Monday, March 28, 2016

My special family


It was last week when I spotted something unusual in the toy aisle of my local departmental store . Lego's newest figure: A hip-looking stay-at-home dad dressed in a bright red shirt and denim jeans. He was a cute looking dad holding his child in stroller with a working mom standing next to him.

"How sweet, how appreciative, finally", I thought.
With a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face, I bought that Lego set for my daughter.

I am a proud son of two loving individuals whose love story is very unusual yet so beautiful...

My parents met at engineering school in India. They got married in the early 1980s and moved to Canada. Me and my twin brother Sam were born in 1984. Sam was a bright kid but he had problem keeping focus, had difficulty keeping track of time. He was very caring but he had a complicated personality. At the age of 6 he was diagnosed with ADD. Both my parents worked so our grandmother and nanny took care of us in the afternoon till our parents got back from work but as time passed Sam started having more problems in school. Baba and Mama used to spend hours helping him complete his homework. Kids at school started to tease him. We were in 3rd grade when our grandmother passed away. Soon afterwards our nanny also left us. My brother got very sick all of a sudden. Children with ADD generally have deficits in the ability to think and to organize. He needed a lot of attention. Baba and Mama were very worried for him.

Next thing I remember was that my Baba quit his job to take care of Sam and me. He told my mother to continue her work while he will look after the house and the kids. He started taking Sam to the library more often. He taught me to ride the bike, picked us at the bus stop everyday. Cooked for us, took us to the grocery store and to bookshops. All of a sudden Sam started to get better. He was more relaxed and happy. Mama on the other hand tried to help Baba as much she could on the weekends. We all were so happy but then suddenly kids in school and people in the neighborhood started making fun of my Baba.

" Your dad does not has a job, all he does is make sandwiches for you and play in the backyard with you, my dad said that I should better not turn out like him"

" Hey, you're dad is just Mr. Mom"

"Daddy baby sitter"

All these comments and that weird look in people"s eyes made me sad, made me angry...

Yes my family was a bit unusual among all the other Desi Families in our community.

Then one day Mama took me to the ice cream shop and said "let people say what they are saying but you and Sam and I know that Baba is doing such a great job by taking care of you guys, our family is very different and very unique from all other families, we are the best"

Yeah my family was so unique, so special we had a loving father who take care of us and the house, we had our mother who worked 9-5 every day for us. Both our parents respected each other, Mama never looked down at Baba and he never seemed angry or ashamed at being home all day doing the housework.

My brother Sam has gotten so much better now he works at a local departmental store. I am a successful lawyer, happily married and father of a little girl. My parents have started a small online business. Baba still takes care of all the chores around the house and Mama respects him and loves him, maybe more than any other Desi wife I know...

I am a proud son of a Stay-at-home dad and a professional mother...

Republican Primary getting raunchier every day

getting raunchier everyday

From the time when the world discovered how ugly looking Carly Fiorina is to  Big Donald eating Little Marco, Republican presidential primary is the best reality show around these days. It has something new and entertaining to offer every week.
The candidates have not only taken jabs at each other but also have discussed all important issues relating to the 2016 elections including sharing private information about their "private parts". Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are recently engaged in a full time Twitter war trading barbs over their wives.

After an anti-Trump group ran Facebook ads in Utah ahead of Tuesday’s primary that featured a nearly-nude shot of Melania Trump, Mr Trump roared"I will spill the beans on your wife!” Cruz tweeted "if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought!"

This country has bigger problems than which presidential candidate has a "notable wife", republican presidential primary 2016 is far better than any reality tv show which gets raunchier every week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Criticism getting Attention; Addressing the critics of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Just because "Criticism calls for Attention"

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. 
~Winston Churchill 
Last night was a triumphant night for Pakistan when filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won second Academy Award for her country. Not only did she win for her short feature documentary "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness", about honor killings Chinoy also delivered a strong acceptance speech about the power and strength of women and that it is the power of films and in particular this one which was able to make a change in her home country. 
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif screened the film at his residence in Islamabad few days before the Academy Awards Ceremony and reiterated his commitmentto ending the practice of "honor" killings in Pakistan. 
However it is so ironic that everyone was not happy with her win. Shortly after her speech in Beverly Hills criticism of Obaid-Chinoy began circulating on social media under the hashtag #WeDisownSharmeen, the major criticisms being that her documentaries that, only show the negative side of Pakistan. There are many good and praise-worthy aspects of Pakistan which are not being filmed by her. Another accusation that she does this to seek attention from western media who generally sympathize with the "bechari female victims" of a third world Islamic Country. 

Well I just don't agree with such remarks. A filmmaker speaking about potentially life-threatening concepts of ‘respect’ or "honor" of a family is not only helping the victim but is also creating awareness that this concept is morally and religiously wrong. 
Obaid-Chinoy is not defaming’ and ‘disgracing’ Pakistan in my opinion she is helping those sufferers who are being ditched by their own family members in the name of "honor". 
"Yes she will definitely win Oscar as she has worked this time harder to defame & disgrace Pakistan in front of west,” tweeted one critic. 
In my humble opinion Sharmeen is not defaming Pakistan. She has addressed a problem which has not been tackled in the 68 years. Honor killings have been going on for many years in Pakistan, many people did not know about it. Maybe because no one ever had the guts to discuss it! 
To all the critics of Miss Chinoy I would like to say do you know who introduced Lady Gaga on the Oscar stage when she sang her Oscar nominated song about rape ? the Vice President of United States, Joe Biden! 
Gaga gave an emotional performance of her Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary film about sexual assault on college campuses. Gaga appeared on the stage flanked by survivors of sexual assaults. 
The best picture winner at the 2016 Oscars was the film "Spotlight", it is the chilling Pulitzer Prize winning story of sexual abuse chronicled by the Boston Globe. The producers of the film thanked the writers for bringing this painful subject in the media.  

Spotlight did well in bringing a horrible story to the limelight from under covers. Scandals and problems  even the magnitude of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have now become familiar. 
So do Americans think that the crew and cast of Spotlight are defaming the image of their religious institutions and their country? 
Grammy Award winning singer and a sexual abuse victim herself, Lady Gaga brought the Academy Awards audience to its feet with a flawless rendition of "Til It Happens to You" from the documentary 'The Hunting Ground', was she criticized by her countrymen? 
No not all, social and print media is full of praises for both the film and the song! 
Then why Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and why the people of her native country are criticizing her?
Maybe because they just don't want to accept their flaws or maybe they just want to hide the problems rather than struggle to solve them!
Please people, for a change accept your mistakes, your short comings it will help you conquer them. What do you think by hiding the issues,  they will go away? 
Bringing taboo subjects to an international stage can be perceived by few as an embarrassment for the country. Maybe so, but it looks like a  motivation for bringing change for Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and many other emerging Pakistani film makers who are making films about the subjects of child-marriages, feudalism and abuse.
Maybe it's the beginning of something big something great... a change in the status quo.
Where ever there is life,there is hope! 
The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!