Sunday, April 25, 2010

What is my cure?

A Kashmiri, with a mushroom-like conical cap called soozun-dar toep in the local idiom, falls sick. It is a very strange condition – a mix of delirium and restlessness – which is particularly aggravated whenever gladiatorial jackboots kick him in the stomach or Kohl-eyes, filled with malevolence, stare at him. The man, sick as a secret, decides to seek cure. We call him a Koshur [Kashmiri] to respect his privacy.

Koshur: Jenab [Sir], what ails me? What is my cure?
Syed Ali Shah Geelani: You’ve got a condition called occupation-disorder. I’d recommend two tea-spoons of a wonder drug to you.
It is called audacity. Have it without fail. Every day. Also stop work on Fridays. I think you shall be just fine. Very soon.

Weeks blow past. No respite. Anxiety continues. He goes to a priest.

Koshur: Jenab, what makes me uneasy? What is my cure?
Mirwaiz: You have been walking middle of the road for too long.
The dust on your soozun-dar toep suggests so. Do you know dialogue drug? It works. I don’t have any samples left from my last foreign visit, or I’d have given you some. It works.

Days fly by. No help. Antsiness increases. He visits a star-gazer.

Koshur: Jenab, my pain is awful. What is my cure?
Yasin: Your internal romanticism is dead. Externally you look burnt-out. Give up on power-lamps in your home and instead burn a Mashaal [Torch-light]. Imagine if seven million people burn Mashaals at night. That would be infinitely symbolic.
The demons will leave.

Months elapse. The unrest remains. Koshur goes to see a doctor.

Koshur: Jenab, I’m sick. What is my cure?
Farooq Abdullah: Tsche chi Preh [You are possessed]. It is a green Jinn, the most mischievous of all gnomes. It guards a chest with no treasure in it. No medicine will fix you. There’s only one solution to this madness: counter-madness. So get up and dance. Dance with me.
Dance your worries away.

The Koshur exits the clinic and quietly walks in the rain swept city.
It has just been announced that Kashmiri blood is expensive.
It is not cheap now.

© Sameer
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