Tea and Dunhill

You cannot detach a Pakistani from tea and political gossip. They just like talking about politics because it’s in their nature - you know, just like normal people like to eat, drink and sleep!

Broadly speaking, there could be two kinds of Pakistanis you come across – and both kinds are poles apart. The first is the most common type – the ones who believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories. For them, every thing that goes wrong in Pakistan is an American, Indian or Israeli conspiracy. From Baluchistan unrest to trade with your rival country, from cricketers’ swindling to freedom of expression, intolerance towards minorities, protests that only end up harming public property - there is an easy to process, simplistic explanation to all – a conspiracy. Sometimes I think they are better off this way, they don’t have to use their brains in researching and finding out painful facts. They may, in their right minds, be able to challenge you one day that extra sugar in their cup of tea is a Zionist conspiracy, or split milk is some kind of direct consequence of giving MFN status to India (Indian hypocrisy!) After losing many arguments, I realised it’s best to let them live at peace with themselves - reading a copy of Daily Ummat and watching another episode of Aalim Online.

The other kind - the ones who are informed. Liberal Pakistanis as they may like to call themselves – that translates into many things for their counter parts, the conspiracy theorists like: ‘kawwa chala hans ki chaal (a crow imitating a swan forgets being crow),’ ‘angrezon se bhi zyada angrezi (more British than whites) ’, ‘dhobi ka….. (Do you really need a translation of that?) ’ But don’t listen to the conspiracy theorists – they can’t even tell obscenity from other things let alone define it. The liberals would almost smoke out a pack of Dunhill (what is with them and cigarettes, anyways?), debating 10 different reasons behind radicalization in Pakistan or tweeting about the latest riots or pettiness of conspiracy theorists while sitting in some high end cafĂ© in the town. What they may not realise, knowledge is not meant to be kept to their like-minds only. It may be of better use when shared with people who have to dig out conspiracy theories because of lacking it. The liberals may not realize that debates over Dunhill don’t help moderating fuel prices or inflammatory acts. They don’t either help with collection of taxes and widespread illiteracy. They only help a British American Tobacco Company. Only if not being able to see through the impact one can make through their knowledge could be called sleeping, the liberals may be sleeping while wide awake.

Anyways, it feels so peaceful with distant sounds of crickets and katydids under a starless sky. I might as well sleep!

P.S. don’t take Dunhill in the literal sense.

00:28 hours
12 October 2012

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