Blogs

The day Emirates ruined Helena’s mascara. 150 150 ComfortAid International

The day Emirates ruined Helena’s mascara.

Emirates flight 725 from Dubai to Dar es Salaam begins with hassles; the aircraft is parked quite a distance away from the main terminal and we have to ride a bus to reach it. Funny no, you never have to do this when traveling to say, Europe or the Americas or somewhere exotic; just one…

Help most vague! 320 240 ComfortAid International

Help most vague!

Bewaqoof! Says an elder, Bewaqoof ladki! He repeats. Idiot, idiot girl! This admonishment is directed towards Begum Mumtaz, a dirt poor almost blind orphan girl living with her mother in the village of Nagaram in AP, India. The anger and irritation is because Mumtaz refuses to visit an eye specialist to check if a medical…

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Final 320 240 ComfortAid International

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Final

I ask the driver to take me to Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaun and Gulbaag Colony. The former two are minority Muslim pockets and scars from those couple of days of mayhem are still evident, even after eight years. Drab, dusty and filthy at places, the State has neglected to develop these narrow wandering streets into…

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Part two: 150 150 ComfortAid International

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Part two:

Firoz Gulzar Mohammed Pathan (FGMP): The train from Surat to Ahmedabad next morning is another comfortable ride, on time departure and arrival. Chotubhai Dosani, my host, picks me up and we lunch in style at his home and I have the afternoon free to relax and catch up with piling emails that were almost inaccessible…

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Part one: 150 150 ComfortAid International

An orgy of blood /A dance for justice – Part one:

Gujarat on February 27, 2002: a train carrying a group of radical Hindu devotees is set on fire at Godhra, Gujarat resulting in the deaths of 59 people, supposedly by a Muslim mob. Subsequent findings question this version, as it is proved fire could not have possibly set from outside the train, rather, scientific and…

Haw, all is vell… 150 150 ComfortAid International

Haw, all is vell…

Haw, haw, please come; you will be okay, I have curfew passes for us. So says my friend, Shabbir Lalani, an active social worker based in Hyderabad. He is assuring me of my safety in the violence engulfed city; bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims that has flared up in the Old City, resulting in total…

Prophecies of a dying brother. 150 150 ComfortAid International

Prophecies of a dying brother.

Two days before Bha stopped talking and went into a coma, he called me to his room and sat me down by his bedside. Bha, Mohammedreza Sultanali Yusufali, my eldest brother, was a father figure in my family. My father, you see, passed away in 1960, and since then Bha had led at the top,…

Lost lives…insecure lives. 150 150 ComfortAid International

Lost lives…insecure lives.

Kabul, Afghanistan – Friday February 26,2010 Six heavily armed men casually walk towards the entrance of Park Residence Hotel and as casually, pump several bullets into the heavy set middle aged guard sleepily guarding the entrance on this calm and sedate Friday holiday. They quickly overpower and kill 2 other guards just inside the iron…

You give me bad gas, My Baap… 150 150 ComfortAid International

You give me bad gas, My Baap…

My distant relative, a pious man of advancing age, regards me with watery eyes, his mouth struggling to cope with overflow of paan remnants so when he speaks, his speech is incoherent and I have to pay special attention to understand him. This relative, (I can’t pinpoint how we are exactly related, but he has…

A day in the life of Amjad Hussein 320 240 ComfortAid International

A day in the life of Amjad Hussein

There are many people who make the success of what CAI is today possible and one such man is Amjad Hussein. I pay tribute to this humble, tireless and most critically, a kind man who genuinely cares for orphans and is their mother, father and everything else in between. Thank you Amjadbhai; for your total…

Scared shitless in Nairobi. 150 150 ComfortAid International

Scared shitless in Nairobi.

I am in Africa, once again. Ah, the sheer joy of breathing the blessed air and refreshing color of its soil and vegetation to my eye. I tell you, I have been blessed to have travelled the world but Africa, East Africa in particular, is an icing on this blessing. It is very warm and…

Corruption most foul… 150 150 ComfortAid International

Corruption most foul…

I am depressed. Not the usual blahs that eat us up once in a while, no-no, this is a bit more serious. Perhaps it is the grimy potholed roads of Mumbai, the beggars or the absolutely chaotic and chocker block traffic that has soured my mood? Or is it the sight of two squatting kids…

Of marraiges and shit cakes 150 150 ComfortAid International

Of marraiges and shit cakes

We stop on a side road and Aliakberbhai, a devoted and selfless trustee of Al Imaan Foundation, cautions me to be careful of cakes. Cakes, I ask? He smiles. Yes, he says, cakes, shit cakes. You should be familiar with our terminology by now; he chides with a smile. I gingerly step down and immediately…

The Shias of Philippines 150 150 ComfortAid International

The Shias of Philippines

The lady immigration officer at Manila International Airport in Philippines scrutinizes my passport carefully, then glances at me suspiciously. She has seen a number of visa stamps into Afghanistan on my passport and can’t make up her mind if I pose a threat to her country because of that. She asks me wait and disappears…

This and that. 150 150 ComfortAid International

This and that.

Phew, it has been an eventful couple of months since my last blog! What with a very dramatic and eventful trip to strife torn Afghanistan, my two trips to the hospital, holy Ramadhan and its predictable Eid el Fitr moon (non)sighting fiasco, current (very) noisy Navratri days, the never ending schools holidays for the kids…

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