Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Paki Affair...DAAM

Serial/Drama: Daam
Writer: Umera Ahmed
Channel: Zindagi

Why I just love the Paki drama? Because they just get to the point. I am a fan of Korean Drama as well and I consider them the best. Now I am hooked to 'Daam'- a Pakistani Drama about two estranged friends where relationships, friendship, love, family, money, poverty, frustrations, desperation, marriage is all packed in this one. You get a very sad picture of Zara's household while Maleha, the rich friend of hers is pampered and spoilt at her household. But Mahela loves Zara enough to pay for her whenever she gets a chance. Zara is everything for her. They are doing their MBBS and I could guess that they have their marriage on line as well. Maleha is marrying her cousin (Her father's own sister's son) which seems odd to me at first but that happens and is accepted in Islam. However Maleha thinks she has the perfect life and Zara struggles on her own, wanting to help her family overcome many difficulties. Her sister's marriage- Asma becomes her number one priority now. But she falls hard for Mleha's brother and vice versa. And trouble starts to brew between the two friends.

Some dialogues in Daam are just so touching, you will cry.

Zara: Tum jo mujhe khana khilatithi, woh mere din ka pehla aur akhri hota tha.

This line touched me so much, I just couldn't help but thinking about how a life of a woman who is brilliant and love unconditionally, has to face such a difficult life.

Zara has to give up her love for her sister and Maleha thinks she got what she wanted. But Mahela is dealing with really mean husband, intact his whole family are just plain mean and vain. Fifa (the psycho sister) makes sure that Maleha is never happy.  And I liked that Maleha learns the value of Zara quiet early after their break. 

Zara never recovers from what Maleha does to her and she is psychologically a disturbed woman. She doesn't go back and thats what it means what you know you cannot just get back to people you hurt. Hurt is something that cannot be healed. Junaid (Maleha's brother) really suffers because he did genuinely love Zara and I just couldn't let go of him either. I don't know how Zara does it. The last episode is mind-blowing! 

I think I learnt from it that there is just more to life than the past. Past relationships even with friends do come to an end and there is no "Daam" when it comes to love.

Do watch it on Youtube if you missed it!

Monday, November 23, 2015

What Was I UpTo This Diwali

I haven't written a for a while. Call it post Diwali celebrations and that happens a lot when you have a toddler at home. He doesn't enjoys the crackers. In fact, I do. I always loved the sparkle even though it's bad. I know despite me saying no to cracker, I lit up the phuljaris just for fun. But my son just ran away with the rest of the box. He hid it in a safe place and wouldn't say where.
"Fire, Danger, mummy! No fire!"
I taught him that when he was fidgeting with a box of matches a little while ago. And well, all i can say is, the tables has turned on me.

But I did make a beautiful rangoli and lit a few diyas. Husband did the necessary colourful fittings of the lights and it just felt a great evening. Diwali, one of the festivities that gives me immense happiness. I just never want to let go of the feeling, hence I kept the lights, refusing to let it go till I leave the place. We also had double celebrations on. With V. having his birthday on the same day as Diwali. Then parties after parties where we just drank in an obscene amount, danced, sang and well just felt happy.

And finally I am packing up, leaving my beloved hills- regretting to have ever hated it because there was no network for a long time- because I had no company and because I just felt really away from my parents. But nothing can beat the peace I felt inside. No restaurants, no Malls, No fancy shopping but yes, I really felt at home here. I learnt a few things here, how to make friends with the locals who were just so open hearted that I was over-whelmed.
There is something about simplicity- It Never goes out of style. 
And so saying goodbye is hard. So long, Manipur!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


World Toilet Day is on November 19th and we need to know some things about it. 
Image source:

In a far off village...

"Amma, our teacher asked us if we have a toilet at home".
Amma, keeps reading the dough for the afternoon meal and talks very little. She has a large part of her pall, hiding her face away from the rest of the family. 
"Just say the truth".
I didn't want to tell anyone the truth. Every time we had to do our business, we had to do it at the sides of the roads. It didn't feel shameful when i was little but i am older now. It's alright outrageous for me now. 
"Do you think we should have a toilet at home?"
Appa comes home. He is tired mostly and he's got a good job in the town. He looks thoughtful when he hears me out.
"There was a reason why our ancestors didn't have a toilet inside the house".
"But why can't we keep it clean and keep it close Appa. And I don't want to pee in the fields anymore".
My words shocks him and I do not apologise. 
"She is right. You know Alka is going to school. And didn't you say, she will learn things and teach us back? Its for our own good".
A week later we got a makeshift toilet made inside our house. It was good, let felt right. 
But I promised Appa that we will keep it clean and hygienic because my teacher tells me that an unclean, stinky toilet bourns many germs that could harm my family. I help my Amma clean it. 

This is just a story I wrote. But usually its difficult to make people understand that a toilet at home is the most important thing for your family. But keeping it clean, flush or pour water, wash hands and teach your kids the same thing. Its not shame is cleaning after you leave the bathroom behind. Even if its public toilets. I see the pathetic conditions of Sulab Shauchalya and I just cannot use it! Hence thats why we are so way behind the other countries. We need to respect ourselves enough to leave our lazy attitudes behind and become a good citizen who cares. 

That being said, I do agree that villages are much more aware now and i am glad that India is change its attitude to constructing a toilet inside their homes for the convenience of the old and the women in their households. 

So pledge on this day that you will keep your toilet clean (despite the gender), teach your children about hygiene and also contribute to keep your country clean as well. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Someone whom I admire- #madeofgreat

Mr Anil Kundra

A man of substance,
Who is he?
He makes do with little,
Or whatever he thinks he needs.

I see him with children, 
Who don't get him much, 
But they love him, 
Oh, ever so much!

He has patience and some more of that, 
Some greatness behind his human form, 
And kindness in those bright eyes.

What makes someone great? Is it the way he lives his life or the way he wants to do things that one day would make a difference? For many such dreams remain just a dream and its not long before one starts to get bogged down with family demands and their own corporate aspirations. 

I see a man, in his late fifties, changing my perspective about special needs children, once in for all. Anil Kumar Kundra has decided to follow his path in life. The only man who had the guts to realise his dreams. Yes, he has a family like everyone else does. He has beautiful children and a wife yet social service was something that actually bought him happiness and along the way- contentment. Which is the most important thing in life than anything else. And why do I say that? Because it's not just social service I am talking about. It's opening a whole new perspective of raising an individual with special needs. His residential school for Autism (Children and Adults) has made lives only better. I had the opportunity of staying there for quiet some time. And since it was in the outskirts I had thought that being away from the city would be difficult, that all i needed was a Mall or some fancy restaurants to be happy. 

The routine at Autism Ashram is unique, keeping the standards high and the service with all the humbleness that would outshine any institution in the world. The Mess is named in the memory the child- Shubri who used to study with them but passed away after a tragic accident when she was home with her parents. The mess has steel utensils to maintain hygiene with visual instructions that help the children staying become independent. The in-house cooks are amazing with maintaining the menu where with meals you get to have snacks in between. They do have a hectic work schedule and are equally amazing with the children. Mr Kundra is always around, keeping a vigilant check on what is happening. I have even seen him making a dish or two, serving the children because I guess he such a genius around everyone. 

Mr Kundra has chosen the location of Autism Ashram with one goal in mind- to keep oneself close to nature. The wide array of mango trees really is a pleasure to the eyes. The rose garden and the Zen Gardens with walking path where children get to develop their sensory feelings. The swimming pool has been added to give adequate exercise and play time during summers. And its all to the mastermind of Mr Kundra.  No doubt that Autism Ashram is visually appealing. 

He has also planned out the evening exercise programme where children have to walk for atleast an hour to keep them from being lazy also builds up a good appetite for the evening supper. The one to one caretakers being a vital part of the Ashram are like friends who helps them with their day to day chores. 

Mr Kundra himself lives a simple life. He has a one room cottage with no TV which he shares with his wife Mrs Jyoshna Kundra- who has an equally admirable persona. She helps him with the planning of the Ashram and supervises the caretakers, keeping an uptight string, in case things go out of hand. I really am at awe at how this very unique residential school for Autism, is such a habitable place to be. To open such a big place with their own funds, one needs to have a lot of guts. But what makes you understand them is their belief in themselves. 

Note: Autism, not many know what it is. And you need to. Really, when you see children or adults behaving in an unusual manner, remember that its you who feels uncomfortable, not them. 

Here are a few pictures that will show you the dedication he has towards making this place a heaven on earth. 

Sunrise @ Autism Ashram

The team with the students
The Shubri Mess
The entrance

Sunset At Autism Ashram
The accommodations

Click on the link to know more:
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Monday, November 9, 2015

ChavangKut Festival In Manipur - A Photo Dairy

Phenak (bottom): Any Handloom emporium
 Sweater: Jabong
Necklace: Tribal
The harvest festival of Manipur is here! In fact the three day festivities doses out the most grimmest of creatures here. Its an important festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribes here in Manipur who celebrate their end of harvest season by organising an event that goes on till late hours of the night. You have the locals singing, dancing and also shopping at the grounds. You see dances of various states of North East as well- Nagaland, Assam and Mizoram. The beautiful ladies dressed in their local dress- A Phanek with a festive blouse that mostly worn by the Christians in this part of the city.
The wheat grain shells spread as a layer of carpet, you see how much it means to them. Agriculture is really a big part of Manipur and a source of main income hence they give it the utmost respect by giving each and everyone a part to be a part of this festival. Here are a few pictures I took.

The stall selling the local handlooms. Ties, scarfs, waistcoats, handbags, wraparounds (phenak)

Yimchunger tribe Naga dance
The stalls around

Miching tribe of Assam (dance)