Return of the me
Let this song finish. I can’t think when every single lyric seems like it was written by me, for me. Ever felt like that?
I haven’t been around for some time. University, laziness, and the belief that people might be reading what I wrote and making fun of me made me ignore my blog. Then a few days ago Mutahira asked me why I had stopped writing and that Samir had mentioned my blog to her. It made me wonder how many people had actually visited this site. I felt quite important after that thought… Muta, if you’re reading this, Mwah!! You gave me a giant Godiva dark chocolate bar worth of self esteem!
One whole month I wasted… well not exactly. I spent quite a lot of time reading the newspapers, reading websites, and watching the three channels available on my tv (no cable, haye!). Other than watching Benazir turn into a saint by the local media, I found that the trashing of my university got next to no coverage. But to be honest, other than the assassination very little else got any media space at all. It was tragic surely, though not unexpected. I wasn’t shocked by her death, but the aftermath. You’d think that Karachi had become a rehearsal for a broadway play called ‘Hell’. And honest, that trash about the frustrations of the have-nots against the haves is such bull that I won’t even make fun of it. My family was out that night, stuck in traffic, while I was home getting calls by my frantic relatives asking whether they were safe or not, and lying that “no, it’s ok, they’re at home” while on the verge of hysterics myself because I couldn’t find any way to contact them. Anyway, while stuck in some street in PECHS, they saw a vegetable vendor being raided. The Corolla in front of theirs stopped, and the man driving it ran to the vendor and started grabbing as many vegetables he could find. Haves and Have-nots? Spare me.
Nobody in Pakistan starves. The people here who scream of poverty have never slept hungry. Yes, there is a divide among the classes, a huge one. There are people who don’t have the luxuries that we do, but you will not find people who lack the necessities. The woman who works at my house is always crying about money, but a few months ago she was asking my mother for an advance so that her daughter could celebrate her birthday with a party. This was her second youngest daughter. She has eight kids. My parents have three and they’re constantly complaining about finances. And nobody celebrates birthdays in my house. Define irony.
I’ve never seen poverty, except maybe on television, where children in Ethiopia are shown starving near half dead crops; and India, where hundreds of people pay daily to sleep on footpaths…I’ve spent my gloriously sheltered life listening to “Tum logon ko khane ko milta he isi liye nakhrey karte ho” and “Hum ne tau apni umar main itni aasaishein nahin dekhi thiin jitni tum logon ko abhi milti hain”. And I agree. I’ve got it much better than millions of people. I’ve never starved (except when I was trying to lose weight last month) but I can safely say that neither have the beggars here. I see them, standing in line for free biryani, or salan and roti; the woman wearing fake gold jewellery (if not real) and bangles, their children bedraggled but healthy. Try offering any of them a job, and see what happens. My mother has quite a few times. They turned her down flat; if they can earn more begging why should they work?
This is a screwed up country where black isn’t black and white isn’t white. Everything’s a murky brown…the kind you get after you’ve cleaned all your brushes in the same water. The principles that apply to the rest of the world won’t work here, at least not right now. Maybe in the distant future they might, when people will stop blaming everybody else for their problems, but that’s about as likely as my mother not blaming me when the onions burn. Hel-lo? You’re the one cooking. I don’t blame you when I fail in marketing, do I?