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Sufism | Bridging religions

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This is something extremely relevant is the current ecosystem. It is a story that has various aspects. It involves the beautiful relation between a master and his disciple; it involves two friends belonging to two different faiths and people belonging to different strata of the society. How rare it is these days to find people who keep humanity above religion and don’t let their ego come in the way of interacting with people! The competition, envy is getting deep rooted in us and apparently we are forgetting the fact that after all we are all humans. It gets my goat when I read online, people killing people in the name of religion. I am not an erudite but I’m pretty sure no religion teaches us to kill. I usually come across balderdash that people post against each other on social media as if trying to prove that one religion is better than the other. When will this ‘my religion is better than yours’ thing end!

 

In this blog post trying to mention an example that demonstrates the communion across religions and status. Sufism has many such examples that can help us mitigate the existential tension among religions. Mian Mir a sufi saint and his life is a brilliant example that blazes a trail for all of us. Mian Mir a Muslim sufi was invited to lay the foundation of the Harmandir Sahib popularly known as ‘The Golden Temple’. Mian Mir, a quintessential Sufi loved simplicity and had a huge disdain for gloating and arrogance. The Mughal emperor Jahangir wanted to meet Mian Mir but Mian Mir never really entertained him. Mian Mir didn’t like his greed and insatiable desire for power.

 

Mian Mir liked Dara Shikoh, a Mughal emperor with Sufi inclination. Dara Shikoh was a learned man who believed in humanity and had not even an iota of arrogance in him. Dara Shikoh was a highly devoted disciple of the Saint Mian Mir and the saint liked him as well. Mian Mir was also friends with Guru Arjan Dev Ji the fifth Sikh guru. It was Guru Arjan Dev Ji who invited Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the golden temple. The shrine of the saint Mian Mir is visited and believed by Sikhs and people of other religions as well!

 

When our genesis is so eclectic in nature, what then instigates us to draw blood in the name of religion! This is a beautiful example and teaches us that religion and stature shouldn’t stop us from befriending people and loving them. We are all humans after all. Even if someone doesn’t treat you well, reciprocate with utmost generosity.

“What forgiveness is?

Sufi replied: It’s the fragrance that flowers give when they are crushed.”

It is the Indian values that make us win!

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We Indians are known for our values and culture. That is what makes us special! The love for the nation is a natural phenomenon, something that I’ve always believed you don’t need to teach. India has always had a rich heritage and culture that is eclectic in nature. We have our values and that is what differentiates us from others. We aren’t materialistic, we value people over things. We believe that God made people to be loved and things to be used but unfortunately nowadays people love things and they use people!

 

I’ll share a candid experience, a situation wherein I kept my patience and didn’t leave my Indian values and things took care of themselves then. I was introduced into a new project and the project lead was an American guy, nerd who hardly spoke. We were total seven people in the team and I was the last and the youngest to join. The other five people were Indians as well and were pretty pedantic in nature. As I was new in the team I didn’t have a lot of idea about the project and apparently most of the discussions were esoteric. Things became tough, I couldn’t perform as no one was ready to transfer the project knowledge or help me get started with things.

 

Months went by but I didn’t lose hope. I started working doubly hard. To be candid, there were times when I felt like leaving the job but I wanted to leave on a good note. We Indians respect people and no matter how arrogant a person is, if you continue showing good behavior he will eventually succumb to your good natured personality. That’s what I did as well; no matter how bad I was treated initially I kept respecting others. Good behavior, patience and hard work helped me carve a niche for myself in the team.

 

The project lead called me one day in his cabin. I was surprised to hear that I was given a promotion. He said to me: ‘Things weren’t easy for you in the beginning but I appreciate your hard work. I have seen guys quit jobs for reasons like these. What made you stay here? I’m just a tad curious to know!’ I smiled and thanked him for the promotion letter. I told him: ‘We Indians are known for our values. We respect people and we always maintain our honesty towards our work. That said we like winning people! Yes you are right, I could have left the job as well but I wanted to prove a point.’ Well he looked pretty impressed and we shook hands as if we both understood each other.

 

 

You shouldn’t compromise your values just because things get tough at times. After all that is what we Indians are known for! We are extremely glad that Lufthansa recognizes the global Indian influence and is celebrating the same which is extremely apparent in their latest TVC. This definitely makes Lufthansa #MoreIndianThanYouThink

Five things you can do in Noida on weekends!

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Well let’s be candid about things, we generally don’t get time to explore things in the weekdays. Then why make your weekends humdrum, particularly when you have stuff to experience in Noida. While there are umpteen things that you can do in Noida, I’ll try and mention a few of them. Try these whenever you get time and give a feedback if time permits you.

 

Go shopping in the sector 18 area and Atta Market: We love shopping and if we don’t love shopping we love the people who love shopping. So directly or indirectly we all love shopping! Sector 18 is like the life of the town here in Noida and you’ll observe that the area always blazes a trail as far as style is concerned! The best thing about sector 18 lavish shopping area is that its modest cousin the ‘Atta Market’ resides in the neighborhood. Yeah that’s right, the atta market is just opposite at arm’s length from sector 18 and you can buy stuff from the atta market at a really reasonable price. From clothes to utensils, toys to furniture everything is available in this market. Pay a visit for a unique and closer to reality experience.

 

Go for some sports: Get that adrenaline rushing, sweat out all the frustration! Take sports, anything that befits your skills and interests. You can visit the Noida stadium in sector 21. The stadium has multiple facilities like Table tennis, badminton and others. Take a few friends with you and enjoy the game. Alternatively you can also visit the Decathlon Noida just beside the GIP ball. You can buy sports related stuff and play basketball, table tennis as well!

 

Explore Cafes and Restaurants: Noida has many god restaurants and cafes where you can hang out. Sector 18 Noida apparently offers many such places. The sector has many coffee chains and many brilliant restaurants as well. To name a few of them, you have Desi Vibes, Pind Baluchi, KFC, Punjabi by Nature and many others. You can never get short of culinary options in Noida for sure!

 

Take a long drive on the Express way: Well that a great idea, innit! Long drives are always a superb temporal way to run away from stress. Just grab the key of your bike or car and go for a long drive. Luckily Noida has an awesome Noida-Greater Noida expressway that you can enjoy. The roads are nice and you can just have an escape away from the maddening crowd, traffic and honking of the city!

 

Explore Street Food: I always try to explore street food. Noida has some delicious street food joints. Although you’ll find many street food points but a few of them are just brilliant. Try the ‘Chhole Bhature’ at GuptaJi’s near the golf course metro station in sector 31. You can try Aunty’s Momos in sector 18 as well just behind the Bikanerwala. These are just a few of them named here in this blog post.

 

 

Keep exploring the city and keep spreading information about the city as well!

 

 

Colorful experience at the #BergerXP IndiBlogger Meet!

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As bloggers we love to meet new people and interact. You get to learn something from everyone and that is the beauty of human interactions. It is extremely important to keep yourself open to meeting new people and interesting conversations. That’s how you learn new things and trends prevailing in the society. The IndiBlogger team has always been fabulous at providing platforms and opportunities for the bloggers to express their views. The bloggers meet is a fabulous way to bring the bloggers together. The latest IndiBlogger took place in New Delhi in association with Berger Paints.

 

 

Berger has introduced a new concept of Express Painting. A concept that is innovative and effective as well! The concept talks about automation of certain essential and repetitive tasks that are involved in painting. The idea is simple here, if something has to be done repeatedly why we can’t have a machine do that for us to make things easier for us. This not just helps to save time but the efficiency is enhanced as well! Another brilliant thing that Berger has started is training the painters. Now that really is a consumer centric initiative. A trained painter is definitely supposed to be more reliable. All this so that things can be executed faster, cleaner and better! Also if you delve into things, this move to train painters can also help mitigate unemployment in the country. So if you see things closely, this is modernization of painting coupled with corporate citizenship.

 

Berger has introduced some really effective no-mess tools to make life easier for us. Sanding as we know is something inevitable whenever we want to get out house painted. For this Berger has introduced the sanding machine so that you can do things faster and cleaner. For the washing part to clean stuff, Berger has introduced high pressure washer. Other tools like the airless paint sprayer, auto roller are of great utility as well! The good thing was that these tools were physically present at the meet. So we had these no-mess tools at our disposal and that made us realize that these are of tremendous utility.

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The #BergerXP IndiBlogger meet at Delhi was pretty well organized and planned. We had interesting activities that involved all. It is a brilliant idea to have activities that involve everybody. Human beings feel valued when they’re involved in things. We feel like we are a part of a goal and we are contributing. The team activity was real fun. The first round made everyone of us do sanding and that is exactly when we realized the importance of the sanding machine. Really you must burn your own fingers to know what fire is! In the second round every team was given a theme and based on that we needed to paint our imagination. There was a Berger trained painter as well to tell us how to mix colors with accuracy and precision.

 

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Post the activity everyone was waiting for the results. The results were great, we won! Yes I was the part of the winning team. We were Team 3 and we won. The theme given to us for the second round was ‘Blogging-Vlogging’. It was a great event overall and the fact that we won made things even better. Thanks a lot Berger for this event and the concept of Express Painting. The concept gives us a way to paint our homes in a hassle free manner. Our homes are so important to us and the walls speak aloud! Sometimes I wonder whether my home is a place or a person!

5 Rajat Kapoor movies you must watch!

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Rajat Kapoor does theater, he does movies of different sorts and he for sure is a versatile actor. Often we complain about the shortage of realistic cinema in Bollywood these days. That’s mostly because movies of the aforementioned sort don’t usually get a place in the multiplexes and if they get they run short of audience. Still there are people who want to watch realistic cinema, they value it and they cherish it!

 

I have tried to muster a collection of Rajat Kapoor movies. Out of that collection, here I am listing five movies I think are less watched but deserve attention. I am pretty sure you’ll like these. This list is purely out of my personal experience, so no lies and no canards either!

 

Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi: A movie that is a brilliant satire on the so called high suave society. The protagonist Rajat Kapoor gets so drunk at a party that he doesn’t remember iota about what happened that night. Throughout the movie he is skeptical about things, confused and this confusion leads to interesting events.

 

I’m 24: A movie in essence about online dating. A movie that demonstrates how reality can be different than what we see online! The protagonist dates a girl online and tells us that he is really good looking but in reality it is a different story altogether. A simple yet impressive story and definitely leaves an impact on the audience.

 

Bheja Fry: The story of Bheja fry revolves around a simpleton guy. Rajat Kapoor in this particular movie plays the role of a suave man, apparently a character that really suits his persona. The movie is sure to tickle your funny bone. It is a simple story but with some really strong and impressive performances.

 

Hulla: Another Rajat Kapoor movie that is simple yet extremely relevant. The movie displays the life of a couple living in a gated society in Mumbai. The man gets disturbed by the whistling watchman and scolds him for the same. On the other hand, the secretary of the society insists that the whistling is for the safety of the society. The movie is an extremely interesting one and showcases day to day activities that happen around us.

 

Siddharth: The Prisoner: Well this one is a pure Rajat Kapoor show! He hardly speaks in the movie but his gestures and expressions speak aloud! It is a story of a writer who by fate gets a briefcase full of cash but in the process lost his manuscript. So the crave waves between greed and selflessness. Rajat Kapoor with this brooding looks does absolute justice to the role. In the end, he leaves it all. He leaves it all to start afresh!

 

Well these are just some of the Rajat Kapoor movies mentioned here. He has done umpteen number of movies and keeps experimenting to serve something new and different to the audiences.

Let’s not shun realistic cinema!

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Movies or rather cinema is nothing but an extension of your society. That is about real cinema that is not in the trend these days when unrealistic movies are mushrooming like anything! At time you feel who is to be blamed for this! The audience is definitely to be blamed for promoting or more importantly enduring non-serious cinema with a broad smile on face. An acute problem is that it’s not just the audience’s fault; we have limited (rather no) access to quality cinema! Apparently we are facing oligarchy in Bollywood as a result only few selected big banner movies get promoted or screened at multiplexes. As a result the youth has limited access to realistic cinema.

 

The purpose of cinema is not mere entertainment but also a source of inspiration or information. A few non-serious movies or romantic movies are good but these shouldn’t hinder the other authentic movies to be screened. We have been observing this for long, a good movie comes in and goes out without anyone getting even an iota of idea about it! Serious cinema, centric cinema has the power to impact the society and can lead to positive changes. I am not sure movies like ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and ‘Befikre’ have the potential to change or impact the society in a positive way! A cardinal reason I am writing this post is that I often come across promotions for movies like the aforementioned but seldom do I see serious movies getting promoted or pushed.

 

The Bollywood has some really talented folks and they continue their good work of making quality and sensible cinema without expecting fiscal returns! Probably this is because they love their job and they take it as their responsibility to not allow abatement of cinema quality. I didn’t see Masaan getting promoted in any of the TV shows; neither did I see Manjhi in the news often. Movies like Sir Kay Kay Menon starring Rahasya, Rajat Kapoor starring ‘Mithya’ didn’t get the deserved attention as well. These are just a few examples the list is a long one.

 

Now let’s try and break the shackles! Please try and support realistic cinema as often as you can. It is a treasure that we need to preserve. Actors like Ranvir Shorey, Rajkummar Rao, Vinay Pathak, Kay Kay Menon, Rajat Kapoor and others keep coming up with extremely interesting and well thought projects. Let us promote sensible cinema, after all it is for us to relish!

Trying to decode Khusrow!

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To be candid I don’t remember when I heard Amir Khusrow’s name for the first time but I always believed that I know about him in detail. Now I know the aforementioned statement is confusing but is true for sure. There are some things in life that you really can’t explain, they just happen naturally or rather effortlessly. I made a random visit to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah a couple of years back. Now that was a cosmic experience! As per me and this is based purely on what I felt and observed, dargahs represent syncretic heritage. I saw people of different religious backgrounds at Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah, all craving for Auliya’s divine blessings. I can surely write a separate blog post about my experience of visiting Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah but let’s not deviate from the topic!

 

Yes, Khusrow is the topic and to be more precise his writings are the actual topic. I heard his qawwali in Nusrat Sahab’s voice one night and that was it! I couldn’t stop myself from hearing the same on loop for hours at a stretch. Then I heard another one and the charm was the same, made me feel and realize that I am running behind things that don’t matter at all! It made me realize that all my ego and obsessions actually make me a complete fool in the grand scheme of things. All the time, I am concerned about things that bring pleasure and not happiness! Why run behind ephemeral delight when there is eternal joy for the taking? To be candid, I have no answer to any of the questions I just mentioned but somehow I know my pursuit is wrong. I am still fascinated by the fact that Khusrow simplified things way back while we are still trying to figure out how to lead life! For those who don’t know, Amir Khusrow is regarded as the ‘father of Qawwali’.

 

The first qawwali I came across was ‘Nami danam’, a piece apparently written in Farsi language. Generally, ‘Farsi’ is ‘Greek’ to us Indians! I still was able to figure out (although partially) the meaning of the title. The title ‘Nami Danam’ means ‘I don’t know’. I am still trying to decode the qawwali but I somehow can connect to it! At times I feel, Khusrow wants to convey that you get lost in love and love and agony are inseparable! You shouldn’t feign to be in love, if you’re in love be in love totally! God watches it all and true love always wins! That’s just my take; your perception of the qawwali can be different yet palpable. That’s probably Khusrow’s beauty wherein the reader (or listener) has the freedom to decipher things that behooves his perception and thoughts.

 

If listening to Amir Khusrow, I would recommend listen his works in Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice and the modulation is sure to take you in a different zone altogether. Let’s keep spreading love. Love is what keeps us going and alive!

‘People think they are alive because they have soul in them, But I am alive because I have love in myself!’ – Amir Khusrow