One More ‘Historical’ Meet!
SALT N PEPPER BY AJAZ BABA
Our neighbourhood ‘Auntie’ is known for her hysterical attacks. Everytime she has one of these attacks her long-suffering husband gloomily says to anyone willing to lend him an ear, “Poor lady she has again had a ‘historical’ attack…”
Now the strange thing about these dramatic attacks is that they usually occur at pretty convenient times, convenient for the Auntie that is. Like say, when she has to get something out of her husband or again when she has to get out of something. So rather than being something to commiserate about, these attacks have become a by-word for comedy and, of course, an addition to the local vocabulary. How much of an addition, became apparent to me while listening to a comment from my 4-year-old nephew.
I was watching TV along with this young chap and every channel was reporting and analyzing yet another ‘historical’ meeting between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers.
Suddenly my nephew spoke up.
“Are India and Pakistan getting ‘historical’ the way Auntie does?!” What is it with children that they ask these deceptively simple questions which however have no simple answers!
“Well, India and Pakistan are back to getting ‘historical’, but not exactly like Auntie goes about it … not this time at least,” I began to explain. A tall order though! For how does one explain the politics of hysteria and the hysteria of politics; the difference between historical and hysterical and the relationship between the two… that too to a four-year-old kid!
Auntie’s hysteria seemed a fair and familiar enough ground to start with. “It is not ‘historical’ attacks but ‘hysterical’ attacks that Auntie gets.” I explained and launched into a discourse on hysteria.
“Do you get it?” I asked him, after concluding my speech.
“Yeah…” he drawled, rather sleepily.
“What?” I like to see the seeds of knowledge sprouting in young minds, especially, the seeds that…ahem… I have sown.
“That Auntie gets hysterical attacks and not historical attacks…”
“Right!” I beamed and moved on to explain the ‘historical’ part.
“You see it is quite usual for India and Pakistan to get historical. Both the countries have rather strong views about things ‘historical’ and very little concern about the insignificant present or the vague future for that matter! So once again, India and Pakistan are back to getting ‘historical’! You see all those historical hugs and handshakes on the TV, newspapers, comics everywhere! The Foreign Ministers of both countries grinning as if they share a naughty secret…
“People start digging up old road-maps or hammer out new solutions to long-standing issues. Resolution of all conflicts seems to be just around the corner. And all the while, the U.S looks on like an amused mother-in-law witnessing a truce between two perennially warring daughters-in-law! Do you get that?”
“Yeah… Auntie gets hysterical and not historical whereas India and Pakistan get historical and not hysterical…” he mumbled.
“Well not exactly…” I didn’t want to load an impressionable young mind with an incomplete picture of India – Pakistan relationship.
“Let me explain! India and Pakistan are not always ‘historical’ you see. There are times, quite common, like in Auntie’s case, when Indian and Pakistan get hysterical rather than historical. Eye-to-eye becomes eyeball-to-eyeball and that old pummel bag – the Kashmir issue – is brought out of the closet. Both the sides work themselves up into a frenzy. The electronic media goes crazy, digging up footage of old wars and scars. TRPs of these channels rise in direct proportion to the national indignation.
“Why all this?! I think that Karl Marx fellow was way off the mark when he called religion ‘the opium of the masses’. It is not religion but pseudo-patriotism and narrow-nationalism that is the opium of the masses! What better way to make people forget the squalor and misery of their lives! Trust the TV channels to make this pseudo-patriotism as trendy as popcorn and Pepsi…
“Do you get that?” I asked.
I looked down and there he was, the little feller, all curled up and fast asleep…
Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 30 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 30 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 31 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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