The Red Muffler!

Che Snap

It was a typical hot day in the month of June. I was sitting on a chair under a Tree at my place, playing taash(cards) with a few boys who lived in the neighborhood. As usual there was no electricity, but ironically it made things better as people came out of their places to meet one-another and chit chat! I was getting a few phone calls on my cell, but I didn’t pick any. I prefer keeping my phone in the silent mode whenever I am in my hometown. I decided to go for a ride on my vintage scooter. My scooter is not just an ordinary machine; it consumes one litre of crude oil for 10 miles. This is something I usually brag about when I am with my friends, I say pompously- “Only a Kalia Sahab can afford it”!

 I parked my scooter outside my friend’s shop in the market place. My friend owns a tailoring shop, he is a Muslim. We love spending time together and discussing things. In the summers, with no electricity mind you, the fun is even more. I entered the shop and he greeted me warmly-“Hey, look who is here”. It is pretty intentional that I visit him in the afternoon, because his father goes home to rest in the summer afternoons. He ordered tea for us and we began playing Ludo together. I said sipping tea-

“Kahin kuch jal raha hain kya”??

“Nahi Bhai, bagal ke hotel main murga ban raha hain”.

“For you- where there is smoke, there is chicken-tikka”- I replied. We both laughed and continued with the Ludo game.

 Suddenly, a young lad came into the shop. He was a Muslim; I knew when he introduced himself to us. He was a decent looking guy, wearing a Che T-shirt! He came to take his trousers that he gave few days back to be tailored. I asked him sarcastically-

“So, how is the revolution going”?

“It is not going sir, it is coming”.

The way he spoke and usage of the word “Sir”, assured me that he did his schooling from an English medium school. I asked him again-

“So, what do you know about Che Guevara”?

“Err, he was a really good man. He was very religious also”.

“Well bhai, I don’t know who told you all this. But Che was a communist who neither believed in God, nor in religion”.

“What, Che was a “comma”, whats that”?

“No, no- Che was a full stop”- I said sarcastically!

My friend knew me very well, I loved playing with people. Although, I lost more than I won but I enjoyed it. I headed out to get myself a pack of cigarettes and a “Saada khushbu-wala Paan”. I came back and played a Laal Band song on my cell-phone. The lad said impulsively-

“Hey that’s a Muslim band”.

“Nah, that’s a socialist band”.

“You are a cynical”- he said wearing his Red Cap that had “revolution” printed on it.

“Aah, you got that Red Cap too, you are a true rebel”- I commented.

My friend was smiling. “Kalia Sahab, stop playing with him now”- he said.

I was on a swing, was enjoying it. I further asked him- “So, you are starting the revolution! From where are you starting it, any plans”??

The guy looked confused, he had no answer.

“So, people call you Kalia Sahab”?

“Yes, actually they call me whatever they feel like! But you can call me Sir”- I said in a serious tone.

“Kyun bhai”??

“Don’t call me bhai, call me Sir”- I said.

“Okay, can I borrow a cigarette”??

I gave him one from my pack and quoted looking at my friend, who was seriously enjoying the episode-

Udhaar bade Showk se;

Lekin Inqallab, agle Chowk se!”

My friend picked up a Red color cloth from the ground and gave it to me. I wrapped it around my neck.

“That is actually wearing a Red Muffler”- My friend announced!






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