i am me, i am what i want to be


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Cartoons designed for our newsletter “The fifth dimension” on the general elections in India.




Written by on.ali

May 2, 2009 at 7:04 pm


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Sufism is derived from the word “Suf” meaning wool. This relates to the dressing attire of the sufis, which is plain and simple. Sufism originated either in Iran or India or in a region there about, with an approach different from traditional Islam, with more focus on the inner world.

However, traditionalist don’t consider Sufism as part of Islam. It is true to an extent that Sufism, is not bound by any single religion.  It allows worship of Allah/God in whichever way one deems appropriate. It can even involve music, dance as a medium of worship, deemed inappropriate by traditional Islam. It has elements of other religions like Hinduism, etc.

Sufis are associated with one or the other sufi order, which has a master who come through a chain of masters in the lineage of Prophet Mohammad, through Ali. One of the best medium of promotion is through sufi music and qawwali. They begin with the praise of Allah, Mohammad, Ali and his family. Then with a praise for a sufi master. This is followed by ghazals which are either devotional or love songs.

Sufism promotes love for mankind through its music and there are various gharanas. A recent news item from Yahoo! News talks about the struggle to keep old gharanas alive. Further details are available on wikipedia.

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April 4, 2009 at 7:45 am – a site focusing on good news

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We all know how negative our media has become these days. Bad news is flashed whole day and any good news (other than cricket) fails to make the cut for the decision makers who prefer sensational non-news over really impactful developments. is a unique concept where in news is collected from various sources and ordered according to how good it is. A news is determined as good depending upon how the sites users feel about it: good or bad. The about page of the site mentions its inspiration in Dr. A.P. J Abdul Kalam’s speech on Israeli media.

A news had appeared on the site (through Yahoo! News) which talked about a Meghalaya village being rated as the cleanest in Asia. Now this is a news that most of us have likely missed. Imagining a village in India being cleanest is Asia is really a feel good news.

The site’s success, however, depends upon its users. Just like wikipedia, if its users don’t vandalize the news ratings, it might be a very useful source of good news.

Network busy, please try again later

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Today, while making a call, this is what I received from my cell phone operator, atleast 25 times, before my call went through. The operator in question is Vodafone, Karnataka, (yes the one which leaves a dog behind you) Looks like in the present economic conditions, the dog is working overtime. And is going after more than one owners.

Now, even Hutch network in Karnataka was bad, and the impression is only that it has become worse after it changed to Vodafone. Airtel is only slightly better, here in Bangalore. For eg., it works well even in the interior elevators and lifts. Don’t know the reason, why I cannot see the level of QoS, that they keep claiming with their marketing and advertising campaigns.

I guess, if they spent half the money on building their network, of what they spent on marketing, we would have a better time. Some times its sheer frustation, when you want to make a quick call to inform some one. Since I have been using this number for over four years, I have learnt to adjust to its network’s shortcomings.

This makes me wonder where the number retention policy went. It was supposed to have been implemented by now in the metros and major cities, at least. I think the Mittals, the Sarins and the Birlas had some closed room dialogues and improved the economy of some minister.

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December 20, 2008 at 5:56 am

Architect of India’s win

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Yet again, Dial C for Cricket (confusion as I like to call it) lived upto its reputation of making misguided discussions and trying to fit in reasons to conclude, as per convenience. This time they were in search of a hero and seperate him out from the rest of the team, honor him and undermine the efforts of the rest of the team.

Some how, architect of any win are always batsman, though in this match, it was also some great bowling by the Indian’s in the second innings. For England, out of 311 that they scored in the second innings, around 240 were contributed by a single partnership. When England had an opportunity to blow it away, they blew it up, and the credit has to go to our bowlers.

Now, Sachin’s innings was great by far, but I don’t know how would we have looked at it, say if he had not got a century and had Yuvraj (with the same effort that he put) bypassed his score. May be Yuvraj could have been declared the hero, rather than a sidekick that he was portrayed. Anyways, Sachin’s centuries are celebrated more than even double hundreds by other players. The problem is that we go too much into numbers and Sachin himself realises that very well. For Indians, Sachin is the heir apparent to Bradman and any further proofs (if there are still not enough of them), makes us go ga-ga. A little unfair to other players, though.

I hardly found an article even coming close to attributing the win to Sehwag for his out of the world innings. Sachin for me was the architect for India not loosing. With Sehwag’s innings, Sachin could make us win. Without it, Sachin would have still ensured that we didn’t loose.

I do feel for England, who didn’t deserve this, after playing good cricket. But if you look at it in a different light that should a team win because in two innings that it batted, there were only three partnerships? After having a great opening stand, you are all out for 35o?

On the other hand, India also won it fair and square and deserved it anyway. England would have definitely not deserved a draw, but either team winning was the ideal result.

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December 17, 2008 at 10:45 am

Jassi Jaisa SRK

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With the release of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi just round the corner, I find striking similarities between Jassi and SRK’s character. Like Jassi, SRK has a bad hair style. Ditto for the bad spectacles. Like Jassi, SRK also has a makeover, for let me guess, LOVE. Only thing missing is perhaps the braces on Jassi’s teeth.

Now, people are really praising SRK for trying something “different”, with this role and also for coming out and saying openly to forget “Raj”, that brought him to this level in the first place.

The music is quite below par, for the standards of Adi Chopra, except for Haule Haule perhaps, which looks strikingly similar to Mawla kabhi mujhe chodna kabhi nahi, by Adnan Sami and Amitabh Bacchan. I like the song paraody though.

Now, the story seems to be set around a dance show. Reality shows are all about drama, and this movie is a drama about drama. Yashraj will still make money out of this movie, as for audience, they had quite a few options for the year end. By the way did you watch “Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye!” or “Sorry Bhai”?

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December 10, 2008 at 9:03 am

Kaante ki takkar

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Comedy circus on Sony is really among the great shows on TV worth watching today. The level of creativity is just too good and matches the first season of the Great Indian Comedy Show, and perhaps even exceeds it in some ways.

Shakeel is very irritating, but I like his spontaneity. But all his dialogues are lifted from various Pakistani plays in which he used to act some minorly major roles (don’t ask what this means). The most famous is the role of “tili” in Bakra Qiston Pay – Parts 2 & 3. Umar Sharif use to abuse him the same way he abuses others.

Ali and Kashif are out of this world and utterly amazing. But my favorites are sure to be Krishna and Sudesh. The singer-actor act is by far the best, something which was unimaginable for me. Swapnil and VIP are the other great pair and come up with extraordinary performances from time to time.

However, they got eliminated last week. And a new pair from the second season is going to enter Kaante ki takkar. Now, this is the thing that I don’t like about shows these days – wild card entries! Really unjust to the people who are there since the beginning. The second season was won by Juhi and VIP through a wild card when the entered mid-way. And, guess who is the new pair this time around! Juhi-VIP, any takers?

Hope in Change

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Everyone needs hope to survive and most see hope in any kind of change. No wonder Barack Obama could hit the right chords in the hearts and minds of the American citizens. The Mumbai attacks not only claimed the lives of various Indian and foreign citizens, but also the posts of Home minister of India and the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharastra (The CMs post is hanging in balance).

While P. Chidambaram has been given the Home ministry, prime minister Manmohan Singh has taken up the finance portfolio. These were solely the reactions to the need of the people to see some action, see some change. It seldom matters whether the change is for good.

The India England test series is likely to go ahead on schedule, barring the change in venues. There was a scheduled pratice match in Baroda (Vadodara) which is likely to be shifted to a place near Kolkata – the place where the first test match also is likely to be shifted to. The Mumbai test venue has already been changed to Chennai.

The Live Earth concert also stands cancelled in the wake of Mumbai attacks. Ideally, they could have still gone ahead with it, without any entertainment performances (by Bon Jovi and AB) – as a token of respect for the victims. Also, that would have highlighted the spirit (don’t talk about this word in front of Barkha Dutt) of humanity.

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December 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm

ISI U-turn

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The following was quoted on Dawn:

Since we had nothing to hide, we thought there was no harm in calling the Indian bluff by agreeing to the request to send the ISI chief to Delhi…

The latest however is that ISI chief is no longer travelling to India. Does that mean that Pakistan suddenly found something to hide.

Now, the Pakistan media wants the world to believe that like in the past India is just blaming them when instead the operations are carried out by India (hindu) terrorists. Well, it is fooling itself more than anyone else.

During the last round of attacks: Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Surat, I was in a way happy as I thought the terrorists have crossed the limit and India will awaken to their threats. However, sadly, that wasn’t the case and we had to witness these horrible three days.

Only hope that we are not waiting for more limits to be crossed and come up with a definitive action against the guilty whether Indian origin or Pakistani. One terrorist has been caught alive and he will help us in the probe, Inshaallah.

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November 29, 2008 at 6:40 am

NDTV has joined the crowd

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NDTV was always better than the rest of the news media, until recently, but now as a part of commercialization perhaps, has joined the crowd. I can recall atleast two instances today while watching the Mumbai attacks coverage, where I really cursed NDTV and switched to Times Now.

They were showing the scenes of rescuees coming out of Oberoi and the media people trying desperately to get a word out of them. Immediately, the correspondent communicates by the phone and says “we tried to chase down the rescued people (a tone of confidence), however they were not willing to talk us (a tone of complaining) …”

Then they carried out a statement by an army chief in which he refused to give the count of casualties in the army, for obvious reasons of maintaining the morale. However, this channel reports “NSG casualty count unestimable…”

Similar thing had happened on Times Now, but the news anchor Arnab  politely advised restrain to the correspondent and the camera man. Times Now, today is the most responsible news channel (still they could improve) among the lot. I never ever switched to Aaj Tak or India TV who are glorifying the terrorist by carrying out his interview.

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November 28, 2008 at 8:48 am