Finnish dredging machines dubbed ‘Water Master Classics’ have arrived in Srinagar along with foreign engineers to clean the Dal Lake up -- once and for all. The machines came all the way from the little Nordic country -- by road! First to the west Russian city of St Petersburg, from where the two-truck convoy moved to Moscow. The machines entered Kazakistan at Orsk, leaving the country near the Aral Sea for Uzbekistan. After a brief halt in Bukhara – with which Kashmir has some cosmic connection – the machinery crossed over to the Bhaglan provence of Afghanistan, travelling at turtle speeds to the badlands of Pakistan. From Jalalabad, the Water Master Classics reached Abbotabad, before crossing over to Uri. There was a break-down at Uri, with officials of Lawda [a gaggle of inefficient and extraordinary gentlemen] doing their utmost to help the Italian engineers to rev the engines up, which they thankfully managed to, this last Sunday.
The machines are presently stationed at an undisclosed location, near Boulevard [being hurriedly painted in cherry color with multiple plough design]. Soon the twin machines will be re-named – after either Sheikh Abdullah or Indira Gandhi – before dredging begins in all earnestness. Omar Abdullah is expected to be present during the first ten minutes of ‘Operation Dal Clean-up’ in a light-blue crisp Pathani dress, wearing a light note of Hugo Boss and gleaming tear-drop sun-glasses, picked up at Harrods on Brompton Rd. Sidekicks in one motor-boat, Omar with security paraphernalia in another. Media men, like mad-men trailing in a third one, without life vests. The Boulevard backdrop makes some stunning scenery. Zabarwan forests and the Dal shoreline. Maroon machines with crude ploughs. Omar and his easy elegance. Flash bulbs will freeze the Kodak moment. The Dal clean-up will never happen.
In the interim, the Pakistan High commission in New Delhi has decided to expand its Kashmiri invite list for next year’s Pakistan Day Celebrations after a wide spread discontent in the separatist ranks -- for being left out of this year’s tea party and dinner. There was a multi-course feast this March, which eye-witnesses verify, consisted of 101-types of Kebabs, each with a separate sauce in green saucers, laid out for the select few. This has caused much consternation and heartburn in Kashmir and a string of angry howls from the castaways, prompting the Pakistan High commission to amplify the list-of-probable’s for 2011. Infact invitations will be dispatched to every Mohalla Auqaf committee, so that there is no bad blood and Kashmiris continue to celebrate Eid, as and when Pakistan’s Rohat-e-Hilal Committee [Crescent sighting committee] decides.
Responding to Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir’s latest salvo that Geelani long ceased to be a Jamaat leader, the ex-Jamaati-turned-Tehreek-e-Hurriyet boss Syed Ali Shah Geelani waxed eloquent, almost saintly: Even sans my Karakul cap, I can gather more people in my rallies than Jamaat-e-Islami and MUF leaders -- put together – can ever manage, with those fake Karakul caps of theirs. Show me one separatist who mocks our occupiers with such gems as Bharti-Samraj [Indian empire] in a way that I do without battling an eye-lid, the senior leader added for effect. And this latest fixation of calling me an octogenarian in newspapers is nothing but a scandal, by Indian agents – those clever tongues -- in the valley, who never tire to call me names. Come summer, I have an issue of such magnitude ready, which will make Omar forget Facebooking. That kid.
In between Farooq Abdullah, the slightly off-color cub of Kashmir’s original lion, has reiterated – for the millionth time – that Kashmir is the crown of India. Talking to a British newspaper Dr Abdullah said that he has only stated the obvious and shall continue to do so – in every non-descript south Indian town -- till good sense prevails upon the Indian policy makers and they make him the next president of the union of India. Farooq Abdullah’s election as the president of India, the old doctor said, referring to himself in third-person [something he is wont to, much like Gaius Julius Caesar] will automatically solve the Kashmir problem. The accession to India will be final, he concluded with an unusual finality, like John Nash, just after propounding the Game theory. What a genius? And we never knew. Pity.
Omar’s amnesty call to people who wandered to the ‘other’ Kashmir over the last twenty years has been taken rather seriously. The army now says more than 400 people are waiting to cross over to ‘our’ Kashmir. The only problem is that they may be hiding walnut-color daggers beneath their Pherans [cloaks].
The met department predicts that there is going to be a great heat wave this summer in Kashmir. Clerics are unanimous that end is nigh.
Happy All Fools Day
PS: Since humor is at a premium in our neck of woods, let us be clear that all situations in the April fool’s blog are fictitious and resemblance to any character –with or without a Karakul, Blackberry or dagger – is purely coincidental.