Oct 01, 2023
Oct 01, 2023
I really don’t know if I’m authorized to quote the following from an enthralling piece in the New Yorker. Here, however, are the captions of the cartoons celebrating that hoary institution called marriage between man and woman – these days called straights – besides new varieties labeled as gays and lesbians and heavens know what else in between. The name of the piece I’m quoting from is, “We Do” – the formula you repeat at the altar on the priest’s bidding.
Here’re the gems I ran into:
Well, you may still choose to advise the unmarried to tie the knot when you cannot unravel your own.
Almost unfailingly, every culture has a collection of wise sayings that offer advice about how to come to terms with life and conduct yourself in day to day affairs. These are called proverbs. And it’s invariably from the family elders that we have them told to us. Heard in childhood, they stay with us for life. Do you, for instance, recall who for the first time told you ‘Two wrongs don’t make one right’ or ‘It’s the crying baby which gets the attention.’
A proverb often conveys profound truth, and in the simplest of words, For example: ‘petha pulla kaapaathataalum, vecha pulla kaapathum – even if your own child doesn’t look after you, the child you sowed (coconut sapling), will.’
My Tamil friends tell me that their stock of proverbs is the best in the world. John Lazarus, I learn, compiled ‘A Dictionary of Tamil Proverbs’. They say no conversation in Tamil Nadu is complete without throwing in a proverb or two. Many other cultures challenge this Tamilian claim for the first position for themselves.
It is, in fact, the proverbs in your mother tongue that always mould your thinking. I’ll, for instance, remember forever my maternal grandmother who had an inexhaustible stock of Punjabi proverbs. Here’s a priceless sample:
Jay jawaria aye jit
Manjian chaar te jawaria ek
Jay jawaria ayeh har
Manji ek te jawariyeh char
If the gambler gets back after winning,
He needs four beds to hop around.
When the gamblers return after losing,
One bed is enough to accommodate four of them.
Passed down for generations through word of mouth, proverbs pack a punch in a single line. ‘Bandar kya jaane adrak ka sawad.’ (‘A monkey doesn’t know the taste of ginger.’ They are simple, crisp and unabashedly truthful. Even if you want to be rude, say it suavely through a proverb. You may hit before your target realizes whom you aimed at.
I recommend you to cultivate the hobby of compiling all the proverbs of at least your culture.
Our old friend Pervez Musharraf, a former military dictator turned President of Pakistan, has returned to his beleaguered land after good four years. It’s not to meet old friends but as he said, “to save Pakistan”. Here, unfortunately, will be stiff competition among saviours because there are others with similar claims as new messiahs-to-be.
Those who have already thrown in their hats in the arena are: the ruling Pakistan People's Party; Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League and Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaaf. General Pervez Musharraf wants now to further muddy – is there really any more scope for it? – the political waters of Pakistan, which his fledgling All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) will try to. Would he succeed in converting the existing triangle into a quadrangle? Well, anything can happen in Pakistan.
My guess is Musharraf will be able to carve a political niche for himself with the help of Altaf Hussain's Muttahida Quami Movement with a slim hold in Sindh where are settled the Mohajirs who – Allah is the witness – are the real Pakistanis who left their hearths and homes in India, the land of Kafirs. That the Momins of Pakistan didn’t really welcome them with open arms is another story. Altaf Hussain himself lives as a political refugee – where else? – in London, the metropolis that has given shelter to refugee celebrities, including Karl Marx.
Musharraf doesn’t want to walk off into the sunset. Not yet. But which dictator does voluntarily? They are wrong who think that marijuana is a stronger intoxicant than the known hallucinogens. The strongest of all has always been – and I bet – will always to be, power. And political power over others is the champagne de champagne. Many a known prophet enjoyed that; and all the imams thereafter.
However, the ex-dictator won’t find political allies waiting to embrace him. As a matter of fact, he has enemies aplenty. There are, for instance, the ultras led by the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan who have vowed to dispatch their best suicide bomber to seek revenge for what he did to Islamists holed up in Islamabad's Lal Masjid and the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was a thorn in Musharraf’s flesh.
If Musharraf is politically cornered, could his former understudy Ashfaq Pervez Kayani come to his rescue? It’s highly unlikely. He has its own problems. And the creditworthiness of all contenders for the political throne is at the lowest ebb.
Musharraf has threats too to reckon with – threats both political and physical. But don’t forget he is a battle-hardened commando. Just wait and watch which way the electoral wind blows in Pakistan.
You know the killjoy specialists called nutritionists who tell us not to enjoy good things of life: this is fattening and that is cholesterol-enhancing et al. All their warnings add up to ‘eat to live, and not live to eat.’ This robs life of what the French who enjoy both food and life, call joie de vivre. All said, that means good wine and sumptuous lunch followed by a siesta and whatever else is enjoyable in life.
Ultimately, for living we need – and nutritionists confirm that – macro nutrients and also micro nutrients. The first group consists of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. All this simply boils down to bread and butter. And that takes care of two B’s out of three that I believe sustain life.
Which is the third B? Before I reveal the name a little bit of high-fluting jargon. We humans are social animals. As such we have to bind ourselves to rigid social codes to kept us safe and alive. All that, however, is indeed constraining. And since we’re constrained most of the time, we need something that, at least on occasion, would let us break free from our biological herd imperative – or at least let us suppress our angst as we enjoyed.
For that we needed the third B i.e., Beer. Scholars disagree – the trouble with them is they always disagree – where was the first discovery of the Third B? Most probably, the first beer was from fermented fruit or may be grain. What after all was Soma Rasa repeatedly referred to in the Vedic hymns. Various different places in the world have been cited as the first. Mesopotamia – near modern Iraq – is generally assigned the honor.
Anthropological studies in Mexico suggest that the ancestral grass of modern maize, teosinte, was very well suited for making beer much less so for making corn flour for bread or tortilla. Thank God for it. First things first.
Have a glass of beer. Thereafter, social interactions are qualitatively different. For discovering the difference try out a simple experiment. Light a bonfire. Sit around it stone sober. Tape record the conversation.
Next day let beer flow as you settle around the bonfire and have a chat. The conversation takes an entirely new dimension. The group’s angst is suddenly quelled and their minds sparkle. Meanwhile, tape the conversation.
The hearts of the diehards will mellow discovering the differences between the tapes. If you’re still unconvinced, recall your first kiss. Somehow the social angst had to be got rid of. And what helps better than a mug of beer for that.
Aren’t you now convinced that the three B’s sustaining life, are Bread, Butter and Beer. There came different versions of the third B – some better some worse: wines and spirits respectively. But all of them are superior to that God-damned American version – the sodas like Coke and Pepsi.
I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting’ killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions. – Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
Images (c) Gettyimages.com
More by : Sakshi
|Very nicely written. The flow of thoughts is smooth, easy and natural !|
|Pakistan is to be saved from Pakistanis. Pakistanis have turned against themselves. 'Pakistan needs people who talk sense and use common sense. The example of Pakistan confirms 'thanatos', the death wish. By the way, what do we make of Markanday Katju's claim that India and Pakistan will unite twenty years hence?|