The Grandfather Tree

On a grassy patch in a mild meadow
Under the sun of a different age
Grew a tree with slender branches
And the wisdom of a sage

As a young boy for many years
It’s gentle shade was home to me
This is the tale
Of the Grandfather Tree

This mighty Ent stood proud
For many years and years beyond
It was kind and it was friendly
And of me it grew most fond

I held its branches for support
I nestled in its roots
I was protected by its canopy
I was fed by its fruit

But years are kind to none
And soon life dries and ebbs
The Grandfather Tree grew haggard
Its branches covered in webs

I felt too tall for its shade
So I set forth to see what else
The world had to offer
And I came back less and less

But it’s love for me never lessened
Though its branches did shrivel and weaken
It still smiled to see me return
Return to its outstretched beacon

But the body is not as strong
As the soul or the heart
And finally last night
Fair tree and I did part

It closed its eyes in silence
While I was in a foreign land
Cursing cruel fate that kept me in the end
From holding his hand

So now our tale ends
This tale most dear to me
The bittersweet tale
Of the Grandfather Tree

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Fast!

I’m not really a religious person. I just find it hard to believe that if there is an almighty benevolent being “up there” he’s going to send me to hell just because I don’t pray to him 5 times a day. At the same time, I’m not altogether ready to let go of the possibility of some higher power or phenomenon that maybe watches over us – I just don’t agree with the formalistic character of most organized religions.

Having said that, for “official” purposes I am Muslim. But I’ll have to admit, I’m not a very good one (I have my vices). Still, every year I put myself through the rather trying ordeal of fasting for month during the time of Ramzaan. Part of the reasoning behind doing this yearly ritual is that it makes my Grandfather really happy. He’s quite advanced in age now and so he can’t fast anymore himself. But in Muslim tradition, those who sit with a fasting person to break their fast, share in the reward of that fast. And while I may have strayed from the “true path of Islam” it does me happy to sit and share those moments with him.

Continue reading

Mumbai Mirror Steps Up With An Apology – Better Late Than Never

I’m not one to bear a grudge if someone steps up and takes responsibility. Following yesterday’s post regarding TOI and their use of a photograph I took without my authorisation, I was contacted by someone from the Mumbai Mirror, where the article and picture were originally published. Mr. Saumit Sinh offered me an explanation for the “mix-up” because of which my photograph was used without giving due credit. It would seem that while the original article ran a line with my name on it next to the photograph, for some reason this, as well as a reference in the text to my authorship of the photograph, were dropped. He vaguely alluded that this may have been due to the editing process before the article went up online. While I don’t think this is necessarily a satisfactory excuse, I am content to let the matter rest at this point, since someone has stepped up and taken responsibility.

Continue reading

I’ve Got News For You TOI – That’s My Photograph!

I had an interesting experience recently involving The Times of India (TOI) and one of the stories they published on their website. The story was entitled “Zila Khan and Khurshid’s Sufi Connection”. The story related to the concert in Bangalore, hosted by D.P.S. Whitefield, where Zila Khan performed along with the fusion band Agam and other artists with Coke Studio @ MTV. As some of you may know I put up photographs of this concert on my blog. Well it seems TOI rather happily took one of the photographs I published, cropped it (it looked horrible!) and then put it up on their website along with the story, which they published on June 25th 2013. No credit. No authorization.

Continue reading