Maasi WikiLeaks does not need diplomatic cables, her ears are enough

Published: April 3, 2011
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DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

SUKKUR: 

A group of teenage boys tags after an elderly woman, probably in her seventies, laughing and shouting, “Maasi WikiLeaks! Maasi WikiLeaks!”

The sprightly woman retaliates with abuse, “WikiLeaks your mother! WikiLeaks your sister!” She has no idea what they are talking about.

I was standing outside the mud-plastered house of my maid, Maasi Ameeran. She had not come to my house for work for a few days so I had gone to inquire about her.

I stop ‘Maasi WikiLeaks’, which does not seem like a good idea as she starts throwing things at the group of boys to shoo them off.

“What happened, amma?” I ask politely. “None of your business. Go away! I can handle those spoiled brats on my own,” she scowls. Just then, Ameeran introduces me. This mollifies her anger. Ameeran scolds the children and lets Maasi WikiLeaks and me into her house.

Maasi WikiLeaks’ name is actually Kamalan. Her royal countenance and arrogant demeanour is not easy to ignore. “Aasia, get me tea now,” she orders Ameeran’s daughter. She is crude, yet endearing.

As she sips her tea, I muster the courage to ask her again about her peculiar title. “How do I know [why they call me Maasi WikiLeaks]?” she says. She takes another sip and pulls a face – I can’t tell whether it’s my presence that is bothering her or her tea.

Ameeran pitches in. “She is very good woman and a social worker in a way.” Kamalan is a good midwife, a matchmaker and is also known to be a handy quack in the neighbourhood. “I’m not a backbiter,” adds Maasi Wikileaks.

“But you are known to be one,” Ameeran argues playfully.

“You tell me,” she addresses me. “If I am warning you about the shortcomings of other people, is that backbiting?” Kamalan had once advised Ameeran to not get her daughter married to Karim Bux because he was a drug user. “You did not listen to me and now your daughter and her five children are dependent on you,” Maasi WikiLeaks tells her.

Ameeran doesn’t give up. “But why does the whole neighbourhood come to your house for gossip?”

“Because I need an outlet too,” admits Kamalan, with a hoarse burst of laughter.

A lawyer living in the neighbourhood has named her Maasi WikiLeaks as she knows all the secrets and skeletons in people’s closets. Earlier, she was known as Maasi BBC.

Kamalan knows how many women are expecting babies, who beat his wife today, who doesn’t treat their daughter-in-law right, who is ‘interested’ in whom, according to Ameeran. “She also knows whose goat is expecting and whose hen was stolen – and by whom.”

If you want to spread a rumour in the area, just direct the grapevine to her ears.

A rather bashful Maasi WikiLeaks giggles. “That’s not true, you liar. Now, I am leaving because I have to check on my daughters-in-law and see what they are up to.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • salim bajwa
    Apr 3, 2011 - 1:05PM

    court orders 14 year old girl to be whipped to death for getting herself raped :

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/29/bangladesh.lashing.death/index.html?iref=allsearch#

    click on the above link.

    When will we stop trying to keep women under our feet???Recommend

  • Seriously?
    Apr 3, 2011 - 2:20PM

    This is news? Or even a feature? Or even a blog? What is THIS?
    Who is the editor of this paper?

    Can I send in converstations wit my driver, gardener and cook?

    What a waste of time. I kept reading waiting for SOMEthing…but really….just another typical lame Express tribune Headline, with a fancy graphic and no content to back it up.Recommend

  • Kinza
    Apr 3, 2011 - 2:32PM

    The character of Maasi WikiLeaks is among so many others who exist in our society at home AND have continued to exist since what feels like eternity. They portray a typical sketch of such womens’ mentality, which is annoying to people who know better than to do all that and yet somehow amusing how personalities like her continue to be despised and liked at the same time by the rest of society! While all of us pay heed to our curiosity one time or the other and do gossip once in a while, we try make sure there is not trace of the conversation left behind. Well, at least these Maasis have the honesty of doing it with the whole ‘mahalla’ knowing..! – Another traditional element of our culture making history.Recommend

  • Apr 3, 2011 - 4:07PM

    BEAUTIFUL CHARACTERIZATION–Excellent. Congratulations for writing such a nice piece of quality satire.Recommend

  • Apr 3, 2011 - 8:18PM

    @Seriously?: Although, by name you seem quit a serious person,but the content of your comment does not reflect any seriousness towards a beautifully written quality satire.Recommend

  • YASIR
    Apr 3, 2011 - 8:55PM

    wao…goood
    funny news but true
    This is news? Or even a feature? Or even a blog? What is THIS?…this is kiddingRecommend

  • Kinza
    Apr 4, 2011 - 3:10PM

    I appreciate your recommendation, thankyou. Recommend

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