the essence of the carrot is in the root

18Feb07

if there isn’t an old chinese proverb to that effect i’ll be very very surprised.

 i remember old family pictures from long ago when i was a kid before the entire collection was practically destroyed in the rains of 1991 when our storeroom got flooded. rather than the informal lounging relaxed poses common in today’s family portraits and things, each pic was awesome. like the one of my great grandfather in the old lagonda with two dogs standing on each side and two petrified nephews in the back. or the twenty three guys who looked exactly alike in the dark blue sherwanis and rampoori caps.

which brings me to the highly interesting, to me at least, saga of the genealogical line of my family. at some point in time my ancestors migrated from the arabian area, through the generational stopgap in persia and suddenly found themselves to be a bunch of lazy wastrels in the mughal court at delhi. or, as my aunt would put it, shehanshah key darbar mein wizarat ke uhday per faaiz huey. yes i know that sounds cooler, but if you consider that they were advisors to a dynasty that manged to lose the richest kingdom in the world, that doesn’t a very good credential make.

anyways, the fall of the empire in 1857 coincided with the rise of the first guy with the current family nomenclature system (that’s mohammad given name hussain) who was also, incidentally, something of an overachiever. my great-great grandfather, jaffar, somehow managed to escape imprisonment by the british and make the move to lucknow to the court of the nawab of oudh – which is as confusing to me as that sounds – and at the same time became a very prominent trader of jewels and horses, so much so that he ended up marrying the daughter of the nawab, one princess munirunissa (and yes i come from a family of old fashioned names – my two grandmothers were named shareef jehan and askari begum, but an uncle named zill-e-punjatan has to take the cake). well this jaffar dude’s entrepreneurial genes died with him and his only son, asghar, seems to be the guy i take after – a supremely lazy ne’er-do-well who blew away the family fortune and was apparently an incorrigible romantic but its hard to get any such details out of my conservative elders.

in fact these elders are so conservative that in the foreword to an anthology of religious poems an aunt, another aunt writes of how the ghazals written by the first aunt were destroyed because of khandani sharafat as she puts it. that would probably render this blog an absolute blasphemy.

khair. my point was that here i am, practically a prince in my own right, the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son etc etc till at least secen generations back, heir to some sort of confusing dynasty from lucknow, spending yet another night at the office trying to reconcile some lousy financial statements which should have been balanced by the fools i’m auditing. damn you, bahadur shah zafar, for losing the war. i should have been lounging on gao takiyas watching classy mujras and im reduced to looking at emailed pictures of a bald britney spears. and i give you the background because after listening to the daily events el boss‘s life from 2003 to 2006, there is stuff spewing out of my mouth, my inner self crying “i too have a history, you moron! but i live in the freaking present!”

the only good news is that he’s finally gone home and i can work in relative peace. thank god for small mercies. i could, after all, have been suffering from the bubonic plague.

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5 Responses to “the essence of the carrot is in the root”

  1. Lol.But you’re not. You survived so that one day you could sit in your office and stare at numbers.Many people have often have less to live for.There’s a Deep Idea no?:P

    Good read.

  2. the bubonic plague…ud hav 2 be sum poor european dude 2 suffer 4rm that. hahha..poor u. dyu hav any knowledge of ur naniali history? i’m very curious 2 know..

  3. @ ayesha: if this is one of the best of my stuff you ever came across you are suffering from senile dementia. i’m sure you know what causes that 🙂

    @ moizza: thanks for finally dropping by! 🙂 ive been following your blog for ages but the blogger ban seems to prevent me from commenting. keep visiting!

    @ zehra: i have vague memories of nanijan telling me stuff but no really juicy details. your dad, apparently, is the expert.

  4. i have mangolian / Chinese roots, that explains my chinese/malasiayn features and chinky eyes…i go way back to adam and eve in the blame game. had they not diagressed in the chaah of gandom, we would have been loitering in heaven with brooks and streams folwing with milk, not to mention the hot guys…..

  5. @ tanzila: and definitely not to mention the super hot chicks 😛


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