Aftermath of Mumbai monsoons 150 150 ComfortAid International

Aftermath of Mumbai monsoons

It is raining in Mumbai – again. This is not headline news, of course, for rain is what you get in Mumbai during July. The whole country sighed with relief when the rains began in earnest, three weeks late, a record of sorts. You will not believe how very, very critical these three month monsoon…

Damascus, Dubai, Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Tanga 150 150 ComfortAid International

Damascus, Dubai, Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Tanga

Maaha Zainab, Tasneem and I have the good fortune to visit our Lady of Light, Seyyeda Zainab (A) in Damascus before we embark on a nostalgic, fast trek, at times fleeting visit to Tanzania, my country of birth. Syria is the same dreary old country I remember from the nineties when I used to fly…

A drivers licence please… 150 150 ComfortAid International

A drivers licence please…

I bought a new vehicle in Mumbai, which is an event to celebrate in itself.  Not that I have a desire to drive on Mumbai roads; no Sir, not me, there are better ways to end your life.  I am still awaiting a suitable driver to show up however, so my reliance is on the…

The blahs and blahs of Mumbai… 150 150 ComfortAid International

The blahs and blahs of Mumbai…

Okay, I know it has been a while since I wrote. What with constant traveling and CAI issues keeping me kicking and alive, I really have had very little time to do much writing. A bad habit for aspiring writers like myself, I know, but whattodo yaar? This is an expression I have picked up…

Mullah Happy’s Fury – Final 150 150 ComfortAid International

Mullah Happy’s Fury – Final

Why in Allah’s name is there a need to demean others? Why rile and enrage their leaders and imams, no matter how much we believe they were wrong in the past? Do we not have enough problems of our own? Mullah Happy pauses and lets out a massive burp, smiles ruefully, excuses himself, looks around…

Mullah Happy’s fury – Part 1 150 150 ComfortAid International

Mullah Happy’s fury – Part 1

I meet Mullah Happy regularly and he is, at most times, a pretty decent fellow, soft-spoken, mild in temperament and outlook. We usually meet every Friday after Juma prayers and today is no exception. The khutba is excellent as usual; he has prepared well, knows his material and dwells on how a Muslim needs to…

Callous Customs – Australia 150 150 ComfortAid International

Callous Customs – Australia

I am on my way to visit Australia, invited to preset Comfort Aid International projects to various communities in Sydney and Melbourne. It is a long flight this, 14 hours and I am bushed by the time I land at Sydney airport. This is my second trip to Sydney in 18 years, the earlier one…

Haseena, the child woman – Final? 150 150 ComfortAid International

Haseena, the child woman – Final?

I have to leave and get up to go but I want to help her. I tell her I will be traveling abroad for 2 weeks and ask her if she will let me help her when I return. She turns and looks at me strangely again, the weariness returns on her face. What help?…

Haseena, the child woman, part 2. 150 150 ComfortAid International

Haseena, the child woman, part 2.

That is a nice name, Haseena, I say. She stops her prodding and regards me, suspicious and wary once more. Hey, hey, I say, alarmed by her ready and vivid assumptions. I mean no harm. I am old enough to be your father; I have a daughter your age. She resumes her attack on the…

Haseena, the child woman. 150 150 ComfortAid International

Haseena, the child woman.

It is a mere 10 minute walk from my home behind Yari Road to Bank of India and I cherish the cool morning walk to it every time I have to go there. The dogs have tired from scavenging heaps of dumped garbage last night and their bellies are full; they now nap. The walk…

Burma calling 150 150 ComfortAid International

Burma calling

Burma, or Myanmar for those that like being politically correct, evokes conflicting and exotic paradigms, shaped by what we hear in the news or Internet; well, it is both. It was a nighttime landing, so save for the simmering lights of airport terminal building and a scattering of city lights, I had no clue what…

Irrational anger? 150 150 ComfortAid International

Irrational anger?

It is almost end of 2008; what a year! It is 7 months since our move from Houston to Mumbai; a move many in my family and friends feel is a mistake. Favoring their rational is the recent senseless and brutal attack of November 26 that killed and maimed so many. However, we are beginning…

A Mumbai Train Ride 150 150 ComfortAid International

A Mumbai Train Ride

It is 21:30 and I want to return home to Andheri after burying my friend Aliakber’s dad at the Masgaun graveyard yesterday. My friends suggest I go by train, since it after “rush” hour and it would be fastest. There is some sort of a Sufi Urus festival going on in Mahim, they say, and…

Mumbai massacres 150 150 ComfortAid International

Mumbai massacres

Humans became animals on November 26 when a few of them got together to gun down innocent people traveling in shabby trains or dining in upscale restaurants in Mumbai. Supposedly from Pakistan, these murderers sneaked past horribly inept Mumbai port security to launch an audacious attack at the heart of Mumbai’s hospitality, to its elite…

Lalaland 150 150 ComfortAid International


I once lived in a country called Lalaland, a finger sized oil rich kingdom clusters on Middle East map. Then, it was a good place to live, though there were teething issues common with all new states. It was relatively cheap, the money I earned was good and went a long way, there was decency…



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