The Chewing-gum formula

At last a flexible solution for the K-issue!

Ajaz A Baba
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 13 2018 11:18PM | Updated Date: Jan 13 2018 11:18PM
The Chewing-gum formulaRepresentational Pic

“I have evolved a new formula for resolving the K-issue!” my neighbor who considers himself to be an expert on all things in general and the local politics in particular informed me. Though I usually manage to avoid this gentleman this time he had me cornered right outside my house.

“It is a novel approach to the K-issue. It is solid but at the same time flexible, can be stretched and expanded and the most wonderful thing about it is that it sticks! And believe me it sticks like anything, which cannot be said of most of the proposals that have been outlined so far regarding this tangled K-issue!” he elucidated further.

“Sounds like chewing gum!” I quipped.

“Exactly! How brilliant of you to guess! My proposal is based on chewing gum,” he said, “A solution straight out of the people’s mouths I say! And that should please everybody who has a soft corner for democracy and all that!”

At this he proceeded to manipulate the blob of chewing gum in his mouth, directed it between his lips invading it with his tongue and then withdrawing the tongue he blew it up! A big bubble issued forth from his lips and expanded till it hid his face almost entirely. All I could do was to watch this whole procedure as one mesmerized. With a ‘phut’ sound the bubble burst and the collapsed gum crumpled on to his face. The next few minutes he was busy gathering up the filmy gum and extricating his face from it. Having accomplished the feat he grinned at me. I couldn’t resist pointing out a fragment of the gum that still adhered to his nose. With a grimace he proceeded to rub it off, turning the appendage an angry red.

“See this is what you may call the hallmark of my proposed solution to the K-issue!” he said by way of explanation. “It really sticks! And an ideal solution badly needs to do just that. For those who are not convinced about the ‘sticktivity’ of my proposal I suggest putting this chewing gum in their hair! Let them try to get it off! That’s what I would call a permanent solution or at least pretty near enough to that!”

I must say that I was quite impressed in spite of my inherent prejudices against the guy.

“Do you think the political leadership will find this proposal palatable?” I asked.

“Of course! You see it is a solid proposal but at the same it retains its flexibility, a quality that all politicians will undoubtedly find appealing!” Saying this he took the blob of chewing gum out of his mouth and with amazing dexterity pinched and stretched and shaped it into the letter ‘A’!

“Look this is ‘A’ for ‘Autonomy’ or ‘Accession’, depending upon the times, you know. Why it can even stand for ‘Armed struggle’ that’s to include all shades of opinion!”

Then he kneaded the gum into a shapeless mass once more and like some magician on a stage conjured up the letter ‘M’ out of it.

“Didn’t I say that my chewing gum based proposal is quite flexible! Look it is ‘M’ now – for ‘Military options’ (or ‘Militancy’ depending upon your particular leanings, flexible of course!). And then,” he turned it upside down, “the very next moment it becomes ‘W’ for ‘Withdrawal of troops’. All in a jiffy isn’t it!”

“Here!’” he reshaped the gum, “you have a ‘C’ for ‘Crackdowns’ and ‘Catch-n-Kill’ or then again for ‘Confidence Building Measures’! See what I mean about flexibility? And this is the beauty of my proposal. I am sure politicians and leaders of all shades and colours – the colourless even, for that matter – will simply lap it up!”

“What about the people? How will they take to it?!”  my question again.

“They will love it! You see the beauty of the thing is that you can add any flavour to it and then of course you have to package it nicely. They will find it up to their tastes I am sure. One can always ensure that!”

“But chewing gum has this problem of losing its flavour after some time. It becomes tasteless,” I tried to punch holes into his ‘perfect’ proposal.

“Till then it becomes a habit!” he said, his smile getting smugger, “It’s typical of chewing gum, it has a particular flavour for sometime but soon enough it loses that but you don’t spit it out. You go on chewing tasteless though it may have become! Well people are like that only. Hand them a particular situation, they might like it or not like it but they get used to it pretty soon!”

He was right about chewing gum. Sure enough once you put chewing gum in your mouth you go on chewing it. It may lose its taste and it does but you go on working those jaws. He was right about chewing gum and there’s every chance that he was right about the people too. 

At this point of our interaction, my neighbour’s wife called out to him. Now like most famous people this fellow is also afraid of his better half, so one moment he was there in front of me and the other he was not! 

I mulled over his proposed chewing based solution to the K-issue for some time and then since it was getting rather chilly, I decided to go inside. As I entered my house I tried to take off my shoes but one of them did not quite yield to my exertions. I applied more force and my foot came out of the shoe bringing up a stringy sticky connection along with it! My neighbour had dropped his ‘illustrative’ chewing gum in his panic, and as my luck would have it, it had somehow got between my foot and my foot-wear!    

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at


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