Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Back from fishing! Today is our last day in Khandaanville since we’re flying back to ISB tomorrow afternoon. It is also the 35th consecutive computer game free day. I swore off computer games for Ramadan (see Oct 28th post) and I think I’ll stay off of them for as long as I can. I still play Playstation, but only when I’m working out, and I find it almost impossible for me to zone out. In fact, it’s almost impossible to even play properly let alone become engrossed, because you’re trying to jog, stay balanced, maintain a speed of at least 3 miles an hour with level 2 resistance, and yet not trip over the controller cable and die.

However, with computer games, you’re sitting in the comfy chair, your speed is zero miles an hour and there is nothing to distract you from playing, so after five minutes it feels like my brain has been replaced with cream filling, and the minutes turn into hours sometimes. Actually I should be using the past tense here, the minutes USED to turn into hours, because I don’t plan on letting that happen anymore. Having not gone into cream-filling mode for a while, I find that my brain feels more up to thinking creatively. It’s easier for me to concentrate, and I keep having these brilliant ideas. Like how to build my own catapult.

One of my uncles has a cannon, actually. It may surprise you to know that he’s one of my American uncles, not one of the Pathan ones here. (Hi Uncles Les!) He built it himself, and he uses it to launch rolls of toilet paper across the riverbank that his cabin stands on. The trees on the other side of the river take on a kind of ghostly appearance when the toilet paper trailing from their branches catches the moonlight, but still, it’s good clean fun. And impressive, too.

Another one of my uncles built an electricity generator from an old 1960’s Datsun engine. (It may surprise you to know that he’s not one of the American uncles, he’s a Pathan. Amir Hassan Chacha Zindabaad!) Initially it ran on diesel, but then he converted it to natural gas, and since the 1970’s, he’s been constantly upgrading it. It still works, it lives on the roof of the house we’re staying in, and when the electricity goes they crank it up (the key still says Datsun) and we’re the only house on the block with power.

The way I see it, if Uncle Les can build a cannon, and Amir Hassan Chacha can build an electricity generator, then I can build a catapult.

Ok, so a catapult is a little hard. I could at least build a small trebuchet. You know, to fire things off the roof. I figure that all I need is some bamboo poles, something heavy for a counter-weight, some rope, and a scabby horse to launch at my foes, just like in the old days of castles and siege warfare. That whole thing with people launching rocks is all just sugar-coated revisionist history. The truth is they saved all their animal carcasses, old horses and sick cattle, to throw at enemies. As my G-ma would say, I kid you not.

Anyway, I’ve discussed my plan at length with Aniraz (proud inventor of the oat-meal bolo), whose brain is not cream, but peanut-filled, which may explain why she hasn’t tried to discourage me yet. I figure I’ll just carry all of the stuff to the roof and start tying the rods together and go from there. Or I could tie the horse to the counter-weight first and then build the frame around it. Or, maybe I should tie the counterweight to the frame instead, and position the horse only when it’s ready to fire?

I don’t know. If all else fails, I’ll just throw the counter-weight at Aniraz (for not trying to discourage me) and then eat the scabby horse between two mattresses to keep my strength up for the long journey back to the drawing board.*

* “I’m so hungry I could eat a scabby horse between two mattresses!” –Crayon

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