The Chapter of the Frown

Since it takes all sorts to make up this world there were people who liked him a bit and there were people who liked him a lot and then there were people who liked him at times and hated him at times depending upon their convenience (or inconvenience!).
The Chapter of the Frown
Representational Pic

The basic thing against the Small Time Farmer (we would call him STF for short but alas that would sound too incongruous and perhaps bring up unpleasant memories too!) was that he had refused to be cowed down by the might of the Landlord. In doing so he had gone against the current because most of the other small time farmers and almost all the peasants had accepted the 'suzerainty' of the Landlord. In fact this acceptance was so widespread that it had become an established norm and as crime is mostly about going against established norms, our Small Time Farmer was at times considered to be a something like a criminal. For that matter 'sin' too is defined as going against established norms and in fact there were some religious types who would time and again even declare him a 'sinner' or at least imply it if not altogether declare it. For you see they were afraid of him or rather the truth that he represented because it is a strange fact that if you deny truth there is every chance that you will end up being afraid of it. It is also natural to hate what you fear and so they hated him. Yet there were many who admired him for this very truth that he represented, and these included even those who did not necessarily like the man or his ways. Since it takes all sorts to make up this world there were people who liked him a bit and there were people who liked him a lot and then there were people who liked him at times and hated him at times depending upon their convenience (or inconvenience!).

To do justice to the people of this village they had perhaps not been always so supine and overwhelmed by the Landlord but then time changes a lot of things. There are weapons like Threat and Fear which are fairly potent and when these were used by the Landlord the people first gave up their lands and then gradually they gave up hope. There were other weapons too like Subversion and Sops and once these were used the people – most if not all of them – gave up their consciences and some were so badly hit that they gave up their souls. Then again there were weapons of mass destruction called Peace and Development which incapacitated people like say stun grenades.

Yet in spite of all these measures sometimes the overbearing attitude of the Landlord would overreach even itself and the supine villagers would rise in protest. At times like these they would rally around the Small Time Farmer. Naturally this would annoy the Landlord and there would be brutal reprisals. Something like that happened this time around as well. The Landlord's men came and destroyed the crops. They burnt down barns and cowsheds and some houses too. Some cows got roasted alive and the Landlord's men stole the chicken. Some of the villagers got injured and some badly so. The protesting cries of the men and the wails of the women could be heard outside the village too. Not that it mattered because the Landlord told anybody who bothered to ask (and there were only a few who did!) that it was just a variety of local folk music. 

The villagers, since they could do nothing else, finally went into a sulk. This of course included the Small Time Farmer who wore the biggest frown of all. When this sulking and frowning went on for a long time it began to bother the Landlord, not much just a little bit. His friends and advisers told him that the only way out of this mess was to get the Small Time Farmer to forget his sulk and his frown and make him smile. Accordingly the Landlord sent a chosen band of merry men to accomplish this task. They were assigned the task of telling jokes to all and sundry and to the Small Time Farmer too. As an additional measure to make the Small Time Farmer to smile or better still laugh they had even got tacit approval to tickle him. 

Well some of the small time farmers and peasants started laughing with the mere mention of the word 'joke'. In fact some of them practically chortled with laughter. Some began to practise laughter and some started rehearsing smiles in front of mirrors. Most of the people however found the jokes pretty flat and their grim faces got grimmer. The frown on the Small Time Farmer's face became even more firmly entrenched and if possible it turned into an even deeper frown. The Landlord's men even tried tickling but that too did not make a dent in his frown. There is nothing worse that comedy gone flat so it is understandable that the Landlord's band of merry men returned back dispirited. Word got around that the Small Time Farmer was a Grump and among the villagers debates raged about whether he should perhaps have managed a short laugh or in the very least a smile. The incident of the frown-not-yielding-to-smile ended up becoming a chapter of history and all the events that led to it couldn't be seen even in the footnotes… 

(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)

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