Punjabi by nature | Surgical panga across the border

  • Khushwant Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 18, 2016 20:31 IST

“Sir, Common Singh has come to see you?” said my house help, asking for my permission whether to usher him in or not.

“How come he is knocking on my door twice within a fortnight? What does he demand? Nevertheless send him in,” I replied thinking of it as a good break from the screaming TV channels. At least I’ll get to talk to real people, I thought.

Common Singh: Sirji, it seems like a big panga (trouble)?

Me: All ok? Has your wife finally left you and registered a police case against you?

Common Singh: Sirji, no joking. And that is hardly any panga. The big trouble is at the Indo-Pak border.

Me: Why is it a big problem? The two countries have always been fighting. Just like Amrik Singh and his wife fight every other week. But they sleep together, na?

Common Singh: Sirji, again joke. The government has asked people in the border villages to leave their homes. My saali (sister-in-law) called up to inform that she is shifting to our house along with her five children.

Me: Ha! Are they getting their dangars (livestock) too? Or the Punjab government will be feeding and milking them?

Common Singh: Sir ji please be serious. They say that the Indian army has conducted a surgical strike in the dushman mulk (enemy country). I missed the Jarnail’s (Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, DGMO) press conference on TV but heard the Central minister Venkaiah Naidu explain. Kuchh nahi samajh aaya (Didn’t understand a word). What is a surgical strike, sirji?

Me: It’s a procedure a doctor conducts in the case of some illness. It’s like a laser surgery of the prostate.

Common Singh: Operation types?

Me: No. If it was an operation, then it’s a big panga.

Common Singh: But why not an Operation? The enemy has to be taught a lesson. After all 18 of our faujis died in the cross-border terrorism.

Me: Who cares for the faujis in this country? Om Puri, the film actor, says faujis volunteer for such jobs. No one forces them to join the army.

Common Singh: Sirji, no mazaak. Isn’t he that Ahuja tun (drunk) from the Hindi movie Jaane bhi do yaaro. In his sharabi state, he mistook a coffin for his car. Ignore him. And I’m told the Jarnail is from our district, Hoshiarpur. Very proud sirji.

Me: Yes. Salute.

Common Singh: Sirji, jung hou?

Me: I don’t think so.

Common Singh: Waheguru. Then why so much tiyari (readiness)?

Me: All this preparation is to avoid war.

Common Singh: Sir ji, no logic. Early in the morning, tun?

Me: Behave. You, ordinary people, will never understand. Preparation of war is meant to deter each other. Fear of the nuclear war is what keeps us sane. If we don’t prepare, the enemy will nuke us. Then Babaji ka thullu.

Common Singh: Sir ji, what a cruel joke these politicians of both the countries play on their people. There’s no education for children. Health care is in a shambles. Millions are going to bed hungry. And we are spending money on tiyari just to avoid war? And yes, the Jai Jawan and Jai Kissan are dying for no reason. What sort of logic is this?

Me: This is the world doctrine. Powerful politicians, strategists and Intelligent think like this. Otherwise, they will be called people with common sense. Even America thinks like this.

Common Singh: No wonder it is referred to as the intelligent department. Now, I know how clever people think. We will once again be voting for war and not prosperity. Tragedy of the world. Changa ji.

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