Sunday, November 21, 2010

Akshta in Sept + Oct + Nov


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sajjad Mama : Charming personality of sweet heart and tongue

Last week on You Tube, I was watching an interview of O P Nayyar being taken by Amin Sayani and my thoughts as they always happen with the word ' Sayani' veered towards Sajjad Mama known to the otherd as just 'Sajjad ' or 'Sajjad Sayani ' . An uncanny similarity between the two Sayani personalities was their gift of gab with charm of sweetness.

Y'day when I learnt about the passing away of Sajjad Mama, all those incidents of my interaction with him rolled out like a movie film. He was a professional photographer and had several stories to narrate of his adventures of freelance photography. My earliest memory of him was during the period of ' Bhiwandi Hindu Muslim Riots'. I was in my single digit age by then but his vivid narration of going to Bhiwandi amidst all the mayhem prevailing and taking still shots, getting them processed at Kodak (that was the only film processing studio in Mumbai) and then mailing to BBC in London was riveting and still fresh in memory. His art of reproducing a Bhiwandi riot scenario through sweetness of his tongue matched in equal measure the literary narrative of Bhishma Sahani' experience of Bhiwandi in Tamas.

For me, Sajjad mama represented a perfect PR man. He was people's man and would thrive in the company of people. I don't think I ever saw him sitting alone in any event. He would make sure that he would reach across everyone, greet with smile and humility irrespective of their age or their association with him. How often we become inhibitive of approaching anyone because we can't place their name or feel burdened by the thought of their not being in our age group. For Sajjad Mama, words like ' vahini ' ' bal' ' baba' ' aai' ' aaji' cut across all generations or gender effortlessly. He would love to talk and talk for ever. People often are wary of incessant talkers but with him you would be spellbound by his sweetness of his heart and tongue. All it took ' one personal meeting' for any stranger to claim his association with him. I have never heard him saying anything untoward or inappropriate about anyone, hallmark of his gentleness and noble character. With twinkle in his eyes and child like enthusiasm, his narrative of any interesting story would often begin with “Tula mee Sangto....." and I would make myself part of the adult setting abandoning my fellow aged kids, because there was nothing more entertaining than listening to him.

I do not know when and how he became part of Kurdikar family; perhaps it could be from his growing years at Gowalia tank. But he became an inseparable part of Kurdikar clan all his life. I remember his enthusiasm when Mai Aaji (Gantapswini Moghubai Kurdikar) was accorded Padma Vibushan and Doordarshan crew had arrived to film the event at the Gowalia Tank. This was a perfect setting for Sajjad Mama to display his professional skills and pride of being part of Kurdikar. He was at the helm of recording the event by creating a theme, directing every participant of their role and the photographer about the manner this event would be filmed.

With my drifting away from Mumbai, I lost my contact with him but his personality, charm and sweet communicative skills remained with me forever. Through Sajjad Mama, I realized that if we have a courtesy and courage to apply sweetness of words in sincere manner, we all are so well received, accepted and gets connected in every relationship. Sajjad mama, every one shall miss your presence and so would I. May your soul remain as noble and vivacious as you were in this material world.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

4 hours to cover 2.3 km distance : Singapore Malysia Border Travel


What are the different type of trees planted along the divider on the road that joins Singapore and Malaysia border post?
• How many of these have flowers?
• What type of fruits does a palm tree have?
• What is the height of security fence that is been put along the highway?
• How many cameras are fitted on the poles and how their angles are maneuvered remotely?
• What happens to the car engine when it is running for several hours without car moving few meters every 10 minutes?

These and many such questions were answered as we trudged along 2.3 km long road after passing Singapore immigration and before entering Malaysia border. It took us 4 hours to cover that distance.

Would this long wait have been avoided? I think the answer is No. Immigration officials did open most of the gates and they handled the papers quickly. There was no stoppage for baggage screening. It is just that cars kept on pouring during morning hour of Deepavali holiday adjoining the weekend. Few questions did come across my mind. How could old age people manage sitting for long hours? What if someone's health falters? In India, similar situation would have been far more entertaining. There would be street sellers selling chips, peanuts, water, newspaper and kids toys. Car drivers squatting and huddling together on the green patch of the divider with tobacco stuffed inside their mouth. Men with children peeing through the columns of concrete bridge dividers while women cursing themselves of being victims of anatomical anomaly. Here on Singapore Malaysia border, we managed well without all that entertainment. But we had our share of misery. We became victim of road frustration as our car was banged behind by youngsters from Johor baru without any sign of remorse or apology from them. Our mobile battery gave away. Honda Accord car engine would struggle go beyond 80 kms/hour despite full acceleration till we stopped the engine and let it reset twice. Past the immigration clearance, immediate reaction of the drivers was to race ahead thereby causing string of fatal accidents. Luckily we weren’t part of them. A lesson was learnt. Never attempt driving on the long week end at peak hours. Return scenario was pleasant though. We crossed the border at 930pm. By then most of visitors may have sneaked past the immigration.

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