August Mubarak

I expected a pre 14 August post where I would be gushing and beaming with happiness. But, I have already lost faith in the country and its future because of all the violence at individual and communal levels rife in Pakistan, because of the wave of extremism in our country, because of the lack of faith I have in our leadership, because of the all pervading lack of morals, education and etiquette in our nation. So, here goes my pre 14 August post.

My better half and I were out buying plain cakes for a picnic. When we got out of the shop we were in the middle of a severe thunderstorm. Coke studio was playing from Nida’s cellphone. I decided to take a long drive and enjoy the rain, and the lightning, and the thunder. It was a good rain: the raindrops were perfectly sized and sounded well. The windshield wiper’s rhythmic sounds induced a state of trance on me. Turning onto the road, there was a man, a boy even, drenched in water, selling flags that were drenched as well. The sky was beautifully cloudy, like an insane marble cake. Behind of the see of deep rich green flags passed a bright red Tundra.

Time stood still.

The passing of the Tundra was an eternity.

I realized, that this is my Pakistan. This rain on the broken road; this man destitute to the extent that he will stand in the rain to sell two flags; this incredibly expensive car belonging to someone who will not have found it difficult to buy it; this breathtakingly beautiful marble cake cloud; coke studio music that resonates with the cultural evolution of our souls. This is my Pakistan. This point in time and place, this location of existence, for these two seconds, this is my Pakistan. All else has ceased to exist. I was in unimaginable comfort and tranquility. These are the people who toil day in day out, this the culture that I am steeped in, this is the country as it looks to a citizen.

This is my Pakistan.

Pakistanis have a chronic lack of patriotism in the general sense of the word. We are mindblogglingly communal and xenophobic (at a communal level) to the core. We are so illiterate (Jahil would be the correct translation) that we consider brandishing weapons and shooting in the sky on a random basis as signs of machismo. We have an incredible lack of etiquette at a personal and at a communal level. We are living through the horrors of a terrorist insurgency and civil war in parts of the nation. We are witnessing a failing economy and a decaying political and administrative structure. Nothing, read my lips, nothing is going right with Pakistan right now.

But, this is not the true Pakistan.

We may hate Pakistan to the extent of running away from it. We may hate it’s people, it’s institutions, it’s lack of etiquette, it’s moral relaxations, it’s corruption and nepotism, it’s negation of sanity. But, after all the hate has died out, all the irritation has been enjoyed, and all the acrimony is exercised, it is home. It is home. It is home. It is home. It is where we, in all our insane glory, belong to and fit in seamlessly. At the end of the day we are all part of this madness that we call Pakistan. We are all mad, and our personal insanities add up to a national level of insanity unexpected from other nations. We are mad ,individually, and collectively, and we are all part of the madness we call Pakistan. Oh what enriching insanity!

This then is my Pakistan.

I want my country back in all of its psychotic glory, to love and to cherish, to experience and to live.

Happy Birthday Pakistan. And Pakistan Paindabad.

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