Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just over a month since he died

Kindly read this blog entry before reading further: Click here

Okay, so it is over a month since he died. I had gone to their place today, to pay my respects to his family (not his wife, though, since she is in "iddat", during which time only her close blood relations only may see her - a period that is about 4 1/2 months long). There was also a meal in the honour of the departed. 

What I missed today, within just 30-35 days of his passing, was the intense gloom that prevailed over the entire household a few days after he had passed away. Today, I could actually see his daughters smiling bravely and trying hard to carry on with their lives without him. His elder daughter, who had her first child, a daughter again, just 7 days before the doctor passed away, moved energetically around the house, looking after the needs of the guests, not for a moment giving away the intense heart-ache and sense of loss she must be experiencing even today.

The same was the case with the deceased's younger daughter, who, too, smiled at me and spoke to me without any external give-away of the intense sadness that she had to be feeling inside her own mind.

There were other cousins too, and the deceased's aunties, uncles, and so on. For most of us, you could say that life has returned to normal, and Dr. Altaf now continues to live benignly inside our minds and hearts. The pain and gloom have gone away, and left behind only symbols of a human's passing from the planet.

This post was created by me only to record the above events and emotions without sounding judgmental about any of the people mentioned in the post. I just thought how fickle and self-centered our minds are. We put unsavoury events of our life quickly behind closed doors, and so quickly too! Just so that we can put unpleasanr memories aside and get back to our normal lives.

Awaiting comments. The wheel of life keeps turning. People die, others are born, and I observe what is happening around me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Just another day

I think today could be marked off as just another day in the almanac of 2009, as nothing really rocking or interesting occurred. For us, the Dawoodi Bohras, it was the 10th of Muharram, and so, everyone from the community was in the mosque to listen to the day-long sermons that would end at the time of the evening call for prayers with the recitation, by the priest, of the martyrdom of Prophet Husain (A.S.) at the hands of Layeen Shimra *(another Muslim, who represented the tyrant rulers of that time who did not wish for Husain's version of Islam to spread). 

I took both my daughters to the mosque, but not as early as one might think: we reached at 4:00 p.m. , and were there till the end of the sermon. The story of the martyrdom of prophet Husain (A.S.) and his family is heart-rending even today, after so many hundreds of years. Most listeners were beating their breasts and crying by the time the muezzin called the evening prayers. My daughter, Inas, and to a lesser extent, Hannah, were a bit sceptical about how the prophet conducted his affairs during the last 72 hours. Why, she asked, did he have to send his soldiers one by one to get killed at the front. Well, I told her I DID NOT KNOW. What else could I do but come clean on this issue.

Nishrin has been going here and there to make enquiries at the top beauty academies as she wishes to update her skills. Yesterday, she went to the L'Oreal and Yasmin, today, to Nalini's and to the Toni and Guy academies. I don't think she has made up her mind as to which course she wishes to do.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A new year has begun

The new year, 2009, brings with it a lot of the gloom that 2008 was a characteristic of: economic slow-down, inflation, share-market collapse, terror attacks - even the 1st of January was not free from it, there being three bomb explosions somewhere in Assam -and so many other things. At the same time, the new year, in re-inventing itself every 365-odd days, also brings with it the hope of a better tomorrow; a tomorrow that is already the present for all of us. What a wonderful word the word "present" is! Today is a present to us from Father Time. We must make the best of it!

We, in India, saw the world through glasses that were gleaming and speck-free in the month of January; the stock market was above all previous highs, the Sensex touching a phenomenal 21000 in the middle of that month. From then, until the end of the year, we had travelled down to sub-10000 levels, having touched a bottom close to 7800 some time in October. The world economy drove the sensex down, gold and dollar prices up, and industrial and general growth indices near rock-bottom as the sub-prime crisis took with it huge banks and non-banking financial institutions; several private companies also went under, especailly auto manufacturers - the erstwhile giants of the auto business like Chrysler, Gen. Motors, etc.

There were tremors and rumours for sure: at one time, the second biggest bank in India (and the largest in the private sector), the ICICI bank was itself under a cloud and people rushed to withdraw their money from it. This rumour, like many others, proved to be unfounded, but it is also true that the Government of India, the Department of Treasury and the Reserve Bank of India had to announce a slew of measures - not once, not twice, but over three times, to keep the market sentiment in a positive direction; the last such package was announced only yesterday. We do, therefore, expect the stock market to open positive the coming Monday, i.e. on the 5th of January.

The terror attacks in Mumbai were timed at the worst time: they were repulsed successfully, but there were no winners, since the spirit of Mumbai was almsot trod under the feet of fundamentalists. Over 180 people , including tourists from abroad and several decorated police officers, died in the 60-hour mayhem that occurred between the 26th and the 29th of November, 2008. Stocks of the hotel industries fell, esp. those that were affected in the attacks, viz. the stocks of Indian Hotels Ltd. (Taj Hotel is a part of their offering) and the East India Hotels Ltd. (the Oberoi, Mumbai, is from their stable).

Now, over a month later, these stocks have recovered, as has the stock market generally, as it hovers near 10000 once again. Will it breach this mark decisively this time? I don't know, but I sure hope so.

I bought a handsfree bluetooth device a few days ago over the net through ebay India. Redeeming a discount coupon that I had received earlier, the bluetooth cost me just over 730 INR. The first instrument that was sent to me from the Delhi trader whose product I had bought was defective - not working. I got in touch with the owner and he asked me to ship it back to them! I did, at a cost of Rs. 80/=, but thankfully, the new piece arrived within 5 days, and it is working perfectly! As I write this, I am listening to a popular Hindi song from the seventies called "Chudi nahin ye mera dil hai, dekho, dekho, toote na ..."   

Inas, my elder daughter, whose name appears sporadically in this blog, has gone for a "waiting" today evening,  and I must go and fetch her at or about mid-night. Hannah is studying hard for the upcoming examinations that will start, for her, in mid-January. Muharram is going on, and soon, will pass.  Nishrin must be busy in the parlour, as usual. Dad must be at home, watching some or the other TV serial - his favourite pastime. Mom must have gone to the mosque for the "maghrib" prayers and the sermon thereafter. 

Life, in this way, goes on ...