I am an average Pakistani; would you like to hear more?

I am lucky enough to eat one meal a day; this is more than I can say about my neighbours.

Sarfaraz Rehman October 21, 2012
I am a typical Pakistani and am dying to tell the world who I really am, but no one is ready to listen. In the scheme of things, I could have been born anytime late 1930s onwards, and am gainfully (or rather painfully) employed.

Whereas the world is moving towards nano technology, my single greatest skill is that I manage to 'exist amidst the chaos'. This chaos is not of my making, but the wise say that I deserve it, since I have given my vote to the wrong people.

They must be right! Mind you, I have not seen the inside of a polling booth for the last 20 years. Every time I have queued up to vote, after a few hours of waiting, when I got to the polling officer, he/she said that my vote has been cast and ask why I've come again.

The polling booth is always inside a government (peela) school and the polling officer is a teacher there. I hear that they get four times the salary of a private teacher. Since they turn up to teach only one day a month, they must be paid for the election day every five years. Mashallah, it’s good to be paid high amounts, for working one day every five years.

I digress. I was telling you about myself! I am educated as I can write my own signature, but not because I went through proper schooling. Since, I am part of the privileged 44% who can sign, I have carried the burden of this country ─ not so for those clever ones, who left these past six decades. They moved off to greener pastures and red/blue passports. Now they can write about Pakistan and say what a ‘mess’. This was natural, since they left poor old me to carry the burden and they themselves are living in foreign lands in such hardship as alien people.

Anyway, so there I am, hanging on to the handle of a bus, or if lucky, sitting on the roof. It takes me about two hours to get to work and by the time I am at work, I feel like going back, even though it will take another two hours; but what can I do? One has to earn a living. You know one has to pay taxes. I am lucky to have the privilege of paying more than most leaders of the country, opposition and treasury. So proud of carrying the burden of running this country!

Sometimes, I look down from the roof of the bus and I see VIP movement. We have the privilege of waiting 20 minutes to see our leaders.

This one time, the prime minister passed by. There were 84 cars with him ─ Land Cruisers and Mercedes which my taxes pay for.  I enjoyed the show! We must see what we are paying for. Also, I must go and vote for him again, since it is dangerous to vote for PTI. Imran Khan is honest, and we cannot have that, you know. If you are honest, you are stupid.

I look over the shoulder of this young fellow at office and he is on Twitter. He loves to use the 'F' word all the time. It’s extremely intellectual. These intellectuals sit at home with generators spouting continuous electricity, so they can stay online, forever talking about how people are being killed. I get so worried about the killings in Gilgit and Quetta, because I am not sure who does these.

In Wana, we know that miscreants are killed by the drones, they have this system whereby they can tell who is a bad guy and they just kill them. I wish we had this system here, because the other day, I saw a few people being killed while I was hanging on to the bus handle. Almost lost my grip on the handle. Phew! However, apparently these guys were innocent, since they were standing on the pavement eating chaat with their children.

When I get home, it is nice to be in a hot house with the wife lovingly beating me on the head. No electricity, you know. One hour on and then off! The baby keeps crying all night. We can’t afford the protection, so babies keep on coming. Number four is on the way now and I think might end up with seven. Schooling will be an issue. We are also without water and so can’t go to the loo. Sometimes when the electricity is there, I see these great people arguing and fighting on "Hamid Mir Live", or see Najam Sethi wisely telling us what will happen.

After a while, I feel like throwing something at the TV, but then it’s the only TV I have. I have to watch the cricket match. One is really not sure, if these cricketers are throwing the matches. I hate it when Pakistan loses, but that happens regularly, since they appointed this foreign coach. Mohsin Khan would not do, he won the series against England 3-0, but was just not good enough.

Now the guy on Twitter is getting angry. Why am I being such a wimp and I should sign a petition against all the disappearing people? So if I signed, would the concerned people be scared and stop kidnapping and killing? Last Sunday there was a protest and two thousand promised they will turn up. Then I saw tweets that fifteen did; good numbers. That is the route to change.

My neighbours are always talking about having had enough. Apparently the glass is full and brimming over….just saying. They are forever talking of going and sorting out the Defence people. Oh, not the army! It’s the ones who live in Defence. Must forewarn my boss! He lives there.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that we can afford one meal a day. We are lucky, some neighbours have one in two days. Of course, do remind me to cast my vote, if I survive till then…

This post originally appeared here.

Read more by Sarfaraz here or follow him on Twitter @Sarehman
Sarfaraz Rehman The author has worked with large scale organizations like Unilever, Pepsi and Engro Foods in his 28 year career. He has now started an education initiative and writes on various subjects. He tweets as @sarehman
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Sarfaraz | 11 years ago | Reply @Dr Zain Shaikh: You are right, there is a lot to write on it. Used to have Palestinian colleagues in my Middle East days who had seen a lot of pain and some after 40 years still could not go home. The problem is we have become desensitized over it. Think it is going to burst soon, with terrible consequences...
Dr Zain Shaikh | 11 years ago | Reply @ Sarfraz sahab Plz write something on Gaza issue-- so we can get clear picture where is wrong
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ