were, he seemed pleased. He was always proud of being a Kashmir!. There are so many self-satisfied mentions of the fact in his stories. Kashmiris who migrated to the Punjab to escape Dogra oppression and the valley's grinding poverty, maintained their identity in a hostile milieu through a sense of racial pride in their origins. They stuck together, intermarried and built a biradarl in order to survive. Most of them did well, in business and elsewhere, but they never forgot that they were Kashmiris, handsomer than the rest, brighter and, last but not least, physically stronger.
Some years before the partition of the country one of our cousins from the Punjab came to Srinagar to spend the summer. He was riding a horse, being led by a barefooted, shrivelled Kashmir! syce on a narrow, hilly track that went from Tangmarg to Gulmerg, when suddenly remembering his Kashmir! origins, he said to the syce, "You know we are also from Kashmir, but we went to the Punjab 50 years ago." "You did well, Hazrat," the syce replied, "otherwise you would be in front of this horse, not on top of it."
But back to Manto. He asked for some tea to be brought in, which came, nice and hot, as it always is in a Kashmir! household. But Manto did not drink any. He got up and said he had to go in for a minute to "drink his medicine." He did that about three or four times during the time we were there. I did not realize until later that what was taking him inside, to the bathroom actually, was no medicine but shots of whatever he was drinking that morning.
There was, however, no apparent sign that he was drinking. Our ideas about drinking are largely borrowed from Indian and Pakistani films which make no distinction between a drinking man and a drunkard. If you drink, you walk unsteadily on your feet, frequently falling in the gutter. Your voice becomes slurred and you are liable to throw things, get into fights and chuck your wife out of the house. All this, needless to say, is as far removed from how drinking people behave as the films themselves are from actual life.
Meanwhile, a couple of people had walked in, one of them a doctor who seemed to be a friend of Manto*s. Manto said to the doctor, "Did anyone ever tell you that you have a donkey's ears?" The doctor who was in the middle of a sentence fell silent, but both his silence and his slight embarassment were short-lived. He began to laugh heartily. "That's quite true. I have very big ears," he said a number of times.
Manto then invited everyone's attention to his own ears which were as bicy as the doctor's. "I too have a donkey's ears as you can observe," he announced. He said that his father used to say that all men with big ears were destined to be lucky in life. "I think my father was wrong. Look at me. I have big ears but I am not lucky," Manto said.
He told us of an incident that had happened a couple of days earlier. He had got into a tonga in the morning to make a few calls. Manto liked his tongas to be new and dandy, drawn by a horse rearing for action. He always sat in front, he told us, never behind, which was a ridiculous position for anyone to