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Fall

Part of a series on "An Abstract View of Fall"

Part of a series on “An Abstract View of Fall”

Today, an unexpected cold wave hit Rawalpindi, Pakistan. I was wearing light summer clothes and open sandals. I shivered and my toes felt like ice-cubes. And I enjoyed every second of the teeth-clattering, toe-curling icy wind.

Here is a photograph taken last year, with my old Sony DigiCam for my Photography project , as a tribute to fall…

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You There Vampire, Eat Stake!

More appropriate covers of the book (left) and the DVD (right). Pictures taken from twisted-dna.com

More appropriate covers of the book (left) and the DVD (right). Pictures taken from twisted-dna.com

What’s the best way to kill a Vampire in Pakistan?

First, invite him in. Pour him a cup of tea and settle him down on the living room couch. Make sure all kids, pets and men are hidden away safely. Because, we all know that tall, dark and handsome Vampires always interact with women.

Next, go to the kitchen. Wear your ‘Bite the Cook’ apron (because you want to seduce the Vampire into sucking you dry). Take out that prime cut of chicken (because everyone likes chicken) you had placed in the cold box. Throw it on the grill and let it cook. Steam some veggies, but its doubtful the Vampire will eat them (because nobody like vegetables). Finally, whip up a creamy sauce, some mashed ‘taters and present the steak to your undead guest on a (preferably silver) platter.

Wait, did I say steak? I meant stake! We all loathe those who say then, when they should say than and their when they should say there. Those who meat-up when they should be meeting-up. Then, there are those who do not know the difference between a cooked hunk of meat and a metal/wooden post which is pointed at one end.

We youngsters of the Twilight/Teen Wolf/True Blood age  commonly know a stake as a Vampire-hunting weapon, then why does the Pakistani youth insist on slaughtering Vampires with high-quality chicken undercuts (because everyone likes chicken)?

I thought this gross confusion of suitable Vampire-killing weapons with edible masterpieces was because of my peers not reading enough English books and not watching enough English movies.

But then, they’ve all watched and read the Twilight Saga…

I blame it on the Vampires!

What Do You Want To Talk About?

It’s so very hard to find a suitable conversational partner nowadays. Especially for people like me. People who don’t really fit into the mold of the perfect girl of the society.

Girls my age in Pakistan have a few select topics they like to converse upon. These topics include weddings, boys, fashion, weddings, clothes, marriages, physical flaws, affairs and did I mention weddings?

While they will be wistfully daydreaming of finding the perfect man, the perfect wedding dress, and the perfect venue to hold their perfect weddings, I would be thinking of finding ways to earn money, end illiteracy in Pakistan and make myself known for good things worldwide.

While their lives revolve around being the perfect wife and the perfect daughter-in-law, my life revolves around learning to be a better person and become a successful, powerful career woman.

While they will be thinking of plans to battle with and handle their future evil sister-in-laws, I will be thinking of ways to battle with extremists and corrupt politicians.

Do they not see what’s going on around them? While we are sitting in our van coming home from the university, do they not see the young boy who should be in school, pumping air into the wheels of our bus? Do they not see the young woman, who should be in college like us, sweeping the stairs of their homes? Do they not realize how corrupt politicians are eating our country from the inside?

Are they really naive enough to think that all is well outside their little bubble of romance and all things glamorous?

Don’t get me wrong, I, being a woman myself, do think about finding the perfect guy who will be there for me and help me achieve my dreams. But people, I’m nineteen! I have my family for love and support. I don’t need a knight in shining armor to save me from the mundaneness of my life because my life is not mundane!

Coming back to where this rant started from, I am completely depressed with the fact that the young women of Pakistan, the majority that is, are inside this ostentatious castle of glass viewing everything from their thrones of superficiality.

The men aren’t any better either. Many 18-25 year old guys only discuss who has the prettiest girlfriend, the best phone or the fastest car.

I’m not about no play and all work, but I believe that there should be a limit to your ignorance. Everyone wants to unwind with gossips and think up fairytales, but what about reality? Boys gain a few scores here as they are much more aware of current affairs and other issues than girls.

Right now, I am sitting in the living room with a middle-aged lady next to me who is my sister’s colleague. As the topics flow from childcare to fashion to what is ‘best’ for a woman, I find myself losing patience second by second.

That is why I opened my laptop and started blogging. It looks rude. But I was just about to go into an argument with said lady on the merits of short hair while she argued that women should have long hair. So it was better to delve into my own world rather than trying to tolerate hers.

Only a minimal percentage of women in Pakistan will know of the NSA, of the Crimea fiasco going on, of Putin vs. Obama (scratch that nobody will know who Putin is in the first place), of the Freemasons, of Austen, of Dante, of Wollstonecraft, of who Mandela was and what he did, of DaVinci or of  MichelAngelo, of will and of power, of faith or of spirituality.

I am lucky that I have found two friends who are not a part of this hoard of future ideal housewives.

In the end it is I who feel as if I don’t belong. And so, as I am on my daily commute, I quietly take out my headphones, slip them on and listen to Nickelback sing about unity.

 

Bang Goes The Country

Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we’ll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And, in
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
What we’ll do.
Near, far, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Your sleek as a thoroughbred.
Your seats are a feather bed.
You’ll turn everybody’s head today.
We’ll glide on our motor trip
With pride in our ownership
The envy of all we survey.
Oh Chitty You Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.
And Chitty, in Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang what we’ll do.
Near Chitty, far Chitty, in our motor car
Oh what a happy time we’ll spend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Our fine four fendered friend.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Fine four fendered Chitty Chitty friend

My fine four-provinced friend. My love. Pakistan. Going CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. There’s a bang here, there’s a bang there. Our enemies are eating us from the inside. Making us hollow. Killing our youth. Our officers. Our workers.

All over the world, people think that we are the enemy! But the world is our enemy. They don’t see what we, the people, are going through. Some have fattened up these so called religious extremists with their funds and their guns, and now their making us go up in flames.

I say if they (the Taliban) make us go bang bang, then we should make them hang hang!

Our fine four fendered province-d friend.
You’re sleeks strong as a thoroughbred.
Your seats  grounds are a feather bed.
You’ll turn everybody’s head dead today.
We’ll glide on our motor trip mother ship
With pride in our ownership
The envy of all we survey.
Oh Chitty You Chitty
Pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
We love you.

Change

First published on 23rd December 2013. Reverted to draft as it was sent to Express Tribune Blogs sometime in early January. Re-published on 24th February 2014 after being kindly rejected for ‘not being the type of posts published in ETB’ and the writer ‘should write something on another topic and send it again…’

Change – the slogan of many political campaigns of the world. They all say they will bring change, but can anyone, ever, bring change? Is change a glass of water, of what you can just say that bring me a glass of water? If I tell a politician, bring me change, will he pour it into a crystal glass and present it to me on a silver platter?

If that is what change is, then why have we not changed?

Why are we still the same as always?

Why are our minds still narrow, our eyes still closed and our hearts still black?

Why, still, do we sneer at Shias, laugh at Christians and scorn the Ahmadis?

Why, still, do we beat our women, ridicule our sons and shun our daughters?

Why, still, do we not love our country, cherish our country and idolize our country?

Why do we still look at America and England with envious eyes, why do we still worship Indian actors, why do we still prefer Chinese products?

Why is that we want our children to be raised in the western countries?

Why is it that to better our children’s future, we move to England?

Is this change? Can a single man bring change? Can a single man fix billions of hearts? Can a single man change the mind of a whole nation.

Although Mr. Imran Khan, a person I hold in high regard, said he can and he will, he never did.

People say they will, but they never do. That is a paramount cause of where we are now.

I am also guilty if this social evil. I say I will, but I never do.

I have to remedy this soon.

I must change myself, because I believe that change starts from within, radiates out and ultimately changes the people we are surrounded with.

A single man cannot change a nation, but a nation can change a single man.

In the words of a Pakistani rock band, Noori:

“Tum Badlo

Badlain Dil

Badlain Log”

You must change, hearts will change, people will change.

Pretty Little Things

Imagine a showroom. A car showroom. You want to buy a high end sports vehicle. A Ferrari or a Bugatti. Or maybe a Lamborghini. You have a large budget in which to do so. You don’t have a specific make and model in mind. You just have a few requirements that need to be fulfilled.

One, it should be pretty. Shiny. Streamlined.

Two, it should be fast.

Three, it should bend to your will. Just a slight pressure on the accelerator and it should shoot across the highway like a rocket.

So you visit showroom after showroom. You take up the salesperson’s time. The ones that are pretty enough, you take  for a test drive. At the end, you leave behind a hopeful salesperson with a comment like ‘I’ll definitely think of buying this one and come back’.

You never go back.

Because you have found a much prettier, much faster car elsewhere, leaving , in your wake, a number of melancholy salespersons. The rejected car’s feeling won’t be taken into considerations because, let’s face it, it’s just an inanimate thing!

Now, read the above where you are a Pakistani guy and his family looking for a suitable match and so visiting girls’ homes, having tea and ‘looking’. The car is the girl. The salespeople, the desperate parents of the girl. The budget is the social standing of the hunter family. The showroom is the house of the prey family (should be large, clean, comfortable).

Shocked?

Yes this is an actual, common ‘girl-shopping’ practice in Pakistan.

PS: The test drive of the car is where the family gets to know the girl better (not the other thing you’re thinking). This only happens if she passes the physical appearance exam. She is only ‘considered’ worthy enough for a test drive if she’s shiny enough and streamlined enough!

As Pride Runs Through My Veins

On 21st January 2014, I wake up ealry with the intention to revise for my major exam, Introduction to Mass Communication.

As is the rite of every teenager, I lie in bed bleary eyed and switch on my cell’s WiFi to scroll through the social sites.

A Facebook page has posted a ‘meme’. I am ecstatic at the news it points to. But I am also skeptical.

Rough translation of second frame: Look who's coming!

Rough translation of second frame: Look who’s coming!

My exam is in the afternoon, so I decide to switch on the TV.

Radio silence.

The vast number of privately owned media channels are mum. They are only sensationalizing mundane news items. Even the 9 o’clock bulletin has no mention of what my brave fighters have done in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, in the silence of the night and the pure light of dawn.

Not losing hope, I Google the news. “Air strike on terrorists”, “PAF strike on NW” and such related queries yield no result at 0930 or 0945.

At 10, I strike gold. Al-Jazeera, Reuters our local Dawn News has finally reported the news.

I post proof on Facebook ASAP...

I post proof on Facebook ASAP…

Pakistani bomber jets have annihilated known Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan.

By doing that they have effectively broken the ‘pact’ made with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan elders in 2007, that the Pakistan Army or Air Force will not bomb terrorist hideouts from then on (in return for what favor, I have no idea!).

PAF shoved that pact right up those extremist’s arse, adding in a few missiles for a bright, dazzling effect that left those bastards reeling and us Pakstanis feeling, finally, hopeful!

This is where I feel so proud of my Air Force, as does my father, a former Wing Commander of the PAF…

They, the TTP,  think that they can outright kill  and blow up our soldiers, our officials, our women and children and that we will not retaliate? Well, unfortunately for them, there are still some upstanding elements in our country!

And they have bombs!