Spot the “Chuskis” who call you “Bhakts”: And they are not just in Bengaluru or toolkit-ers
In Part One, I explained what a "snowflake" was and is. Many people wrote in to ask me for more on the subject of "snowflakes", especially within the Indian context, and I would be failing in my duty to India if I did not deliver. "A 'snowflake very simply put, is someone who looks pretty but melts at the very earliest and especially when a little bit of heat is applied to them."
An Indian "snowflake" is best described as an "ice-lolly", otherwise also known as"gola" or "chuski". Other names are "ice-candy", as different from "arm-candy", and also "buko, popsicle, snowcone, raspa as well as raspa-raspa, ais kacang, slush, granité hawaïen, fraco and kakigori."
The single most defining feature of all Indian snowflakes is a huge desire to go to phoren, preferably to study some esoteric subject nobody else has heard of or which has close to zero productive use at a big-name college, in one of the many side door money spinning courses that they run for rich parents or spy central sponsors.
The core of a "chuski" is the stick on which the shaved or scraped ice is compressed. it can be made of anything as long as it is reasonably flexible and allows for the shaved ice to be shaped for a perfect lick and suck and then doused with colour and flavour - again, totally variable. Any colour, any flavour, and needs to be consumed fast before it drips on the floor or the table.
One can understand children and "chuskis". But grown ups? And certainly not as a profession or occupation - other than that for the seller of "chuskis". One of the best examples of a grown up "chuski-wallah", for example, was Nicholas Sand. His Sunshine Orange variety of Chuskis managed to turn on and then tune out Vietnam as well as California. And parts of Pune too.
"Chuskis" in the Indian scenario, especially once they are adults and can, for example, operate dummy bank accounts or help in transmission of funds, are an aspired-for position. A fairly prominent "chuski" from Bengaluru is currently in Delhi explaining toolkits. The complete media machinery is trying to paint a picture of "oh look at the poor innocent child, she should have been out playing with snowballs, but has become a snowflake".
But these are immature "Chuskis".
The real McCoy is the "Chuski-Wallah" or as Bapsi Sidwa wrote, "The Ice-Candy Man" - which was about as coded a book painting all "Chuskis" as innocent little sparklets in the sun as anything I have ever seen in my life. That your typical "Chuski" uses colours and flavours derived from the cheapest collection of chemicals available is happily ignored, right, because remember - a "chuski" can do no wrong in the eyes of our perception builders.
So let me tell you about older "chuski-wallahs", in this case a very fine gentleman with flowing locks like mine, a better trimmed beard and about the same age too. Darling of the chiffon set in India, much admired for his Lothario skills, our man was on the horizon as a purveyor of a container load of paintings and art products known as installation on the subject of the Bhopal Tragedy which nobody else understood other than him - but which made the corporates behind it look innocent and transferred all the blame to the big bad Gormint of Hind.
It so happened that I was doing something interesting in life in those days a decade or two ago, and got approached by an American firm to do some sort of maritime lobbying in India, and after a few weeks of stringing each other on and meetings in an assortment of 5-star hotels across India, I was asked to connect with a lady with a very interesting Rajasthani surname in Delhi. At a very dark restaurant, where she was accompanied by a young man from a security company, and I took along a friend who had no clue why she was invited for an expensive meal paid for by random unknowns.
A little bit of research later, I had figured out that the lady in question was a suitably endowed ex-Secretary from the same lobbying firm, now also suitably married to our man Chuski-Wallah senior. She thus had the required documents to be all over India by marriage and he in turn had the required much admired passport of the said dominant foreign country also by marriage enabling him to in those pre-COVID days to travel globally. Interestingly enough, part of the whole lobbying deal was about ships flying flags of convenience - which are the ultimate in "Chuski" style trade globally.
The lobbying part went nowhere because it spelt economic doom for India's maritime interests and that was that. But more interestingly, I dug a little more, and discovered that Mrs. Blonde Chuski was also, of all things, connected very strongly to environmental lobbying and women's groups. In. Kashmir. Now here's the interesting part - I know a bit about Kashmir too, more than most, and pretty soon had her figured out. As well as her good friend, who was doing the same, married to yet another adult Chuski - only this one was pushing environmental and women's issues in the North-East.
Chuski-wallah senior is now happily divorced but retains his foreign passport while his Missus has gone back to Yonkers or wherever. The other Chuski-wallah senior is trying to figure out how 370 impacts him and meanwhile his Missus Chuski Waalee has gone back to the Midlands.
Behind every Chuski-Wallah in India are 100s of young Chuskis, all pushed by the urge to study abroad, preferably journalism or international politics and then return to India to do policy lobbying or some such stuff on subjects they usually know nothing about.
And then when they are nabbed, they melt, rapidly. Into puddles to be forgotten while the shadowy Chuski wallahs peddle their Sunshine on a Stick in the background again.
Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.
A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago.
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