April 23rd, 2017

Coori, and Knicq Khabti.0

I was in the process of moving all my contacts from hotmail to gmail, and I came across what is now a defunct email address, coori@hotmail.com, and it brought back a horde of memories.

Coori, spelled as it might be, is pronounced Kori, and is quite possibly a derivative of Ghauri. It was the title bestowed upon one of the most intriguing personalities I have ever come across, and I can tell you this, I have come across a pretty decent number of intriguing dudes. I fail to fathom the connection between Coori and Ghauri though, because the gentleman who this name was given to, was not a Ghauri. His family name was Ghani. But then, there isn’t much about Coori/Kori that is easy to fathom, or make sense of.

I was a student of B.Com in those days, and deeply in love. There was thus little that kept me busy, and when not writing pieces like ‘Chal Bhaag Chalen’ or bringing the temperature of Lahore down by a few degrees with my sighs, I could be found embroiled in passionate discussions with whosoever proved unfortunate enough to have got me started. Topic, subject, and subject matter were hardly of consequence, since I, as well as most of my victims, were admirably but indiscriminately ignorant about everything. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. The very necessity of keeping an inane discussion – often disguised as an animated argument – going led to a flood of creative juices, and many a new philosophy or ‘set of well researched facts’ would emerge as the positive externalities of these discussions. Not very surprisingly, my opinionated rantings and ravings had earned me the admiration of a discerning few, and the wrath of jealous, prejudiced, ignorant, opinionless, linguistically challenged, wayward youth – in short all my dear friends. Given that this lot had to put up with the various compulsive behavioral disorders I was affected with in those days, (Don’t ask, too many to remember) it is understandable why I was adjudged the rightful recipient of the title ‘khabti’.

I would be wrong if I said I was not pleased with the title. I looked at it as the lesser privileged people’s way of admitting my superiority, and I basked in the glory of my own ignorance. While in the past, I had ended up in discussions with people, post-title, I would go around sniffing for possible ‘discussions’. I used to wonder in those days why I could not find anyone in the cafeteria of my college, or in Mari’s college. It was much later that I was told that they had these sentries posted at strategic points, and a s soon as these sentries would see me approaching, they would blow a whistle, or make a bird sound, or honk a certain number of times, and people would scram to their classes. No wonder, class attendance was at its highest in these two colleges during my stay, and academic results had gone through the roof. Come to think of it, I should have been nominated for a social service award by the city council, but I guess the buggers exploited my simplicity and ignorance of the ways of the world. You would think people would be more generous with their appreciation for a good deed.

Mari, by the way, is one of my oldest friends, and despite the passage of two decades, we continue to be fast friends. Perhaps, one of the reasons is that except for a short while when Mari did not know better and we were together in the same class, Mari has always maintained a safe distance from me. He was in Al-Ain when I was in Sharjah, and when we had both ended up in Lahore, he admirably left my college to me, and opted for a business school instead to inflict Mariisms. Almost a decade later, he continues to maintain a friendship-friendly distance from me. While I have the ends of my neurons melting here in the UAE, he is in the process of getting his unique brand of antagonism frozen in Canada.

So, one of those days, I went out to meet Mari, and as I approached the canteen, I was puzzled by the noise that emanated from the canteen. It seemed like a busy place, which it had not been ever since I had got into a discussion there about something almost a year ago. At first I thought there was an India-Pakistan match on, and people were all in the canteen to watch it on the telly. (Yeah folks, this college had a telly in the canteen so students could watch the matches there) But then, I realized there were no matches on.

So puzzled, I walked into the jam-packed canteen, and found Mari sitting there. I asked him what was up, and he told me the truth about the sentries and all. I was tempted to get into a discussion about the pros and cons of attending such ‘saer haasil’ discussions as mine, but then another thought occurred to me… the people had finally realized their folly, and had now decided to turn up in huge numbers to add to their learning. I decided to confirm my inference with Mari, and would you believe what he told me next?

The people were still not very keen on being subjected to my brand of knowledge, but they had been driven out of their classes by this new student from Mardan, who it seemed, was much better equipped in the art of ‘khabtiism’ than I was. The college would rather put up with me than be subjected to him. Mari was not entirely excited when he’d told me that I had finally met my match. I was, though, immensely excited. Little had I known then, what I was up against…

Coming up Next… Coori, the one and the only.

Chal Bhaag Chalen!0

Kitni door tak,
Main tera haath pakad ke aaya tha,
Kitni veeraniyan theen,
Jinhen hum ne basaya tha.

Jaaney kis ko shikayat thee hum se…
Jaaney kaun bigda baitha tha?
Jaaney kis ki dua main tanaffur tha itna…
Jaaney kaun itna bhara baitha tha?

Kiyun hanstey dilon ko saugwar kiya…
Yun muskurati akhiyun ko ashkbaar kiya?
Kiya gunaah kiya tha main ne…?
Jo is shiddat se tujhey pyar kiya!

Aaj khadshaat main ghira baitha hoon,
Ufaq par ubharti kaali aandhiyun ko,
Aur teri aankhun main chillati faryaad ko,
Main khali khali nazrun se dekh raha hun.

O janaan!
Teri aankhun ka karb…
Mairey dil main utra jaata hai.

Chal Bhaag Chalen!!

Dekh!
Toofan badhaa aata hai.

Magar yeh kiya?
Mairey paaon iss raet main,
Tairey paaon uss reet main,
Aisey kiyun jakdey gayey hain?

Mohabbat…
Gunaah to nahin!
Mohabbat, gunaah hi to nahin.
Magar jaaney kiyun,
Teri meri iss duniya main,
Mohabbat hi ko panaah nahin!!

Chal Bhaag Chalen…
Mohabbat ko panaah nahin!!!

I have been meaning to post this poem, I had written way back in 1997-98, for a long time. AWK, the kvetcher, had posted it on her blog once as a guest post, and here is thanking her for the encouragement. This is one of those rare poems of mine which even I like, one that does not get booed despite its bordering-on-scandalous title, and the only one I can recite from memory. Some six years later, I had written a sequel to this poem, which I intend posting soon….

It just felt the right sort of update when everyone seems to be exchanging roses….:)

Welcome Note and last minute check!0

On behalf of the UAE bloggers community, here is extending the warmest, red carpetest welcome to everyone’s favorite blogging family, who arrive here for a short visit.

Notes to the Welcome committee:

  • Please confirm Airport decorations completed at all airports in the UAE.
  • Ensure Red carpets which were laid last week and have been recepients of rain over the last couple of days are removed, and new DRY red carpets laid out on all roads.
  • Have the school authorities been already informed – we do not want all the children lining the roads to wave Welcome flaglets. The first ten thousand get selected. Please be very polite and patient when declining the remaining children, and ensure Cadbury trays, Jumbo size, sent to each such child’s home before the end of the week.
  • Kindly send regret letters to all hotels excepting Burj Ul Arab, and advise BUA people to make necessary arrangements to evacuate the hotel of all other guests in time. Do advise them to make extra arrangements to handle the hordes of fans….
  • Have all the Malls been informed of the possible need for all vendors to make personal visits to Burj Ul Arab with their merchandize?
  • Please enlist NASA services to ensure they keep Sun Alliance (SA) and Clouds Incorporation (CI) pacified at all times – the guests have expressed preference for Sunlight rather than overcast conditions, and an agreement to such effect has been brokered between SA and CI.
  • Escorts, Abu-Dhabi based as well as Dubai based, please ensure two-way communication maintained at all times, and the comfort and satisfaction of visitors given utmost attention.

GET ON WITH IT PEOPLE!

Dust Therapy.0

The house is a mess. Absolute mess. There is a thick layer of dust that has settled on everything everywhere. Actually, everything has assumed a new color. There is an antique feel to everything. Even the bananas on the stand present a mummified picture.

I mention the banana because to my knowledge it is the fastest rotting fruit. You bring it, you hang it, and if you don’t eat it in the next 48 hours, you throw it. I am sure blogistan’s own banana specialist Moiz will concur on this observation of mine. Why else would he be eating the fruit by the dozens at a time? It is simple, you don’t eat it, it rots into this gooey paste that most people shy away from. What says you Moiz?

I digress. So, the bananas look mummified, because the dust that has been finding its way in every nook and corner of the house has shown immense discipline and skill when settling down. Not a speck less anywhere. Just a while ago, I was using the vacuum blower to blow away the dust from the keyboard, so this typingly challenged blogger could identify the letters he wanted to type.

I have been tempted to rummage through the children’s toys to find that handy-cam we had once used to capture TNQ’s first salat (aged a year and a half), and to not capture ANQ’s first steps. The darned thing had gone comatose just about the time ANQ was taking her first steps. I had to do everything in my power to restrain my alter-egos from smashing that JVC handycam, and all other things JVC, to pieces. Its life was spared, but it was grounded for that spared life. And you guessed it, that was the last time I poured money into a JVC. Did I just veer off track again?

Apologies. You enter the house, and look around, and it does not take much imagination to equate the house with one of those King Solomon’s Mines kind of settings, where the treasure hunting party has chanced upon this furnished cottage with all sorts of necessities spread around under a neat cover of dust. It was KSM wasn’t it, where they find this cottage? They always find such cottages in treasure hunting novels. Now, I am not implying that there are maps to hidden treasures tucked away in that dusty chest of drawers in our house. There is a map wasting away behind the fridge, but it is a remnant from my first stint in the shipping industry – its a world map. Granted there will be many a point on this map with priceless treasures buried/hidden there, but this particular map offers no clue as to what points those might be on the map. So, you treasure hunting pirates, honorary or not, do not torture me to death asking for the route to those treasures which are not even marked on the world map, which is not a route map. Come to think of it, it is a route map, but it is a route map of the shipping company I used to work for, and that shipping company was never in the quest for hidden treasures. On second thought, the company was always on the look out for hidden treasures in human resources, which is why they had decided to choose yours truly – but then again, it should not be Captain Hook’s premise to cut me open…

What’s wrong with me today? I am sorry, I was telling you, I had this urge to go look for that handycam. Because, you see, with all that dust nicely and evenly spread over, under, and alongside the articles of the knicq household, one could always shoot that footage and tell wide-eyed grandchildren what a spooky place their grandfather’s house used to be…. I suppressed that urge.

TNQ and ANQ had some good fun playing on what used to be our carpet about a week ago, but what had now transformed into the most complex dust retention machine known to mankind. They walked about the place, and giggled to themselves and each other when they saw the footprints their tiny feet made in the ‘floor’.

Wifey has been sneezing non-stop, and is concerned she has got dust allergy now. She wants me to take her to the doctor immediately, but I have been delaying it. I kind of like her when she is sneezing…that’s what knowing each other for a decade does to you, you are reduced to liking each other when the other is sneezing, coughing, falling on slippery turf, or cutting onions. Oh, and let me clarify. I like her when she is sneezing; she likes me when I am coughing because she thinks I look most pitiable then. She also likes me when I am falling on slippery turf, because she says it takes forever between me slipping and me falling. She likes me when she is cutting onions, because I am crying my eyes out sitting a100 feet away from the main gate of our house. Oh, and she also likes me when I am trying to manage my three push-ups a day exercise regime. She says, she is inspired by my grit and determination to try everyday despite the embarrassing failures I encounter everyday. And to think, I was eager to get married….!

Towzand apologies. I promise I won’t digress this time. Let me just sum it up and put it down before I break this promise. We had a bit of repair work done on our kitchen and bathroom, which are in the middle of the house, and all that breaking and making over the last five days or so has generated enough dust to last us for the year, and some more. Thankfully, the work is done today, and the finishing touches will be given tomorrow.

Then, I can return to my daily blogging – provided wifey drops that ‘we-have-to-change-these-carpets’ monologue.

Phew!

Can’t say, I ain’t a man of my words, eh?

Mushaira, Blackey, and Knicq 22.0

There was an Urdu Mushaira here today, and yours truly was there by invitation – make that earnest invitation. They really really needed me there today, and they told me this in no uncertain terms. I put forth a condition that I could not be caught dead in a Mushaira if Jalali Baba were not one of the honoured guests there. They gasped. They said they had never known Jalali Baba was a poet too. I laughed. I told them he was not; but he liked ‘sher’ and appreciated a good one as long as it was not by yours truly. They said they would make sure he got the most sought after, the V.I.Piest invitation, and got the best seat too. I said I would consider then. They said there was no reason for me not to consider. After all, they said, it was not as if I were going to be reciting my work.

INTERROBANG!!!

Like, wha?

*Regains composure.*

So, I smiled graciously, and I said, I had considered, and that I would come. They said, they were thankful. I said they were welcome. The $&%*@$ shallalabumistikasters!!!

So, go we did, Jalali Baba and I. And it was a lovely evening. Actually, Jalali Baba and I agreed the young poetess was lovelier, but then it was an evening brimming with poetic paraphernalia. Jalali Baba kept repeating it was brimming with poetic justice too. I never for once thought he was referring to the injustice done to this legend in making by barring him from reciting his masterpeices. He insisted, he was.

It was difficult to get him to keep quiet. He, for his part, was brimming with these anecdotes from his Karachi days. The gentleman in the seat in front of us coughs, and off Jalali Baba goes about how one of his students used to cough incessantly during his classes, which reminds him how once he had seen one of his fellow professors hit the guy, who used to sit in the seat in front of the incessantly coughing guy, with a duster; which he had taken to be the disciplining norm for the faculty in that institution, and had gone on to apply this disciplinary tactic in his class the very day.

He then proceeds to tell me, how he had spotted one of his students in another class that day not paying attention to his lecture, and how he had fired a chalk missile right at his head. Here, he takes a breath, and then goes on and tells me how he was petrified when the student had gone down holding his hand to his eye.

The student, Jalali Baba explains, was the son of some high ranking military officer, and he had thought his career over as he had walked to the student. The poor thing had looked up at Jalali Baba, and Jalali Baba had asked him if he had been hit in the eye. When the student had told him he was not, a relieved Baba had told him that he had been aiming for it. At this point Jalali Baba guffaws and concludes his story telling me that he had never, after that, faced any disciplinary hiccups in his teaching career. This is all told to me, when some poor chap is trying very hard to get the hazreen-e-mehfil (audience) to shower some daad (appreciation) on his verses.

I tell Jalali Baba he is going to get us thrown out. He agrees, and slides into this time when he had managed to get four of his friends thrown out of a wedding party, which was funny to him because one of the thrown out guys was not only one of his closest friends, he was also the groom’s brother! Now this reminds him of how when he was the groom, his friends had presented him with a bottle of Habib Cooking Oil as a wedding present, which reminds him of the old peon at his school whose name was Habib, and whose daughter was the best friend of the girl his best friend’s cousin had a crush on, which reminds him …

Its a miracle, they did not throw us out!

So, the Mushaira ended, and Jalali Baba proceeded to Abu Dhabi, while I left for Sharjah.
Oh, and on the way back, thanks to some brilliant team-work that Blackey and I were able to come up with, we were home in slightly under 15 minutes, having maintained 140 Kms/Hr cutting and swerving our way through the viscous weekend Dubai-Sharjah traffic at 1:00 a.m. It had been a looong long time ever since I had felt 22! Its been a long time since I was 22.

It feels great to know I can still be 22 behind the wheel, when I want to be…

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