Kashmiri Host and Foreign Dost and then tales follow

Many of us suffer from an acute syndrome, which is called something I don’t know. But it goes like this: non-Kashmiri journalists or academicians arrive in Kashmir, seek out young Kashmiris, and lo and behold! Hordes and hordes run to grab their hands. In coffee shops our young men and women pose besides them in their best of poses; a portrait of flashing smiles and cheerful faces get circulated instantly on a social media.
Why these outside journalists and academicians flash their smiles, befriend young Kashmiris (who lose no time to respond to the offer) and stay here for a good sojourn? Because, they come here on a job and they need free guides and free labour; they know what kind of species we are, as they have already gleaned our ethnic peculiarities from the texts written about us, and they also know, through anecdotal information provided by their colleagues and friends, how easy it is to befriend a naïve Kashmiri young man and woman and get things done.
So our boys and girls in their quixotic zeal follow them and show them around. They drink tea and coffee together at posh cafes and other posh hideouts; and sometimes, if time allows they dine together, sharing that last piece of oil dripping Tabakh Maaz.
The guest is always formed in varied details like plump, gaunt, wrapped in folds of biryani induced flesh, tall, portly, mocha faced and shades of brown, mop of hair, dangling curls and sometimes shaved-off. The host–our young sunn gabburs and gabuuris-nods, smiles and remains eager to laugh at the guest’s jokes, quips, general statements about Kashmiris and pro-freedom leaders, double entendre, and whatever package of verbal yarn the guest brings to spun in their minds.
The method of endearing to the young hosts verges on cliché: the guest slips into a fresh and expensive fabric of pheran and sips steaming Nun Chai while the hosts keep looking admiringly. After all, it is worth a time to see an outsider experiencing what Kashmir is all about: Pheran tu Nun chai.
Emails are exchanged, calls are called and texts are texted. Sometimes, the guest gives a slip to the host and reappears after two days. Where had the guest gone, any idea? No? Move on. You don’t need to know everything. Northern Command takes care of that.
Emotional goodbyes, hugs, handshakes and yeah those promises to meet again. The guest bids adieu and leaves on the next Srinagar-Delhi flight.
Weeks, months and years later: ‘Kashmir is happy’. ‘Young Kashmiris want to move forward’. ‘Separatism losing steam in Kashmir’. A newspaper or two flashes in bold font. Further they declare about the Kashur youths desirable pariwartan (transformation): CCD coffee in, Azadi gaffe out. Voting triumphs, gun is dead, Voting jihad is a new fad.
Few years later, the long seen adorable guest’s book appears in print. It is called, yes, you guessed it right, Kashmir and it’s Future. And its contents, yes you guessed it right again, run like this:
Kashmiris are characterless, confused, have sense of superiority flowing from their insecurity, they are Islamists, their mind is like a drone and the control tower is in Rawalpindi, and India is a great, inclusive, a success story. Human rights violation is down, tourism is up. Ebb and flow. Kashmiris are at fault; they are violent, irrational and love Shahid Afridi for no reason, and their political aspirations are trashy, lousy, an occasional delirium, kind of mirgi, and they better know the sunhera future lies with sonay ki chiddiya, otherwise, better still, accepting that their balls are grabbed in the big brown hands, you move and they are crushed. Ajeet Hai, Abheet Hai.
The unsuspecting and excited hosts pick up their copies at Khan News Agency and down the few pages their gaped mouths exhale whimpers and growls of exacerbation, surprise and discontent: ‘Amis Kues Trath Pei’, they murmur within the earshot of be-speckled Mr. Khan. ‘Kamis Kya Trath Pei’, he asks them, curiously.
Postscript: Elsewhere, Mr. Prem Shanker Jha’s court has exonerated BG Verghese of his crimes against dignity.  And his message to Kashmiri media on the matter is this: ‘A quarter-century of encounters with similar concoctions in the Kashmiri media had left me in no doubt that his conclusion had been justified’.
The author is a research scholar of politics and international relations at Dublin City University, Ireland. 
Published in Kashmir Reader on 23 January 2015: http://kashmirreader.com/kashmiri-host-foreign-dost-and-then-tales-follow-32015

Life in the Charlie Times

So, we heard British PM David Gillett-shaved Cameron had his Gieves & Hawkes black suit and silky blue tie on at grand Paris rally – estimated to be over million souls strong. However, in an amazing turn of events Bibi Chutzpah Netanyahu suddenly bobbed up dressed in a black long coat and standing just four souls away from old man Abu Mazin in a solidarity chain. While balding bespeckled blank-eyed Francois Lilliputian Hollande, the President of République Française maintained a somber posture of the grieving host.

The crowd was sartorially elegant and refreshingly political! It was one of the most somber of Dionysian creations and all around an awe-inspiring wave of banners, posters, placards swelled with ‘I am Charlie’. It is reported that everyone also chanted ‘I am Charlie’. After all, République Française seldom gets a chance to display to the world that it is, indeed, a Charlie.

So what was this Charlie hoo-ha all about?

Charlie Hebdo was reportedly apparently a satirical magazine nestled in the République’s one of the finest and notoriously mollycoddle corners. Its comrades-de-ridicule in their poppycock zeal would resolve every week, after a long shared drag at the altar of that heartless bitch of freedom of speech, that: “they shall not spare none, except one”. And they did spare none, except one. For more reference please grab that old josser Maurice Sinet. But please don’t disturb young Sarkozy out of his perforated sheet act.

As the God/Gods and, lest we piss off the comrade-de-feminista, the Goddess would have it, two tall, pouty, light skinned and not so handsome progenies of banlieues (suburbs), or as some say it, persons of Algérie Française descent, dropped by the mollycoddle-poppycock district and popped the Charlie. On their way back, they popped a fellow banlieues guy called monsieur Ahmed.

Hours before the French Police nationale had even briefed the jumble of press crew, Senor Roberto Fishki, given to his occasional clairvoyance, had yelped before the TV:  Algérie, Algérie. The Ragdoll cat tucked on the news anchor’s lap perkily followed the pinky face of senor Fishki and caterwauledAlgérie, Algérie. The anchor frowned, kicked away the cat, and shouted out: Muslims, Muslims, setting off a hullabaloo and everyone falling to the spell: Muslims, Muslims.

Holding a greasy second-hand smart phone on the barren mountain skirt of Timbuktu a simpleton scrambled himself up and nervously holding the phone away from his face like a thing on fire, ran away, crying: Non, Non.

On the streets of London, New York, and New Delhi, bourgeois men, looked up from their phones and, in vague wonderment, said: What is the big deal! Why these bad guys kill for a harmless satire? It was just a satirical magazine, fellas! Freedom of speech!

Satire is harmless, monsieur. Don’t you listen to the guy in New Delhi? It was just a satire.

A white ghost clad in deep orange Khadi tunic shouted near his ear: Freedom of speech is a heartless bitch and Doniger knows no Batra. Rushdie is a cow, M.F. Hussain is a goat. Taslima Nasreen is a cat. Give me Laine?

So it goes.

Just before the New Delhi guy, disappeared into the silicon chamber of NCR office a tweet arrived on his iPhone 6: ‘I am Charlie’. He retweets @Ganesh: ‘I am Charlie’. And lo and behold, Ganesh gets a new avatar, too: Ganesh is Charlie.

Jaswant Singh’s grey bushy eyebrows twitched. He gulped down a peg, frowned vaguely, tore a pencil into two angrily and dashed off with both hands:  Patel was good, Jinnah was bad. Jinnah was lovely, Patel was crude. Modi is nude, Jaswant is dude.

Elsewhere two old buddies in pepper and salt beards adjust their stiffen asses on a flat rock. X asks the Z:

X: So, what does this devil of a word satire actually mean?

Z: Etymologically, it once meant ‘mixed dish’ or ‘a dish filled with various kinds of fruits’. So, accordingly, Charlie was serving mixed dish.

X: Why did those two brothers popped the Charlie, then?

Z: Because, Charlie served the wrong dish.

X: Hmm.

In London, a visibly anxious Nigel Farage thumps his oak table, turns to his comrade-de-ukip and says, “Guys, election is just four months away and Mr. Cameron, that son of the Gillette, is stealing the show.” He paused, a shrewd smile crossed his face, “Lets us go Charlie”, he shouted. The comrades raised their fists and boisterously replied, “Let us go Charlie”


Published in Kindle Magazine on 14 January 2015: http://kindlemag.in/life-charlie-times/