Saturday, March 17, 2007

The gene

Most medicines have something written in print: “Store away from light and heat”. The primary reason for this is that the medicine, if exposed to energy, develops active species called as free radicals which are very dangerous to the body. But as I have been saying time and again, the common Kashmiri has such a mind that thinks in a manner quite opposite to rational thinking. They find it much better to display the medicine bottles at the window-sill so that the occasional passerby sees it and comes inside for enquiring. As it is with Kashmiri nature he cannot enter empty-handed. So an illness eventually brings in supplies to the house.

Little does the Kashmiri know what is happening in side their mass communication device. It is all in the gene; it can’t be amounted to anything else. After all, how can be there a similarity in the behavior of the common Kashmiri? This Kashmiri knows what sun-glasses are and still wears them in rooms. This Kashmiri thinks that he is in par with modern fashions. The same Kashmiri is not ready to accept that food cannot be classified as ‘garm’ or ‘sard’—( hot or cold, this age old Kashmiri classification is not on the basis of temperature but on unknown conditions e.g. eggplant (brinjal) is ‘garm’ and spinach is ‘sard’).

Thus I theorize a new gene: “The Kashmiri gene” present in all Kashmiris, dormant in some yet active in most. This gene can be safely associated with a particular common Kashmiri trait of ‘Hoarding’. (Though in some, it mutates to ‘Kanjoosee’—miser ness).

The Kashmiri valley is connected to rest of India by a road which passes through mighty mountains and steep drops. Occasionally in winters, the road is closed for traffic due to blockage by snow or rocks. Thus, supplies to the valley are stopped until the roads are declared open for traffic. Among those who suffer most are the butchers and the poultry shops. (After all you can’t bring thousands of sheep and chicken using the costly and luxurious air-travel.). As soon as the road blockage is announced, the Kashmiri gene is activated. All the traders of the valley, sensing an opportunity to make extra bucks, hoard the essential commodities and lock them away in their stores. Thus, suddenly one finds everything disappearing from the markets; from vegetables to clothes. Ask anyone about this sudden shortage of goods and he will reply, “The road is blocked so the supplies aren’t coming. The demand is far greater than the supply.”

A local having a family to look-after eventually ends up giving more for the goods which he buys. There is a very interesting incident that I wish to mention here. One day, during Mr. Bakhshi’s reign, the road was blocked due to some mud-slides. Naturally the essential commodities disappeared from the shelves and reappeared in the store-houses.
The situation was extremely serious as the road was expected to remain like that for a fortnight. Then the crafty mind of Mr. Bakhshi (who himself is a Kashmiri) cooked something up. He made the radios to (wrongly) announce that the road had been repaired and the essential commodities were rushing into Kashmir. No sooner this announcement was made; the supplies started appearing back in the shops. “A diamond cuts a diamond” but in this case it was a “Kashmiri who cut the Kashmiri”.

A Kashmiri doesn’t want to take risks especially where his life and money are concerned. He is a typical example of “penny-wise-pound-foolish”. I want to remind you of a particular chap whom I have mentioned before in my posts. In ELDIN-BLEZE (the charismatic tuition centre, remember?) there was a boy whose house unfortunately was situated between mine and eldin bleze. The boys’ family has a shop in LAL-CHOWK (and believe me this is not cheap matter). Had he invested the same in some factory, things would have been different but, as I have mentioned above, no risks involved.
Being so rich they just couldn’t afford to give the boy money for traveling. Thus, every day I ended up escorting ‘His Majesty’ to ‘His Palace’.

That boy would never let me have moment of peace at Eldin Bleze. All the time in Eldin-Bleze, I had my mind hovering upon the thought of having to pick him up. While he studied attentively, I had a strange feeling of insecurity. As soon as the class used to finish and the boys started taking turns to attack that poor exit door, I think of the coming moments. Not that I am a selfish guy, but I really hated him (everyone has emotions, including me). Whenever I think of the guy or hear his name somewhere, my blood begins to freeze (could have boiled but I don’t have that much energy in me).

As soon as I used to step out of eldin bleze, VOLIA, he used to appear with a broad smile on his face: “Are you going home?” Only one few occasions I used to gather the courage to reply in the negative and save my temper from hitting infinity. But I couldn’t have an excuse for each and every day.

Eventually, I left the splendid tuition centre

From the day when I left eldin bleze I noticed a change I that boy. No more ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, no more ‘follow the leader’, no more ‘please’. Sadly he stared acting as if I was merely a beggar and he himself the ‘Grand Canyon’ (Now where did that come from?)
After months of tolerating such an attitude, one day I noticed him smiling at me. Oho trouble. He must have found out a plan to use me for his (crafty) plans. He is like the ‘snowfall’ of Kashmir; no one can predict when it will occur.

One day I said:
“I being a Kashmiri has that slight hatred towards another one (I have the ‘Kashmiri gene’ in me). But I rather think that I have an anti-Kashmiri gene. I can’t stand the manners of a Kashmiri, the thankless variety of Homo-Sapiens. I am not too cultured myself also but I try to show the civilized beast inside me and not the uncouth (Yes, the perfect word) Kashmiri beast inside me who attacks wazwan like a lion.”

I reckon that was destiny wishing to introduce me to the mysterious Kashmiri gene.
And I think I did my job to introduce it to you.

A new beginning

My appendix has been removed. 
Yes. Actually it all started like this. After a month of consuming anti-biotics, I started experiencing a strange pain in my abdomen.The typical Kashmiris were consulted and their expert opinion had. They diagnosed the pain to be a side effect of the really long treatment of anti-biotics. 

In more familiar language, “Garmee chay gametch”—(You’ve grown hot). Little did I know what lay in store for me and my blog… Read on… 

Slowly but surely the pain began to build up and started becoming unbearable. Fortunately the SKIMS hospital lies very close to our home-just few miles away. After putting a lot of thought into it, my parents finally decided that it was time for me to visit the hospital. The clock had a perfect 08:00 on its display with a ‘pm’ written just below it. Without further delay, we headed towards SKIMS. After a few minutes of dancing on the pot-holes and speed-breakers, our car stopped outside the emergency block of SKIMS. 

 Well, I have been using the word SKIMS a lot of times (without properly defining what it means) so I should inform the user about it. SKIMS or Sheri-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences is a semi-modern hospital having a strange Kashmiri appearance. It is a huge collection of brown solid buildings-deceptive, since it is a good deal bigger than it actually looks. All the better doctors of Kashmir, surely not here, have gone to hospitals offering better pay and work conditions. The people who remain constitute a bunch of senior doctors who were initially not tempted by better opportunities. Supporting them are junior doctors from all corners of Kashmir with all sorts of dialects and accents. 

 After an emergency surgery for the removal of my appendix, I was put into the surgery ward. Actually I wish to discuss the surgery in detail. After a lot of examination, tests and doctors poking fingers into my tummy, the doctors decided that my appendix was to be removed. I was put on a trolley and slowly pushed towards an unknown destination. With every passing light bulb that I saw on the ceiling while lying on my back, I was moving closer and closer to the place where cutting human beings with a knife is not a crime.

 I was led inside the operation theatre and made to lie on a very strange looking bed. Couple of doctors came to examine me, asked my name, the place where I lived, the name of my school and everything that shouldn’t have concerned them one bit. It was not going to help them in surgery anyway. Slowly a hand with a mask in it appeared from the side and started moving towards my face. Yes, I knew that had to come-Anesthesia. I thought I will try to resist sleep or even fool the doctors by closing my eyes then open them again. 

I kept my eyes open as wide as possible and then found myself being pushed in a trolley. Those light bulbs once again whizzing past. Strange as it may seem, my abdomen felt like ice. Oh! I had been operated upon and I couldn’t understand that why I didn’t feel the time passing by? I was told that the surgery took two long hours even though it seemed to me like a second. Really, my mind was switched off and then back on again. 

During the few days that I spent there I learnt many things. The ward was filled with simpleton villagers ( an appropriate Kashmiri word is ‘grees’). Even some of the doctors belonged to that category. Once during a routine check-up a doctor asked, “Hatuw, Tse mahuw chuy yed chakar yewaan” (Is strolling coming to you?). I being raised at a place where refined Kashmiri is being spoken without that typical Kashmiri accent ( which has frequent fluctuations in tone and shrillness) found it hard to understand (After all, how is strolling related to me?). I, quite confused , slowly looked at my mother, who gave me a sympathetic grin. Then she murmured in a language that I could understand better that the doctor was asking about cramps in my tummy. (Thanks to the knowledge of Ma regarding the ‘grees’).

 It also came under my observation that there is no dedication from the side of the doctors to work. The exception is a ward boy who is (unfortunately) a little mentally unfit. He does not do work at his allotted places but works wherever he wishes to. I want to stress upon that he really works. My folks always found him scrubbing the floors, pushing trolleys and what not. 

 SKIMS would have been a wonderful hospital had there not been the element of ‘Grees’. The bathrooms and toilets would have been sparkling clean had there not been the element of ‘Grees’. There would not have been leftover food in the bathroom drain had there not been the ‘Grees’. There would have been soaps and towels in there had there not been the ‘Gress’. There would have been other patients as well had there not been the ‘GRESS”. Basically I am mistaken, Kashmiris are known as grees people, like me, like you, like every stupid guy who walks around!!! Including me :D