Sakooter or Scooter! That’s the way to go!

I just happened to read this news item in Kashmir Times. It talks of how women in Kashmir have started using scooter as a convenient means of transport and of the acceptance of the idea among the locals.  To me watching a woman drive a scooter is the idea of freedom – beautiful freedom!

Some years back the idea of a woman driving a scooter would certainly not ‘look good’ for whatever reasons. I remember having a discussion with a guy quite some years back my pen-name Sakooter itself. The guy found it funny that I supported hijab and talked of scooter. To me it was weird that people actually have a problem with something as simple as a means of conveyance which saves women a lot of trouble.  There would be some who would even go to the extent of calling it un-Islamic. (Am I raising eye-brows somewhere?) Don’t open your mouth yet.. wait up… didn’t the women in Arabia travel on a camel? Do you see a co-relation?

I would certainly think travelling by a scooter would bring us way closer to morality and Islam.  Weird as it may seem, it avoids the uncomfortable situations in which women put themselves in those overloaded buses where there is hardly place to breathe in.

I would say scooter is certainly the way to go! Yay! Its the sakooter speaking of-course!

SRINAGAR, Apr 30: Sometime back, a Kashmiri girl traveling all alone in public transport would not go down well with the people here, thinking of it as an open invitation to all kinds of trouble. However, one is not too surprised to see the Kashmiri ladies riding two wheelers not only within city but even outskirts. This trend picked up last year, when Jammu and Kashmir Bank announced its special Scooty scheme aimed at providing two wheelers to girl students and working ladies of the valley with a maximum finance of Rs 50,000 to be repaid in 60 monthly installments.
This scheme transformed once a dream Scooty for an ordinary Kashmiri girl into a go-getter. Pinks, blues, whites–available in various colours, designs and makes have made their presence felt in various motor showrooms of Kashmir and proving to be good business source too.
While for the showroom dealers, women scooters are turning out to be a prized revenue source, for young women it is surely a boon.
“Girls riding Scootys is epitomizing a new wave of independent women who do not need her parents or friends to accompany them every time they step out. Initially, though we did not see too many women riding two wheelers out on the roads. But certainly, the number of women scooters in the valley is on an increase,” says Dr Maroofa, a sociologist.
Meanwhile, the girls who are the ‘proud owners’ of  these Scootys feel a sense of liberation from the daily hassles of public transport, eve teasing and in the process save some bucks too.
“In the wake of auto fares, bus fares increasing, possessing a Scooty becomes a blessing. Without having to wait for buses, autos, avoiding unnecessary male attention, I certainly am happier after buying my scooter. I can now travel anywhere I want, anytime with my Scooty,” quips Shazia, a college goer.
For many working ladies, riding Scootys initially meant hitting back by their male colleagues and unusual stares on roads. But even such things are changing now.
“I am in a sales job for a cosmetics company. My job requires a lot of travel with least expenses. Hence buying a scooter was the best available option for me. Earlier, there were a lot of inhibitions, especially the undue comments by male colleagues. I would avoid traveling to far off places alone on my Scooty. But our society, seems to have fairly adjusted with the idea of women traveling alone, in their vehicles- be it a two wheeler or a four wheeler,” says Razia, sales girl.
If owning a scooter is a matter of convenience for women, being a good driver and avoiding scuffles with men are some words of caution by the policewomen for the ladies.
“Although nobody can raise any objection with a female riding a vehicle, but we see a lot of school girls who dot have even driving licenses riding them. It is very essential to be a trained driver first and then enjoy the experience,” adds Fehmeeda, a lady cop.

(Kashmir Times, 30th April 2011)

Childhood

Close your eyes and think of yourself as a child. Think of what used to amuse you and what made you happy.

The little pleasures of life.

As I do that, I think of our garden and me sitting in the porch looking at the little in our garden tree with yellow flowers all over it. Yes its spring and the grass is turning green. Everything looks fresh. And a yellow flower in my hand.

And the day is ending, darkness hiding the bright day light. Its time to go inside.

Save Dal Lake!

I saw little kids scream out loud, “Save Dal Lake!”. What I found most amazing was the fact that adults had stopped shouting out, but the kids just wouldn’t stop. To me the fact that they continued screaming Save Dal Lake was the sweetest and thought provoking incident. Read on.. this is news item from GK. I will inshaAllah post more pics!
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Srinagar, Oct 25: In a first of its kind environmental awareness campaign in the City, kindergarten students Sunday participated in a run for Continue reading

And India is so scared…

The world’s largest democracy is scared. The irony of it, it isnt scared of armed gunmen, but of unarmed peacefull protestors who would just want to go out in the streets and tell the world that they want “Azadi” or freedom from India.

And it is the fear that has forced India to deploy hundreds of armed men — in addition to the existing thousands that are in the valley, to stop civilians from walking into the streets under the banner of freedom. And this is the curfew that forced men and women into their homes. Anyone who walks out has to face the bullet.

The local TV channels have been closed — sending of sms from mobiles is disabled — soon I guess even access to the internet might be closed.. and who knows this might be my last post…

Kashmiris want their right to freedom. That is what they wanted to tell the world and that is what the curfew imposed stopped them from doing — partially, for there have been men who dared the gun and got gunned.

Not just that, there were others who were killed even when they werent talking of azadi, but just wanted to get the bare necessities — the access to which has been rendered impossible by the curfew. Yesterday, a son and father were shot dead in Dalgate area of Srinagar. The fault was just that the boy had gone out to get milk and when shot dead by the Indian armed forces, the father came out to question and got shot too. This is a story that I heard by word of mouth. There are many others that I do not know of. And many many of these will go unreported.

The Indian media unfortunately is downplaying the whole issue by screaming out loud and inhumanely that it is India’s internal issue. I wonder why the wolrd community has shut up.

We have seen intervention in other countries where people were repressed. And now that the issue is of a disputed territory, why is the world quiet.

Maybe the world is scared. But what makes me glad for once is the fact that India is scared. Scared that the truth will come out…

Kashmir’s Azadi…

The slogan of azadi reveberates throughout the valley once again. The struggle for seperation from India once again is there up and strong. Its curfew today. The Indian armed forces are everywhere. People break the curfew and in unision say out loud and clear “Hum kya chahtay azadi”.

Everyone is on the streets. Kashmir is asking for freedom.

What is ironical is that the media coverage (except the local media) of what the masses in Kashmir want and what they are bearing with — in terms of Indian armed forces agression — is minimal.

What is even more ironical is that the same Indians who celebrated their own independence day on 15th of August cant show even an iota of respect towards the Kashmiris who are also asking for what is rightfully theirs — the right to freedom — the right to choose whether or not they want to stay with India or not. Ofcourse like any agressor, India too doesnt see what is clearly the choice of the Kashmiris — separation from India. Even thought there might be some dispute with regards to whether all Kashmiris want to join Pakistan or stay Independent, the choice is loud and clear — we dont want India.

The Indian media wants to downplay the whole Azadi sentiment by making it sound like the issue is limited to the transfer of land to Amarnath Yatra Board, or the opening of trade route to Pakistan, but any one who chooses not to be blind would see it clearly that for the past 20 years or so, it hasnt been just this — what are Kashmriis fighting for?

There have been many attempts to communalise the whole Kashmiri struggle movement. Making it sound like the Kashmiri muslims suddenly decided to get up and run a killing spree against the Hindus and the Sikhs. There are others who speak of voilence and attach it to the Kashmiri struggle.

Tragic! Tragic indeed is the fact that even though Kashmiris did take up voilence, the recent mass uprising has been non-violent. Ofcourse the voilence came from the Indian side who did not flinch from using ammunition against unarmed masses who had taken to a peaceful protest.

The world community has shut up.

They are deaf, dumb and blind. Deaf to the cries, dumb for want of “politically correct words” and blind to the inhumanity that would shake any human consceince.

Romance in Islam

Romance in IslamHow often do you hear people talk about Romance with an Islamic context? Talking of romance, of love generally speaking – in front of many Muslims would raise eyebrows as the image of ‘Romance’ and ‘Love’ that we have today is what is presented by the Holly/Bolly Wood or the loads of novels that come with stories making people fanaticize love using the perspective of the authors. These people start imagining and making this love the ideal for their own lives. I have seen loads of people who sing songs with perfect lyrics not knowing the language at all. There are so many who would intelligently discuss how life is so well portrayed in these. The response to love and all associated ways of expressing it come in the form of people burning Valentine Cards, shunning any form of talk of romance and love.

The problem is that love and affection and even romance for that matter is a natural human need that finds no ideology to follow in our cultures and finds beautiful looking image of life in what is presented in these un-Islamic sources of entertainment.So does this mean that the rich Islamic life system that covers just about every aspect of life, forgets about this very important need? Is romance to be abhorred just because we have learnt over time to understand it from the western or hindi-movie perspective?

I found a very interesting blog post by a Muslim about how the idea of a romantic evening would differ from an Islamic and the de-facto perspective.

I knew there has to be some guideline, something that would make romance fit within the Islamic perspective going back to the time of the Prophet. And wow! There is so much, and so beautiful in the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself that tells us what romance is. Maybe the typical mullah forgot to talk about this aspect and we just clung on to a strict, no-smile image of Muslim that is so anti-Islam. But of course the learned men and women could tell you a lot more on how a beautiful relationship is to bemaintained than a ’google-searcher’ like me could put forth.

Anyhow, I did my research and I have my conclusions drawn from the beautiful life of the Prophet (s.a.w), and his companions.Bringing flowers for your loved one, looking beautiful for your mate, having a candle-light dinner with your mate — things that bring romance and speak of love are not only possible but something that would be recommended. The only difference – and an important difference indeed – is that the relationship has a pure foundation — that the man and woman, who have this bond of love, are legally bound together in the bond of marriage. [And of course, marriage is not to be that drag that men and women seem stuck in, and forward jokes about. In Islam, a marriage is the foundation for love and affection between a man and woman that is unlike any other human relationship.]

So, now that you want to talk of romance, a good idea would be to get married. For what is romance without a mate?

With marriage settled and accepted as the default, let’s talk of Romance.

“They are your garments and you are their garments” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:187).

How beautiful, and how romantic. J This statement from the Quran itself puts in one sentence the meaning of marriage and what it is supposed to be. The husband and wife are supposed to be to each other like garments – closest to you, protecting you, beautifying you, hiding your shame, and comforting you. SubhanAllah! What could be a better analogy to describe marriage?

Yay! Its spring!

I noticed the first flowers of Spring.

Yes! Spring has announced its arrival. With the sun shining brightly, as if smiling down on us. The gentle breeze carrying with it the scent of the first flowers of spring.

I saw a few daffodils bloom and I know there is going to be a splash of colors around me soon.

A bright colorful environment .. . oh! Its spring!

Its snowing!

It has been snowing. Well its been like that for many mornings. I see the snow. Its snows and snows and we have just about an inch of snow everywhere.. and then it stops and then the sun shines. 🙂

But today…

today its been snowing and its snowing like it wouldnt stop!

the snow seems to be in no mood to stop….

The Koshur Vegies

It’s been a long time since I wrote. Didn’t quite feel like writing. I guess the cold has kind of frozen those inner thoughts that used to find space in this blogsophere. So what brings me here today?

Well as simple — trying to figure what you call monji in english. It all started with a discussion where we sat and tried to google for english name for this koshur delight. Not sure there are many monji lovers out there, but Koshur vegetable cooked in the Koshur way are yum.. 😛 yum.. talking about food always fills me with a sense of yummmm….

Anyways, my search landed me into various websites — with names of vegetables in hindi and their equivalent in english —  but well I needed my Koshur sabziz to be described.

My research gave the following results: Monji/Monje is best described as Knol Khol or Kohlrabi [Go figure — run a google search for knol khol].

Its rather interesting to try and figure what the english equivalent is. Any readers having experience searching for the koshur vegies translation — drop a line.

In the meanwhile guess what the literal translation of nadur-monji would be? Lotus stem – knol khol. 😛