Meatballs, Baseball

IRSHAD SALIM: One day my grandma asked my father why he had beaten me up as i was the youngest and his most loved one. My father told grandma that if he could beat up the youngest and the most loved one, others should be ready for much harsher punishment.

Lo and behold, after this incident, essential food items which were kept in the ration room stopped vanishing. Pinching of money from father’s kurta pocket also kind of stopped.

My fault for getting thrashed was that I was caught going with my friend in rickshaw to his home after school hours to eat my favorite kofta curry (Meatballs with curry) which his Mom used to make.

This incident as I recall, took place in the early 60s, and in Khulna, former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh since December 16, 1971. My friend Iftikhar, also known as Ifti and Seth, lives in Karachi. We remain in touch.

Meatballs draw my imagination. When I was dispatched to Jhenidah Cadet College in Jessore in JUly 1967, I called the game of softball throwing meatballs around, and got punished. I therefore then learnt that being creative and spelling my imagination out can be interpreted as over-thinking or being an idiot (a**hole), and get you into trouble. Decades later, I learnt a new lingo in the U.S: being in a dog-house!

Even in the U.S., Pizza Hut’s meatballs with curry were my favorite. Back home now from 34 years abroad hanging out, learning but stranded with my ‘self’, I get to now enjoy koftay as and when I crave for them on my time and place of choosing — helps connect with the good old days, and adds salt and pepper to my daily rituals now. I want to keep going forward with resolve not to let the old man in who calls baseball the game of meatballs!

Chicken and veggie meatballs have replaced beef one’s now for understandable reasons: Health and budget.

I do invoke Wendy’s ‘Where’s the Beef’ commercial whenever I eat koftay (meatballs) or bun kabab (Burger), and when I need to ask someone to suggest solution(s) instead of just sharing the problem(s).

Otherwise, it would be meatballs-throwing game instead of softball (UK) or baseball (USA0. No? Drawing on the meatball and the softball episodes, I drew this one last month. I hope I don’t get into trouble for ‘over-thinking’ or for being an ‘idiot’ (a**hole). Take it as a non-AI drawn imagineering by a ‘bavla’ (East) Pakistani stranded with moorings of the ‘two-nations doctrine’ as understood by me over decades of sometime somewhere physically and professionally.

Any similarity of any or all of the above (first draft in English) with any news, report, event, incident, narrative, verdict, etc. in the past or in the present may be considered purely incidental, please. Pakistan Zindabad.

Irshad Salim, Karachi, October 22, 2022 | Jhatke Pe Jhatke (Shock & Awe) Series

Honorary contributors to DesPardes: Adil Khan, Ajaz Ahmed, Anwar Abbas, Arif Mirza, Aziz Ahmed, Bawar Tawfik, Dr. Razzak Ladha, Dr. Syed M. Ali, G. R. Baloch, Haseeb Warsi, Hasham Saddique, Jamil Usman, Javed Abbasi, Jawed Ahmed, Ishaq Saqi, Khalid Sharif, Majid Ahmed, Masroor Ali, Md. Ahmed, Md. Najibullah, Mushtaq Siddiqui,, Mustafa Jivanjee, Nusrat Jamshed, Shahbaz Ali, Shahid Hamza, Shahid Nayeem, Shareer Alam, Syed Ali Ammaar Jafrey, Syed Hamza Gilani, Shaheer Alam, Syed Hasan Javed, Syed M. Ali, Tahir Sohail, Tariq Chaudhry, Usman Nazir

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