11/8/06

Curry under fire

Indians and Pakistanis are so similar to each other that it is almost absurd that the countries have fought three wars (arguably four) against each other. This becomes blatantly obvious if you are an Indian or Pakistani i.e. a desi living outside India or Pakistan. It is hard to tell us apart unless we are at a India vs. Pakistan cricket match. This leads me to conjure up a scenario which is amusing to say the least and even not that much farther from reality if I may dare say so.

Imagine a remote outpost on the Indo-Pak border (also known as the line of control) near Kashmir, where private Sukhbeer Singh on the Indian side and private Aslam Qureshi on the Pakistani side stand guard on a chilly December night. When it is dinner time, Aslam cooks up a wicked lamb curry with roti, while Sukhbeer brings over some killer palak paneer with basmati rice and hot chai (indian tea). This Indo-Pak potluck continues while enjoying the latest Bollywood number on the army radio tuned to pick up civilian radio broadcasts from the nearest radio tower. The meal is only interrupted when a commanding officer from either side shows up for his nightly check. Then Sukhbeer and Aslam pretend to hate each other and fire some mortar rounds across the border, while being careful not to aim anywhere near the hidden food. Once the frustrated boss desperate to make the rank of colonel is gone, it is back to sharing curry under fire.

In fact, Sukhbeer and Aslam have more similarities than they will ever know. The exact same partially nude poster of Bipasha Basu from the latest issue of Film Fare, hangs in the officer's mess on both sides. The fatigues they wear were manufactured in the same textile factory in China. The mortar shells they fire at each other come from a single American corporation. The cheap stationery they use to write letters back home hails from Ulhasnagar, Mumbai. When the boss's computer stops working both of them end up calling Mr. Govind Naidu, a call center worker for Infosys in Bangalore.

2 comments:

  1. They stay away from their families long enough that they really miss their wife and kids.

    Its a very chilly night and Sukhbeer's tent is destroyed by the fake mortar fire. Aslam asks him to spend the night in his tent and one thing leads to another "Brokeback Mountain Style" :-)

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  2. That's a slam on our troops. How cud you?!!! Are you related to John Kerry? Is Fall also the season of botched political jokes?
    (just trying to be funny.)

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