Friday, November 28, 2008

India calling

I'm flying off to India tonight for 10 days! Just taking some time off from work and see the wife.

Don't think I'll get much time to blog. I wanted to post some stuff on Mumbai but shortage of time got the better of me. I will do so but later. My heart goes out to the families of all those who lost their lives due to these senseless terror attacks. I wish we could undo all this. I wish.

I was supposed to fly via Mumbai but got my flight rescheduled via Hyderabad.

See you in a bit. Peace!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mamta vs Obama

Mamta Banerjee has said that she is the Obama of India!


(More silence and trying to keep a straight face)

Couldn't hold it any longer and I burst out laughing! This was was most hilarious piece of news I've heard since Obama got elected or even since the day he decided to run for office.

Mamta Banerjee comparing herself with Barack Obama.

(Another bout of hysterical laugher)

What are these freakin politicians thinking? Or do they even think? Clearly, they don't. But that's a well known fact. So what made this lady call herself the Obama of India? (I still can't take that smirk off my face) And what more, who all believed her? I am prepared to be shocked. After this, I think I can take anything!

Not to be one-sided, isn't it too early for any comparisons? I mean, Obama has not even taken office yet. He has just promised. Only time will tell. Can he really open 2.5 million jobs next year or in the next 2 years? Will he take troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan? On education (No-child-left-behind reform and cheaper education), Environment (Investments in alternative fuels, reduced dependence on Middle East oil, More green jobs etc), Healthcare (Put things back together from the tatters left by the Bush administration), Taxes (Proposed tax cut and tax relief) and Women (His proposed policies against women inequalities)? Is he going to live up to all this?

It's all too early to tell. As for Mrs. Banerjee, I'd really be interested to learn how she plans to be the Indian Obama!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Believe it or not

If I say that I lost 8 kg in 30 days, how many of you are going to believe me? Believe it or not, it is true. 30 days of diet control, brisk exercise and lots of drinking water and here I am - 8 kg lighter.

But coming to the more serious part, why did I have to loose that much weight? That's coz I was, not 8 but actually 18 kg over weight!!! I swear! I know, my height hides most of the weight but according to my BMI, I need to be atleast 18 kg lighter. Thanks to my post-marriage laziness, ice-cream-doughnuts-muffins-desserts indulgence, culinary skills of folks at home and, ofcourse, the KFCs and Burger Kings of the world!

So, with 2 inches off the waist and 8 kg lighter, let me tell you how it feels! It feels like a job half done. Boo. Yes, don't want to rest on my laurels now. We are on a roll, people!

Finally, I can hope of fitting in that CK trouser. Finally!

I will check back again in 30 days with another update. Oh, and how did I do it? Atkins baby, Atkins! (


Friday, November 21, 2008

Tumse he

Na hai yeh paana
Na khona he hai
Tera na hona jaane
Kyun hona he hai
Tumse he din hota hai
Surmayi shaam aati hai
Tumse he tumse he

Har ghadi saans aati hai
Zindagi kehlati hai
Tum se he tum se he
Na hai yeh paana
Na khona he hai
Tera na hona jaane
Kyun hona he hai

Aankhon mein ankhen teri
Bahoon mein baahein teri
Mera na mujhme kuch raha hua kya
Baaton mein baatein teri
Raatein saugatein teri
Kyun tera sab yeh ho gaya hua kya
Mein kahin bhi jata hoon
Tumse he mil jata hoon
Tumse he tumse he
Shor mein khamoshi hai
Thodi se behoshi hai
Tumse he tumse he

Aadha sa wada kabhi
Aadhe se zayada kabhi
Je chahe karlun iss tarah wafa ka
Chode na chote kabhi
Tode na toote kabhi
Jo dhaga tumse jud gaya wafa ka
Mein tera sarmaya hoon
Jo bhi mein ban paya hoon
Tumse he tumse he
Raste miljate hai
Manzile miljati hai
Tumse he tumse he

Na hai yeh paana
Na khona he hai
Tera na hona jaane
Kyun hona he hai.

Lyrics by Irshad Kamil. Music by Pritam.

Dedicated to my wife! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How I met John Grisham

My fascination for John Grisham's work started when I first read 'The Partner'. This was way back in 1998.

Books were an unchartered territory for me then. All I'd ever read was Archie comics, Enid Blyton short stories, Hardy Boys, Secret Seven, you know what I mean. Real mainstream fiction did not exist in my world. My world did not have place for anything else. Then I stumbled upon a copy of 'The Partner'. My brother had just finished reading it and couldn't stop raving about it. First reaction on seeing a 416 page novel - like hell I'm gonna read this! It was lying around for a week. I always heard him say that a book is a whole new world. Always got me thinking: What world is he talking about?

"They found him in Ponta Porp, a pleasant little town in Brazil, on the border of Paraguay, in a land still known as the Frontier. They found him alone, as best they could tell, though a maid came and went at odd hours during the eight days they hid and watched."

Woah! That opening hit me like a thunderbolt. Who found who? Why were they searching for him? Why was he hiding? Or was he hiding? Did he know they were there? What did they want?

And thus began my amazing journey living the lives of fictional characters created by Grisham. All characters are etched in my memory as if they are a part of me now. Or maybe I am a part of them. I was lost in Grisham's world. Nothing else mattered. He could take you to places you will never go to, meet people you will never meet, do things you will never do and live the life you may never live! How about being a gay American senator lined up for the top job at the white house and have 3 former supreme court judges know your secret? Or how about being that rookie lawyer who fights and wins the lawsuit of a lifetime? Or how about being that jury member who can manipulate an entire jury and deliver whatever verdict you want but only at a price? Or how about trying to save a man on an electric chair? Or how about defending a black client who is on trial for the murder of 2 rednecks who had raped his 7 yr old daughter? Or how about having someone buy you a judge seat in the supreme court? Or how about writing a report that could implicate the whose who of American legislature and then run for your life?

There is more. But I cannot finish. I can only get started. And then the mind takes over.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Before and After

Friday is a public holiday here in UAE. I go to work on Friday and take Sunday off. Since it is a holiday, I don't have any arrangement to travel. This is what I did to get to work for more than a year on a Friday, before I got my driving license.


7.15 am: Wake up on yet another Friday morning.
7.50 am: Catch a cab from my appartment to the bus stand.
8.00 am: Board the bus or shared taxi to Dubai.
9.20 am: As we approach Dubai Internet City (my office), I ask the driver to drop me off on the highway.
9.22 am: Either wait for a cab or start walking into the underpass that helps me cross the road. No pedestrian crossing. Have to walk along the road for 20 min.
9.45 am: Login in work.
12. 00 pm. Friday prayers. No cabs at this time around this area. Start walking from office for 2 km to the closest Masjid.
12.35 pm: Reached. Pray.
1.05 pm: Lots of cabs here.
1.10 pm: Back to office.
5.30 pm: Getting ready to head back home. Either some kind soul comes from home to pick me up or step out and walk 1o min, by jumping a wall, and head to the highway.
5.40 pm: Buses don't stop. Ask for lift. Avg waiting time: 1 hour.
6.45 pm: Someone finally stops. Get a ride home.
8.00 pm: Get down at bus stand. Take a cab.
8.15 pm: Back home, finally!


Wake up. Get ready. Step into the car. Drive to work. Work. Step back in to the car. Drive back home. Period.

Blissful! :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dubai Driving License - Part 4 (The End)


I couldn't believe my ears. Had I become so paranoid that my ears were ringing with what I wanted to hear? How could this happen? How could I, me, Masood Salem, pass the great Dubai driving test?

But pass I did. And that too with style. Not one remark on my assessment sheet. Too the extent that the examiner even complimented on my drive.

Why wouldn't he - I was the first guy to pass today!

This is the hardest I ever had to fight for something. Seriously. Nothing had eluded me so much in my life. And hence this 'victory' (Yes, I would call this a victory by all means!) is all the more sweeter.

So, this finally is the last 'episode' of my driving license saga. Part 4 - The conclusion. The grand finale. The End.


Monday, November 10, 2008


A few thousand years ago, Nuh (as known in Islam) or Noah (in Christianity), on instructions from God, built an ark (a big boat) and together with his family, some followers and with one male and one female representative of all animals on the planet, boarded the ark and set assail. God, too upset on mankind's sinful ways, had decided to flood the earth and punish all those who were left behind. They sailed for 5-6 months before the waters receded and finally saw land. With no human alive, they were the source for all post-flood humanity.

Interesting, isn't it? That is not my purpose. The reason why I write this today is because ARK can be used in one more context - Acts of Random Kindness. When I heard about this (and this I did while watching the movie 'Evan Almighty'), it really got me thinking.

We talk about change. We talk about the world, the country, our workplace, the government or the people or even ourselves. But are never the ones who are the catalyst for that change. We just talk and talk and talk. And if someone does stand up, there are thousands to pull him down (sometimes literally). So how do we influence change? Aren't we too small or too minuscule in comparison to the larger scheme of things? Who is going to notice? And despite taking efforts, is anything really going to change? The answer lies in ARK.

ARK does not require you to be in a position of power to change things. All you need to do is one random act, one small deed, one gesture per day. How about not breaking traffic laws for a day? Or throwing the wrapper of that chocolate bar in the trash rather than on the road or, as you walk in or out of work, greeting all security guards you see that day. The list can be endless.

And goodness can be infectious. You never know who you may be inspiring.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I miss you

I miss you; when I wake up every morning,
As much as I do even when I am snoring.

I miss you; when I get ready for work,
Not finding my stuff feels like a dork.

I miss you; when I unpack my lunch,
Not making me feel even to munch.

I miss you; want your voice on the phone,
But all I get now is a stupid dial-tone.

I miss you; when I get back home,
Only waiting is my bed’s foam.

I miss you; your side is empty,
Sleeping now feels like humpty-dumpty.

I miss you; my wife, my friend,
Comon, bring this distance to an end.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Jagjit Singh - WOW

Breath-taking. Spellbound. Mesmerized. Out. Of. This. World.

That's all I can say after attending Jagjit Singh's concert on Friday night. No wonder the man is a living legend. For close to three hours, we didn't know what hit us. He had us possessed.

And what do I tell about his troop! The jugalbandi was mind blowing. Sameer Upadhya at the tabla and Deepak Pandit on the violin had us gasping for breath. And, if this was not enough, the surprise package of the evening was Nithin on the flute. I think God was listening. And just when we thought we'd seen enough, how about a jugalbandi between the three? What more, even Agni on the synthesizer decides to join in. Absolutely unbelievable. This was the highlight of the evening!!!

Some all time great gazals like 'Woh kagaz ki kashti', 'Huzoor aap kabhi', 'Hosh walon ko khabar', 'Mein nashien mei hun' and 'Hazaron khwaheshien aise' to some foot tapping punjabi gazals, he had us under his spell all along.

Before the concert, I was wondering what excited me more - the concert or the hotel? But we have a winner hands down!