Caution: Those who do not possess the kidney for Macabre Humor may please turn to the next page on this blog or visit a Toilet !
April Fool Cheers !
Honestly April 1st has something queer about it or can it be called gay! Provided, we stick to the lingo of just-a-decade past. Coz, in the present age, gay and queer would both be construed as straight or with same-sex twisted leanings, unlike the gay’s dictionary meaning simply -cherry and queer meaning odd.
Please don’t drag my father’s birthday in this. He was a disciplinarian as also an open minded, adventurer. Much as I would find it crass to crack an April fool prank by the dawn of the first day of April owing to it being the sacred day of my Papa’s Birthday, but by late afternoon, my resolve would inevitable be crushed as my hibernating talents of a prankster, would emerge out of their forced burial.
This time, though, people on my FaceBook list who profess to be my friends and relatives were tested to attend my mourning ceremony. No I had not ‘expired’ (like a bank cheque) completely, just yet, but have supposedly become a wannabe ‘passed away’.
So here I started to count how many would sincerely appear for myshokh ceremony or bereaving hour or the ‘chautha’ ‘as Hindus call the ‘prayers-for-the-dead’ after immersion of ashes in Haridwar or Bal-Ganga.
I knew some people would be shocked and reprimand me, but, sincerely, my joke was very serious, so the search could not be abandoned by mere anticipated scowls or scoldings .
The post on Facebook went like —–“Beauties and Handsomes of FB … Kal (tomorrow) I am leaving hopefully for Heaven ( or Hell !) I don’t know … There’s no Facebooking or Twitter or email or WATS- UPP there..(.wink emoticon). Might be away for the time I enter a new Soul… till then…. Remember me with smiles, giggles, laughter and Happiness And —-Be good !…. I shall be watching you from Above !! … And all those Fakes will be rewarded who think life is a cake walk and there’s nothing wrong with me !! ( smile emoticon)” .
Believe me there were 68 likes on the subject of my anticipated death. Some of them admonished me on this silliest, stupid, prank and there were others who ventured a reply – ‘April Fool, Hai Na’ . Still others thought I was in a suicidal mood and rang up my daughter – “Is your mom ok? Jao dekho kia hua hai unhe.” My daughter was flabbergasted and asked me rather politely what did I ‘now’ post on my facebook status that four friends of hers had already called and one had inboxed her a message to be with me in this hour of supposed melancholy.
Now this had turned into a serious research project.
Babita Narang Kochar wrote in my inbox “I hope it was joke or r u in some trouble? Please feel free to share with me . I may help,” and promptly vanished from FB. Ghost ! Ghost ! I practiced soundlessly after her vanishing act. After all there would be much more ghastly mists up there. I presumed she was a fellow friendly ghost, only trying to familiarize and play buddy buddy with me.
Akhilesh Misra an opinion writer was aghast and indignantly wrote “What is this?” Sharad Tripathi pleaded from Lucknow to call it an April Fool joke and admonished never to play such a joke. Abrar Hussain, a senior officer in the J&K state Electricity department, asked, what was wrong with me.(He expected the usual Power failure, that leads to Marr-gaye! Mitt-Gaye! protests in fragile Kashmir!).
MP Singh, connected with organ donation organization , thought he might get a new brain, for my transplant and wrote –“ It ( post ) cannot be liked! This type of joke is never expected from such a mature person.” and to tone down, added-“Please don’t mind madam.” .
Shamsher B Singh, a former journalistic colleague and friend, softly reprimanded as if to a child “mana aaj April fool day hai par mazak kuchh aur bhi ho sakta tha. Please reconsider ur decision.” (Admitted that today is April fool’s Day but jokes could be something else too) And added soon after -‘Hume malum hai apke post ki haqueekat lekin, dil ko behlane ke liye khyal achha hai ! ‘ (We know the reality of your post, but to amuse oneself, the idea is good )
By the fourth comment, an hour or two later the post was exposed completely as an April Fool joke .
Autar Mota, a fabulous writer on Kashmir’s tangible and intangible heritage who never misses a chance to tag me in each of his brilliant posts, simply wrote – “April Fool” I am anticipating he must have written this with his fingers crossed .
Suneet Madaan, a class website designer, worryingly posted“ Rashmi, do you need company?”
Bansilal Kuchroo, a longing, veteran soul who feels that after losing ones lands in Kashmir, nothing more drastic could befall him, wrote in sadness “I am a real FOOL so I believe all.” He really jerked the tear glands and succeeded to shame me. To sadden a person, who is already dealing with the separation from his lands for decades and longing to touch ground zero, indeed mortified me. However comments continued to pour in.
Islamabad based Indo Pak fellow peace votary, Zahoor Ahmed announced –‘Aje tohanu jan nain dena’(We won’t let you go, just yet !) Made me wonder whether he will create chicken tikkas or gurdey- Katurey – a speciality of Lahore – Before he lets a portion of me go to the skies.
Few dainty ones followed the comment strip with Amnah Khalid, of ‘Save daughter, Save nation’ campaign fame . Who used her light flouncy tone to write –“ Are u going to a Spa or China or North Korea?? !!” She must have surely dealt with looneys who raised false alarms and had a wit or two ready with retorts to gun me.
Sheikh farooq Ahmed – a hotelier whose intention apparently seemed to be to follow me to the travel journey into space probably looking for tourists clientage, gurglingly wrote — “Enjoy there,… we will be reaching soon!!” as if I was going to a casino in Los Angeles!
Saeed Ahmed a self- professed lover of ‘mad’ who enjoys ‘schools of fools and illiterates’, in his cherry tone cheered me off with –“See you there!”. I could imagine him waving his hand and blowing good wishes for a safe journey.
While Arun Gaur, a fellow Amritsari, brushed aside my speculations of Heaven and Hell and firmly stated – ‘Wat nonsense ! U will always go 2 heavens’ and added ‘ just try once”.
A fellow journalist Bindu Singh, was effusive –“ Love u n hugs…Rashmi,…. Pl…. Dear….. Do not break my heart (pierced arrow heart emoticon), its as delicate as u r…. Sweetie…. Stay blessed…..( a wide smile, a smile, a heart with stars and a whistling heart emoticons ). I raised my hands in prayer, atleast someone displayed some good etiquettes!
Social worker and activist Shabnam Hashmi rung the alarm with –“ Rashmi Talwar please call if there is a crises and this is not an April 1 prank. Requesting Rashmi’s personal friends who have her number to call her to ensure things are fine.” She must have surely seen a number of such realtime looney cases.
Neeta Tripathi, an office bearer of congress party’s grievances cell in Mumbai could not stand the jest , lest, she said –“Rashmi, tum bhi na. aisa mazak acha nahi haii”(this is not a good joke ).
A Manager at ITC Welcome Group of hotels and businessman in Tourism sector of J&K calling himself IIqaa Tours called out loud –“There may not be twitter, Whatsapp or other services, but perhaps telepathy…” and made me feel like a crystal ball running after me for the vital tele link.
Yoginder Nath Tikoo, a Peru, based Kashmiri who once worked in a Spanish company had this advice –“Visit my Tea Shop for a quick, crispy samosa plz.” as if his stall was located at the entry of gates of hell or heaven and I would need some refreshment, post the exhausting journey from Earth.
Veenu Kadd, restaurateur and my good friend in Amritsar … hit it with a simple –“April fool banaya”
Krishna Kumar D Paval – guessed ‘So, Are u going to Srinagar ?’This was promptly picked up by Dr Naresh Chawla , who lost no time in doing a quick post-mortem and concluding within a span of an hour –“ I think she is visiting Srinagar.. So read her status again… its Heaven..she said, hell- bcoz floods are dere.. its at a height so watching from above!!” I concluded he surely was a good doctor cum lawyer rolled into one.
My good friend and RTI activist from Delhi Daljeet Singh who has often peered at my ‘queer’ posts, blurted out -“ Afeem acchhi thi. Thodhi jyada lai layi lagdee.” (Drug overdose !)
Anoop Lather a lawyer and a political activist from Kurukshetra the land of the great war, seemed to have put up a board – “Please no such Pranks.” It sounded like Bugle announcing –“No Toilets in sky!”
Roopa Ghosh a quick witted senior school mate snapped –“Talk to us about the weather from there ! ” I guess she knew her school mates well enough.
RK Arora seems to have a fool –proof source there and informed me –“For the first time being there is no vacancy ..in Heaven or Hell .” Guess I should be prepared to languish in the long ration queue.
Vijendra Rawat showed me a wine glass seeming to call a toast for the onwards journey. Avi whom I know as a fabulous mimic of a Kashmiri wazu and a great cook, all other talents aside, decided to suggest to take my surname ‘Talwar’ everywhere when I go on ‘the’ journey. Yes Avi just like the tools of Mimicry you carry everywhere, I shall take the tool of war with me. Salutes !
Gurmeet Anand, a witty whack himself is strangely annoyed for ‘selecting ‘them’ to make fools,’ made me think, I wish I had a choice to search for the right kind of candidates for my irrational pranks. Canada based Manju Sharma, who is into diamonds business warmly cooed so lovingly “God-Luck !”.
How can PM Modi be missed in any conversation at present, that takes place on the Indian Terra ferma . Jeevan Preet Singh or Jack Kairon promptly asks — “Leaving on Modi’s Bullet train?” after all Kairon is a lawyer who always is on a lookout for issues involving litigations –For supposing I fell off the train! .
Mahender Singh cautions me against going to Earth’s paradise Kashmir and says the Heaven there has turned to Hell. ‘Hell or Heaven, Kashmir is Kashmir’! I retort.
Meantime Journalist Narinderpal butts in “We have people in Heaven and Hell with fake IDs”. As if I am gonna expose a trillion dollar scam in a multi sting operation wearing spy cameras in the pockets of my soul. “I don’t want any tehalkas with me for company Mr Narinder Pal Phaajee,” I tell him.
Awww my friends know me too well so Neeta asked –“Haw ! (mouth-open) Kahan chali ..Srinagar ?” I can imagine her eyes wide and her lower lip pulled-in locked with teeth in a tight grasp, as she tried to wish this deathtrap away. Another good friend Indu Aurora assuming that I was going to Kashmir advised – Rashmi, Heaven has become Hell once again after September. God bless ones who were struck by this calamity . Take care and God be with you all.”
A Pakistan based motor company’s manager Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui commented –“Excuse Me…would You… Hang On Please?” As If I was holding a noose around my neck .. and wanted to snap -‘Oh No, Puleez! Let me quietly & painlessly attain die-hood’.
Balvinder Singh, a Heritage conservator and friend couldn’t hold any longer and blurted “Ki ho gaya?” wondering which ancient wall has fallen upon me. While a HC lawyer prayed –“Be with us always” . Am I omniscient, I thought for a minute.
A former bureaucrat with Jammu & Kashmir government Ramesh Mehta checkmated with a smiley–“ Waiting for your soul to return on April 1st Next”
Amrit Mannan from Amritsar didn’t believe it was the first of April joke or joker.
Kirit Desai a former bureaucrat put is succinctly – “ A day is never enough for such an auspicious journey where the Moon , stars and the mighty Sun aligns for a day to fool everyone. Have a good one ” And Vee Kay Sharma a senior journalist wrote –“ Don’t worry, on earth we have Facebook and Twitter, But up there , there is Fake book and Bleeder and the Third eye to peep and see what is happening on the Ground floor.” And DK Sharma just laughed Ha Ha April fool .
What absolutely zapped me was who would share such a innocuous post but someone indeed did. It was Atul Mehra a known artist of the city who strangely commented –“So True” . Atul is surely gonna be the next one to be crucified like me . Today I went to an exhibition and several of my friends made a face and reminded me of the April fool post and said they hated it. Well, So be it .
Sorry, But I couldn’t resist writing this. Please read it very objectively