The appalling holocaust of Peshawar

A student prays at a private school in Chennai. (Source: PTI)

A student prays at a private school in Chennai, India. (Source: PTI)

Lead, they say, is the toughest part of writing. Never thought I would be so spoiled for choice to begin with, at such a saddening juncture. There is a sea of emotions, plenty to express, humongous grief within & a perpetual disgust ever since the incident occurred.

Who could have thought that a normal day at school, on the 16th Of December, 2014, would turn out to be a such a fatal one for the children & staff of Army Public School (APS), Peshawar & of course for Pakistan itself. Seven heavily armed attackers of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan caused the havoc in the Army-run school & took the lives of almost 142 students & school officials. Accounts of the eye witnesses, who fortunately escaped death, apparently explain how dastardly the attack was.

Sitwat Jafri, a 12th Grade student, lost his mother who was a teacher at APS. His younger brother, Baqer Jafri, was shot in the head but thankfully survived later. Another teacher, Sofia Amjad, who was married to a lawyer, lost her battle with life, before she could have made the dream of marrying off her daughters a reality. During the attack, some students pretended to be dead & later described the trauma to the world. There are numerous other stories that have surfaced thereafter, which have truly shaken us. Many countries including India, Saudi Arabia, Canada and United Kingdom have shown support & stood by Pakistan. India, in particular, has responded very positively to Pakistan, forgetting their differences & uniting at this crucial point. The #IndiawithPakistan was trending on twitter & the incident drew extensive support from the Indian base of Twitter users. Many schools, all over India, observed a two-minute silence to remember & pray for the departed souls. But, sadly among all these humanitarian gestures, there were still some insensible Politicians of our country, who took advantage of the situation to target Pakistan on grounds of historical differences & proliferating terrorism, through their futile comments.

The Peshawar episode has raised questions about the security of schools in the minds of the young ones too. As reported in India Times, a leading Indian newspaper, a parent, Richa Sharma, found herself striving to answer the query of her six-year-old daughter when asked “Mummy, we don’t even have benches in our school. Only chairs. Where will we hide?” The same report also highlights, another Class 2 student, Kavya’s fear when she innocently asks her mother “How far is Peshawar from her school?” and “If all the bad people have been killed.”

Let us not forget those parents, who have lost the wealth of their life in this heinous act. That limitless pain, that feeling of never being able to see their child again, that agony has left them utterly inconsolable. No other blessing in the world would perhaps commensurate the loss. Not an eye would be void of tears on the very thought of their excruciation. Let me also make it clear here that those who have carried out this inhuman act in the guise of Islam, had no right to do so. It would be like adulterating the ever so pristine religion to serve the nefarious intentions of a few ruthless beings.

Lastly, post Peshawar tragedy, both the countries of the sub-continent would remember 16th December as one of the blackest days in their history. While Pakistan is lamenting the Peshawar school attack, India has also not been able to come to terms with the Delhi gang rape case that jolted the countrymen a couple of years back.

We wholeheartedly pray that may peace prevail on either side of the border & citizens of both the countries stay safe eternally.

 

Eve-teasing on the rise in Kingdom

Dhahran harassment case

 

Time & time again, I have been persuaded by the Kingdom’s perturbing cases of eve-teasing. A video posted on YouTube last October, showing a group of women being harassed by a few eve-teasers in a parking lot outside a mall, sparked outrage in the media. When the incident surfaced among masses, both the harasser & the harassed were targeted by the public. While the former was accused of utterly unethical & immoral behavior, the latter was criticized to have let that happen due to the absence of a male guardian. As per the official report, Saudi Arabia had registered around 3,000 reported cases of harassment in 2013, where Riyadh topped the list with almost 650 cases, followed by Jeddah & Eastern Province. Those which go unnoticed or unreported may actually be much more than the total figure itself.

The debate drags in a host of other issues, which are said to have contributed for the proliferation of this social evil. Plenty of reasons gush in to the mind when the cause of such cases is to be thought of. It could sometimes be because of a shopaholic or businesswomen travelling with unknown drivers, ignorance of people about the teachings of religion, demand for freedom of women in the guise of human rights, or more importantly a hooligan on the street searching for a prey. I think the most conducive & threatening of them all are the ones that highlight lone women travelers & uncultured youth, be it because of a force measure or just to play a vagabond. Despite the fact that women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t necessitate them to be driven around without an actual need. I too am partially of the opinion that women should be allowed to drive, but the more important question that pops up is ‘To end a single problem, should a solution such be devised that gives rise to many other problems?’. The answer would certainly be ‘No’.

If women take to the roads, certainly they would attract unwanted attention of other drivers. I say this merely because the country’s populace is not yet mature enough to see women on the driving seats. To detail a bit about harassment cases here, I would exemplify by mentioning about a sting operation conducted by a chivalrous media personality from Saudi Arabia, Sameera Aziz. The Saudi-journalist exposed through her investigation the voyeuristic nature of many, if not all, taxi drivers. She exposed a cab driver accompanied by a fellow journalist in a car behind. Aziz, during the journey, was ogled at, asked personal & utterly irrelevant questions & later accused of having a bad character. This is just one among hundreds of cases in the upsettingly elaborate genres of harassment.

One of my primary concerns to write about such a pervasive stigma is to bring about the third perspective associated with all such cases. I in no way intend to target the female of the species, but am just putting the ponder into words. I often observe an unpleasant sight where the both the involved parties indulge in the drama. It is usually said that men tend to be the starters, but it is not always the case. I strongly believe that women need to act responsibly & understand the importance of a virtuous demeanor. Being skimpily dressed, wearing strong perfumes, ostentatious makeup, etc. all contribute to an uncalled for behavior on part of women. Should this & associated activities be controlled, it will definitely bring down the occurrences of harassment.

Till then, we can just pray to the Almighty to protect & guide us all!

 

First cheque in your name, worth Rs. 1 crore

Feroz Fatma & Amitabh Bachchan

Indubitably, the tittle stands for itself, while the 22 year old, Firoz Fatma, made the fact public. The lady was pronounced the first women Crorepati of this i.e. the seventh season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). Fatma hails from Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, India & holds a Bachelor of Science degree. She talked of her deceased father during the show, who passed away an year back. As she narrated, he died in the state of Sujud (Prostration) while praying in the Masjid. Her father had taken some loans, keeping their land as mortgage. The repayment of the same led her to KBC, where she was destined to see the first cheque in her name, worth Rs 1 Crore.

I had watched this last episode of KBC right from the beginning. At first, the lady seemed nervous & pressurized. If I remember it right, she took 33 seconds to answer the three questions of the Fastest Finger First round. Luckily, she got away with it & was the only contestant to have answered all the three questions. This made her qualify to the hot seat. What I liked about her was the appearance & a serene conduct that she projected. Neither did she popularize any artificial adornments, nor were those ‘the Victoria secret’ eyes. It was all about simplicity & composure. As for her vast knowledge at such a young age, it had mainly come from reading newspapers & watching news channels. As the game progressed, her confidence escalated as she endeavored towards what she may not even have dreamt of. As Indian express quotes, she said “I was very nervous when I wasn’t able to make it to the hot seat in the second last episode also and felt I would have to go home empty handed. But then I aced the fastest finger first round and made my way to the hot seat. Also, I didn’t feel as the Rs one Crore winner until the audience clapped and Bachchanji hugged me. It is a great feeling.” KBC has literally changed almost every aspect of her life. She is also reported having said that the behavior of relatives & other acquaintances around her has changed, post she won at the game show. Life is indeed harsh & time a tyrant personification at certain phases.

Fatma spoke about her tenacity & willingness to participate in the show, as quoted by a news channel. She said “I continued sending SMSes for KBC, and when the opportunity came, I devoted my full attention to prepare for the quiz.” She also added saying “”I had a chance to win Rs 3 crore, but there was this risk of losing this money (Rs 1 crore). I had used all my three lifelines, and since I was not confident, I quit.” This I think was a wise choice on her part, as we know it is better to you lose what was not certain to be earned than to lose what has already been bagged.

Though this season’s KBC has ended, but it has yet again triumphed the confidence of the common man, rejuvenated the spirits of many a ordinary people of the country & reasserted the very cause of its existence. May the ever so graceful Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, continue to conduct this unique game show & accord the players with numerous happiness & joy in their lives.

Photo source: http://newsmedia247.com/firoz-fatima-becomes-first-female-crorepati-kbc-7-finale

 

My tribute to the little master….

Sachin TendulkarCricket to me is something that I did not take cognizance of mostly. But in the last couple of weeks, I lost to my perception, I lost to the grandeur, I lost to the stature of a legend & eventually I lost to the little master. A defeat was pleasing to the senses for the first time ever.  I found the feeling difficult to contain within & hence the outpour.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, a name that is an introduction in itself. I am already convinced that if there is a synonym to the word Cricket, it surely is just one ‘Sachin’. Days are not far when children, young & ambitious, would utter “I am playing Sachin mom, allow me  some more time please”. And that benign mother would bow down to the request of her child for the love of nation, for the love of Sachin. Due to my limited interest in the game as mentioned, I know not much about Sir Donald Bradman. I have come to terms with this fact realizing that I at least know who is the Bradman of today. Sachin, no doubt, has proved to be the Bradman of this era.  A player who has a ton of tons in international cricket is truly a magician. Sachin has set out some stupendous benchmarks during his cricketing career. Some of them are almost unbreakable, but would be a great impetus for the youngsters in trying to achieve them. His last inning was absolutely a treat to watch, while he rose to the occasion gracefully. The seclusion wouldn’t be less than a nightmare, though desitned. That last march to the dressing room after his dismissal, would have been an enormously cumbersome one to tread upon. The way he played leaves me pondering like many others, was there more of cricket left in the little master? Was it an early deprive for his fans?

The post-match speech of Sachin was one of the best I had ever lent ears to. He commenced with thanking his father & continued down the list, though it was such a difficult time to speak. I believe that to emerge victorious in any walk of life, a person first needs to have a good character. Sachin has had this attribute in handsome proportion. He has been an obeying son, a loving brother, a wonderful husband, a caring father, an encouraging teammate & above all a generous human being. This was all evident on the countenance of those near & dear ones present around him. Life consists of several transitions, many phases, plenty of events, what dominates at the end is the family bonding. At this difficult moment of parting away from his passion, it is the support of his family that would help him ease the ordeal.

The 24 years of relentless cricket, filled with numerous moments of euphoria, have drawn to cessation. The hero has gifted so much to his country throughout the course of his career & now it was our turn to reciprocate.  The media played its part by dedicating bulletins to his name, the spectators turned up in multitude, there might be some penning up praises for him like me, but still it is no match against his contributions.

I wish I could have kept from loosing my interest in cricket, only had Sachin been a part. You wouldn’t be missed Sachin, for missed are those who are forgotten at once. You reside in our hearts. Stay blessed……

Photo Source: Sachin’s Facebook page

Jeddah’s Serafi mall at the apex of voyeurism

Serafi mall 2

No, I do not have a grudge with the owner of this mall. Neither do I have a latent motive behind exposing the ridiculousness of the place. The outpour ahead is just an aftermath of a long resistance in me that breathed last lately. The resilience within me died out having seen a humiliating transgression of indecency, voluptuousness & immorality at the so called Mega Mall. The urge to express had never been so compelling before & hence I start the devour on my thoughts one after the other.

The saying “All that glitters is not gold” perfectly substantiates the scenario. Though the structure stands vivid to the observer with it’s vigorous display of attractive glow, it has still become a cause of anguish to some like me. I have been going to the place for more than an year now due to the nature of my work & the dejection, as it appears, is yet to witness a point of culmination.  There is a perfect dissimilarity between the exterior & interior of the building, with regards to the environs. The lavishly adorned mall, with all the essential components that help it to be beckoned as a five star hangout place, in fact houses demons in the form human beings. I am appalled to see young boys & girls portraying such a villainous conduct that my conscience shivers me to the core. Calling the inner atmosphere a mere ‘shameless’ one would belittle the actuality therein. As in most cases, it is not just the male of species that deserve a slander, but the women clad scantily in black, inevitably deserves an equal share of blame here. Usually, males sans family are not allowed to enter the mall on weekend, when an influx of visitors is expected. This measure of the mall authorities helps but little to prevent possible chances of harassment, because the security guard is seldom honest on duty. Even I have been stopped several times at the entrance, but got through after making the security personnel understand that I have a genuine reason for the visit, which hardly is of ten minutes. Having been stopped at the gate last week, I started with the routine explanation to the reason of my visit. Meanwhile, an elderly lady, with a walking stick in her hand, came & stood beside cautiously listening to my reasoning. She later interrupted our conversation & told the guard “Go tell the owners to stop those miscreants first, who are spreading filth inside & then concentrate on others”. I very well comprehend what had made her say so to him, for I myself become observant to the prevalent ignominy.

I see the mingling of both the sexes to an incomprehensible  extent. Throwing contact numbers, passing disgraceful comments, stares flying all around, etc are just a common sight. I at times found member of Hai’a ( Committee for the Promotion of virtue and prevention of vice) taking rounds at different floors, but those lovers of immodesty pay no heed to their advice. The authorities even tried to influence the perception of the younger lot by broadcasting live telecast of the Holy Haramain, Makkah & Madinah, on the TV screens inside the mall. But, the scene hasn’t even tilted towards betterment, rather has deteriorated over time due to the profanity of those voyeurs.

I wonder how the parents of these young fellows allow them to reach to such a higher degree of insanity. The longer I ponder, the further do I puzzle myself. I wish our young generation understands the risk they are at, being in such a crucial phase of their life. May He guide us all!

A father’s longing…..

Father-Daughter Holding Hands

Has not the Creator instilled such warmth in relations?

The essence of which emanates lasting reverberations,

A father-daughter bond is one to exemplify

That evolves with time & furthers to solidify,

 

May there be countless associations on face of earth

But for sure is this of an abundant worth,

Such a distinctive fragility hath He bestowed herein

That cometh what may but resists the horrendous spin,

 

Begins this all with the very first breath of the innocent angel

Where the elated parent cherishes that soft entangle,

For the love indeed is vigorous as the rising sun

The apex of which shoots to an infinite run,

 

In the quest to fulfill her heart’s desire

He foregoes persistently longing for the precious acquire,

All that’s done is for his flower to bloom

In the find of exultance, in the shades of groom,

 

The solitude, the monotony, the big day dream

Confines the father till the parting scream,

Yet does the grit make him concrete

To let her welcome the morrow’s greet.