Bangali Baba to the rescue — Ejaz Haider

Let no one give me some BS about not letting Mirpur have an airport because it is part of a disputed territory. Wasn’t it so easy to drown the old Mirpur, also in disputed territory, in order for much of north Pakistan to get power supply?
I was turning left from GT Road towards Mirpur when I came upon the ad about the “Bangali Baba” who promises to cure all types of zanana aur mardana posheeda amraaz. Posheeda, as the term implies, are all those things that must be kept hidden except, evidently, from Bangali Babas.

For the uninitiated, let me give the background to what such an ad is generally about, though my task be arduous and not very pleasant given the nature of this paper, which friend KH describes as a “family paper”.

When posheeda qualifies amraaz (plural of marz meaning ailment), it always refers to those body parts and their (mal)functioning that are kept hidden (or so we shall assume for the sake of the argument) even by a string bikini in the case of women and, in the case of men, briefs, which only nuts can wear and I intend no pun here.

Among those ailments listed for men and which the Bangali Baba specialised in curing was sur’at-e anzaal which is the Arabised way of referring to premature ejaculation, though sur’at literally means “quick”. The Baba advised all men suffering from quick release to come to his “kleenuck” and witness his miracle. The only greater miracle in the Baba’s kitty was his ability to cure sterile women.

I passed by, chuckling about such ads to Jay who seemed more concerned about getting to Mirpur and lunching than the Baba’s expertise in hidden diseases or the problem of quick release.

Passing by the road that turns left uphill towards Baral Colony, which houses the Mangla Corps HQ, informed me of how much times had changed. Having spent time in that cantonment years ago it seemed odd (ditto for Jhelum and Kharian) to see tell-tale signs of security against unwanted intruders, especially the type that blow themselves up to make a point. That this is the nature of debate now in this part of the world is of course a problem that even Bangali Baba would be hard pressed to cure.

The road to Mirpur has deteriorated; the ugly corrugated iron sheets they have installed on the road that used to overlook the powerhouse, and which now block that beautiful sight, are an eyesore.

The winding approach to Mirpur seemed as familiar as when I lived there as a child, though the main artery is now a dual-carriage, thanks, I am told, to Barrister Sultan Mahmood.

Mirpur has changed in some ways and remained unchanged in others. The house we lived in in the Officers Colony looked the same, though much smaller; the roads have since been paved and cars can actually go right up from the lane on the nearside of the SSP’s House.

On the main artery a couple of hotels like Regency and Jabeer have come up but despite the attempt at high hoteliering and cost, they remain desi for the most part.

But the one thing that could do much for Mirpur is still being arbitrarily denied its citizens — an airport. The reason is simple: were Mirpur to get an airport, Islamabad International, the hovel with a grand appellation, would lose much of its air traffic. Most Pakistani expats in England and elsewhere in Europe, including Norway belong to Mirpur and Gujrat respectively. An airport in Mirpur would make it convenient for them to arrive in Mirpur rather than travelling to that city and Gujrat and adjoining areas from Islamabad.

And, please, know as I do these matters, let no one give me some BS about not letting Mirpur have an airport because it is part of a disputed territory. Wasn’t it so easy to drown the old Mirpur, also in disputed territory, in order for much of north Pakistan to get power supply?

I am a Pakistani, though I hail from Forward Kahuta in Azad Kashmir. The only reason Mirpur hasn’t got an airport, and AJK is denied much else, is because our sentiments for Kashmir and its people are trounced by petty interests. But that’s another story whose narration someday I shall leave to the knowledge and eloquence of KH.

On our way back, the Blackberry beeped. The PPP Media Cell had sent an Independence Day message from Mr Asif Ali Zardari. I looked at the date, July 13. The dateline on the message said August 13! PR stands for both press release and premature release.

I wrote back: “Congrats! The PPP media cell is not only working hard, it is also, as they say, ahead of everyone and the times. That is very reassuring! Cheers.”

About the same time I saw the Bangali Baba ad again and the certified cure for sur’at-e anzaal. The Blackberry beeped again, another mail from the PPP Media Cell: “Dear All: PPP Co-Chairman Independence Day message sent a short while ago may please be withheld. It is too early [I could see Bangali Baba nod in agreement]. I thought today is 13th August [a month in advance is too early even for a teenager on his first outing]. Inconvenience caused is regretted. Best regards, FB.”

I replied: “It’s always great to be ahead of the curve Babar sb! And it caused no inconvenience. Thanx for making me laugh in these troubled times! Cheers, Ejaz.”

A couple of things are clear. One, the PPP co-chairman does not write his own messages — hell, he doesn’t even know when one such message is to be sent or is being sent. Can we please not have him send out these messages because he clearly doesn’t mean them? I can assure him and his party, including his media cell that I will continue to sleep peacefully without them messages.

Two, Bangali Baba needs to get out of Machine Mohalla Jhelum and look north to a city in the foothills of Margalla. He could leave everything else and just focus on curing sur’at-e anzaal. He could make it big. It’s all about product positioning anyway.

Finally, let me apologise to KH. His letter on the PPP communiqué said: “Here is one case of premature release that can be safely reported in a family newspaper.” I am not so sure, Sir ji!

Ejaz Haider is Consulting Editor of The Friday Times and Op-Ed Editor of Daily Times. He can be reached at sapper@dailytimes.com.pk

Source: Daily times, 20/7/2008

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