Friday, June 17, 2011

Killer Weekend Joke

This weekend, a cousin of mine told me a touching little tale about 'going back'. Recently, a friend of his went back to Kashmir, his first return trip after the great final trip out. June for Pandits has come to be the month of return, as a goddess at Tullamulla awaits. In a couple of years, if thing go great, it will be the month of our Hajj. On return, we too will tell great of our Hajj. But this is that story.

 On this Hajj to Kashmir, my cousin's friend, henceforth to be called KP for the lack of writer's imagination, took the time out to meet two of his childhood friends, let's call them, since the tone is already set, KM1 and KM2. Incredible things followed, naturally, nothing melodramatic, after all we are talking about three men. What followed was a meeting-up of three long lost friends after years of decades. Of course, they had stayed in touch, but now they were all united on the same old turf. They reminisced about old places of their childhood, one of the KMs took out his car and out they went visiting those places. Places deep inside the down-town. KP was happy, if nostalgia is a happy feeling. They roared the town late into the night. Certainly things had improved, he thought and was glad to be with his friends. The jokes and the tales kept coming. Someone always came close to dying in some of those jokes and stories. Somehow, those jokes are the best.

After all the places were exhausted, and while there were sill some anecdotes to be shared by the KMs, they headed back to the hotel where KP was staying. On the way back, on a wide open road tinted yellow by sleepy street lights, the car stopped to pick an extra passenger, KM3 who seemed to be looking for a lift. KMs obviously knew him. Greetings were exchanged among the KMs. KM2 sitting next to the driver, turned back to unlock the lock and open the door. As KM3 bend his back and ducked his neck into the car, KP, who was sitting at the back, appearing to make space, even though there was no real need, moved a little towards the door next to him. In form of a greeting, he shot a nervous smile at the new entrant.

As the car started, KM2 with a wide grin asked KP, 'Batta, zanaan chukha Yemis (Pandit, do you know this guy?)'. KP recalled the faces of his other childhood friends, he thought he remembered, Farhan, Yaseen, Kasif...it was pointless. He couldn't tell, they all looked so young. But before he could replay, even as he was shaking his head sideways, KM2 replied, 'Ye gov Bitte Karantay (This is Bitta Karantay)', and he gave a laugh that was picked up by KM1. What followed is pointless. Here my cousin, who is usually great with words, had some trouble trying to express what his friend must have felt sitting in that car next to the famous butcher of Kashmiri Pandits. To put a logical end to the story, as we laughed, my cousin went on to say that in his defense, Bitta Karantay did say to his friend that he only killed four Kashmiri Pandits back then, rest of it is all fabricated lies. He now makes an honest living working as a recovery agent for some establishment into money making business. The pointlessness of it all.

KP had been asked the wrong question in the wrong kind of situation and perhaps and by the wrong people. And now he was in the wrong kind of  'going back to Kashmir' story. Isn't that is a killer joke in which no one dies?

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