Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why My Father Prof Shahryar Would Have Been Sad If He Was Alive In A Deeply Polarised India Today?

My father Prof Shahryar was a Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith Award winning #Urdu Poet. He loved #India and took a pride in the Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb of our great country. If he would have been alive he would have been deeply hurt by the gross calculated polarisation that is taking place in an extremely methodical manner. I am glad that he's not there to see the 'Idea of India' that he treasured so much, breaking apart at the seams.

This couplet by my father comes to my mind...

Maana saahil door bahut hai, maana dariya hai toofaani, Kashti paar nahin hone ki, lekin koshish to karni hai, aakhir koshish to karni hai

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Homesick At Home

A poem by my daughter Insha

It is so strange to be home
It was so fun there
I feel so alone
The loneliness is too much to bear.

There were so many happy smiling faces
People taking me places
Oh, it was all so good

It is so strange to be home
And see all the empty rooms
Just like an empty dome
Where no flowers ever bloom.

There were so many nice things
Even the birds used to sing
Oh it was all so good

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Rich, Vibrant, Open, Young Minds At Paramarsh 2015, Vadodara

The Rich, Vibrant, Open, Young Minds At Paramarsh 2015, Vadodara...
By Faridoon Shahryar

It is such an encouraging experience when you interact with enthusiastic students who are keen on acquiring the wealth of knowledge and that too with an open mind. I delivered a lecture to the students of the faculty of technology and engineering at Maharaja Sayajirao University here in Vadodara at the final day of their annual college festival 'Paramarsh 2015'. I spoke about the changing face of journalism in India. I shared a few of my personal thoughts and experiences but I specifically harped on the importance of 'Credibility' and why 'Honesty with a little bit of common sense is still the best policy'. Six students came forward and I interviewed them. We spoke about their future plans, why travelling is very important to open windows of the mind and why they need to work towards becoming better human beings to dilute the burgeoning competitiveness that puts undue pressure on young minds. What's the point in burning out when there's so much to do, so much to see, so much to treasure and so much to be happy for. I also emphasised on the importance of communication skills. You may be having the best of technical knowledge but if you can't put your point of view across in clear terms, it will always be a drawback. People are the most important resource and how you communicate with them can either distance you, or endear you to them. Choice is yours. Efforts are yours. And, its all worth it!

I genuinely hope that the young minds that I met today and the young minds of this great country will always put merit, liberal mindset, equality, rationality and inclusiveness above anything else. I hope they will shove out the obsolete, divisive and dangerous mindset out of the way and usher in a new India that's the pride of the world. A boy said that he likes cinema that advocates rationality, films like PK and OMG-Oh My God, films that denounce superstition, over emphasis on religion and backwardness. It was really nice to hear his thoughts.

The student volunteers took wonderful care of me. Phaphda, Jalebi, Chhole and some other Gujarati delicacies kept my taste buds truly satiated. One of the coordinating students, Nensi Patel showed me the campus of the faculty of technology and engineering. The campus is partly based in the Palace of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad and partly it has been built by the government. A very strong 45000 students force is studying in MS University, Vadodara. I was told about an App that has been created for the university and has had 15000 downloads. All the information pertaining to the University is regularly updated on this App. Paramarsh 2015 is entirely organised by the students, who've gone out and sourced many sponsors. I saw an Eifel Tower made out of newspapers, a painting that celebrates the beauty of Venice and many such creations dotted the lawns of the campus. I was felicitated during the closing ceremony. It felt as if I've become a part of the grand institution.

My friend Atik showed me the more modern side of Vadodara in the evening. A vibrant city dotted with malls and multiplexes. A city blessed with the rich heritage of Maharaja Sayajirao Rao Gaekwad and his family, sprawling cricket grounds, Parsi Havelis and much more. The wide roads are a treat. We savoured the succulent Bhuna Gosht at Marhaba Restaurant. The aroma and the taste lingers on. Paan from Paras Pan Bhandaar was divine as well. The cool breeze was intoxicating as I ruminated about a memorable day. It was surely inspiring to work towards many more such memorable days in the future. Inshallah. Good night!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Time to rise above Differences: Diary of Day 1, Vadodara

Time To Rise Above Differences: Diary of Day 1, Vadodara
By Faridoon Shahryar

My friend Atiq treated me to a scrumptious dinner at regal hotel, near Vadodara station a short while back. Chicken tikka and chicken legs hung in the open air as smoke swelled out. Nearby there were buzzing-with-excitement shops of Vegetarian Gujarati Thali. I didn't find anything amiss. All was well. Eating preferences can surely co exist if one ignores the vulture politicians who prey on the sentiments of ordinary people who have far bigger issues in life rather than worrying about what the neighbour is eating.

Vadodara was one of the worst affected cities in Gujarat during the 2002 communal riots. It was split in two. Many years have passed. It will be impractical to say that the after effects are still not around. I am sure they must be there. I travelled on the back seat of Atiq's scooter and saw a decent amount of the big city today. I saw a nice co existence of the business establishments of both the communities. I genuinely hope that people gather sense and work towards bridging gaps between hearts. It is for everyone's own good. Strife, hatred, discord doesn't help anyone. Politicians will run out of business if their hate factory shuts shop. Personally I don't look at differences because I supremely believe in the secular ethos of India. And that is the beauty of India...its diversity!

The cool fresh breeze here in Vadodara is a welcome departure from the clogged Mumbai. I am staying at Maharaja Sayajirao University Guest House. I have stayed at best of hotels in India and abroad but a university guest house has a very special place in my heart. My parents were professors at AMU, Aligarh and eminent writers, academicians and artists came and stayed at the multiple University Guest Houses that were there at AMU. I have often accompanied my parents to meet such eminent people at the guest house premises. The MS University Guest House is a very fine building, with lots of greenery all around. Vice Chancellors lodge is nearby and one of the biggest attractions of Vadodara, Sayaji Baug is right in front. Atiq took me to the historic Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad's Lalit Vilas Palace. It is a truly majestic sight. It is a heritage building with a hotel adjacent to it. There's a sprawling golf course as well. Peacocks loitered around in their laidback splendour. I ate famous Gujarati specialities Bakharwadi, Lilwani Kachodi and Sev Khamni in the evening. Bakharwadi and Lilwani Kachodi were simply heavenly. I really appreciated the owner of the restaurant who insisted that the Lilwani Kachodi ought to be warmed properly by his staff before we start eating it.

I shall be taking two lectures tomorrow. The students of the Engineerng Faculty met me in the evening today. Extremely cultured and well behaved. I was told that I shall be the Chief Guest for the closing ceremony tomorrow at Paramarsh 2015 and I shall share the stage with the honourable Vice Chancellor. Well it is a big honour. Hope I live up to their and my own expectations tomorrow. The day will start early and it is time for me to hit the bed. Wish me luck. Good night. :-)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Audio Visual for guest lecture at Paramarsh, Baroda

Hello Friends 

Hope you are doing well. I shall be delivering a guest lecture during the annual function of 'Paramarsh', the annual function of Faculty of Technology and Engineering (FTE), The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on October 4 on the 'Changing Face of Journalism in India'. Mr Prabhu Chawla, noted journalist of 'Seedhi Baat' (Aaj Tak) fame is the other speaker. Kindly find enclosed the Audio Visual presentation that the organisers are sharing on their social media platforms and during the festival. Thanks for your support, as always and looking forward to your good wishes.

Best Regards 

Hello Friends Hope you are doing well. I shall be delivering a guest lecture during the annual function of 'Paramarsh', the annual function of Faculty of Technology and Engineering (FTE), The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on October 4 on the 'Changing Face of Journalism in India'. Mr Prabhu Chawla, noted journalist of 'Seedhi Baat' (Aaj Tak) fame is the other speaker. Kindly find enclosed the Audio Visual presentation that the organisers are sharing on their social media platforms and during the festival. Thanks for your support, as always and looking forward to your good wishes.Best Regards Faridoon
Posted by Faridoon Shahryar on Friday, October 2, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Harvest of Questions

Harvest of Questions
By Faridoon Shahryar

Greed is insatiable
And so is curiosity
The ability to Reason
Is dictated by
The relative willingness
Of the ego-infested mind..
I reap the harvest of questions...
Why can't I travel business or first class?
Why don't I live in a more developed country that values human existence?
Why do I have to hate and distrust Jews just because I'm born in a particular religion?
Why do I have to prove my loyalty by verbally bashing the neighbouring country?
Why being selfless is considered as madness or foolishness?
Why can't people learn from History rather than swearing to repeat the horrors of the past in a new context?
Why is Love looked down upon frivolously while Hatred is considered a sign of logical intelligence?
Why can't I rise above my own trivialities, look within and raise the bar of sensibility?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijaan:Heartwarming Handshake Of Brotherhood

Bajrangi Bhaijaan:Heartwarming Handshake Of Brotherhood
By Faridoon Shahryar

"Nafrat bahut asaani se bik jaati hai, lekin mohabbat...," trails off Nawazuddin Siddiqui at a crucial moment in Kabir Khan's 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. Nawaz plays an ambitious television reporter in a small town in Pakistan who helps Bajrangi (Salman Khan) in ensuring that Munni (Harshali Mehra), a little Pakistani girl reaches her home in the faraway hills. It is true the stories of love and togetherness between the two warring nations are seldom celebrated but hate mongering and jingoism is lapped up by trigger-happy news channels and byte-mercenary politicians on both sides of the border.

'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a landmark film for it tries to bridge gaps between people of India and Pakistan without being preachy or moralistic. It is an extremely entertaining film but entertainment need not always be song-n-dance and popcorn-cola-jokes that don't last long.

Salman Khan delivered one of his finest performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Khamoshi'. After that film, 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is the film that taps the acting brilliance of Khan. Credit must go to Kabir Khan to have taken risks by not falling in the trap of what-the-distributors-want in a Salman Khan film. There are two brief action sequences, no item songs and a brief romance. In other words, Kabir completely breaks the formula that makes Salman such a safe blockbuster bet at the box office. Enough scope is given to Nawazuddin to display his magical brilliance and the kid Harshali Malhotra delivers a stunning performance (without delivering any dialogue). Om Puri shines in a cameo too. The presence of a strong support cast enhances Salman's performance greatly.

Somehow one can equate Kabir Khan with Raju Hirani. A wonderful concept, backed by good writing, superb execution and this heady concoction is enmeshed in the cushion of outstanding entertainment. Kabir has chosen breathtaking locations in Kashmir. The introductory sequence has some aerial shots atop the lofty mountains and honestly Kashmir is surely worth being called Paradise. Kabir also displays the power of the media in bringing people together. He highlights NDTV in bringing in a positive change in a certain context in the film. In recent times this Indian channel has faced a strong opposition from certain political quarters within India for its honest reporting and it is notable that Khan chose this channel instead of any more 'agreeable' one.

The story by S Vijendra Prasad is the fulcrum of the film. Screenplay by Kabir Khan, Vijendra Prasad, Asad Husain and Parvez Shaikh is very engaging. It must have been a tough call of locking the final screenplay taking the various sensibilities into account and how not to be insensitive to anyone's beliefs. Dialogues by Kabir Khan and Kausar Munir (additional dialogues) are excellent. They will make you laugh, cry and engage attention all at the same time. Aseem Mishra is another hero of the film. His brilliant camera work is a big highlight. Be it capturing magnetic Kashmir or the grungy Rajasthan lanes, Aseem brings alive Kabir's vision excellently. Pritam's music is a highpoint. My personal favourite is 'Tu Jo Mila' (thought provoking lyrics by Kausar Munir and evocatively sung by KK). 'Zindagi' and 'Bhar Do Jholi' are my other favourites from the album. Julius Paekiam's haunting background score is a character in itself.

'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is a must watch film that will stay in your mind long after its over. The egotistical politicians on both sides of the border will keep on stoking the fire of hatred. If you want genuine people-to-people contact and a chance to let Love do the talking,  then this film will hold hands of peace in front of you. It is up to you if you wish to put your hand forward and feel the warmth of brotherhood. Take a call.

Star Rating:*****