Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things to do in a curfew!


They say an idle brain is the devil’s workshop. What is an idle generation then? The devil’s factory? In a couple of weeks, we’ll have lived an idle season- a whole season. Only Kashmiris are capable of such feats. We’re extraordinary people. Survival and innovation, probably, are our greatest talents. Our grand-parents relate how they used to survive the harsh, cold winter that would block the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for months together. The road is still the economic lifeline of Kashmir. Those were the days of heavy snowfall, inadequate technology and months of road-block. There would be a serious dearth of food during the whole winter. Kashmiris, however, survived those hard times by inventing what we know as hokh-syun (don’t freak out, it’s not a Chinese name- literal: dried vegetables). They would store cereals, but perishables like vegetables were sun-dried in large quantities. That is what we call hokh-syun and it would sustain people during the harsh winter. Other characters in the survival story are the Pheran and the Kangri!



I can’t remember the last time I used an ATM. Ever since the Govt. Vs. Geelani phase began, its either a strike call or a curfew every day. But damn, I still have money.. lol.. Whenever I go out during the few hours of curfew restrictions, I end up spending a few hundred bucks. Survival has never been the issue I guess. Going back to where I left it, many Kashmiris are ridden with conflict-related-diseases, not the kind people had after the WWII but similar- schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse- to name a few. Though we always manage to survive, our mind is feeding on poisonous stuff. I’ve read in psychology books that the concept of good and bad comes from training; that the mind can be trained to find something harmful rewarding and vice-versa. So, we not only survive these long violent, lonely, idle spans of time but also try to enjoy them, try to convince ourselves that this is good and end up liking it actually- it may even be good for the mind in the short run but can wreak havoc on it in the longer run.

I am the one who sleeps in the front row in class. And my teachers have probably ‘trained their minds’ to believe it doesn’t matter.. lol.. And now, I’m scared- I don’t know how I’m going to stay alert in the class after this colossal break from studies. And how I’m going to wake up early. And how I’m going to adjust back to hostel food. And how I’m going to stand the pressure of completing 6 months’ work in three-months time (assuming the session runs from October to Jan without break!). Same goes for those who have spent the whole time gaming and watching movies.

So, to keep myself sane and in working condition I’ve invented a new mind-survival technique. Get up at seven (or whatever time you normally would) and do what you normally would. Get ready like you usually would and dress like you normally would- that’s right- dress like you would, otherwise, for office or college or for hanging out (if that’s what you all day)! Welcome the day like you usually would. Having said that, please don’t venture outside like you normally would.. lol.. they’ll beat you up! Pretend your room is your office/classroom. Do whatever part of your work you can, at home. If your work involves something like reading, researching a topic, learning a new technology or writing something then you can actually simulate work. But if your work is of administrative nature, you can make one of your creative hobbies your work. If you’re an administrator and have no creative hobbies, cultivate a kitchen-garden. If you’re unemployed, improve your skills so that when peace is restored, you emerge stronger. If you’re in school or medical college, goddamnit, stop reading this and study. If you’re too pretty to study, learn make-up. If you’re in engineering college- you can rest.

Work, cook, pray, think, sing, dance, paint, feed the cats but do something-please. Stop working at four and give your family the time they always craved for. Take the weekend off and clean the house. Curfews aren’t that bad after all. Okay, my lunch break is over. Gotta go back to work :) Thanks for reading- you’re so idle!

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