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Monday, April 26, 2010

III Mahajirzadeh: Choti and the Siami Begum

I Mahajirzadeh: Mushtaque Ahmed Yusufi - An Introduction
II Mahajirzadeh:Manjhli and BaRi

To this day we are perplexed.

In the mysterious ways of this world, which we could not decipher then, or now, Choti said yes to Mahajirzadah. Even then we had enough sense to know that the wicket was quite unpredictable and unfavourable for any sustained play.

Fast forward a few years and Choti joined the erstwhile two. Haji Uncle's once robust heart could not bear the triple tragedies. It succumbed.

We were then in the no man's land between innocence and know-it-all youth. Mahajirzadeh must be in late thirties. But these incidental departures must have aged him years. He appeared old and forlorn. Old and forlorn but not infirm.

If you visit the PECHS graveyard you will find the five graves, marked for posterity Amma Huzoor, Abba Huzoor, BaRi, Manjhli and Choti in one straight line. In the haphazard spread of the graveyard these symmetrical concrete graves with white marble headstones display an eerie spine chilling logic.

Entombing Haji Uncle's nuclear family, Mahajirzadah embarked on yet another marriage. Ignoring the city, the province, indeed the whole country, he married a thirty four year old Thai of mixed racial origins.

Through the grapevine we heard that among other things and acts, this Siamese lady was a great cook too, especially Thai and Chinese meals. On Biryani, Korma, Tikka etc. her outlook was quite utilitarian---better quality and quantity can be ordered from the specialty restaurants in the city.

For children, or issues as they were referred to locally, he believed in zero population growth. His contempt for hisab kitab --- household finances and budgeting --- was traditional and hereditary. There was almost a religious edge to it. That perhaps accounted for him not counting his buried spouses in the zero population formula.

In the beginning, the Siami Begum was very quite and soft spoken. Also, how were we to know then that in Thailand they did not speak Urdu. But once she learned Urdu, she put to shame those of us whom others blamed for having it as a mother tongue. She acquired a versatility that was unique. She was able to communicate colloquially with folks from any income or age group. In anger and irritation, she was a sight: beholden and be heard.

We do not know about Mahajirzadeh, but when she used to take the servants to task the pollution in the room would overwhelm the pollution in the air.

Siami Begum was diminutive. We have a saying --- gid'dha'tun fit'na'tun --- shorter is terrible or risqu�. We acquired a new insight when we tasted those small green Thai chilies. But that was much later in life.

Mahajirzadeh was very young when one became two, three really. In his contemporaries he was unique, in that he never once claimed to have seen, heard or met any leader, great or small, present or departed, shaheed or ghazi that had made any contribution towards independence or national affairs.

He had no known source of income. Before you rush to any judgment, please bear in mind the times. Afghanistan and drug invasion of Pakistan were still years away. His inheritance must have been sufficient. He never worked a day in his life.

next: IV Mahajirzadeh:The Great Hand Car Wash on Monday May 3


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