November 21st, 2017

Digression – the rule.11

Its a conspiracy, and the Hondas, Toyotas, Mitsubishis and the Mazdas of the world are party to it. But, let me not get ahead of myself. Lets start from the begining…

Long long ago, yours truly used to eat an apple a day. It was,however, not necessarily the habit that kept the doctor away. What did keep the doctor away was a combination of various factors, chief amongst them being the fact that the doctors kept to their seats in the military hospital, which was a few miles outside the city. A distant second reason was the fact that Walid Sahib had a car and could drive us there whenever the need for doctor’s expert opinion to corroborate Manji’s expert opinion arose. It may also have to do something with the fact that doctors had long ceased to make house calls in this part of the world, unless of course the house call were made purely out of social obligation rather than professional compulsion.

The long and short of it though is that yours truly used to eat an apple a day. Sometimes, yours truly ate two or three apples a day too, provided the apples were crunchy and juicy. If the apples did not have, what one used to call ‘the crunch’ one supplemented the apples with almonds, which while did make the meal crunchier, was as bad a combination as they come, but yours truly was not, at the time, aware of the new precedents he was setting in bad food combinations. On the contrary, one remembers having rather relished the combination to a great extent. So much so, that there came a time, when if an apple turned out to be a good, and crunchy-as-a-good-crunchy-apple-apple, thereby making almonds totally redundant, one was rather disappointed.

It just goes on to prove that our senses are largely acquired senses. Haven’t you ever wondered about that cream roll you used to love eating when you were a five year old, but could not bear to take a bite of now? Granted, the said cream roll might not have been able to maintain its freshness after all these years, but hey, if you like something today, isn’t it rather rummy not liking it a few years down the road. I wouldn’t like it if Count Dracula went all watery mouth seeing the ‘well-rounded’ me today, and refused to partake of me, say thirty, or for that matter three hundred years down the road. Whats a few hundred years in a vampire’s life?

Speaking of Vampires, I have often wondered what would a vampire end up with, were he to sink his teeth in Jalali Baba’s fat neck? There are multiple possibilities that come to mind, and it is almost impossible to be entirely confident of which one is most realistic in nature. What one can be confident of though is that such an eventuality would be entirely to the detriment of the said vampire. JB, as I have often highlighted, is the reason why so many people in the tobacco business are still able to eek out a livelihood. He is also directly responsible for stifling the pesticide business in his area of residence.

Not very long ago, the municipality workers with their pesticide guns emitting clouds of smoke could be seen systematically going through the streets of that area, trying to ensure that the residents were rid of mosquitos, flies, and the like. However potent the mixture they used, their foes were always able to muster the resilience to survive through those termination campaigns, and almost always came back to exact their revenge on the residents through sheer numbers. The municipality appointed terminators were fighting a losing battle – that is until JB moved into the locality.

Fortunately for JB, and for the residents of JB’s locality, Mrs. JB is a doctor by profession, who forbids JB’s suicidal ambition to fill up as many empty pringles boxes with ‘Marlboro’ and ‘Gitanes’ ash, as required to set an enduring world record. JB is a highly intelligent and wise person, his attributes amply reflected in his choice of friends and devotees. He is gifted (or cursed, depending on how you choose to look at it) with a devious mind adept at spinning strategies to foil Mrs. JB’s best laid plans to keep him healthy and around for longer than his own modest target.

As soon as the pringles ban was clamped down on him, he experienced a rebout of his selective amnesia. Apparently, this selective amnesia had served him well in his college days, when he needed to step out and act out his part on the other side of the cigarette. For those who do not know, a certain gentleman, evidently extensively experienced in and deeply knowledgeable about such matters, has gone on record saying that a cigarette is nothing but negligible levels of tobacco complimented by generous helpings of that addictive agent nicotine rolled into a stick which has fire at one end, and a fool’s mouth at the other. I tender heart-felt apologies to any puritans who might have been irked by my-not-so-accurate reproduction of the said gentleman’s words. Suffice it is to say that I feel rather strongly on the subject and find it difficult to not offer my tupence worth, even if that means resorting to synthetic quotes.

Pardon my habitual digressions. JB, therefore, had to feign amnesia, when he went out shopping for the house. He would conveniently forget picking up such essential items such as powdered milk, diapers, mineral water, or whatever it was that Mrs. JB had underlined the importance of not forgetting to bring back. It would give him an excuse then to saunter around the block on the premise of going back and picking that essential item in a jiffy, and, of course, to light the fire at the other end of the cigarette. Little did he know that as he went around completing these household chores, he was cleaning out the neigbourhood of all insects, even the roaches. The poor things, roaches that is, found it the hard way, and fortunately did not live to alert their kind, that it is one thing surviving a nuclear holocast, but it is enirely another proposition surviving JB fumes.

Mosquitos, an Urdu humorist declares, are a gallant kind. They are not known to resorting to blitzkreig tactics, nor are they prone to stooping to shock and awe kind of warfare. They follow, and quite consistently so, the search, warn, challenge and attack line of offensive. Well, in JB’s case, they found the hardway that their tactic was flawed. Searching him was no issue, since he leaves a nicotinic trail behind him, and the paths leading to him are normally lined with insects of various kinds, sizes and shapes which have perished after falling in the line of JB fire. It was the warning part that they failed to do, they had to get near him to effectively buzz the warning-cum-challenge in his ears, and this proved a task they were ill-equipped to carry out. Perhaps, if they had the gas masks…!

They brought out the infantry once, and as scores fell left and right trying to bridge the distance between their kind and JB, some finally did manage to make contact with the enemy. The offensive was altogether anandoned, however, once they saw their valiant commandoes and marines wilting before their eyes after sipping from river of nicotine. It is rumoured that the mosquitos are working to train an SSG unit, where the young mosquitos chosen for the training are weaned on “beedi”, and it is a smart move too, since the only thing that stinks more than JB smoke is the ‘beedi’.

It remains to be seen, however, if this strategy will bear fruit. Apparently, too many young mosquitos have perished in this cause, and a certain group of mother mosquitos have got together and started protesting the very idea of launching the war on JB. Their point is that JB is headed the destruction way as it is, and the mosquitos should not have to mindlessly lay down their lives towards achievement of this end. Many believe that the head mosquito may just have signed his own exit from the dorms of mosquito power through his incessant and mindless gibberish about conquering JB and sucking him dry. A growing number of mosquitos and other insects are begining to feel that black, nicotine infested, blood is not all it is made out to be, and that it might not hold the key to enduring insect supremacy. There are, however, paddy field grown mosquitos and other rum drinking insects that have not allowed reason to interfere with their ambition, and they continue to espouse the insect way of live for JB, lions, elephants, birds, and plants alike.

Given all of the above, and JB’s record against other blood-sucking creatures, those vampires had better watch out.

Digression seems to be the rule of the day today. I think, I had better stop here. We will come to that conspiracy by the Hondas, Toyotas, Mitsubishis, Nissans and Mazdas in another post.

Ciao!

ANQ’s birthday, The Trio, and ANQ’s birthday.13

ANQ turned three today (December 16), Masha Allah. Madi called to wish, the gorgeous chachu that he is, and the lovely person that he is. May Allah bless him for his love, affection and kindness which he has always shown me; I have introduced him earlier in some posts, and I have perhaps already written that he forms the trio that I was blessed with in my college days, the trio that has stood by me like the Hindukush in my times of adversity.

This trio is comprised of Felicity and Fash in addition to Madi. True, Fash is the oldest soul outside of blood relations that has had to bear the curse that I am, and folks, I tell you 20 years of bearing this curse is a tad too much. However, there was this period of almost a decade when he and I were out of touch completely, and it was in college that we ran into each other again, so I am inclined to think of it as a rediscovery of a sorts – more so for me than it has been for him. He was also instrumental in bringing us all together in this wonderful friendship, where each of these amazingly special people have had multiple chances to prove their consistency in standing by me in my times of adversity, in my times of foolishness and stupidity, and in my times of going through I-should-never-have-been-born phases.

They have been stubborn in giving me good advice, patient in their consternation at seeing me do the exact opposite, and gracious and generous in not taking the didn’t-I-tell-you-so-again-and-again-and-again route when helping me pick up the peices. They have also been immensely generous in sharing their laughter, limelight and love with me. We are, today, in three different countries; which, come to think of it, is a huge improvement on the state of affairs a few years ago, when we were in three different continents; however, we are bound together by that most enduring of bonds which everyone calls friendship.
Thank you God for great friends, and thank you for all your blessings – blessings, that not only include great parents, wonderful teachers, loving wifey, and adorable TNQ & ANQ, but also the many, many stellar, albiet eccentric friends, and patient colleagues, neighbors, fellow-drivers, and fellow citizens….

Thank you once again, and many times over, for TNQ and ANQ. ANQ, being ANQ, made the most of our birthday wishes this morning, and promptly put forth inquiries pertaining to a certain item that is automatically associated with birthdays – the birthday cake. We did not have the heart to turn her down, so we decided to get a cake in the evening, if she still remembered about it. Who were we kidding, she remembered very well, and repeated her inquiry as soon as I stepped back from a very tiring day out at the beach with “the guys”, the guys being HPN – the sand stealer, HPN’s father, HPN’s father-in-law – the newly crowned frisbee champion Sharjah beach, HPN’s BiL aka LHS on daMomma’s blog, Jalali Baba – who needs little introduction on this blog, Fash’s BiL aka O on KK’s blog, Dr.IK who was hastily roped in as resident doctor after KK, our regular and blogistan’s very own doctor, had to pull out to get ready for his flight tomorrow morning to the land of the pure, and yours truly – the logistics specialist held responsible for lack of plans, and poor logistics. More about that, however, in a separate blog which, as Yasmine warns in her recent comments, might take too long to materialize.

We, therefore, had to arrange for a cake hastily, light some candles on it, and get a hastily gathered crowd, which included a total of two guests, to clap and sing out of tune as ANQ blew the candles with some help from TNQ and cut the cake. I have hardly ever celebrated my own birthday, I remember we did get a proper birthday organzied way back in 1998, because we needed an excuse to get all the friends together one last time before everyone left to discover his/her destiny, and my birthday happened to fall just about the time. The point, at that time, was not celebrating the birthday. Besides, every present I opened turned out to be a shirt – I have been using them for seven years now, and I still have some left in the closet that I have never worn. Take it from me, it takes one a long time getting through 30 shirts that do not fit.

We never celebrated brithdays in our home, when we were children. It was just no big deal, once or twice we got called to birthday parties, and we did not know what to make of the proceedings. So, the guy was born years ago on that day, what’s the fuss about? Years later, when my own birthday was celebrated, I had felt so at a loss and so inadequate having all these people standing around me waiting for me to cut the cake…birthdays, as far as I was concerned, were for kids, or for other people whose day can be brightened by wishing them, but not for myself.

On a point of principle, we still do not celebrate birthdays in our home, the principle being simple… there is no Islamic precedence of celebrating this occasion. We did celebrate one birthday of TNQ’s and one of ANQ’s, but the idea was that the kids were too small to register the proceedings as an occasion, and we the parents were delighted that we had been blessed with our precious children on that date, and wanted to celebrate Allah’s mercy on us. Today, once again, we had this semi-party sort of a thingy, because our child had been asking for the cake, but also, and more so, because we are so so thankful to Allah for the blessings TNQ and ANQ are, and our hearts rejoice on the day Allah had blessed us with these children.

So, ANQ turned three today, and had Madi Chachoo call from Karachi to wish her, and had a strawberry cake to blow the candles on….May Allah bless her and TNQ, and may He keep them on the right path always, and may He fill their lives with Iman, joy, happiness and contentment, and He reward them with Jannah in the hereafter. Ameen.

On making a Jalebi…11

In the past few days, I have often made time to sit down and put a serious update up. I have strived to create the right conditions, which every serious blogger knows is most important – the creating of the right conditions that is, not the striving, though it would amount to criminal something to undermine the importance of striving. One must continue to strive, and strive diligently towards the achievement of one’s goals, even if the goal in itself is nothing but to achieve the highest standards of striving. That would, in fact, be considered the purest form of striving – to strive to strive.

I digress. The right conditions to blog vary from blogger to blogger; some must have absolute silence, a dimly lit place, and their favorite stuffed toy by their side before they can get down to the business of serious blogging; others must have the soothing light of a full moon illuminate the blogging sectors of their brain while they sit under the open skies typing out with their right hand while the left hand twiddles a lead pencil incessantly; still others must first complete a five minute mile before they can hope to get anything close to an update. About the latter, I have a theory. I think they are porous bloggers, whose ideas do not take the conventional route when seeking expression; these are ideas that seep out of their whole existences, and eventually find expression in words…

I have known people who must wear their school badges when they sit down to blog, and those who must have at least two sharp lead pencils, a pound of lined A4 sheets at their disposal, and a white board right in front of them, so that they can type out an update on their laptops. There is, of course, Jalali Baba who will not blog until his neighbor has smelled a dozen roses tinged with the smell of JB’s saut├ęd flesh, or until a yellow Hummer has overtaken a red Aston Martin on the dirt road leading to a highway in Nouadhibou.

There are less particular bloggers too, who need nothing more than a keyboard for a tool to get down to blogging, and those who find a hundred subjects in a sneeze, a sunset, a sunrise, or an alley cat to keep blogging for a month. I have heard about them, but I am quite convinced that they are the stuff of legend, and quite possibly do not exist in reality. I have seen cases that are close though – the blog celeb trio of Momma, Little Baji and Owlie are examples that come to mind.

Unfortunate as it might seem, I find myself closer in my blogging behavior to the former than the latter group. I must have the right conditions. The trouble, however, is that given the dynamic personality that I am, the right conditions for me to blog can ill-afford to be static. This dynamic disposition of the right conditions, while completely commendable, and absolutely impressive, has inherent flaws, or challenges if you may. The biggest challenge for me is to keep pace with the change. Quite often, I am able to figure out the current right conditions, and get down to laying the ground-work for what could possibly be a legendary post in blogistan; but before I can create the absolute right conditions, change sets in, with the result that when I am finished with creating what were until recently the right conditions, I must reconcile myself with missed chances and lost glory – once again.

It has been a cat and mouse game, with the mouse inevitably getting away, and the cat left to lick its wounds. I am not one to give up though, and try, try, try I do as I must. Success continues to elude me, as does that moment of glory when the right conditions are created long before a different set of conditions comes to be defined as the right conditions, and the perfect update is born. Perseverance, however, is seldom in short supply in knicqland. Its, in fact, the only thing that keeps the place going. Ah! The challenges legends-in-the-making must confront.

So, as I was saying, I have often sat down to put up a serious blog, and worked to create the right conditions, so the serious update might just translate into “The Update”. In so far as I can understand, there has been only one ingredient missing, and it is that most elusive of all ingredients that goes by the name “chance”. It takes many disguises, and would rather have me believe that it was an inconsequential fountain pen, or chilled can of Coke, or the right temperature setting that went amiss at that decisive magical moment when everything must fall in place to give birth to a worthy update, but I know better…I know what is amiss is nothing but chance. Luck has not favored me despite my arduous toil…blah, blah, and blah.

There! That is my explanation for not having updated in a century!

p.s. That recipe for making a Jalebi, here it is.

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