I might as well bite my tongue...

Once again Kashmir’s favourite food stuff is playing hide-n-seek and driving the local population to desperation and that too in the Holy month! Eating meat is after all central to all holy days and in fact that’s the only thing needed by some people to observe a particular day as a holy day. Indeed the on-going meat crisis is fast assuming alarming proportions. People are getting desperate and what is more it seems to be badly affecting their mental balance as well. Like I had this dream last night that turned into a terrifying nightmare as it went on… In my dream I was wandering in this house which looked like my own (one is never sure in a dream!) and in one of the rooms I found a meatball (the delectable rista!) resting temptingly on a plate on a table. In my haste to grab it I struck against the table dislodging the meatball which fell down and started rolling. I started running after it but it remained out of reach as it kept rolling with an increasing speed.  The scene shifted from the room to the street in the blinking of an eye (as usually happens in a dream!). The meatball kept rolling and I kept chasing it. Very soon it was rolling up-hill (Wonder why gravity never poses any problem in dreams!) and I was still running after it. Then a strange thing happened…

 As the meatball continued its uphill roll it started increasing in size! (Another discrepancy! Balls, like say snowballs that end up in avalanches, increase in size as they roll down not as they roll up which they can’t do anyway! But then this was a meatball not a snowball and more than that it was just a dream after all!). I was pretty breathless by the time the meatball reached the summit where it halted, balancing precariously. I stopped a couple of feet away gazing at the now gigantic, house-sized meatball. And then! It started to roll down, heading straight towards me! Realizing the implications of the collision between myself and this super-meatball I turned tail and started running downhill for all it was worth. Only it was more of a tumbling and rolling and falling and skidding instead of just running.

The meatball was almost upon me when suddenly I fell into a crevasse and the meatball with a thundering noise rolled away overhead. I got up timidly surveying myself as well as my surroundings. Thankfully there were no bones broken because you see in reality I had just fallen off my bed! Indeed the fall was a lucky one considering that it had saved me from being crushed underneath the gigantic meatball in my dream and it was a lucky circumstance in reality too, having woken me up from what was becoming an increasingly terrifying nightmare.

It is not that I am the only one affected. When I related my dream to a friend he drew a cold breath and said, “I myself had a narrow escape the previous night. I was driving home from my workplace and it was already getting dark. I had just turned a corner when my eyes fell upon this flock of sheep. Since the road was completely deserted I was tempted to grab one of these four-legged mutton crates having been deprived of meat for quite a while now. Accordingly I got down from my car and started chasing the ‘sheep’. Imagine my surprise (a pretty unpleasant one I assure you!) when instead of running away the ‘sheep’ held ground and then letting off a volley of barks the dogs (for it was a pack of dogs that I had mistaken for sheep!) started chasing me. I managed a narrow escape though a mean canine did manage to relieve me of my left shoe as well as the lower one third of my trouser leg.”

An outsider might find this entire hullabaloo about meat, the nightmares, hallucinations and all the stuff inexplicable but not a Kashmiri. It is an established fact that unavailability of meat amounts to a national crisis in this land. People become listless and all they can do is lament its unavailability and torment themselves as they get nostalgic or start fantasizing about meat.

Meanwhile, some kind-hearted butchers (now that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one!) are braving all odds to sell meat to select customers. Of course it means that this vital ingredient comes a tad heavily priced. But then that is how it is going to be in the days to come because there are strong suggestions that meat is playing hide-n-seek, hiding away because it is seeking a higher price for itself. It has happened in the past as well, in fact this hide-n-seek tournament appears to be an annual event and sometimes even a bi-annual one and history is witness to the fact that the authorities have always conceded a crushing defeat in these tournaments. Anticipating the same a concerned cardiologist has issued this advisory: Caution! Meat eating has been associated with heart disease but in coming times merely buying it might precipitate a heart attack!

(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 protected])