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TASHREEF LAANE KA SHUKRIA (ii)

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Apart from Mr. GaRbaR, all the other characters are real and lived the scenes described here.

The Roman version is at the end.

a sequence to “TASHREEF LANE KA SHUKRIA (I) at

https://shakilakhtar.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/tashreef-lane-ka-shukria-i/

TASHREEF LAANE KA SHUKRIA (ii)

وہ ایک اچھے شاعر تھے – مراد علی  فکر صاحب –

ایک مقامی ہوٹل میں خاموشی سے چاۓ پینے کی  کوشش کر رہے تھے اور چاۓ پینا دوبھر ہو رہا تھا-

گھر سے سودا لینے کے لئے نکلے تو ہوٹل میں گھس گئے کہ شاید یہاں بیٹھے لوگ انکی شاعری سننے کی فرمایش کریں- لیکن یہ کیا؟ سامنے بیٹھا ہوا لڈ ن تو بس شروع ہی ہو گیا -اس کو فکر صاحب سے   الله واسطے کا بیر تھا- انھیں تنگ کرنے کا کوئی موقع ہاتھ سے نہیں جانے دیتا تھا- آج تو اس نے حد ہی کر دی – کہنے لگا،” مجھے کوئی فکر نہیں- فکر کی تو ماں کی ……..”

الو خاں ٹھیکی  والے کا یہ جوان اور خوبرو بیٹا عرصے سے دماغی خلل میں مبتلا تھا – بہوت علاج کرایا مسجد میں دعائیں کرایں ،لیکن وہ ایسا ہی رہا – پورا پاگل بھی نہیں تھا – بس صبح سے شام تک پھرتا رہتا ، آنے جانے والوں سے یا خود سے بے مطلب کلام کرتا ، ہوٹل میں اپنے مصاحبوں کے ساتھ وقت گزارتا – ذرا ذرا سی بات پر مرنے مارنے پر اتر آتا – اور فکر صاحب کو تنگ کرنا اسکا محبوب مشغلہ تھا-

ایک بار سردیوں کی شام جب دکانیں بند ہو گئیں اور دکانوں کے تختوں پر جا بجا اوباش لڑکے خش گپیوں میں مشغول تھے، ایک طرف سے آواز آیی ،
“جو دے اسکا بھی بھلا ، جو نہ دے اسکا بھی بھلا ٹھک ،ٹھک، ٹھک”
“کوئی اللہ کا بندہ ایک بیڑی پلوا دے ،ٹھک،ٹھک”
یہ حافظ جی تھے- اپنی لاٹھی ٹھک ٹھکا تے ہوئے ننگے پاؤں اس سردی میں گیلی سڑک  پر ایک طرف آہستہ آہستہ چلے جا رہے تھے – بوندہ باندی ہو رہی تھی -اندھیرے کا راج تھا اور کمیٹی کے کھمبوں سے کمزور اور پیلی روشنی چھٹک رہی تھی-
لڈن نے ایک لڑکے کو اکنی دی کہ جا  کر حافظ جی کی جیب میں ڈا ل دے  اور جیب  سے ایک بیڑی  نکا ل لاے – دوکانیں بند تھیں اور بیڑی سگریٹ ختم ہو گئی تھیں – تجربے سے انھیں معلوم تھا ک حافظ جی کس جیب  میں بھجوایی گئی  بیڑی رکھتے ہیں –

لڑکے کے ہاتھوں کو محسوس کر کے حافظ جی نے دعائیں دینا شروع کر دیں – اور اسکے جانے کے بعد جیب ٹٹولی تو پایا کہ اکنی تو تھی لیکن اکلوتی بیڑی غایب تھی- دعائیں اب مغلذات میں بدل گئیں – انکا آخر_شب بیڑی کا شغل خطرے میں پڑ گیا تھا- ہرچند کہ ایک آنے میں بیس بیڑیاں ملتی تھیں لیکن رات کے وقت آخری بیڑی کی قیمت وہ ہی جانتا ہے جو پیتا ہے-

ادھر لڈن نے بیڑی جلائی اور مستی میں کش لیتا ہوا سڑک پر آ گیا – بوندا باندی تو ہو رہی تھی ، ایک بوند تاک کر اسکی جلتی بیڑی کو بجھا گئی – سردیوں کی بوندیں بڑی اور بھاری ہوتی ہیں – اب جو لڈن نے  اس کمبخت بوند کو گالیاں دینا شروع کیا ہے تو دیتا ہی گیا – اس سالی بوند کو ساری دنیا میں ایک یہ ہی جگہ رہ گئی تھی ، میری بیڑی کا جلتا ہوا کنارہ؟ اس کی تو ماں کی ….گھنٹوں وہ بس اسی پر لگا رہا –

حافظ جی جا چکے تھے- عاصم صاحب نہ جانے کہاں ے سے آ نکلے- معلوم کرنے پر لڑکوں نے قصّہ سنا دیا – وہ بولے ،”یہ تو بڑی گڑبڑ ہو گئی – وہ بوند بڑی ہی گڑبڑ ہو گی – حافظ جی کے ساتھ بھی بڑی گڑبڑ کی تم لوگوں نے “- انہوں نے لڈن کو ایک بیڑی پیش کی تو وہ ٹھنڈا ہوا –

یہ ہی لڈن آج فکر صاحب کو ایک طرح سے لتاڑ رہا تھا- مجھے فکر کی کیا ضرورت – مجھے کسی بات کی فکر نہیں – میں فکر پر ہزار لعنت بھیجتا ہوں – فکر کی بہن ……… فکر کی ماں ……….

اچانک فکر صاحب اٹھ گئے- انسے اور نہ سنا گیا – آدھی چاۓ گلاس میں اب بھی رہ گئی تھی اور ٹھنڈی ہو گئی تھی- ہوٹل کے لڑکے نے گلاس اٹھا کر غٹا غٹ ایک ہی سانس میں وہ ٹھنڈی چاۓ پی ڈالی اور جاتے ہوئے فکر صاحب کو دیکھا ، پھر کاؤنٹر پر کھڑے مالک کو دیکھا- ہوٹل کا مالک ریاض سب دیکھ اور سن رہا تھا – اس نے لڑکے کو اشارہ کیا: کوئی بات نہیں- فکر صاحب پیسے بعد میں دے دیں گے- جانے دو-

باہر سیڑھیوں پر عاصم صاحب مل گئے-

“خیریت ہے؟ آپ اتنے گھبراۓ ہوئے کیوں ہیں – کوئی گڑبڑ ہو گئی ؟”

“اندر لڈن بیٹھا ہے اور مجھے فکر که که کر صلواتیں سنا رہا ہے”

“وہ تو بہوت گڑبڑ آدمی ہے- “

عاصم صاحب انکے ساتھ واپس لوٹ گئے اور کہا،” چلئے میں بھی آپ کے ساتھ چلتا ہوں – آپ کے گھر کی چاۓ بہوت اچھی ہوتی ہے-“

ایسا لگا عاصم صاحب بھی لڈن سے بچ کر نکلنا چاہ رہے تھے –

مرا د علی فکر نے سبزی کی دکان پر رک کر سبزی والے سے کہا ،”بھیا ، یہ دوانی لو اور تھیلے میں ڈیڑھ پاؤ آلو اور ایک پاؤ بیگن ڈال دو -“

“اس میں تو ایک ایک پاؤ ہی آئیں گے، آلو اور بیگن -” اس نے دوانی لیتے ہوئے کہا-

“لیکن میری بیوی نے تو یہ ہی کہا تھا-“

عاصم صاحب بیچ میں بولے،”بھاؤ تاؤ میں گڑبڑ کرنا ان لوگوں کا کام ہے-“

“دیکھیں گڑبڑ صاحب، آپ کو دیکھ کر ہم بھاؤ بھول جاتے ہیں اور تاؤ آ جاتا ہے – آپ خود تو  سبزی اس کنجڑے سے لیتے ہیں جو خراب اور باسی سبزی سستی بیچتا ہے”

” ہم کو سکھاتے ہو بھاؤ تاؤ ؟ ابھی تمہارے اس گاہک کو کھینچ کر لے جاؤں گا – اور تم یہ گڑبڑ باتیں کیوں کرتے ہو؟ ہم جہاں سے بھی خریدیں -“

فکر صاحب نے  مصالحتا ” کہا ،”ٹھیک ہے، ایک ایک ہی پاؤ دے دو- اور تھوڑا سا ہرا دھنیا اور دو تین ہری مرچ تو تم دیتے ہی ہو ،ساتھ میں “

“اب بیگن آلو میں ہر دھنیا کون ڈالتا ہے صاحب- ویسے بھی سردیاں شروع ہیں اور ہرا دھنیا بہوت  مہنگا ہے – اچھا لیجئے میں مرچ ڈال دیتا ہوں -” اس نے تھیلے میں آلو بیگن کے ساتھ دو تین مرچیں ڈالیں –

عاصم صاحب نے کچھ کہنا چاہا تو فکر نے ہاتھ سے روکا اور تھیلا لے کر آگے بڑھ گئے – عاصم صاحب چپکے چپکے چلتے رہے اور کہنے لگے،”آپ کہتے تو کہ دھنیے کی چٹنی اچھی بنتی ہے- اس طرح تو یہ لوگ ہمیشہ گڑبڑ کریں گے-“

جلد ہی گھر آ گیا اور فکر صاحب اندر چلے گئے- جب لوٹے تو انکے ہاتھوں میں دو اسٹول تھے- ایک پر خود ٹک  گئے اور دوسرے پر عاصم – اندر سے آواز آئی تو یہ چاۓ لے آے – ایک پیالی چاۓ پرچ میں رکھی تھی- عاصم صاحب پیالی لیتے ہوئے بولے،” اور آپ کی چاۓ ؟”

“میں ابھی ابھی ہوٹل سے پی کر آیا ہوں اور ذائقہ ابھی بھی تازہ ہے- ” لڈن کی بد تمیزی کو ذائقہ کہتے ہوئے وہ ذرا غمگین ہو گئے –

“یہ گڑبڑ ہم سے نہیں ہو گی کہ ہم اکیلے ہی چاۓ پئیں -” عاصم  صاحب نے پرچ میں دو گھونٹ چاۓ ڈال کر انہیں دی اور خود پیالی سے سڑپ سڑپ کر پینے لگے –

“یہ غزل مجھے خاص کر پسند ہے – رات نیند نہیں آ رہی تھی – جب غزل مکمل ہوئی تو گہری نیند سو گیا -” فکر چاۓ ختم کر کے بولے-

“اب یہ اس آدھی پیالی چاۓ کا معاوضہ وصول کرے گا ، اپنی گڑبڑ شاعری سنا سنا کر” عاصم  صاحب نے دل میں سوچا- اور بلند آواز میں کہا،” مجھے ایک ضروری کام یاد آ گیا ہے – غزل پھر سہی -“

“عرض کیا ہے” -“آپ کا زیادہ وقت نہیں لوں گا”

“آپ کی بھابی کی طبیعت ذرا گڑبڑ ہے – وقت پر نہ پہونچا تو گڑبڑ ہو جائے گی”

“بس دو شعر سن لیجئے -“

“ارشاد”، کھڑے ہوتے ہوئے کہا-

“آپ تشریف تو رکھئے ” فکر صاحب نے اسٹول کی طرف اشارہ کرتے ہوئے کہا-

“جناب میں سن رہا ہوں – آپ ارشاد کیجئے “- وہ کھڑے رہے –

“عرض کیا ہے، رات کالی ہے اسے آپ کی زلفیں کہوں – ہاتھ انگڑائی کو اٹھیں انھیں شاخیں کہوں “

“واہ واہ – برگد کی یا امرود کی؟” عاصم صاحب شوخی سے بولے –

دوسرا شعر ہے- ” چلیے مانا کہ ہماری عرض ذ را لمبی ہے –

 زندگی کے چار دن ہیں میں انہیں راتیں کہوں “

 عاصم صاحب چہرے پر کرب لاتے ہوئے گویا ہوئے -” پہلے مصرعے میں وزن گڑبڑ ہے – ‘کہ’ کو ہٹا کر پڑھیں -“

 “چلئے مانا ہماری عرض ذ را لمبی ہے” فکر صاحب نے مشورہ مان لیا –

عاصم  صاحب نے پھر کہا -” دوسرا مصرع یوں ٹھیک ہو گا، آپ خاموش رہیں اور میں اسے باتیں کہوں “

“نہیں میرا  مصرع اچھا ہے” انہوں  نے عاصم صاحب کی تیزی سے دور ہوتی ہوئی پیٹھ کو مخاطب کیا ” تشریف لانے کا شکریہ -“

بعد میں انہوں نے عاصم صاحب کے  مصرعے کو بھی اپنا لیا –

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TASHREEF LANE KA SHUKRIA (ii)

Woh ek achhe shaayer the. Muraad Ali Fikr.

Ek muqami hotel mein khaamoshi se chai peene ki koshish kar rahe the aur chai peena dobhar ho raha tha. Ghar se sauda lene ke liye nikle to hotel mein ghus gaye k shayed yahan baithe log unki shayri sunne ki farmayesh Karen. Lekin yeh kya. Samne baitha hua Laddan to bas shuroo hi hogaya. Us ko Fikr sahib se Allah waaste ka bair tha. Unhein tang karne ka koi mauqa hath se nahin jane deta tha. Aaj to us ne had hi kar di. Kahne laga mujhe koi fikr nahin. Fikr ki to maaN ki ……

Alloo Khan theki waale ka yeh jawaan aur khoobroo beta arse se dimaghi khalal mein mubtila tha. Bahot ilaj karaya, masjid mein duayein karayin, lekin who bas ayesa hi raha. Poora pagal bhi nahin tha. Bas subha se sham tak phirta rahta, aane jane walon se ya khud se be matlab kalaam karta, hotel mein apne musahebon ke sath waqt guzarta. Zara zara si bat par marne marne par utar aata aur Fikr sahib ko tang karma uska mahboob mashghala tha.

Ek baar sardion ki shaam jab dukanen band ho gayeen aur dukanon ke takhton par ja baja baithe obaash ladke khushgappion mein mashghool the to ek taraf se awaz aayi,

“Jo de us ka bhi bhala, jo na de us ka bhi bhala, thak, thak, thak”

“Koi Allah ka banda ek bidi pilwa de, thak, thak…..”

Yeh Hafiz Ji the, apni laathi khatkate nange paaon is sardi mein geeli sadak par ek taraf aahista aahista chale ja rahe the. Boonda baandi ho rahi thi. Andhere ka raaj tha aur committee ke khamboN se kamzor aur peeli roshni chatak rhi thi. Laddan ne ek ladke ko ikanni di ke jakar Hafiz ji ki jeb mein daal de aur jeb se ek bidi nikal laye. Dukanen band theeN aur bidi cigarette khatm ho gayi  thi.Tajarbe se unhen maloom tha k Hafiz ji kis jeb mein bhjwayi hui bidi rakhte hain. Ladke ke haton ko mahsoos karke Hafiz ji ne duayen dena shuroo kar deen aur uske jaane ke baad jeb tatoli to paya ke ikanni to thi lekin iklauti bidi ghayeb thi. Duaayen ab mughallezaat mein badal gayin. Unka aakhr e shab bidi ka shughal khatre mein pad gaya tha.Haarchand k ek aane mein bees biDiyan milti thi, lekin rat ke waqt, sardi mein akhri biDi ki qeemat woh hi janta hai jo peeta hai.

Udhar Laddan ne bidi jalayi aur masti meiN kash leta hua sadak par aa gaya. Boonda baandi to ho rahi thi, ek boond taak kar us ki jalti bidi ko bujha gayi. Sardion ki boondein badi aur bhaari hoti haiN. Ab jo Laddan ne us kambakht boond ko galiaN dena shuroo kiya hai to deta hi gaya. Is Sali boond ko saari duniya mein ek yahi jagh rah gayi thi, meri bidi ka jalta hua kinara? Is ki to maaN ki……….. ghantoN bas who isi par laga raha, Hafiz ji ja chuke the. Aasim sahib na jaane kahaN se aa nikle. Maloon karne par ladkon ne sara qissa suna dia. Woh bole “yeh to badi gadbad ho gayi. Woh boond badi hi gadbad ho gi . Hafiz ji ke saath bhi bahot gadbad ki tum logon ne.” Unhoon ne Laddan ko ek bidi pesh ki to woh thanda hua.

Yehi Laddan aaj Fikr sahib ko ek tarah se lataaD raha tha. Mujhe fikr ki kya zaroorat, mujhe kisi baat ki fikr nahin hai, mein fikr par hazar lanat bhejta hoon, fikr ki bahen,….. Fikr ki maan……

Achanak Fikr sahib uth gaye. Unse aur na suna gaya. Aadhi chaye gilaas mein ab bhi rah gayi thi aur thandi ho gayi thi. Hotel ke ladke ne gilaas utha kar ghata ghat ek hi sans mein who thandi chaye pee dali aur jate hue Fikr sahib ko dekha, phir counter per khade maalik ko dekha. Hotel ka maalik Riaz sab dekh aur sun raha tha. Usne ladke ko ishaara kiya: koi baat nahin, Fikr sahib paise baad mein de den ge, jaane do.

Baahar seediyon par Asim sahib mil gaye. “Khairat hai? Aap itne ghabraye hue kyoon hain? Koi gad bad ho gayi?”

“Andar Laddan baitha hai aur mujhe fikr kah kah kar salawatein suna raha hai”

“woh to bahot gad bad aadmi hai” woh un ke saath wapas laot gaye aur kaha,”chaliye main bhi aap ke saath chalta huN. Aap ke ghar ki chai bahot achhi hoti hai” Aisa laga Asim sahib bhi Laddan se bach kar chalna chaah rahe the.

Muraad Ali Fikr ne sabzi ki dukan par ruk kar sabzi wale se kaha,”Bhayya yeh duanni lo aur thaile mein derh pao aaloo aur ek pao baigan daal do”.

“Is mein to ek ek pao hi ayen ge aaloo aur baigan.” Us ne duanni lete hue kaha.

“lekin meri biwi ne to yeh hi kaha tha”

Asim sahib beech mein bole,” bhaao taao mein gad bad karma in logon ka kaam hai”

“DekheN gad bad sahib, aap ko dekh kar ham bhaao bhool jaate hain aur taao aa jata hai. Aap khud to sabzi us kunjde se lete hain jo kharaab aur baasi sabzi sasti bechta hai.”

“Ham ko sikhaate ho bhao tao. Abhi tumhare is gaahak ko kheench kar le jaoon ga. Aur yeh tum gad bad batien kyoon karte ho. Ham jahan se bhi khareedeN.”

Fikr sahib ne musalehatan kaha,” Theek hai ek ek hi pao de do, Aur thoda sa hara dhaniya aur do teen hari mirch to tum dete hi ho, saath mein”.

“Ab baigan aalo mein hara dhaniya kaun dalta hai sahib. Waise bhi sardiyan shuroo hain aur hara dhaniya bahot mahnga hai. Achha lijiye hari mirch dal deta hoon” Usne thaile mein aalo baigan ke saath do-teen mirchen daliN.

Asim sahib ne kuchh kahna chaha to Fikr ne haath se roka aur thaila lekar aage barh gaye. Asim sahib chipke chipke chalet rahe aur kahne lage, “aap kahte to k dhaniya ki chatni achhi banti hai. Is tarah to yeh log hamesha gad bad Karen ge”.

Jald hi ghar aa gaya aur Fikr sahib andar chale gaye. Jab laute to unke haath mein do stool the. Ek par khud tik gaye aur doosre par Asim. Andar se awaz aayi to yeh chaaye le aye. Ek piyali chaaye pirach mein rakhi thi. Asim sahib piyali lete hue bole,       “Aur aap ki chaaye?”

“Main abhi abhi hotel se pi kar aya huN, aur zaeqa abhi bhi taaza hai”  Laddan ki bad tameezi ko zaeqa kahate hue who zara ghamgeen ho gaye.

“Yeh gad bad mujh se nahin ho gi ke ham akele hi chaaye piyeN” Asim sahib ne pirach mein do ghoont chaaye daal kar unhen di aur khud piyali se suDap suDap kar peene laage.”

“Yeh ghazal mujhe khas taur par pasand hai. Raat neend nahin aa rahi thi. Jab ghazal mukammal hui to gahree neend so gaya.” Fikr chaaye khatm kar ke bole.

“Ab yeh is aadhi piyali chaye ka muawza wasoole ga, apni gad bad shayri suna suna kar” Asim sahib ne dil mein socha aur buland awaaz mein kaha,” mujhe ek zaroori kaam yad aa gaya hai. Gazal phir sahi.”

“Arz kiya hai,” “aap ka ziadah waqt nahiN loon ga”

“aap ki bhabhi ki tabiyat zara gad bad hai. Waqt pe na pahoncha to gad bad ho jaye gi”

“bas do sher sun lijiye”

“Irshad”, khare hote hue kaha

“Aap tashreef to rakhye”, Fikr sahib ne stool ki taraf ishara karte hue kaha.

“Janab main sun raha hun. Aap irshad kijiye”, who khaDe rahe.

Arz kiya hai,“raat kaali hai ise aap ki zulfeN kahoooN

“haath angDaayi ko uthen unheN shaakhen kahooN.”

“wah wah. bargad ki ya amrood ki?” Asim sahib shokhi se bole.

“doosra sher hai,” “chaliye maana ke hamari arz zara lambi hai”

“chaliye maana ke hamari arz zara lambi hai,

zindagi ke char din hain main unheiN raaten kahooN.

Asim sahib chehre par karb late hue goya hue,“Pahle misre mein wazan gadbad hai. Ke ko hata kar padheN”

“chaliye maana hamari arz zara lambi kai”, Fikr sahib ne mashwara maan liya.

Asim sahib ne phir kaha, “doosra misra yoon theek hoga”, “aap khamosh rahein aur main ise baaten kahooN.”

“Nahin mera misra achha hai.” Unhoon ne Asim sahib ki tezi se door hoti hui peeth ko mukhatib kiya. “Tashreef lane ka shukria”.

Baad mein unhoon ne Asim sahib ka misra bhi apnaa liya.

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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in adab and literature, LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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TASHREEF LANE KA SHUKRIA (I)

“This should have been part IV of my series of posts,”SHAHJAHANPUR LIFE i,ii,iii

 It is different in that it features a unique character called Mr. gaRbaR and it is in Urdu. This is as it was in the 50’s in Shahjahanpur. Roman part is at the end

ہمارے موحلے میں عاصم صا حب بڑی ہی دلچسپی کا سامان مہیا کرتے تھے  –  لفظ ‘گڑبڑ’ کو ہر جگہ اور ہر موقے پر استمال کرنے کی عادت کی  وجہ سے انکا نام ہی گڑبڑ پڑ گیا تھا –

 ایک بار کا  ذکر ہے ہمارے یہاں ایک تقریب میں سارا محلّہ مدّعو تھا – لوگ دس بارہ چار پایوں پر لدے  بیٹھے تھے – ہر چار پآیی پر ایک الگ ہی بحث چھڑی ہوی تھی بجز ایک کے جس پر عاصم صاحب تشریف فرما تھے – عاصم صاحب خاموشی سے سر جھکاے ایک ہاتھ سے اپنی شیروانی کے بٹن اوپر سے نیچے تک بار بار یا  تو گن رہے  تھے یا یہ معلوم کرنے کی کوشش میں تھے کے آیا کوئی بٹن ٹوٹ تو نہیں گیا – انکی چا ر پآیی  پر بیٹھے ایک صاحب  انکو غور سے دیکھ رہےتھے اور باقی دو ایک دوسرے کی آنکھو میں آنکیں ڈالے  ہوئے تھے- اچانک وہ ہاتھ لہرا کر چلا یے ،”یہ آپ کیسی گڑ بڑ باتیں کر رہے ہیں “. انکا رخ برابر والی چارپایی کی طرف تھا-” اس طرح تو سارا معاشرہ ہی گڑ بڑ ہو جائے گا”

معلوم ہوا وہ مستقل برابر والی چارپایی کی گفتگو سن رہے تھے -انکی اپنی چارپایی سے ایک آواز اٹھی،”ارے گڑبڑ صاحب آپ نے تو ہمیں چونکا ہی دیا “-عاصم صاحب گرجے ،”دیکھئے جناب جمیل صاحب ہمیں عاصم کہتے ہیں اور آپ سے گزارش ہے کہ ہمیں گڑبڑ جیسے گڑبڑ الفاظ سے نہ بلایا کریں- کہیں ایسا نہ ہو کہ ہمارے منہ سے آپ کی شان میں کچھ گڑبڑ نکل جائے- انکی اس تقریر کا یہ نتیجہ نکلا کہ  باقی کی تمام چارپایوں پر خاموشی چھا گیی- اس سے ایک فائدہ یہ بھی ہوا کہ مولوی صاحب کی نپی تلی اور متوازی آواز سنایی دینے لگی-،”بیٹا کہو بسم ا للہ”  –

عاصم صاحب تڑپ کر اٹھے اور لپک کر پلنگ پر جا بیٹھے -یہ پلنگ چار پاییوں  میں خاص تھا  کہ اس پر قالین بچھا تھا اور اس پر سفید چادر اور تکیہ تھا- اس پر محلے کے  معزز ترین لوگ تشریف فرما تھے: چیر مین صاحب اور انکے ایک دوست- یہ پلنگ ایسی جگہ پڑا تھا کہ باہر سے آنے والے  سارے مہمان اس کے پاس سے گزر کر چار پاییوں پر جا جا کر بیٹھتے رہے حتیٰ کہ یہ دونوں معزز ین  آے -انہیں گھر کے لوگوں نے بصد اسرار یہاں بیٹھنے کو کہا- سب مہمان تو اپنی انکساری اور اپنی اوقات کے مطابق پلنگ کے پاس سے ایسے گزرے جیسے انہیں اس سے کوئی مطلب نہیں -ہان البتہ عاصم  صاحب لمحہ بھر کو یہاں ٹھٹکے تھے لیکن جب کسی نے اسرار نہیں کیا تو آگے بڑھ گئے اور  ایک چار پآیی کی پٹی  پر ٹک  گئے-  -سارا وقت وہ کڑھتے رہے کہ  ان لوگوں نے ہم کو وہاں کیوں نہیں بٹھایا -اسی پلنگ کے متصل دالان کے ساتھ ایک چوبی تخت تھا جس پر چاند نی بچھی ہوئی تھی اور گاؤ تکیے کے ساتھ پانچ سالہ پپو میاں اوران کے سامنے مولوی صاحب بیٹھے تھے- لمبے سے دلان کے ہر در میں پردہ پڑا تھا اور پردے کے پیچھے سے عورتوں کی کڑاوں  کڑاوں آوازیں آ رہی تھیں – کسی نے ان کو بھی چپ رہنے کو که دیا-

 عاصم صاحب جاتے ہی پلنگ پر پیر اٹھا کر بیٹھ گئے اور پپو کو مخاطب کیا –

“بیٹا، جیسا مولوی صاحب کہیں ویسا کہو : بسم ا للہ”

خاموشی

“ارے دیکھو اگر تم نہیں کہو گے تو بہوت گڑبڑ ہو جائے گی ” انھوں نے غالبا” کھانے میں دیر ہونے کی طرف اشارہ کیا-

خاموشی

مولوی صاحب نے عاصم صاحب کی طرف کچھ اس طرح دیکھا جیسے که رہے ہوں :آپ بیچ میں نہ بولیں – پھرپپو سے مخاطب ہوئے ،”بس “

“بس”

“مل”

“مل”

“له”

“له “

 مبارک ہو  مبارک ہو ، چاروں طرف سے آواز آی – سب نے باری باری اٹھ کر پپو میاں کے سر پر ہاتھ پھیرا اور سلامی دی – آنا دو آنے روپیہ آٹھ آنے- چیر مین صاحب نے دس روپے کا نوٹ پیش کیا تو عاصم صاحب نے اپنی  دواننی واپس رکھ لی  اور اندر کی جیب سے روپے کا نوٹ نکالا- دل میں سوچا :پلنگ پر بیٹھنا بھاری پڑ گیا – سارا حساب گڑبڑ ہو گیا-

 عورتوں کی کڑاؤن کڑاؤن آوازیں پھر سے آنے لگیں اور لوگ بھی باتیں کرنے لگے- لالہ نے پپو میاں کو گود میں بھر کر اٹھا لیا- سہرے کی لٹیں انکے سر کے دونوں طرف لٹکنے لگیں -پلنگ پر سرہانے انکے لئے جگہ بنایی گیی – عاصم صاحب سرک کر پائتی پر ٹک گئے اور اپنی ٹانگیں لٹکا دیں –

اچانک عاصم  صاحب اٹھے اور پپو کے  سر پر ہاتھ پھرتے ہوئے اپنی پہلی والی جگہ کی طرف جانے لگے – اتنے میں کھانے  کا اعلان ہوا تو وہ الٹے پھر گئے اور صف پر بیٹھنے والے پہلے آدمی کہلاے –  سفید چادر کی صف کے دو رویا بیٹھے آدمیوں کے درمیان سے ایک سلپچی گزاری گیی جس میں سب نے ہاتھ دھوے – کسی نے دونوں ہاتھ تو کسی نے ایک ہاتھ ہی دھویا – کسی نے داہنے ہاتھ کی انگلیاں ہی بھگو لیں -ایک آدمی  لوٹے  سے پانی ڈالتا جاتا تو دوسرا پیچھے پیچھے تولیہ لٹکاے لٹکاے چلتا اور لوگ اپنے منہ کے سامنے لٹکے ہوئے تولیہ  سے ہاتھ پونچھتے جاتے- عاصم صاحب کی طرف سب  سے آخر میں جب سلپچی پہونچی تو وہ پانی سے بھر چکی تھی -انتظار کے بعد جب خالی سلپچی آیی تو انہوں نے انگلیاں ہی بھگوین اور تولیہ کو چھوڑ دیا کہ گڑبڑ ہو گیی ہے-

    کھانا برابر والے گھر میں پکایا گیا تھا – موحلے کے نایی جنہیں سب عزت سے خلیفہ جی کہتے تھے باورچی کا کام بھی کرتے تھے – انکی ہدایت میں باقی گھر کے لوگ مل جل کر کھانا تیار کر لیتے- دونوں گھروں کے درمیان والی دیوار میں ایک کھڑکی تھی – اس کے دونوں طرف آدمیوں کی قطار کھڑی ہو گیی اور د یگ سے صف تک ہاتھوں ہاتھ قاب اور رکاب آنے لگیں – قورمہ پلاؤ اور تازی تندوری روٹی کی خوشبویں سارے میں پھیل گیئں – جن کو پہلی صف میں جگہ نہیں ملی وہ اپنی جگہ پر بیٹھے اس خوشبو میں نہاتے رہے اور اپنی باری کا انتظار کرتے رہے –

 چیر مین صاحب کو پلنگ پر اور مولوی صاحب کو تخت پر کھانا پیش کیا گیا – مولوی صاحب کے برابر میں ایک طشتری میں انکا نیا جوڑا رکھا تھا جس کی تہوں سے پانچ روپے نوٹ جھانک رہا تھا-

عورتوں کے لئے دلان میں ہی صف بچھا دی گیی تھی –

پپو اپنا سہرہ تکیے پر پٹخ کر کب کے جا چکے تھے اور بچوں میں کھیل رہے تھے –

ایک بڑے سے ٹب میں پانی بھرا تھا جس میں برف کے بڑے بڑے ٹکڑے تیر رہے تھے- ٹھنڈا پانی جگوں میں بھر کر صف پر وقفے وقفے سے رکھا تھا اور ان کے ساتھ ہی کٹورے تھے-

میٹھے میں فیرنی مٹی کی طشتریوں میں تقسیم ہوئی  جسے انگلیوں سے کھایا گیا –

 ایک طرف ابا میاں بیٹھے حقہ پی رہے تھے – جانے سے پہلے عاصم صاحب ابا میاں سے ملنا  نہیں بھولے – بولے ،”شکر ہے الله کا کہ تقریب _بسم الله احسن طریقے سے تمام ہوئی اور کوئی گڑبڑ نہیں ہوئی “-

انہوں نے حقے کی نے منہ سے نکالی، اور کہا ،”گڑبڑ صاحب گڑبڑ کیا ہونا تھی. تشریف لانے کا شکریہ” عاصم صاحب باہر کی طرف لپکے –

(جاری ہے)

Acknowledgement (Mr GaRbaR is not my creation. I met him somewhere in Urdu adab. I only created the scenes here)

TASHREEF LANE KA SHUKRIA

(i)

Hamare mohalle mein Aasim sahib baDi hi dilchaspi ka saamaan muhayya karte the. Lafz gaRbaR ko har jagah aur har mauqe par istemaal karne ki aadat ki wajah se unka naam hi gaRbaR paR gaya tha.

Ek baar ka zikr hai hamaare yahan ek taqreeb mein sara muhallah muddaoo tha. Log das baarah chaarpaaiyyon par lade baithe the. Har chaarpaayi par ek alag hi bahes chiRi hui thi. Bajuz ek ke jis par Aasim sahib tashreef farma the. Aasim sahib khamoshi se sar jhukaaye ek haath se apni sherwaani ke batan ooper se neeche tak baar baar ya to gin rahe the ya yeh maaloom k arne ki koshish mein the aaya koi batan toot to naheen gaya. Unki charpaayi par baithe ek sahib un ko ghaur se dekh rahe the aur baaqi do ek doosre ki aankhon mein aankhen dale hue the.

Achanak Aasim sahib haath lahra kar chillaye, “Yeh aap kaisi gaRbaR baateiN kar rahe hain.” Unka rukh baraabar waali chaepaayi par tha. “Is tarah to saara muaashra hi gaRbaR ho jaaye ga”

Maloom hua woh mustaqil baraaber waali chaarpayi ki guftgoo sun rahe the. Unki apni chaarpayi se ek awaaz uthi,” are GaRbaR sahib, aap ne to hamen chaunka hi diya”. Asim sahib garje, “dekhiye janaab Jamil sahib, humein Asim kahte hain aur aap se guzarish hai ke humein garbar jaise garbar alfaz se na bulaya karen. Kahin aisa na ho ke hamaare munh se aap ki shaan mein kuch garbar nikal jaye” Unki is taqreer ka yeh nateeja nikla ke baaqi ki tamaam chaarpayion par khaamoshi chha gayi. Is ka ek faaidah yeh bhi hua ke maulwi sahib ki napi tuli aur mutawazi awaaz sunayi dene lagi, “Beta, kaho Bismillaah”.

     Asim sahib taRap kar uthe aur lapak kar palang par ja baithe. Yeh palang chaarpaiyon mein khaas tha ke is par na sirf qaaleen bichha tha balke us par safed chaadar aur ek munaqqash takiya bhi tha. Is par muhalle ke muazziz tareen log tashreef farma the; chairman sahib aur unke ek dost. Yeh palang aisi jagh paRa tha ke baahar se aane wale saare mehman is ke paas se guzar kar baaqi ki chaarpayion par ja ja kar baithte rahe hatta ke aakhir mein yeh donon muazizeen aaye aur inhen ghar ke logon ne basad israr yahan baithne ko kaha. Sab mehman to apni inkisari aur apni auqaat ke mutabiq is palang ke pas se aise guzre jaise unhen is se koi matlab nahin. Han albatta Asim sahib lamha bar ko yahan thitke the lekin jab kisi ne israr nahin kiya to age baDh gaye aur ek chaarpayi ke paynti patti par tik gaye. Sara waqt who kuDhte rahe ke in logon ne ham ko wahan kyon nahin bithaya. Isi palang ke muttasil, dalaan ke saath ek chobi takht tha jis par chaandni bichhi hui thi aur gaao takiye ke saath 5 sala Pappu Mian aur unke saamne maulvi sahib baithe the. Lambe se dalaan ke har dar mein pardaa paRa tha aur parde ke peeche se aurton ki kaRaon kaRaon awazen aa rahi thiN. Kisi ne unko bhi chup rahne ko kah diya.

Asim sahib jate hi palang par pair utha kar baith gaye aur papu ko mukhatib kiya, “beta, jaisa maulvi sahib kahein, waisa kaho, bismillah.”

Khamoshi.

“Are dekho agar tum nahin kaho ge to bahot gaRbaR hojaye gi”, unhun ne ghaaleban khaane mein der hone ki taraf ishaara kiya.

Khamoshi.

Maulvi sahib ne Asim sahib ki taraf khuch is tarah dekha k jaise kah rahe hon: aap beech mein na bolein. Aur Pappu se mukhaatib hue, “ Bis”

“Bis”

“Mil”

“mil”

“laah”

“laah”

Mubarak ho mubarak ho, charoN taraf se awaaz aayi. Sab ne baari baari uth kar Pappu Mian ke sar par hath phera aur salaami di. Aana, do ane, rupya, aath ane. Chairman sahib ne das rupaye ka note pesh kiya to Asim sahib ne apni duanni wapas rakh li aur andar ki jeb se rupaye ka note nikala. Dil mein socha, palang par baithna bhaari paR gaya. Saara hisaab gad bad ho gaya.

Aurton ki kaRaon kaRaon awaazein phir se aane lagin aur log bhi baaten karne lage. Laala ne Pappu Mian ko god mein bhar kar utha liya. Sehre ki lateN unke sar ke donon taraf latakne lagin. Palang par sarhane unke liye jagah banaayi gayi. Asim sahib sarak kar paynti par tik gaye aur apni tangeN latka deeN. Achaanak woh uthe aur Pappu ke sar pe hath pherte hue apni pahli wali jagh ki taraf jaane lage. Itne mein khaane ka aelaan hua to woh ulte phir gaye aur saf par baithne wale pahle aadmi kahlaye.

Safed chaadar ki saf ke do ruya baithe aadmion ke darmian se ek silapchi guzaari gayi jismen sab ne haath dhoye. Kisi ne donon haath to kisi ne ek haath hi dhoya. Kisi ne daahine haath ki ungliyan hi bhigo leeN. Ek aadmi lote se pani dalta jata to doosra peeche peeche taulia latkaye latkaye chalta aur log apne munh ke samne latke taulia se hath ponchhte jaate. Asim sahib ki taraf sab se akhir mein jab silapchhi pahonchi to woh paani se bhar chuki thi aur taulia geeli thi. Intezar ke bad jab khali silapchi aayi to unhoN ne ungliyan hi bhigoyiN aur taulia ko chhoR diya key yeh gaR baR ho gayi hai.

Khana baraabar waale ghar mein degoN mein pakaya gaya tha. Mohalle ke naayi jinheN sab izzat se khalifa ji kahte the bawarchi ka kaam bhi karte the. Unki hidaayat mein baaqi ghar ke log mil jul kar khaana tayyar kar lete. DonoN gharon ke darmian wali deewar mein ek khirki thi. Us ke dono taraf aadmion ki Qataar khaRi ho gayi aur deg se saf tak haatho haat qaab aur rakaab aane lage. Qourma, Pulao aur tazi tandoori roti ki khushbooyein saare meiN phail gayeeN. Jin ko pahli saf meiN jagh nahin mili woh apni jagh par baithe is khushboo mein nahaate rahe aur apni baari ka intezar karte rahe.

Chairman sahib ko palang par aur maulvi sahib ko takht par khana pesh kiya gaya. Maulvi sahib ke baraabar meiN ek tashtari mein unka naya joRa rakha tha jis ki tahoN se paanch rupaye ka note bhi jhaank raha tha.

AurtoN ke liye dalaan mein hi saf bichha di gayi thi.

Pappu Mian apna sehra takiye par patakh kar kab ke ja chu ke the aur bachchoN mein khel rahe the.

Ek bare se tub mein paani bhara tha jis mein baraf ke bare bare tukre tair rahe the. Thanda paani jagoN mein bhar kar saf par waqfe waqfe se rakha tha aur us ke saath hi katore the. Meethe mein feerini mitti ki tashtarion mein taqseem hui jise unglion se khaya gaya.

Ek taraf Abba Mian baithe huqqa pi rahe the. Jane se pahle Asim sahib Abba Mian se milna nahin bhoole. Bole, “Shukr hai Allah ka taqreeb e Bismillah ahsan tareeqe se tamam hui aur koi gaR baR nahiN hui”. Unhun ne huqqe ki nai munh se nikaali aur kaha,”GaRbaR sahib gaRbaR kya hona thi. Tashreef lane ka shukria.” Asim sahib baahar ki taraf lapke.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in adab and literature, LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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GULAB JAMUN

The year is 1857 when in India Lord Canning was the last viceroy from the Company Bahadur. Lord Canning was fond of lending his name to structures, roads, jails etc. He decided, against some advice, to build a new port other than Calcutta in the Bengal tide country. The port, named Port Canning, was completed and was destroyed within 5 years by a tidal storm, as was predicted by an expert. It was around this time a sweet maker in Calcutta created a new sweet which was black/dark red balls soaked in syrup. He named his new product Lady Canning. It had nothing in common with the Lady as she was white, thin and tall. But the name stuck and the sweet was a runaway success. Soon people in their haste started calling it ledijeny. [source: Amitav Ghosh, “THE HUNGRY TIDE”

{My extrapolation):  Ledijeny when it arrived in Lucknow became ledijamin, ledujamin then golujamin and finally gulabjamun. The port Lord Canning is now a town called Canning, not Gulabcomun.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

KOH-E-NOOR, KOHINUR

The diamond Kohinur is world famous and I have seen this stone in the Tower of London long time ago. It glitters and dazzles. Some short history of this gem is given here for those who are curious about it.

BABUR ARRIVED IN INDIA IN DEC. 1525, DEFEATED IBRAHIM LODI IN THE BATTLE OF PANIPAT.

Excerpts from a book “MUGHAL INDIA” by Abraham Eraly, pp 523, 524.

Kohinur 1

 

KOHINUR 2

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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SHAHJAHAN PUR LIFE III

 SHAHJAHAN PUR LIFE (III)

BAZARIA DAYS

(Chapter III, following “Shahjahan Pur Life and Shahjahan Pur Life II) i.e.

https://shakilakhtar.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/shahjahanpur-life-little-bazar/ and

https://shakilakhtar.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/shahjahanpur-life-ii-2/

The railway station was hardly a kilometre from our house and every morning we would know it is 10 a.m. from the howling of the engine horn of the super mail train from Calcutta going to Amritsar. The train was called ‘toofaan’ mail. In the night about 10 p.m. a train arrived from Lucknow going to Delhi, called ‘Janta”. I was fascinated with intricate and ingenious way the rods, wheels and steam box in a locomotive were arranged. I would spend considerable time studying the engine each time I had the chance. Railway platform was for us teenagers a place to meet and we liked to sit under the shade of the trees on the platform. In the evening each tree would host a thousand birds (sparrows) the noise of which was deafening for an hour or so. [Now I hear that these birds are all but vanished] There was a bridge joining two platforms and at one of the ends of the bridge some tree branches were accessible. I could reach and pick a sleeping bird and gently put it on my palm and examine its beauty for few minutes before transferring it back to the branch, the bird never knowing what happened. One of the main reasons for us to visit the station was to have a free ice cold drink when it was very hot season. A kiosk, called ‘piaau’, was established by the station authorities where a man would pour half a litre of cold water to the drinkers’ cupped hands using a stainless steel cup with a meter long handle. The handle being long made it possible for him to reach the drinkers’ hands over the counter. Pre-bottled mineral water and disposable cups were unknown. The facility was actually for travellers but they never asked for a ticket for water.

      Someone in my house needs to go to a relative 3-5 miles away. Our women observed strict purdah (not be seen by strangers) and never ventured outside the house, if ever, without a burqa (upturned shuttle cock shaped cloak with meshed holes for the eyes). On such occasions I will have to go out to the riksha (man cycled) /tanga(horse pulled)  stand some 200 meters and hire a vehicle, negotiating the fare after stating the place from where the passengers will have to be picked, number of passengers and the destination. I will ride the vehicle back to our home.  The vehicle would be reversed right to the door of the house and before the women are given a signal to dash one by one from behind the door to the waiting vehicle, a sheet has been wrapped around the vehicle and another stretched by two persons to shield the view from strangers’ eyes in the market. Not that any one was keen to look at the women. In fact it must be stressed that common people in the bazaar would strain their necks in order to avoid any chance glance on any women from respectable homes. Fashionable women wearing tight pants or expensive sarees, sporting goggles and trotting on high heels were not seen around yet. Similarly teenagers and young adults wearing fashionable outfits, impossible haircuts and audacious attitudes, going round openly harassing girls were yet to be born. The only women you could see in the market were those from low cast and/ or from the villages, selling titbits or doing odd jobs. Women from respectable families, be it Hindu or Muslim, never ventured outside unveiled.

     The month of Ramadan in Muslim calendar is of particular significance and it was clear that every one respected the holy month. When the month falls during hot season, it was especially hard for the people who fasted, for the thirst was terrible. I personally remember doing mouth wash repeatedly after the usual three times while performing wudoo (pre namaz ablution) for the afternoon prayer, or taking several showers during the day. The wrist watches had not become so common, the time of the breaking of the fast was announced by beating a huge drum (diameter at least 1 metre) placed at a raised platform in a mosque. The sound of the drum could reach a circle of at least two miles radius. Three or more mosques in the whole city were thus able to notify the aftaar time. The fast is usually started by having food in the early morning, some two hours or so before sunrise. These drums would not only be started three and a half hour before sunrise to wake people up but also would later give indication that the time to stop eating is reaching. This they did by robustly beating the drum first and then gradually bringing the intensity down, only to increase it again. Finally they would bring the beating of the drum slowly to a complete stop. When this is happening you could see many a fast starter who was late in getting up stuffing food at a great speed to beat the dying drum.

Thief

    If I say I am not a thief then it will not be very much off the mark. I consider myself among 2% of all the people who are NOT thieves. It is said that 98 % of the people are thieves, or have been at least once in their life. 2% who deny that they are thieves are lying.

    But I am not lying here. Again I am among the one percent that claim that they have never lied.

   The fact that I did steal a guava once in my childhood (and this incident never leaves poking my conscience) can hardly make any one a thief. It was evening rush hour in the little market that used to sprawl on each side of the road in front of my house. All kinds of vendors of fruit, vegetables, toys etc were busy trading. One was selling guavas and on his stall there were a horde of people three deep, each one trying to get him to serve. I was about 10 years old and could exactly reach the edge of the stall. The stall being about 1 m from the ground and the guavas were staked to a total height of 1.5 m. As I wormed myself to the front wriggling between legs, I grabbed a guava from the bottom row. It was as big as a large apple. I was lucky that the removal of one did not make others above it tumble and also that the act went unnoticed. I got myself out of the thick of people and then, to my dismay, realised that every one around me knew exactly what I had just succeeded in doing. The size of the guava grew to that of a water melon so it became impossible to hide below my shirt, and I saw even there were eyes on the roof tops. With my heart pounding at record speed, somehow I managed to slip in a side lane and with great difficulty reached the back of my house from back lane. By this time I had consumed about half of the fruit and was very much puzzled that I had reached the stage where I had no more desire to continue eating it. I was full so to say.

     I threw the remainder and went home. The sadness that followed at the unnecessary stealing and also at the wastage never left me.

     But this act has told me exactly how a thief feels after stealing.

Weddings    

    Every now and then some wedding would take place. It was invariably the boy’s parents who would approach the girl’s parent with a proposal, and if it is accepted the date of the wedding would be set. (No mention of dowry is ever made, although the expectation from boy’s side could never be denied). (Unlike the Hindus where the girl’s parents would approach the boy’s parents and negotiate the amount of money in cash and other things in kind they are willing to give as part of the wedding arrangement)

    The local barber (family courier/ cook) would be handed over a list of names and the addresses for getting the invitations to the wedding to relatives and friends. He will appear at the door, show your name in the list and tell the name of the person who sent the invitation. You will then make a mark against your name to certify that you have received the invitation, using the pencil the barber always carried with him. The barber will indicate the place where to make a mark if you are illiterate and can not read your name. He will also tell the date and the place where the wedding will take place.

    On the wedding day, if you are a guest of the groom, you will join the baaraat (wedding procession) walking in droves along with the groom who is riding a horse behind a brass band playing popular songs. The groom’s face is hidden behind garlands hanging from his turban. (Occasionally the groom is on top of an elephant).

If you are a guest of the bride side you wait for the arrival of the baaraat. By the boom of a gun or of an explosion the procession will be announced well before time. Its actual arrival is a great event with pomp, brass band chores and by this time the bride side guests have lined up both sides of the street to greet and welcome the Baaraat. Guests are soon settled mostly on the mat on the ground, only groom and his near and dear are given better seats on charpoys. The groom’s charpoy has a rug spread over it before he arrives. Every one receives a glass of sherbet dispensed from a tub in which float ice blocks. (It is tea in cold season). (In some weddings in the villages, one whole sack of (raw) sugar, 40 kilograms or so, would be poured right in to the village well to make water sweet for the guests.). Before long, new clothes for the groom and his father, uncles etc would arrive from the bride’s home and they would be asked to change. Of course it is impossible to do that in the full glare and stare of the whole congregation, so the groom would be made to change his shirt, turban and will be given new sehra (head garlands). The others would make do with new turban on old clothes. It was not uncommon to see a guy sporting new kurta (loose, long shirt) on old and worn out dhoti (lower clothe wrap) or on old payjama (thin loose pants). Before the nikah ( groom’s verbal wow in front of witnesses to accept in marriage so and so for such and such amount as bride price) the elders had been to brides quarters to take her consent to her marriage to so and so on this amount. Soon afterwards batashas (sugar puffs) are distributed (some times lunch is offered after the nikah). After the guests have departed and a series of lively ceremonies over, time for rukhsati (departure of bride) arrives. Two sets of kahaars (men carriers) are needed. One set of four sturdy men are to carry the bride and few other ladies in a palanquin, the other set to carry the jahez ( house hold items given to bride by her father). The palanquin is invariably covered with maroon coloured thick cloth and the jahez is displayed on a huge cot which hangs on ropes tied to a long and thick bamboo and carried on shoulders by men. The cot would serve as the bed later. The return journey is also a sort of procession, minus the pomp and the show. The same brass band which took hours to move a distance of a mile would be now walking briskly as if in hurry, followed by the groom on his horse, then the palanquin (his prize) and the jahez. His garlands now lifted and wrapped up on his turban, the face of the groom is now visible. As he rides on his horse, a triumphant smile on his face, the groom makes eye contact with ordinary men on each side of the road he is passing and salutes them by raising his hand to his fore head. They respond with a prayer: be happy. If the father of the groom is rich, likely he would also shower handfuls of coins over the doli (palanquin carrying the bride) every few yards on the way and we children scrambled over each other to salvage these from the dirt or from wherever they landed.  A piece of two paisa (adhanna) in my hand is still alive in my memory. I purchased roasted grams with it and half ate and half fed to the monkeys in cages near the police station called ‘chauki Ashfaq’. The monkeys in those days were captured in their thousands and exported (it was rumoured) to America for experiments.  

      The day after the wedding a feast was organized by the groom’s family. The neighbour’s house was generally used for cooking and feeding the guests.(Rooms locked, veranda and the courtyard available for use). The local naayi (barber) usually did the cooking helped by his sons etc.  A huge copper pot called DEG was placed on three make shift brick pillars each 1 ½ feet high. Under this pot wood fire would burn and the pot could cook pulao (rice with meat) for about a hundred people. A similar deg nearby would cook quorma (royal meat curry). In another corner a tandoor (furnace) would be prepared for making naans (flat bread).

      Catering, buffet, bearers, tables and decorations were not yet in fashion. Guests would arrive and occupy their places on string cots or whatever was available. In a veranda, or in a clearing a boria (reed mat) 1 ½ metre wide would be unrolled and above it a white cloth would be spread for the entire middle length of about 3-5 metres. The guests would then be invited to come and sit on each side of the central cloth. About 30-50 people will thus be seated and most would wash their right hand in a silapchi (metal mobile sink) which is being pushed along the length of the cloth with a man pouring water from a lota (pitcher). Each person now receives a plate (no spoons or forks etc). Food would then arrive. There is a chain of people from the degs to this eating place and dishes are passed freely and quickly to ensure that the food remains hot. On a signal, each person is now free to dish out a portion on to their plate and start eating. Similar arrangement is done for the women guests in women quarters which is nearby and could be served from the same degs.

    After one set of guests have finished, others would be invited after the bones and other leftovers have been cleared from the central cloth and it has been spread again.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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SHAHJAHANPUR LIFE (II)

CONTINUED FROM LAST POST “SHAHJAHAN PUR LIFE, LITTE BAZAR)

(More than half a century on, things must have changed a lot. But I am sure some things would still be the same in my beloved home town. This is an account of some of the Shahjahanpur’s life in the fifties.) Shahjahan pur is a city in U.P. (North India.)

If you were sick and could not afford a proper doctor, you could always resort to the local hakeem. His little outfit was very close to our home. For the medicine, the hakeem had different concoctions of khameeras and herbs. He would reach, while sitting on his heels, a corner of his dimly lit shop, grab a clay cup whose capacity is 5-10 c.c., blow in it hard to dislodge dust. Then he would reach another corner and grab a bottle. Use a spoon to scoop a quantity of the ‘khameera’ and transfer it to the clay cup. He had used the front part of his shirt to clean the spoon. The khameera is in fact a mixture of some spices and sugar and a little fat. He will then proceed to cover the top of the cup with a square paper. He first held the little piece of paper in one hand, strike it swiftly with a finger of the other so that the dust will scatter around in the shop. Then holding the cup in left hand and using a finger to keep the paper in place while with his right hand he expertly goes round the rim of the little cup folding the edge of the paper down again and again till he has run the entire rim. The result is a cup with a paper lid.

    One anna was the price and the advice was, “ek ungly chato”. It means:  use your first finger to scoop a little of the medicine and lick it off after each meal.

    For the herbs also he will first shake them, blow over them before putting a few dried branches /leaves of several types of herbs on a paper and then wrap them up  (such a wrapping was called ‘puria’). The instruction will be to boil them and drink the water warm before/ or after the meals. Or before going to bed, or first thing in the morning etc. 

    The medicines from the hakeem would never cure a general patient but they would psychologically satisfy every one involved that something is being done. He would also invariably suggest the diet plan the patient must follow. If the patient is weak, he would suggest lentil soup with thin part of the chapatti (daal ka pani aur roti ka chilka), or chicken broth with bread (double roti). Those who could not afford chicken would trap birds of which there were plenty in every house court yards (aangan). Avoid beef and rice was the standard advice.  

Some local “doctors” also were tried at times who had half a dozen different coloured mixtures and some medicine powders. We were supposed to arrive with at least two empty bottles which we would either produce from our own home or would buy, at 1-2 paisa each, from a vender on the steps of the doctor’s shop (Doctor’s shop was never called a clinic). He invariably prescribed a combination of 1-2 liquid syrups and 1-2 powders. The coloured syrups will be poured in bottles supplied by the patient and the powders will be wrapped in paper. The ‘compounder’, (as the dispenser was called) would stick to the side of each bottle he filled with a syrup a paper strip that has as many notches cut at equal distances as the intended doses. For example, if the syrup was meant for three days two doses daily, (6 doses) the paper strip will have 5 notches. To measure a dose, the patient will pour syrup in spoon until the level in the bottle has dropped one notch. The dozes of the powder were wrapped separately in small papers, all of which were then wrapped up in a larger paper for easy carrying.  

      The low cast people were very useful in that hundreds of them were employed for pittance each to keep the city (reasonably) clean. They apparently agreed to these lowest wages for dirtiest jobs because the prospects of them getting any other job for any wage were simply zero. Yet they were supervised by people from higher cast men who were well paid and were well placed in the society. The municipality would release each morning an army of sweepers who would descend upon all the main roads and sweep them over using straw brooms attached to a staff. They would make small heaps of rubbish at regular intervals of 20-30 metres. These mounds of rubbish will be boosted by household rubbish by the owners of the houses along the road. This would happen just before the sun rise. Then a cart pulled by a tired looking buffalo or bull would appear. Two men are collecting in their baskets rubbish from the heaps and throwing same in the cart. The bull seems to sense a heap and would stop beside it and then move on till the next heap.

[added on 16 June 2013. An excerpt from V. S. Naipaul’s “Miguel Street” about Trinidad in the fifties]:

(After midnight there were two regular noises in the street. At about two O’ clock you heard the sweepers; and then just before dawn, the scavenging-carts came and you heard the men scraping off the rubbish the weepers had gathered in to heaps)

Amazingly Naipaul achieved in a few lines elegantly what I took a whole big paragraph to say!

      The fire incidents being rare, the fire department used the fire engine to daily sprinkle water on the roads to keep the dust down and to cool the locality a little. The fire station had in its premises a well with a 30 metre sloping stretch of  passage way over which a couple of bulls will pull down a huge skin full of water which will then be poured in to the waiting water tanker. The slope was built by first digging a sloping hole in the ground at a certain distance from the well, while piling the earth thus obtained on the intervening stretch up to the well. This wedge shaped pile, highest at the rim of the well and meeting just the beginning of the sloping hole, completed the whole incline. On this slope a pair of bulls would go down pulling the skin of water that contained about one cubic metre of water, over a huge pulley. The same arrangement was used in the fields to water the crops.

      The summer was hottest and very dusty during the month 15th May to 15th June. Dust storms (aandhi) were common and one had to cover head and ears before venturing out during hottest part of the day, the afternoons. This was to keep safe from heat waves. People had a 30 min warning of dust storms as it was apparent by the look of the sky in the east, gloomy, grey or yellowish. Buyers would urge the vendors to hurry and hand over whatever is being bought as the aandhi is coming. Every one wants to reach home and be safe from the high winds and dust.  

    Come late June and July and the monsoons have arrived. The rain now is welcome relief from heat but the humidity causes stickiness and warm and uncomfortable evenings. Mangoes are favourite fruit and are in plenty. There are two main types of mangoes, the ordinary small ones and the large ones. The smaller ones, being juicy, are to be sucked where as the larger ones, which had creamy flesh, could be nicely sliced using a knife.

     The smaller mangoes, called ‘tukhmee’, were sold by the hundreds. Several bullock cart loads of these will be parked in the small clearing opposite our home and we could hear all day long cries of the vendors soliciting custom. Cries will be to the effect of “come, 6 annas a hundred, or 8 annas a hundred’ (chhe anne saikda). The shouting accompanied the beating with a stick of tin cans to attract the people who milled around and knew not which cart they should patronize.  We children were ordered to fetch a hundred or two and it is raining. We will take an umbrella or wear a jute sack over the head and take along a bag. (Plastic bags were not known yet, and every one must take a bag while going for shopping.) The vendor will use both of his hands to collect five mangoes, of assorted sizes and texture and count twenty times that he transfers these to our bag. He will then proceed and put few more mangoes as a bonus. The larger mangoes called qalmi were sold by the dozen or by weight. The scales used by all vendors were simple ones with two pans hanging from the extremities of a wooden stick. The middle of the stick had a hole through which a 10 cm long string is passed. This string had a thick and fluffy ending that will get stuck in the fist of the vendor as he will raise the scale to weigh the merchandize, one pan having the weights. Some poor vendors who could not afford a scale sold by the little heaps or by the cupfuls. The inspectors used to visit shops to collect the scales and weights for inspection. The weights if found lacking due to wear and tear will receive a shot of lead to bring them back to the correct measure.

       The month of Muharram brings the season of Tazias. Shia sect of Muslims observed the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in Karbala every year by, among other things, ‘raising’ tazias (mock paper/ reed buildings of his tomb, of height a metre to 4 metres) and taking them to grave yard to bury. Sunnis did the same but with far greater vigour and enthusiasm. The sunni Tazias were a hundred times more robust, elaborate and grand and were taken to the grave yard with profound procession. It would take 24 hours for the procession to snail from the starting point to the finish a distance of about three miles. One route ran from in front of our house, as there were two places in different parts of the town where tazias related activities were traditionally done. The procession containing about ten tazias put forward by various sunni people who had various ways of putting one over the other. There was an undeclared war or competition as to whose procession was the grandest. Many would hire brass bands, some more than one to lead the tazia. It is supposed to be a sad event, yet these bands played gay tunes often of popular songs from films. Once we also saw a tazia being led by an elephant upon which sat people throwing food to the anxious hands below. The whole atmosphere was that of a mela (fair), complete with candies, toys, women vanities, food stalls etc. Some would organise stalls of sherbet (sabeel of sweet water) to be distributed free to any one feeling thirsty. This was a noble act and was meant to collect credit in the hereafter by remembering the acute thirst of the Imam and his companions at Karbala. Some tazias were lead by a dozen or so of men putting up a display with great zeal of torturing themselves with chains or knives. This was to emulate and to repent upon the suffering of The Imam.

       40 days after this event, the tazias will return, this time with double the vigour and magnificence. In fact Shahjahanpur’s “chehlum” tazias were reputed to be the best of any other city or town.   

        Eid was a major event for most people, especially for the children. Almost every one would somehow manage to procure for themselves and for the children at least one new pair of clothes, a qamees and a pyjama. Ready made garments were unknown and the tailors would have a field day. Every tailor would wish for 30 days in Ramazan so he would have one more day to stitch clothes of clients and not be too late. Working very hard, still there were clothes unfinished till the end. If the moon was sighted on the night of 29th, they will work whole night to finish the job by the following morning. The tailors used buttons made from shells as plastic buttons had not been introduced. After the eid prayers which were done in two major places in the town, we children would hope to receive eidi (money). I too used to get some money which I would get to spend as I pleased. The following day is the main chinor mela (a fair spread in the vicinity of the main eid gaah (place for eid prayers). The merry go rounds, especially the ones that operated vertically (called hindolas) were too dangerous for me. Four hanging benched boxes seating four passengers each are pushed by two strong men that get the whole system, all wooden, moving, taking each benched box on a ride of a vertical circle, all the time the wooden axel rubbing on wooden rests and making great squealing sounds. I had a nauseating feeling even to contemplate riding these. The whole area was rife with stalls of food, drink, toys, cheap jewellery, magicians, acrobats, rides and men women and children milling around. All accompanied with smells and noises, the most prominent being the hindolas’ squeaks. The most favourite food I liked was called luchluchi, which was essentially a very thin wheat flour paratha fried in deep oil and the kebabs and halwa that go with it. This was not available any where else throughout the year.   

    Imagine a huge ladder some five metre long, made of bamboo and weighing some 30 klios. Also imagine a pair of wheels each 1 ½ metre in diameter, connected together by an iron rod, (axel). The ladder is balanced from its centre point on this rod and tied to it with a rope. You have a strange vehicle which is the emergency equipment of the energy department repairing electric faults. On a telephone call (5 % cases) or on a complain lodged by a runner (95 % cases) a team of two technicians will grab their tool box and some wires, tie them all with the ladder, push it along the roads of Shahjahan pur and reach the trouble spot in two to three hours depending upon the distance. One of them will climb the pole and do the repair, while the other will mind the ladder below. Power load shedding was unknown mainly because most of the houses and shops were without power in the first place. (Most people being unable to afford the connection fee (Rs 250) as against monthly power bill, for one or two bulbs, a fan, of Rs. 5 – 10) Telephones too were very rare and one needed to crank a handle several times before asking the operator to connect a certain number. Public phone call centres also were unknown and one had to find a willing person to allow you to make a call in emergency after paying him the cost of the call about 8 annas. Yes, you could send a telegram to other towns as long distance calls were very expensive and you had to go to the exchange or to the main post office. (to be continued)

       There were two cinema halls in Shahjahan pur, Nishat Talkies and one other the name I have forgotten, for much of the fifties and sixties. Later a new one sprung up called Chitra Talkies and which had Mughal e Aazam as its opening film. The booking window for lowest class (6 anna) was barred like a prison and had two high walls run from it to a distance of some 10 metres that will allow one person to stand between them. The queue for a new film ran for much more but it was near the window that the action was seen. Some hard nut would climb over the men’s shoulders, brave the broken glass set on top of the walls and put his feet between any two persons in the queue and let the gravity do the job. He will sink down inch by inch squeezing the people in the queue harder and harder.  The men in the queue felt intense pressure by people behind pushing forward and by the men near the window pushing back. The one at the window was busy buying the ticket with his one hand, while clutching with his other hand one of the bars to keep him from being pushed beyond the window before he has got his ticket. All the time the atmosphere was that of a riot, complete with people abusing each other for pushing, or for trying to jump line etc. I as a child was almost choked the only time I ever tried this window. I cried so they had pity and slowly eased me out. I still remember the relief I felt being able to breathe the air out side the walls. Never again will I try to buy a ticket from here, I resolved. Many people who bought tickets braving these treacherous walls were not there to watch the show; instead they made money by selling these precious tickets in black.

       When I was in college I had bagged the prestigious tuition of teaching three naughty children of the collector sahib at his bungalow. These children had got rid of a series of teachers in the space of a few months and they used to relate the previous teachers to me as, “that yellow teacher”, or “that skinny one”. I was successful because I never tried to teach. Instead I used to play, draw pictures, tell stories and sing etc. In the process there was some learning happening. The children recommended me to the main peon of the collector, (Talli Ram) that he must help me get cinema tickets. So now I would telephone him from a police chauki and he will telephone the manager of the cinema hall. When I first approached the police chauki (post) near the Railway Station and asked if I could make a call to the collector’s house, they were more than cooperative, wondering what connection I had with the king of the district. Imagine that a peon had enough power to let me and my friend get the best seats in the cinema hall and free. (once in the circus Kamla which was India’s largest circus with three rings all showing the same item at a time, we got the front sofa seats, free again).

       All the mosques had their own well and the worshipers would pull some water, pour it in earthen pots called badhnas, or qooza, and do the ablution. They would pray on reed mats or on the mats of palm leaves. Carpets had not been so popular yet. The wall clock was protected by a grill from thieves. (To be continued.) 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in LIFE'S GREAT MOMENTS

 

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