The people of France pray that they may be as brave as a Mantis. I pray too, to be a ‘Deilo’. Deilo is a round shaped thorny bush found in abundance all over Balochistan. It is no secret that ours’ is a rain-scarce land. Its barrenness has found a way in Balochi folklore, oral literature, proverbs, sayings and songs, etc. For instance ” Viva my fatherland, even if you are a dead tree ” or ” Shame on Deilo, how come it blossoms without rain ” . So my prayer is simple, but with a price-tag, a Balochi proverb always attached to Deilo.
You may appreciate that Balochistan has all types of bushes, shrubs, plants and medicinal herbs that, in the process of longing for rain, lose their vigor, charm and color profusely. They may green someday but till such time they remain mortgaged to the uncertain rains and pay a high price.
Deilo doesn’t afford that kind of luxury. It blossoms even at the gentlest touch of humid breeze, in violation of the established blossoming norms. That is why it earns scolds …….for blooming without rain….. for making it, out of the minimum..
I, too, want to make it,…… out of the minimum, like Deilo. I always look for bits of wisdom scattered here and there wherever I go. Certainly, in terms of wisdom, no land is barren nor any land is short of breeze. Well, I don’t need the rain in order to amass pearls of wisdom, what I need is the ” Deilotech “, to help me pick a word, a sentence, an observation or something that carries sense, like the breeze that carries the flowers. By the way flowers are considered symbols of wisdom and compassion widely, particularly in Buddhist philosophy. I too want to decorate my head with flowers, yes flowers of wisdom, if I may say so, made out of minimum, in order to express solidarity with the Deilo and of course with the breeze too.
For instance, once we went to a Japanese theatre in Tokyo. While welcoming the audience, the opening remark was amazing :
” Ladies & Gentlemen, We apologize to those who forgot to bring their imagination along with ”
Let me share with you some ‘Deilo’ flowers gathered from here and there with a view to inspire a few smiles and some thoughts too:
Villagers are poor, but hospitable. Baharo looks after his fields from a temporary hut where he is based till the harvest. Anyone who visits him is offered Kahwa tea and none can leave without it. Whenever I go to my village I compulsorily visit Baharo. It is not the tea only, but his honest, candid opinion on any issue, is worth enjoying, though he is not literate. We were there after a long time and while sipping the tea my
colleague hurled a straight question, ” how is the law and order here now a days”? Baharo abruptly replied ” I don’t know much about it, but the pot in which I make tea for you has been stolen thrice within a couple of months”.
It was extremely hot out there and we, me and the driver, were passing through a mountainous area in a jeep. We found a person going on foot along the rough road and thought to give him a lift. Just to chat, while travelling, I asked the man, who was his leader. He named a gentleman. Then, “what type of a person is he”. He replied “very good”. I asked, in what way. ” There is a thatched-hut cafe beside the road in his village. Whenever we visit him, he tells the owner not to charge anything for the food and drinks as he would pay for us”. Whether he visits you? Yes, annually. What do you give him? A number of goats with a number of sacks of grain, each according to his affordability. Then you are better than him, actually you are good. ” No, he is good “. ” You give him much more than what he spent on you, you are good, not he ” I insisted. With a bit of meditative pause, he replied, ” It is one thing to pass from here in a jeep and another, to live here “.
Then, Mr. Luber was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. We were new comers with no knowledge of Dutch language, so used to seek help.
A poster was often found pasted prominently in Rails, Trams and Buses with the photograph of a hand, pointing a finger towards the passengers, with printed bold words, all in Dutch. I took it as if it says ” Do you have a ticket “. I always wanted to ask someone about it, but for one or another reason postponed it. One evening while returning from the library to the hostel, I found the poster as usual pasted in the Tram but, this time, with some additional bold writing with a marker. It tempted me to inquire from a Dutch co-traveler about both the texts. He translated it for me. ” The printed poster says…. “Beware of pickpockets”….. And the marker writing says….”Lubers are around”.
Invasion of Iraq stirred anti-American protests all over the world. Processions were carried out in almost all capitals, with a great number of young, old and even the children, chanting anti-US slogans. They were holding interesting banners some of them very thoughtful. In one of the processions in Washington, DC, an old lady was carrying a simple banner with small words but big thought:
” Always a bush, Never a tree ” .
Dutch beaches turn into places of fun and enjoyment on the weekends. A number of musicians could be found demonstrating their talents. One of them was quite outstanding.
While playing his Guitar he had left the Guitar case open for coins and contributions. Inside the upper cover he wrote this catchy note:
“No doubt Music cures all ills, but Musician has to pay his bills “
My Dutch Professor came on a visit to Quetta. I took him around to show him the city. On return to the Hotel, I asked him for his impressions about my city.
” I like your traffic, …… in Holland we go by law, here you go by understanding ” .
It was a Ghazal evening with a select elitist audience of Quetta. The singing lady, extremely charming and melodious, enthralled the listeners to ecstasy. While singing Faraz, she literally touched the heights of excellence…… but then, in a bid to elevate her voice to a higher pitch, …… she had to cough. Decency demanded that she should avoid her mic. She did so very gracefully, turned her face to left and coughed in the mic of the musician.
Sometimes a sentence turns immortal. The great Boxer Muhammad Ali was unexpectedly defeated by a much junior and less known challenger named Spinx. Like the masses worldwide, both winner and the loser were absolutely astonished at the outcome of the bout. While facing the press the nervous winner was very brief.
He said it all in a single sentence:
” No doubt Ali is the greatest, but Spinx is the latest “.
A Hygein Expert was delivering a lecture to the workers of a pharmaceutical plant. He emphasized on the need of keeping high standards of cleanliness. While highlighting the subject with complex terminology a worker from among the audience asked, ” Sir, how much cleanliness are you suggesting?
While the expert was still looking for an answer to that complex simple question, the worker came to his rescue.
” Sir, do you mean, if my plate of rice slips out of my hands and falls on the floor, I should just sit down and eat it there “.
Airports of interior Balochistan are not fenced or walled in a strict sense. A good number of people come to watch the arrivals and departures merely for the sake of enjoyment and fun. Sometimes they enthusiastically clap when the plane touches the ground. They clapped also when a “Malang” attired as a mystic with a lot of beeds around his nick arrived to join the spectators. After chanting ambiguous slogans, the Malang demanded to be taken to Karachi free of charge. The airport authorities polity assured him that they would certainly acceded to his request, had the plane been a bus.
Furious and threatening, he declared, ” if refused, the plane will never take off “. The crowd clapped patting him while he repeated the chants.
The plane taxied to the runway and took off. The crowd took on Malang telling him he was a fake one. The shrewd Malang hysterically chanted something and reassured the crowd, ” but it cannot land “.
We were told in a briefing on cultural diversity in Washington that Americans would like to hear that culturally ” America is a melting pot “. Each one in the group made it a point that they would try to appease the hosts by incorporating that sentence in speeches wherever appropriate. Our Sudanese friend, who was a bit cruel with the English, accent-wise, maintained the essence but forgot the words.
Whenever he had a chance to appease, he used to say ” ladies and gentlemen, as you know, America is a boiling pot “.
In a bid to camouflage his complex, my boss, who had made his way up with a little education, used to say ” education is not important”. What he meant was that “experience” was more important than “education”. We used to nod sometime to keep his spirits up. One day he reinforced his argument further,
” Look, in a jungle, on sighting the hunter if a deer runs fast, do you think, it had been to a university “.
George Orwell’s novel 1984 was published much earlier than the
year mentioned on the title. But in 84 it sold like hot cake all over the world. One of the characters of the novel that surpassed it in fame, was the character of “Big Brother”, the notorious dictator, who could see you in the bed and in the bathroom. There was no place for anyone to hide nor there was any room for privacy anywhere in his domain. The character is in vogue today in the discourses of politics of control and allied fields for its symbolism.
On touching the heights of popularity, the people in the West, out of curiosity, wanted to know how he looked like. They devised a technique to recreate the face of Big Brother with the help of a computer. The photographs of all serving dictators of 1984 were given to a computer to juggle out a face to be recognized as the face of Big Brother, thenceforth.
“The face emerged wearing Zia-ul-Haq’s moustach”.
Two students were from Malawi. One was studious, the other, well, he was not at all. There is a famous saying that “if you want to do it you will find a way, if you don’t , you will find an excuse”. He was a master of excuses, one may say. But for all occasions he had an opening
sentence …. “Since I come from Malawi “…… then it was followed by the excuse. His country fellow faced all kinds of remarks, for none of his own fault. He too was fed up with his ways, particularly, the opening utterance.
One day, on not submitting his assignment, he followed his routine…. Since I come from Malawi… his colleague from Malawi interrupted:
” My dear, Since you come from Malawi doesn’t mean you are stupid “.
A classmate from Nigeria made a country presentation followed by questions. Asked ” what is the secret of stability of your country”? “Oil and Democracy”, he confidently replied. In corridors and coffee shop, he used to mock me, for my country was without both. ” Mr. Baloch how do you cope, you neither have democracy nor oil”. That was a fact that I could not deny at all. I merely had a Martial Law and apparently, there no end to it in sight.
Soon Martial Law was proclaimed in Nigeria. He got very upset.
I was sitting one day in the coffee shop, the place where he used to mock me, he entered with a couple of friends. I called him,
“Mr. Kokori come here and salute me”.
“What for “, he laughingly inquired.
I said ” After all, I am your senior “.
It was Peshawar, a medium scale bookshop with a number of attractive titles displayed in such a way that no passing book lover could afford to skip.
” Any books on Anthropology please” ?
” Which apology, Sir ” the salesman curiously inquired.