Coori, and Knicq Khabti.0
knicq posted in Coori on February 21st, 2005
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.