Oct 26, 2011

...and I kept circulating myself on the dining table as if I was some cookery item who had to please everyone.
~Abdul Wajid Parray.

I wonder if there is any word for “the worst day in life” as there is one for the most memorable day, the red-letter-day. But I consider October 16 as my saddest day; so I call it my “black-letter-day.”
14:30 hours October 16-2011 was the time that was supposed to be a memorable day as I was going to give a treat to my college peers. It was actually a combo treat that my friends were waiting desperately for over last three years that I had spent with them during my study course in Kurukshetra. I had been evading their demands from the time I stepped in Kurukshetra but this time they had a solid reason, in fact a written one and I had none to use as an excuse. Reason was that I had cracked the placement exam of an InfoTech company (LnT) in my very first attempt. So on receiving the written acknowledgement from the company I decided to cheer my comrades with a party.
It was not an organized program rather off the cuff; so some slip-ups were expected but not like the ones that really happened thereby marking the whole event as my bad. It was Sunday and I rested myself well to pen-down the names of the expected guests. I started with a few names but the list went on and on but somehow I shortlisted some 28 names and acquainted them all. Time went on so did my fervour. Finally I dressed up like a gentleman in my newly bought formal trousers and my same old black shirt that had earlier won me colossal compliments...Ha-ha.
Before leaving I was ill-informed by some of my long-headed peers that the expenditure of the feast will be not more than 2K bucks. But to be on the safer side I carried 3K and that too heavy heartedly, Frankly speaking. With that I left my place and reached the venue around 2:30pm. Three of my junior mates were already there to receive me with their curiously held sights and smiles. Following this, some expected friends unexpectedly refused to come presenting their well cooked excuses while others kept coming in turns one after the other and finally a frantic squad of around 24 people joined the feast.

All was going well except one thing; the event was ill-prepared. I had invited two different friend circles to a common platform - one squad of a few notorious boys and other one of some upright ladies. The worst part was that they knew not each other so well that they could enjoy the time together. They had different policies, different manners, and different personalities and hence a LOC demarked the two groups and their opinions as well. Dangling between the two was an ill-fated being and that was me. In order to blend with the big crowd I kept circulating  myself on the dining table as if I was some cookery item who had to please everyone.
Everything was still working fine and up to the extent of my levels of digesting people’s conduct. But the event soon turned dim and my level of interest as low as null. Now I played my last card in order to bring some life to the lifeless inert party by entertaining my peers singing songs in my not so impressive vocals but the atmosphere turned no bright. Losing all my hopes I called off the party and all the partakers started moving out-some eagerly and others with a heavy heart filled up to the grim with loads of disappointment. Needless to mention I joined the latter squad.
As this entire was not enough, the last ugly blow was yet to come. And this time it was the bill- a total of all the expenditures I spent in buying foodstuff and the foolishness of some freaks. The earthshaking bill shivered me like anything. It was 4100 INR; double than what my expectations had planned and I wailed “Na Khaya...Na Piya...Aur glass toda bara anaa.” Toting up the loose contents of my wallet and borrowing the rest from one of my good friend I somehow managed to add up the requisite amount. My heavy eyes could hardly see my daring bucks passing before me lavishly and so I left the place and moved out to see my friends off, thanking them for flavouring the party both with glee and gloom.      
Heading up to my nestling place-my room, I wondered how lavishly I spent my fortune just to pleas my mates least knowing that I was only casting pearls before the swine; of course with some good exceptions. But now on I have no regrets. No complains!! For the reason that in the end I learnt a good lesson: “Unlike poles do not attract all the time; there are some well-defined exceptions.”
And yes before I finish my heart-rending write-up please make a good note of what follows now on. The other imperative thing that I learnt and that needs a mention here is that whenever you decide to present a treat to your friends, make sure you do it as a whip round along with your other rejoice-sharing peers, otherwise learn to live on the borrowed time and money.
That’s the upshot.

Author: - Abdul Wajid Parray.

Oct 6, 2011

The Lost delight of living...

Living: Delight of a Mohalla or plight of a colony
Srinagar a city with an indelible historical identity has turned topsy-turvy and transformed into all in all anew community. Highly enthralling Mohallas which once were the life line of Srinagar city have rehabilitated into new posh but outlandish colonies. People are moving from their ancestral homes to newly constructed colonies that seem like non-natural homes in some dummy world thus alienating from the familiar world of Kashmiriyat.

No doubt, living in a colony is a plus in itself but if we ponder over our nostalgic merits of being a denizen of a Mohalla, we get astoundingly replied as where we do stand at present. Ask an elder, a Mohalla was the best place to reside with people caring for their comrades as if they were a part of the same family. Even different communes used to live happily together under the same roof called Mohalla. But as someone has rightly said Times changes and so do we. Today the saga has changed on the whole. Now people are leaving their companions and are moving into a new episode where everyone is a stranger.

Well all that being said I can reckon many reasons for this indifference. Unlike a Mohalla, colonies restrict our social life merely to our homes. In a colony, one doesn’t even bother to answer your wish or greet a hello!! Big brick walls demarcate the people and their opinions as well.

If we talk about the celebrations, it was always a fever pitched moment for the whole Mohalla. Interestingly some anonymous friend of the cousin of someone else getting married was so desperate to attend the ceremony as if he himself was getting into the nuptial knot. And when we attend the like ceremony in a colony today, we hardly find any neighbor in the visiting list, of course, with handful exceptions.

The main thing that distinguishes the living conditions in the two states is undoubtedly the helping nature of the people in a Mohalla, the aid they provided to others and the pains they used to take in doing the daily chores for others. Today in this new world of settlement called Colony, terms like humility, brotherhood and aide are getting extinct so much so as if they never existed. People may buy myriad excuses for considering living in a colony as the best thing like privacy from others, more systemized living system and the like. But the seed of differences sowed by the same turns all its plus points otherwise.

 The same brothers who once used to share everything except their underwear cannot even think of exchanging a thing now except arguments.

Gone are the times when one could borrow almost every daily food-stuff like a chunk of sugar, milk, et al from a neighbor. Today in a colony one cannot even think of such a bungling, as they consider it. I wonder if the joy of gabbing among the home maker women while washing the dishes or clothes can bell our ears ever again. Today the colony women are more inclined to the daily sops and to the ladies who lunch. They are dangerously dress conscious and far more conscious to scrutinize the dress of the other women. The amusement of discussing politics, cricket and other less important issues around the shop corners by the young and the olds cannot be seen again. Now we don’t even find a single shop in a residential colony where talking of long trivial but amusing bragging is a far cry. Children used to wander around the whole Mohalla all the time chatting, laughing, howling and playing with their darling cronies. Now children are confined to their homes only; shackled in a virtual world of video games and social networks on the small world of internet. The chirping of mynas and pigeons living under the roof tops cannot be heard again I am sorry.

Period! Houses used to be big and so did the families. There was no concept of a nuclear family. A common kitchen used to feed all. But now we have even falsified the saying that the blood is thicker than water. The same brothers who once used to share everything except their underwear seem like strangers now. They cannot even think of exchanging a thing except arguments.

This issue of indifference in the living in a Mohalla or a Colony would take a thousand pages to discuss but to windup this piece within the prescribed words limit by the editor, I present my opinion here as the parting shot.  No doubt Innovation and development has always been a part of human behavior. Certainly we are dynamic and we always need a change. Living in a colony as I also mentioned above may have its own pros but the million dollar question is that where are we actually heading to? Are we losing our nostalgic past which was full of joy, affection and fun? Are we losing our brotherhood? Are we losing the delight of living in a Mohalla? And last but definitely not the least are we losing our Kashmiriyat?