Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Be the reason someone smiles today

8 September 2016

Image result for spread good

So this afternoon I walked into Pick n pay to buy some fresh rolls. I noticed a pensioner wanting to buy
croissants but she opted not to take it as it was out of her budget. My heart sank. For a minute my eyes
welled up with tears. I told myself how grateful I need to be to my Lord for being able to eat anything my
heart desires. I went to the bakery counter, bought the croissants and left it at the cashier so that when
she finally made her way to the till, the cashier would give it to her. I'm not sure if she took the croissants
but my intention was to make her day. Over the past few days I have come to realize how short and
precious life really is. A person close to me has been diagnosed with cancer. Whilst he is always the one
encouraging everyone around him to be positive and vibrant, he has not taken his diagnosis very well.
I can't imagine not having him in my life. He has been a tremendous pillar of strength and support in my
life. He has always encouraged me and guided me in life. I can't forget his words to me as we chatted on
his balcony overlooking the highway, "You need to grow big wings to fly high in life. Think big.. live large.
follow your dreams.If you need advise I'm here for you anytime." When Medix opened almost 3 years ago,
he stood with me through thick and thin. There were days when I seemed despondent but he use to say
life is not a straight line. You must be able to ride the waves like a surfer. Watching a person close to you
suffer is not an easy task. May Allah grant total shifa and cure to everyone out there who is ill. We
sometimes tend to take life and people for granted. Only when they gone do we appreciate their worth.
I have taken it upon myself to try doing one good deed everyday for someone else. Helping others is a
form of sadaqa (charity). Sadaqa wards of calamity. I request my Facebook family to wake up in the
morning and live your day as it were your last. Try alleviating someone else's troubles.
When you do good to others, God Almighty will bestow his blessings upon you.The intention of this post
is not to make me look good on a public platform (trust me I have many many flaws and weaknesses)
but rather to encourage all of you to spread good within our communities so that together we can build
a better country for our youth. Don't take the beggar on the street for granted either. Go up to him.
Talk to him. He too has a heart and a life story to share. The day he is not there on his spot you will miss
his presence too. There is far too much emphasis on acquiring materialistic wealth yet the wealth we
should be aiming for is undoubtedly a heart of gold to serve humanity....

Friday, September 30, 2016

When hypocrites and bigots become community leaders

Image result for hypocrites in islam

Islam is indeed a religion of peace, a religion that calls for unity, a religion for the whole of mankind. Yet it is sad that as Muslims instead of preaching and trying to inculcate the concept of unity within our homes and communities, some of us are hell bent on causing division and segregation. Instead of our religious scholars bringing people together by means of establishing common ground, not all, but some scholars have chosen to cause division. In various suburbs including my own, the masjid which ideally should be a place of worship has now become a building whereby people within the community feel as though they own the masjid. A masjid is the House of Allah. Anyone has the right to pray in the house of Allah whether you have a beard or not, whether you wearing a trouser or shirt or a thobe. Allah is the judge of mankind. Not us humans. The masjid is not your home or family business. I am so livid at the sheer hypocrisy that exists within our communities. It deeply aggrieves me. 

On several occasions religious scholars visiting from other countries were not allowed to perform prayers in the masjid as he was branded a salafi or branded a hundred other names. Yet, when we South Africans go to Saudi for example, we are all performing salaah behind the same Imaam. We have the very same Imaams CD’s and DVD’s playing in our homes. There has been incidents whereby a visiting brother was asked to recite a nasheed or Quraan in the masjid and because he did not have a beard due to the political situation in his own country, he was prevented from reciting the Quraan in the house of Allah by the very same crooked trustees who are hypocrites in every sense of the word. These same people refuse to listen to the Quraan live in a masjid setting because the Sheikh does not have a beard but will choose to listen to the same Shiekhs recitations in the car or at home. Where is the logic? Some of our religious scholars have seriously lost the plot and they are leading their followers astray as well. They have forgotten about the beautiful teachings of our Beloved Muhammed (saw), the manner in which he welcomed people of all races including his enemy. Nowadays when a scholar comes to SA from abroad, it’s a huge hallabaloo. A hundred and one people have to be consulted in order to welcome them. Should we allow them to read in our masjid or not. ( No.. it is not your masjid or my masjid or our masjid. . It is Allahs masjid).They will first judge the individual, criticise, etc etc etc and then permission is granted. There has been situations where trustees of one masjid condoned the visiting scholar to perform the prayers and yet the trustees of another masjid in the same suburb prevented the scholar from leading the prayer due to internal politics.

It is an absolute joke. For heaven sake, the person is a Muslim. As long as the person loves Allah, has the sunnah in his heart and the quraan in his soul,welcome your brother with open arms in unity.We expect western countries to welcome muslim refugees with open arms but we can't welcome our fellow Muslims from other countries with open arms just because they do not have a beard. In my opinion when a scholar from abroad comes to South Africa, the trustees of the biggest masjid within a suburb should take the initiative to host the scholar.All the ulema of that suburb should support the program and make themselves present. Not act as though they are more virtuous or more superior.Today it is so easy for our youth to go astray through drugs and alcohol abuse.Pornography is available at their finger tips. We should rather support the programs in our masjid whether it is facilitated by local or international scholars. Whether the person has a beard or not does not justify your actions of not wanting to listen to the words of the quraan.As Muslims we need to build bridges. That is what Islam is all about.South African Muslims are not the only Muslims in the world. We are not the best Muslims in the world.Infact we are a minority group.How the heck can the umma be on the straight path when our religious scholars are calling each other by derogatory names on social media. How can the umma unite when we fail to establish common ground on various topics. How can we achieve world peace when we have bickering and disunity in our own small communities?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dheiraj Kapoor- Success runs through his veins

Dheiraj Kapoor! Let me guess, you probably thinking he is a member of the famous Kapoor family in Bollywood. Well he isn't. He started out his career in 1995 as a model with assignments like Honda Activa TVC, Byford t-shirts Campaign, Gurukul Campaign, BPL net.com Campaign, and IBM computers Campaigns. He also acted in four English plays with internationally acclaimed theatre personality Mahesh Dattani and also acted in a Hindi play whilst doing his summer course at the National School of Drama. Having moved away from his family's well-established retail business, Dheiraj decided to pursue his career within the entertainment industry. Through his business and entrepreneurial skills, he has managed to execute and conceptualize hundreds of brand campaigns for leading international brands. It gives me an immense pleasure to interview a man of his stature and calibre, a successful entrepreneur and businessman who is certainly easy on the eyes. Read on to find out more in his own words.....

                                                       Photo credit Madhu S Dutta 

Drink you would order at a coffee shop: A healthy organic vegetable or fruit juice (I don’t drink neither coffee or tea or aerated drinks) Thus you will never find me in and around a coffee shop.

Favourite Indian cuisine: Butter Chicken, Butter Nun, Tandoori Chicken and Rajma Chawal
Favourite cologne: Tom Ford
Favourite holiday destination: Have many favourites as I have had the opportunity to travel extensively around the globe but amongst my recent favourites…it has to be Portugal

1. Firstly Dheiraj, thank you so much for taking time out to be interviewed by me on such short notice. Tell me a little more about your family background and life from childhood until present? Did you formally go to an acting school? Where did you study?

I am extremely grateful that you have thought about me for your blog. Thank you. I have a very blessed life thus far with the most beautiful parents who I could always count on and siblings who are by my side through every day of my existence.Originally a North Indian, I am born and brought up in Bangalore, therefore I have inculcated a fair mix of both North and South Indian cultural nuances in me - which has given me a cosmopolitan outlook therefore established a futuristic vision in self.
In Bangalore I have done theatre workshops with Mahesh Dattani, and followed it up with workshops in NSD New Delhi, LSDA London and New York, which has significantly enriched my experience in learning the art and craft of acting.

2.Did you always wish to be a part of the entertainment industry? Was your family supportive of you in terms of your career choices?

Certainly! It's has been my childhood dream to be a part of the celluloid world - pursuing my passion in this beautiful and fulfilling art form called 'acting' Since my childhood I was always keen in participating in dramatics, acting, fancy dress and dancing competitions. This resulted in developing my passionate interest for the world of cinema.
My family and friends have been extremely supportive, in fact they have been living my dreams, cherishing and nurturing them every moment.

3. Tell me a little bit about your modelling career. How did you enter the acting industry?

I have done modelling in the early stages of my career across different product categories like automobiles, fashion apparel, technical gadgets etc. Thus I had realized my intrinsic love to being in front of the lens.
My vision that being a model, one must possess the skills of acting, know how to be able to pose the right body language and strike the expression.
I enjoyed modelling and acting was a natural progression when I got the offer to work in films...I love the camera! Therefore doesn't matter whether it's modelling or acting - it’s all about a seamless visual narrative which being the protagonist I need to bring on board. And that's exactly what my endeavour has been thus far!

4. How do you balance your personal life and your career?

Respect both ends of the spectrum - and do my best to live up to my professional and personal commitments - because both bring to me an immense sense of gratification.
Therefore I take special efforts to keep the fun in both the world alive!

5. I am totally blown over at the fact that you have been involved in so many brand campaigns for huge companies involving Bollywood A listers. Elaborate further about your career as a brand marketer. What does it entail and how does one get to the top in such a competitive market?

I enjoy my role as a Brand Marketer – for me it doesn’t matter whom I am catering to. All that drives my passion is the core of the idea, the implementation of the marketing plan and the overall success of the brand initiative. What brings immense joy and a huge sense of gratification is when my Clients considers me as an extended part of his team who adds value to his business.
Maintaining a strong database and networking of industry specific sponsors for events and building and nurturing relations with strategic leadership and artist’s/celebrities representatives.
To keep to the top, having an excellent network with the right resources in the Corporate and Bollywood industry is essential.

6. I have heard through the grape vine that many actors and actresses are cast in movies or serials through couch casting. Do you think that this kind of practice is occurring within the industry?

I have never gotten myself into such situations in my career, therefore it is unfair for me to make a statement.

7.What has been your most memorable experience in your life thus far?

For me living everyday is an experience… and it’s my endeavor to make it memorable

8. If you could be granted one wish and have any skill or talent in the world, what would it be?

To be bestowed with a skill to bring a warm smile to every individual with simple joys of life.

9. Who or what inspires you?

Life, nature and people around inspire me most. A constant source of energy, which imbibes a sense of positive vibe!

10. What are your favourite websites?

Google. It breaks all boundaries makes me connect all around the globe with people and information.

11. Do you follow a strict eating plan or are you a gym fanatic? Is it necessary to be physically fit if you are part of the movie industry?

I am a firm believer in being physically fit not only body but mind and soul as well; from an early age I have been actively involved in multiple sports and then eventually started my gyming regime. But to adhere to a more holistic physical fitness, I have gotten into yoga. The passion for yoga and benefits I derive from it lead me into taking the next step – acquiring myself a international certification to teach.
Diet is the most misunderstood concept when it comes to fitness. It is very important to understand the need for your body and have a balanced diet plan keeping in mind long-term goals for a healthy living. I am definitely not a fan of haphazard diets, which can hamper your health in the long run.
Yes it is necessary to keep oneself fit and maintain required body statistics according to the character one is playing.

12. Who is your favourite actor, actress and singer in Bollywood? What qualities do they have that make them special to you?

Actors: Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Guru Dutt & Amitabh Bachchan.
Actress: Late Smita Patil, Nargis, Sharmila Tagore, Rekha, Madhubala & Waheda Rehman.
Each had their own distinctive persona as well as individual and unique method of acting.

Singers: Music is the core essence of every movie - my favourites artists are Lata
Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Nursat Fateh Ali Khan etc. These are the singers who touched my soul every time I listen to their creation.

13. In your opinion, what qualities does a person require in order to be a part of the entertainment industry?

Entertainment world has a sense of mystery, a feel of enigma! As a star who is part of this world of celluloid, the most important quality one needs to hold on to is humility, practicality and never shy away from the reality.

14. Define success. What does success mean to you?

Success to me is an amalgamation of humility, persistence and a mind-set to constantly evolve as an individual.

15. Give me your opinion about plastic surgery? Many models win beauty pageants and then head straight into Bollywood. Most of them undergo drastic plastic surgery as well as skin lightening treatments in order to conform to a certain look. What is your opinion about actors and actresses becoming successful after they have undergone cosmetic surgery?

I am of the opinion that since I haven’t gone through this process myself, so i would not be the correct person to comment on this.

16. Where do you see yourself five years from now? What are your plans for the future?

My mantra in life is to take each day at a time - keep working with all the right intention and let the supreme power take care of you. I am a true believer of “The Law of Karma”.
I want to continue in acting and look at taking up varied roles - which can constantly fulfill my urge and hunger to a performance oriented role, bring out my individual strengths define a sharp differentiator for the artist in me.

17. Fame can do strange things to people. How do you cope with fame and the fact that people easily recognize you wherever you go.?

Staying grounded and constantly nurturing the sense of humility is the key to being real to life and people around.

18. What advice do you have for young aspiring actors out there?

My one humble advice to every individual who aspires to be an actor is never stop dreaming, never stop learning and never forget people who stood by you when you were not a star...it's their wish and love that has been a catalyst to your success story as well.

19. Are there any additional comments you’d like to add for the blog readers?

Thank you so much for this interview and I wish this article brings in love and light amongst
the blog readers worldwide. Happy Reading

20. One last final question. You mentioned to me that you have visited South Africa many times. What has been your opinion of the country? Do you think that more Bollywood films should be shot here in SA?

Howzit !!! This was the first introduction to your beautiful country. Friendly people with a warm heart and hospitality totally made me feel at ease. South Africa is a very beautiful country with a multi-ethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Have traveled the length and breadth of the country and enjoyed the scenic beauty immensely.
Yes of course there is so much more to explore, given the diverse landscape and beauty of nature complementing every part of the country, South Africa definitely becomes a favourable destination to shoot films & campaigns. I always look forward to coming back… hopefully this time with my film.

Dear Sumayya Mehtar,
Last but not the least I am grateful and would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing article.


                                                         Photo credit Madhu S Dutta 

                           Watch out for Dheiraj Kapoors movie ANONA releasing next year

Photo credit: Natraaj Maharshi

"Every drop is so pure like nectar for the skin that caresses right through the veins that touch the soul awakening the innocence of a child. That is the magic that dwells within the power of nature, its gift, given with the warmth and love like of a mother. This is ANONA... goddess that dwells everywhere. She is within us and around us. "

To find out more about this exceptionally humble and down to earth actor and entrepreneur, check out his facebook page and website


Friday, September 16, 2016

Be yourself and you will increase in beauty

I was browsing through the Internet this afternoon and I came across an article that stated that the public were up in arms over Alicia Keys appearing at a music video awards without any make up. I thought to myself gosh, people are dying in some parts of the world; there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed apart from taking away a woman's right to choose how she wants to dress or look. The media and the fashion industry have dictated and literally forced women to dress in a certain way in order to be accepted in society. Women need to be a certain weight or a have a certain height or complexion in order to be considered beautiful. The sad reality is that from a statistical point of view a more attractive looking female is more successful in life as opposed to a woman who is not outwardly beautiful. This mentality needs to change as it is being instilled in our youth and kids from a very young age. I have come across young women who have psychological issues simply because they are being mocked at by their peers or school mates for not being attractive enough. I have had my fair share of verbal remarks as a child for not being fair enough as my brother. I am also a wee bit overweight due to my thyroid issue. But do I care about what other people think about me... hell no. I'm quite comfortable in my own skin. We need to teach young women that true beauty is not about outer appearance. As clich├ęd as it sounds, it is all about what lies within. When a person has a beautiful soul, a kind heart with pure intentions, that inner beauty transcends outwardly naturally. I know of many young women who are slightly overweight due to illnesses or they have a skin problem due to hormonal issues. Instead of society supporting these teenagers, these young women are being looked down upon for not looking like a girl on a magazine cover who by the way is probably really unattractive in real life but due to photoshop, make up and airbrushing techniques, she looks absolutely sexy. There are teenagers out there who have major skin problems but because they hail from poor families they are unable to afford the necessary treatment. Thus, they continue life with a lowered self esteem. We have created this false, distorted concept of beauty. In the Indian community this horrific perception is taken one step further when a girl is told that if she is not beautiful or fair skinned, she will not find a husband. What utter rubbish. Never mind the guy is no James Bond or Hrithik Roshan, but the girl must be tall, fair skinned with long hair etc etc etc.1400 years ago a wise, humble and knowledgeable man,Muhammed ibn Abdullah (pbuh) liberated mankind from such ideologies. Sadly 1400 years later we seem to have regressed rather than progressed!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wife to a controlling husband

                                            Image result for controlling husband

                                                                         Picture taken from www.joymag.co.za

During the week I met a woman who came to the pharmacy for medication related to mental health. 
As we started chatting, she simply broke down in tears. Her life story shadows the lives of many women
out there going through the very same trials and tribulations of life. They simply continue living in silence. 
Like all young women, she envisaged to meet her prince charming, get married and then live happily ever
after. However, what started out as a fairy tale has now turned into a nightmare. My patient was apparently
a young,vibrant and ambitious woman but after getting married she has become a subject of abuse through
her husband’s controlling and dominant character. Prior to marriage she was a modern woman always
looking out for trendy fashion and accessories. She excelled in her career and always wanted to be at the
top.She was under the impression that her husband would accept her the way she is. That was of course
wishful thinking.

Whilst she is a devout Muslim woman who left her home dressed decently, she did not adorn the head
scarf. A year after marriage, her husband forced her to cover her hair. She obliged thinking that in a way she
is pleasing him. A few months later, he forced her to only wear the abaya when leaving the home. He
threatened to divorce her if she did not obey. She had no objection wearing normal clothing with a head
scarf. But he insisted on her wearing abayas only. Slowly but surely, her hubby was starting to control every
aspect of her life. She has lost her sense of autonomy and individuality. She is unable to make any decision
on her own. From a high flying career woman she has now been reduced into a housewife with no drive or
ambition. Her own dreams and goals have been dashed. Her life only revolves around her husband and kids.
This is eating her away internally. If she tries to voice her opinion, she is threatened with divorce. His latest
ultimatum is forcing his wife to adorn a full niqaab or face veil. My personal advice to this woman was to get
out of the relationship if she is unhappy and move on with her life. No one has a right to force anyone to do
anything when it comes to religion. You can advice but not force. Religion is purely a sacred relationship 
between you and your Lord. Guidance comes from God Almighty and He chooses whom he wishes to guide.
Wearing a particular dress code does not qualify you to be a good human being. I don’t even get the logic
of adorning an abaya. The abaya has suddenly become a symbol of a Muslim women’s dress code  and 
yet Arabs themselves will tell you that the abaya is foreign to the Arabian Peninsula. It was introduced as
a dress code after the Al Saud family took over leadership around the 1930’s. Prior to this, Arab women
adorned beautiful kaftans and jilbaabs embellished with heavy embroidery and beading. Many of these
garments can be viewed at the various museums within the Kingdom. 

Almost every tradition in the Arab world has a legend behind it, and pieces of clothing are no exception

according to Rym Tina Ghazal, an award winning journalist. “It is said that sometime in the eighth century 
of the Abbasid Islamic period, a merchant selling cloaks ran out of all the colourful ones and was left with
only black ones that no one wanted.He visited a poet friend of his over his plight and asked him for help.
The poet then composed a  poem praising the beauty of a woman cloaked in black garment, a color he 
hailed as one worn by the rich and noble.And ever since then, women flocked to buy the black ones as they
all wanted to be “sensuous and beautiful.”That is one legend behind the black cloak or “abaya” worn by 
women in the Arab world.

Marriage should be a partnership between two people. It should never be about control or making your 

partners life a misery. Many women waste away their lives staying in such relationships for the sake of the
kids. What for?  If you not happy, I say move on. We all have only one shot at life and we all deserve to be 
happy inwardly and outwardly. Why is it that when a man marries a woman, she is expected to suddenly
miraculously change overnight and fit into his family’s way of life. I know of situations where women are
literally given a list of dos and donts after marriage. This is absolute rubbish in my opinion. You are marrying
someone to be their life partner. You are not marrying a puppet that you can control or dominate. Accept you
wife the way she is and your relationship will  blossom. As the Arabic saying goes, “Kun anta tazdad
jamaalah”. Be yourself and you will increase in beauty.