By M J Aslam
In our daily lives, sometimes, we encounter some strange kinda people that give us laughs & lessons. I will share only three of such oddities that I have met & that will explain the meaning & message in each freak event below:
In young-days of my life when we lived in old [down] town of Srinagar, we had a young-man in his twenties living there around our locality. He was a well known, a bit , half-wit in the area on whose face one would always find imbecile-grin. He was teased & taunted by the mohalla boys whenever he was spotted walking on the mohalla road. They would always nickname him “Ale i Pir” for his Pir-family linkage, comparing his resemblance to a bottle-guard. It may be mentioned that bottle-guard, Kashmiri-name of which is Alh, is generally referred to stupid people in Kashmirian culture. He was a stammerer too. However, I would never nickname him or anybody in my life. Then, one day while he was walking on the mohalla road, coming in my opposite direction, I slowed down my steps only to greet him with the best Islamic greetings, Asalaam u Alikym, with added respect, “Bashir saab” , Theek Peeth Chiv Haiz ( All well Bashir saab?). But, you won’t believe, I was taken aback by his bitter response. Actually, my good words had angered him more than the bad word which he was generally subjected to and to which he would never respond & instead keep walking silently along the road till he reached his home. But, on my greeting him, he stopped, looked fiercely into my eyes, and rudely said, “ hiyo, chi chi ho goi”. (Translation: what is wrong with you, hayo, is impolite way of addressing or calling someone in Kashmiri language) I was stunned & embarrassed as the onlookers, walkers, my mohalla boys & elders, burst into big laughter. They said “Gobra, Baya, (son, brother, he is Ale i Peer, you have wronged him by respectfully calling him, Bashir Saab). I was too young then to understand the subject or the comments from socio-psychological aspects.
Since he was not exposed to or had not received, good behaviours & greetings in common & usual Kashmirian type of society where taunts & nicknames are frequently used to address the normal people even. After all, he was a famous half-wit, not fully normal, never having been greeted or treated well by people. My well meaning Salaam & Haal Chaal (usual well being query) must have proven quite Greek or strange for him who, thus, considered it no way different from, or may be even more rebuking than, the usual taunts he was daily subjected to by all. The lesson that I received from that my early days’ encounter with such a freak was that one should be very cautious while addressing & greeting a stupid freak who easily tends to take ill of everything.
2. [Mis] counting dates:
There was one more freak in Srinagar, not exactly in my locality but among a close friend’s distant kindred, who I encountered one day. He would always display his noisy & violent behaviour at his home, causing a lot of disturbance & nuisance to his family of parents, brothers & sisters, put them often to great embarrassing position or situation before their neighbours, visiting guests & relatives. One evening, fearing his agitated behaviour, his family members took him “Fundan” (tactfully) to a nearby psychiatric hospital where he was admitted for a night. It was 1st day of the month when he was rushed to the hospital. He remembered dates properly & so the date he was brought to & admitted in the hospital. The doctors in consultation with his family members decided to sedate him by tranquillisation. He remained sedated like a vegetable on the bed for two days. When he regained his consciousness on third day, he started asking which date it was: Az Kosuh Var, Boijana (what is the date today, brother ?) He was told that it was 4th day of the month. He said. “Hayoo Kithe Peth”( How possible? ). He was conscious on 1st & now on 4th , he had missed intervening 2nd day & 3rd day of that month during his sedation state. The family members told him that he was under doctors’ observation for two days & that he was in “deep sleep” due to medicine administered on him by the doctors. Readers won’t believe, after two decades of that episode, & after having substantially recovered, he still counted and mentioned the date of each month less by two days. He said to me one day, “ vuch heiz yim doh me vuch ne , beh kith peth gunzravah tim”(translation: the two days he had not lived, how could he consider them in counting number of days of the month) Hmm! He had his own logic in ignoring two days in counting number of days of not of just one month but of each month.
It shows that some freaks count only on the days they have lived & enjoyed, and caused disturbance or embarrassment to others, and not the days, when others lived free of their nuisance. Selfish freaks!
3. Class pretenders & liars:
Third one was an educated freak [specifications are withheld] that would pretend to know what actually he did not know or pretend not to know what actually had the knowledge of. All cheap drama, I knew on the part of such freaks. But, for pretensions & drama, one needs strong incentives which many innocent, fair & transparent people miserably lack. Or, they be “well educated” but still just fools. Prof Richard Phillips Feynman, world reputed American Physicist, was known for shaping his lectures by use of humour in the course of his lecture delivery. Once in 1960s was delivering a lecture to the students in US wherein he remarked: “Never confuse education with intelligence. You can have a PhD but still an idiot”. This is a famous quote of that Late Professor. By analogy, if we apply it to many professions around us, like medical, engineering, academic, journalism, lawyers, bankers, etc, you will easily discern from the ” behaviours” of these “professionals” what they really are & stand for. Look at them, and see how these “arrogant fools” expose themselves through their “behaviours & actions” in their daily lives, their activity, if they have got any, on social media networking websites. These people may be working in groups on social media to glorify themselves, denigrate & demean the efforts of others. Iterating, there is not an individual freak of this variety but there are several groups of individuals identified with class pretensions & drama. This is a delusion they live in. Many among them are discourteous & rude. If you respect them, it will make their brains fly high in the sky.
Such people may be well connected & fully known to you in some social, official, business & academic life, but still, they will, at times, make your position very awkward & embarrassing before others or you may be just taken aback in a conversation with them on social media networking platforms, due to their cheap drama & pretence, negativity & narrow-mindedness.
(The writer is an Author, Academic, Story-Teller & Freelance Columnist)