tHANK yOU FOR tOUCHING mY LIFE


I had been wanting to write this post for a very long time but never found a moment to bring out the emotions that I really wanted to express.

I was always a dreamer and tried to catch my wild imagination and thoughts to put them in words .When i started writing as a teenager my diary was a collection of a jumbled up collection of thoughts,poems,stories,dreams,a web so intricate that even I got lost in it many a times .

I was filled with creative passion with no proper outlet and it kept raging inside me like a volcanic fire.

Slowly I developed some courage to write for a local newspaper Mid Day but that was a very limited stuff and not to my desire .I wanted a platform where I could just set myself free.

The opportunity did not come till one year back when I joined an on line community and made some fantaboulous friends.It was a period of trial for me.

A testing ground in every sense of the word as I was swept away by the virtual magical world of on line friends ,romance ,discussions and a sudden surge of emotional upheavals that were going to be the stepping stones and learning lessons of my  life.

I was so overwhelmed by the sudden attention that there seemed no difference between the virtual and the real .

Along with everything that went on during my discovery of a new world of interaction,I found an outlet for my writing abilities on the forum.

Slowly I got noticed and some wonderful friends came forward to encourage me to blog.

Blog? what is that ? I wondered .

A friend introduced me to this new arena where I could express myself without any inhibition and it worked wonders for me .

I had my inspiration ,my muse was with me and a set of friends who believed that I could make my place as an aspiring writer one day.

It all started with mushy poems .The love poems that should have remained in my diary but somehow made their appearance on the blog.They were written for a reason but that was not all that I wanted.I wanted to explore all the areas of my interest and let out all that was trapped inside me.

The social networking sites helped and I connected with many more people who inspired and encouraged me to go ahead.

Then came the turning point when I discovered wordpress .

Ritu, my fellow blogger, excellent writer, a wonderful friend and a woman I admire for what she she stands for not only helped take those first steps but also spent a lot of her precious time editing, encouraging, guiding, setting up my accounts, helping me make right choices and contacts on every step.

Whenever I needed her,and that was often, she was there.Be it on chat,scraps,mails,phone. She never refused to share anything that could help me as a writer nor did she ever refuse help in any other field .Not once I felt left out or let down .My moment had arrived .

I joined so many literary sites ,read some excellent bloggers, connected with people who helped me reach where I am right now all due to her persistent efforts .I was willing to learn and she willing to teach .

It is a gesture I will never forget in this life or ever .

I finally felt light and ready to fly .It was an escape to freedom and a much awaited flight to a destination I longed to reach but did not know how.

Today when I see those gleaming two writing stars on my Helium profile,see my clout level rising on AC or read encouraging comments on the many other sites where I write I say a little prayer for my mentor and thank her with all my heart .

It is an emotional moment for me as writing for me is not something by which I want to show the world my creative talent or to earn money but it is a reason to live ,a passion, a way of connecting with self and discovering what lies inside the realms of my being.

Thank you Ritu for everything.I am what I am thanks to you.

Thank you Aparna for recognizing the fire in me and insisting that I should share it with the world.You stayed in the background but channelized me in the right direction.Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and sharing many happy moments together.I hope you will write often and inspire more people like me.

Thanks  Nabina, Afaque, Ameeta, Anika, Subir, Sohail, Rohit,Ravin and all my other blogger friends .I learned a lot from all of you and hope to do so more in the days to come.

A special thanks to my muse and inspiration who in the first place made it all happen.It is because of him that I write and live.Thank you jaan, without your friendship,love and understanding I would never have come this far.Everything that I achieve is for you and because of you.you are the life source and my reason for being what I am.stay just the way you are. Precious.

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR TOUCHING MY LIFE AND MAKING ONE OF MY BIGGEST DREAMS COME TRUE.I AM TRULY TOUCHED AND HONORED.

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Me


I am a like a wild flower,

bathed in the morning dew.

A floating cloud,

drifting aimlessly

in the endless sky.

I am a bird

with a song in my heart .

A simple verse

wrapped in emotions.

I am joy am love

part of a divine dance .

A morning dew drop

resting on a fragrant rose.

A ray of sun

filtering through the tall trees.

Sometimes a nightingale

pouring out the pain in a song.

And sometimes I am silence

filling up the empty spaces

in between.

I am beauty,

unsurpassed, unexplored.

I am innocence divine.

I am a lover a mother a friend.

I am peace, spirituality

unexplained, unexplored..

I am nature.

I am music.

A mystery and  an enigma.

I am the trees in the woods

and the brooks and the springs.

I am a river

sometimes calm and

at others, raging.

I am the breeze

blowing gently.

I am the heart beat of all that’s alive.

I am the potter’s clay

and the fragrance of wet earth.

I am the flash of lightning

and the thunder of clouds .

I am the rain

and the dew drop.

I am the depth of the ocean

and the strength of the mountains.

I am the first kiss of love

I am the raging passion .

I am the warmth and glow

of a burning log.

I am an eagle

free and solitary.

Yet

I am complete within.

I am one with myself

and with the cosmos .

I am proud, dignified

and content.

For I, am a woman

MTV Roadies 6.0 Hell Down Under


I have been a big fan of Mtv roadies since it started in 2003.The show  started with 13 contestants who got selected from auditions all across India.It tested the endurance and survival spirit of the participants.

Roadies is one reality show that never ceases to amaze . Now with the Roadies 6.0,a new dimension has been added to the show .

The show started with 20 contestants who were divided into two groups 10 safe and 10 unsafe ,which added a new twist to the whole show

The brain child of mean and tough  Raghu ,the show is called Hell Down Under and is meaner,harder and has  Raghu written all over it .

Hell Down Under

The main idea of the show is to test the creativity and the attitude of the person, who has got the survival instincts. Who can play his/her game in his/her own way.

O boy! how I love this guy and his way of tackling the aspiring contestants during the auditions was superb.The only thing they did not do on camera was ,piss in their pants .

The guy is a terror and the roadies were in for a bigger jolt when they saw the double trouble .Rajiv, Raghu’s twin shares the stage with him .The auditions were just too awesome .

The new format ,with added thrills and incentives ,simply rocks.The contestents were given Karizma bikes to travel and Nokia N96 as an incentive,which I thought was cool.

This years show is way ahead of all the reality shows of same kind that I have seen .

The show also goes  international when the participants travel to Adelaide, Australia. They will also go to Broken Hill, Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour to name a few.

The prize money has been doubled to one million.

The first Money Task takes them to the Pushkar Mela where they find out, much to their disgust, that to win a cool fifty thousand they would have to collect as much cattle dung as they could. But in the bargain, they end up collecting some steaming human excreta too!

But the most hilarious part was the first Immunity Task when the boys put their future generations at stake during the Ball Bursting quiz ;). Here, the girls get tested on their Hindi vocabulary – one mistake and the guys get it between their legs.

For the first time I guess girls must have thanks their stars that they were not on the receiving end .

The expressions on the faces of the boys who took the shot ,was timeless.The task became painful as they were told to stand in the boxers in full view of the girls ,legs spread and hands on their toes .The the rod device fixed with a spring action hit them so hard each time the girls either gave a wrong answer or the other team gave a right one .

Poor guys had no choice but to scream in pain most of the time .

I am sure there is going to be absolutely thrilling episodes ahead and with Raghu at the helm of all this drama ,one can see why the show is called Hell Down Under .


Slaves of Fame


The celebrities are The Names that need no further identification. They are recognized with excitement and awe everywhere.

As I flick through the pages of a top celebrity magazine, I wonder what lies behind those happy contended faces.What goes on in that famous personality’s mind as he/she flashes that heart stopping smile.Is it the fun and frolic of that moment for that perfect shoot or is it that they are really that happy.???

What do these people think ,the night before or the day after ?Are they not in a continuous battle with themselves and the world ,to prove their superiority and popularity, struggling to find ways ,fair or unfair ,to keep appearing on the cover page and to hide the mounting expenses and depleting back accounts ,which support there luxurious life style .

Does the fact, that each person is cutting the other’s throat to reach the top, make them such great masters of disguises?

I sometimes wonder if the two lovely people laugh n peck at walk hand in hand at a page 3 party ,making an extra effort to get noticed and clicked ,are actually not thinking ,”why am I doing this ,when I loath this person so much”?

The ostentatious fringes of the two worlds sometimes overlap in the world of the celebrity… where relationships and friendships are capricious, where people lead dual lives, sporting a [false] mask all the while.

Sometimes looking at those lonely painted faces, faking it so blatantly, very clearly shows the contempt and dislike but they excel in the art of masking it so well that even their eyes hide the real story.

These are the slaves of fame, loosing their true self and identity even dignity at times to the world of glamour and glitz.

I sometimes feel there is a certain kind of emptiness ,a profound sadness ,slight guilt at times maybe some hidden fear ,of loosing it all one day ,which drives them day n night .
Addicted to a certain lifestyle, attention, adulation, comfort and insatiable hunger to remain the news, forces them to fall pray to sex, scandals, dope and alcohol.

They force themselves to the extremes, and in that process the real person gets buried under hundreds of layers of identities they take on ….

Many of them lead a wreaked life once their prime is over, much collapse during the journey itself, unable to take the mounting pressure and those few who reach the top. They live all their life to protect the false image they have put up for millions to watch.

I wonder what do they achieve from this kind of life and is there any end to it?

Why do people always seek approval and just forget to be themselves?

Why is there this race to get on to the top and is it all worth it …????

The Moral of the course is …..


I got this as an email from a friend who manages one of the popular eating joints in Gurgaon and I felt like sharing it with all of you out there .I am not putting in my comments on it but would love to read what is your take on the

Five Minute Management Course

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, ‘I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.’

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ‘Who was that?’

‘It was Bob the next door neighbor,’ she replies.

‘Great,’ the husband says, ‘did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?’

Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift

She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.

The priest nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.
The nun once again said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’

The priest apologized ‘Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.’

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, ‘Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.’

Moral of the story:
If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out.
The Genie says, ‘I’ll give each of you just one wish.’
‘Me first! Me first!’ says the admin clerk. ‘I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world..’
Puff! She’s gone.

‘Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ‘I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of
Pina Coladas and the love of my life.’

Puff! He’s gone.

‘OK, you’re up,’ the Genie says to the manager.
The manager says, ‘I want those two back in the office after lunch.’

Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say.


Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing.

A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’
The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.




Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull.

‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the t urkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy.’
‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’

The turkey pecked at a lu mp of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:
Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) And when you’re in deep shit, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!



THUS ENDS THE FIVE MINUTE MANAGEMENT COURSE

🙂 😀 🙂 😀

Rhyming fun


1.

AMONG heaps n heaps of clutter
lay a poor man in the gutter

i came a bit closer
and heard him slowly mutter
please dial 100 for some
peanut butter

get me an ambulance,am sick
sound alert and tell them quick
I need some peanut butter care
I don’t know how u get n from where

there was surely pain ,
in the plea of that man ,

only I cud feel it like ,
a true peanut butter fan

I saw a tubby cat ,and called for help
she heard the story n with anger yelped
I will let the whole world die
but not for help i will try

This blasted PB shud be banned
and buried six feet under the sand

the man felt sorry for poor kitty
but at the same time thought she was witty

she made the man’s heart flutter
he decided to give up PEANUT BUTTER(imagine)

I thought he was a perfect nutter
and deserved to be pushed back
into the gutter

2

In the mirror today I saw a surprise
on my face I have two bright eyes.

Above my chin one sweet mouth grows,
Right there beneath is my only nose.

My head has hair I comb with pride
And I wear an ear on either side.

Two swinging arms sway when I walk,
And my jaw, I use when I want to talk.

Right and left, I got a shoulder,
Each of them I use as arm holder.

My head is connected with the rest
By a neck that joins my chest.

Then comes my stomach, which I rub with care,
Coz my bellybutton is smiling there

I have two legs strong as a rock
So I can run and jump and walk.

Two soft elbows make my arms bend
To lift the hand that’s on each end.

The strong two knees beneath my thighs
help me when I feel I have to rise.

when i look around it’s clear,for i see
That most pretty gals look the same as me.
So just like them , I do suppose,
I have ten fingers and fourteen toes!

so whats the surprise i talked of before
Its the twinkle in my eye
n my smile am sure

3.

On waking up I see
trees drapped in fog
the gloomy sun peeps out
to all going for a jog.

the birds start to sing.
and spread out their wing(s)
the cold breeze continues to blow
making us shiver n slow.

kids go to school wrapped from toe to head
braving the chill though they wud
love to snuggle in the bed .

the early morning sees
several dying fires
along the road sides
families huddled together
as cold into them bites .

hoping n praying that the winter goes
and take the chill to end their woes

4.

FUSION

sookhe pedon pe hain ghronde kai
kuch komal pattiyan bhi hain nikali hui
kam aate hain ye ped na ho chahe hare bhare
parindon ke aashiyano se hain ye bhare pare

the little wild flower
danced in the cool breeze
oblivious to the wet grass n
swaying of trees

it felt happy n rejoiced
in the oneness it found
with the enchanting beauty
of the nature all around

I found a tiny rainbow
in the dewdrop this morn
a world of brilliant colours
in it was being born

os ki us boond me thi umad rahi
hazaroon kwahishe meri

rangon ke us jahan me
nazar aati thi
wo khoobsoorat
lamhe wo yade teri

5.

food ..hmmm how it makes my heart swell
those lovely aromas n steaks done well

let’s sing some songs for this
exquisite gift from heaven
and leave alone Mr. B and Ravin

rhyme about spaghetti and juicy grilled chicken
or maybe a healthy salad with wine
lets layout some scrumptious dishes today
and have a virtual wine n dine

how about sauteed veggies n some regional delights
or some crispy tangy snacks n some really quick bites

fish n rice hmmmm what a bliss
Ash would you like to suggest a dish ?

we can add some deserts like Apple pies
tarts and strudels or paysum made of rice

the list it endless and spread is vast
so lets churn some goulash
and have a blast

7.

Said my son Adi to me
o wow what a rapchick teacher
is she ,
am sure she teaches
chemistry.

I said ,”hey boy u gotta respect your teacher”
he said ,”chill mom ,don’t be a preacher ”
with such drop dead looks
whoz gonna look into the books
teachers like her
are God’s inspirational creations
with such eyes who needs sedation
i must say i had to agree
the guy had sm point
that set his mind free [;d]

i still made an effort
to bring it to his mind
teachers are not people
for stuff of this kind
he objected n replied
tell me in your times
not a single one you eyed
well i had to smile
there wasn’t like HIM
for miles n mile

Peter was his name ,
German he taught
n on way to my Spanish class
my attention he caught
oh boy what a man he was
BTW he was also our boss

with dreamy eyes i looked at him
always very proper n prim
he ruffled my hair
as he passed me by
n called me kiddo

oh those were the golden days
and we too went through that phase
times have changed
but not the ways
the teachers still are hot choice
that’s what Adi says

Mysteries behind the veils


As a young girl ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Arabian Nights’ were two of my favorite movies. The mysterious Arab world with deserts, camel caravans, palaces, spice markets, handsome Arab men in Thoub , Shumagg, Tagiyah and ogal and stunningly captivating women in veils and exotic dresses. Abayas, HIjabs, Niqabs were part of my fantasy world.

Closer to home the women in burqas did not appeal to me much maybe the reality of seeing them in person was disturbing to me .I wondered how they managed to see through their thick  netted veils and didn’t they feel like throwing the  layers and layers of black cloth which wrapped them as mummies .

I dreamt of living in a beautiful land which offered such splendor and often used my scarves and stoles to make sheer or heavy veils. Wearing my long skirts I weaved tales around me and vowed to marry someone from any of these countries and live my dream.

As I grew up I started to read more about Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Egypt.


Soon my veil was lifted as I read and saw more and more about the sub human conditions in which an average woman lived here.


The Karo Kari (honor killings) which includes death by stoning, the brutalities they suffer sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes for customs. The much longed attire that I dreamed of as a child turned out to be the cause of heated debates and a refusal to wear Hijab leading to death as punishment sent chills up my spine.

These women have no rights and live a life worse than that of an animal.Though in the modern times some upper class sections of the Islamic society may have changed but mostly it still remains in its primitive stages.

The attires have gone from heavy cumbersome coarse cotton to stylishly deigned silks etc for some but the average woman still suffers under the burdens of these symbols of modesty.

From hijab to circumcision the irony never ends in the lives of these women.The conditions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and some African Islamic nations such as Sudan are worse than the others but over all the need to bring a change is very essential.

The strict Islamic laws restricting movement of women, takes preposterous dimension in Saudi Arabia where men and women are treated in a manner as if they are two different species. Shrouded in dark colored abayas or traditional Saudi attires for women covering the head and extending to the tow, Saudi women move about the street like living ghosts.

The women are mere commodities and are often battered, molested or killed if they show even the slightest sigh of rebellion.

Child marriages are prevalent and little girls as small as eight years old are given in marriage to men as old as 50yrs.

The books that I read many years ago by women authors Jean P. Sasson, Tehmina Durrani and Taslima Nasrin(Lajja) made me shiver .I was glad not to be part of such a cruel society .All the dreams of the childhood came crashing in front of the insane reality .

My Feudal Lord

MY FEUDAL LORD BY TAHMINA DURRANI

“There is a fantasy of a feudal lord as an exotic, tall, dark and handsome man, with flashing eyes and traces of quick-tempered gypsy blood. Images of him parrying thrusts with the fiercest of swordsmen and riding off into the sunset on his black steed set the pubescent heart aflutter. He is seen as a passionate ladies man and something of a rough diamond, the archetypal male chauvinist who forces a woman to love him despite his treatment of her.

But the fantasy is far from reality, and my country of Pakistan must face up to reality of it is ever to grow and prosper.” (QUOTED FROM THE BOOK)

Tehmina Durrani unwinds the details of her private life in a male dominated chauvinistic society, to give voice to the abuse she suffered while being married to a despotic and brutish husband Mustafa Khar as a Sixth Wife.

After being suffered in silence for 13 years often trading her self-esteem and individuality for a marriage that rocked with physical abuse and emotional blackmail, Tehmina stands up for what she truly is. Breaking free from the convention and taking up the choice of raising her voice against her conniving, manipulative, and spineless Feudal Lordship, risking her life and character assassination in public for her conscience.

Durrani’s book detailed her abusive marriage to Mustafa Khar, once Pakistan’s most powerful feudal landlord from Punjab province.

She wrote the book after divorcing him in 1988.

Plagued by physical abuse, marital rape, hypocrisy, public scrutiny, betrayal, and where women are treated as mere possessions and objects of desire, and the basic human rights to women are still a dream, she dared to bring into open the hard hitting truthof her society .

Going through a reflection of this autobiographical account of her life, my heart swelled with pride and admiration for this beautiful woman and her unfailing courage. This book indeed stands as a living testament to the insurmountable human spirit and it’s longing for freedom of self expression.

I found the book captivating because of the description of the cloistered society, the politics and the politicians, the lordship of men and the treatment of women folk.

Princess

PRINCESS TRIALOGYBYJEAN P. SASSON

I read two of the three books a few years back and again a few days back and they tended to both outrage and bring out the activist in me.

Princess is one of those books that have the potential to really rile up the feminist in anyone. This is a book based on the diaries of a Saudi Arabian princess, a member of the royal Al’Sa’ud family.

Sasson, a friend of “Princess Sultana” a pseudonym for the woman whose diaries from which this book is based, lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1978 to 1990.

This book is written entirely from “Sultana’s” point of view, from her childhood to her middle adulthood. The author‘s views are not expressed anywhere.

The book has 254 easy reading pages and contains four appendixes, The Koran and Women, The Laws of Saudi Arabia, a glossary on Arab terms and a Chronology of Key Events in Saudi History, all are in the back. In addition there is a map of Saudi Arabia, the surrounding area, with facts on Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries and a family tree of the House of Saud in the front of the book which is a great help.

Sultana’s mother, Fadeela, was the first of her father’s four wives. She had borne her husband sixteen children, eleven of whom lived- a total of ten daughters and one son. Sultana was the youngest child and quite rebellious. Her brother, Ali, enjoyed great status as the first born son. As such, he was spoiled rotten and behaved with mean spiritedness that was often directed at Sultana. Other brothers were born to the other wives, but Ali was the most revered because he was the oldest. Sultana hated him with a passion.

There are stories of pranks that Sultana played on her brother- one of which was quite serious. She left his collection of alcoholic beverages and pornographic material in a mosque one day where it was discovered by the religious police.

As Sultana grows into a teenager, she relates stories of her family and friends. In this part of the book, we learn of young girls of twelve and thirteen marrying men in their fifties or sixties, generally all in the name of preserving or furthering business connections. Once girls have their first menstrual period, they are expected to veil. They are considered women at that point and as such, they are ready for marriage. Sultana explains how when she bought her first veil, she entered the shop a girl and emerged a woman. Men who scarcely looked at her as she cavorted about as a child unveiled were suddenly mystified by her as a veiled woman.

However, the novelty of the experience wore off quickly. Sultana found she couldn’t see through the thick material to cross the street. The blue sky was suddenly hazy with the darkness of the cloth.

I found myself imagining what it was like to wear a black abaya and veil every day as I walked outside, especially in 130 degree heat!

The book talks at length about Sultana’s immediate family– the close relationship she has with her mother, the distant one she has with her father, and the acrimonious one she has with her brother.

There are heart wrenching tales in the book about the customs of the Saudi society. The tales of foreign women who are enslaved by their employers for sexual favors, a five year old girl who was kidnapped, taken to India, and used as a kidney donor, a woman who was locked in a padded room for the rest of her life for the crime of falling in love with a Christian man, a young girl who was stoned for giving birth out of wedlock, a young girl whose father drowned her for shaming the family, forced marriages of teenagers to middle aged men, and horrifying stories of female circumcision.

The fact that Sasson included pictures of the desert, a typical palace, a typical veiled woman, and a picture of the market made it easier for me to form mental images of the place. She has even included some basic information about the countries surrounding Saudi Arabia. In the back of the book, there is a section on the Koran on Women with actual verses from the Koran, Saudi Arabian laws, and a glossary.

The quotes the Koran included in the book; Sura IV 15.

If any of your women
are guilty of lewdness
take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you,
against them; and if they testify
confine them to houses until
Death do claim them.

For some reason the same does not apply to the men who are guilty of lewdness.

Sura IV 16.
If two men among you
are guilty of lewdness,
Punish them both,
If they repent and amend,
Leave the alone.

These sections add to the book and are very helpful, especially since Sultana travels a bit within Saudi Arabia and many readers are likely to be unfamiliar with the geography of the country, its laws and the customs.

Still the book is from the point of view of a princess and many parts of the book are supposed to be fragment of imagination of the author .Which, if true, is a sad thing as it gives a wrong interpretation of the whole system to the reader.

I found the book very captivating and went ahead to buy the second part, wanting to know more about the land I dreamed of as a future option of living.

Daughters of Arabia

Daughters of Arabia

This book is the second part of a trilogy and Sultana’s fight to gain freedom for women in Saudi Arabia.

The second book starts off by Sultana being found out by her brother Ali who had seen the German translation of the book in an airport. He had been infuriated that someone could write about life as a royal princess and so he bought the book and had it translated.

Ali realizes that it was his own family the book talked about and that the culprit is his sister Sultana.

Sultana, Kareem and the rest of her sisters are summoned and when she sees the translation she realizes that she has been found out and is petrified. Sultana, rebel that she always is, fights back as she feels that she has nothing to lose at this point in time and the reader gets the impression that her life was spared because the royal family could not afford a scandal of this magnitude.

There is such an anti-climax in the first few pages of the book because the author leads the readers to believe in book One that something dreadful was going happen to the princess.

The book then deals with the lives of Sultana’s daughters Maha and Amani.

It is revealed to Sultana and Kareem that their daughter Maha and her friend Aisha were lesbian lovers and Maha has a nervous breakdown. Had the religious militia found out then serious consequences would have been paid for such an act is abhorred. Maha is whisked away to a London clinic and it takes several months before she is cured by a doctor who specialized in the Arabic way of life; he knew how the unbearable constraints of life behind the veil takes its tolls on females.

The description of Annual pilgrimage to Makkah is worth reading and gives an insight into the religious rituals .I found this part very informative as I had always wondered what it was all about.

During the pilgrimage Amani becomes extremely religious to the point of being fanatical. On their return to Riyadh she tries to convert her friends and family and even becomes dictatorial to the servants demanding that they convert to being Muslims.

Sultana, who had fought all of her life to liberate women, now had an extremist daughter, trying to enforce the segregation of men and women, who scorned on women wearing make-up etc. The story revolves around Sultana’s two daughters who fought totally opposite fights.

The story of female circumcision in Egypt and that this ritual is still imposed on young girls who have no say in what happens to them was appalling. To have all your genitalia removed by a razor is barbaric and totally unnecessary.

We see here that the current younger female generation is not as tolerant of the deplorable customs as their mothers and some of the younger males are more sympathetic to the female situation but I do think it will take years to alter the way the majority of the male population in Saudi Arabia view females.

It seems that the male species have misinterpreted some of the teachings of the Koran because it does seem that the Koran is not totally against women.

I wonder what the current condition of women is in these male dominated societies. What does an average woman feel about her life in a system where she is just an object? Maybe in some countries the middle the upper middle and the high classes of the society have relaxed some rules for their women but what about those who still live in the sub human conditions ?

Who is going to change their destiny and are they willing to give up the customs which have been instilled in them from generations? Do these books, media coverage and all the talk about their libration really bring any change?

I hope someone is working in this direction to set the spirit of these enslaved women free.

THE DELHI DIARY-1


Date : Jan 1, 2009

Place : Delhi

Temp:

17.9*C max

8.5*c min

Visibility : better than yesterday 😀

The first day of the year 2009 turned out to be bright and  sunny  with cool breeze adding the  zing to the awesome winter magic.Perfect  for a day out with family and that’s exactly what we did .

I had been planning to do a write up on Delhi’s lesser known monuments and many other aspects like parks, museums and ruins in south Delhi area of  Mehrauli and adjoining places that make it a city worth visiting .

This is the first post in that series .

We decided to visit Safdarjang’s Tomb .A place not much frequented by usual tourists and right now under restoration by the ASI.

The kids were as usual thrilled by the thought of a dayout to ruins and monuments . Just like me, both of them love to explore such places which hold mysteries of the past.

Safdarjang’s Tomb:

This is known to be the  last enclosed garden tomb and was built in 1753-54 as the mausoleum of Safdarjang, the viceroy of Awadh, (a place near Lucknow). A lesser known landmark of Delhi , it is made in the same style as the Humayun’s Tomb though it’s  not that impressive .

Shuja-ud-Daula constructed it  for his father, Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan ‘Safdarjung’. He was the wazir of emperor Ahmed Shah and Safdarjang was a title.

SAFDARJANG TOMB

The tomb is made of buff-colored sandstone with the intermittent use of red sandstone and marble. The central structure has double-storeyed minarets in the corners and a bulbous dome made of marble.

According to one account the arches and domes, were brought to India from Turkey and Persia.

The intricate work on the minaret

The intricate work on the minaret

The lotus carving on the ceiling

The lotus carving on the ceiling

The intricate work on the outside and the carved lotus inside the tomb at the ceiling is very typical of Mugal architecture.

The ceiling is made of marble and is beautifully carved.

The onion shape domes of the madarsa and masjid in the compound

The onion shape domes of the madarsa and masjid in the compound

The main structure is surrounded by beautiful green and luxuriant lawns with palm trees , manicured flower beds and water bodies.There are several small structures in the compound including a ‘Sarai’ for the travelers who came to the city .

The gardens

beautiful inlay work at the entrance

beautiful inlay work at the entrance

The Arabic inscription on the gateway to the tomb says, “When that hero of the plain of bravery departs from his transitory world, may he become resident of God’s highest paradise (Hegira 1167; AD 1754).”

It was worth a visit and a good history lesson for the kids .  🙂  Although the place needs a lot of restoration work ,it still remains one of my favorites.

After relaxing in the gardens of the monument under the swaying palm trees and warm sunshine ,we decided to do a little kid adventure at the National  Railway Museum .This is a place I love to visit any time of the year and a ride in the toy train is a must .

Sprawling over 11 acres,the National Rail Museum has an indoor gallery devoted to the display of various exhibits, models, records, photographs, coat of arms, documents etc. over 100 real size exhibits display the glory of the bygone era and it never ceases to amaze me .

The museum yard has a rich collection of over 100 exhibits consisting of vintage steam, diesel & electric locomotives, fire-less locomotive, cranes, turn table, girder bridge of 1892, coaching and goods stock etc.

 

The steam engine

 

The place has a beautiful island cafeteria and lovely laws around it .In summers the museum organizes boating etc in the lovely water body around the island.One can see the Fairy Queen ,many other locomotives ,steam engines,coaches,wagons,fire tenders etc.from there .

My favorite

My favorite

A view of the Yard

A view of the Yard

The Toy Train

The Toy Train

A ride in the joy train takes you to 153 years history of Indian Railways and is the main attraction of the place .

We reached there by afternoon and the place was packed with tourists. Still, we managed to have a great time exploring the engines ,pretending to be the royalty seated inside the saloons or simply waving as  engine drivers.

All of us have our favorites here and we decided to do a photo shoot,which turned out to be complete laugh riot with kids doing their best as upcoming  models .

Awesome

Awesome

It was a day well spent and all the goodies(scrumptus Chat and chana bhatura at Bengali Market.pastries and jujubs and delicious paan) that we had for lunch made it even more memorable  but the best part of the day out was yet to come.Adi and I were dying to hold the snakes once again  and after a memorable journey in the toy train we rushed out to meet our friends 🙂

The other two members decided to keep their distance as we parseltounges decided to wrap the beauties around us .A huge crowd had gathered around the snake charmer who lured the tourists with his melodious music of ‘Been’.

We were excited to find the king cobra and his mate .The creature looked awesome with it’s hood spread wide .

The king Cobra

The king Cobra

The handler did not let us pick it up 😦 as it was time to earn some good money through religious accounts of the Phanyar Nag .

We were not the kinds to give up such a treat so we asked for the other snakes .The man eagarly gave us what we wanted .First to come was a tiny baby Python and then it’s big brother.

Python lady

Python lady

The Rat Snake popularly known as the jalebi snake was real fun and totally enjoyed it’s adventure with us .By this time the crowd was in frnzy and we were euphoric.

with the rat snake

with the rat snake

Nagin with the dark lord

Nagin with the dark lord

My elder son has some magic to charm the serpents and enjoyed every moment of  it while the younger one stayed away at a safer distance with his even more scared father .

We had manged to attract a fair amount of crowd by now and the rest of the family was getting really bugged with our adventure, so ,we decided to call it a day and with a kiss on the king’s wide spread hood we placed a 50Rupees note in the basket and gave the little python back to it’s owner. The chap had remained coiled around my wrist all the time .  😉

Time 6:30P.M.

It was time for us to head back home .With happy memories of a day well spent we drove back towards home sweet home .The roads of the diplomatic area were empty and it was a great drive all the way .

I thought it was a perfect start to 2009 with the family spending happy fun time together, doing exactly what each one of us wanted .

I also got a chance to gather material for my blog which had been long due .