The Year of the Dog

2012 is on its way out and it is time for nostalgia… (Sorry ZGM, didn’t mean to step on your toes!)

Salt N' Pepper

AJAZ A. BABA

 1. Dogs and the Underdogs: For the Chinese 2012 may have been the Year of the Black Water Dragon but ask any Kashmiri and he will tell you that it was a Year of the Dog. Indeed the year saw the average Kashmiri becoming more of an underdog, literally as well as metaphorically.  It also became obvious to the local populace that it is not mere coincidence that ‘D’ stands for both Democracy and Dogs as it found that democracy stood up for dogs even at the cost of humans. So much so that whenever a cabinet meeting was announced people waited with bated breath that a bill might be passed seeking to enshrine the dogs’ Right to Bite as a constitutional right. Meanwhile VIP accommodation was built for dogs (with adequate security as can justifiably be presumed!). In addition to other perks they got personal butlers in the form of Dog Caretakers and dieticians were put on the job to formulate a nutritious menu for the canine kind. There have been rumours, though largely unsubstantiated, that the dogs are even being issued ration cards which was further rumoured to be a preliminary step towards issuing them voter cards ultimately. The dogs also got painted pink, the authorities claimed that this was just to conduct a census of the dog population but informed sources maintain that it was a measure to help distinguish dogs so that no man (or woman!) tries to avail of the facilities available to the dogs. Meanwhile another dimension was added to the already multi-dimensional Kashmir’s problem. While efforts are still on to convince both India and Pakistan that Kashmir is not a bi-lateral issue but a tri-lateral one, the concept is already obsolete what with the dog population became more and more active contenders for all sorts of rights. It naturally follows that any future talks to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio will have to be four-partite. In the meantime while the dogs are triumphantly barking “Hurrah! Hurrah!” the common Kashmiri is busy dodging the dogs and saying “Durrah! Durrah!”
2. LPji: 2012 saw the rebranding of LPG cylinders as LPji as people discovered new found respect for the hitherto more or less nondescript gas cylinder. The filled gas cylinder became another addition to the list of VIPs something that people should already have suspected considering that LPG cylinders are also known to stink. The queues seen outside gas distribution centers or for that matter around any truck parked on the roadside (which people wishfully thought may be carrying gas cylinders!) became longer than the traditional queues outside shrines. People were even seen tying votive rags and wish knots and similar stuff outside Gas Agencies. Filled cylinders became the subject matter of dreams and fantasies. People were made to understand that identity cards which are mandatory for people in this part of the world have suddenly become important for Gas cylinders as well, though as it turned out these were not as easy to obtain. The announcement saw people rushing to the Gas Agencies with their marriage certificates (and even persian nikahnamas of their parents!), children’s immunization cards, progress reports from their schooldays and all sorts of documents but alas even with mountains of paper most of the cylinders were declared to be ineligible for an ‘identity card’. The gas crisis also wreaked havoc on the domestic scene dealing a severe blow to what remains of the joint family system. Sons who would traditionally set up separate households after marriage did not wait for marriage and consequent inspiration from their spouses to declare independence. For that matter it was the family elders who willingly facilitated these ‘declarations of independence’ as it meant getting additional LPG cylinders. It is rumoured that in some extreme cases spouses went for divorces-on-paper so as to get an additional connection. This may be an exaggeration but then again if people can go for marriages-on-paper to obtain green cards why not the reverse to obtain a red cylinder.
3. Coalition and Corruption: The Oxford dictionary chose ‘Omnishambles’ as the word of the year but in Kashmir it is the word Coalition that won hands down. However, a corrigendum was issued by the authorities that the correct pronunciation of this word spelt as c-o-a-l-i-t-i-o-n is actually corruption which incidentally also became an officially approved one-word-substitution for Common Minimum Program.
4. Apocalypse that wasn’t: Towards the end of the year the whole world apprehensively waited for the Apocalypse but strangely enough it did not seem to make much of a difference to the local population.  Or perhaps again there was nothing strange about this considering that the Kashmiri nation has been through many an apocalypse since the last two decades.
(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 snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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