Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Orphan-A Dogged One

“You know all I did was lead a life on my own standards. I lived it through the toughest times. My parents died, I had no siblings, and I was orphaned. I was just 19 years old. What could a 19 year old possibly have done? My relatives said they would shelter me and take care of my education. I denied the offers because that came out of sheer sympathy and not from their hearts.

I sat wondering what could be done. I didn’t sit crying over the fact that I lost everyone who actually cared for me. I took up a job. The whereabouts of the job are not important, why would you anyway care, just because you waited all day long? Alongside my job I did some diplomas to enhance my painting skills. And then I found you. You just became an integral part of my life. I thought of naming you behind two weird sitcom actors I had come across, Barney and Chandler, Bandler.

Bandler the dog.

You have just not been a dog but my friend. You waited for me to get back from work. Even though I kept food for you, you starve and eat only once I arrive. Walking you has been the best mornings I ever had and you made sure my health was always at the zenith. My relatives didn’t care to check on me post my denial but who cares when I had you.
Thanks for everything, Bandler.”

The last few words bring tears into his eyes as he reads this note standing besides Bandler’s grave.
Bandler died in a road accident. Run over by a speeding car. Tuffy had no idea why Bandler ventured out that night. He probably did every night. After all Bandler was a street dog. He belonged to the streets. Thanks to his faithful nature, he used to wait home, the whole day, eagerly waiting for Tuffy.
According to the people who witnessed the accident, shockingly recalled how a speeding car brushed through the dog throwing it 500 metres away with its head severely damaged. With no care for a living creature writhe in pain, vehicles just ran above it.

Several pleas from animal lovers to erect fences on highways to stop the dogs and other animals cross the road fell on deaf ears.

Bandler died.

Tuffy was orphaned again.

Before and After: Here is an example of a dog rescued 
after being hit by a motor bike and now he's on the run after few weeks of physical therapy.

FYI: As traffic in India increases so do the number of road accidents leaving dogs severely injured, paralysed, brain damaged and with broken limbs. Dogs who have been hit by cars and who have sustained an injury to their spine causing paralysis in their hind legs STILL have a chance of living a happy life provided they are given immediate medical attention which is not the case here in India. We do not have a record or a website which gives actual facts and figures regarding dogs involved in road accidents but if a pedestrian is run over by a vehicle and dies, which happens many a times, imagine the number of animals killed in road accidents. 150 are the number of elephants killed since 2000 on the Indian Railways. Alarming. Since those are endangered. Let’s not endanger the dogs because every dog is a Bandler.  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Locked Door 2

       A Sequel to The Locked Door 1 (

Nihar now sits with his mom on the floor under the fan for dinner. His dad joins in as well but it’s the same even now, he hasn’t been able to open up completely to his parents. The psychiatry sessions might have cracked a major part of his silence. Seven years of his lonely life might have changed his attitude and approach towards his parents. He was always more open to his friends than his parents. 

Nihar never felt secured to open up his personal life. Perhaps being a teenager he thought some things are better, kept unsaid. He heard enough of his parents brag about the tensions and the pressures of their work lives which would sometimes change into personal glitches, especially on their children. Even silly matters which can be ignored would turn into major issues. Initially he would try to think about it but now as it was regular, he started to look past it.

The lonely life had hit him hard. His academic performance was on a downfall. The kid who used to be at the pinnacle of the ranking system until 5th grade surprisingly fell to the level of an average student. It was a shock to his parents, who thought it might affect the status quo they had in the society amongst other parents. Nihar was moderate at sports, so there was nothing that could be shown to the society to outshine their status. 

The competition amongst parents to show off their children as numero uno had been a trend, not only amongst friends and social circles, even in the family. As for him, his cousins were always good in something or the other, and whenever he visited them, he went through the constant praises of his fellow cousins. It never made a difference to him, but he did not know it was affecting his parents as their son was falling down from what he used to do best, study, leaving them with absolutely nothing to praise about him. 

Perhaps the competitive world had set its mark in the academic life of children.

Instead of investigating his problem in regards to the downfall, they only forced him to participate in different sports activities. The life of being lonely had rendered his competitive mentality, paralytic. It was as if his brain was rusting. He became inconsistent in everything. He couldn’t set his mind on anything. It made him a loser in all aspects of life. He became a reserved and a silent student in class, good amongst the teachers but not amongst the other fun loving students. He desperately wanted to come out of it but it was too late.

That’s when he started to find solace in a selected few friends. They had become a totally different world for him. He started to enjoy their presence, even though he never told them about the inner demon he was fighting.
Although he had only male friends, he never knew a girl could bring comfort into his life. He was a shy person especially towards women so never knew how to talk or be around girls. It happened in his tenth grade. She entered his already disturbing life, later known, to be the girl who changed the life of the most silent, reserved and infamous student of the class…..

P.S. To be continued.
FYI: Based on a true story. Currently the character Nihar(name changed), in real life, is partly, a successful individual, maintaining a good relationship with his parents. The posts are a look back into his disturbed life. The sender is anonymous.

Monday, 18 June 2012

When the Baby Smokes

                                    Based on an incident witnessed by AVB

Yet another pleasant Monday morning was here. The so called Monday blues never affected her. Monday blues are for those, she felt, who probably were out partying and have a hangover and hate the sheer existence of a Monday. If Monday didn’t exist, people would hate Tuesday. Hence she loved Monday just because it saved Tuesday from the blame.

Dont Make The Baby Smoke!
She spent her entire Sunday hosting a drawing competition in the nearby orphanage. She woke up to that satisfaction. She started her Activa and zoomed past her building. It was 10am. Tantra kept noticing the surroundings whilst riding. She saw the green signal tick down to 3 seconds and slowed down her vehicle and managed to stop just before the zebra crossing until the signal turned red.

Some miscreants still passed by only to be caught by the traffic constable hiding behind a rickshaw across the road in search of his prey.

 A 6 year old boy came near her flashing an aeroplane. She found something past that. A family. Probably. She didn’t feel like they were a family. The man was smoking a bidi with a lady sitting right next to him with a baby in her arms. Tantra was blown apart. It didn’t stop there. The woman, well, the mother grabs the bidi and smokes it. The mother looked healthy. The smoke wreaks havoc at a critical time in the development of the lungs of the baby. Tantra crossed the road once the signal turned green, parked the vehicle, didn’t care to give an explanation to the traffic constable and stood right in front of the ‘family.’

She grabbed the baby from the woman, pushed the charging man. The man, probably a chain smoker, was weak enough to crash-land with that push. With the baby in Tantra’s arms, she pulled the lady by her hand, crossed the road and made her sit on the nearby bench. The conversation happened in Hindi.

Tantra not only explained the effects of smoking on her body but also the adverse effects on the baby.

“Oh madam! Mera baccha nahi hai, subah kaam ke liye mil jaata hai, waise bhi dawaai ghusaya hai iske andar taaki roye na,” (Madam, this is not my child. I just received it in the morning. Drugs have been injected into the child so that it doesn’t cry) the woman yelled back. 

Tantra was shocked to the core. She called up the orphanage to come with a doctor and also summoned the traffic constable about the incident. He listened patiently and stormed off. The orphanage van arrived. Just to remove her frustration, Tantra slapped through the lady’s face and shouted, “Maa bano, phir baat karenge.”  (Lets talk once you become a mother.) The lady didn’t react realizing her mistake, probably.

Tantra went to work, visited the orphanage in the evening only to know that it’ll take some time for the baby to recover. The baby, eventually, did recover.

She didn’t find the lady again.

She might probably be at some other signal with a new ‘drugged’ baby.

FYI:Tobacco smoke wreaks havoc in babies at a critical time in the development of lungs when millions of tiny cells called alveoli (pronounced al-VEE-o-lye) are being formed. Alveoli are the place where oxygen passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. Human infants are born with only about one-fifth of the 300 million alveoli they will need as adults. They construct almost all those 300 million alveoli between birth and age 8. Thus, this early exposure to environmental tobacco smoke created a long-lasting and perhaps permanent asthma-like condition. In some cases it also causes ear infection or deafness.
With medical inputs from Komal Kokare and

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dongri to Dubai:The Book Launch

Here are some snaps of the book launch which happened at Landmark (Pune) on 01/06/2012 1830hrs.

The arrangement made at Landmark which was ready for the launch by 1600 hrs.
The books kept in unison just next to the above arrangement.

The Landmark manager giving a brief introduction of Mr. S. Hussain Zaidi.
Mr. Zaidi starts off by apologising for the delay, well he made it on time but was waiting for Mr. Sanjay Gupta who apparently was stuck in traffic.
Mr. Sanjay Gupta asking Mr. Zaidi to choose a chapter which the former can read out. 
He reads the chapter which inspired him to make Shootout at Wadala.
The prized possession, the first ever autographed copy.
Sanjay Gupta autographs on the following page.

Amidst the media, well they weren't much aware of the contents of the book, I managed to ask two questions.

Q. Have you ever thought of writing on the international dons considering the fact that u have mentioned Jouquim (Mexican based don) in the book?
SHZ: I don’t think it’ll be possible as I always wanted to have a lot of details and facts in my books, to get details on international people like to go there, collect, compile is very tough and I don’t want to do a sketchy piece. Its better I stick to my stronghold, my turf, it’s better to do something locally than point out an international don.
SG: I like to point out something, whether u read The Mafia Queens of Mumbai, Black Friday or this (Dongri to Dubai), the fact is that no detail can be challenged, u won’t get any of the details from Wikipedia, he has given me the strength to go and shoot my film in the Congress House and various other localities which I wasn’t even aware of.
Q. Sir Shootout at Lokhandwala happened in a building and Shootout at Wadala happened on the road, which would be tougher to shoot?
SG: Well the Lokhandwala Shootout happened in a building, it was pretty easy to just hole them up in a flat, we had to create a lot of backstory and not all was factual mainly because we had nothing to rely on. But here Zaidi has made this film far more expansive which begins from 1969 an ends up in 1982, it starts from the time Dawood grew up who tried to form his own gang, the policeman’s hassles, etc.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Dongri to Dubai:The Review

S. Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai-Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia comes after the bestseller cum critically acclaimed Mafia Queens of Mumbai.

First things first Zaidi doesn’t disappoint us. Dongri to Dubai is the story of not just India’s but the world’s most wanted man-Dawood Ibrahim. Immense research has been done into the weaving of the events in this book. Its written in a dramatic style with a culmination of newspaper reports, police records and journalists experiences. The remarkable thing about the book is that, Zaidi has not only given footage to just Dawood but also to many other gangsters less known but in fact rattled the erstwhile Bombay.

Manya Surve, Abdul Kunju, Sabir and many others. Manya Surve’s story will now be on celluloid with John Abraham playing the slain don’s role. Interestingly most of Part 1 shows Dawood in good light which really makes me wonder the genuineness of Zaidi until he opens the can of worms. Zaidi throws light on Dawood’s growing up years, his relation with his family members, the turning point which made him do the wrong. He makes the readers realize the plight of not just a Muslim family but any household who has to take care of more than half a dozen children with just one working member.

Mumbai is extensively covered throughout the book hence as a reader I felt disappointed of not exploring this city. Unlike The Mafia Queens, Zaidi failed to capture the nitty-gritty’s of Mumbai, hence the by lanes were surely missed. With most of the coverage shifted to Dawood, as a young criminal, a judge, a Messiah, a listener, all of the others were just his disciples. Zaidi, by bringing a collection of facts together, will certainly be able to open an eye or two of the top bosses from the government. He significantly points out that although Dawood is a billionaire, whose life is shown on celluloid every year through a Bollywood film, has in fact failed to impress majority of the Indian working class. Comments from the common people directly to Dawood have been well knit in the book.

As it just took about two to three sittings to complete the book, its fast paced and builds up an engaging read. For me, The Mafia Queens of Mumbai still stands out. Zaidi definitely can be regarded as one of India’s finest storytellers when it comes to the underworld.

The one thing which needs to be highlighted is that investigative journalism is at its best.

Although the life of every don has been restricted to a chapter or two in the book, Dawood lives throughout it. Probably because he might die a dog’s death if deported to India or die like a king if he continues to stay in Pakistan. Ghosts of the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts victims will continue to haunt him.