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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Tala’a Al Bardu Alaina… by Um Kulthum


It is a myth propagated by the ultraconservatives that music is haram in the faith.

Another myth propagated by the ignorant is that the songs in praise of Prophet Muhammad PBUH are sung as a biddat( innovative distortion) only in the South Asia and not in the Arab world. On the contrary, my favourite naats are in Arabic and they are called Nasheeds.

Having lived in Saudi Arabia, for nearly 2 decades, and travelled extensively in the Arab world from Egypt to Syria to the Gulf, the overload of beautiful music I have enjoyed is beyond the scope of this post.

Here I wish to share the FIRST EVER Arabic song in recorded history which was sung in 622 AD in Madina when Prophet PBUH entered the city, and he was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Ansars ( the residents of Madina). The singers lined up were women, who played Duff( a hand drum) and sang in his praise.

The lyrics say: Tala’a Al Badru Alaina…The white full moon has arisen….

The one shared below is the modern original version sung by none other than my favourite Arab singer, Um Kulthum, for the film The Message.
The video also gives an overview of how the welcome scene may have looked like 1400 years ago.

This is my utmost favourite, and the catchy music still gives goosebumps and serves as a reminder of the hundreds of trips to the tranquil city of Madina from Makkah in our 19 years stay there and numerous weddings we attended in the Arab world.

In a typical Arab wedding even today, the bride-groom are traditionally received in the wedding hall by women singing this very song.

طلع البدر علينا Oh the white moon has arisen over us
من ثنيات الوداع From the valley between hills
وجب الشكر علينا And we owe it to show our gratitude
ما دعى لله داعWhere the call is to Allah
أيها المبعوث فيناOh you who were raised among us
جئت بالأمر المطاعComing with a word to be revered
جئت شرفت المدينةYou have brought to this city nobility
مرحبا يا خير داعWelcome best caller to God’s way


EID MILAD UN NABI

Do listen to the song, the music and the powerful voice.
Does it feel as a beautiful piece of music as it feels to me?

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Murgh Musallam Stuffing & Gravy: Fusion Food


I recently learned the technical difference between a cook and a chef.
A cook just cooks food.
A chef creates recipes.
That felt encouraging.

Haha for years, for experimentation I created/altered recipes, as following lakeer ke faqeer culinary rules was not my thing. Secondly I make the amends to make unnecessary cooking simpler for my own convenience, and to improve upon its presentation at the table. And to just to evade judgement or criticism from the hardcore traditionalists, I often dupe people with, “This is an Iraqi dish,” or a “Swedish sandwich” or an “Guatemalan delicacy”. 😃

Once my friend Maimoona Afzal, who is the wife of Fasih’s best friend, Dr. Afzal Memon, caught me redhanded and said, “Mujhe tum jo stuffed tomatoes Arabian dish keh ker khila rahi ho, aisi koi Arabian dish nahin hoti.”I later came to know Fasih had spilled the beans, who told this secret to Afzal bhai, and he passed on the info to Maimoona obviously.

What happened between Fasih and I after that breach of secrecy now safely remains a secret itself buried in my chest. 😃

So coming to the point, I had often thought to make a fusion of stuffed chicken breast and murgh musallam. The huge chicken breasts were stuffed tight with a mixture of raisins, dried figs, ginger paste, crushed brown onions and soaked almonds.
The whole breasts were then dabbed in egg and coated with bread crumbs and baked in the oven.
This was complimented with a separate gravy/ sauce similar to the gravy made for Murgh Musallam, consisting of garlic-ginger paste, brown onions, raisins, yogurt and curry spices.
The curry is not in the picture, as always I forgot to take the pics and depended on Fatima’s mandatory clicks.
Worse still, I forgot to keep the gravy bowl on the table next to stuffed chicken dish until the very end. Will add a picture of how it looks, when I make it next. The two together did taste like Musallam but a lot more manageable without the cumbersome whole chicken with bones in the traditional recipe, which needs a skill to be carved. It ends up being ruthlessly pulled apart into shreds, making a delicacy look like a disaster on a dinner table.
#FusionFood #EastWestFusion
#MurghMusallam
#StuffedChickenBreast

Camaraderie and Sportsmanship in the Tokyo Olympics 2021 !


What a soul-soothing story of love and camaraderie:

Scene: The final of men’s high jump at the #TokyoOlympics2021

#Italy‘s Gianmarco Tamberi was competing with #Qatar‘s Mutaz Essa Barshim in the final.

Both of them jumped 2.37 meters and were at par ! Olympic officials gave three more attempts to each of them, but they were unable to reach more than 2.37 meters.
One more attempt was given to both of them, but Tamberi withdrew from the last attempt due to a serious leg injury. The moment when there was no other opponent in front of Barshim, the moment when he could have easily approached the gold alone !
Barshim paused, then asked the official “Can the gold be shared between the two of us if I withdraw from the final attempt ?”
The official checks, confirms and says, “Yes then the gold will be shared between the two of you”.

Barshim then had nothing to think about, and announced his own withdrawal from the last attempt.

Seeing this, the Italian opponent Tamberi ran and hugged Barshim and screamed !

It is the first time since the #olympics1912 that a gold medal was shared in athletics – in both pentathlon and decathlon at the #StockholmGames.

Moral: What we witnessed that historical moment was an exemplary share of love and camaraderie in sports that is deeper than the Pacific Ocean and higher than the Mount Everest peak. This is what makes sports great in the true sense of the word. It reveals the heart-touching #sportsmanship that makes differences created through religions, colors and borders irrelevant and redundant !
The best part is Barshim didn’t need to do it. No one would have accused him of unfair play if he was the sole gold medalist.

The story made me cry with joy and sorrow both.

Why sorrow?

Watching on TV just few moments ago how the BCCI is putting roadblocks against #KPL. Sad for #India having introduced gutter politics into noble sports like Cricket, against #Pakistan. First it was through the IPL and now in KPL.
I hope they could learn a lesson or two of sportsmanship and not drag hate politics into sports.



Nevertheless the pictures below of smiles, screams, tears, hugs, shared joy and the ultimate sense of fulfillment are so very therapeutic and they only convince me that generosity still reigns supreme, over all kinds of evils even in these times of xenophobia.

Amrita Pritam- the Legend Lives On…


Amrita Pritam turns 100 yrs old on August 31, 2019.
She lives in her poetry and in her two love stories- Sahir Ludhianvi & Imroz.

These was the last words in the form of a couplet (shair) Sahir said to her as they parted:

Tum chali jaaogi, parchhaiyaan rah jaayengi,
Kuchh na kuchh Ishq ki raanaaiyaan rah jaayengi.
When you leave, your lovely silhouettes shall remain,
Memories and traces of love will refresh me time and again.

Amrita wrote an ode to her love for Imroz as her last parting poetry:

“Mayn tennu pher milangi….” Link to my blog on this poetry is here

Imroz, who’s love for Amrita Pritam remains unmatched, is alive at 91 years and still refers to her in present tense. After her passing away he started to write poetry and called his book: “Jashn Jaari Hai (The Celebration is on).

One of the verses he wrote for Amrita are:

Main jab khamosh hota hun
Aur khayal bhi khamosh hote hain
To ek halki halki sargoshi hoti hai
Uske ehsaas ki
Uske shayron ki…Whenever I am quiet,
And so are my thoughts silent,
Then happens very faint whisper(babble)
Of her being
Of her poetry

However my favourite of Amrita Pritam remains her power poetry “Aaj Akhan Waris Shah Nu” which deserves its own blog and will share one in days to come.

 

This was Google’s tribute to Amrita Pritam:Amrita

Story #5: Talaq (Divorce)


My daughter often remarks, Men of my generation are better and more supportive than men of your generation. They value their wive’s careers and are less fussy to help them out at home.” 

My response to her almost always is, “There definitely is a section of educated young men who think and behave much different from their father’s generation. Many of them are sons of educated and career women (like me), who raised their sons to respect women.”

The above conversation holds true for only a very limited section of our desi society. Vast majority of men and women are still the flag bearers of patriachy and believe in subservience of womenfolk.
In the pretext of faith or culture, patriachy would not have been so deeprooted, if there were no women allies to it.
Not just allies, women are often the most vocal advocates of ’empowerment of men folk’.

Hear here a recent example of Ms Khan, a renowned matchmaker, who went ballistic on a TV show blaming women for everything wrong in this society:

 

For those who dont understand Urdu, I will translate verbatim the blatantly outrageous statements she makes  in her loud and reprimanding voice scolding young girls:

  1. “DONT use your tongue. Dont wag your tongue. Keep your tongue under control. If a woman controls her tongue, these things( marital discords) will not happen. Things escalate when the woman becomes “moonh zor” (bold) and tries to dominate over husband and mother in law. In our times we were told that when husband comes home, you must take care of his shoes and clothes,  the griddle should be hot to cook fresh chapattis, and the curry should be ready. What is this? “I am not going to cook chappattis?” Why? Then why did you get married?”
  2. She continues in English: “If you are not capable of cooking chapattis, then you better dont get married. If you are not capable of taking care of your children dont get maried. You will have to bear EVERYTHING. Unless and until you are not a PROPER WOMAN…”
  3. “Women should keep their mouths shut in front of their husbands( she puts a finger on her lips). Women are wagging their tongues a lot in front of their husbands, whether they are from rich family or poor or middle class. YOU SHOULD NOT OPEN YOUR MOUTH UNNECESSARILY.” 
  4. The anchor asks, “But Mrs Khan,  it is not always women’s fault if the matter reaches upto separation?” to which Mrs Khan interjects her, “These days it is women’s fault. They watch TV serials and learn from there. I have seen how my maid talks to her husband. Poor husband quietly listens to her. Look how this woman of even LOW CLASS speaks to her husband.”

Not surprising at all, but men were not even part of this conversation on marital discord.

YOURSTORYTELLER

is a social enterprise that creates digital talking comics based on true stories and raises awareness on the triumphs and struggles of common individuals.
We will be bringing digital stories based on or adapted from true stories, highlighting an important social issue in each story.

Coming to #YourStoryTeller, I am sharing here a true story of my own cousin, who followed exactly what Mrs Khan had recommended, “Dont wag you tongue, in front of your husband.” 
She even quietly tolerated a lot of taunts and verbal abuse from her mother in law.  Whenever I asked her, “Tum jawab kyun nahin deti?” (“Why don’t you reply back?” )

Her answer would be, “Baaji, yeh manhoos tarbiyet jo hai ke susraal mein jawab nahin dou.”  (“This damned upbringing that I am not supposed to answer back to my in laws.”).
Thus she laughed off many such bitter narrations of what she went through day in and day out.

The psychological abuse went on for about 4 years….

What happened next?  Please watch the true story TALAQ (DIVORCE):

I am proud of this cousin, who is now an independent career woman.

My advice to young girls would be to:  Marry men who respect and understand gender equity and both spouses need to understand that marriage is a partnership, not a boss-subordinate relationship.  Otherwise follow as Mrs Khan said, “stay single” and focus on your life & career.

Ayy Ishq Humein Barbaad Na Ker…


Several decades down the road, this nazm and this rendition remain my lifetime favourite by Akhter Shirani
:
:
:
Ay Ishq humaiN barbad na kar, 
O’ Love, smash us not, destroy us not
Barbaad na kar, Nashaad na ker
Smash us not , depress us not
اے عشق نہ چھیڑ آ آ کے ہمیں
Ay Ishq na cheRh aa aa key humaiN
O’ Love disturb us not, again and again
ہم بھولے ہووں کو یاد نہ کر
Hum bhooley huoN ko yaad na kar
Recall us not, the forgotten ones
پہلے ہی بہت ناشاد ہیں ہم
Pehley hi bohut nashaad haiN hum
So disheartened we already are
تو اور ہمیں ناشاد نہ کر
Tuu aur humaiN nashaad na kar
Make us not more disheartened
قسمت کا ستم ہی کم نہیں کچھ
Qismet ka sitam hii kum nahiN kuch
As if the injustice of fate was enough
یہ تازہ ستم ایجاد نہ کر
Yeh tazaa sitam eejaad na kar!
Reinvent not,  this fresh injustice
یوں ظلم نہ کر بیداد نہ کر
Yun zlm na kar beydaad na kar
Inflict not such cruelty and tyranny
اے عشق ہمیں برباد نہ کر- برباد نہ کر
Ae Ishq humaiN barbad na kar, barbad na kar
O’ Love, smash us not, destroy us not

 

جس دن سے بندھا ہے دھیان تیرا
Jis din se bundhaa hai dhyaan tera
Since the day our thoughts possessed you,
گھبراےؑ ہوےؑ سے رہتے ہیں
Ghabraaye huwe sey rehtey haiN
Anxious we remain
ہر وقت تصور کر کر کے
Har waqt tasawwur kar kar ke
Lost in your imagination 
شرماےؑ ہوے سے رہتے ہیں
Sharmaaye huwe se rehtey haiN
Feeling embarrassed (all the time)
کملاےؑ ہوے پھولوں کی طرح
Kumhlaaye huwe phoolon ki tarha
Like the wilted flowers
کملاےؑ ہوے سے رہتے ہیں
Kumhlaaye huwe se rehetey haiN
Shrivelled up we remain
پامال نہ کر بیداد نہ کر
Paamaal na kar, beydaad na kar
Trample us not, torment us not
اے عشق ہمیں برباد نہ کر- برباد نہ کر
Ae Ishq humaiN barbad na kar, barbad na kar
O’ Love, smash us not , destroy us not
راتوں کو اٹھ اٹھ کر روتے ہیں
Raaton ko uth uth kar roTey haiN
Weeping we wake up at nights
رو رو کے دعایؑں کرتے ہیں
Ro’ ro’ kay duwayin kertey haiN
And plead as we snivel
آنکھوں میں تصور، دل مین خلش
Ankhon main tusawwar, dil mayn khalish
With fantasy in the eyes, regret in the heart
سر دھنتے ہیں، آہنیں بھرتے ہیں
Sar dhundtey haiN anhein burtey haiN
Our head throbs( in pain) and heart sighs  
اے عشق یہ کیسا روگ لگا
Ae Ishq ye kaisa rog Laga
O’ Love, what kind of ailment is this
جیتے ہیں نا ظالم مرتے ہیں
Jeetey hain naa zaalim martey haiN
Neither do we live nor we die
Ye zulm tou ayy jallad na ker
Inflict not this torture, O’ Tyrant
اے عشق ہمیں برباد نہ کر- برباد نہ کر
Ae Ishq humaiN barbad na kar, barbad na kar
O’ Love, smash us not , destroy us not
ان خوابوں سے یوں آزاد نہ کر
In khwabon se yuun azad na kar
Release us not from these delusions
اے عشق ہمیں برباد نہ کر- برباد نہ کر
Ae Ishq humaiN barbad na kar, barbad na kar
O’ Love, smash us not, destroy us not 

English translation attempted most humbly by yours truly. Translation of full nazm will follow.

Main Tenu Pher Milangi~ by Amrita Pritam, recitation by Gulzar


Main Tenu Fir Milaan Gi
Kithey? Kis Tarah? Pata Nai
Shayad Terey Takhayul Di Chinag Ban Ke
Terey Canvas Tey Utraan Gi
Ya Khowrey Terey Canvas Dey Utey
Ikk Rahasmayi Lakeer Ban Ke
Khamosh Tenu Tak Di Rawaan Gi

I will meet you yet again
How and where? I know not.
Perhaps I will become a
figment of your imagination
and maybe, spreading myself
in a mysterious line
on your canvas,
I will keep gazing at you.

Yaa Khowrey Sooraj Di Loo Ban Ke
Terey Rangaan Wich Ghulaan Gi
Yaa Rangaan Diyan Bahwaan Wich Baith Ke
Terey Canvas Nuu Walaan Gi
Pata Nai Kiss Tarah? Kithey?
Par Tenu Zaroor Milaan Gi

Perhaps I will become a ray
of sunshine, to be
embraced by your colours.
I will paint myself on your canvas
I know not how and where –
but I will meet you for sure.

Yaa Khowrey Ikk Chashma Bani Howaan Gi
Tey Jeevan Jharneyaan Da Paani Udd-da
Main Paani Diyaan Boondaan
Terey Pindey Tey Malaan Gi
Tey Ikk Thandak Jahi Ban Ke
Teri Chaati Dey Naal Lagaan Gi
Main Hor Kujh Nai Jaandi
Par Aena Jaandi
Ke Waqt Jo Vii Karey Ga
Aey Janam Mairey Naal Turey Ga

Maybe I will turn into a spring,
and rub the foaming
drops of water on your body,
and rest my coolness on
your burning chest.
I know nothing else
but that this life
will walk along with me.

Aey Jism Mukda Hai
Tay Sab Kujh Muk Jaanda
Par Chaityaan Dey Dhaagey
Kaainaati Kana Dey Hundey
Main Onhaan Kana Nuu Chunaan Gi
Dhaageyaan Nuu Walaan Gi
Tey Tenu Main Fair Milaan Gi…

When the body perishes,
all perishes;
but the threads of memory
are woven with enduring specks.
I will pick these particles,
weave the threads,
and I will meet you yet again.

~ Poetry in Punjabi by Amrita Pritam
~Translation in English by Nirupama Dutt

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