Oct 30, 2012

The Eid That Was…

 Eid-ul-Azha, one of the God-blessed days of sacrifices for Moslems has always been my red-letter day. But this Eid was something different. I woke up quite earlier to crack my desperation for a joyous day ahead.

“This is the day of Joy.
This is the day of Felicitations.
This is the day of forgiveness.
This is the day of Eid”
, heralded my facebook status soon after the rooster’s crowing at the break of dawn.

After munching some overpriced bakery and confectionary items, I dressed up for the Eid prayers to attest my presence in the colossal congressional. The scene was no different from the previous Eids in Kashmir. But some events marked this Eid as something new, trendy and changing.

There were countless people thronging the ground turned Eid Gah. But no xyz leader was visible at the sermon seat and no rabble-rousing speech heard. It seemed like Kashmir Dispute was no more disputed as it always had been on every Eid for the xyz leaders. Also “imported beggars” with newly devised strategies multiplied along the length and breadth.        

The bazaars were all packed with kids wearing brand new apparels imitating their pet heroes or heroines whatsoever. Young girls carrying shiny purses looked hilarious with their bodies flooded with bangles, earrings and other flashy trinkets. The boys on the other hand presented their naive bully nature with an Ak47 in hand while pockets filled with other ammunition. Ha-ha...needless to mention the plaything.

Well Eid-ul-Adha is mainly pivoted around the importance of sacrifice but times have fatally changed and hence did the cult of sacrifices. Now people outsource the job considering it tedious or unfeasible. New professionals are cropping up who are just a phone call away and do everything for you, right from slaughtering to distribution. No wonder in this tech-savvy world.

Times are changing and we can’t expect people stagnant with one culture. Eidi, the monetary gift given to the children on Eid has become more like a rigid formality. I don’t know how and when Eidi turned monetary but it has been there even before I was born. I am sure the concept had been started with a prosperous intention but now it has become more like a give and take system… You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. This is not any exchange of gifts and joys but a part of a plagued society that only teaches us how the goddamn money flows.

As I finished my Eid prayers, I visited my aunt in the old Srinagar city. Visiting downtown is always a delight for an art-loving guy like me. The intricate nostalgic streets and old archaic muddy houses always won my heart. But this time I was totally dumbfounded on watching something I never watched before. A gang of some young boys were splaying a newfangled kashmiri game that imitated stone pelting. The lads, who were merely 10, divided the teams into two squads shooting stones at one another.  Kids have adapted things that were nowhere in the list during my childhood.  I vividly remember the names like Aab-e-Bandook, Taas-e-Bandook and Bagwaan Taas that ruled the roost. But now the young lads are admiring deadly ways of rejoicing the Eid.

As I started moving on I was further amazed to find more young kids pelting stones on CRPF bunkers in real only for the sake of Eid fun. HO! What if they retaliated with a gunshot or even more deadly PSA shot?   

Moreover I found people have distanced themselves so much that they prefer to greet one another on facebook even if the other person is a next door neighbor. I feel pity for the tech-savvy Kashmiris, myself included.  

Now if I talk of the extravagant bakery and other palatable stuff, then I am sorry this article won’t fit in the limited space. Writing this is only a trivial attempt of my meager perceptive. At the end, “You cannot change the system”, goes the common statement. But I am happy because for me a great day signed off with great returns and yes, puzzlement. And lastly as I returned back with a good collection of bounty, a jam-packed tummy and some disappointment, I laid on my bed, puzzled!!!

Oct 10, 2012

India-Pak Cricket: Irrationally fever pitched

Imran Khan, one of the apex figures in Pakistan cricket, once asked about Indian-Pak cricket match said, “Cricket is a pressure game, and when it comes to India-Pakistan cricket match the pressure is doubled”. Furthermore Wikipedia underscores the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry as one of the most intense sport rivalries in the world. The giant encyclopaedia says that an India-Pakistan cricket match attracts up to three hundred million television viewers.

Well, the criticality of the match between India and Pakistan is undoubtedly always a high up, giving sleepless nights to most of us. For me, any cricket match played between the two arch-rivals, is more than just a game. Any India-Pak cricket match always makes me scratch my past and recollect a haunting experience of watching the India-Pak world-cup match in 2011 among some overly patriotic hardcore Indian fans outside valley.

I still remember the fateful day when my destiny made me to watch the doomed match at one of my Indian friend`s place which was my least preference; reason following on.

It was a 10x12 shabby room immersed in darkness with all lights shut-off. A small TV set held at one of its dirty corners was the only source of scintillation lighting-up the faces present in the room. As I entered the petite room, I was completely spell-bound with my mouth wide open, watching around 20 guys sitting over one another all set to watch the “fanatically essential match”. Fortunately I got myself adjusted somewhere around the doorway where I could have some glimpse of the telly.

As I rested myself in the alien room, everyone gazed at me. I could vividly feel the anger towards me since it was a one-to-many conflict of preference(Read as favoritism).  I was sitting like a lame-duck and I felt like everyone was filled with warlordism against me. But I stayed firm because I had the complete sense of being an expat and that too a Kashmiri studying outside Kashmir.

It was a match between the worst foes of the history and I could clearly smell the hatred towards me. I was not favoring the nation which they call their mother nor their players whom they considered Gods. So everyone`s eye was on me. 

Well I am not at all a pro-pakistani guy. But I don’t know the exact reason for the extreme romanticism towards Pakistan when it comes to cricket, specially against India. And the reason cannot be religion. In that case I would have admired Bangladesh as well, which I don't. 

If I dig into the reasons for not supporting the Inidan cricket team, I would say I was just born like that. I have seen bad things since my childhood that cannot be changed. Its in my psyche.  Being more sentimental towards the Kashmir cause, I didn’t wish India to win for its grave human-right abuses in Kashmir. That's it. Period. One pioneer writer from the valley acknowledges the fact by saying that it`s the hatred towards the brutal Indian policies on Kashmir that is moving the people of Kashmir towards Pakistan(emotionally).

I knew it was not a safe bet to support Pakistan yet my heart was beating for Afridi while my sanity favoring otherwise.  But all this turned my friends into foes. Earning their wrath for free I left the place as the match progressed in the favour of the Indians. I couldn`t tot up my broken courage to face the defeat.  So, prior to the end of the match, I left the place and walked down the street all alone back to my living room that was a couple of miles away. 

Streets were deserted and I felt that no one was accompanying me except my grief. I was about to reach my room that a huge bam of crackers blasted and with that disheartened me understood that India had finally won.

Following the grand triumph, people went crazy all at once. All the night, Indian-fans boozed in liquor kept beating the drums and thrashing the streets; should I say irrationally fever pitched. Crackers filled the air to the fullest and the celebrations went on. And my phone kept pinging with abuses from my mates. As this was not enough, the Indian news channels, as expected, got infested with the virus of exaggerating the win like anything.
Huh!! that was a past; a bitter one. But relax, cricket is just a game and hence we should be the good takers of it as a sport. Nothing more and nothing personal...PEACE.