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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EMOTIONAL MEMORIES


EMOTIONAL MEMORIES

People say that memories are something to be cherished!  I completely agree because I have learnt the hard way that what I have survived in my 39 years of existence have made me into what I am today.  All my mistakes and all my follies be intentional or because I was 14 going on 60 and knew it all have made me aware that I should not repeat them…  Most of all I have a firm understanding of the fact that I cannot allow emotions to step into deciding about the future because the memories that I will have tomorrow will be a cause of what I decide today!

Just to give you a snapshot here are a few memories starting from about two decades ago.  (I will not go farther back in time as you might not remember them so well)  These instances I have not forgotten and are experiences that I will always cherish! Maybe their significance is such that no matter what I do I cannot forget them. 

I have a distinct memory that a man was trying to become Ameer-ul-Momineen and this country was in turmoil.  A progressive nation as we had presented to the west who always bailed us out was not standing true to its ideology and we were in financial dire straits.  I remember this memory is when the dollar started to climb due to devaluation.

I also remember that one evening the uniforms stormed every department of the civil government and turned all the dreams of democracy over quashing any form of kabbaddi that was played by the lions of Punjab.  I distinctly remember how we welcomed 4 stars into the presidency led by one man who seemed to be the savior of the nation and how we rejoiced when we felt there was order about to be restored.  I think the heavens must have been upset somewhere because we were hit by an earthquake that shattered our country and I remember this man appealing to the world to help us.  Oddly enough with our indifferences our nation united like it did in a cricket match against our neighbor and also gave a hand to the aid that poured in.

One spinoff memory that I have is that if you look up the timeline on google China was hit aby the same kind of natural disaster some months later but there was no immediate media coverage internationally or for some time because the government resolved everything back as per their humble hardworking nature.  Their pride did not allow them to put out begging bowls.

I also remembered when our guest had overstayed his tenure and we got upset because we were held hostage once again to western ideals which would stop any form of funding to us should we be dictated by anyone we united and hatemongered the uniform off this man.  Yet the lions were kept in cages in distant lands so that they would not be able to bite the hands that fed them. 

Somehow I remember one day the ideology of revenge came back to town and started making a huge noise but was silenced and I remember driving through the streets of Rawalpindi wondering why my country was burning!   I remember how the legacy continued and we shot arrows into the presidency and parliament house and for an Islamic nation how we used our own actions to support what our emotions led us to believe was the truth.  We cried and we believed what we wanted to I don’t know why but did!  I also remember when the king was about to be crowned the Marriott got blown up and no one blamed the fact that it housed western interests.

My memories within these past five years will never leave me and always haunt me because I remember Quetta, I remember Abbas Town, I feel the frustration the day one man from the west was able to hold an entire nation hostage.  I remember strongly and clearly how my income remained the same but every two to three days there was no electricity.  I remember always being confused as to if the price of fuel which had gone up by 10 rupees on an average had come down by 2 rupees or had gone up by another 10.  I also remember that I got used to not having youtube and my mobile phone switched off.

I remember seeing the fact that the middle class had vanished and feudal vigilante justice had hit the streets of Karachi where by a land lord was able to hunt down and kill a serving police officers son.  I also remember how the cameras caught a so called government car trying to kidnap a woman from a shopping mall.  I will always remember how justice became a single edged sword and was conveniently used as a weapon for personal satisfaction.

I will remember always how every day that I lived for these 5 years I wished that one week would go without any form of trouble.  I know that whilst watching the television Geo proudly announced that Not one single death had been reported in the city of Karachi due to unrest.  I will only remember this because the next day 7 people got massacred in the city due to political unrest.

I am sure I will also remember the fact that we as a nation felt insecure, and worried and trapped for these 5 years which is not too long ago.  Sadly all these wonderful memories that I have are somehow related to my emotions.  I left logic out of the picture every time that I took a decision based on emotions.  My fault is that I am an emotional nation and that if I see the tears of a husband and his children I will fall down on my sword of sanity and die for them.  I will not question circumstance but will always lead a crusade for anyone even if it a little girl who gets shot in the head.

I am tired and worried as a nation that I will adopt any cause so that I know I am doing well somewhere and somehow wanting to forget my own miserable memories that are self-created by my own emotions.  Now as the arrows have been plucked from the wounds of the parliament I am confused how over 30 billion vanished.  This too will be a memory reminding me that when I have to make a decision as a country again.  I should not succumb to emotions.  The only question is I hate these memories but will I ever learn?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

FEAR IS YOUR ENEMY!


FEAR IS YOUR ENEMY!

Ok now don’t get me wrong but I guess I have been lucky enough to have met and sat with each of the leaders of our current political parties at some point or another over the past two decades.  Each and every time I met any one of these honorable gentlemen I was blown away and extremely impressed by the charisma and showmanship that they all possessed.  Each one had an abominable taste for rhetoric and had the ability to make me feel with conviction that he or she was the perfect solution for Pakistan.  However, over the past two decades actions and the policies set by each of these people in their respective terms have proven otherwise and left not only me but an entire nation bitterly disappointed repeatedly whereby now we are numb to the pain of disappointment.

I will admit and tell you that I am worse than a pissed off gujarati / memon, Taliban step mother-in-law as I tear apart anything that looks too good to be true and dissect every angle to find a fault should anyone wish to propose that they want to run this country.  This is my evaluation on PTI and Imran Khan and from what I know of the man.  I like most of the nation was always familiar of the cricketer who led the team to victory during the world cup.  I also was aware that where there was good press in the late 90’s there were rumors of his private life being wild and carefree.  So like the most of you awaam I went on what people told me and did not really have any substance to back it up.

My first and only meeting with IK was when I was living in Islamabad in 2006.  I was about to get married and when I asked one of my in-laws to be what I could do for them they stated that if I could get them to meet IK who was their hero (from cricket) they would believe that I was the man.  Ok! I did not know IK and for sure I knew that IK did not know me but how on earth was I going to do this.  Eventually, I gave up on the idea and forgot about it.  As my wedding was coming closer I had friends and family coming to isloo so I went to pick them up from the airport.  I waddled into Rawal lounge at Islamabad International Airport (yes the name has conveniently changed and I know that but I am referring to its original name) and it was filled with politicians and their chamchas.  The Rawal lounge parking lot was filled with government cars so I figured that my chances of receiving my guests with any dignity were lost.  I went to the common waiting area where at least I could smoke and grumble about my bad luck. 

As I was leaning against a pillar I noticed that people would stop in front of the pillar for a moment, pause and then move on.  I wondered why so I took a peek around the pillar to find Imran Khan standing there without ANY body guards with a small bottle of water that he was trying to open.  Then I realized that these guys were reporters.  I was wondering why they did not take any pictures and then I realized that even these vultures respected him and his privacy.  He noticed me and simply asked if I could help handing the bottle to me.  Half confused and in a daze expecting a couple of goons to jump on me I took the bottle from him and cracked the plastic seal and returned it to him.  He took a couple of sips and offered me some which even shocked me more, so I struck up a conversation with him about how the hospital was doing and oddly enough he looked me in the eye and just answered my questions not complaining about anything only saying that it was a challenge. 
There is a saying don’t bullshit a bullshitter ( I mean me) as I have been in sales all my life selling everything including myself for jobs and I could tell that this man (IK) did not have any attitude and the best thing was he did not try to sell anything to me at all not donations not support nothing.  It was like a normal conversation between two people without any agenda or objective that lasted for about 10 – 12 minutes.  Then it dawned on me that II had a camera with me to take pictures of my guests who were to arrive.  Now I could finally get proof for those in laws that I had met the man.  I told him that I was getting married within a few days and that my to be inlaws were pushtoons and great fans of his and if I could have a picture with him.  He blankly looked at me and asked if I liked cricket to which I said that I was the only Pakistani who detested the sport and he smiled and asked if I had a camera.  I quickly dug into my pockets and pulled out my 3.2 megapixel sony camera (yes 3.2 megapixels rocked at that time) and he asked who will take the picture? For a second we both stood there and I guess we were being observed by the press photographers as one came readily to take a picture from my camera but requested that Khan sahib allow him to take one from his own professional camera without me in it.  IK said yes and I got my picture taken with him.  (forget the glory I got with my in laws to be as that is another story)

As we stood there a couple of more photographers came but he politely declined and they respected his wishes.  A couple of minutes later an elderly couple came out and he received them.  Pushed their trolley to the curb where a white prado pulled up with a driver.  He made them sit in the car and hopped in waving bye to me and left.  That was it.  No sirens wailed!  No goons jumped about waving AK47’s no dramatics at all.  This only encounter left an impression of a decent down to earth human being.  For once I was impressed at the simplicity shown by actions.

As time passed by I witnessed his move towards politics and wondered if that was the right move?  I over analyzed the situation and even questioned the fact that a man who knew nothing about politics and had played with bats and balls his whole life would be able to lead this country or would even be a suitable option?   In some ways I admired the aggression towards politicians and his brash candid nature of brutally telling people that they were thieves, un-educated and had looted and pillaged this country.  In a sense I could relate to the fact that someone had the ability to make a noise somewhere and be heard. BUT I was not convinced yet! (told you that I am critical and a pessimist)

I will not ramble on but I will tell you that Imran Khan and now PTI have been playing the same record again and again.  Unlike other parties who have had a party for the past two decades and changed their tune to suit a convenient democracy or religious beliefs this man has played the same boring tune.  He has screamed for justice and a fair democratic government for so long that I must state that either he is deeply passionate about it beyond belief and understands that he can bring change or he belongs outside a darbar somewhere in Punjab like a jogi!

I ask you my fellow citizens of the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan these few questions, if you can answer them then I am sure you will agree to the conclusion that I will draw at the end.
  1. As a nation are we not torn, divided, dissected and split apart by sectarian ideologies more so now than ever before? if you don’t think of religion just think of the provinces being pushed apart from within as well
  2. Don’t you have a perfect solution that if given unaccountability where you would voice how to run this country?
  3. Are you trapped by the fear instilled upon you by this so called democratic system that is anything but democratic?
  4. What freedom do you have?
  5. Are you willing to stand up and be another option for the people and then deliver your so called ethos?

If you are willing to not come forward due to any reason then support a man who is willing to risk it all and take the plunge for you.  After all in my past few questions you have admitted somewhere in your hearts that you are tired, beaten and abused by what has been forced upon you because you had no other option for the past few decades, then guess what!  You have a chance to pull the power back! You have a chance because I feel IK may be another option.  OK so I admit that I the cynical pessimist is now a PTI supporter from now but what choice do I have when due to no fault of my own I have been pushed against a wall with no option but to take it smilingly without any lubrication in the form of some kind of revenge and should I wish to complain the lions of Punjab are ready to take my money and hand out laptops to the entire nation and offer free bus rides (mind you the exchequer will pay the wages and the fuel of these red monsters)

My conclusion as I hope you will agree with me is that this time I will not remain silent!  I will be selfish and vote for IK not only to upset the rest of the idiots out there but because the media has just told me on national television that they are unable to even appoint anyone to babysit a seat as they simply cannot trust anyone not to ask questions about what happened in the past.  I am not making this up everyone is rattled as to what to do now… watch the TV…  I will simply tell you to vote for anyone but the previous idiots that have juggled our lives, livelihood, safety, security, water, electricity, mobile services… (I can go on).  Now who makes sense to you? If you remove anyone who does not have a college degree or has been incarcerated or been a guest of the state against his will then who are you left with?  Answer is Imran Khan.  By the way don’t take my word for it google him and do your own evaluation rather than bitching on facebook about how unhappy you are!

If you are unhappy then it is your own fault as well as you choose to do nothing about it.  It is time for a change!  I will not wave any other flag other than my national flag which is ONLY green and white but I will give my vote to PTI.  And to those of you dear friends who will ask tauntingly and mockingly I will tell you now “NO I AM NOT STANDING UP FOR ELECTIONS!”