August 15th, 2018

Digression – the rule.

Posted: May 31, 2006

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 that 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.


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