Archive for October, 2011

Of potatoes, eggs, Ahmadiyyas, and Pakistan

October 26, 2011

I was casually going through BBC News website last evening and found a news about a YouTube video “Aaloo Anday” (potatoes and eggs) getting viral popular in Pakistan. What so special about a video, first one by the unknown-until-now band, to be so popular that BBC making a news out of it. I watched the video on YouTube. It’s a satire on the current sociopolitical situation of Pakistan. It’s in Punjabi, I couldn’t get it’s meaning by mere listening to it. I further googled to get some insight. The video itself and the situation surrounding it have obsessed me so much that I had been thinking of it almost every moment since I watched it.

The video starts with three school-going-looking boys opening their lunch box finding the same “Aaloo Anday” in them as usual. They put off the lunch boxes and start with the song: “my mother has cooked aaloo and anday. I don’t like them. I want to each pieces of chicken.” The video further takes a hard stand on some tough issues in Pakistan. They talk of a country where Mumtaz Qadir (one who assassinated a liberal minister) is treated like a royal nawab, where Ajmal Kasab has become a national hero, and of a country where no one talks about Abdus Salam, the first Noble laureate from Pakistan who won Noble Prize for Physics in 1979.

Abdus Salam (1926–1996)

Dr. Abdus Salam

Although the most part of the song made only a little appeal to me (as I am not that aware of the situation there), I must give the guys full credit for talking about Abdus Salam.  Abdus Salam was one of the most important scientists Pakistan has ever produced. He belonged to Ahmadiyya community, which is declared non-muslim in Pakistan by law of the land. Ahmadiyya is a community within Islam that believes Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahamad (19th century) to be the Messiah and hence denies the finality of prophethood of Muhammad. They believe in the oneness of Allah, they believe Muhammad was a prophet of Allah, they believe Quran to be the book sent by Allah, but deny the finality of Muhammad as a Prophet. Pakistan has about 4 million of Ahmadiyya population; and these people are declared non-muslims by law.

And what does it really mean? By law, an Ahamadiyya cannot pose himself to be a muslim in Pakistan, or he can have a jail of up to 3 years. An Ahmadiyya cannot say “Assalam walaykum” to someone else; an Ahmadiyya cannot call their place of worship a “masjid”; an Ahmadiyya cannot keep a copy of Quran in his home; an Ahamadiyya cannot quote the verses of Quran in public; an Ahamadiyya can in no way pose himself to be a Muslim. Anyone who applies for a Pakistani passport has to sign an oath stating that Mirza Ghulam Ahamad was an imposter and not the prophet of Allah and his followers are in no way Muslims.

Ahmadiyya are often a target of social malignity in Pakistan. In 2010, there was a suicide bomb attack on a Ahmadiyya place of worship and about 100 people were killed.  Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the deceased “our brothers” in his condolence speech.  Eleven political parties together have protested his calling Ahmadiyyas “our brothers.” The prejudice against Ahmadiyyas is so intense that they often try to keep their Ahmadiyya identity hidden in their social life. In short, Ahmadiyyas are the Jews of modern Pakistan and living in almost the same situation as the Jews were living in the early Nazi regime.

Grave of Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam (1926-1996) in ...

The gravestone of Dr. Abdus Salam. The words "Muslim" are removed by a judicial action.

Abdus Salam was a proud Pakistani and a Muslim. He went to receive his Noble award in the national dress of Pakistan. He had quoted a verse from Quran in his Noble speech. He departed from the country in protest when Pakistan declared Ahmadiyyas to be non-Muslims. Afterwards, he lived in United Kingdom. He kept constant contact with his motherland for all his life. He died in UK. His corpse was brought back to Pakistan and buried in his hometown. His gravestone read “He was the first Muslim Noble laureate.” This was unbearable in Pakistan. He was an Ahmadiyya; he cannot call himself a Muslim even after death. They dusted out the words “Muslim” from his gravestone by a judicial order leaving it to nonsensical “the first Noble laureate.” Every attempt was made to clean out his name from the public memory; even his hometown was renamed. And such an important public figure in Pakistan was rubbed out of history, just because he was an Ahmadiyya, a non-Muslim. The prejudice against Ahmadiyya is so intense in Pakistan that a blogger satirically wrote a public sentiment like “we can convert the Hindus and Christians to Islam; we do not want the Ahmadiyyas.”

One can easily make remarks against political leaders; they are soft targets. A little more courageous can talk even against the military, but to talk against the public sentiment–it takes a great deal (think what kind of comments those got here in India who argued against the Anna Hazare movement). The aaloo anday guys must be congratulated for taking up such an important issue. It may not change the situation in a while, but it can set start a debate. The video ends with the lead singer holding a placard “If you want a bullet through my head, like this video.” Unfortunately, it is really such a case in Pakistan. Take care guys, may God give you a long life.

It’s a hectic Diwali!

October 25, 2011

It’s Diwali.  I will be in the office tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Hope all work gets done by then.  The next day, Thursday, a full working day, and in the evening I will be leaving for home for Bhau-beej.  I have applied for leave on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday will be an off.  Again, I will have to get back at work on Monday at 6:30 in the morning.

In between,  on Thursday night I will be leaving from here; will reach home on Friday morning.  Friday Bhau beej.  I will have Saturday free; planning to spend some time with Master; may be we’ll go on a little walk by the riverside, or a bike ride.  Again on Sunday, I will be on a way-back journey.  The trains and buses will be fully loaded, it’s a festival season.

And the distance–it’s about 328 km from here–to and fro 656 km; return journey may be by bus (yaack!! buses make me sick), just to reach office Monday on time.

It’s Diwali.  It wished there were no Diwali this year; I haven’t even done my shopping and I have literally nothing to wear tomorrow and I’ll have to reach office at 6:30 a.m.

Happy Diwali 😐

Codeine cough syrup abuse in Nagpur

October 23, 2011

I was quite disturbed when I had found an empty codeine cough syrup bottle lying in Reshimbag ground[1] a few months ago.  It was apparent from its overall appearance that it was gulped as a single dose, clearly for recreational use.  As a medical graduate, I know what codeine is, how dangerous are it’s side effects, and how addictive it can be!  Over the last few months, the number of such empty bottles lying there have significantly increased and you can find several bottles thrown there on any given day.

Opioid-containing cough syrup bottles found at Reshimbag Ground

Opioid cough syrup bottles at Reshimbag Ground

Codeine is an opioid drug, which is used for symptomatic treatment of pain, dry cough, or severe diarrhea.  It’s primarily an analgesic that also suppresses cough and causes constipation as a side effect.  It is used as a symptomatic treatment of a nonproductive dry cough where the cough is so harsh that it causes pain with continuous coughing, even vomiting with cough, or sometimes even a rib fracture with severe bout of cough.  It is never used with mild cough or the cough productive of sputum.

Codeine is a weak opioid as compared to morphine, but quite harmful on it own account.  Drug abusers use it for the temporary euphoria it gives, but it is addictive and can cause severe physical and mental side effects.  Codeine causes drowsiness, even confusion, and hampers the ability of an individual to perform complex actions needing coordination such as driving or operating heavy machinery.  The effects of codeine get even more severe if it is combined with alcohol or other benzodiazepine drugs; and the user–if driving or operating heavy machinery–can be a great harm to himself and others.  At higher doses, codeine can cause respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.

Codeine is addictive.  It does not leave the abuser easily.  It causes severe withdrawal symptoms if attempted to quit suddenly, with severe physical symptoms–even greater than mental symptoms–acute appetite loss, constipation, shivering, and most importantly drowsiness.[2]

Codeine is a prescription drug and should be used only if really needed.  There are a lot many safe cough syrups available and codeine-containing stuffs should be reserved for only when they are really indicated.  The bottles found at Reshimbag Ground must apparently be bought from some nearby medical shop.  Such higher-than-average sale of an opioid agent must not go unnoticed by the authorities.  It is quite concerning that your youth can get such addictive opioid at just 68.20 rupees a bottle.

Easy availability of codeine can attract new users to experiment with it, and newbies can soon be habitual users.  It is too easy to get addicted; detox is too difficult.  We don’t have good detox facilities, and a complete detox would need at least a month’s inpatient stay in the hospital.  Hope the authorities would notice it soon and curb any unindicated/over-the-counter use of opioid drugs.

Notes:
1.  A well-known ground in Reshimbag, Nagpur, near Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangha headquarters.
2.  See this personal experience by an addict on Yahoo Answers

The soulmates

October 21, 2011
Old couple walking along the Seine. Photo by Bebulaki
The Soulmates

Like it was an intact stick in His Kingdom.  Like He had to break it and throw it away in two different directions.  Like it was His plan to bring both the segments together to make them one again.  How surprised were they to see how fittingly compatible they were with each other.  It was a first glance; they had not seen each other in proximity.  From that distance, they felt awed with how much “made for each other they were.”  And they came together.

The subtleties began to be apparent.  Still happy were they with each other, but now with a glitch that they were not the same that they thought they were.  They were still happy with each other, but their randomly broken edges got more visible making them afraid what if they won’t match fit.

They were happy; still there was a glitch.  They kept going.  Time passed by.  The randomly broken edges got more prominent; uneven fineness of the broken edges had gotten even more apparent.  And they started looking at it carefully, and moved towards each others, tilted, turned, whirled, hugged… and lo… how happy, how heavenly happy they were to find how finely they fitted in each other.  Like they were the same they had thought they were.

A musical ride: A journey from Amir Khurso to A. R. Rahman

October 16, 2011

I usually don’t prefer plugging my earphones in while I am riding a bike.  But as I was coming back from a Sunday-evening ride, and as I was in a not-so-sad mood, I plugged them in, adjusted the volume, and set the player on random shuffle.  It took me about 25 minutes to come back home; what my player played in those 25 minutes was a beautiful musical ride!  It was a wide range of music and poetry from the 13th century Amir Khurso, to the beautiful poetry by Gulzar in the 1960s and early 1970s, to the ultra-modern melody of A. R. Rahman.  I had no choice to select what my player is playing, just out of what I had in it, it was a beautifully random mixture of a broad musical spectrum.

I had five songs in those 25 minutes.  The first one was Naa Jiya laage naa.. from movie Anand.  It’s a beautiful song penned by Gulzar, sung by Lata Mangeshkar.  I had got this song in my cell as one of the bunch of Gulzar songs I had downloaded.  It is based on some classical Raaga (and I understand nothing of Indian classical music).  Wonderful song, silent, melodious, treat to listen.  As always, great lyrics by Gulzar: Jeena bhule the kahaan yaad nahii, thuj ko payaa hai jahaa saans phir aayi wahi (Don’t know where had I forgotten my life; I got my breath back where I found you); and blame me for poor translation.

Second song brought me directly back to 2011.  Te Amo from Dum Maro Dum, reprise solo male version sung by Mohit Chauhan.  Again, wonderful job by Pritam, beautiful use of Mohit Chauhan’s voice.  And Jaideep Sahni is as good as usual in his lyrics.  This slow, melodious song, takes me back to my heart with deep feelings of love.  Te Amo…

Amir Khusrow surrounded by young men. Miniatur...

Amir Khusro (Image via Wikipedia)

The next one, this song always make me move with from very first beat.  Zihal e miskin makun taghaful was an experimental poem by a 13th century Indian scholar Amir Khurso.  Amir Khusro is one of the most important figure in the cultural history of medieval India.  He is widely known as a pioneer of Urdu language and Urdu poetry as such.  Zihal e miskin is a bilingual poem, first line inPersian the second one in Hindavi/Urdu and such goes on.  With an air of Sufi mysticism, this poem revolves around love — may be love with the Almighty or with a beloved one.  Zihal e miskin is particularly famous in the subcontinent and is composed and sung multiple by a wide variety of singers from Mukesh to Abida Parveen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and so on.  I have the Abida Parveen version.  Her powerful voice and the mighty percussion of dholak won’t let you without moving.

The fourth song, title song of Tamil film Alaiypauthey (2001), composed by A. R. Rahman (ARR) in Carnatic Classical music.  I don’t know the language.  I don’t know what lyrics Varaimuthu has written for this song (otherwise, he is excellent.  See Enge enathu kavithai).  This is kind of a devotional song (I don’t know, Sirish had told me; he’s native Tamil).  But this song is really treat to listen.  Just you need good earphones, and this can be one of the best songs to make you feel serene.  And the steady buzz of tambora in the background is awesome.  A must listen if you love light melody!

The fifth and the last one was again an A. R. Rahman composition.  Boondon se baate (talking to raindrops) from Takshak.  Frankly, I had never listened this song in my cell, though I had it for long. Still, without doubt, wonderful composition as usual by ARR, and beautiful lyrics by Mehboob.  Sung my some unknown-to-me female singer, this song is no less beautiful from the above four.

Such was a marvelous musical ride, stretching over the period of around 800 years, from Sufi Qawwali to Indian classical to Carnatic classical to modern guitar beats; Persian, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil; exploring a wide spectrum of the subcontinental music.  Two out of five Gulzar songs, two out of five ARR compositions, two out of five devotional songs (if we count zihal e miskin as devotional; and still I am a proud atheist; really no one loves the God as an atheist does).

So thus was my playlist for this Sunday evening.  I can’t imagine of a more bizarrely varied playlist than this one.  I know I am a bit odd in my musical taste (not less than my literary taste), but still if you love anyone of these songs, please let me know.  I bet we can have a good friendship with each other.  If you haven’t listened anyone of them (and probability of this to happen is too much on a higher side), please get then, and I again bet you won’t be disappointed.

Looking ahead for your thoughts 🙂

Books, internet, and a giant wheel? It’s really random!!

October 15, 2011

I love books, I love the feel they give me while reading, it cannot be felt such while reading books on screen.  It’s fine when we cannot get hard copies, may be the book is rare, or too costly, or just you don’t want to buy it, but still there is nothing like reading a book, in printed characters, on paper.

Definitely, my net habits have affected my reading a lot.  I stay online almost 12-13 hours a day everyday, may be for work, and then for my personal use too, blogging, random surfing, social networking, uploading photos; reading has taken a back seat, it’s unfortunate, really!

A giant wheel at Dhantoli, Nagpur

I had been to a book exhibition at Shankar Nagar today; brought a novel by Sane Guruji Ramacha shela (रामाचा शेला); I really wanted to read something by him other than Shyamchi aai (श्यामची आई).  At this moment, I should have been reading the book, in print.  I am instead tuck-tucking here.

On a different note, sharing the picture of a giant wheel I pic’ed last Sunday in Dhantoli, Nagpur.  I didn’t get a chance to upload it earlier.  Giant wheels look good only from a distance.  I am afraid of even the thought of sitting in it.  So, I have look at it, from a distance.

N.B. Clicking on the giant wheel will take you to Panoramio photo page, if you are interested in exactly where the photo was taken, to be precise, it was taken at 21° 8′ 5.88″ N  79° 5′ 4.24″ E.  Good Night 🙂

Related Posts:

The search of self: A brief questionnaire

October 13, 2011

Just had a very interesting talk with Gaurav.  I was sitting a kind of upset, badly wanted to talk with some, and I wished if I could find Gaurav online.  He rarely uses GTalk, so I was kind of uncertain if I can find him there.  I tried Windows Live Messenger, but it didn’t work, so I came back to GTalk, and lo.. He was there.

This was my first chat with him per se (we had had a 2-liner brief chat earlier, but I had abruptly cut it off).  I told him about me and he told about himself, then about our blogs, further plans, and so on…

The most interesting thing of it was a shootout question series by him:

Why do you blog?
To express myself.  I can’t live without writing.

This is absolutely truth.  Why do I blog?  Because I want to write.  I have a long habit of writing.  It started with my writing diary about 13 years ago.  Initially, it was a kind of routine for me, but in 2002 as I came here at Nagpur, life got too much tumultuous.  At the same time, I started to get a lot of leisure time and privacy in hostel.  Fading out of an old love, finding a new one, having breakups, going through its melancholy, getting into a couple of another relationships, again falling into a new one — this material was enough to make me write.  I wrote, and I wrote a lot.  I wrote diaries, poems, ghazals, blogs… Then everything stopped.  I had a long break of about a couple of years.  Ghalibana was an exception in between, but still writing the heart could not happen for long.  So in the earlier part of this year when I found I cannot write diary anymore, I decided to start a new blog and thus started The Blog of Reflections.  So, I write to express myself.  Because I can’t live without writing.

Next question:

Was medical a choice of your heart?
Because I didn’t know what else to do.  I had grown up since childhood listening being a doctor is something great.  Otherwise, I loved math.

Choosing medical field was an simple choice for me, because I never had any other options.  Can you believe I didn’t know till 12th grade what engineers actually are?  I only knew they either build buildings or computers!!  No one ever told me that Pure Sciences can be a great career too.  My parents were not that educated to advice me and I was an ugly duckling for my college professors.  That being said, I enjoyed my work as a physician.  I worked with surgeon for about 2 years, assisted a lot of surgeries on a daily basis, literally assisted in saving lives.  But I was a BAMS (Ayurveda graduate), I knew I can only be an assistant at most, I could never perform the surgery.  I had no intention to pursue my post-graduation in Ayurveda (even the 13,000 p.m. stipend could not allure me).  I didn’t even try to appear for the PG entrance, I had already had enough in my 5-1/2 in graduation.

Third question:

Which quality do you have that’s very special according to you?
I am a good man.

This was my answer without any hesitation, without a second thought.  It is the only reason I am alive, because I know I am a good man.  The day I lose this feeling, I will lose everything else.

So can you say you are unique in some way?
Yes I am, but I am not sure if I can explain it right now. I am unique in a lot many aspects, but still, I am a good man should be enough.

I know I am not one of the flock.  I wish if I could tell how much I long to find someone like me, and I know, it is not an easy job.  That’s the reason I hardly be friend with anyone.  I never understand what to talk with people.  In my 27 years, I could find only a few people who I can say have a part of me in them.  (In fact, I am chatting with Gaurav only because I find something like myself in him).  There are only a few people with whom I feel like myself.  (Don’t frown up, you are in the list by default, take care to keep it free from viruses).

The conversation then turned to be a bit personal; I am not going to publish that part of it (I don’t want to make Gaurav feel awkward telling that he had a broad 🙂 when I answered “Yes” to his “Did you have a girlfriend?”)  Stil, it was a very interesting talk.  Hope we can continue it some time later.

Quick LinksGaurav’s BlogGaurav on TwitterMe on Twitter

No more post a day

October 13, 2011

I have not written anything here for the last two days, and got two inquiries about what happened to my post-a-day mission (Thanks Kailash; thanks Gaurav).  Frankly, I have left the mission.  I don’t want to go with it anymore.  It was an experimental tour to see if I should go with it for the year 2010; I have got the answer “No.”

I will write as frequently as possible, but I don’t want any obligations, and I in no way want to write on the stupid topics suggested by WordPress Dailypost.  So, for now, this is my last post in post-a-day.

And wait, I am coming back with new post just after this one.

Can I ever get out of towel?

October 10, 2011

This is not a post-a-day post.  I would write it even if I were not on a post-a-day mission.  This is why I had started this blog — The Blog of Reflections — to catch such of my moods, the times when I am lost somewhere, somewhere in or around me, or you, or don’t know where!

I should really take some classes on how to live life.  At this moment, I should have been singing Alvida Alvida loudly with Kailash Kher; I am instead scratching this post lowering the volume of my speakers.

Yesterday, as I was coming back from Reshimbag ground, a 30-something-year-old guy was arguing loudly with his companion on some stupid subject; it was all going in English (so uncommon on Indian streets).  They were apparently drunk, so steamed up, arguing with passionate hand movements, loud voices, a perfect drama.  I sat down on footpath and watched them fighting for long until some other guy came and took them away.  I got up and started walking back to home.

There was some van standing outside the bar.  They were offloading the wine packs from it.  Bottles of different shapes and sizes and colors.  People were coming in and out of the bar.  How lively they seemed!  I cannot even think of drinking, yaaack!  But then why don’t I look as happy as they d0?

Can I ever go out of towel?

Can I ever get out of towel?

I came on main street.  Some procession was going on, Durga immersion (don’t know how it came after Vijaya Dashmi)!  Really loud loudspeakers, heatingly fast drums, some bizarre steel-plate-like instruments making loud cymbal-like noise–mischievously tickling to the eardrums!  Everything so perfect to make you dance, move on the beats.  I stopped.  Watched the procession going, the drummers beating the drums synchronously, in high passion, all in sweats, dhan dhana dhan dhan, guys and girls dancing, playing fugadi–and me–I can’t even dance, not because I have two left legs, but because I don’t have the heart that one needs to dance.  For a moment, I felt I should go and just move, just move as bizarre as I can, that I should forget myself, forget the weight my soul needs to bear 24×7.  I didn’t do that.  I just reclined back to a car parked there and watched the dance with a calm that would suite only to an unrelated funeral.

I want to forget this stuff.  I want to forget what I am; in fact, I need to forget that I am, that I exist.  And just and enjoy the life, the breath going deep in my spastic lungs, the breath coming out of my nostrils.  I want to go out naked on the road when it is still dawn and feel the cool breeze tickling my senses.  I want to go out and sing loud without damn caring about what the next guy will think.  I want to go at some deep dark place and make a loud cry until I lose my sane.

Hmm, enough with impotent thinking–I know I can’t get out of towel even in the bathroom.

Sonegaon Lake: A blue photo

October 9, 2011
Sonegaon Lake, Nagpur

Sonegaon Lake (edited in Picasa)