.

Tears of the Giraffe - is the second novel in this series. Here I pen down a brief review of this book or rather I would rephrase as the review of characters, dearsome to my heart.

Mma Precious Ramotswe:

The novels revolve around Precious Ramotswe, a wise, fat and sweet lady, who is running the one and only ladies detective agency in Botswana. There is no wonder that the author has evolved this character out of a remarkable Botswana lady, who was found giving, chickens to the people in Gaborone. This lead character would start looking like your elder sister or a cousin, whose presence near you would be warmth to your soul. I would rather see her as a perfect role model for any woman for her generosity, valor, intelligence, kindness and ideology, save her portly body. The major factor that secludes these novels out of same genre of crime is that there are no punishments for the culprits. They would be made to regret at some instance of their life whilst Mma Ramotswe drives them to confess the truth.

In Tears of the Giraffe, Ramotswe is handed over with a peculiar case of finding a missing American boy in the bushes of Kalahari. The crest of the case is that the boy is missing since a decade. Mma Ramotswe scrutinizes the case from an unpredictable nook and solves the case with her acumen. In this case, she would have handled the tool of “black-mail” deftly to entrap the culprit behind the disappearance of American boy.

To add, Mma Ramotswe sincerely rely on "The Principles of Private Detection" by Clovis Andersen, for taking any critical decisions.

Mma Grace Makutsi:

Mma Makutsi, an academic achiever with 97% marks in Botswana Secratarial college and Mma Ramotswe’s Secretary, would make the best bush tea in the whole of Botswana. Although she possesses the background of poverty, she has not opted to venture into the profession of housemaids, which is the prevalent occupation of all poor Botswanese ladies. In this book, she gets promoted as Assistant Detective and directly awarded with the case of probing the faith of a house wife. The agency is approached by a sad husband, who doubts about the chastity of his wife. The first case of Mma Makutsi, not only expected her to detect but also required her judgment on humane reasons. She perfectly deals with the case.

She shares the common curiosity with Mma Ramotswe towards crime detection and Bush tea.

Rra JLB Maketoni:

This character is personified as an ideal Botswana man, who believes in hard work and punctuality. Rra Maketoni runs Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, who has great affinity for cars and Mma Ramotswe. This kind hearted man adopts two orphans, a crippled girl and her brother. He extends to repair the old pump and bus engine of the local orphanage, which is a sole harbinger of his virtue and kindness and the character of this in him has driven Mma Ramotswe to give her consent of marrying him.

Apart from all the main characters, the author keeps the same momentum with all supporting characters like,

Mma Silvia Potokwane - the gracious old lady running the orphanage, who is always proud of the cakes baked by the orphanage girls

Rra Obed Ramotswe - the deceased father of Mma Ramotswe, who has worked in the mines of South Africa and the kind-hearted man.

Motholeli - the courageous and crippled girl, who dared to save her baby brother from being buried to death as part of customs of Bushmen. She would be adopted by Rra Maketoni

Maid for Rra Maketoni - a vicious lady who has intense malice over Mma Ramotswe and the tidiness of Rra Maketoni's house.

Apprentices of Rra Maketoni - the indolent, immature boys who lack that "fire-in-the-belly" attitude

As a whole, Tears of the Giraffe, like other books in this series, narrates the native Botswana culture, with a native smell of African soil and a picture of acacia trees, in a more enjoyable way to the readers.

(Image Courtesy : Google Images)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

She taught me

"I need cakes", the kid was wailing. Kid's mother gives one rupee coin to baker.

"Give any biscuit"

The baker takes a single laddoo. I turned my back, as I tried ignoring.

Surprised, as the baker mentioned, giving three boxes of pastries, "Mother! She has paid for you"

He points out my wife standing outside.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blessed is she...

I was cheerlessly advancing towards the bank to dispatch money to the handicapped school in heed of my mother's words.

"Always give alms to the needy"

Why to throw free bread into the plates of anyone?

A crippled girl on the street was sharing some abandoned biscuits with a stray dog. I picked up speed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My life

My ageing brain was busy arraying the grey figures of me anchored to the deep ocean of vanity. I hate to see my life revolving around an axis of pre-defined pattern. Where all those flying-colors-gadgets promised to me during my acadamic life has vanished? This boredom of life is what I deserve after all those hefty years passed by. I am quite definite that this life of mine, is not what I wanted.

I sounded like an old Indian sage to my wife when I mentioned to her that success is not the number of sheeps a Sheperd possess whereas it is the number of sheeps that the Sheperd is able to feed. My current physical wealth does not dictate my level of success. I am not destined to make some wealth, satisfy my family needs and vanish out of this world as a white shrouded figure. Every soul on this earth is created with a purpose. It would be pathetic to notice that some of them just die with out realizing their purpose of creation.

My heart is craving hard to comprehend my purpoted existance. One of my friends hearing my rants pointed me into the direction of herd of people undergoing midlife crisis. There are undeniable physical and anatomical sypmtoms in my body blaring my transition into next stage of my life. As I peep into my daughter's world, I often get the notion that I am older than I pretend to look-like. She has abandoned her Barbie doll and picked up the activity cards. The loony figures on the television are nomore a matter of interest to her. I realize that my time-clock has already half-emptied the fine soil. The deposit of sand in the lower bulb of my hour-glass is appearing nothing more than a heap of soil. There is not even a single diamond glittering in it. I have miserably failed to polish any carbon into diamond.

I am merely existing in this world whereas I was sent here to live. I want to add some life to my existance. I am searching for the answers in my journey.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You ain't whom you are

When was the last time that you have had this experience of someone looking at you in a Town Bus or in a Shopping outlet and jumping out of their shoes to shout, "Hello! Mr. Wrong Name, don't you recognize me?" I am sure that you would be perplexed and would start doubting your memory power. There would be occassional instances when by you would start worrying about your vulnerabilities towards Korsakoff's syndrome or any other memory-related problems that a Hollywood movie hero would undergo after the Iraqi war. The blame would be weighed on your surplus dead brain cells or your aversions for greens as ingredient in daily lunch. While you are evaluating all your unfavorable stars, Mr. Stranger would be grinning at you with out caring about his stained front teeth.

I have had many such mistaken-identities (or at least that is what I believe). I would share one of the whole bizarre experiences.

"You-ain't-Mohammed" moments:

I was travelling from Nagercoil to Vallioor (Tamilnadu, India) with my friend Feroz Meeran back during one of my school days. A rotund man boarded the bus in one of the intermittent stops and upon his entry his drifting eyes rested on us. There was no second elapsed before I watched him sitting besides me.

"Enna Sundar! Thoorama?" (Sundar! Where are you travelling to?)

"Err.. I'm Mohammed. Do I know you Sir? I think you are mistaking me for someone else" - I was sheepishly recalling whether he is the man to whom I have lent my pen on the other day in the bank.

The man would now chuck out a divine smile on his dark facet. And with a breath of exhaustion would tell "You possess the same wit as your brother"

Those words made me desperate further as I was already rummaging around for my missing identity. Who would be my brother in the world of this stranger?

I briefly looked at Feroz who was looking bewildered to see me as Sundar. I lifted his finger and placed on his scalp to scratch like me for answers and he complied. The following hour, I would be knocked down with numerous inappropriate questions like the TV anchor asking in all reality shows as below,

"Did your father manage to sell that red banana bunch in Nagercoil market?"

"What did the Vet doctor told about the diseased calf?"

"Inform your brother that Velu Nadar is renting out his Mahindra Tractors"

And yadayadayada...

Little did he wait for any of my answers? But all the time he was talking, I have noticed his hand resting on my thighs. For God's sake, the bus has reached Vallioor where we were supposed to get down. The stranger did not retire with his questions and asked me in hurry.

"Enna thambi! Inga erangudheenga?" (Why are you getting down here?)

"Mmm...mattuku punnaku vanga poranungo" (I'm going to buy oil cake for the cows).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Can Collectors

One can see this un-uniformed worker meandering down the streets of Sharjah in all weathers of the emirate. He do not have pre-defined work time or any work culture. His business is not capital-oriented whereas it involves daily returns. He is the magician who turns trash to cash.
You can just pass-over him by giving a "kalli-walli" looks. It was hard for me to think any little of him as I always look through his shadows. In a can-collector's shadows, should be lurking, his ailing mother or his loveable wife with kids or sometimes an unmarried sister for his support. Edify me any other reason on earth that drives him to roam around the garbage canisters in these inclement weathers. The sagging ends of the black garbage bag on his cycle back would announce his poverty. The drooping stuffs are always not chershable to mind, save the branches carrying ripen fruits. It is a symbol of yielding, if not out of its wish it should be out of impuissance.
A small 12 Oz Pepsi-can crushed by the clenched fists promises him more than to anyone. The small can is the diamond that he finds in the garbage mine. It is perceivable that he would abhor the food remains and bloody tampons as like others. I often wonder what would be his state of mind while he stirs the dirty deposits. Does he thinks that the sunny days are yet to come in his life? Does he thinks that the residents should drink more carbonated drinks in lieu of all those warnings? Does he thinks that what if milk is sold in tin cans? He searches his fortune beyond the swarming flies and obnoxious stench. But he never complains.

I have tried numerous time to crack up a dialogue with these men to hear the stories behind them which urge them to prefer this "profession". Never have they given me a chance to do that as they seldom maintain their eye-contact with anyone. They are so timid and succumbed to their feeling of humiliations.
These scavangers, by sorting out the recyclable cans, minimize the loads on Municipality sorting lines and thus reduce the costs of plant. They benefit others by making their fortune. In this aspect, they are to be highly regarded than anyother white-collar employee who does not hesitate to tumble down others to secure his seat.

As Oscar Wilde says, these Can-collectors are in the gutters but they are looking at the stars.
(Pic: Illustrative purpose only; thanks to Gulf News)
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