Showing posts from March, 2015

Buildings about to collapse on Rail Tracks near Masjid Stn, warns activist

Mumbai, 2nd October 2013: Dilapidated buildings along the railway tracks near Masjid Bunder and Sandhurst Road railway stations are endangering suburban railway commuters, said activist Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081,, in a complaint letter written today to various authorities including the Union minister for Railways, Chief Minister, Municipal Commissioner and others. He attached photos that indicated the precarious condition of the buildings, with several unauthorized and structures that threatened to fall down onto the railway tracks running only a few feet away. “In particular, a cluster of buildings at and near 25B Keshavji Naik Road, has unauthorized cantilevered construction on the top floor and illegal extension and additions and alterations at ground floor level. Also, the stone wall supporting the slope on the side of Sandhurst Road station is cracked and in danger of collapse. This may result in a landslide on the tracks,” alleged Bhimani in his le…
Mumbai, September 9, 2013: Today, on this occasion called Samvatsari Pratikraman, many Jains will typically to call me and say, “Michhami dukkadam” i.e. ‘I desire your forgiveness (for any pain i might have caused you with my words or deeds)’. They will call because that’s the done-thing today… and not because anybody remembers ever hurting me. And to all of them, what I want to say with a smile is: Don’t say it. To hurt me, you need to be within arm’s length of me — punching distance of me. You are just a remote acquaintance; we barely know each other. Don’t say it ritually, because I will not reciprocate. But please look at those who are so close to you, whom you have routinely wounded with a mere gesture, or absence of a gesture. You would have wounded them throughout the year, and throughout your lifetime, with hurtful words, inconsiderate gestures and selfish acts. I don’t want to preach to you… but I am angry. If you are even considering saying Micchami dukkadam to me, please pa…

Cancer patient’s tribute to his favourite Pehelwaan Chaap Bidi

Mohd Azazur Rahman, an electrical engineer from Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, was forced to come to Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital last month. It turned out that he was a great fan of Pehelwan brand of bidis all his life, smoking 2-3 packs per day. Even today, although his disfiguring oral cancer is painfully evident, he is having a hard time kicking the habit and still ends up smoking 4-5 Pehelwan bidis every day.

Poem: The Embrace – Companion of the night

The Embrace – Companion of the night, Solace from the day, Protect me from the light, Whisk me far away.
Wrap me in your arms, Hold me for a while, Let me shut my eyes, I’ve walked a weary mile.
My shoulders hurt, my muscles ache, Heal my body with your touch ’til the sun rises, don’t let me wake, In your embrace, let me sleep much.
Caress my hair with a tender hand, Kiss my forehead gently; Heal my body of all its wounds; Heal me physically, mentally.
Shield me from the dazzling sun, As you move farther away. Let there be night in my eyes, Though the rest of the world sees day.

My Phobia of Watchmen Burning Plywood & Plastic on Cold Nights

March 2, 2012: Today at dawn, I woke up smelling smoke. Looking out of my bedroom window, I saw an old enemy and felt a stab of fear in my heart. I saw gouts of smoke rising up from the watchmen’s cabin of the building next to ours, spoiling the fresh morning air. The wind was blowing in the opposite direction, and the watchmen extinguished the fire soon afterwards. But that brief whiff of smoke brought back unpleasant memories.My enmity with smoke began in December 2002, after dad came home with about 12 inches of stitches from his chest to abdomen after his cardiac bypass surgery. He had a nagging cough. His breastbone and stitches hurt when he coughed; it was painful to watch. Around midnight, I awoke to the sound of dad coughing uncontrollably. I too felt irritation in the throat. 
Two watchmen in a neighbouring building were burning scrap particle-board and plywood in a gamela – a shallow metal pan. Burning is a well-accepted and widespread winter habit throughout India called taa…

Unsung Contemporary Heroes of India: Periodical, Website, Video-documentary & Coffee-table book

Dear fellow citizens,
The Padma awards or state-level awards will always be politically motivated. Media publicity also generally goes to those of us who have a kind of celebrity status. So, how can we put the limelight on the hundreds and thousands of unsung heroes who are daily carrying on the battle for good administration in the government offices? How can we boost the confidence and power of the DARIDRA-NARAYAN AMONG ACTIVISTS, who wears chappals and frayed shirts, and travels by crowded trains, buses and foot to meet various public authorities and appellate authorities?
For the past three years or so, I have dreamt of a magazine, website, video-documentary and book series on Contemporary Heroes of India – men and women struggling for good governance. They are not glamourous. They may be eccentrics. They may be boring because they obsessively talk about problems or public authorities. A few of them may feature in the local media from time to time, but the majority are ignored by so…