My BETSy!

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A faceless person in a crowded workplace, i was always unconnected and de-socialized from conventional patterns of reality.
 
Born of my desire to be “like other people” and make emotional contact with someone, i was attracted and drawn first to this fabulous, brown girl dressed in purple colored, flower printed kurta & leggings. Suddenly, she appeared (in slow-motion) from a mass of these filthy crowd on the street, paying fare to the rickshaw driver and then walking all alone into the posh entrance of this huge commercial building, checking for her  identity card in her purse, to flash it off to the security guards, GOD! i can still visualize it. This commercial huge building was the place where she worked. As she entered the building, I observed her from afar, worshiped her and developed a crush on her, viewing her as an untouchable dream-girl ideal (a WASP-ish, angelic beauty in my fantasies).
 
With all the GOD’s Grace & luck on this universe it was my first day of joining an office in the same building. But to my disappointment, i couldn’t even have a glimpse of her for next couple of hours. I was asked by a receptionist to wait till my manager arrives & give instructions for the day. All i could do then was, have a fresh cappuccino coffee from the maker, read a Business magazine, or keep moving my eyes looking at those elderly beautiful H.R. girls (which was a better option). After a While I got bored (obviously anyone would be after constantly looking at the same chicks) and rose from the sofa to ask the receptionist how long it’s going to take and she said ‘just 10 minutes!’ and i reserved myself for next half an hour. To my surprise she called my name, i thought to myself ‘Finally’ but she told me to go for the lunch break and after that I’ll be called upon by my manager. WHAT? Lunch @ 1pm? yesterday i was having beer in the swimming pool with my friends till 4pm & had my lunch by 5.. i was thinking of all those things & tried to convince myself and asked her for the way to cafeteria. Again there was huge crowd, all these people dressed up so formally with their identity cards on, appeared to me like beggars outside the temple waiting for the food to be served. Pgghewww! i went and had a coke & put my earphones on to listen to some music. As I was sippin’ my coke, i was constantly annoyed by this guy flirting with a girl sitting in front of him. Though I couldn’t see her face, but it was an impulse that i figured the girl was voluntarily responding to him & was least bothered to engage with him. She was sitting in front of me facing towards the same as i was, so i could just see her back and wait for her to turn. She wore a grey colored full tilt sweater sleeve jacket on, as the temperature in the cafeteria was too low. Now i was deeply observing her movements & then out of my curiosity i got up to put the can in the bin, actly an excuse to pass by her and to see her, my phone rang… it was the receptionist, asked me to come back as my manager called for me. DAMN! What a fuckin’ day it was, i thought disappointingly and put the can in the bin & rushed towards the receptionist’s desk. She showed me the way to the bay on the floor where my ‘Gonna be’ team works & adjacent to that there was a small cabin, they call it ‘Glass Pod’, where the manager sits.
It was 2 in the noon, and i was already pissed off, now i have to introduce myself to the new manager & to the fellow members, a general formality which i hate a lot. But thankfully he didn’t ask me too many questions about myself rather he briefed me about how everything works in the office & some ‘Do’ & ‘Don’ts’ and asked the team embers to gather, (it was quite unusual to me from my prior experience) within a few moments everybody gathered around (then i was introduced to his powerful command over ’em), and started introducing themselves to me & vice versa. The last guy who shook hands with me, instantly i thought I’ve seen him somewhere.. Struggled a lot with my mind to recognize him but couldn’t. Suddenly this guy asked someone behind me (supposedly just entered in) ‘Hey where have you been?’ ‘Here’s your new trainee’..  As i slowly turned back to see who’s he or she?
 Rahman’s ‘Hossana‘ started with an extremely perfect sync of what i saw & felt c’ing her. What a beautiful day? I said to myself. It was her! The girl i saw in the morning! That Angel! Oh GOD  m i dreaming? all of a sudden all these reactions aroused & my mind was the arena where they clashed & met making me Jaw-Dropped!
 ‘Hello, Sachin’, she said.. it was 14:26:32 on the digital clock on the wall, a sunny Monday from an autumn of 2010.
 I was smitten right away, by her. Awestruck by her charm & spellbound smile, and mainly by the brown skin of hers i went speechless, delighted inside. But I managed to reply her in a confused state of mind. Then she started explaining me about the process of work & stuff. I heard & understood nothing but her sweet feminine voice, my whole concentration was pointed towards it.
 After a couple of hours we all went for the tea break, the last break for the day before an hour the shift ends. She offered me to join the team for the break, and she was so quick to ask me whether i Smoke and i was quicker to say ‘NO’. As everybody proceeded to virtually lock their systems, it was then i saw her wearing a grey colored full tilt sweater sleeve jacket on, and my puzzle resorted to the fact that it was’ HER’ i saw in the cafeteria in the noon & the guy who shook hands with me last, was ‘HIM’. For a moment i thought of ’em having an affair, but somewhere i was sure i wouldn’t be like that. Because any person having 5gms of brain would’ve figured out then, looking at the scene of cafeteria in the noon.
 She was quite affable. But these screw heads (team members) occupied a table & settled around it, grabbed their snacks & beverages, but i didn’t, actually i couldn’t coz’ i was left with some odd 30rs, which i needed to go back home, i lived in a town quite far from this place and three cigarettes. She smiled and asked me why m not having anything, i managed to reply her that i didn’t feel like to. Now every vein of mine was red out of the blue for a smoke, DARN! it was almost three hours i didn’t go out for a smoke and i lie to her that i dont smoke. Somehow i managed to convince my pretentious GOOD BOY image, made an excuse of making a call @ home and went out of the office. Now while smoking my imaginations went multiplying with the sensuous thoughts about her. After the smoke i put a mint in my mouth, (which i hate doing, i guess last time i did that was some 3years ago in college before going home) and rushed towards the office. I entered in and sat next to her, then she gave a brief revision of what she explained to me earlier and i kept saying ‘Yeah’ ‘Okay’ ‘alryt’ moving my head to indicate to her that I’ve understood everything, which i didn’t anything but HER!
 Finally it was 17:00 on the clock & on everybody’s screen. It was like they wait everyday for this moment to happen, everybody logged out from their PCs & woke up in such sync, it seemed to me like a parade. I was quite sad about it, the day came to an end & I’ll have to wait for next 16hours to see her again. We all exchanged our ‘Goodbyes’ and proceeded to leave. Within a couple of seconds the bay was evacuated, so without wasting any time i hurried to the downstairs with a hope of having a last glimpse  f her. Guess what? i did. But all in vain, i saw her getting into a rickshaw with that guy. There was a quick dive into the vibrant disturbance in my thoughts.
 Disappointed, I went back home, had a bath, met my friend and we went to our regular local BAR for a round of Whiskey. After a couple of rounds i finally everything happened in the whole day bled thru my mouth. He gave me some tips not to impress her but to stay away from it, as he hardly have any interest and time for such things. But it was her constantly on my mind and i hardly paid any attention to my friend’s GYAN. I went back home, had my dinner & slept.
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Money!

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how
                            - Friedrich Nietzsche

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A chilhood friend of mine has always been obsessed with saving money. For hours he explains about some recurring deposit scheme or some such thing where if you put Rs.1 Lakh
how it will become Rs.5 Lakhs in 7 years and this he keeps telling everyone in our friends’
circle who does not think beyond that day, namely me. He comes from a quite wealthy family
background than us in our circle, but always lead a life style of not even taking his car
for outings & stuff, always prefer to keep it under a tarpaulin cloth and travel in
autorickshaws & often on other’s bike.

One day I asked him what is the point of having money if you don’t use it for having a
better quality of life. He answered saying that if his grandfather and father thought the
same then he probably would not have had any money. I answered ‘fine if you grandfather
works hard saves and saves and gives it to your father and then he saves and saves and gives
it to you and then you save and save give it to your son and what if you give birth to a son
like me. All the earlier three generations will become super big fools, Ha Ha!’

Money for me is potential energy and has no meaning unless it is made kinetic.

I would think in a very simplistic way on a philosophical level the origin of money could be
explained in this way. When men in the primitive times used to hunt they were like all other
animals. Hunt, eat, sleep, hunt again would have been the cycle.

And some time one among them has an idea of agriculture as in wanting to grow a crop. Now
others might not understand or share his vision but he will need them to work for him on the
crop. So to compensate them for working for his vision which could go wrong or right was
where money has been invented and he pays them with that.

So with the money they got, it becomes their energy which they could choose to make it
kinetic in whichever way they individually choose to. But again to enjoy money you first
need to enjoy the experience of living a life and also to be able to identify what all
life’s shop can offer you. For instance you can buy the greatest music system that a shop
can offer but you can’t buy from life’s shop a mind which can actually relish the music
which plays from it. That mind, you have to have yourself. If not, having money will just
amount to securing yourself fearing poverty or to feel a sense of elation in comparison to
others who have lesser money than you. Thus it becomes nothing but a measurement for your
own self esteem.

If you have a beautiful rich house others will admire especially those who live in the same
street, but you yourself will take it for granted in not more than one day after the
interior décor is done and from then on you will be only looking at its faults. Also if you
have issues with your wife, the same house will look like a horror house from your point of
view as you are approaching it after your days work.

The point I am trying to make is that no materialistic things like a music system, a car, a house etc can really give you pleasure unless it enhances the pleasure of your own personal feelings with regard to them in one way or the other.

If you are with a person who bores you it won’t make a difference if you are sitting in the
JW Marriott Coffee Shop and if you are interested in the person a roadside tea shop also
will do wonders.

The point of life is to relish your feelings and money can make a point if and only it helps
you achieve that.

I don’t care for people who want to make money just to save it as I don’t understand the
point of trying to prepare for losses and death right from the time of being born. Then
what’s the point of being born?

I want money so that I can organise events but I don’t do them so that I can make money. I
have never made money and I think I never will. The reason for that being my mindset of
constantly putting to use whatever money I have going by my theory of making it kinetic. So
even if I organise an event which does not work, which obviously can not be my intention,
the least it is doing is give that some people work thereby making them kinetic, and yes at
least it is making them earn their livelihood and I irrespective of losing money i will
still generate more contacts & goodwill out of it.

Ideas and feelings are the only true wealth anyone can really possess and on that account I
have always been rich and I will always be, that is at least for myself. Whether that
achieves anything in others perception or not it’s not my concern as “I live for myself”.

Re-work.

“When you look into an Abyss, the Abyss also looks into you”
                                                               – Friedrich Nietzsche

People constantly live in either a fear of losing or in a hope of gaining. There’s no such thing as an absolute state of success. I have always been successful and that’s nothing to do with my profession. Success is something I define as to be able to get up in the morning and do what you want to do till you sleep. That does not mean that you should want to fly or rule empires. It could be anything which your capability permits and your intelligence submits.

Yes, you have your family, relationships, obligations etc. But if you want to take care of them and stand by them, you are doing what you want to do. In reality most people act and do things out of compulsion by others or within themselves rather than really wanting to do so.

I always had & will have ‘Inshah-Allah’ the courage to bear the consequences of the decisions I take. Many of my decisions went wrong, in fact most of them. But what cannot be taken away from me is the pleasure moments I experienced in that process. By the time the result of a certain decision came about I was already into the pleasure of moments of other decisions and this has been the circle all my life.

If you are on a dry beach and you want to reach a beautiful looking island in the distance, you can make a decision to swim across or go in a boat on maybe take a plane or just fantasize that you are there on that island or psyche yourself that you are better off on the dry beach itself. But what most people will do is to constantly worry about whether there might be sharks in the sea or the boat might sink or the plane ticket is too expensive or what if there is a sudden storm, and thereby remain bitter, frustrated and fearful all their lives.

I weigh the consequences and think of the logistics and plunge in even if I don’t know swimming. I will either learn to swim or sink in the process but what I will not do at any cost is to stay put. After two succesful events(couple of years ago), I again geared up myself & my resources and ventured into organizing an event with higher production cost & risks, after all my efforts with new ideas & trend it turned out a FLOP. But it could have turned succesful too. When I organized two events which were much more succesful. The word success itself is highly relative. In showbiz Flops and hits happen by themselves whereas the only thing I can really make happen is to make a decision & put all my efforts, creativity & hard work to execute a idea into a better manner. For me i always consider myself succesful whenever i could take such risks on my own & make it happen the way i wanted it to, regardless the consequenses & result. For instance after all the effort and courage if I manage to reach that beautiful island, as soon as I step on it I could be killed by a lion there whose existence I don’t even know about. Not once am I saying that I know everything about what will happen. I just want to do things that I want to happen.

Once while we were travelling in a car, a guy very concernedly gave me a theory that 50 years from now we are going to have water wars in the world where everyone will die. I told him that at the next turn on the road we might be hit by a truck and die, and frankly I am not concerned about what happens to the world one second after I die. But if you truly worry about the water wars instead of sitting here and worrying why don’t you go and do some scientific research to solve the water problem. If you don’t know science then atleast work as a tea boy to the scientist and contribute. But I know you would not do that as then you won’t have time to do your umpteen other activities like going to the discotheque, cinema and indulge in bitching sessions. And on the other hand if you truly constantly worry about the world being finished in 50 years, what if a smart scientist comes up with a solution in the 49th year and then you would be the biggest fool for wasting 49 years of your life worrying off.

Most people can’t differentiate between worrying and thinking, Worrying is negative energy and makes your mind run in circles breeding depression and frustration whereas thinking makes you reach a decision and the decision you reach will result in work and if the work does not result in what you wanted from it, all you have to do is Re-work.

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The greatest danger that always hovered over humanity

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The greatest danger that always hovered over humanity and still hovers over it is the eruption of madness – which means the eruption of arbitrariness in feeling, seeing and hearing, the enjoyment of the mind’s lack of discipline, the joy in human unreason. Not truth and certainty are the opposite of the world of the madman, but the universality and the universal binding force of a faith; in sum, the non-arbitrary character of judgements… Thus the virtuous intellects are needed – oh, let me use the most unambiguous word – what is needed is virtuous stupidity, stolid metronomes for the slow spirit, to make sure that the faithful of the great shared faith stay together and continue their dance… We others are the exception and the danger – and we need eternally to be opposed. – Well, there actually are things to be said in favor of the exception, provided that it never wants to become the rule.

                                 -from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, s. 76, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Hovers – Fluttering in the air
Arbitrariness – Unreasonablen
Virtuous – Worthy
Stolid – Emotionless
Metronomes – A mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sounds at an adjustable pace, used for marking rhythm

Corruption – Symptoms & Causes!

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The signs of corruption.–Consider the following signs of those states of society which are necessary from time to time and which are designated with the word “corruption.” As soon as corruption sets in anywhere superstition becomes rank. and the previous common faith of a people becomes pale and powerless against it. For superstition is second-order free spirit: those who surrender to it choose certain forms and formulas that they find congenial and permit themselves some freedom of choice. Whoever is superstitious is always, compared with the religious human being, much more of a person; and a superstitious society is one in which there are many individuals and much delight in individuality…

Second, a society in which corruptions spreads is accused of exhaustion… But what is generally overlooked is that the ancient national energy and national passion that became gloriously visible in war and warlike games have now been transmuted into countless private passions and have merely become less visible. Indeed, in times of “corruption” the power and force of the national energies that are expended are probably greater than ever and the individual squanders them as lavishly as he could not have formerly when he was simply not yet rich enough. Thus it is precisely in times of “exhaustion” that tragedy runs through houses and streets, that great love and great hatred are born, and that the flame of knowledge flares up into the sky.

Third, it is usually said… that such times of corruption are gentler and that cruelty declines drastically, compared with the old, stronger age which was more given to faith. All I concede is that cruelty now becomes more refined and that its older forms henceforth offend the new taste; but the art of wounding and torturing others with words and looks reaches its supreme development…The men of corruption are witty and slanderous; they know of types of murder that require neither daggers nor assault; they know that whatever is said well is believed.

Fourth, when “morals decay” those men emerge whom one calls tyrants: they are the precursors and as it were the precocious harbingers of individuals… In these ages bribery and treason reach their peak, for the love of the newly discovered ego is much more powerful now than the love of the old, used-up “fatherland”… Individuals–being truly in-and-for-themselves– care, as is well known, more for the moment than do their opposites, the herd men… The times of corruption are those when the apples fall from the tree: I mean the individuals, for they carry the seeds of the future and are the authors of the spiritual colonization and origin of new states and communities. Corruption is merely a nasty word for the autumn of a people.

from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, s. 23, Walter Kaufmann transltn

Film Noir in Indian Cinema

Sadhana enters a graveyard as the femme fatale of Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

In the U.S. historians and film theorists have debated for decades about the meaning of the elusive term: “film noir.” Although many of us conjure an image of a hard-boiled detective and a mystery made more mysterious by the femme fatale, few “film noirs” actually contain these elements. This so-called genre had its roots in German Expressionism with films like Fritz Lang’s (1931) and in depression-era crime novels. But what does the term “film noir” mean as it applies to Hindi cinema? What are the hallmarks of this genre as it played out in Bollywood and how did it begin?

I will present five films that I propose to be in the genre of Indian film noir. This is no easy task. Just as the term is vague in the American lexicon, so too does it only hazily engulf a variety of Hindi films with low-key lighting. And so I shall begin with an illustrative example. We can debate the precise definition of the genre until the end of time, but I think I can safely say that whatever Indian film noir is, Woh Kaun Thi? (1964) is Indian film noir.

Woh Kaun Thi? has 4 main basic elements. The first is in its distinct cinematographic style and setting—low-key lighting throughout a mysterious mansion and slow unhurried shots with a somber film score to match. The film gives a sense of the world being trapped in a fatalistic dream, whether alone by a graveyard or in a crowd of dancing people.

The second is the film’s overall tone and pacing—there is an uncomfortable sense of being pursued, of an impending doom unless a mystery is solved in time by the hero. Unlike in American film noir, the hero is no cynic and there is no quick sardonic dialogue to off-set the dreary mood. The hero is instead a righteous and innocent man of affairs, an heir to a fortune who becomes a victim. Though mingled with occasional musical highs, the film spirals from a slow and deliberate set-up to a climax closer and closer to complete ruin.

An interesting element of many American film noirs is the flash-back structure, which takes on an interesting form in their Indian counterparts. Woh Kaun Thi?centers around a mysterious background that occurred in the protagonist’s past life. Because the audience of Hindi films was largely composed of practicing Hindus, the world of reincarnation narrative is able to begin on a new and creatively extremely fertile ground. The hero must revisit through song, hearsay, and secrets events that took place in a past life, but whose consequences (whether karma or otherwise) now haunt him. This is the third element.

Fourthly, the film does indeed revolve around the appearance and (mis)guidance of the femme fatale, who is heard singing alluring, tragic songs. The hero is never able to wholly communicate with her, but her intentions are clearly marked with a deadly undertone. The femme fatale remains an elusive character–sometimes he chases after her, sometimes she chases after him—when her story is fully told, only then can the mystery be solved.

The films below can be placed into the category of Indian film noir along withWho Kaun Thi?:

Mahal (1949): Perhaps the grandfather of this genre, Mahal tells of a man tortured and madly in love with an apparition who haunts his mansion and claims a connection from an earlier life. The film also features the haunting vocals of Lata Mangeshkar’s all-time hit Aayegaa Aanewaalaa.

Madhubala mesmerizes Ashok Kumar in Mahal (1949)

Madhumati (1958): This classic Vijayantimala-Dilip Kumar blockbuster is told in flashback to a previous lifetime of the murder of the woman the hero still loves. The gently alluring Aajaa Re Pardesi encompasses the film’s themes of love and debts spanning several lifetimes.

Vijayantimala is reincarnated to find her lover once more in Madhumati (1958)

Bees Saal Baad (1961): A rich man comes to live in his new mansion and must solve a tragedy and murder that occurred 20 years earlier. The film contains a brilliant surprise ending, and Lata Mangeshkar scores once again with the beautiful Kahin Deep Jale, Kahin Dil.

Biswajeet follows a mysterious voice in Bees Saal Baad (1961)

Kohra (1964): This twist on Hitchcock’s Rebecca is told through the eyes of a female protagonist, living in a large, unexplored mansion that is haunted by the apparition of her husband’s first wife. Waheeda Rehman must discover the true circumstances surrounding the first wife’s death before she is driven insane. The song of the femme fatale (Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat) is an absolutely genius and rare example of symbolic imagery in montage to create a feeling of horror from the song.

Waheeda Rehman sees a ghostly vision atop her mansion roof in Kohra (1964)

There are some films that contain one or more of the above elements that I havenot classified as Indian film noir. These include Mera SaayaGumnaam, andKarz, for different reasons–often overall tone or cinematographic style. Additionally, others might argue that these films should not be categorized at all as Indian film noir, but rather as Indian gothic horror films or other such genres. Watch some of these classics and let me know your take on this chapter in cinematic history!

RGV, quotes…

”i feel there are only well acted or badly acted roles, and no such thing as a good actor or actress. In the same way, there are well directed or badly directed films, no good or bad directors. I think it’s all about using the talent properly, in the context of the script”

”Stars work because of familiarity. They fill theatres because audiences know who they are. There is a brand equity. But there are films strong enough to not need stars, or films that should not be made with stars at all, where only fresh faces will do. So I make the decisions accordingly.”

”As for people who haven’t been successful, it’s because they haven’t been utilised correctly. And sometimes we make mistakes. Mistakes aren’t made wantonly, and if I see something hasn’t worked, I don’t want to repeat that mistake”

”What is original? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything original in my life. Every line, every scene, every shot in my films has been taken from another film, a book, a play, real life, a TV show… The important thing is that you understand what you are copying. If you understand what’s behind the shot, you’ll never do it the exact same way. The trick is being able to put it in context of a film.We are born with blank minds. And then comes information, information, information… We are what we learn. I’m not original, you are not original”

”Emotions are constant in every story. There’s no question of remaking Rangeela because it’s a story everyone makes. A guy falls in love with a girl, she doesn’t return his feelings until the end of the movie where she decides she loves him too. And you haven’t seen that movie before? Or since then?”

”I feel the whole world is running on bitchiness. And that includes you and me. If I want to read a review today, I won’t go and click on the review that says ‘great film,’ I’ll find the reviewer who’s hated the film. And I’ll enjoy reading that no-star review because the reviewer is sarcastic and mean and kills the film…

..i understand that logic, and so why should that rule not apply to my films? I read the reviews, but never take them personally.”

”I think the critics just exhausted every negative they could use for that movie, and they have nothing left. I think for Sholay they will just hire the underworld to kill me, instead of wasting words. On Friday the film will release, on Sunday the papers will say ‘Ram Gopal Varma found dead”

The man who knew too much – Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh sang like a canary

Looking for Gullu — or Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh — in Behrampada is like the proverbial — and usually futile — search for a needle in the haystack. No, Gullu hasn’t been seen for a while. The man who could have made history is now trying to put the past behind him. But Behrampada is as it was when Gullu lived there — steeped in poverty and waiting to explode.

Bandra in north-west Mumbai might be the queen of the suburbs but Behrampada is a blot on mankind. It lies just outside Bandra station on the east — a warren of slums befitting Dickensian London. One of the poorest slum colonies inhabited by Mumbai’s Muslims, houses here consist of a room that’s not bigger than 5×5 feet. This is also where gutters double up as an open toilet for children.

But four days into Ramzan, the place is teeming with last-minute shoppers. While a few Muslim youths chew on neem sticks, the rest of the faithful in Behrampada are busy stocking up on slices of water melon, papaya, ice slabs, ready-made falooda packets and bazias to break their day-long fast.

In the midst of all this, it’s difficult to tell that Behrampada was one of the worst affected areas during the communal riots of 1992-1993. But even now, nearly 14 years later, the sheer poverty in Behrampada has all the potential for another riot.

That’s how the name of Gullu came up. Named in the riots, Gullu later almost walked into history books as the man who could have changed Mumbai’s destiny.

Two days before the March 12, 1993, serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, Gullu, who was one of the conspirators, simply walked into the nearest police station and told the police all about Tiger Memon’s plans to blow up the city. Unfortunately, for the victims of the serial bomb blasts, the police didn’t take him seriously.

Today, Gullu is still an accused in the case, though he has narrowly escaped the noose. He is in the marble business and has been seeking to close his past, says his sister who lives in the same address in Behrampada now. “He doesn’t come here anymore,” she says. “You have obviously come to interview him about the bomb blasts case,” Gullu’s sister says even before you can tell her why you want to meet Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh.

For the main conspirator, Mushtaq alias Tiger Memon, Gullu’s last minute volte-face forced him to change his plans. It had earlier been planned that blasts would rock Mumbai in April 1993, coinciding with Shiv Jayanti celebrations.

Gul Noor Mohammad Sheikh was in his early twenties at the time, a brash youth living in Behrampada. When Behrampada got caught in a communal frenzy, Gullu found himself named as one of the rioters.

But within weeks of the riots, Gullu got roped into the serial blasts conspiracy. According to the prosecution, he was one of the 19 men handpicked by Memon and sent to Pakistan via Dubai on February 19, 1993 , for training in the use of arms. Gullu and the rest of the team were trained in the use of AK-56, pistols, hand-guns, light machine guns, rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs. They were also taught to make bombs with RDX and to fling hand grenades. Training over, Gullu returned to Mumbai via Dubai on March 4, 1993 .

But he returned to find that in his absence, policemen from the nearby Nirmal Nagar police station had been paying regular visits to his home to check his whereabouts. Finally, the police picked up his brothers to get Gullu to surrender.

When Gullu came back from Pakistan, it was not the imminent bomb blasts conspiracy that was foremost on his mind, but his brothers’ detention. So, he was not present at the subsequent meetings that the conspirators had with Tiger Memon on the blasts.

Gullu was not present when Tiger Memon finalised the targets, and he was not there when Memon asked his boys to conduct a recce.

He was also not present when Memon recruited a batch of five new faces who were taken for training in arms to Sandheri-Bhorgat, en route to Mhasla in Raigad district, some 250 kilometres from Mumbai.

When Gullu’s friend Usman Jan Khan — who subsequently turned approver in the case — visited him at his home on March 8, 1993, Gullu seemed deeply disturbed. “Why should my family suffer for no fault of theirs’ My brothers are being given the third degree by the police. I am going to surrender soon,” Gullu told his friend.

Usman promptly reported the matter to Tiger Memon at the latter’s Al Hussaini building in Mahim in north-west Mumbai. The Al Hussaini building was the epicentre of the entire operation. Bombs were assembled there and the vehicles that were to cart the RDX-laden bombs were also parked there. And this was one of the reasons the entire Memon family got roped into the case.

When Usman told Tiger Memon about Gullu’s surrender plans, he was horrified to hear Memon’s reaction. “Kill him,” Tiger Memon told him. Memon even went to Gullu’s house in search of him — but in vain. On March 9, 1993, Gul Mohammad Khan surrendered to the police.

The police beat him black and blue. And Gullu told them everything — about his role in the communal riots, his training in Pakistan and the conspiracy to blow Mumbai up. Gullu’s arrest could have been a turning point in the conspiracy if the Mumbai police had taken him seriously.

But the police thought he was blabbering. And when Tiger Memon learnt of Gullu’s surrender, he knew that Gullu would also spill the beans on the blasts. So he advanced the date of the blasts to March 12 to preempt any police action.

Three days later when Mumbai went into spasms, the Nirmal Nagar police realised its folly in not taking Gullu seriously. No action was taken against the concerned police officers as there is no record of what Gullu told them, though he later narrated this story in his statement to the CBI. His last-minute retraction from the conspiracy saved his life.

But Mumbai was not spared.Image9

An Article from The Telegraph (Calcutta, India) Sunda,y October 1, 2006