Differentiating Jalali Baba and Coori….0
Coori – First impressions, tomato salan, and the last red note.0
knicq posted in Coori on March 15th, 2005
I blog today, because I must.
I have been too afraid of blogging about Coori without being in the right frame of mind, without feeling energetic and nostalgic enough, and without having time enough on my hands. You see, he is that dear to me, that khabti moron. I write about my friends because this is my way of sharing some of my most prized possessions with you. I also write about them because if I did not, I would not have anything else to write about. These friends have defined chapters in my life, such has been their contribution to messing things up for me. Nonetheless, my life is apparently the only subject I seem to have better command on than any other mortal does, though there are those who would disagree with that too – my mother for one, and if I am to blog without bringing into question the source as well as the authenticity of my update, I had better stick to my own life.
Incidentally, I have just the one life – the same one which has its chapters defined by my friends. My alter egos, the siblings, make the headings, while I am the one constant on every page – the footnote in italics.
Hisaab-e-dostaan dar-e-dil, is a farsi quotation, which Yousufi had used to articulate what can never be completely said – a thank you to a friend for his friendship. I am afraid of opening this hisaab, and then not finding the words to introduce my friends to you. Coori is just one of them. There are so many others, some already mentioned and some not yet, but let this post not become an index now.
Coori’s reputation, as I have explained, had preceded him. It was a long time, however, before I actually got to meet him. It was a strange meeting. Mari had taken me along to meet Lala, whom I had met once before, and who was put up with Coori. I don’t seem to recall where exactly this meeting had taken place – what I do recollect is that Lala had all his belongings tied up in a bundle or two, and was perched atop those bundles. Lala was all of five and a half feet tall, and because of his frail frame, looked little more than five. The only thing that belied his age were his sturdy, strong hands that left your palm a little compressed after every handshake.
Mari had had a little something to discuss with Lala, which is why he had stopped there for a few minutes. We did get out in a few minutes, but I don’t clearly remember if he ever got down to discussing his agenda with Lala. I do remember Coori and I getting into the “heading” of a discussion, because that was all it could be called, and parting with mutual respect and disdain for each other. The former is understandable, the latter needs explaining. It had a lot to do with appearances and first impressions. Months later, we were to exchange notes, and find that following were the impressions we had left on each other:
Coori’s impressions of me: Scrawny, and awkwardly dressed in a chequered shirt that hung loosely from his shoulders that made a nice coat-hanger. 24” flapper jeans atop saleem shahi khussas. Oblong, bony face hidden beneath a pair of extra large round glasses, and whiskers disguised as a stubble/beard. Patronizing Mummy-Daddy dufus, puts on an accent when interjecting unnecessary English words, hence subject to inferiority complex and low self esteem, and most probably speaks bad urdu (This coming from a pathan from Mardan – I almost killed him!). Might know a thing or two about Tauheed. Needs tweaking, but will do for now.
My impressions of Coori: Arrogant pathan Mulla (The skin under the beard had till then never been subjected to a razor). Ignorant too. Clad in Shalwar Qameez and khaidi – ain’t getting past semester 2/BBA. (He was already in his final semester by then, maintaining a 3.8 CGPA), looks like being in a business school’s gone to his head – either that or he was trying too hard to impress me with his management/marketing terminology, bet Meigs and Meigs gives him the creeps, should pass on M.A. Ghani to him and watch him squirm under debit/credit compulsions. Good Urdu for a pathan, and impressive enough English for a Mardan School product. Might know a thing or two about Tauheed. Needs a lot of work, but will do for now.
Coori had the focus of an elephant. There’s nothing to prove that elephants have great focus, but then there is nothing to suggest on the contrary either. I am just assuming their focus is as good as their memory is rumoured to be. I need the elephant allegory because Coori also had the memory of an elephant.
Take, for example, the case when I had brought home my first semester books. He was in his last semester then, and was keenly interested in what curriculum PCBA was following as against his TIU curriculum. Turns out PCBA had chosen Keegan’s book on Principles of Marketing, while he had studied Kotler’s at TIU. His curiosity piqued, he requested to borrow the book for 22 days, the number of chapters in Keegan’s book. I got him a copy, and he returned it to me after 22 days, with comments at the end of each chapter. His logic was simple. It took him two hours a day max to finish a chapter, and he could spare a couple of hours from his final semester preparation in the quest for superior and complete knowledge. He could be a geek like that. He could also argue in favor of TIU with any PCBA student after that, just because they had not recommended Kotler’s book, and just because he had studied the two of them, and could tell for a fact that Kotler’s selection of words in his 20 odd chapters was better.
There was also the time sometime before this when someone told him that the Khans were ruling Bollywood. He was not really into bollywood movies, but he knew a thing or two about Aamir Khan and Salman Khan – enough to disagree and argue that they were not such great actors after all. It was then that he found out that there was a third Khan too, and we are talking about ’96 here, by which time Shahrukh Khan had been around for almost three or four years. He was quite surprised, and excused himself from that discussion.
I remember we were in the last days of the month, and almost all of us were broke, which actually had little to do with what days of the month we were in. After the initial three-four days of wealth, and absolute wealth at that, we managment students used to spend the rest of the month waiting for the next month’s allowance to arrive from home. It did not matter, whose money arrived first. As soon as it did, the reciever promptly paid off his debts to the rest of the roommates, so that everyone was left with equally less amount to spend until the next guy’s money arrived.
Such was the need for us to be taught some management, and such was our zeal to experiment with radical management theories of our own. Lala’s tomato-salan/curry was a product of those days of poverty, all it took to make were a few tomatoes, which were not very expensive. The tandoor-wala used to give us rotis on credit, and TIU was just next door. I was the only guy, who had to go to PCBA which was not that close, but the van took you there, if the bike did not have petrol enough.
It was in one of those days of utter collective poverty that Coori had heard about this new actor on the block, who was a pathan originally from Peshawar, and was supposed to be pretty good. He had gone missing for the day, and when we returned home, we found him lying in front of a TV and VCR. We were delighted. We did not have a VCR in our room, and if he had been able to rent it, that meant we would be watching some movies during the night, and eating well, because it looked like Coori’s money had arrived. There were still a few days to go before the end of the month, and we had all hit rock bottom in our finances. His money could not have come at a better time.
You guessed it, dear readers, the money had not arrived. Coori had rented out the VCR, and all of Shahrukh Khan’s movies released till that date, with the last red note of the room. We could have killed him then and there, but he was quick to point towards two bags full of tomatoes lying in the corner. So, he stayed up the night to finish all the movies, and by the morning had arrived at the decision that SK was actually a great actor, and deserving of any prizes and awards he won, including Coori’s last 100 rupees, and two good trousers.
Turns out, in one of the movies SK had done an acrobat act to land on his knees such that his trousers were torn at the knees on impact. Coori was much impressed with the stunt, and had been trying it since the morning. The results were successful, two out of his five trousers had obliged, and were now succumbing to their fate in a corner. Coori’s knees kept him away from the library for a couple of weeks – the library was on the second floor, and there were no elevators in the college.
As for the rest of us, we were pretty happy with the way things had turned out. For one thing, we had hoped that Coori without the library would not be as potent and ambitious in his disagreements, and secondly there was the faint hope that perhaps the painful knees will help cure Coori’s dementia.
Our joy was short-lived. Coori was able to employ a junior to bring him books and magazines from the library, and with the detergent maximization incident was able to defend the Khabti title bestowed upon him by his peers.
Coming up sometime in the future – Coori and the detergent maximization project!
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, email@example.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.