The Only ‘Oscar Winner’ From My Facebook Friend List

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Only a few are lucky enough.

I believe in the above quote to a great extent. Not everyone has the combination of talent, opportunity, hard-work and luck. But Provash Paul really does.

I met Provash while working in the animation studio I worked for 10 years.  He was in the modeling department. He was kick-ass at his art and craft of making human models in computer software.

We’re not known to each other and I used to find him quite weird because of his habit of wearing a headphone around his neck; for all the time he was in the studio. It was strange for me but today, inspired by him, I do the same.

We worked together for some years; especially when we started an in-house training academy to provide industry training to students—he provided a neat curriculum for the training program.

Later, he shifted to another studio and worked in various Hollywood films. One such film was The Jungle Book that won the 2017 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects. The featured image is the one they took in the studio, and believe me one has to be really lucky to have a picture next to the prestigious award.

This may be one of his many achievements but it’s also an achievement—for me—to be his friend. I also consider myself as really lucky to have such a friend who has won such an accolade.

And whenever someone asks me about the weird habit of putting the headphone around my neck all day, I remember this friend of mine.

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Triple Talaq—The Cult Of ‘Instant Divorce’ In Islam

Recently, India’s top court banned the controversial law that allowed Muslim men to end marriage by uttering talaq— Arabic word for divorce—three times.

But what is this cult of instant divorce?

Triple talaq is a form of Islamic divorce which has been used by Muslims in India. It allows any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by stating the word talaq three times in oral, written, or more recently electronic form.

This mode of divorce is not universal among Muslims across the world, as many other Islamic schools of thought prefer the divorce process to be deferred, in many cases over a period of three months. The government has cited the example of many predominantly Muslim countries, including Pakistan, that have banned instant divorce.

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Although, divorce in Islam can take a variety of forms, some initiated by the husband and some initiated by the wife, men take undue advantage to this cult of instant divorce. This sort of divorce without gap between is considered not approved in Islam It is too rash, unfair and condemn-able. Only some of the laws given in the Quran is straight forward and the rest are subject to interpretation and the interpretations may change based on the social and economic development of man. Instant divorce is one such issue.

There is a 3-step process to follow divorce as per Sharia law:

  1. A couple can apply for first talaq in any judiciary body. After first one, Islam gives them one more chance for re-uniting within a waiting period of 3 months. A couple can re-unite within this waiting period, without any new marriage contract or following any rituals that is been followed in newly marriages.
  2. A couple can apply for second talaq in any judiciary body. After second one, Islam gives them last chance for re-uniting within same waiting period of 3 months, without any new marriage contract or following any rituals that is been followed in newly marriages.
  3. A couple can apply for third talaq in any judiciary body. After third one, they can’t re-unite.

In traditional Islamic jurisprudence, instant divorce is considered to be a particularly disapproved, but legally valid, form of divorce. Changing social conditions around the world have led to increasing dissatisfaction with traditional Islamic law of divorce since the early 20th century and various reforms have been undertaken in different countries. Contrary to practices adopted in most Muslim-majority countries, Muslim couples in India are not required to register their marriage with civil authorities.

Muslim marriages in India are considered to be a private matter, unless the couple decided to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act of 1954. Owing to these historical factors, the checks that have been placed on the husband’s unilateral right of divorce by governments of other countries, such as prohibition of instant divorce, have not been implemented in India.

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There was a desperate ned to ban this cult because of the following reasons:

  • It creates Inequality between men and women. Thus, violating one of our fundamental rights—right to equality.
  • It’s immoral towards women which is unacceptable in Indian society.
  • The practice brings women—who are completely dependent on men for their livelihood—into the streets. And, many of them suicide too.

Quran was revealed on him from the creator which includes guidance for people and Islamic laws. Since these laws are revealed by the creator himself and there is no one who is more just than him then the question of injustice to anyone does not rises here. Even if we talk about concept of divorce in Islam.

Usually, the term is used to signify that after saying divorce three times, then couple cannot be together ever but reality is something different, actually the concept of instant divorce doesn’t exist in Quran. It’s something misinterpreted and invented by people.

For more details, one can refer to chapter 65 of the holy Quran that deals with the issue of divorce.

 

Why Am I Always Searching Old Friends?

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My friends always keep asking me why I live in the past glory? They’re always surprised by my search for old acquaintances.

I don’t have a specific answer but I think that my life is a jigsaw puzzle and trying to its find pieces. All the people I met in the past have one or more of my pieces in them; I am just trying to recollect those pieces and complete the jigsaw puzzle of my life.

I think, I have found almost all the pieces but few are missing, and maybe I’ll never find them.

 

You Won’t Believe What These Three Adults Did To This Little Boy, It’s Shocking!

Gaurav Sharma is a college going boy. I have known him since he was in school. He’s from a economically challenged family background and some of our like-minded friends support his educational needs time-to-time.

The above statement is a stereotype that you must have heard time to time; a thousand times. Every other article talk about underprivileged students, a hero giver and all of that. But this one is with a little twist.

What’s the twist? Who are the characters of this blog post?

Gaurav Sharma

First character is little Gaurav Sharma who is not an underprivileged student. He’s a brilliant and talented student doing his BMM from a college in Mumbai. And yes, he’s from one of those slums in Mumbai that doesn’t decide his fate or is his profile.

He’s a hard-working and committed student who supports a lot of community service with SOMEONE. SOMEWHERE.

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Second character is this mad man Hemang Chheda who is a ad-man. He’s equally challenged when it comes to sanity.

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Third character is this soulful women Ameetha Singh who is a multi-talented human and a philanthropist by heart.

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Fourth character is a technology geek Sushant Kapoor who is a simpleton with a big heart.

Let’s weave this story and narrate it.

When Gaurav started his media college, I had some ideas to support his educational needs. I knew that we would more than money. This is the time when these three angles—Hemang, Ameetha and Sushant —came into picture. They heard the case and without a second thought, offered warm support.

It’s hard to believe what they did but it’s really shocking that such weird creatures still exists. 

Hemang offered his expensive Canon camera kit, Ameetha offered monetary support to pay fee, internet and Sushant offered his laptop.

This may or may not be shocking or surprising to some of you but it is for me. I always wonder from where these few good souls suddenly crop-up in time of distress? I wonder what makes them so selfless and compassionate?

The tools they have offered are simple but they have opened a gate to an entire universe for little Gaurav. He has his weapons in place to fight his war or life. In other words, he has his tools to create his own life. His camera kit comes handy to learn lessons and shoot content. The laptop comes handy to lots of e-learning and editing content. The money comes handy to pay fee and use internet.

In this time of hatred, blame-game, terrorism and madness these few good souls keep the name of humanity alive and I am sure there are many like them in this world who are holding the hands of the needy.

 

The ‘Bold And Beautiful’ Angel From Planet Love

Here’s another story out of my bag. This one is of a phenomenal, pious soul traveling since eons to spread joy, compassion and love—and now in form of human named Ritika Arya.

You can find several articles of her on the internet but I want to take the opportunity to write about her in my words. Words may never be able to describe what she is and does and so, many have tried using their art and craft of using the entire English dictionary to paint her image; in their words.

What I am going to do is different and this is a dangerous step. I am trying to attempt something that has not been attempted before. To write about an angel, a bold and a beautiful one, is a dangerous and courageous task.

One hand is a being, feeble like me and other hand is this monolithic personality; famous in her circle, popular on social media etc. But, I am Agastya, the doer of impossible, and I know that impossible says I M POSSIBLE.

I don’t remember when and where I met her for the first time but whenever I get an opportunity to meet her—which is rare, like once in thousand years—I feel that I have known her through various births. Meeting her is like a near-death experience because everything unpleasant in me dies. What is left is true, everlasting love. And love.

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At a physical level, she’s the founder of Young Innovators Foundation, visiting faculty at Symbiosis International University, mentor at Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship, program director at Unleash and so much. I have no clue. She’s like a banyan tree with her roots are everywhere.

She’s one of the prestigious Ashoka Indian Fellows and recipient of the 2009 Staples Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Achievement Award. She also received the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Fellowship, 2009-10 for her work. She has spoken at many events; including several TED Talks.

At a meta-physical level, she’s a seeker, a traveler, a change-maker, a lover, a ladder, an innovator, a motivator, an orator, a giver, a healer and a protector. She’s always on a quest to explore her innate elements that shine. She’s one mad one I have seen after me and Hemang—The Laughing Buddha, and in her words:

Be crazy and you’ll remain sane; be sane and you’ll surely go crazy.

It’s raining heavily today and as I write this blog post I am reminded of the moment hat inspired her journey into this madness of love, service, compassion and kindness.

It was 2005 there was a deadly flood in Mumbai. Like most of the city, she was stranded and really scared. A lot of people helped her reach home that day, and the entire incident got her thinking about how she could also help people. This incident got her to volunteer and really start doing something for society.

After that there was no stop to her madness of giving back to the society and she’s getting better and better at it. I am afraid that with this speed, she might become another Goddess of this deity hungry country.

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I always look forward to meet and learn from her but she never has the time. I too never push her and she once complimented me for this attitude. She said that it’s very comfortable to talk to me. Maybe, this is because I never chase her and respect her priorities that are obviously more important than meeting a psychosomatic-addict-insane man.

And guess what, she doesn’t know this, but we share the same college in Mumbai.

She is fascinated by two places in the world Antarctica and Egypt. In October 2017, finally, she will be journeying to Egypt to attend Awakening the 5D Template.

It’s a fabulous concept and she’s seeking our support. If you wish to support her journey, do check the above hyperlink. In a nutshell, she’s one of those rare humans—युगपुरुष—who comes once in a way and has a rich heart full of love, love and love.

I hope to meet her again, one day.

What Is The Secret To My Little Emptiness Of Love?

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Many people find me a loving and kind man. Some feel that I am a psychosomatic-addict-insane man. Some find the devil in me.  And some don’t find me at all.

Different people see me different as per their filling i.e. what they have inside them. If they’re full of shit, they see shit in me. If they’re full of love, they see love in me. I think, it’s an inside job. The outside is all empty.

I believe that emptiness is directly related to love. But what is emptiness?

As per my little-half knowledge, being empty doesn’t mean that you have air inside the skin or your brain is empty; like me. But it means to be empty of false ego and narcissism. It means to be empty of the false idea that we’re isolated and not connected to entire universe. It also means to be empty of the seven sins; to the best extent possible.

Emptiness is a mode of perception, a way of looking at an experience.

It adds nothing to, and takes nothing away from, the raw data of physical and mental events. You look at events in the mind and the senses with no thought of whether there’s anything lying behind them. This mode is called emptiness because it’s empty of the presuppositions we usually add to experience in order to make sense of it—the stories and worldviews we manufacture to explain who we are and the world we live in.

Where there is emptiness, there is so expectations and assumptions, so there’s no fear.

Emptiness is the central insight of Buddhism and what makes it unique among belief systems. According to this belief system, neither we, nor other beings, nor any phenomenon in the universe, has a permanent, separate, and independent core, soul, or identity. Another way to look at it is interdependence: all relative phenomena are purely the product of external causes.

There is emptiness in the beginning of love. There is emptiness in the end of love. There was emptiness before creation of the universe. There will be emptiness after destruction of the universe.

I always choose to be empty; most of the time. It’s my philosophy of being truly happy and at peace. I am filled with this love, the love made up of emptiness—no false ego, no living in isolation—because love is the beginning and love is the end.  Love is energy and love is energetic. Love is humanity and love is the almighty.

I am glad I have, almost, become empty in life. And there was some weight because of this secret but now, I have emptied that in from of you. I am so empty, I am so in love.

And who knows whether emptiness is really not empty? What if it’s full of everything?

In Conversation With—A Horny Auto-Rickshaw Driver

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Here is a beautiful conversation I had with an auto-rickshaw driver who was using the horn relentlessly and then apologized with a promise to transform. There was so argument, debate, rather a compassionate communication between us:

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

It’s a habit.

I don’t think it’s a good one. Would you like to change it?

No, why? Everyone honks.

Everyone does so many things that are bad, do you want to do it too?

No.

Everyone does so many good things, do you want to do too?

Don’t talk too much in the morning time. We’ll have an argument.

No, we’ll have a discussion and learn each other’s perspective. And we’ll also know each other better this way.

That is so true.

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

The auto-rickshaw from the side might come ahead of me, so I am honking.

You want to go ahead?

Yes. Who doesn’t want to?

I don’t want to. We can go slow.

I haven’t seen anyone like you before.

That auto-rickshaw is also one of us. He’s not a terrorist that you’re getting so upset or frustrated with him. We don’t need to go ahead—go slow. Nothing is at stake. Let’s bring love and compassion in our driving as we do in our relation.

Yes. You have a point.

But if honking is so bad, why does company manufacture it and give it inside a car? Stop the horns first.

The same way the manufacturer gives us tongue. We have given it for a reason—let’s not use it to hurt people. If your tooth bites your tongue, will you break your teeth?

I got your point.

And there is a huge awareness created in the country for no-honking. One old man from north India has given all his life for no-honking campaign.

I am extremely sorry. I’ll take care next time.

See, it’s good to talk and discuss.

You’re very right. And form today, I’ll try to honk less.

All the best. You’re a true hero.

LOL!

Why are you honking now, there is no one ahead?

Oh, sorry, sorry. This will take time.

LOL!

Simple. Whatever the question, love is the answer. There’s always a way—most of the time it’s love.