Saturday, December 20, 2014

Khalil – My Friend

Khalil – My Friend

By Madhavi Shree

I am a Hindu by religion and female by gender, born and brought up in Kolkata
(Calcutta), once the capital of British India. In India people are usually identified by their
state, caste, and the language they speak. Although I was born in Bengal, my family
considers itself Bihari, since our ancestors came from the state of Bihar. Bengal's culture
is very liberal. Bengalis are art and culture sensitive and more woman friendly than

Communal violence between Hindus and Muslims is part and parcel of India's history,
going back to our struggle for independence and the ensuing bloody partition of British
India into India and Pakistan. Owing to that, Muslim and Hindu children are taught at
home to keep a distance from each other. I, too, was programmed from childhood to be
like this, “for practical reasons.”

My mother had seen communal riots in her childhood and once she told me a sensitive
story, narrating the whole incident from a very human angle. I was amazed by her deep
understanding of human behavior. Here was a woman who taught her daughter to beware
of Muslims, but she herself was so softhearted towards them. This made me realize that
we as human beings are quite confused about our own self.

So I decided to be objective towards people of different faith and gender. I consciously
tried to take each individual as a human being, although our biased mind sometimes
influences us. Sometimes our biased mind wins and sometimes our human behavior wins.
Between Khalil and me, there were two broad gaps: one of gender, which is a universal
gap, and another of faith, which is very deep. But one thread was tying us together: our
joint Bihari roots. Although I am more Bengali in my thinking and behavior, I always had
a deep respect for my ancestral state and took pride in my mother’s birthplace, Bihar.

I first met Khalil at the official residence of Mr. H. D. Deve Gowda, a former Prime
Minister of India, in Safdar Lane, New Delhi, somewhere in 2009 or 2010. On that day,
the members of the Indian Media Centre, an association of journalists, had been invited to
meet with the political heads of India. Surprisingly few of the journalists had brought a
camera, and everybody wanted to be included in the photo shoot to have a memento of
this occasion. So those of our colleagues who were armed with a camera were in demand
and happily obliged their media friends. As I did not know Khalil personally, I hesitated
to ask him for a copy of the photo, but somehow he understood my dilemma and
spontaneously offered to mail me my picture with the ex-PM. He took my email address
and a few days later I received a message to which my picture with Mr. Deve Gowda and
my fellow journalists was attached.

I found him true to his word. Without needing to be reminded, he did what he told he
would do. This was my first opinion about Khalil.Later we spoke over the phone on various issues of political and social interest. This way our friendship grew and with it our understanding of each other, both as a person and a journalist. Some time later, the Radia tape scandal broke. (In 2008-09, the Indian Income Tax Department had taped phone conversations between Nira Radia, the owner of a PR firm, with several senior journalists, politicians, and industrialists for 300 days, hoping to find evidence of tax evasion and money laundering.) I don't know what made Khalil refer
my name to his boss, but Mr. Naoya Sugio of the Mainichi Shimbun came to meet me in
my Women's Press Club to discuss the matter. Khalil accompanied him. Mr. Sugio and I
had a long discussion about the issue. He liked my views but thought that many of them
were too controversial for publication in his Japanese newspaper, as they didn't want a
difficult relationship with the Indian Government. However, he chose one line from the
whole conversation: that this Nira Radia tape case had come to light thanks to the advent
of the Internet and new media. I made my peace with this. In my time as a journalist I had
learned that we can’t write all the things we want to write. We have our limitations.
Time flies. Delhi is such a busy, merciless place where we hardly find time for ourselves,
let alone for friends. But the friendship between Khalil and me withstood the onslaught of
time. Usually, he took the initiative to call me as I always felt that, especially with male
friends, it’s not my duty to make the call. This is a very bad habit of mine, and many
think me stuck up for this reason. I thank my friends from the bottom of my heart for
putting up with this fault of mine.
One more thing that Khalil had to put up with from me was that I mangled his name,
always calling him Khalid. He would just reply anyway; he never showed an attitude and
never complained about my mispronunciation. He joked that if anyone was calling him
"Khalid," then it must be Madhavi and he would recognize me over the phone by this
funny mistake of mine.

When I became State Coordinator of the Laadli Media Awards For Gender Sensitivity, I
barely knew any Urdu journalists. Khalil was an English-language journalist but I
thought that as a Muslim he must know a lot of Urdu journalists. I requested him to
forward me the names of some Urdu-media journalists, which he did. Again I felt
thankful for his help.

Our last encounter, which prompted me to write this piece, came after I posted a
Facebook update regarding Abhimanyu's brutal killing in the Mahabharata TV series.
Many of my friends, especially Hindus, had written their expert comments on the cruel
death of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, in the story. Khalil, too posted a comment on the
incident, which reflected his deep understanding of Hindu mythology (correction: don't
say “mythology,” as Khalil has serious objections to that word. He feels that the Hindu
scriptures are not myths but true texts of guidance. The word mythology, he says, was
used by the British to tell the world how backward Indians are, leading their lives by
reading "mythology."). Hmm, people are still touchy about India's heritage. I felt happy.

After reading Khalil 's comment I decided to meet with him, as we had not met for a long
time. Our conversation, the next day, started with media “shop talk” and then suddenly he
told me that he was getting married and he was writing about it in a series being
published in his Japanese newspaper. He gave me the piece to read. After reading it I
became really emotional. He wrote about the circumstances surrounding his marriage:
how he consented to this arranged marriage to make his ailing father happy, how it
unfolded, and what was the outcome. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about his
marriage and the so-called outdated concept of arranged marriage. (I am sure Khalil must
have dated someone earlier and it did not work out, otherwise he would have had a “love-
cum-arranged marriage.”) In his essay for the paper, he described the preparations for the
wedding and his emotions related to it so beautifully, and with such candor and
innocence, that it made me like this piece a lot. A far cry from the exotic personal life
experiences people like to display these days. I could not help but be moved by the story
and feelings of this young man from a very middle-class, conservative Muslim background, so different from mine.

Khalil had a difficult childhood. He and his family migrated from Bhagalpur, a city in
Bihar that had suffered serious communal unrest. After coming to Delhi, he worked in a
factory, here and there. His father was an engineer but it took him time to settle down in
the capital and to reorganize his family. Khalil did his schooling in a Christian missionary
school. He learned Taekwondo, not by paying the fees, but by observing the lessons and
later practicing on his own, kind of like Ekalavya in the Mahabharata. His positive
outlook towards life made him what he is now - a good human being and a good
journalist. I am proud of this friendship. Khalil is not my only male friend and not my
only friend of a different faith. He is not my only Muslim friend. What makes him special
is his always being there for me, without seeking rewards. This selfless friendship is so
rare in this world.

Over time I have learned to be non-judgmental where friends and friendship are
concerned. But I feel a bit biased toward this friend of mine who is going to be married
next month. All the more because he is a Bihari, like me. It’s not as if we never had a
difficult time or a misunderstanding in the course of our friendship, but we have managed
to handle those periods with grace. And that’s what matters most in life. And why this
friendship, between two people of different faith and background, has withstood the test
of time.


Monday, December 10, 2012

media should show some positive story.- narendra modi episode of non acceptance of topi by Madhavi Shree on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 4:18pm • Apart from this issue like whether Narendra Modi has accepted to wear" topi "from Immam or not ,we have more important issues to solve in country like India who is deep neck suffering from poverty , corruptions, male nutrition etc.When media will learn to show positive story. For a moment think: if Mr. Modi has accepted to wear the cap, what tangible change would it have bring to the muslims'communities. My remarks many may find sarcastic & communal.But we indians became emotional for very ....unproductive reasons. I can bet in the near coming 10000 years also this debate of unity or conflict between hindu & muslims will go on...without any conclusion, Whether some hardlinereither ( hindu/ muslim) is eating at opposite party's place or not or accepting opposite party gift or not. We have to accept the fact that we are different & have to learn to respect "each other differences" rather than trying to make each other like one of us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A BEAUTIFUL MAIL-People make the difference….

Exact Narration by Suvendu Roy of Titan Industries, who shares his inspirational encounter with a rickshaw driver in Mumbai:
Last Sunday, my wife, kid, and I had to travel to Andheri from Bandra.
When I waved at a passing auto rickshaw, little did I expect that this ride would be any different....
As we set off, my eyes fell on a few magazines (kept in an aircraft style pouch) behind the driver's back rest.
I looked in front and there was a small TV. The driver had put on the Doordarshan channel.
My wife and I looked at each other with disbelief and amusement.
In front of me was a small first-aid box with cotton, dettol and some medicines.
This was enough for me to realise that I was in a special vehicle.
Then I looked round again, and discovered more -
there was a radio, fire extinguisher, wall clock, calendar
and pictures and symbols of all faiths - from Islam and Christianity to Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
There were also pictures of the heroes of 26/11- Kamte, Salaskar, Karkare and Unnikrishnan.
I realised that not only my vehicle, but also my driver was special.
I started chatting with him and the initial sense of ridicule and disbelief gradually diminished.
I gathered that he had been driving an auto rickshaw for the past 8-9 years; he had lost his job when his employer's plastic company was shut down.
He had two school-going children, and he drove from 8 in the morning till 10 at night.
No break unless he was unwell. "Sahab, ghar mein baith ke T.V dekh kar kya faida? Do paisa income karega toh future mein kaam aayega."
We realised that we had come across a man who represents Mumbai – the spirit of work, the spirit of travel and the spirit of excelling in life.
I asked him whether he does anything else as I figured that he did not have too much spare time.
He said that he goes to an old age home for women in Andheri once a week or whenever he has some extra income, where he donates tooth brushes, toothpastes, soap, hair oil, and other items of daily use.
He pointed out to a painted message below the meter that read: "25 per cent discount on metered fare for the handicapped. Free rides for blind passengers up to Rs. 50.
My wife and I were struck with awe. The man was a HERO!
A hero who deserves all our respect!!!
Our journey came to an end;
45 minutes of a lesson in humility, selflessness, and of a hero-worshipping Mumbai, my temporary home.
We disembarked, and all I could do was to pay him a tip that would hardly cover a free ride for a blind man.
I hope, one day, you too have a chance to meet Mr Sandeep Bachhe in his auto rickshaw: MH-02-Z-8508.
Work for your satisfaction not for others, and you’ll enjoy every bit what you do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Recently I got a sms - There were one couple who went to commit suicide .When boy jumped from the top of the hill girl turn backward & said -LOVE IS BLIND .Boys then opened the parachute and says - LOVE NEVER DIES.
This is a very simple sms I just forwarded it to one of my police friend,after a while I got a reply from him that - this actually happened in his cadre when he just begun his career in police but the premi had jumped in the godavari river!
His sms made me curious to know more about what was the fate of the man & women who jumped.I asked him his reply came as- only d premi jumped , premika come back and reported the matter in police station.She was charged with abetment to suicide.
My next question was -what happned to the girl & why she did this?
reply came as - the premika developed cold feet and they decided to jump together. While the premi jumped, she could not.She was unmarried but the premi was married and father of 3 small kids .aren't women smarter:-)
I could not understand how come this reflect that women are smarter , this married man was also smart to rope a unmarried girl to have fun in life....& if for any reason premika was smarter then why she had gone to police station , she could had gone to hide or for a run...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Two german brother has putted this train set together. Its a wonderful ride.You may also try.

Friday, May 21, 2010

.The pic which you are watching here is of no model or heroine but the from Pakistan who was at women's press club , a part of business delegation to visit India.She is Faiza Samee , a fashion designer from Karachi.When I asked -You are without BURKA . Her answer made me surprised , she said -don't compare us with middle- east we are asian ,our culture is different.Jung Group 's managing director SHAHRUKH HASAN made a comment on it lightly -that they left burka at the airport.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


A nation where PIZZA reaches home faster than AMBULENCE & POLICE ....
where you get CAR LOAN @5% but EDUCATION LOAN @ 12%...
where RICE is Rs 40 /kg but SIM CARD is free....
where people standing at tea stall reading an article about child labour from newspaper and say " YAAR BACHCHO SE KAAM KARWANE WALO KO FASI PAR CHADHA DENA CHAHIYE" and then they shout "OYE CHOTU 2 CHAI LAA..."
(received by sms by a good friend , felt like sharing with all of you)