Bleeding Green


I thought I was a true Pakistani but no, I don’t bleed green. I know this for a fact. I checked it the other day (accidentally*).

I have a feeling most of us don’t. The people who actually sacrificed their lives, literally and figuratively, 65 years ago were the only ones who bled green. We can never understand it today – or ever. What it meant, what it took.

Because we were born with this independence, this freedom, we don’t care about it. We have put it on the topmost shelf for safety like we would a precious and delicate decoration piece. It sits there year after year, gathering dust till a day like 14th August arrives. Then we take it out, polish it and admire it for a few moments before putting it back.

And it once again sits there in its esteemed position, shining only outwardly for a while before being forgotten once again.

I have often wondered: why does a ‘patriotic’ statement from anyone sound hollow these days? In my opinion, the answer lies in the fact that we ourselves don’t believe in it. And while we struggle to paint a balanced picture, a picture of both the good and the bad of this beloved nation of ours, we still find it hard to believe in the good. And for the bad, we already believe in it too much.

The change is evident in the very fact of ‘celebration’. My own personal experience: I didn’t wear green clothes this time; nor sported any badge. Jhandian have long become extinct as far as I am concerned. No Facebook status; no green display or cover picture. We only put a flag on our roof on the day in question.

And, once outside, I looked to my right and then to my left. Didn’t even see the tiniest trace of a green-and-white flutter.

This is how we celebrate 65 years, the zeal reserved for our social media profile, our blog post and watching TVCs like Ufone’s.

[*If you’re reading this SaaFaa, yes, I think I should give some serious thought to marrying a doctor :D]

 

 

 

Invisibility Cloak


If no one sees us doing anything wrong, it means we haven’t done anything wrong. If people see us doing something wrong but no one stops us, it means we haven’t done anything wrong.

Simple logic.

We will fire in the air randomly, not caring a bit whether someone dies because of it. Nobody stopped us, you know. Of course, we realize everyone was too busy running for their own lives and trying to keep their own hearing intact. But if they had a problem, they should have said something. Even the police officers did not seem to mind our activities. So why do you care?

We will probably get angry and b-slap a few poor women. We realize that physical violence is not the answer but sometimes, these things have to be done, you know? Some people have to be reminded of their place. Once again, nobody stopped us: not the people, not the police officers there. So we’re automatically in the right. If you didn’t like our attitude, maybe you should have said something, yeah? May we remind you, however, that none of the people we “wronged” said even one word. Guess they knew who was right and who was wrong *nod*. Better than you seem to be doing so.

It would seem that Harry Potter is not the only lucky one. We Pakistanis are this lucky too. And these are just two very simple, yet so complex, examples of incidents that occurred during the (a little more than) recent (small-level) elections that took place in the country.

We haven’t acquired this Invisibility Cloak recently either. We have become quite, quite adept at all levels at making ourselves and our actions “invisible” from any consequences, brilliant people that we are.

Thumbs up, fellow countrymen and women! (We don’t discriminate based on gender either! Ha!)

Author’s Note: I apologize for the disappearance act. A draft of this has been sitting in my folder ever since election day but I was unable to muster enough motivation to research more before actually finishing up and publishing a proper piece – something I promise myself every time. Since this is done now, I can easily move on to “massacring” the new(er) ideas floating in my brain.

From The Top Of My Head


For the past so many days, I’ve been wanting to write. Desperately.

And the testament to the desperation are the numerous drafts sitting in the All Posts section. Including this one, so far.

I wanted to write about so many things but things got in the way.

Time has started running away from me. When there was time, there were no words. And when there were words, there was no energy.

Soldiers died. Indignation and uproar was created; action was taken. Finally, a stand was taken. Maybe. You can’t be too sure of anything these days. People kept dying, crimes kept happening. The politicians kept up their talking. Nothing can stop them. If anything, it became even more outrageous. Oh wait, I think they are beyond that. And it’s all a conspiracy anyway. Just like the Boy who Cried Wolf – he was framed!

And we have also become an undemocratic nation, haven’t we? I mean, banning an international news channel…what guts we seem to have acquired. How dare we deny freedom of speech in any way. Even if not doing so meant we are axing our own metaphorical foot. Oh, who cares what a bunch of terrorists say!

The best possible thing to do is to divert attention by floating around a memo that may or may not have been written by the named author. And if that doesn’t work, we always have one actress short of a brain and short of publicity. What she isn’t short on is skin, ladies and gentlemen. So why not show it off a little and stir up the hornet’s nest a little more?

Not really. For that, we have our president to thank for mysteriously going for some check-up in Dubai in the middle of the night. Abandonment or a real ailment, I can guess as much as the next person and I don’t blame you for being nervous. All I know for sure is that he definitely knows how to have all the attention focused on him.

But too many bytes have already been spent on these topics. I wish the process of writing was cathartic. Even just a tiny bit. But “words” on a piece of screen don’t really amount to anything. They just remain bits of code, forever lost in cyber space. Otherwise, they just evade you and all you can do is watch silently the new catastrophe that awaits you.

Or else, there is always That 70s Show to amuse you.

No To Slave Government


That was one of the slogans of the protesters gathered at Liberty roundabout. I only managed to read one as I passed them on my way home, half an hour ago.

Yes, there was a rather small bunch (so far) of university students, dressed up against the light cold weather, holding a peaceful protest against the NATO attack on one of Pakistan’s bases. Just standing quietly on the perimeter of the roundabout, hoodies up, facing the busy market place, holding their signs and rallying forces.

Sure there needs to be noise. But the noise will only be effective when it is not painful for anyone to hear. Bangs and smoke are  usually the distraction, not the real magic.

I highly commend their effort.

And any anger that I felt at once again being stuck in traffic immediately vanished.

It’s the least I can do, considering I’m not standing there with them right now but sitting cozily in my room, having a snack, and writing this post which won’t even probably be read by many.

NO to slave government! NO to slave government! NO to slave government!

Twenty Four Beats


Beat.

One. Two.

Twenty-four is not a big number.

Three. Four.

You can count to twenty-four in a matter of seconds even less than half of twenty-four.

Five. Six.

Only, it becomes a really heavy number once it is twenty-four heart beats that are no more.

Seven. Eight.

Dead for their country, in an unprovoked attacked by NATO helicopters and fighter jets, as they manned their posts.

Nine. Ten.

Quick, sharp response from the Pakistani government officials and condemnation all around.

Eleven. Twelve.

“Culprits” banned out of an airbase.

Thirteen. Fourteen.

Decide to block NATO supply routes indefinitely.

Fifteen. Sixteen.

Protest! “Sovereignty” under attack.

Seventeen. Eighteen.

Oops. NATO and US officials say they will investigate fully.

Nineteen. Twenty.

NATO chief tweets condolences.

Twenty-one. Twenty-two.

A tweet is better than another raid.

Twenty-three. Twenty-four.

Twenty-four is not a big number.

Beat.

Minus twenty-four.

Imran Khan = X ?


So the turn-out was pretty amazing at Imran Khan’s jalsa yesterday. But you would have to be living under a rock like Patrick to not know all about it.

It is really heartening to see such a positive reaction. Finally, we have something proper to rally about and someone to rally around. We have a leader, Imran Khan, to believe in. We believe that he is going to be the change he has been talking about. We believe that he can bring about the change we have all been wanting. We believe that he really could be the start of something new.

Other major players tried their best to jump on the bandwagon. PML-N held a rally three days ago following a quick gimmick by Abrar-ul-Haq (Really, Abrar? Politics? Just because you also have a hospital now…’nuff said!). And everyone knows about the party MQM hosted yesterday.

The best part? They all announced their specific rallies and agendas after Imran Khan had announced Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s rally.

If they could have done anything to ensure a good turnout and support for Imran Khan, it was this: having their rallies before so that the whole world can now contrast and compare. I could almost hear the numbers being crunched up. And all the comparing and contrasting and number-crunching lead to only one conclusion: Mr. Khan seems to have the lead.

For now, at least.

Pity the PPP did nothing. I would have loved to see the number of people who would attend theirs. Sure, anyone can be bribed, and considering how bad the poverty situation of the common man is, I guess it could be managed easily. But I think people have realized that ‘Bhutto’ is technically dead. And no one from that blood line is actually in power. And of course, how the current President is understood to be the corruptest yet. It’s just that no one has been able to say it to his face yet, I suppose, since he has been able to ‘cover’ his tracks.

And what I love is how social media is such a big part of this upcoming revolution with people uploading statuses and pictures and comments and notes and tweets and blog posts and what not.

But of course, there is no need for any verification or analysis from me about any of this.

I am just confused and this is my way of trying to make some sense of it. Is Imran Khan the solution? The value of ‘x’? Is this all really going to pan out?  Is this a political change or a social one? Can one rally be the determinant? All his statements and questions and demands…can he deliver?

I am just confused.

And I can’t deny the appeal of someone – anyone – to come and rescue us from the current “bad” situation. For most people, I would say it’s more the fact that Imran Khan is “untested” territory. He has not been in power and so, no one knows what he will do – or not do. Since everyone has been fed up with the current plethora of politicians, change basically translates into giving a new face a chance. Things are already not good generally – would it make a difference?

People are so geared towards giving him a chance that everyone is taking voter registration very seriously. Very seriously.

The ironic part of this won’t-make-a-difference attitude is that we’re all secretly hoping that it will work out for the better. Fingers-crossed, knocking-on-wood, wishing-on-shooting-stars kind of hoping.

Imran Khan, please don’t let us down.

The Hidden Jewel


When I was applying, the internship’s job description said something about helping out with an on-going promotional campaign in Swat.

Um, what? Does anyone even go to Swat, anymore, except the people who live there?

I dismissed it as a theoretical effort. One of the many. I mean, everyone says that tourism needs to be promoted and militancy in that region needs to end and Talibanisation has wreaked havoc et cetera et cetera et cetera. But nothing is really done, is it?

*shrug shrug*

Boy, was I wrong!

Turns out that Firms is doing wonderful work for Swat and in Swat in order to rehabilitate an economy ravaged by floods and terrorism.

Am I saying that because I am now part of the project? Maybe.

But you should consider all the facts about the project before passing judgement on my motives…

Swat truly is a hidden jewel of Pakistan. It receives a lot of attention these days but it is only of the negative kind. The only other thing that people know is that it is the Paki Switzerland *pish*

What I know for a fact is that active steps have been taken to revive the hotels of the area, especially in post-flood times. And yes, I do mean revive. Proper attempt is being made to breathe new life into them. The troublesome area is the perception and it is only awareness that is lacking.

Enter Zindagi Hai Yahan – a small attempt to let everyone know that Swat is waiting to be rediscovered. Every time I see this video, I want to just get up and visit and see it all for myself right away. Not kidding.

How good is it? You’ll only know when you watch it. 2:38 is my favourite point.

Truly, the melody of life is (t)here. We should all go ‘un-hide’ it now.