There is a relatively obscure monthly publication, The Wag (www.thewagonline.com), emanating from New Rochelle, New York. Its April issue carries a story by Seema Boesky about a Manhattan apartment which she sold either at the end of 2006 or early in 2007 (she is not specific). The story is entitled The Cursed Apartment and opens up “I wrote an article last year about the complications of selling my New York City apartment.”
The apartment in question was a penthouse which was “pristine, beautifully furnished, with panoramic views overlooking the East River.” Why ‘cursed’? Because, “my first buyer dropped dead at the closing. The second, with contract in hand, bolted down 47 flights of stairs never to be heard from again. Why? My building is the one New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle flew an airplane into, tragically crashing it five floors below my apartment – where my buyer was signing our contract.”
Boesky’s real estate broker felt that the two tragedies in a short period of time indicated that the apartment’s ‘karma’ was questionable and suggested that efforts be made to get rid of it pronto. Within a couple of months came some more potential buyers who wished to remain anonymous. For the early meetings the husband came alone. “He was charming, attractive, in his 50s, and extremely chatty. He mentioned that this was their first home in New York, and that his wife was a workaholic who travelled constantly.”
On the fourth meeting, came time to meet the wife, the one who made the decisions and who wanted to also explore the possibility of purchasing some of the apartment’s 18th century antique furnishings. “A stunning woman with an engaging smile rang my doorbell. She took a full tour, including closets, and was very complimentary.” Seeing photographs of Boesky’s children she remarked that her children were in school elsewhere so would not be living in the apartment. One of her observations was that the ‘feng shui’, most important to her, was not quite right and that she would be changing the location of the entry doors.
A few days later, an acceptable offer was made by the couple, the expensive antique furniture not included as the wife said that reproductions would suit her fine. The closing was quick and easy, and Boesky went off to her home in Westchester happily thinking how silly the broker was to believe that the apartment was jinxed.
“One year later, newspaper headlines proved her right after all, and the sale has left me feeling sad ever since. My buyer? Benazir Bhutto.”
Thus does karma, or feng shui, or kismet – call it what you will – play games with us mere mortals. A year ago, only in his wildest dreams could Asif Zardari have aspired to be where he now is? In mythological terms, it has been through the intervention of the three Parcae Fates – Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos – who the Greeks and Romans termed the cruel fates who paid no regard to the wishes of anyone and arbitrarily controlled the birth, life and death of all human beings.
Clotho presides over birth and drew from her distaff the thread of life. Lachesis spins life’s thread and determines its length, and Atropos, the eldest, severs the thread of life.
To these three fates, arbiters of destiny, does Zardari owe the fact that he is now the man who calls the shots in Pakistan. And via him, come many who must thank not their lucky stars but Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos for having been shot into positions they would not have occupied had the three fates not intervened. Of these many, Yousaf Raza Gillani is the main player who could never have made it into the prime ministerial mansion had things turned out to be as planned by the mortals who rule in the US of A.
Mr Gillani should buck up, and forget the higher and mightier part of politics and get on with the nitty gritty. First of all, with the intent to see that the military is put in its rightful and proper place, get rid of the dozen or so serving military officers that perpetually lurk over his shoulders and even live within the premises of his fancy hacienda-style residence. He does not need them. There are umpteen civilians who could do their jobs – if they have any jobs to do other than report back to their headquarters on happenings in the prime ministerial circles.
He could then get on with sorting out the ministries that litter the country – a goodly number of them should go, the Information Ministry being the first to get the hatchet job. He might also have a look at the plight of the people of Pakistan. Even if he is not economically endowed he can help by taking on some of the black laws that blight the statute books – the Hudood Ordinances and the blasphemy laws being but two examples. There is masses he could do if he has the will. He could also occasionally smile for the cameras.
Courtesy: The Nation, 20/4/2008