Since the powers that be have completely mastered the art of playing musical chairs (Oh-you-are-free-because-democracy-is-in-a-good-mood-today/Oops-stay-home-democracy-is-suspended-tonight) with the old boy, the plucky boss of the Hurriyet snuck past cops and did a disappearing act on the Eid eve. Only to emerge further north. Much to the chagrin of Gupkar, G preached revolution. For the millionth time. The proverbial thorn continues to prick the prince.
An investigation was launched into the great escape. How can someone in his 80’s with a crème color Karakul cap, matching the Pathani dress, with an unmistakably graying beard of a believer, tip-toe his way to freedom? The poor policemen are at pains to explain the phenomenon, while Twitter was briefly abuzz with the talk that it could be an invisibility cloak, a la Harry Potter. The jury is still out on whether there exists a secret tunnel underneath his home or some divine help is at play. We shall know.
In other fleeting news, Mufti threw a closing Iftaar party a day or two before Eid. Irrespective of the preference of his guest list, he served a drink of sweet basil, locally called babri byol. Although the actual number of Rozdars (those who do keep fasts during Ramadan) was not immediately known, journalists who nibbled away in the party said that food flew off tables at the speed of light. Given a choice between mutton chops, Manmohan and Mufti, it is anybody’s guess what Kashmiris will opt for.
Post Eid, it looks like there is going to be no harud (Fall) this year. It has upset a great many people, including Chetan Bhagat. A festival of handclaps and free expression, supposed to take place on the banks of Dal, has been scuttled by armchair intellectuals and high-strung hacks. Was it indeed a great way to push for freedom of ideas in a place where the very ‘idea’ of ‘freedom’ is dismissed offhand? There is plenty of law at the end of a nightstick, to borrow Whalen’s weasel words.
Shammi Kapoor’s last remains were scattered in Jhelum and around the houseboats where he serenaded beauty, and Kashmir by extension. Notwithstanding our discomfort with half-a-million jackboots and other such visible signature settings in Kashmir, we love Shammi Kapoor, unanimously. Does he symbolize some long-forgotten virtue of innocence, the poetry of our souls or some balmy nostalgia, we know not? Even if memories diffuse facts sometimes, they seldom die.