Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalat Pe Rona Aaya

So I have been having a chat with friends why I am not feeling the love when it comes to the Fair and Lovely-isation of partition memories, of history, of closure. There is a problem when one comes up with naive approaches to what vexes us. Don’t go into a gendered, class, colour inquiry into why Preeto from next door didn’t cut it for that high flying job—slap on some fairness lotion and it will all be OK.
I wish I knew why I was so angry. Is it because like everything else, an angst that has plagued my generation, is now up for “commodification” too?  Forget problematic ideas of nationalism, bureaucracy, foreign policy, visa regimes, the military industrial complex—all that we needed was a better search engine.
Am I exhausted with more of this It Aint Getting Fixed Until YOU Come Over And Make Up.  This, this subtext...we left and I am not coming back, even if I miss you so. That the “happily every afters” can only happen recreating a bit of Lahore in Delhi. For you know who watches cricket, flies kites, fumbles with biryani IN A LAHORE KITCHEN. Civilization, culture, humour tou him is paar le aaye. For across Wagah is where the Wild Things Are.
Or am I amused with how Dadaji ki mithai ki dukaan tou hadap hi li paying for that overpriced air ticket..For let us just sanitise any mention of crossing on foot, trains; lest Train to Pakistan starts coming up in their Google search results.
Or is it because I cannot take any more of this “baat nikli tou har ek baat pe rona aaya” approach towards our lives here, memories of there. That you have a good cry, vent and then make peace with status quo. Forever conflict avoidance, never conflict resolution. Having these Hallmark, ah! I have something in my eye episodes just reminds me of how Merinissi has referred to women and shrine/sanctuary culture.  It is therapeutic for them as they could then openly give vent to their emotions: grief, frustration et al—but then it also robs them of the ability and energy to bring about any change. For surprise, surprise there is no anger left in them anymore. And until there is anger, dear Google there can be no change. I would have rather the ad agency had been given a different brief, get them angry enough to change the way things are for them, help them search for a way that friends do not keep pining for each other in different ISD codes.

Throw that up for me in my search results, please, for I am done crying. 


  1. Kaafi gehri baat hai. It's hard for a sentimentalist like me to divorce myself from the pining for love, for home, for yesterday, for what could have been type emotional amalgamation and see the reasonable anger that gives some honesty to the bichra yaar narrative. Of course it goes without being said that I agree with you. I think, however, that this perspective, the one you've presented here, can be articulated so well only by someone who has a foot planted on each side of Wagah (and also someone who has an ear for poetic prose, bravo, by the way). Pardesis like me can maybe try to emulate what the ad "should make us feel" based on our current sense of being displaced. What is home? Yahan yaa wahan? Is it anywhere at all? But that is a fundamentally different question that plays on the same realm of feelings, so aik hodgepodge saa ban jaata hai, I guess. Lekin, essentially, we are the ones who cry over the romanticized versions of partition stories and don't bring the same clarity of perspective to the (viewing) table that someone who is IN the scenario does. It is easy to believe in the romance of it all from my insulated living room in California jahan humaray best friends kay "hometowns" range from Lahore to Mumbai. Kitna convoluted saa comment hai naa? I am still working through what I want to say. Lekin iss tarah kaa reality check always leaves me with a confused state of mind. I agree with you, of course, but I find myself wishing for the romance of it all to be true.

  2. You have me at "The different ISD codes" . But how do you suggest a resolution happens? What should be a resolution? An "un-partitioning " , may be? I am confused.

  3. But Aneela, it was a Happy Budday present for the Indian thatha, that's why Yusuf Uncle came over no?



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