Suffering through Humsafar
The amount of attention from people (and the media) who hate and love Humsafar is what makes it so compelling.
It’s Saturday night and this room full of 18 year olds could be doing anything, anything at all. But instead we are squashed up on the sofas savouring our Magnums, because we are hungry and have no social lives.
We discover, however, that neither does anyone else because the boy in the corner checking Facebook suddenly cries out:
“The Humsafar finale just ended!?”
Each head whips around to look at the grandfather clock on the wall. It is 9:05pm.
One girl lobs her half-eaten Magnum at him. “You idiot! Why didn’t you tell me when it was 8 ’o clock! How could I have missed it!”
Eighteen year olds across Pakistan have been watching Humsafar and have been then sharing its twists and turns with friends who don’t watch it. This is why I end up having a conversation on how Asher’s evil mother ought to be slapped silly and then burnt for good measure for what she did to Khirad.
I would have never otherwise devoted Khayaban-e-Nowhere’s space to a TV drama had I not heard “Fawad is so HOT!” and “Dekho woh Fawad kitna haseen lag raha hai” from two very different people. One was my best friend, who I laughed at, and the other was my grandmother, who I just awkwardly passed the chai to.
It’s not about what actually goes on in the show such as Sara who likes things like knives and cutting herself. The point is that without Humsafar, my life would just not have been the same.
I wouldn’t have known who Osman Khalid Butt was. (Actually, a lot of people my age would have never known who he was unless they were khwaar enough to remember him as Saad from the much-loathed film Slackistan). But now my Facebook newsfeed is full of 15 year olds linking his videos with comments. “This guy is so cute and funny! <3 <3 <3”. And all because once upon a time, he made a video called “Not another Humsafar episode” with a ‘Tik Tok’ parody that none above 30 would understand (ie Humsafar’s key viewership).
I would never have trawled Pindi Boy’s blog for hours, reading hilarious posts about how much he hates ‘elitist’ Tribune blogs and life in general. Thank you Pindi Boy, I now understand what my mother and my aunt who lives on the opposite end of the world keep talking about on Skype. Without Humsafar, I would have never been woken from my sleep to fix the internet connection because YouTube suddenly stopped working for someone who wanted to watch old Humsafar episodes on the net.
I love that there are people I can count on my fingers who had never heard of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy when Geo News broke into a song and dance about her Oscar but that those same people would know the exact costume in that one Humsafar scene in the rain in episode 12 (or was it 9?). It’s an unfair comparison to make but it’s funny to note how certain parts of Pakistani media make strides in very different ways and receive very different responses.
The amount of attention from people who hate it and love it is what makes Humsafar so compelling.
Humsafar, goodbye. I won’t miss you, but my daadi might.