Do you sometimes look at yourself through other people’s lenses and marvel at the person you seem to be? Do you also have a sense of self you try to sustain by regularly feeding it what you imagine to be stuff important to you remaining who you set out to be?
I was not a very existential crisis type of person before. I was trundling along fairly uncomplicated and mostly quite empowered with my own decisions in life. In my my head, I thought myself borderline rebellious and stubbornly independent but fairly flexible too, if it really came down to it. But lately I find myself questioning a lot more.
The night before the Jalsa I was supposed to meet two really good friends for dinner when I did a flipout and just couldn’t do it. I could not see myself sitting at Espresso, I could not see myself having another conversation about Pakistan and its current state and the haalaat and the politics without first actually doing something first. Perhaps going to the Jalsa was personally symbolic of some kind of paradigm shift in my head or perhaps I will discover hidden in me some kind of inclination to be politically alive for the first time in my life- call it what one may, it was just time to do rather than talk. I felt physically repelled at the thought of yet another drawing room conversation from the safety of our own bubbles ensuing and for once I needed to feel that I too, was a speck of the part of those who needed change to be felt in their life. After several conversations with myself inside the echoing walls of my own head, each mapping all the scenarios that were even slightly possible, I had the plan in place.
As we drove to the Jalsa the next day, K probably against his better judgement talked into coming with me, I smsed my sister saying that there is a slight chance this could go all terribly wrong so please take care of the kids- I would ideally want you first or if you cant then mom and lastly Kay.
Like I said, perhaps it was all only just symbolic and by being there, I just felt like part of something bigger. Perhaps I needed to feel that there IS still hope alive in something out there. Or maybe I just needed to get off the conversational bandwagon and go out there to be part of something that is at least flapping about in attempts to make a change. I don’t really know. What I do however know is that we live here, for better or for worse and to stay sane, because we won’t go to therapists, we do what we must to feel like we are part of the systrem and not just some elite appendage. I don’t know what you do but I teach and I talk about being proactive and positive and faithful to the country we call our own- I work with places I know are also in their own ways trying to make a difference, by teachings kids or raising awareness. I try to design with conscience and delight hoping to put some good karma out in the world. I try to be part of ventures, exhibtions, ideas and dialogues which I pray may be one tenth of an inch forward towards those elusive better days for here. I bitch about our leaders, I complain about our systems and I get angry about the garbage dump on our side street , a right I feel I earned by voting last time in the elections. I try to be a part of the system by following rules and regulations so I can also be part of the people who can say they lived their best life here and are part of the change as and when it happens.
But sometimes all this isnt enough. Sometimes the dramatic physical manifestation of all this in one loud gesture is more soothing to the ravaged soul than all the tiny little good things that we do on a daily basis and that is why I needed to go to this Jalsa and shout and scream with hundreds and thousands of other hopefuls, who perhaps weren’t sure of the IK manifesto they were supporting but sure as hell believed in their right to be there, out in the open, heralding the better times that air was loaded with the potential of.