↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Monday, April 19, 2010

II Mahajirzadeh: Manjhli and Bari

I Mahajirzadeh: Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi - An Introduction
The smell of vapours that arise from the parched roads as water is sprinkled in the late afternoon; the smell of spilled kerosene; the unexpectedly cool cloudy days in mid summer; the dimpled smile of one particular teacher; a blonde bombshell shopping in the local bazaar; the whiff of certain perfume or body fragrance; the passing of a shiny sleek car — these memories are ensconced and permanently etched on our mind.

Mention of a shiny sleek car never fails to remind us of Mahajirzadeh Asadullah Khan.

Haji Sahib — Haji Uncle was our neighbour. He had three daughters: then aged fifteen, sixteen and seventeen. From a distance they looked like triple threats. Once closer, one could distinguish individual characteristics. At that time for reasons that including shyness, age and naivete� we avoided that closeness.

Somehow Mahajirzadeh got friendly with Manjhli. We overheard others speculate about it in the street forums, often inconclusively. Events led to their predestined conclusion, as they were wont to do in the Karachi of those days. But not before he had adopted the pseudonym of Karachvi.

To set the record straight, we had never heard him recite poetry, write poetry or write anything else for that matter. Soon after, he became Manjhli's Ajji. And not too long before he moved in Haji Uncle's house along with his sleek black Pontiac.

Do you also find that our childhood memories are either foggy or selective?

Bachchu Cahacha was the description defying family servant of Haji Uncle. Neither tall nor short. His height and demeanor auto-adjusted to the situation. There was a permanent bent in the shoulder region. The slight hunchback that people in his station in life seem to acquire as a result of some cosmic DNA programming. He must have had a wife. We never saw her. But we did stumble upon the results of his dalliance. His many children in various stages of undress were a familiar sight in the neighbourhood. More on them in the hand car wash segment.

One day we heard Bachchu Chacha tell us that Manjhli had left to meet her Maker. I did not know what it meant then, nor do I remember the funeral. Or maybe we were playing cricket that day. Around that time I do remember seeing BaRi with him when they went out in the evening for the PIDC paan.

I did not like BaRi very much. Every time I played cricket in the street, usually when the big boys had monopolized the cricket ground nearby, I ended up by breaking one of their window panes. No matter what stroke I played, the ball would somehow take a bee line for their glass windows. BaRi would run to Haji Uncle. And then Dad would.....But believe me, her early exit from this temporal abode was not hastened either by the remedial actions of my Dad nor the sigh that escaped from the depth of my heart as a consequence.

Dil se jo baat nikalti hai asaar rakhti hai
par nahiN taqat-e-parwaaz mag'r rakhti hai.

next: III Mahajirzadeh:Choti and the Siami Begum on Monday April 26


Post a Comment

<< Home