By Shoaib Hashmi
A few weeks back, I was talking
to you about how we have been putting pictures of
Mickey Mouse on our national flag, and thinking
back on it I am reminded of an ancient tale which
is worth recounting.
This man was going his way, and just by chance he
happened to notice that his watch had stopped. Even
more by chance he happened to be passing what was
obviously a watch shop, because there were watches
and time-pieces, and chronometers and clocks in
the huge shop window, and he went in and there were
more in the showcases and all over the walls.
The man took off his watch and asked them if they
would mend it for him; and they looked shifty and
hummed and hawed and said they were sorry but they
didn’t repair watches. The man was a bit surprised,
but he did like to be on time so he asked them if
they would sell him a new watch. And they looked
shiftier and hummed a lot more and said they were
sorry but they didn’t sell watches either.
Now he was nonplussed and asked them what it was
that they did do? And they looked really shifty
and hummed and finally muttered that they were the
local petty surgeons and performed circumcisions.
If that was what they did, the man said, why did
they have all those watches hanging on the walls?
And the man looked him in the eye and said, “What
you want us to hang up here!” Or, “Hore
kee tangiyay”! In the proper phrase.
Someone should suggest to the Defense Housing Authority
people that they hang up a few watches in their
office and sit back and relax! The DHA is the latest
in the long line of attempts by our people to create
an exclusive little ghetto for themselves and their
ilk. It started out as a tool to put all those cantonments
lands to good use, and branched off into adjacent
areas; and most of the residents are civilians,
but the mindset is still of a newly commissioned
subaltern with a chip on the shoulder.
Some time ago they banned the entry of rickshaws
into their society; then as they were in the banning
vein, they also banned the entry of polythene shopper
bags! Now a rickshaw is big and makes a noise, and
a bag doesn’t. I wonder how many shopper bags
they have apprehended sneaking their way in in someone’s
Now they are on another kick. They have decreed
that all residents of the society will have identification
stickers on their cars, and all cars from the rest
of the town and without stickers caught entering
the society -- especially late at night -- will
be stopped. As a resident of another Society, my
comment on that is, “Well flick you too”!
It’s a sign of an infantile siege mentality,
and we can always tell our DHA friends to come see
us. Or move!
Then they go on. If you live in Defense but do not
have a car, which means you cook or clean for a
Resident, then he must register you and you must
wear an identity card round your neck at all times!
I have a feeling that many proper Residents are
going to find that suddenly there is too much salt
in their food, or none at all, and most of the leftovers
have been pushed under the carpet or sofa along
with the rest of the household muck. Someone should
also tell these guys that the man who cooks is not
a batman. And a batman is not a minion the regiment
gives you, he is hulking big hombre in a plastic
suit who fights crime and lives in this great mansion