Thursday, March 26, 2015

I am back

Yes,  I am back with a new resolve to blog regularly. The last couple of years,  initially had me focussing inwards to look at and then I hit a writers block.

However somewhere I had diverted from the path of creativity. Being fully employed did not help. Somehow a stable income tends to kill my creative expressions.  It however also makes me super unhappy and miserable. Writing after all as I say is an escape

So I am back.  New phone and all.  Trying to make a sense of it all.

No one wanders here I know.  But when did I say I wanted thousands here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tell Series , Natie Krish my thought

I was watching this video

http://vimeo.com/26291835

This was interesting because Natie Krish is a billionaire who lost nearly everything and then got it all back.

Here are the key points from my perspective

a) Fight for things you believe in

b) Look at the bigger picture

c) Inflation will not go away and that's why invest in real estate. Don't worry about it, recognize it

d) I see opportunities where others may not. It may be an instinct

e) Look at businesses that have a recurring cash flow. So choose a supermarket or a life insurance company as opposed to a construction company.

f) There are a lot of things I would have done differently. But then does it matter. I could still have been in SA

g) Avoid public companies. Keep em private

h) There are no supply chains in China for small companies

i) Communism has disappeared from china. Being richer is good now.

j) You have to be the leader wherever you enter. HOW- you do it better, you do it differently

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A long break and news

So I was in Hong Kong two weeks and I had a rocking time.

KICC has been one long journey and I so wish it had not ended. There was always so much to do. :(

But it ends and while at times it hurts that we didn't win at the international finals, I realize it was an incredible experience to go all the way to HK. We defeated all the teams in India and that was achievement enough.

I now have wonderful memories from HK and friends in so many countries. I will talk more of it later. Right now just want to get it out of my system.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Do Not


I do not see, 
what others see,
In shallow depths and vain facades,
But only seek to see,
How the smallest of cogs fit into
this miracle of an existence


I do not hear, 
what others hear,
When shouts ring out in the silence
But only strain to hear,
The sounds of the individual lost,
In the crowds at the retreat


I do not smell,
what others smell,
The odours of our daily existence,
But only savour the smell,
Of people and flowers,
Of a different reality.


I do not feel,
what others feel,
As they stumble on in life,
But only seek to feel,
The sand papered reality,
That my mind creates.


I do not taste,
what others taste,
As they walk through this world,
But only try to taste,
The bitter flavour of emotions,
Crushed under people’s feet.

By Syed Ashraf Husain

PS - another of the poems I have started writing searching for a deeper meaning

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Great Argument


PS- This is an entry for a creative writing contest at a premier institute's festival. 1.5 hours , 1000 words flat. Every thing here is imaginary and any resemblances are purely coincidental. Unless of course, you know better.
Enjoyed penning the  story . Maybe I should do more of storytelling.

“It’s over !“ she shouted over the phone.
Taken aback by the fury , I could only mutter, “What , why? Everything was fine in the morning.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know anything. I know from your posts on facebook. Its over.”

And then before I could reply back I heard the sound of the call being cut. Pleading with a terminated line was not high on my list of hobbies, so I gave her a call back. And then once more and then more after that but she had switched off her phone. She was suddenly unreachable in every meaning of the word and I had to step back to analyze it all.
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

The first call was of course to Varun, my alter ego.
As his phone rang 1200 km away for a moment I wished he was closer. Then my thoughts got pushed out as his voice rang out loud over the phone.
“Hellos,dude can I call you back. Kind of stuck in a conference call”.
“Dost, it’s an emergency. She broke off.”
“Whaaat!! She did what.  thought you two were made for each other and never fought. Wait, guess I will have to cut short my other call. Hold on”
As he turned his attention to the client call trying to terminate it, I had a few moments to myself over the broken conversations I was hearing from Varun’s side. It seemed a little sudden. I had been introduced to her around six months back and even as I was shaking her hand , I knew I was falling for her.  The wooing began almost immediately. I smiled through stuff, tried to be a little less me and a little more her and it seemed she was doing  perfect job of pretending I did not exist. Varun and I would be forever exchanging notes, two bumbling fools trying to walk a path they both were utterly incapable of.
In the end , desperate times needed desperate measures. It all appeared to be going nowhere and one day I called Varun and said ,it’s time. I was gonna ask her to dinner.
“Are you sure. I think you will get your heart broken.”, he gently suggested.
“I gotta know man. Can’t be hurt more. If she says no, you know me what I will be doing”
“Jumping off a roof?”
“Bast!@#, I will be writing sad sad poetry. And fools who know nothing will appreciate it for the talent never knowing it was her not me who gets credit for the poetry.”
“You know Saleem Sinai, the reason we are good friends is coz you never fail to find something to laugh about. And what if she says yes ”
“I don’t really want to imagine stuff but I guess it will be the start of a story of the stuff that fairy tales are made of.”
“Ahh you ,the eternal romantic at heart” came his mocking reply.

“That’s me.”

I took three days to gather the courage to call her. It was funny how I, who could effortlessly chat with strangers was mortified with fear at the prospect of calling her. Once I thought I had the courage, I called. My heart was pounding as the phone rang. All for nothing as I later mused for the call rang out before disconnecting.
But the dice was cast and now I needed to persevere. I waited and the next time the phone was out of network coverage area.
The third time was almost mechanical. There was no adrenalin rush or a pounding heart. And then I heard her voice- “Hi”. All the gathered courage vanished like the dew before the midday sun. I was suddenly all alone and terrified. But I whimpered something out and just got ‘Dinner with me?’ out to her somehow.
There was that pause and I was already imagining the polite refusal. If there was ever a chance of her saying yes, my riveting performance on the phone had killed it definitely.
But instead of the no ,”Yup, when” came over the phone. I wanted to shout in joy but I meekly gave her a location and time.  The time for the shouts would be later.

With that dinner began a new adventure. From that dinner , we kind of slid into dating without ever loudly acknowledging it. There were dinners, adventure trips, concerts and hours hanging out. The formality vanished and it had been perfect. Then why…
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

But the thoughts were interrupted as Varun came back on the phone and said,”Saale ,what did you do?”
“Nothing. But she said something about facebook.”, I replied back.
“Idiot, facebook today morning on her wall. I had asked you to stop messing on facebook.”
“But it was all harmless!!”
“Go back and see how she took it.”

And then started the painful journey of going back to a day of rambling on facebook. It had just been me and Varun commenting on her status. I was reading bottom down.
“Single is independence. Freedom and free will” , was my last comment on her status. Suddenly the harmless joke seemed pretty sour.
“Doubles is over rated and over hyped”, Varun had posted.
“Doubles is a flavor of its own. Gotta try it once” , was me earlier.
“How do you like your pizzas and friends- singles or doubles”, Varun again.
“I like winning for the trophies”, I had joked
“I have a hot date and I hate the whole setup”, was Varun alluding to his life
“Truth only ok.”, I had asked Varun
“I really like you and all your ‘special’ friends man. You are all so  awesome”, Varun had intoned.
“I just want a pizza and world peace”, was my first piece.
So this  was the whole argument. I had tapped into her insecurities and somehow tripped on a landmine.
Then I just looked at her status that started it all.
‘ i ’.One character in small was all she had posted.
The Great Argument.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Answer-Vignette by Ashraf

PS Too much of poetry, non fiction and broken prose. Presenting my first short story. It's a small cog of something bigger

In old age the demons would return to haunt her. When the vigour and strength was gone and she was alone in her room at night she would start believing in all that was not there.

Her first daughter gone for seven years now would play on her mind. She had married her love and knowing there would never be societal acceptance of her marriage had left India for Spain. The mother bound by societal norms and a slave in her own way to others could never accept her son-in-law and disowned her daughter. She could have gained a son but she lost a daughter in the end. The daughter had cried, cajoled and did everything to get her mother to give her blessings as she was her only parent. In the end she had softly screamed, “I never cared about your society but if you won’t bless us, I will accept that job in Spain”. In the first year after her marriage and subsequent migration to Spain there had been calls and conciliatory letters but with the cold response they all stopped. For five and a half years now there had been no contact. The daughter was as good as dead.

But the conscience of the mother was troubling her and now at night when she could not even garner the strength to get up and relieve herself, she would call out to her the daughter long gone. When there would be no answer anger would well up in her heart and then suddenly she would remember her deeds. But then she could not remember her second daughter’s name and she would lie there guessing all possible names failing to remember the name she had choosen for her younger daughter , a score plus years back. Hours later she would remember the name and call the second daughter who would immediately come and help her.

This happened not one night but was a scene that would play out night after night in the same sequence until the mother was convinced a Djinn was in the house. But one night when she called her daughter’s name there was a reply and she in retrospect realized it had been her daughter who had answered her call. Next day she would announce the death of her daughter. But the daughter had done her duty by warning her mother. There was a prophecy fulfilled when the mother answered but the prophecy is another story. That story is about me. This is about the mother.
The Answer
I have not described what happened on the night of Shabraat. The night when Islamic traditions state that the souls of the dead come back to this world to look at what they left behind. That's also when the call of the ill mother was answered. That night when the old mother had called her daughter for the 40th or 50th time there came a reply ,’Yes, mother you called.’ Still believing her daughter was there she replied, ‘Huma , I want to go to the toilet-help me get up’. And in the room would walk in her daughter all in white. Believing her eyesight was fooling her in the dark she said –‘O daughter look what old age has done to me. Now I can’t even see you clearly.’ You are all white and faint to me. But now the apparition seemingly stood there and in a voice that seemed to emnate from every corner of the house said, ‘Mother , leave get far far away from here.’ ‘This and much of the city is going to burn in the fire of human hatred in time to come.
Warn only the first person you meet on the street and get out of here.’ 

And then perhaps like a mirage it all vanished and the old lady blinked her eyes to find there was nothing in the room and it was all normal. It could perhaps be nothing more than a dream except for one small thing- when she opened her eyes she was sitting on the chair near her bed. For the past few months at night she could not get up without help. How had she moved to the chair? 

Next day she resigned from the job where she had long become inept, packed everything possible in a short time and moved with her immediate family to a sister’s house in Bombay because of the warning. She did not doubt for the night the daughter answered, her ailment had also vanished and she was again an old but fit lady.

Months later enquiry in Spain would reveal he daughter and son-in law had died five years back in a road accident. The information got lost because the daughter had put her husband as next of kin and he himself had no family.

Oh and if I didn’t mention, the mother met me on the street next day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I am not fascinated

I am not fascinated
by big names and lofty titles and
long runs after things that are illusionary.
But to fascinate me
tell me your heart’s desires
and where do you yourself want to be .

I am not fascinated
by yatches, watches , gadgets and
all the one thousand one glittery things around.
But to fascinate me
tell me how you looked inside
and realized that not every jewel you desire .

I am not fascinated
by drunk nights, hungover mornings and
the new names for the ancient drinks.
But to fascinate me
tell me about deep thoughts in high moments
and what you still remembered the morning after .

I am not fascinated
by beauty , fashion, and
all other things that will be gone tomorrow.
But to fascinate me
tell me did the beauty also have a heart
and were the depths of her intellect really deep.

I am not fascinated
by shamans , mystics and
the one hundred one teachers for hire.
But to fascinate me
tell me was the mystic's jounrney just for himself
and all guidance to others a freely given gift .

I am not fascinated
by your conquest of weaker souls and
all the rest that is external to you.
But to fascinate me
tell me did you conquer you own soul
and finally leave your ego by the roadside .

I am not fascinated
by who did you love and
who did you betray.
But to fascinate me
tell me of the pain when the beloved left
and silence that you heard in the beloved’s absence .

I am not fascinated
by tales of crushes, fantasies and
a dozen shades of lust.
But to fascinate me
tell me did you really love the beloved
and was that love pure enough to be called love.

Syed Ashraf Husain ' दाग़ ' ' ڈاگ ' 

P.S. Sometimes I cant write poetry for days and sometimes I finish a whole poem in 30 minutes flat. Its always how heavy the heart is.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reading List 3rd-7th Nov

First of all Eid Mubarak everyone. I hope you have a great time. Am at Delhi away from it all but theek hai. Parents are on Hajj and mashaallah it is going on well.
So my reading list for the last couple of days
(a) MUST READ- an article exploring both the assembly line and the issues at Maruti’s Manesar plant which has been rocked by violence and unrest. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2601780.ece?homepage=true#.TrX_9FaaRsk.facebook . I am reminded of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times by this paragraph in the article. For a worker, line acceleration can be a harrowing experience. “When I first began working for Maruti, assembly lines used to run right through my dreams,” said a worker with a laugh, “These days I suppose I'm so tired that I don't get dreams anymore.”
(b) For a change just view these pics http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/10/text_copy_block_goes_here.html Some of the pics are so moving. The wasted childhood of the innocent refugees from Afghanistan.(1st, 7th, 17th) The mud caked bodies of the child labourers in the brick facility in Pakistan (5th) .  The Syrian children playing is joyous and the 10th pic from Libya is ambiguous . I cannot be sure if the lady is sad or happy. Her eyes seem so deep and moist. Then the 29th pic is totally exhilirating for it’s the vulnerable kids doing maths( can read the sums). And I realize why I must search for the sublime in life as the obvious can never hold my attention for long.
(c) Good read- In this moving article one of the three American hikers captured by Iran explains why solitary confinement is also torture. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/opinion/sunday/in-an-iranian-prison-tortured-by-solitude.html?_r=1
(d) Mildly Interesting http://mashable.com/2011/11/06/justin-bieber-infographic/ Justin Bieber success analyzed
(e) Against all Odds. Story of a woman Egyptian entrepreneur http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/11/02/egyptian-entrepreneur-shares-lessons-from-her-playbook/
(f) A pretty good blog with translations of Urdu poetry http://siyaah.blogspot.com/ Must read for poetry fans
(g) Just loved this qawwali sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The lyrics are so beautiful and I identify with them. Lyrics here http://nusratqawalies.blogspot.com/2011/01/barsoon-kay-intizar-ka-waiting-for.html and the qawwali on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JPb_Dw-N3E. Two of my fav lines from the Qawwali are
1) “Allah, zindagi say kahan tak nibhaoon main,
Kis bewafa kay saath mera naam likh diya”

Allah, how long do I remain faithful to life,
That(life) faithless person whom you have tied to my name
2) “Bikhri padee thee toot kay kaliyaan zameen par,
Tarteeb day kay maine tera naam likh diya”

Tarteeb=give form, organize
"Flower buds were scattered around on the ground,
I gave them shape and wrote your name"