Season 6 Episode 21
Fellows, I heard about your Mazhar in the summer of 2010. The news about you and your Mazhar was broadcasted all over the world, with every man and his dog giving their verdict on the level of disgust they felt by the whole episode in the UK. I was among the global jury as well. I polished up my best condescending tone, donned my favourite holier than thou garb and began the cursing blitzkrieg.
How on earth, could a professional athlete do something as obnoxious as that? I wondered. Wearing your country’s badge on your chest, you had what millions in your country would die to have, I believed. You sold your soul, your integrity, your pride and your credibility all for the sake of a hike in your bank account, I thought. You had fame, success, veneration, respect and you gave it all up in exchange for money, I observed. And I was never going to blame your Mazhar, for it was you and you alone who were at fault for the horrendous act, I decided.
And then I met your Mazhar.
I met your Mazhar in Rajasthan last week and how that changed my point of view! Your Mazhar showed me a few bundles of cash and then I sat wondering what on earth, was the fuss all about. It was a wonderful opportunity to bag some cash, one which if offered to employees all over the world, would’ve seen a lot of them biting Mazhar’s hand off. Just a teeny tiny bit of dishonesty – if you could call it that – would have resulted in multiple times more money than what I would’ve earned at my job, without causing any tangible damage to my employers or my overall performance at the firm. It was a goldmine that had decided to jump onto my lap, and I wasn’t going to push it away.
And then I got to know your Mazhar.
I got to know your Mazhar after I mulled over a few questions. How many guitarists would refuse to take a hefty sum in exchange for slightly mistiming a chord of a particular song in a concert? How many stage actors would decline the opportunity to stutter while delivering a particular dialogue on stage for considerable amounts of cash? How many teachers in the world would turn down the offer of teaching their students a particular chapter that wasn’t included in the syllabus only for a day, for several times the amount of their monthly salary? How many hotel chefs would reject the cash bundles for an ever so slight alteration in a particular recipe? And how many editors would snub the proposal of some serious dough for leaving a minuscule typo in an article? Not many, I presumed.
And then I finally recognized your Mazhar.
I recognized your Mazhar as the one who tells civil servants that since they don’t get paid enough, they have every right to take whatever comes their way from underneath the table. I recognized your Mazhar as he who guides journalists to record staged interviews and write skewed write-ups, since siding with the highest bidder is the only way they can ever earn any money out of their profession. I recognized your Mazhar as the one who orchestrates the military’s manoeuvres that ensure instability in their region, which in turn ascertains that their own pockets remain healthy. I recognized your Mazhar as he who wants an intellectual to never be honest about his ideology, and instead keep toeing the popular lines for his personal acclaim. I recognized your Mazhar as the one who persuades a politician to sell the sovereignty of his nation to a superpower because they were going to snatch it away anyway. And I recognized your Mazhar as he who supports the Peer-o-Murshid’s quest of cashing in on the popular deception that he is closer to the deity than the rest of us are.
But more criminally I recognized your Mazhar as the same person who encourages a student to cheat in their examinations, because there is unemployment everywhere outside the gates of their institutions. I recognized your Mazhar as the voice who tells the person who has just breached a traffic rule to bribe the officer instead of facing the due punishment. I recognized your Mazhar as the one who encourages milkmen to add water and unhealthy chemicals in their milk because that’s the only way they can survive in the corrupt system. I recognized your Mazhar as the man who tells people they don’t really have to return the money they borrowed from a friend, since everyone in this world is a cheat and a little bit from their side wouldn’t do much harm. And I recognized your Mazhar as the mastermind behind an individual’s quest of fooling as many people as he can, to muster as much money as he can at the expense of everyone else.
And despite the fact that we’ve all known your Mazhar throughout our lives – at different times and in various shapes and forms – and fulfilled many of his wishes ourselves, the only time we decide to get worked up is when someone else listens to him, and acts according to his suggestions. The moment I recogniezd your Mazhar I realised that I’ve known him forever, and have always succumbed to his whispers. I consider myself very fortunate to have familiarized myself with your Mazhar, for it helps me steer clear of most things he tells me to do. But unfortunately the world would continue to scan others’ bond with him, even if they were to be told the fruitfulness of getting themselves acquainted with the story of how I met your Mazhar.
The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @khuldune