pappu, buddy, don’t annoy me

20Apr10

the problem is not so much a dearth of substance as a confusion of style. and no i’m not talking about pakistani fashion.

the problem with discussing problems is that you have to start at the beginning – and that is so not my style. nonetheless, one must persevere and strive at all times to attain perfection and this is a relatively easy concession to make along those lines. i stopped writing a few months ago. if centuries from today, in the journey towards civilisation, some publisher decides to compile the complete “works” of xill-e-ilahi, the readers will discover a gap from november 2009 to april 2010, admittedly the biggest break in his (un)prolific writing career. researchers will spend thousands of hours examining the changes in style before and after the gap. historians will spend lifetimes examining the reasons for the break. poets will make veiled references to that period in ballads of unrequited love. sci-fi movies will be made about it, alien abduction will be claimed and crop circles in the same period will be reported. mohammad yousuf will blame it for the horrible tour of australia, afridi will say it made him bite cricket balls and sania mirza will grudgingly concede that that was what drove her to the insanity of accepting shoaib malik. abu dhabi police will claim ignorance but admit that road fatalities went down during the period. raza rabbani will state that it was what actually enabled the passing of the 18th amendment. it will only be after intense research that some humble archivist from smolensk, russia will discover the truth – though he will be rubbished in the media the next day and spend the rest of his life in obscurity swigging vodka and filling out immigration applications to the united states – that i was confused about the style.

you see, fundamentally, i’m a comedian. which, while it may not draw in the girls in truckloads, is not such a bad thing. unfortunately, my subject is quite simply, a guy who’s given up. and it gets confusing. you don’t know if the protagonist is going to come across like eddie murphy in a dostoevsky masterpiece or raskolnikov hobnobbing with galahad threepwood at blandings castle. it’s not what you want to read in a blogpost by yours truly. as such, its more a matter of subjective focus – stressing not the outcome, but the incident. that’s where the smiles lie, and in the end, the ledger of life is simply a balance of smiles earned and smiles spent and everything else is irrelevant, the composite works of sylvia plath notwithstanding.

and that, ladies, gentlemen and guys who go to yoga sessions, is my roundabout way of bringing you to the subject at hand. around a year ago the iceman announced, in a style as filmi as it gets – and it gets very filmi here among us desis – that he had given up smoking and set out on the quest for physical perfection and eternal youth and whatnot and whatnot all for the sake of raised eyebrows which would have been even more appealing if lowered, and looks of disdain which, while they did little to mar the beauty of the face that carried them, might have been better off elsewhere and because the sun was shining, oh happy day; no more troubles and no skies were gray; ever since you said those words to me; oo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo etc, etc.; and he did.

and it cost him his job.

we-ell, not exactly. but he did have to change it, shortly afterwards.

it is pretty generally acknowledged, among those expected to know, that in these dark ages when dicaprio is considered a heart throb, shoaib malik finds brides left, right and centre and smoking is socially unacceptable in most countries – that for a newbie to a workplace, there are few better networking tools than a cigarette. it is also generally accepted that actions are to be judged by intentions and anyone can vouch that i have always had the best of intentions (or excuses, depending on which way you look at it) for whatever i have done. and to cut a long story short it didn’t last very long. now a true desi would have let his hair grow wild, taken to cheap liquor and expensive escorts and started wearing crappy muslin kurtis over dirty jeans, spouting one liners from urdu literature like “na khuda hee mila, na visaal-e-sanam” and listened all night to bollywood oldies by kishore and mukesh. and while i am desi to the hilt, more so in matters of the heart, there is only so much that propriety allows and my eardrums can take. so yes, i do inhale the odd whiff of smoke every now and again – less than i did by simply breathing in karachi. old jeans are fine but i wouldn’t wear muslin to save my life and i quote chirkeen with far more regularity than i do ghalib or faiz. in other words, while i am still mooning about lost love (as ridiculously corny as that may sound) i simply don’t have it in me to try to look like it any more than i normally do look like it.

so that should explain both the prolonged silence and the five o’clock shadow.

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speaking of prolonged silences – and i have to thank everything holy for the media driven irrelevance of sheikh rasheed – much has been made of the quality of my writings after i went silent. criticism qua criticism, i have no objection to. in my day i have been known to criticize and complain with the best of them. indeed, one observer once stated that i was the kind of person who, if you had a bag full of shit, would keep on complaining until you gave me half of it – a charge which i do not normally deem worthy of a response, but as the poet said, where there’s smoke there’s the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.

the problem with criticism though, is that its enjoyment depends almost completely on whether you’re the critic or the subject of critique.

now you have essentially two kinds of authors (further categories being mere subclasses), the ones who get something out of their authoring and merrily author away leaving their readers fuming at every new piece they write – take dawn’s kamran shafi for example with his irritating insistence on calling terrorists “yahoos” and apparent ignorance of the adage that once is funny, twice is stupid and any more is a kick in the pants – and then there’s the type who normally claims to write for “catharsis” or “self-expression” or “setting the personal record straight” or “the public’s entertainment” or “society’s greater good” when all thats on his or her mind is the appreciative update in his or her inbox from comment-reply@wordpress.com.

bloggers, of course, normally fall in the later category. so, for the record, its not nice to send them emails telling them that their anthology amounts to “little more than sheer verbal buffoonery with little resemblance to facts from a patently racist [expletive deleted] neecumpoop“. it is not nice not because it is offensively phrased or in any way inaccurate but because it reflects that the writer spent a night in a french hotel whispering endearments into roget’s ears begging him to come up with a structurally correct sentence to voice the writer’s feelings. not to put too fine a point on it, its supposed to be nincompoop not neecumpoop. and while i admit that its one of the harder words in english to pronounce, let alone spell, from one critic to another – a misspelt insult is no insult at all. also, the last time i heard the word was in 1986 when i was still in kindergarten and overheard two teachers discussing the headmistress, so thank you for refreshing my memory.

the rest of the charge is one i have never attempted to dispute (other than the deleted expletive) which pretty much takes away your thunder. i appreciate your calling a spade a spade, but whats the point when the spade has never claimed to be a trowel? it might be clever to call a hoe a ‘ho, if you follow my drift, but to a comic writer who specializes in mocking cultures? i’m missing the angle here.

____________________________________________

other earth shaking developments during the time i was away include 5 major earthquakes, a volcano and me buying a car which has made the guiness book of world records as the first passat to be christened foxy.

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i really think i should give this up permanently. if i can’t write, i can’t.

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7 Responses to “pappu, buddy, don’t annoy me”

  1. 1 Mystic

    Maybe you need some more till 4am red bull drinking and female like bitching sessions 😛

  2. maybe you need to focus on your wedding 🙂 kuch din ke liay to radio silence maintain kero.

  3. i bet whoever sent you that email just did it to get you to write a post! chaa gaya hai larka (ya larki) with his (her) reverse psychology shit! 😀

  4. 4 UTP

    whenever “aamad” ho… write…don’t wait for anything…just come online and write it out…

  5. longtime!

  6. 6 knicq

    Loved the post, but then I say that every time I come visiting. I should warn you though – reading your blog makes me want to go write something myself, but fortunately for all concerned, which is you and yours truly, I seem to have forgotten the password to my blog.

    “and while i admit that its one of the harder words in english to pronounce, let alone spell, from one critic to another – a misspelt insult is no insult at all’ – made my day!

  7. 7 skzworldofdreams

    🙂 Nope. You def. should not give up writing.
    And gaari mubarak ho, frosty! 😀 Yep…I is back…for now. 🙂


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