Once upon a time there was this far faraway make-believe land known as a make-believe Paradise-on-earth. It is said that once a mighty king passed this way and exclaimed (in Persian) 'Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, Hamein asto hamein asto hamein ast' meaning thereby that 'If at all there be Paradise on earth, this is it, this is it, this is it indeed' (or something like that!). Now of course so far as kings (real as well as make-believe ones) are concerned (and it holds true then, now and always!) their portable luxuries can make a paradise out of any place so whatever the potentate said should have been taken with a pinch of salt (or salt n pepper if you like!).
But that was not to be. Royal words uttered even in a state of inebriation (which might very well have been the case in the aforesaid instance!) have the dignity of a royal decree so the words stuck and came to be repeated so many times that even the most miserable inhabitant of this land of make-believe actually began to believe in this clichéd couplet! A little bit of original research by this naacheez (that is myself, yours faithfully, the undersigned etc. etc.) strongly suggests that a great poet of the Urdu language (legitimate daughter of the aforementioned Persian language through a score or so of mixed marriages) a couple of centuries down the lane sought to put the paradise thing into proper perspective. Tongue-in-cheek as was his manner he recited 'Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin, Dhil kay behlanay ko Ghalib yeh khayal achha hai' i.e., I know the facts behind this 'paradise' thing but, To tickle one's, their's, whosoever's fancy, a pretty useful ploy indeed it is!' (Ghalib lovers may please forgive the atrocious albeit actual translation!). Now as it happened, this Ghalib chap was an employee of a descendent of the great king who had made the pronouncement about the make-believe paradise-on-earth. It is but natural that this descendent of the great king made him to expunge all references to the paradise-on-earth vis a vis contradicting his great forebear. The link thus was lost forever and nobody (till this… ahem…naacheez came along!) knew what this couplet actually meant. I know that scores of Ghalib scholars will be up in arms saying that this naacheez has misinterpreted Ghalib but I would like to remind these scholars that wasn't Ghalib, poor chap, rarely understood in his own time?! The naacheez strongly believes that this couplet is the most misunderstood of Ghalib's couplets what with any glossary that he might have included as it being in reference to the make-believe paradise on earth having been tampered with!
Anyway there was this far faraway make-believe land also known as paradise-on-earth… Two make-believe rulers, two make-believe siblings fathered as they were by the same forces, ruled over this make-believe land, alternately of course. One of these two make-believe rulers went by the name of Shrug. It is said that when this make-believe royal personage was born the midwife exclaimed by way of being social "Hey look what we have here!" in response to which the new born mite is said to have scowled and shrugged his shoulders thereby disowning all responsibility for the accident of his birth. Later as the make-believe royal mite grew up it is said that in response to questions like, "Are you feeling hungry?" he would shrug his shoulders and say, "I will have to ask them." Or again if somebody would ask him whether he had moved his bowels he would again shrug his shoulders and respond with "I have no information as yet."
The other make-believe ruler who took turns at ruling the inhabitants of this far faraway make-believe land was named Wink because some say that when this particular make-believe royal was born she winked at one of the midwives and smiled and with her other eye she winked at the midwife's assistant and cried leaving both confused. As this make-believe royal grew up her capacity to wink with both eyes in two different directions conveying two different messages aimed at two different audiences grew even sharper. Like when she grew up a bit somebody would ask her whether she was hungry to which she would respond with a petulant "I am famished." with her stomach rumbling to provide the background music and at the same time one of her eyes, say the left, would be winking furiously to convey that she was not exactly hungry. At almost the same time she would be responding to the same query from someone else, with the words, "Why I am as full as one can be!" punctuating the statement with a series of burps and yet with the other eye winking, the right one that is, to convey that this was not the case.
With only these choices being the officially recognized ones, the inhabitants of this far faraway make-believe land found themselves hanging – literally, metaphorically and whatever else there is – between the Shrug and the Wink… Just shoot a "How d'you do?" at these hapless people and they will respond with a pre-programmed refrain: 'Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, Hamein asto hamein asto hamein ast'. Ask them as to translate the same and they will probably say: 'Hum ko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin…
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)