Friday, 18 May 2012

Guzaara Nahin Hota!

The biggest attraction of being posted to Udhampur (and these were the pre satellite TV days), was the access one had to Pakistani television. The choice was between Doordarshan and PTV, and it was a one horse race really. All discussions centred around PTV serials, and mess functions were scheduled to make sure they didn’t clash with `Dhoop Kinaare’. Rahat Kazmi had our ladies weak in their knees, and Marina Khan was the heart throb of all young officers (my personal favourite was Anji, but that’s another story).  A small aside here – how can the Pakistani public, reared on such brilliant serials as `Waris’, `Dhoop Kinare’ and `Raat’ now lap up India’s saas-bahu baloney?

Anyway, one of the most heart warming programs I saw on PTV was a short story called `Guzaara Nahin Hota’. A middle class couple, let's call them the Ahmeds, over dinner discuss the problems of making ends meet – school fees, food prices going through the roof, how difficult it is to stretch the monthly pay packet to 30 days.. Ahmed shakes his head ruefully, and mutters `Guzaara nahin hota..’ . The next day, he runs into an old schoolmate of his, driving around in a plush car, and seemingly quite well off. They proceed  for a cup of coffee, and try and catch up on the different paths that they have taken in life. Ahmed is shocked when he hears the rich guy confide in him “Yaar, kya karein, guzaara nahin hota!”.  He talks of fuel prices, high maintenance costs, eating out etc... As Ahmed narrates this to his wife back home,  a simpleton from his village lands up at his doorstep – he has been told that he can expect a simple bed n breakfast at Ahmed’s house, as that’s the custom of the village. Reluctantly, Ahmed opens up his house to the simpleton – who is dirt poor, and obviously on hard days. But he seems blissfully unaware of the difference in their status, and is irritatingly cheerful about his lack of means. Surprised, Ahmed asks his `guest’ “Achcha batao, TUMHARA guzaara ho jata hai?”, to which the man responds “Bada sona guzaara ho jata hai ji!”. Seeing his host’s quizzical expression, he explains “Bookha main kabhi soya nahin, beemaar kabhi padha nahin, bachchay bilkul theek hain – bada sona guzaara ho jata hai!”

This afternoon, I had a plumber over to repair a leaking faucet. I was watching the England – West Indies test match in High definition. The plumber gazed in rapt admiration at my 55 inch LED TV and Home theatre, and asked me how much it cost. When I told him, he shook his head with a wry smile and replied that that was what his whole house in his village had cost him!

Face it. Mukesh Ambani has his `Antilla’, and my plumber has his hutment. We faujis lie somewhere in between, much closer to mother earth than to Ambani's hideous 27 storey monstrosity. There are just as many people above you on the ladder of `affluence’ as there are below you. You can look up and feel miserable or you can look down and feel elated.

My friend bought a BMW for the cost of a modest flat, I bought my Home Theatre for the cost of a modest car, so does one look up or down? If he has four times the `assets’ that I have, what does that translate into – does he have four pegs of single malt for every single peg that I down? Does he own four cars to my single Honda City? Does he have four houses to my one apartment? The truth is that beyond a point, the law of diminishing returns begins to apply quite rapidly. The hike in life style, if any, is only marginal. The vintage of the Single Malt may escalate from 12 to 21, the Absolut vodka may be replaced by Grey Goose or Belvedere, but that’s about it..

The secret is to gain a sense of perspective. Your Home Theatre may equal someone’s entire household, yet someone’s flashy limousine may equal your own. Should you be feeling large or small? Neither – just count your blessings.

If, like the poor man from the village, you never go to bed hungry, enjoy reasonable good health, and your kids are doing fine, then God has been kind, BADA SONA GUZAARA HO RAHA HAI!!


  1. It is all in the mind...the all powerful

  2. Your writing is remarkable not only for its style and content but for the chord it strikes in the hearts of its readers.