One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quetta's changing sense of humor

It is always amusing to read and listen what others write or say about your city. Their narratives give fresh eyes to look at things that are so familiar that we usually ignore. While reading Mahim Mahir's article, "My Great Quetta Adventure", I felt really sad that she started Quetta's description with a "dark joke". She writes, 

"At the Quetta Press Club's cavernous general secretary's room a relaxed senior reporter SZ explains how they actually like to kill people there:

"You see, we have a counter at the airport arrivals lounge," he says with a twinkle in his eye. "And as soon as you enter we check out if you LOOK Punjabi, pull the gun out of the drawer and... " He cocks his thumb and fires his index finger.

"No... no... wait!" interjects another senior reporter SS. "We don't wait till they come into the arrival lounge, we pick them off as soon as they get OFF the plane."

A round of guffaws circles the room."...

"Dark City", where newspapers report the terrorists as "unidentified persons", intelligence agencies most often fail, courts don't find "enough evidences" and people live in terror and confusion, and sense of humor is darkened...
I can't blame her as blasts, target killings and exodus have become the dominant topics and what is more tragic that even jokes of the city have darkened. The reason that I couldn't resist sharing it is my surprise in finding that one thing has not changed for as long as I know it and that is the emotions and expressions of  its people which is still raw and unprocessed. Their feelings are so original that they not only don't mind joking on themselves but also enjoy sharing them with others. I still remember that in a mixed gathering, one of my Baloch friends shared some political jokes that were amusing for all,

"Balochistan National Movement and Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party were part of Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM). Mahmood Khan Achakzai was organizing large rallies in Pashtoon areas and had invited Sardar Attaullah Mengal to deliver speeches in his rallies. People were zealously responding to speeches of their beloved leaders by whistling, throwing their turbans, shoes and caps in air, and waving their shawls. On his return from PkMAP's rallies, it was the turn of Sardar Attaullah to organize rallies and invite Mehmood Khan to deliver speeches but it was hard for him to gather comparable huge crowds as Baloch populations were scattered. So he calls for meeting of tribes, tells the details of his tours and inform the tribes that their honor is at stake so the crowd must be huge and response to the speeches of leaders must be accompanied with loud cheers. Everyone's efforts payoff when, on the day of rally a huge crowd turns out. People were really excited and as per tradition, the first person who goes on  the stage is a Qari. As Qari starts reciting , the crowds starts whistling, throwing their shoes, caps and turbans in the air... "

And he continued,

"A Mir sahib wins election and becomes minister. He shifts to the provincial assembly hostel. Next morning, peon knocks the door and brings in a plate having shaving cream, toothpaste and tissue paper. An hour later he knocks again and asks, "What do you like for breakfast, Sir?" asks peon... "I have already taken my breakfast. By the way, I liked them. They were delicious and had charming aroma..."

Hazaras had the same kinds of jokes that were elaborating their sense of oppression. Usually you would hear,

" A Pashtoon sees a lonely Hazara and stops him, "O Brother, where are you going?"... The Hazara-man replies in fear, "I am just a traveler"... The Pashtoon acts as he is searching his pockets for something, "Wait here for me, I have forgotten my knife. I am going home to bring it and behead you"... A couple hours later, the Pashtoon passes the same spot and sees the Hazara is still sitting there. "You didn't escape?" asks the Pashtoon... "No, I was waiting for you"....replies Hazara...."I was just kidding man"... 

Quetta has changed a lot. As the city blackened by smokes of blasts, the jokes have also blackened and old jokes might even appear offending but my intention was not offending anyone but to feel sorry for changing senses of humor :(

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