Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

On My 2362nd Birthday!

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As you read this I will be preparing to be born 2362 years ago. Today. At 11.30, just before midnight. How does it feel to be as old as that? Well, in a word: great.

It’s a great feeling. Having been around since the time Alexander arrived with his legions and lived through the great parade of everyone marching in to make the subcontinent the great and wonderful place it became, I’ve seen and learned a great deal.

But the funniest thing in these long years is the number of people I’ve met who claim to be one hundred and forty years old. Bloody minnows. Just one hundred and forty years old? Compare that to my 2300+ years!

If they are Punjabis, they claim this great age because, as they say, they remember the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh – the only Punjabi leader worth the name since Raja Paurava (Porus) the Great. If from Hunza they remember, so they think, Mir Safdar Ali who was ousted by the Brits in the last decade of the 19th century.

Even funnier was the man who I met in Kharian only some years ago. He said he was one hundred and twenty years of age. Poor bugger. He didn’t remember Ranjit Singh. What a disappointment! So, at the time we met, he would have been born in 1885. He said he was in the army during World War II. Meaning the poor bastard was called up for service at the age of fifty-five! Man, the British Indian government was in difficult straits fighting wicked old Herr Hitler that they had to muster all the old farts they could get their hands on.

I asked this funny man if, having served in World War I and retired, he had been called out a second time. No, said he, that he missed out on. When I persisted, he said, ‘Don’t even mention that,’ (Ohdi gull na karo!) and he kept repeating himself as if that was a bad memory. Only, I knew that was no memory at all. Because, for heaven’s sake, you cannot remember something you have not lived through.

My homoeopathic doctor friend who had told me of this man-marvel for being the only one hundred and twenty year-old who cycled around Kharian was sorely disappointed. He couldn’t believe that if you did the sums, the marvel turned out to be only about seventy-five.

The trouble with folks nowadays is that they do not respect Methuselah-like old age. Why, I’ve very nearly got beaten up a number of times for telling people they just cannot get the arithmetic of their age right.

In November 2008, in Rahim Yar Khan my friend Raheal Siddiqui then DCO there arranged for me to visit a one hundred and twenty-five year-old fart. The escort he gave me was a journalist who had in May that year published a newspaper about the man and his great age. So, when we met – six months after the interview and the article – the oldie told me he was a hundred and forty five years old.

The man had aged twenty years in a space of just six months. What miracles won’t the Lord in heaven work! This never happened before in all my 2362 years. But his sons got rather peeved when I did some sums for them and would have attacked me if Raheal hadn’t provided me an armed escort. After all I was the DCO sahib bahadar’s guest, you know.

Now with all these oldies adding to it, the average age of Pakistan should be somewhere in the vicinity of two hundred. But we haven’t cross the sixty-three mark. Since I am 2360 years old, I’ll tell you why that is so.


Like the average IQ of Pakistan is pulled down by the mere fact that folks like Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif continue to live, so too is the average age at only sixty-three because every year most women get younger. And leading among them is Meera (who meanwhile seems to have learned English, or some version of it). Of course there are a few more of her kind.

Top image: On the Chiring Glacier in the Central Karakoram Mountain

Related: I am 2300 old

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 00:00,

33 Comments:

At 21 February 2014 at 09:31, Anonymous Jawad Sherazi said...

Is he Eric Shipton today?

 
At 21 February 2014 at 10:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday young man.

JM

 
At 21 February 2014 at 11:20, Blogger Sajini Chandrasekera said...

A very Happy Birthday to the amazing writer who inspired every heart with his unique writing skills. May you shine for another 2300 years more.....

 
At 21 February 2014 at 11:25, Blogger Servant of Aulia Allah said...

یہ بابا جی… یہ درویش… یہ جہاں گرد… جِن سے خدا بہت ہی راضی ہو گا… مشہور سفرنامہ نگار ”سلمان رشید“ ہیں… اِن باباؤں کی طاقت، پاکستان کی اصل طاقت ہے…

 
At 21 February 2014 at 11:52, Anonymous Rashid Zia Cheema said...

The 'Young Man' (Salman Rashid from 1st SSC) should be careful, he might get cold.

 
At 21 February 2014 at 12:20, Anonymous Abu-Bakar Usman Haider said...

Its always a pleasure reading/listening/watching him always. Alas, our current media does not have much space for such people, just half-educated anchors are in-demand along-with some half joker/half-clown leaders and intellectuals.

 
At 21 February 2014 at 12:33, Anonymous M Behzad Jhatial said...

Enjoyed every sentence as a sip of cold coffee... A brief but composed account sir... May u live long.. HBD btw...

 
At 21 February 2014 at 13:31, Anonymous Mitthee Babe said...

Holy Macro !!

 
At 21 February 2014 at 14:57, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

You bet, Joyce!

 
At 21 February 2014 at 15:13, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

To all friends above.
No, sir. There was only one Eric Shipton!
Thank you very much, JM.
Sajini, you make the hard work worthwhile.
Servant of Aulia Allah, your kindness is beyond measure.
Rashid, these old bones sort of got immune. But now they are returning to normal.
Abu Bakr Usman, Thank you for the kind words.
Behzad, thanks. Great to know you liked it.

 
At 21 February 2014 at 16:34, Blogger Nayyar Julian said...

* HAPPY BIRTHDAY * May GOD be with you, bless you abundantly, may you have many happy returns of the day.

 
At 21 February 2014 at 17:26, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Cheers, Nayyar.

 
At 21 February 2014 at 18:06, Blogger Imran Zaka said...

Happy Birthday! I Really enjoy your writings/blog !

 
At 22 February 2014 at 18:02, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Imran.

 
At 23 February 2014 at 18:17, Blogger Asher said...

Salman Rashid Bhai
I love you.......... you are really wonderful inspiration for me and soon i am going to start my journey's like you.
I wish you Many many happy returns of the day. May God Bless you more and more and bestow his everlasting blessings on you.
Keep it up bro......

 
At 23 February 2014 at 18:59, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Asher. You have made my life worthwhile. I was inspired by far better men and women. It is deeply gratifying to know that I have passed some of that inspiration on to you. Fare you well, forever, in your travels, my young friend.

 
At 25 February 2014 at 23:12, Anonymous Saima Ashraf said...

You are that old? Goodness...!
Anyway Happy birthday old young man :)

 
At 26 February 2014 at 05:23, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Saima! Thank you for the good wishes.

 
At 26 February 2014 at 08:45, Anonymous Ameer Hamza said...

Sir, Happy Birthday to you. May you have 200 more !

 
At 28 February 2014 at 11:09, Anonymous Muhammad Alizain Rizvi said...

Happy 62 Sir!!!!!! Hope to see you at LLF Tomorrow!

 
At 28 February 2014 at 12:21, Anonymous Sanee Akbar said...

Salman Bhai, you refuse to grow old.... :-)

 
At 6 March 2014 at 13:36, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Ameer.

 
At 6 March 2014 at 13:37, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you, Sanee. Working hard at it, you know.

 
At 6 March 2014 at 13:38, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Hello Alizain, sorry for the delayed response, was travelling. Also, sorry to disappoint you, but I did not even know I was supposed to be there at the Literacy Fair.

 
At 30 April 2014 at 06:58, Blogger Amardeep Singh said...

"they remember the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh – the only Punjabi leader worth the name since Raja Paurava (Porus) the Great." I wonder why no other Punjabi was ever able to lead. Wonderful article.

 
At 21 February 2015 at 09:43, Blogger khurram dogar said...

Happy Birthday sir...

I never knew you were that old ...stay blessed

 
At 21 February 2015 at 11:17, Blogger Brahmanyan said...

Many Happy Returns of the day young man.

 
At 21 February 2015 at 18:41, Anonymous Muhammad Athar said...

A very very happy birth day to a great writer who inspired me to become reader of history.

 
At 22 February 2015 at 17:15, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you very much, Muhammad Athar.

 
At 22 February 2015 at 17:21, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Thank you Brahmanyan. You are very kind, sir.

 
At 22 February 2015 at 17:22, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Ha Ha ha. Khurram, my dear friend, now you know how old I am!

 
At 21 February 2017 at 18:40, Blogger Muhammad Ayyub said...

Happy Birthday to the amazing Baba Jee who made my day through this write ending with,"Like the average IQ of Pakistan is pulled down by the mere fact that folks like Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif continue to live, so too is the average age at only sixty-three because every year most women get younger. "
Yes Sir, you are just 19 years old than me in total if I do not subtract my actual 61 years. Because "Mong or Nicaea which was founded by Alexander the Great in commemoration of his victory over Raja Porus in the Battle of the Hydaspes River" in 326 BC makes me and S A J Shirazi 2343 years that is 19 years younger than you.
Well, I am lucky that I got another life "In a terrorist attack on October 7, 2005, 8 people Ahmadis were gunned down and 20 were injured while at morning worship."
Once again HBD as " Today is a perfect day to tell you that the only time you really live fully is from thirty to seventy. The young are slaves to dreams, the old servants of regrets"

 
At 21 February 2017 at 21:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it was always my wish to relive in Greek period.

 

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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days