Moshe: Ma nish-ma?

My son was born on the 24th of April ’17 and I was left speechless. Words cannot describe what it felt like or what it meant but it had already begun. The cycle of life. Had a congregation in the house as tradition and customs say that the name of the baby would start with the first alphabet of the page that is opened from the Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib Ji. So, the letter was “P.” Put out a facebook post asking all my friends for suggestions but still, yet to decide cos some of them got cocky. A Parakram tells me, name him Parakram. A Parixit tells me, name him Parixit. Majority of the crowd suggest typical Punjabi names such as Parminder, Paramjit, Prabhjot which somehow I don’t fancy. The piece de resistance is taken by one of my best friends from Bombay, Sandeep, who tells me, “Why don’t you name him Puma or Pirelli so that when he grows up, he can go to one of the companies and ask for endorsement money!”

India-Israel, Baby Moshe
Hootie & the Blowfish-Hold my Hand

I have shortlisted my options to Hebrew baby boy names and will come up with one shortly(hopefully) but what better way than to commend the relationship between our nations by giving you a lowdown of this strategic partnership. My Muslim friends can look away now. This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel since diplomatic relations between the two countries were established 25 years ago. According to the Indian ambassador to Israel, Mr Pavan Kapoor and I quote, “We’ve been a bit bashful in the past about our relationship with Israel, and we’ve gotten over that and the degree of visibility that we’ve been showing for some time has been much higher and now coming with the PM visit, the formal coming out of the relationship,” in conversation with Nidhi Razdan from NDTV.

Intricacies have always been involved in this relationship given the sizable Muslim population in India for fear of alienating a vote bank or bloc and India has always supported the 2 nation theory. Not to mention alienating Arab countries and Iran since India has a very high petroleum bill from them. However, in a departure from tradition PM Modi this time would not be visiting Ramallah, the seat of Palestinian Authority. In a reciprocal gesture, PM Netanyahu is according special status to the visit which has only been the preserve of US Presidents or the Pope for PM Modi. According to Israeli media, Israel arms imports are upwards of $1 billion per year to India making it one of the top three defense markets for India. A case in point being the Barak missile defense system jointly built with Israel. We as citizens can look forward to agreement being signed in varied fields such as technology, aerospace, education, Clean Ganga campaign and seeking Israeli help in agriculture. Israel has made rapid progress in recent years by graduating from a water deficit country to an exporter of water to Jordan. The bonhomie and camaraderie being depicted by the two leaders augurs well for the near and distant future and one can only hope that we prosper together.

 I have always had a soft corner for Israel because I firmly believe in Kashmir as an integral part of India and there is a resonance in the constant suffering in the middle east. Israel is the only democracy in the middle east, if I am not wrong, and there is a lot going for the 2 nations even if we are separated by distance. We were taught about the Holocaust in the History subject in the 9th standard in school and by the time I reached college I became a lot more aware and opinionated by watching & enjoying movies such as Schindler’s List, The Pianist, Waltz With Bashir, to name a few. Raves in Goa also introduced me to Israelis in a big way by organizing full moon parties in Anjuna Temple not to mention scantily clad Haifa girls among the crowd that got my adrenaline pumping and my hormones jumping. I was once asked by one of my best friends Danish; ignore the bias. ” Surd, why do so many Israelis come to India?” to which I replied probably because India is one of the few countries where Anti-Semitic views are not tolerated. There are a lot of other problems here but that’s a different story altogether. In my mid twenties I always had this idea, if ever I convert, it would only be Judaism(After watching Waltz With Bashir) and fight as a volunteer on the borders. Off course, the whole idea was hijacked by ISIS before I knew it. I once smoked hash with an Israeli group on a train bunker travelling to Delhi and still remember Yuval.(Not because of the Hashish)
Anyways…Ps- Moshe if you ever read this, Ma in Hindi means Mother. I missed the 26/11 attack by following almost the exact same route of the terrorists 48 hours prior and feared for Ashish when it did actually happen who is still friends with me.
May God give you the strength to overcome what you experienced because we will not forget and are waiting for you with open arms.

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