Dreading alzheimer's

Besides the arm chair in which I spend most of the day reading, writing or dozing off, there is a pile of books whose existence had escaped my memory. One afternoon I decided to take a look at them.

I was surprised to find among them ‘Celebrating The Best of Urdu Poetry’ (Penguin Books) jointly produced by Kamna Prasad and myself. I was both overjoyed as I could reproduce its contents in my columns, also depressed that i had forgotten something I had published only six years ago. Was this an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease of forgetfulness which had ruined the last eight years of my wife’s life? It makes a person, a non-person. President Regan of the United States succumbed to it. George Fernandes is afflicted by it.

However, the first entry in my book cheered me up. It is from Mohammad Rafi Sauda (1706-1781). He was of Afghan lineage, born in Delhi. He moved on to Farrukhabad and then to Lucknow where he died. However, I enjoyed reading my translation of these lines.

The cheerful lines read thus:
Saaqi gayee bahaar, dil main rahee havas
Too minnaton sey jaam dey aur main kahoon key ‘bas’
(‘O’ Saqi, gone is the spring of youth;
Remains but one regret in this heart of mine:
Had you but pressed the goblet in my hand
Had I but said, ‘Enough! Enough! no more wine!!)

Even more cheerful are lines from Meer Taqi Meer (1722-1810). He was born in a village close to Agra. He migrated to Delhi and witnessed the devastation of the city by the invader Ahmed Shah Abdali, which he recorded in his autobiography Zikr-e-Meer. He moved to Lucknow where he died, a pauper.

Punjab’s position

An Akali minister when asked how Punjab has slipped from its first position in the country to the 12th, he replied: “It is wrong to say Punjab is no longer No. 1 state — look at the National Anthem, Punjab figures first of all.

Earthly clouds

Q: Have you seen Badals on earth?
A: Yes, visit Punjab!

Trimmed DC

An ex-deputy commissioner of Amritsar who trimmed his beard ruthlessly, once called a meeting for observing ‘Vanmahotsava’. While he was stressing that trees are the ornaments of the earth which Nature has gifted us and we shouldn’t cut them, an invitee rose from his seat and interrupted by saying: “Sir, hair likewise are ornaments of the human beings, which nature has given and we shouldn’t cut them.”

Needless to add, finding himself stumped, the DC immediately called off the meeting.
Useless appendage

Q: What is common between ‘Governor and an Appendix?’

A: Both are useless when inactive and liable to be removed, if active.

(Contributed by KJS Ahluwalia, Amritsar).

Loving fatsos

Fat people are regarded as figures of fun: few people take grossly obese people seriously. However, I found a piece in the latest issue of Private Eye which constricts my theory: It reads: “I used to love being fat,” Ohio Donna Simpson told reporters outside her home in Akron, Ohio and I was happy to weigh 600 pounds. I was a star of the Feederism community, and i charged men $19 per month to watch me eat like a pig online. One person from Germany sent me a credit card with instructions about what to order. Another from California wired $200 a week to buy groceries with. There are plenty of men- lawyers, accountants, or college students with a specific fetish - who will buy you four pizzas and enjoy watching you eat all of them.”

“Simpson, 44, was explaining her recent decision to lose weight. I came to realise that I was their fantasy. There I was, getting bigger and bigger, and they had their thin wives, their kids and their pocket fence. I’m not trying to become a thin-mint, I just want to be normal, so I’ve set myself a goal to lose 300 pounds. Some viewers are angry, and I’ve received some nasty mail. One even sent a huge food hamper, but I realised I’d become a slave to my feeders. I’ve joined a gym, and begun walking to the pool, and even turned to crack cocaine to try to shed the pounds fast, though that didn’t work. All it did was make me clean my house really fast.”

Gyani’s gyan

It was Dr Gurdial Singh Dhillon, ex-Speaker, who was the candidate for being the President of India. Needless to say, prime minister Mrs Gandhi had decided on his name. When Gyani Zail Singh, home minister came to know about it, he went to congratulate Mrs Gandhi on her choice.

He told Mrs Gandhi that she had made an excellent selection and praised her for the same lavishly. After a pause, he made a small point -- telling her that if Dhillon became the president, he would be signing the papers after applying his mind on the contents.
On the other hand, if he had been given the chance, he would have been signing the papers even without reading them. The trick worked. Then and there Mrs Gandhi changed her decision and offered the job to Gyani Zail Singh. Rest is history.

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