by Rajbir Deswal
Like they have confession boxes in the churches, to have the “sinners” unload their chests, before “His” representatives on earth for redemption, our ancestors too had Kop Bhavans (anger management or sulking chambers), for purgation of the self, employing and effecting a kind of catharsis. I marvel at the wisdom of our forerunners, who gave enough importance to curing the wounded self in their own way, if one was to suffer the pangs of a tragedy, agony or anguish.
If you refer to the Indian scriptures and books of history, you will find mention of Kop Bhavan, which used to be a compartment in the palaces, mansions and stately homes of rich and mighty in earlier times, where one would convalesce, lament, brood, grieve, sulk or even cry to come to terms with oneself. This closet was also used to invite attention of someone who mattered, and also for seeking favours from him.
Kop Bhavans provided the desired calmness of ambience to cope with the malaise troubling his or her mind. Step-mother of Ram, Kaikayee, removed herself to Kop Bhavan in order to invite concern of her husband Dashrath, who in order to console her and fulfil a promise he made to her for saving his life once, agreed to banish Rama to jungles for 14 years. Later, Dashrath himself died in Kop Bhavan, grieving separation of Ram, Sita and Laxman.
If you are not able to rein in your emotions on being a little overwhelmed, you always give in to the incessant and uncontrollable flow of tears, but generally not in full view of everyone around, unless the intensity of your agony compels you either to scream, shriek or cry.
To cope with your predicament then, either you hide your face with your hands; or you turn it the other way. Or you look below; or relegate yourself to a corner. Deposit yourself in the store, or even the washroom. And then being all by yourself, you weep or cry or sob. You mostly recover and regain your resilience and put up a fresh face, trying to cope with your agony.
And here does “kop” become “cope” in its pronunciation and meaning too. On a lighter note, I was rather wondering why they should not have Kop corridors near the courts, police stations, hospitals and tax departments! Parliament and assemblies too could have their separate “Kop Lounges” for these places are full of souls who are the most troubled either at the hands of the electorate, or their opponents and detractors. Kop cabins near wells of legislative houses would stop many an unruly member bent on tormenting the Speaker.
We need Kop Corridors near famous playgrounds and stadia where large number of sports-lovers on losing a match by those who they rooted for, could nurse their wounded psyches in preference to burning the houses of their sports icons.
Nida Fazli says and how so apt to our theme of Kop-Bhawans, “Jane walon se rabta rakhna/Dosto rasme fateha rakhna/Ghar ki jaisi bhi tamir ho uss main/Rone ki kuchh jagah rakhna.” (Keep them in mind and lament the loss of those who depart. Have a corner/chamber to weep your heart out when you build a house).