JournalismPakistan.com June 15, 2013
When I was in my salad days (yes, there are still people who use such phrases) I used to write humorous stories, real roll on the floor with mirth pieces. I’d laugh while writing them. And readers would come up and say, great stuff, but when are you going to write something serious and durable.
Finally, intimidated, I began writing on politics and aeroplanes and military matters of deep and abiding profundity. No one read them. Over the years I kept waiting for the earth to move when I advised Bill Clinton, told General Musharraf how to deal with Vajpayee and vice versa and second guessed David Cameron. Not one letter to the editor. Yet when I wrote about people, just people, who would never shake the trunk of life, they laughed and they enjoyed it and they called and said, that was funny.
Then they said, so how come you don't do something serious. And my wife would say, I wish you were one of those profound writers who were always being interviewed saying things like 'nevertheless' and 'in the true perspective' and 'weighing the pros and cons' and 'ipso facto and de jure and ad infinitum', why can't you write like that.
So I said, fine, funny is out, funny is history, I am going to write solemn editorials. Then they came up again and they’d say, this serious business is okay but you should never have given up your funny stuff, that’s where you were really in your element. And that’s just it. I am one of those folks who is never in his element.
What are you doing these days, people ask me and I have to say, looking for my element. It doesn't get many laughs but it is my golden fleece. I have always admired people who hit back with scathing wit, have an arsenal of squelches and can insult with panache and style. My repartee crumbles under pressure and I am getting the distinct feeling that even my swash is buckling.
There was a time I could engage in rapier sharp fencing with the best of them.
Now, I lose out to everyone including the parrot.
Except that I don’t have a parrot. Now, that’s funny.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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