Signs Of The Times – PARTIES ARE NO LONGER WHAT THEY USED TO BE

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By  Humra  Quraishi

PARTIES ARE NO LONGER WHAT THEY USED TO BE …

Shall we start off with the rot at social dos or focus on the utter mess in the political parties ?You’d be a complete fool if you go partying , thinking there’d be just frilly food and more of it ! That happened at your parents’ place in those mofussil setups. No , no longer so .No, not in this developed day and age . At least , not in these gaudy metros ,where there’s nothing called simple partying. Complicated goes the partying scene .Amidst hectic networking , making and breaking contacts and contracts .Amidst fleshy get –away sessions . Scrapping and snapping old redundant relationships Everybody out to outdo the other . Men, women and all those ‘good friends’ rolled together , in those slightly and somewhat mixed up roles and positions . Maybe just for that night ,for those stolen hours . And ,ah , yes , nobody ought to come up with that clichéd bakwaas – ‘at the wrong place and at the wrong time’ .For , who looks right ! For, aren’t you well aware of the party games ! Hopping you go ,gulping down a this or that , contracting much beyond .Perhaps , far too beyond what you’d bargained for .

Of course , not all are caught or can be caught . Only the naïve do it out, in the openness of those five star frilly set ups . The discreet do in those mango groves , tucked away in their well guarded farm houses . Where pulls and those punches are sidelined ,as bigger games come into foreplay .Big names and bigger designations hold complete sway . These parties are nothing but release sessions , that much needed get -away after the day’s grind , for the who’s who of the day .

No ,I’m not hinting at what’s been happening at the IPL matches or those connected offshoot parties and those molestation charges , thrown here and there. After all , IPL came into play only recently and is quite simply following the format , the fashionable trend , those lopsided tendencies and whatever lies spread around the so many . After all , the players of the day are not mere cricketers but several layers to them .Tinkers , tailors , soldiers , sailors ,rich men … have joined the circus .Far too many players in this connected game called the INL – Indian Nexus League .

Today , if I close my eyes tight and really tight and sit back to think of one man or woman I can respect ,I can’t come up with one name .I simply can’t think of one capable leader or ruler of the day !

No sir , not one politician or civil servant .

Years back , the day .Jawaharlal Nehru died my maternal grandmother, Amna Rahman , had sat crying .Sobbing uncontrollably , murmuring we have lost a genuine leader of the masses .No , she didn’t care a damn whether he was a Pandit or a Musalmaan .He was apparently a secular and honest leader and that’s all that mattered in a democratic set up But look what’s happening today ! Caste and community and regional formats hold complete sway .As the rest of us sit like mute spectators – weak and malnourished and much too fragile to react or counter react. .
Amen !

HOW TO COPE !
Whenever I’ve asked Khushwant Singh how he copes with the day to day stress, he’d quipped, “ Earlier, in my younger days I used to visit the cremation grounds and I would simply sit there for hours at a stretch ….somehow it used to have a calming effect …don’t know why we Indians don’t talk of this reality – death .Its a reality which is rarely spoken about in our homes …now , I’m reading Ghalib for hours . Keep these volumes next to my bed and also on this table next to where I sit and keep reading his verse all through the day and before I go to sleep …”

Then , there’s this other way too – that is , don’t talk about sorrow . Just internalize it . And I learnt more of this when few years back I had visited the Nizamuddin Basti situated home of Khwaja Hasan Sani Nizami .It was one of those Eid evenings and as other guests joined in ,snacks were placed on the table , next the wooden takht where Nizami sahib sat ,looking rather forlorn and unwell .He did not touch a thing .He did not look inclined to have anything beyond tea . When one of the visitors asked him whether it was viral fever he was recovering from , his answer made us sit in bewilderment .

“No , one of my nephews died just two days back …he died in Pakistan and I couldn’t even travel for his burial ….I’ve been feeling very upset after we got the news , he was young and lives behind his children and a widow …he`d grown up in this very house ,scribbled on these walls just here … those memories are there ,now coming back … ”

Why he didn`t tell us this before and why did serve all this fare ? We`d said

“Why should my sorrow be a burden for you ..sorrow is anyway a very personal experience .In fact , years back when my mother had been ailing and we had a guest who though was not staying with us but meals for him were taken by my father … even the day my mother had died my father took the evening meal for him , after her burial .And as this guest inquired about her health my father had said ` She is now resting .’ Its only after that gentleman had finished eating , that my father broke the news of my mother`s demise , elaborating that by resting he’d meant ‘she was resting in the grave’. His rationale was why burden the other with your sorrow …sorrow is yours alone and don’t trouble others with it .”

And let me end this column with this verse from the recently released book of the Gurgaon based Lama Doboom Tulku – Words Well Spoken : Maxims of Earth and Stone .The Trans-creation is by Sudhamahi Regunathan and foreword is by Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Sri M …

Here go these lines –
‘In conflicts between lowly people /A country is subsumed ; / As iron when rubbed against stone / Can a dense forest consume .’

And also these lines –
‘A conceited and arrogant fool /Is by even ordinary humans ignored ;/ Street dogs roam about without fear / Before the image of the lion in stone.’

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