Pearls and Perils.4
knicq posted in Jalali Baba on March 26th, 2007
Jalali Baba has never promised nirvana. He promises nothing, and delivers on this promise. He is only one of the many mentors who have impressed upon me the need to deliver on my promises. There is that smart way of saying it, which stresses the importance of under-committing and over-delivering, and highlights the perils of over-committing and under-delivering – but its a smart way of saying things, and Jalali Baba does not accord me much intellectual prowess, not enough to expect me to decipher a smart way of saying things. He breaks it to me simply, and not gently.
I have not the confidence to do simple things. The good thing about complex things is that they are a lot like singing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs – you are not expected to do very well; and when you do badly, not many blame you for it. Jalali Baba likes to think he keeps it simple, and by his standards he does too. Its just that he finds simplicity in complexity and complexity in simplicity. He sits up all night and reads and re-reads “A Brief History of Time”, primarily because it feeds his enormous ego to realize that he finds it simple, and that he gets it, but also because he finds it simple, and he gets it too! Compare that with the fact that he loses his way on the Shaikh Zayed Road, which is more than a 100 kilometers of a long straight stretch of road, and the rumour that he had once lost his way coming down in an elevator! – and you know what I am talking about. Simple is simply complex and complex is but simple in JBland.
Is it any wonder then that Jalali Baba does not promise nirvana? Saab, disillusioned as he is with Jalali Baba, insists that Jalali Baba refuses to promise nirvana because he refuses to share his Marlboro and Gitanes cigarettes. One cannot blame Saab for his take on the matter, Jalali Baba after all does seem to ‘eek out’ nirvana from being at the other end of the cigarette. It was probably Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi who wrote in one of his books that a cigarette is a contraption which has fire at on end and a fool at the other. I have not read Yousufi in a long time, which is why I am not really sure if it was in a Yousufi book that I’d read this ‘fact’; at the same time, I have hardly read anything but Yousufi in a long long time, so this bit of information had to be in one of his books to linger around in a corner of my mind waiting for the spotlight to be diverted on it.
Between Jalali baba and I, we have an understanding. We have indeed more than an understanding. Indeed it can be said without an iota of a doubt that we understand each other. I understand Jalali Baba, and the eccentric ways in which things work in his demented world – or ought to, and he understands that I understand that; he thus understands as much of me as is necessary to be understood for our platonic relationship to prosper. Among his many JBiic attributes, Jalali Baba takes pride in his ability to gather and store in his exalted mind heaps upon heaps of information that no-one ever will need to look for, and that promises to contribute in no way to the betterment of this world and those who co-inhabit it with Jalali Baba. Such information, Jalali Baba often teaches me, which serves no purpose, nor promises to serve any, is the purest kind of information, and purity, it is common knowledge, is the corner-stone of all journeys spiritual and therefore highly desireable. If Jalali Baba were to know anything more about me, more than what he already knows that is, it would render all his information about me impure, and our journey on the path of spiritual misguidance will turn into a quest in a labyrinth. This is why, he insists, I should refrain from subjecting him to any such information that might be classified as useful or beneficial.
I wake up every morning and wonder if I should tell him correctly when he puts me the rhetorical “How are you?” question upon meeting. What if such an answer could fall under the perilous answers that carry meaningful information. My only saving grace is that he hardly waits for my answer after asking the question, and launches into dispersing and dispensing with that day’s pearls of spiritual guidance almost in the same breath as he poses the question in.
The day he pauses long enough after asking the question, I know I will be found out; I know Jalali Baba will hold me responsible for having compromised the purity of information. I live in perpetual fear of eternal guilt.