Monday 12 February 2018

Aligarh Exhibition (2018): The Nostalgia

“There comes a time in our life when we have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.” Yes: Today I am turing the old pages of Aligarh Exhibition from book of my life. Nostalgia of Aligarh Exhibition paints a smile on the stony face of the past. The Golden Memories of Aligarh Exhibition remains always beating in hearts of every Aligarian.
Aligarh Exhibition
By turning pages of my life, I boggled at period when I was a student of under high School and used to live in Anona House with parents. Anona House is situated along Railway track. Aligarh Exhibition ground from Anona house was at a walking distance on other side parallel to Railway track.Those were the enjoyable days of rikshas Horse driven Ekkas or symbol of royalty The Tongaas and cycle.

Nautanki -Aligarh Exhibition

 It was our common practice to visit exhibition with brothers and sisters by foot along railway track. That 20 mts walk on those days, has no words to express the joy and excitement we cherished.Today we ride on our four wheelers to Exhibition; Gone are those pleasure and lustful days.

I do recall,some time our parents allow us for Exbibition with Bua (Home Made Servant—Gulshan) as guardian.May Allah place her in Jannat-u-l firdaus (Ameen).Gulshan Bua was a kind widow lady.Those were the days of Touring Cinema inside a huge tent and sitting arrangement was spread of tirpal on floor.Perhaps ticket costed only 25 Paisa or Chawanni.

Gulshan Bua with her kid girl Saera and we used to see movies,sitting on floor.The great feast for us at that time was Moong Phali and Barula with chatni (spicy socked and deep fry potao).I do remember name of one film “Zabak” of that time,which I  saw in that touring cinema. 

Temple near Darbaar Hall-Aligarh Exhibition

Very strange to us, on some tragic scenes Bua would start weeping with tears and some times with weeping sound.Seeing this, we too start weeping.Stories of those film were very simple.One kind King,his most beautiful Princess,Cunning Deewan and a Brave Poor man as Hero.Some films were of Fairies,a jadoogars and brave prince. 

Some time Bua entertained us by sitting in Nautankis. The pleasure of Nautanki lies in the intense melodic exchanges between two or three performers; a chorus is used sometimes. Nautanki was one of the most popular folk operatic theater performance forms in those days. Before the advent of Bollywood (the Hindi film industry), Nautanki was the biggest source of entertainment.

The great grand feast days were those, when we go to Aligarh Exhibition with Father.Punjab and Central were the main hotels for traditional Dish of Halwa and Paratha. In those Days pure desi ghee was cooking medium for Halwa and Paratha.
One more foolish smartness is still in my memory.Once on way back to home from Exhibition, I found a goods train standing at railway crossing gate. I entered up in side an open rack of the goods train, assuming that it will again stop at next railway crossing gate near Anona House, and I will get down. To my bad luck goods train stopped at Aligarh station.

Once all family members and cousins with mother and big mother were roaming in Exhibition that was at its full youth and very crowds. Suddenly my mother realized that younger sister Zohra is missing.

We searched her at all stalls,in every lane and by lane. We announced  her missing even from public announced system.At last we returned home heavy hearten. To our astonishment. we found her sleeping in her bed.She told that after departing us ,she came back on foot along same railway track.

Life never behaves sweet as sugar. These small incidents and memories act as salt and pepper in life to make it spicy.

A beautiful view from Aligarh Exhibition

Now I am turning many pages of book named “Aligarh Exhibition”.The pages are of those days when Maqbool was a student of Mechancal Engineering. Now I was independent and free to walk in Exhibition ground with friends of my group.

I will not waste time in telling boring history of this Exhibition but I am proud to say that this Aligarh Exhibition is 138 years old but getting more young than any younger. Every thing here seemed to be charged with romantic possibility. Exchanged aired notes and air glances, new romances, and rekindled old ones.

Bareilly ka Surma  Shop in Aligarh Exhibition
First of all leave our vehicle in parking ground. Walk leisurely towards Mittal gate, the main entry point to exhibition.There is no more excitement on this road. On both side of this road, lies the industrial and agricultural stall on huge ground, camps of political parties, local colleges, exhibition police post,etc.
Chana zor Garam -vendor in Aligarh Exhibition

There is one main road in Exhibition ground from Mittal Gate that ends at Darbar Hall. Krishanjali Auditorium is adjuscent to this Darbar Hall. From this main road spreads several lanes and by lanes. 

After few Mts walk we will reach A.M.U.Proctor’s Camp Office:--Now this camp looks with no life, few bulls an proctorial staff are seen standing on gate.No need to be haraased or fear with them.The spring days of this camp has gone.I remembering the days of my studentship the repeated announcement by Proctorial staff A.M.U students are requested to leave the exhibition ground by sharp 10:00 PM.

It was mandatory for A.M.U.Students to leave the exhibition ground by 10.P.M, the time of full youth of exhibition.University uniform, black sherwani, white pyjama or green blazer coat, was also a mandatory.Students not in uniform, used to play a hide and seek game with University Proctorial Team

Shop of Spicy Choorans--Heeng K Peda 

Jane Kahan gaye wo Din: Those were the magical days, The Black sherwani wearing students were the charm and symbol of a culture, tradition, nobility and respect.This was special identification of Exhibition, on those days.

Senior Proctorial Monitor (S.P.M) with his team of proctorial monitors all young dashing senior students,clad in well pressed black crisp sherwani, black cap ,white Aligarh cut pyjama and black shoe,started roaming in exhibition.Students in exhibition were smarter than them, seeing the team they turned other route.

Meerut ki Nan Khatai 

I was also a proctorial monitor for two years, always proud of, wearing a green badge of proctorial monitor on a pitch black sherwani, with yellow monogram of university.At that time Late Mukhtar saheb was Chief Proctor. Whom we used to call Mukhtar Ghoda due to his energetic, impassive and very tall in height personalty. He used to wear maroon colored Turkish cap on sherwani.

The interesting part of this duty as a proctorial Monitor was ,a coupon for dinner in Jhanda or Nazeer hotel.The other most pleasant assignment was to  escort girl students of Abdullah Girls College ,from exhibition ground to their college bus,and to confirm their security.

Let us move ahead, now it is Muzzammil Gate, This gate was constructed in 1936 by Nawab Muzammil khan Shervani.The exhibition ground is a gift by him.Main exhibition starts from here.A human flood from all walk of life, all age, male and female is waiting from here.
Stone by name of Nawab Khan Bahadur Sir Muzammil Khan
All shops are glittering by decorative light system .Some times it becomes difficult to walk ahead.Now comes the famous Khanna softy stall, hear we can eat tasty, Spicy Bhel Puri,Pao Bhaji,its cold but Khanna ‘s softy smoothed the throat.Wow ahead it is is a four road crossing point. 

Fountain the famous Fauw-a-ra. On one side of Fountain lies several big shops of Choorans (Spicy Digestive salt).It is impossible to go ahead leaving famous Chooran shop and heeng ka peda  of Mathura. They will put some choorans on yr open palm of different ingradients,free to taste.No option its spiciness well bound you to buy it.This free sample still prevails.

Bareilly ka surma, Rampur ki caps, Badaun ka Peda, Meerut ki Nan Khatai----are also available in Exhibition of Aligarh.Some shops sell various items with a tag price list all items with a range varying from Rs 10.00 to Rs 100.00,with  humanitarian theory that people of every pocket may purchase items of their choice. 

Public loitering in Exhibition
Baradari: still a famous ear mark of exhibition.It was a common meeting and waiting point, for friends or relatives, lost in crowd.It was easy to make anoucement from control room, requesting by name to meet them at baradwari or fauw-wa-ra.A Musical 

Public Announcement System: Remembering the golden period of farmaishi (request) songs airing from loud speaker’s.Commercial announcements ,too  were melodious of those days,a copied voice of Radio Cylone famous Amin Sayani.Most of time it was busy for farmaishi songs or meeting lost peoples.Those melodious days are gone, only commercial ads.Now this type of announcement is seldom heard, as every one has mobile to connect each other.

Food Court: Jhanda Hotel and Nazeer Hotel: ---This area has its own wonderful world, here are a dozen food stalls .The special among them are Jhanda hotel and Nazeer hotel, that is etched in memory of every Alig, all over world.The crispy Paratha layer by layer well soaked in ghee and suji ka halwa that melts in mouth, spicy soft seekh kabab and a special tea with topped layer of malai. 

It is said that Halwa, Paratha dishes are transferred here through Cooks from Peshawar, who use to come here before partition of subcontinent.Those Peshawri cooks prepare halwa mixes with dry fruits.

Dinner of Abdullah Hall:--The most nostalgic awaited and cheerful event for Aligarians happened to be the when Green Bus of Abdullah Girls full of Girl Student's used to visit Exhibition ground.

AMU. Aligarh student’s fraternity used to try to look smarter and attractive to impress Abdullah hall students.This day appeared to be more cheerfull day than Eid and Diwali.The day of Abdullah Hall dinner was always kept a top secret, not less than a mission.

The Provost and wardens of Abdullah Hall kept mum about the day. One evening, the girls would be asked to get ready and march towards the fleet of buses waiting to carry them to the place where all eyes are waiting for them.

Now this tradition is a dream, as it is impossible to manage safety of large count of Abdullah Hall’s girl students. There are many other factors to finish it. Culture, Traditions, Values and Discipline, all are changed with time and new technologies.The age told AMU tradition has been to walk out all the way to Exhibition ground.

Hot balai wali Chai 

Hullar Bazar, Nautanki and Variety Show: We may call it Disney land and Carnival of Aligarh Exhibition, a jadoo nagri.The most adventorous part of Exhibition.The grand spinning wheel, the Roller coaster. Step into this complex and get lost in the noise and commotion of people and loudspeakers.Maut ka kunwa (well of deth), a huge cylinderical wooden structure.Bike riders show their deadly stunts inside this.

Maut ka kunwa --Death Well

 The common scene of Hullar Bazar at that time was tempting and inviting public by dancing girls /Males in girls’ makeup, out side their stalls and jockers with thick layered makeup .They used to dance on ear bursting filmi songs and joking with public.

Mushaera (Assembly of Poets): Every year, a grand mushaira is organized on grand stage of Krishanjali auditorium. This auditorium has capacity of 10,000 audiences. The most renowned poets from all parts of country are invited. Jigar Moradabadi,Ashghar Gondawi, Fani Badauni, Kaifi Aazmi, Bekal Utsahi, Neda Fazli.These are name of few poets. It is something very exiticing for all Urdu lovers and most of the Aligs were such that they were ready to do anything for a seat in the auditorium.

Famous Barulas Vendor--A most liked dish to eat

Sweet and Sour Dahi Bade
Black and White--safes Rosogolla and Kala Jaam
Al-wida,Al-wida,Shahr-e- Numaish
Official ending of Aligarh Exhibition (2018) was 9th February.Due to strong demand of shopkeepers participating in Exhibition to extend few days more, the managing committee of Exhibition announced two days extension to Exhibition. Aligarh Exhibition in true sense is Nostalgia for Every Alig, for years to come.

Written, photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram

Thursday 8 February 2018

Valentine’s Day is for fools: Love is not only blind-it can be stupid too

Again it is February: - The month of love..?!!

No wonder the shortest one in the calendar.” The time of befooling of Love Birds.


Only One day for love. For Fools love is only a date, only an event to celebrate .In the name of Valentine, the youth are befooled.

Love is not only blind; it can be stupid too, particularly when it comes to Valentine’s Day. It is a day when many otherwise sensible people will lose the run of themselves in the name of love. Valentine’s Day has commercialized our expectations of love well past what we should consider maybe that statement is a little harsh, but it shouldn’t take a grand, money-filled gesture to show someone how much you love them.

Valentine day is for Fools

They are slaved by all the commercial hypes, just what is really going on here?. Love isn't just a date, a crush or a fling. No. Love is all of this, yes. Love is when you can be miles apart and, yet feel like you are connected like the two of you are sitting just next to one another.

Love is when the other person has the ability to challenge you as a person in every way possible. If you are in a relationship, is it what you always dreamed about? .v Simple they are getting be fooled in name of Valentine Day.
Feel Love for life long --Not an event of one day Valentine

And why should you only celebrate and demonstrate your love on just one day of the year “That in name of Valentine”?

Inspirational Mother Theresa says: "Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."


Here, I am sharing four lines of a lyric from Film Khamoshi written by Poet Gulzar. These lines explain the delicate spiritual feeling of Love. The couplet suggests that it is best not to label a relationship. That enables love to remain pure and unstained.

“Pyar koi bol nahi, pyar aawaaz nahi

Ek khamoshi hai, sunti hai kaha karti hai

Na ye bujhti hai na rukti hai, na thehri hai kahi

Noor ki boond hai, sadiyon se baha karti hai.”


Sometimes, two people are drawn to each other but their relationship has no name. By giving a label to a relationship, expectations to conform to the norms of that label set in. The couplet suggests that it is best not to label a relationship. That enables love to remain pure and unstained.


For Youth celebrating Valentine day, love means physical and nothing more than this. They don’t understand the tender and pure feeling of love.

They go crazy in proclaiming their love, for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day. But putting aside all the commercial hype, just what is really going on here?!

They are energized as the week of affection begins, Hallmarks and Archie's agonizing with adoration tokens, there is love noticeable all around .Valentine week generates a lot of income and revenue for various flower, gifts, Chocolates and recreational companies and entertainment spots.

Rose Day --Valentine Week

As per Legend:---In the third century A.D, Valentine was the bishop of Italy. He performed weddings for couples who were not allowed to get married.


They may not have been allowed to get married because the parents did not agree with the connection or because the bridegroom was a soldier or a slave, so the marriage was forbidden.


Here are seven days which are celebrated before the Valentine’s Day. , Each day is celebrated in different ways and manner .The seven days before Valentine’s Day are:

·February 7th: Rose Day

·February 8th: Propose Day

·February 9th: Chocolate Day

·February 10th: Teddy Day

·February 11th: Promise Day

·February 12th: Kiss Day

·February 13th: Hug Day

·February 14th: Valentine’s Day

Although a relationship can spark during any season, is there a certain time of year where relationships blossom best and are most enduring?


Youths are energized as the week of affection begins, Hallmarks and Archie's agonizing with adoration tokens, there is love noticeable all around.


Valentine week generates a lot of income and revenue to Business houses for various flowers, gifts, Chocolates and recreational companies and entertainment spots and that is from your pocket.

Propose Day---8TH February (Valentine Week)

You might be stressed by Valentine’s Day because you feel pressured to get someone a gift or because to don’t have anyone to get a gift for. Who made up such a day that forces people to be a little bit more romantic than usual and what did they gain from it?


Whether you sit out or stay in, Valentine’s Day is coming. Keep in mind that Valentine's Day is just another simple day among the 365 days that they Love each other. Create and share a vision of your dream life together.

Who made up such a day that forces people to be a little bit more romantic than usual and what did they gain from it? Whether you sit out or stay in, Valentine’s Day is coming.


Keep in mind that Valentine's Day is just another simple day among the 365 days that they Love each other. Create and share a vision of your dream life together.

Agreed love is blind but you are not, don’t be stupid, behave graceful attitude for you love. Real love is a quiet kindness stretched out over a lifetime Please don’t shrink Love in one day as an event.


Youths are energized as the week of affection begins Hallmarks and Archie's agonizing with adoration tokens, there is love noticeable all around.


Valentine week generates a lot of income and revenue to Business houses for various flowers, gifts, Chocolates and recreational companies and entertainment spots and that is from your pocket.

Ending this right up with wisdom of Mevlana Rumi’s wisdom on love:----

“You cannot hide love

Love will get on its way

To the heart of someone you love

Far or near, it goes home

To where it belongs

To the heart of lovers”(RUMI)

The End

Friday 2 February 2018

A Romantic walk with Nature; The Beaches of Chennai

Chennai; The Capital of Tamil Nadu is expanded along Sea shore of Bay of Bengal, dotted with dozens of romantic beaches. It is worth to see the rising Sun at beaches of Chennai and amazing to start the day at Beaches. Each sun rise is unique and beautiful, and the best part may be that the beach is calm and quiet at that early hour. This blog is all dedicated to a Romantic walk along Beaches of Chennai, where I experienced the calmness and purity of nature at beaches of Chennai. The beaches are always a great place to relax and unwind, look at the wild ocean and feel the sand under your feet.

A View of Marina Beach-Chennai

Marina Beach
Marina Beach: Border of Bay of Bengal. The Eastern Coast of India is the longest beach of India and the second longest beach of the world. It  stretches to a length of 13 km. The average width of the beach is 300 m and the width at the widest stretch is 437 m.Marina is a bordering the Bay of Bengal. The beach path is known as Kamarajar Salai. The entire stretch of Marina Beach features numerous statues and monuments. 
Marina Beach-Chennai
Coastal Horse Riding Guards -At Marina Beach-Chennai

Visitors at Marina Beach-Chennai

Marina Beach is one of the most crowded beaches in the country and attracts about 30,000 visitors a day during weekdays and 50,000 visitors a day during the weekends and on holidays.Marina Beach boasts the claim that the city Madras (old name of Chennai) was developed from here. Historical monuments like St.George Fort constructed during British rule stand as evidence to this fact. 
Enjoying the calmness at Marina Beach-Chennai
Most of the Heritage buildings, government Institutions, historic and stately buildings like University of Madras, Vivekananda House, and Police Headquarters etc are along the road of his beach. 
There are statues like Triumph of labor statue, Gandhi statue, Kannagi statue and many others. The Light house is another attraction which was recently opened for public.
Marina Beach
Various stalls of food items including murukku, sundal, ice-cream and other South-Indian snacks are located in its vicinity to curb the cravings of the foodies. Eating bhajjis by the beach in Chennai is not a food experience, but rather a ritual that is not to be missed!
Night Food Stalls at Marina Bech
History of Marina Beach
Before the 16th century, the changing landscape of the coast was too premature to transform itself into the sandy beach that is seen today. In 1640, when Fort St. George was built, the sea lay very close to its walls, lapping waves onto its ramparts. It was later, with the setting-up of the harbor, that the shore starts accumulating sand thereby distancing itself from the sea.
It is said that Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, a British official, was captivated by the serene coast during his visit in 1870s. Later, upon his return as Governor General of Madras in 1881, he built a promenade along the beach with extensive layering, thereby modifying the landscape. The beach was thus given a face lift and an Italian Madras Marina name meaning harbor
Elliot's Beach
Elliot’s Beach is located in Besant Nagar. It forms the end-point of the Marina Beach shore. It is named after Edward Elliot, Governor of Madras. This beach is one of the neatest beaches of Chennai city, is also called as Besant Nagar Beach. Besant Nagar beach is less polluted and one can see a decent crowd when compared to other beaches of Chennai.  This beach is also famous as the night beach as it is the most preferred spot for the youths to gather and enjoy in the evening.

It is a nice, calm and clean beach. One should not walk a lot to reach shore or to touch water. The parapet wall that separates the beach area and road is a good place to sit if you do not want to walk in sand and to see water. Besant Nagar (Elliot’s Beach) is less polluted and one can see a decent crowd when compared to other beaches of Chennai. 

Elliot's Beach-Chennai

 The beach boasts of the famous landmark called the Karl Schmidt Memorial, a gate-like structure made from bricks. Legend says that this landmark was built in the memory of a Dutch sailor who lost his life while saving a girl from drowning.

Another point of attraction of Elliot’s Beach is the Ashtalakshmi temple near the beach, built on the sand. Besides this, the Church of our Lady of Health, Madonna, is also positioned on the beach to welcome people of all faiths.

A Fisher Man with his Nets--At Elliot's Beach-Chennai

The beach is a prominent hang-out zone for most of the college-going crowd in Chennai. On weekends, it becomes quite an experience to find parking space on the beach roads. The beach also has found importance with families, who now no longer travel to the famous Marina Beach.
Fisher Man busy in repairing his fishing Net-Elliot's Beach
The best part of this beach is that there are number of Eat out places near to the beach right from Murugan Idli shop offering south Indian Idli dosa to Barista offering café, papa john’s pizza, cascade restaurant serving continental food.
Covelong Beach
This Beach was my third beach of Chennai, which I visited. Covelong Beach is a fishing town situated at a distance of 40 km from Chennai city, en route to Mahabalipuram. It is stretching along the Coromandal coast. Covelong Beach is one of the few places in the East Coast where wind surfing takes place. There is a surf school with resort in the beach.

Covelong has glorious history. Once upon a time it was a busy port town, developed by Saadat Ali Nawab of Carnatic region. Later in 1746, it was occupied by French General. But a few years later the town faced decay and destruction when Robert Clive occupied it in 1752. Now Covelong has awakened up from its ruins, and today this place is well-known for its fishing activities. Another major attraction of this place is the fine beaches. 

Food Shops at Elliot's Beach

The soft gentle breeze, the beautiful sandy beaches, the calm and soothing atmosphere, and the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal has turned this sleeping place into a paradise at Eastern Coast of India.

This ends my Romantic Walk with Nature at Beaches of Chennai. Romance is certainly in the air at beaches. Apart from the scenic sunrises and sunsets, the beach has a complete package of eateries, shopping stalls, bars and a quaint walking stretch. Take your love to the beach, spend some time with the waves by the shore, sip some coffee together and enrich the special bond.
Written (with help of Wikipedia and materials available on net). Photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram.