Dreaming for Pakistan.


“Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” (Gloria Steinem)

Perhaps in the wonderfully international world of today, belonging to something is not an important concept for the majority of people. Maybe roots, country-love, feeling of belonging and ownership aren’t what they used to be. In some ways they are better, more people oriented. And in other ways, they have corroded to mean nothing at all.

I still prefer to believe that I live here in Pakistan out of choice, out of love. That I feel more myself here than anywhere else and I am proud of it. It is not a decision borne out of ignorance or lack of facilities or a dearth of travel but one of the deep rooted contentment I feel here. And tomorrow if I blown up by a bomb or shot with one of the many stray bullets doing their rounds, please pass on the word that I died happiest, in a city, in a country I loved with all my heart.

I have had the most wonderful years here, and despite this post sounding  like a eulogy for some reason, I sincerely hope to have many more. I have done all the things one can do here, been to school, fallen in love, snuck out, picnics and parties and friends and weddings and movies and coffees and I take complete unabashed credit for all the social progress we see around us. I have had a good, no, great life here. Yes I have also hurt at all the digressive damaging behaviour and politics and hated on the people killing the spirit. I have also shouted and hoped for all the best in rallies. I have never felt quite so invested with my heart before, unless you count my kids. Of course there is that odd day when I speculate the dark dismal times around us, and I think perhaps we will be better off somewhere else. I listen to the wise old people talk about the end of things as they were, and I want to not do this to my kids. But then I hear the older wiser ones talk of countries going through painful times as part of their growth process and I feel proud of Pakistan for persevering through and that too is a lesson I want for my kids.

For some (people say deluded) reason I cannot see the overwhelmingly bad alone. I read the papers, follow articles, bloggers, tweeters- I am connected to reality but somehow I still don’t see it as all dark. People say it takes the horror of something happening to you or your loved one to see how bad things are and perhaps they are right and I have been lucky, but I still, maybe naively, don’t see how I would blame the country itself for that. I have tried to see it from the jaded eyes and the cynical angry ones too- it simply doesn’t work for me. I function better and more productively for us all when I have hope.

The thing about feeling something is your own is that giving up is very hard. And for better or for worse I feel this is my own. So every road that gets made, I send a mental pat on the back to the people who made it and for every paan that is spit on the road I sent a evil eye glare to the person who spat it. I hate the people destroying the once tolerant state of mind with all my heart and soul and I wish every curse upon them. Equally I am proud of those who haven’t lost faith, who see this as a process of sorts, as a labour pain before some miracle delivers us from all this nonsense. What am I doing in all this? I am believing. I am standing by and I am believing because that’s what you do for your own, no matter what.


Lessons from Tom and Jerry.

It is funny that we can’t see the funny in funny too clearly anymore because of the times we live in. I know I have been, if not proactive then deeply conscious of what I expose Nadi to in terms of evils and realities of the world. Especially on TV. K and I don’t watch the news infront of him and we attempt keeping words like bomb and gun and kill and shoot out of conversation around the little people. Even the cartoons and animated features he has seen have been whetted by us for any confusing messages. The idea of Good vs Bad is a universal one and watching pretty much anything, even if U rated touches upon that and that kind of black and white existence has worked in terms of pushing some important lessons forward. Sharing is good, but fighting is bad. Good people help and eventually are happy, bad people are selfish and never win. You remember, the good old fashioned lessons of life. Etcetera and all that. But we live in Karachi so of course he absorbs and processes a certain number of the abstract negative concepts almost automatically as well and though I can see some connections start to get made in his head in regards to the complication that can be life, mostly so far I think he hasn’t strayed too far into the blur and is happy to accept the basic explanations.


So, on our holiday this time, once he got ready every morning, Nadi would switch on Boomerang TV for a daily fix of cartoon time and it was at 10am on one June morning, that the world of slapstick hit and run and smack and whack humour suddenly unveiled itself to his 5 year old brain. Having always been avid supporters of the no-violence formula in life, we have always no-no-ed the idea of hitting and smacking and deemed people who do it “silly” or “childish”. Of course in light of this, the relationship between Tom and Jerry completely fascinated him. As I watched it with him, secretly a bit horrified at how much more, for lack of a better word, gleefully violent they seemed, I could actually see him trying to get his head around the fact that they seemed to be a team and yet the wham thud pow went on. Interesting thing is although we have watched several full length animated feature films together and the concept of bad is much talked about and handled but I could tell that he could tell that this was different. This wasn’t about good vs bad, this was about nature accepting both sides. Tom wasn’t only bad and Jerry wasn’t only good. A whole new grey has been born.

drawing by Nadi of course.