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 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 thirty-three 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 led her to qualify & reach 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 after she won at the game show. Life is indeed harsh & time a ruthless observer at certain junctions.

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 ordinary people of the country & reasserted the very cause of it being there. May the ever so graceful Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, continue to conduct this unique game show & accord the players with eternal happiness & joy.

Photo source:



My tribute to the little master….

Sachin Tendulkar

Cricket to me is something that I do 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 -the little master. A defeat was pleasing to the senses for the first time ever.  I found the feeling difficult to contain within & hence have set out to this space with 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 benevolent 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 as he rose to the occasion gracefully. This seclusion from the sport wouldn’t be less than a nightmare for him. That last march to the dressing room after his dismissal, would have been an enormously cumbersome one to tread. The way he played leaves me pondering like many others, was there more of cricket left in the little master? Was it an early deprival 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. From what we know about him, he is 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 is a melange of several transitions & 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 suddenly ceased. 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 first. You live in our hearts. Stay blessed……

Photo Source: Sachin’s Facebook page

The fall of a mentor….

Not a day passes without me deliberating about school. So did happen today, but in an ominous way. A typical Friday had as usual started late towards the forenoon hours. Inevitably, a sad piece of information made its way to the senses in the form of a friend’s status update. It read that Mr. Kasper Raju (our economics teacher) had passed away. I lay numb as the reel of numerous encounters with the gifted being unrolled involuntarily in front of my eyes. He had been diagnosed with cancer last year & had gone for treatment to India I learned. I spoke to a few teachers later during the day & got to know that his situation worsened yesterday and he breathed his last the previous night. He was ticketed to fly back to India today, had the tragedy not have struck.

Raju Sir to me was man of principles. He had very well understood the role he had to play being a part of IISJ. The future of his students was something he never let go down the priority list. The amount of efforts he put in class, those extra notes just to guarantee that extra mark in exam, the phenomenal camaraderie with his students & the flamboyant teaching style is just a few of those plentiful reminisces vivid to me. The way he explained intricate concepts in a rather simplified manner was an art that takes time to master. I still remember the way he used to draw that dotted line on the black board at the blink of an eye. The way he improvised his lectures, with an awesome touch of humor, just made those sessions even more interesting & special. Students were all equal to him. Be it the intellectual lot among us or the weaker one, his commitment to enhance the comprehension of all was indeed commendable. Raju Sir even entertained tuition at the very brink of exams, just to help his students & make sure they stand not at the losing end. This was not it, even during his ailment he had been supporting students from India by way of social networking. He was an inspiration to other teachers too.

I had met him last in 2012 on a visit to the school with a few classmates. Never even thought for a second that it will be the last meeting of ours.  I didn’t really realize that his condition had deteriorated to this extent recently & lament for not having been able to pay him a visit in the last few days of his life. But, certain is my respect & love for him eternally.

May Allah make the final abode easy for him.

Pedro Baranda, a melange of an all audacious being

It was with the onset of a typical Wednesday morning on the 3rd of April, 2013 last week, that a special day at office was inquisitively beginning to unfold.  A Wednesday in particular, generally, escalates the exuberance uncontrollably to the prime, for it’s a serene slumber that beckons the tired self ahead on the weekend. But, without a doubt, the ebullience had to be even more mystifying & vigorous that day as the President of Otis Elevators, Pedro Baranda, was to visit the office to meet the employees & attend an employee recognition ceremony.

Before I plunge into describing the day further, let me just brief you all about the man himself. Pedro Baranda, as the name rightly indicates such an august, grandeur & majesty, holds a Bachelors degree in Mining Engineering, Masters in Business Administration & a Doctorate in Engineering too. It goes without saying that the individual is a personality gifted, but in abundance. Baranda had joined United Technologies Company (UTC), of which Otis is a wholly owned subsidiary, in the year 1993 as a Research Engineer. With an undeterred grit &  tenacity, he had launched himself into the elevator industry in his mid-twenties. Therefrom, he exalted to new highs with every tick of the clock. Having put forth an indispensable display of intellect & charm, he held various critical executive positions later on & continued to embark on designations such as a Director, General Manager, Managing Director, etc. During the course of his success, he had even been a member of a team of Otis engineers, who won the George Mead Medal, the highest Engineering honor given by UTC. He was named the President of Otis in February last year & is now based in Connecticut, USA.

As we had all prepared to welcome his Excellency the other day, the plan was put to adore the President with a blooming paraphernalia of momentous time frames. He  was greeted in a traditional Arab style by the the Managing Director, HR Manager & other top management executives, having been offered dates & the special Qahwa (the arabic word for coffee) as he entered the office. Subsequently, having toured the office meeting each employee,  the deserving staff were recognized for their efforts at work. A few minutes of enlightenment followed, as the President shared his views about the business & our commitment to Safety in work. Those were one of the most inspiring words audible to my conscience ever. To me, truly it was his carriage that turned heads. The conduct, the mien, the deportment & above all the simplistic grace had engulfed my mind, as the facility went abuzz with the clicking of cameras & the claps & the admiration.

As the designation demands, Baranda often shares his views with the public, capitalizing the advent of a highly sophisticated social media in today’s world. In an interview, he acquainted the world with trying to innovate the modern elevators his way by introducing a small screen to the elevator design, which would attract the attention of captive passengers to what is being run on the screen. This may well eliminate, the albeit few, but monotonous moments of a vertical shift. Also, he blogs regularly for interacting with the public.

To summarize it all up, it was a great learning experience for me to witness such an audacious being, on whom the effect of his stature is  hardly conspicuous. My wishes & prayers for him in all the ventures that he would be a part of in future.


Farhatullah Khan…….as gallant as ever

Today,I talk of the decade that has gone past an year back.We had gotten into a new block at our International Indian School where the torrid noonday sun and the chirrups were both more apparent .Its was in the year 2003 that I came to sixth standard.As obvious,we had new teachers to take us ahead in our student life.As what my notoriety reminds me,I was absent on the first day of the new academic year,a practise that I became deft at :p .Ergo,I had missed the orientation sessions between teachers and students on that very day.I knew not many except a few that my elder brother talked about.

Farhatullah Khan Sir was my Maths teacher in grade six.I very well remember his classes and how much I feared him.He had a few ethics and principles,on which lay those 30-40 minutes of enlightenment,that I would come up with in the following lines.He was a student in Anwarul Uloom College which is affiliated to Osmania University in Hyderabad and completed his B.Ed from the same College in the early 90’s.Farhat Sir has been serving the institution(IISJ) since 1994  that covers a long period of 17 years.His dedication,enthusiasm,determination and positive approach towards his profession is truly admirable.”I want my students to be the best to set milestones and torch bearers leading the Masses.” says Farhat Sir.

I had mentioned above about the rules that he made for his students and now would elaborate a bit about the same.One sentence that I can recall almost verbatim is “Forget the word forget in maths period”.He didn’t like excuses and that too which were lame. He wanted every child to have basic stationery with him at all times that included two black ball pens.I still remember his insistence to make separate column for rough work on every page of our notebooks.The way he used to calculate and get the result orally left me in stupefaction at a number of times.I do not really know whether or not he follows the same rules today,but know one thing for sure that he is very honest with his duty.He was strict in class and I thought it would be implausible to get away without being beaten.But with Allah’s mercy along with his,I managed to get through :).There was a time span of around five years when I was not at all in contact with him,until one day when I met him at school.It helped to revive the old student-teacher relationship once again for which I always will be grateful to him.I now also am in touch with him through facebook and I see how he makes use of this platform to be in touch with his students.His extensive interest in Cricket makes him an ardent fan of our Indian cricket team.I simply adore his sublime personality that can be gauged just by a twire.

He has a very popular Cause on facebook by the name “Understanding of the Holy Quran is a Must” from years of which I am a co-admin with him(Thanks Sir for having put your trust in me).Insha-allah,I will soon write about the importance of reading Qur’an with translation in the days to come.

Henna’s arrival spills magic…..

So suddenly today out of the normal proceedings this evening,I thought of coming back to the abandoned space.Never thought that the ‘idiot box’ can so easily trigger a feeling and create a vinculum almost inconceivable and far-fetched.A bonding that I struggle hard to achieve at times.Not getting further with my obsession anymore,I now touch down to my point of discussion for this hour.

Henna Rabbani Khar,the name that reverberates oftentimes in media ever since the lady landed on Indian soil .I here am talking about the Minister of Foreign Affairs who is the youngest and first female to have got this stature in the history of Pakistan.She now is almost a week old in office.She was born on 19 January,1977 in Multan,Punjab and is the daughter of politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar. Having graduated with a B.Sc(Hons.) from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999,she left for US to further the process of her education.There she completed her M.Sc in Hotel Management from University of Massachusetts in the year 2001.Now married and a mother of two sons and one daughter,she also is a businesswoman by profession.

Her political career saw daylight when she was elected to National Assembly of Pakistan from Pakistan Muslim League-Q(PML-Q) in 2002.Due to some reasons,Khar joined Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) in 2008.She has also been given other important portfolios while being in the cabinet of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.On 13 June,2009 she became the first women to present a budget speech in the National Assembly.After the resignation of Shah Mehmood Qureshi,she was appointed as the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on the 13th of February,2011 and was later declared as Foreign Minister on July 19,by the President.

She had recently come on a two day visit to India to initiate another leg of the peace talks between the two nations with her Indian counterpart SM Krishna.“This is my first trip to India and New Delhi as the foreign minister of Pakistan. I bring the good wishes of the people of Pakistan and the government of Pakistan,” Khar told reporters when she arrived at the airport.I see that the Indian media has been paying much attention to other attributes of Khar and did not concentrate much on her political abilites.Her wardrobe and dressing style has literally become the talk of the town.“All eyes on glamorous Pak minister,” is what the Rediff website had to say. “She is clearly being looked at as a perfect combination of beauty and brains.” it added. Her Roberto Cavalli sunglasses,extra large Birkin bag,pearl jewelry and the blue colour formal apparel according to the humid weather conditions has given her a perfect ten in the fashion industry.It has been observed that more and more people are trying to know about the lady on Google and are scrounging for her images to get acquainted.Among the many articles published about her on cyberspace and other mediums,I was startled to see people wanting HRK to join the industry ruled by SRK and the likes.Some want her to stay back as a replacement for Sania Mirza.It’s just hilarious to say the least.

It appears that Times of India,a leading daily of our country has completely fallen for the 34-year old.They have decided to change the name of Indo-Pak friendship campaign from ‘Aman ki Asha’ to ‘Aman ki Henna”.An official of the Times Group said that some people thought that Aman and Asha are names of two lovers from India and hence Pakistan was nowhere involved in this campaign.Consequently,this bedlam would be washed off from their minds once the name is altered.

Several issues were discussed in yesterdays meeting between the two Foreign Ministers and they will be together again in the first half of the succeeding year to review the progress in the dialogue process said SM Krishna.While speaking to the media after the discussion,Khar said “a new generation of India and Pakistan will see a relationship which is going to be much different then the one we experienced in the last few decades. ”

Pakistan has indeed contrived and contrived well to better the relations between them and us.I hope that it helps to serve the purpose and we see a new era ushering in that aids the proliferation of peace and harmony.

The ‘Khan’ factor… Sharmila Ravinder

Sharmila Ravinder is a well qualified CA from Bangalore.She writes mostly on social,cultural and political issues.Also,she is a great animal lover and loves travelling.She runs two blogs,one at TOI at the following url  and the other at WordPress, is a brilliantly written piece from her and I look forward to sharing more of her writings in the days to come.Here is what she had to say.

Salman Khan recently declared, “I am not interested in being a superhero. I don’t want to wear my underwear on the outside nor do I want to be bitten by a spider. I prefer being SAL-MAN”. Salman is also supremely confident that he makes a better hero than anybody else as well. It would be interesting to hear Shah Rukh’s or Aamir’s reaction to this statement of utmost impudence. I am not in any way implying that SRK or Aamir are better Actors than Salman but a statement from one Khan always draws interesting reactions from the other Khans.

The battle of ‘The Khans’ has always been an interesting one. A given fact that the terminology ‘The Khans ‘ in Bollywood refers to the trinity of Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh and if you have no idea who comprises ‘ The Khans’, you would get a big D minus in the ‘Know your Bollywood Stars ‘ test and be labelled a dingbat. The other ‘Khans’ in comparison to this trio are a miniscule blip on the Bollywood radar of fame and if you admit you don’t know the lesser popular Khans, you would not sound as much of an imbecile. Each of the Khans from the trinity claim to be bigger than the other in not so subtle ways. In fact their beating of their own chest varies from boorish to downright ludicrous, we know it, they know it, but we are obsessed with this trio and we eagerly lap up all their amusing antics on and off screen.

We have grown up with them, by hearted some unforgettable songs from QSQT, Baazigar and Maine Pyaar Kiya (amongst an endless list of chartbusting hits) and while we have aged, graduated from universities, procured jobs, settled with families and moved on with life, ‘The Khans’ still look and behave like pimple faced teenagers. One of them in fact even convincingly and remarkably manages to play a student at his age, his puppy face can even sell ice to the Eskimos! The other despite the creases, wrinkles and generous nicotine stained teeth is still the darling lover boy now turned super hero. And one more is an eligible bachelor, struts with a swagger and changes his girlfriends to match the colour of his coolers. Love them or hate them, unfortunately you cannot live without them, they are the essence of Bollywood and their competition with one another is a daily dose of entertainment.

Each of the Khans sincerely believes he is a bigger, brighter and a better star than the other one. The three Khans were born in 1965, they more or less have started their careers around the same time, have an enviable fan following, have had a sizeable amount of box office success in the last two decades and have allowed them selves to liberally dip into controversies as we would have expected them to. They are superheros in their own right, they talk like one, walk like one and their collective egos can easily fill up every inch of the stratosphere. The coming together of the Khans is an inter-galactic event, there is never a dull moment when they are in the news and especially when they are pitted against one another.

But, how much longer will‘ The Khans ‘ continue to appeal to us ? The three are inching past their prime.  The days are nigh when their name alone will not sell any more. Each new release of theirs requires a greater effort than the previous one, a more aggressive marketing strategy, a younger heroine, a bigger budget, and a chart busting item number to guarantee some level of success. One may argue that every movie needs the same formula to succeed, but there was a time when the Khan’s came with a guarantee. No longer is this the case.

If Aamir is a perfectionist, Salman is extremely stylish and Shah Rukh has an extraordinary sense of dedication. The three have their own unique appeal and each one squares off a section of the audience’s fancy. And there are some like me who do not prefer one Khan over the other. If I think Aamir makes a better Actor, at the same time I am quite enchanted with Salman’s star appeal and I remain in awe of Shah Rukh’s ability to push him self to the brink. Yet, I find Aamir’s marketing ability scheming, Salman’s shooting of the black bucks unpardonable and Shah Rukh Khan’s rants loud and pompous. None of the Khans are a favourite and yet I watch every movie of ‘The Khans’. That’s why I say, love them or hate them, but, it seems for now we cannot live without them. This is ‘The Khan’ factor but it’s slowly changing.