Last month, i spent a Friday night walking the streets of Madanpura with Farooque Ansari. Well past midnight, we eventually had a company of a crowd. Five people-about-to-turn-into-acquaintances, excluding us two. I don't remember the last time—other than this instance—when i didn't catch a wink at night. Although i reached home in the morning much after sunrise, i'm mighty glad i went out and experienced a bit of life on the other side. A side that is seldom visited. A side that is often scorned without giving it a benefit of doubt. A side that is so politically aware of what's going on that it will make you regroup your biases. A side that is accused of making all the wrong noises in the name of religion. A side that is beautiful in its language and adherence to its roots. A side that looks into your eyes while speaking to you. A side that calls a spade a spade without worrying about the consequences. A side that seems banished to the ghettos but is teeming with a spirit unbeknownst to the high-rises. There are so many sides to this side that a night is clearly not enough. I went to meet the aforementioned folk because i've been hearing about them from Farooqbhai for quite some time. They turned out exactly like i thought. And to make the event unforgettable, my friend and mentor wrote a lovely column mentioning me in one of India's oldest surviving Urdu newspapers and the most read in India!
[Yes, this is one of the greatest highlights of 2014. Speaking of which, i'm reminded of that The Big Bang Theory episode when Raj Koothrapali tells Sheldon Cooper how small are his joys.]