What do You Remember of Your Time on Earth?

Remember one of my earlier post? where I shared my experience of Eid holidays and one particular ‘first day of eid’ where me and my friends hit the streets late at night and went exploring some legacy hotels around Karachi? well, that very same day some thing else happened, which at the time was making the blog post seemed inappropriate and out of place so I didn’t mention it… However now, as is the case with most (I daresay all) of my posts coming from the depths of my twisted mind, I feel that that single event has finally found a post of its own.

This blog will be a collection of some short interesting events which most of you will find boring and perhaps a few will take it as food for thought.

Finger Licking ‘Cute’??!

Hmmm… that day right after finishing the Dog Day Afternoon and finalizing the night scene with mates, I made the significant effort of getting out of my stupor to fetch dinner from a nearby KFC outlet. As tedious as the task was, coming from a man fed up of doing the routine family scene all day and bored out of his mind, I decided to make the effort of driving to the nearby joint. Ordered a Zinger Xtreme! the only sandwich I like at KFC, took the receipt and was hanging around idle around the counter when I heard some laughter coming behind the silver shelves. I shifted a bit to my right so I could see the origin of this levity. It really wasn’t something extraordinary, two  KFC serving personnel, a boy and a girl standing relaxed in a corner in their uniform and gossiping about god knows what, they were very comfortable with each other gauging by their mannerism,  but most important of all they were… Happy. Happily chatting away and going about their conversation oblivious to who ever is watching or whatever is going around them. These two young people belonging to the lower income segment of my hypocritical society, not giving a fuck about the taboos, societal norms or there financial constraints and instead working on the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr, a national holiday, a public holiday all over the moslem world!,, making the most of it…there was something soothing about watching these two., it actually brought a smile on my face and put me in a good mood for the rest of that night.

A Club Night in Istanbul

A guy gets out of a club on the European side of Istanbul. The name of the club is Cuba. He has a bottle of beer in one hand and an Eastern European girl is walking by his side. The two are in an apparent haze of  joy and longing for one another, momentarily forgetting the discomfort of spending two nights together and seeing each other in person for the first time in eight years… momentarily forgetting the awful verbal abuses exchanged in the past couple of hours, momentarily forgetting that this is their last night together for another eight years or maybe never again, momentarily forgetting that one of them is from Eastern Europe and the other is from Pakistan, a distant land plagued with extremism, violent political storms and a crippling economy frozen in time.

The boy stops at an ATM, not getting jack shit of the alphabet appearing on the screen but manages to get some lira out. They hail a taxi and head out into the night. The girl doesn’t want to go to the hotel, she wants to do something else, it is 3am in the morning on a Saturday…. They stopped the taxi over the Galata bridge conntecting old Istanbul with the new Istanbul with a river flowing in between. As the taxi drives off, they both start walking across the bridge, the weather is just the perfect blend of chill and sweat. There

The Galata Bridge

conversation is limited to pleasentaries, they do not talk much but admire the beauty of the night of a summertime Istanbul. Along the ledge of  the bridge there are people of different races fishing together unconcerned about who walks by, what time it is or whether tonight is even a good night for fishing…. Our strange couple walks among these fisherman, pass a local policeman and just stare out. It truly is a beautiful night. Or is it? There is an invisible almost palpable wall between them. The two wished they could understand what it all meant…

Yaser

“…-and this, my good students is why it is important for a company to have greater share of equity rather then liability” the professor summarizes as I finish taking the last of my notes from a finance lecture eons ago.

A Job well done I looked to my right, my buddy was dozing off oblivious to what is going on around him.

“You!!”

I looked up and turned a shade of bright red on finding the entire class staring at me and my friend.

“You!!” the professor yelled once again

“How many times have I told you not to sleep in my lectures! I understand that you are working a night shift, I understand that you are working 12 hours a day, I understand that you are in need..,but this is disrespectful and simply not tolerable. If you can’t keep pace with the rest of us maybe you should just quit!” —

After the end of the lecture my friend and I went outside for a cigarette, decided to bunk the rest of the day, smoked a joint and decided to check out Empress Market in Saddar. It was probably another one of those crazy things I have done. The idea seemed very interesting and thats exactly what we did.

During the course of the afternoon, we traveled all across Saddar in a public bus, stoned out of our minds, checked out pet animals in Empress Market, visited a friend in Gulistan-e-Johar for some PS3 street fighting gaming, there was also an instance of me throwing up in the toilet, another instance of us rolling joints on top of a bridge in rush hour traffic, and ending up in Askari three where another friend was waiting for us…

We spent the entire night listening to trance, grilling chicken on his roof top and ofcourse rolling more joints. During one of these random sessions I remember him telling me something:

“Man, I am trying, I am trying to keep everything in balance but the way that bitch discouraged me this morning I say fuck it! you know what I think, maybe she is right, I should just stop studying and concentrate on my work”

He dropped out of university after trying to complete the program for 3 consecutive years. One of the most original people I have ever met. Hats off to you buddy. God be with you.

I don’t know what it all means. But if I was to die suddenly, unfortunately, at this very instance and was facing God who is asking me;

“Son what do you remember of your time on Earth, don’t think just tell me the first few things that come to your mind.” These are few of the events I will tell Him…

…And then I’ll hum this tune 🙂 :

Zia’s Spawn: The Generation X

Wow you must be wondering that the title looks like it came straight from a WWE match and whether this post will stands up to its claim. Well this will be my first serious (well partly) post and I hope it will shed some light about our parents. Yes you heard correct. Parents 🙂

What is the Generation X? one may ask. Although there have been debates on the exact definition of the term most people regard Generation X or Baby Boomers as the people born in the 60’s and the 70’s. You can find out more about them here. You might recall this era in North America and Europe as one marked by extreme changes in social order,mistrust of the government, the Vietnam war and the hippie counterculture which bloomed as a result among other things. In the West this generation thus became very open to change. Our dearly beloved Steve Jobs was attending college at this time.

In Pakistan at the time there was a sense of security, yes it was from what I have heard through popular accounts minus the one shameful war in ’71. There was another phenomenon taking place in Pakistan one which would have disastrous consequences for us. The Afghan War. We found ourselves caught up in the fight of two most powerful countries in the world.

Everything seemed to be going right for us, Aid came pouring in from USA and Saudi Arabia, Pakistani’s felt that they were the sole guardians in the fight between God believing ‘good’ and UnGodly communist ‘evil’. Massive petrodollar came from Saudi Arabia due to fresh job opportunities and the heavy industries which Bhutto had founded had matured now and Pakistan moved from a basic agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy.

The Dictator rose in Popularity, massive popularity non of which I believe can be truly credited to him. Sharia laws were imposed, Pakistani scientists were asked to conduct research on ‘jinns’ and holy spirits and the influx of foreign Aid was proclaimed as the Dictators success in improving the economy. Truly the fortune of God falls on those who lead their lives according to the arcane and outdated rules of the Holy scripture. The Jihadist were considered as indispensable national assets able to infiltrate the enemy in Afghanistan, in Kashmir and in India.

Now had the Dictator been wise he should have dispensed with the Jihadist once the war was over. These guerilla soldiers are undisciplined, brain washed and treacherous. They believe in a delusional and fantastic ideology which is very dangerous as it draws strength from, poverty, illiteracy and as of late the phenomenal success of the Jihadist dictator in filling Pakistani begging bowl with cash! The Generation X became the pious Muslims they always thought they were. Even people who believed in freedom, human rights, democracy etc realized that maybe there is something ‘Magical’ about ‘Leaving Everything to God’. Thus the foundation of a misinformed guardian of the universe Islamic state were laid down.

And then Aid was gone. The war was over and there was no more middle eastern oil boom. The Generation X realized that they will actually have to work to make a living. The decade that followed is known in economics as The Lost Decade. The ’90s was the most f*****up time in Pakistan’s history. Maybe all the problems can’t be mentioned here but I will summarize it all by saying that The Generation X got confused as hell. Their unwavering faith in God as they had been led to believe was perhaps wrong after all or was it? This is also the time when hippocrisy grew in earnest. We learned to survive the 90’s by cheating and squabbling while having a firm faith in God. We blamed the world for our problems while ignoring fundamental flaws like pseudo-feudal culture, high illiteracy rate, poor law and order situation, extremism and intolerance.

All was not bad though, another dictator came to power. This one was brighter then his predecessor. And knew what was going on with our society. He even made a solid effort to try to change the direction the nation was following. But I think by this time our Generation X had gone beyond repair….

Please don’t get me wrong. I love my parents and I know you love your parents as well. I get my mom flowers every now and then and help my dad with his work anytime he asks for it. But we need to realize that their believes are outdated. Their version of Pakistan and society is very twisted for the reasons I have shared above. They did what the thought was best for us maybe we would have done the same have we been in their shoes. But that doesn’t make it right yea? They are the spawn of General Zia as I like to call them.

A feeling of change is in the air now. I think the worse mistakes and their consequences are over. Our time is here now, we are the Generation Y. My only hope is that we do not repeat the mistakes our parents and others their age made. That we give priority to education, freedom, human rights, women empowerment rather then the teachings of the shariah which are open to thousands of interpretations. That we renounce the Jihadis once and for all. That we quit this hippocrissy plaguing our daily lives. That we stop blaming the world for our problems and just think logically to their solutions.

I will end this post with a classic rock anthem from The Scoropions: