Tag: jamshedpur

#TheSonaTentProject: Digital Transformation

I’ve never been involved in our Family business of Tent Decorations, not as much as my father would have liked, unlike my younger brother. It was sort of an accepted fact that I won’t be joining the business.

A business started by my Grandfather in 1981 and which continues to remain part of our Family Identity. Of course, Entrepreneurial instincts have always been there, but the inclination to be part of it, have been missing. I won’t go into the reasons for the same.


However, while being a Digital Junkie and sort of marketer, have this urge to be part of the transformation of the family business into the 3rd Generation. A generation which even I am also a part of.

To carry out this initiative, even sitting 1800 kilometers away in Bangalore, the only contribution I can make is to make the digital Transformation of our business.

For a market like Jamshedpur and the target audience, it is not very late for digital presence. A start can always be made. Sona tent and Decorations is taking the next big plunge. It has been 34 years of being in business and it is time to push for change.

I would of course need support from all of you to kick-start this initiative. A simple “like” on the Facebook page, would be good enough for a start.

[Just hit the like button on our Facebook Page]

Your suggestions on improvements on what do you expect from an Event Planner, or a decorator, would be much appreciated. Anything which you feel would be helpful in a new projection of a decades-old business would be helpful.


Your support will be a valuable addition in this Transformation process.

Thank you.

Beautiful people- Babita kumari

Beautiful people- Babita kumari

The world was thrown apart for this young girl when she was in class 5. Her father, Late Jagdish Yadav, died, leaving her and two younger brothers in her mother’s arm.

This is another story from the series of Beautiful People that I met in Jamshedpur.

This story is about Babita Kumari. A girl who is trying to make a difference to her life through her courage and zeal to achieve something even with disability.

Her father’s death resulted in her leaving studies for one whole year. But it was due to her uncle’s help, she was able to resume her studies. But, in order to make her study and feed the family, her brothers had to leave their studies and start working. It was important that someone supported the family of these orphans. Babita’s studies weer possible due to the efforts and support from uncle and then brothers.

She is currently continuing her studies and is currently doing B.A (Part-2) in Zoology hons, when this post was being written.


Over the years, she had also started to support her own studies and even help her family, whatever little she could. She not only wanted to study but also help others like her progress.

She was associated with Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra, which is a project for disabled. She worked there for 3 years and they also funded her studies through the same. She was also was associated with another platform for disabled, where she worked as office assistant. Through her associations, she also ensured many disabled people register themselves to get a disability certificate. This ensures they get benefits out of government schemes, pensions, wheel-chairs, etc.

Joining Jharkhand Viklang Manch(JVM) was a step in the same direction and she continued her efforts in terms of helping the disabled. JVM gave her a voice to be active in not just in nearby places but outside of it as well. Her life as a person with disability has gone through troubled waters many a times, and yet she has rose through the struggle becoming stronger through it. If losing her father at a young age was a setback, trying to continue her studies was difficult too. It is with determination she was able to push towards achieving something.

With an opportunity to learn computer education in Jamshedpur at Indo-Danish Tool Room (IDTR), she left her ongoing computer course and joined here, as this seemed a better prospect. She wants to be a computer literate and get a job. She says, computer education is going to change her life and she is trying her best to learn it. With support from teachers and fellow students, she expects herself to reach new heights.

This is one of the many stories in a series of Inspiring ones about Beautiful people fighting hard even with Disabilities. Supporting them should be our priority and helping them in whichever way we can, will definitely aid them.

Do share this story of courage.


A Muslim Boy’s Diwali

Abbu Abbu.. diwali ke lie pathaake lane hain..paiseee do na”, with child-like innocence, I asked for money to buy firecrackers for diwali.  Dada , sitting nearby, before Abbu could reply, remarked kaiku re wo paise barbad karna… paise jalaaane ke jaisa ich na wo”. (Why burn money by buying those?) in his Dakkhani.

This scene, year over year, can be seen at home every Diwali.

By the time it was evening, I would definitely have some pathaakas with me from my “sources”, which included my dadi, who would part away some money from her khazaana. I would already make sure I had my emergency money in place from Abbu as well in the name of  “stationary”.


happy diwali

Evenings were not limited to lightening firecrackers alone. Although they were a part of it.

Diwali houses” made from mud and wood (with help from Ammi), batasha and mudi, would also be present as part of the celebrations. The diwali house preparation begins in the afternoon itself when the sun is out, so as to let the mud dry up. Colorful papers, all the toys, including those small kitchen cutleries, will adorn our new Diwali house for the course of the 3-day celebrations.

Once, it starts getting a little dark, you could see and hear firecrackers buzzing all around the dark skies, and we as kids, would excitedly merry around before starting our own spree of Fuljhaddis, Chakris, Anaar, Snakes, Mirchi Pathake, etc, while our neighbours would try to outdo us. All of the pathakaas would be in moderate amount, so we would make sure that we don’t finish the entire quota in one day. No one wants to be the kid who finishes off the first.

Then we also had “guests “coming in large numbers to pay our diwali homes a visit. This included, our basti wale friends, coming in one-by-one, bringing with them sweets and firecrackers. We would give them something to eat (after all, atithi devo bhava 🙂 ), fire a few firecrackers and then would follow the ritual of diwali home hopping post that.

And surprise, surprise! When the evening was about to end and we’d be up there on the terrace watching the lit up sky, dada would bring home some more firecrackers!! Yes, the same dada who was preaching us about “wasting money” and blah blah. All of us would again revel in the joy of those bonus firecrackers.  We had our unique way of celebrating this festival of lights, which was so much fun back then.

Of course, I miss dada , who is no more in person with us. That diwali celebration at home gradually stopped as we grew up. It wasn’t about religion, it was all about having fun and enjoying ourselves. And mind you, we lived in a Muslim locality, so there wasn’t even any compulsion to celebrate under peer pressure. Diwali used to be an Indian festival as opposed to a Hindu festival, back then.

Festivals in India are about the celebration of culture and upholding the idea of India. Over the years, we have strengthened this bond, and let us hope that it continues. Even with forces trying to make it otherwise.

muslims doing puja in india

Religion and culture are two different things. I may not pray or participate in a Puja, but I would celebrate the joy of festivities. Usually one sees images of Muslims (in skull caps) praying to Hindu deities. Sorry, I won’t do that. A muslim is not supposed to indulge in idol worship and I sincerely hope others understood this and take this as disrespect. As I, nor the others, mean any disrespect!

It is of course an individual’s choice, but this photo alone doesn’t define secularism. Secularism means respecting others’ religion and having the freedom to celebrate and practice our faiths the way we want. Each of our religions has earmarked a few boundaries, the principles and the code we have to abide by. And that should be respected by each of us.

Celebrating joy is beautiful and who doesn’t want to do that? Methods might be different but the intentions are always right.

[Related Reading: Why Urdu is not a “Muslim Language”]

Celebration and cultural bonhomie is something we should all strive for. The idea of India needs to be preserved. It cannot happen by forcing a ban on eating something or calling people anti-national or pakistanis. It can only happen when we consider all of us as equals and strive to progress further.

My Crescent, My School

This post is dated May 18, 2012


                              It’s been almost two days, since the first Re-union party at our Crescent school and still it is taking a bit of time to sink in that many things have changed over the last 5 years or so. The last time we were at the school 5 years back and the one that we visited two days back is in it has a stark contrast. It feels so pleasing to see the various developmental works in school. Before I proceed to give the whole development stats, I would like to refresh you of the Crescent school that it was 18 years back when I joined and changes that took place over the time that I was associated with it.
                                Our school was founded in 1975 and it’s almost in its 38th year of existence. 38 years is almost four decades!!!! This English medium school would be a money earning tree by now, if the founders of this school had wanted to. No English medium school would have the kind of fee structure as to what Crescent school students pay. It is very much affordable for almost all the families living in Azad Nagar area which is dominated with low income group families. And this has been the vision and aim of the founders of our school, Late Mr. Shamim Ahmed and Mrs. Eva Ahmed to provide quality education to people of all groups. The vision with which they gave shape to this school is slowly gaining shape now in the hands of their daughter Dr. Shazia Ahmed.
                                My first memory of Crescent school is when I was admitted in Mini –Nursery at the age of 3, and as is customary, it was very difficult for my grandpa to let go off a crying baby for hours in the school. But, they had to, and I needed too. Throwing away a lot of tantrums and crying my vocals out, I would sit in the classroom. With time, the crying baby was pacified by the teachers and A-B-C-D… would then be infused in my little head. Tiffin would get finished even before teacher’s signaled for us to eat it. All those “Put-Your-Head-Down-And-Sit” session acted as the perfect time to commit that crime of treating ourselves with tiffin. Mini-nursery, Nursery, L.Kg, U.Kg, each of it followed one after another. Learning new things in each of the classes we moved class after class. Sport’s day and Annual day used to bring a whole lot of practice sessions, doing those “Do-the-Boogie-Woogie”, participating in various races, but never actually winning it, yet taking huge pleasure in participating in them. Getting promoted to class-1 came along with many more things, you were not just scared of your teacher’s but also your monitors who would write names of students who used to talk in class in the teacher’s absence and when the teacher would come around, those names used to enjoy a small treatment in the hands of the teacher or her evil stick. Bidding goodbye to the morning session came with the good news that we are now going to be big boys of Day-session and you no more had to sacrifice your sleep.
                               Day session was like being promoted to a whole new level, where you get to be with the big boys. You were made part of one of the four houses, i.e., Red, Blue, Green & Yellow. You had your assembly with all the other classes where you get to maintain cleanliness and discipline. One new thing also was, starting to write with pens instead of pencils. There were various house competitions taking place at regular intervals and it was so great to be a part of all those and win some of it. It was this time that clearly, carved out the creativity in me. Teacher’s day was another huge celebration, and each class participated in a big way. In our first year in class 4 we staged a play called “Aladdin and the Magic lamp” where I played Aladdin. Many did appreciate it and we were even asked to repeat it in the Annual function, the very next year. Two years, we even staged Qawallis and on one occasion danced on some popular bollywood number too, which was so unusual for me (I’m a terrible dancer, to cut it short ) . Sports now had another addition for us, Charlie Chaplin drill. Not just practicing and performing it was fun but also the preparation of the Hat was interesting, getting that perfect shape used to take hours. Other drills included African dance. Where we got dressed as African tribal’s and even dumb bell drills too.
                          Day session was full of activities, sometimes this and sometimes that. Being in school was fun and rarely used to be as compared to the morning session where we used to search for excuses in the morning. There was a sense of competition too here and I suppose that propelled us to be good in our ranks too. Result was awaited like nothing else and to see your name in that list where the top3 ranks were written for each class was amazing. Each class brought about many more memories for us that are still etched in our hearts. Getting scolded for not doing your homework on time, of not covering your copies and books, of talking too much, not polishing your shoes or not washing them on Saturdays (and then using chalk to rescue you out), writing 1000 times various impositions, (“I will not talk in the class, I will bring this copy daily, blah blah.. “), and many more things. There were good things too, like being one of the few who did their homework and sit back in the class while others sit down on the floor doing theirs( esp. English grammar  homework by Miccu teacher), getting a round of applause when answering a question, when no one did, being made an example for a class for something, etc .
                    13 years were spent and then on one fine day, it all ended after finishing our matriculation examination. There were many things that one learnt in all these years, not necessarily every experience was good, but even the bad ones taught us many important things. There were partiality sometime, there were useless expenses, you got scolded for no particular reason, and the things alike. But, looking back those entire things do not matter much, what matters is what we learnt in the due process. We began to respect elders, value friendship, become aware, and it all helped in shaping up the personality that we all now possess. School life has ended and it’s been more than 5 years. Yet, all the things that we learnt in the due process have been more than helpful in gaining the kind of impact that was required to make us from no one to someone.
                   The school, at present, is being developed in a far better way. The things that were missing can now be located and I’ve heard even more changes are expected straight from the horse’s mouth. There is rewards system being implemented for the teachers for encouraging them even more. The whole school has been painted in attractive colors to provide a wonderful environment to the students to learn. The water arrangements have been perfected and so does the assembly ground. It’s a good feeling altogether to see your school in such bright light, and I do hope Inshallah, that it may reach even more new heights.

From Azad Basti to Jatni

It’s been 5 years. 5 years since I moved from my Azad basti to a place, Jatni. Two places which are different in almost every possible way. Geographically speaking, one is in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand while the other is near Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Takes a 7-hour journey by train for you to reach Khurda road railway station, coming out of which, you get to be at jatni.

One the one hand, Azad basti is one place that is just the liveliest place, where no matter what time of the day it is, you will notice people in markets, in their addas, in their shops, in mosques, in various moth watering bakeries and food joints (mostly serving kebabs and niharis and almost all non-veg items), morning starts off with puri , jalebis and halwa at kalkatiya hotel( kolkata’s distant cousin :P) and for evening there is Munki chaat, various sharbat stalls are there to beat the heat too.  You have your family, where you can throw “n” number of tantrums and yet not feel bad about it, stay out late at night enjoying the company of your crazy friends whom you can totally depend upon with all your secrets and fantasies  and what not.

Azad basti, officially Azad nagar, has a strong Muslim-population, and surrounded with Sikhs on one side and Christians and Hindus on the other side, is where I grew up and which continues to be the place where my family lives. The reason of ghetto-formations is the three communal riots that this place has witnessed. Although, it is very much communally peaceful now and you would rarely find any incidents of violence among the different communities. Yet, you find RAF deputed on almost every street in times like Ram Navami and Muharram as a precautionary measure. Of course, incidents of fighting in between the various criminal groups are a regular occurrence in the steel city which sometimes has effects on our Azad basti too.

While, on the other hand there is jatni. A place, which is calm, no matter which business you do, you end up having holidays almost regularly due to strict market union dictats, addas (or khattis as they are called in odia) are regulated due to strong patrolling vehicles, of course there are places where it doesn’t have much of an effect, still they are comparatively reduced. You will hardly find any good non-veg food joint, apart from the fast food places, promising “chinise” or “chainees” delicacies, all clustered in one small street, where you often wonder whether the meat is halal or not.  Of course, in terms of vegetarian food it does throw up a few extra options, but for a person like me, who has grown up eating kebabs and bheja fries, the veggy options are nothing more than ghaans phoons.

Talking about religion and culture, it’s a whole mix of people from the native Odias, the telugus, to Marwari, and some Muslims here and there. The issue of Sunni-Wahabi sect conflict is clearly visible, which is annoying.

Friends, well everyone is a friend here, you get to meet many people with whom you end up having a good time and also very cooperative, yet you sometimes miss that feeling of a friend on whom you can totally depend upon for anything under the sun.

The place is always peaceful, although you find some sort of a weird vibe from members of other communities towards Muslims. When you step out on Friday, in your traditional kurta pyajama, there are more people putting an eye on you than they would do normally back home. Forget about wearing them on almost every other day back at home and no one will even bother. Not to miss voices which think of you as a Pakistani and you should be going back there!!!! To tell you an instance, you get wished on 14th off August for your “Independence day”.  And add to that you being thought off as a Pakistani supporter whenever a cricket match is being played between India and Pakistan or being playfully called jihaadi, or Al-qaida and all. Being a minority has its own share of issues attached with it. I do miss your family, but luckily have my Badi ammi’s (my mom’s elder sis). It’s good to have your family back, minus throwing tantrums. My 5 years would have been difficult if it wasn’t for them.

So, if one asks me which place I would prefer and which is that place that has a strong hand in making me the kind of person who I am? You would think of all the negative things that I wrote about the second place that I went to. Rather, it is the opposite. Jatni, as a place has truly transformed me into a Man. A man with strong determination and independence who does not bother what others have to think of him, which is really tough to put in practice. The one person, who is now optimistic about life and knows how to handle them as well. It has made me realize my true potential as a person and made me more systematic than I really was, more disciplined than I was, more mature than I was and definitely more understanding than I was.

I don’t know, if I would have been what I am, if I had stayed back in Azad basti, but as far as change in me is concerned. It surely is something that is huge. I might, In sha Allah, be moving to Bangalore in a month’s time but the impact that both of these places have had on me will always remain intact in giving a defined perspective.

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