Saturday, April 23, 2011

How is your index finger?

दुनिया ने तेरी याद से बेगाना कर दिया, 
तुझसे भी दिल-फरेब हैं ग़म रोज़गार के 
                                                              फैज़ अहमद फैज़ 

These Urdu shayars are called ustaad not because they were a master of Urdu poetry (which they were) but because they were masters of human psychology and behaviour. 

Let me translate the sher first then we'll come to my actual topic. Faiz says that the world actually made me forget your memory, because the hassles of work are even more attractive (?) than you. Here Faiz uses the word Dil-Fareb. Dil of course is heart, and fareb means deception. I think Faiz uses "Dil-fareb" to mean "attractive" in the case of the beloved and "distracting" in case of the hassles. So, in short, "Dear Love, you are so attractive that you have taken my heart but these hassles of employment are so distracting that they have made me forget everything including you." Of course, it's a thousand times more powerful in the original Urdu. :)

Now, to my topic. If you read it in Faiz's words it sounds callous to forget a loved one for practical matters of the world, but is it not true in the case of each and everyone of us? 

When the boss's call comes on the call waiting, do you not hang up with the girlfriend with, "I'll call you back, baby." Do the family matters not get pushed back when the project hits "urgent"? 

The weird thing about it is that projects have a "red" or "urgent" indicator, personal relationships don't. They hit red when you find out your wife is having an affair or your girlfriend dumps you, or the friend you never got around to emailing, is no longer in a position to receive emails.....

By then it's too late. You can't put more manpower on that project, you can't make people work in shifts, and you can't increase the budget....

Interesting, no?

Let's be fair, work is important, projects do need time and attention, but so do family and friends, and life partners.

How often have you heard this from a friend when you called them, "Arre yaar, so sorry I haven't called you in so long, but I have been so busy!" And how often have you said it yourself?

Sometimes it is indeed true that one is simply swamped with work and personal stuff that takes up all their time, but more often than not, it's just a question of sorting out your priorities and managing your time effectively in order to achieve them. I mean, really, how long does it take to shoot off a two-line email or a one line text message?

I am sure at one point or another you have sorted out your work things and created a to-do list. May be even for your personal "business" stuff. Ever made a grocery list? I bet you have. Well, surely a friend who lends you his ear, supports you in bad times, amuses you in good times and loves you despite yourself cannot be less important than a carton of milk?

मुद्दतें गुजरीं कि तेरी याद भी आई न हमें 
और हम भूल गए हों तुझे ऐसा भी नहीं 

One question I am sometimes forced to ask my friends is, "How is your index finger these days?"
And once he/she says, it's okay, I demand, "Then why the hell didn't you use it to dial my number?"

So, look at that index finger, if it's fine, use it for something other than picking your nose. 

And with the delightful image I will leave you to do with it as you like. 

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