'Ma kee kasam meri bhen hay ye': I'm all set for Valentine's Day

The only way activists can get me to observe Haya on this day is if they find me a girl named Haya I can go out with.

Shehzad Ghias February 11, 2015
If the famous Bollywood song from Amar Akbar Anthony was made in 2015 in Pakistan, the lyrics would be altered to,
Taliban pyar ke dushman haye haye,

Meri jaan ke dushman haye haye”.

The war on love in Pakistan has gone on for too long. Last year, the Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) group in University of Peshawar claimed that romance was foreign to Pakistan. This is precisely why children need to be hugged and women need to say yes to all those friendship requests.

See what you lead us to do when you say no? If you cannot say yes to all our friendship requests, at least say yes to mine – you know who you are, accept it already. I have all your cover photos memorised, I deserve access to the profile pictures too now.

Photo: Shehzad Ghias

Pakistan is a country of lovers – from Heer Ranjha to Layla Majnu to the Bilawal Lovers Organisation (BLO). Every single Pakistani has a pirated DVD of either Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Even the people protesting against the celebration of Valentine’s Day go home and stream ads of Katrina Kaif online.

We are so romantic that we think putting a woman inside a wall is romantic. If concrete could not keep Anarkali from Saleem, how do they think they can stop us from celebrating our loved ones?

If romance truly is foreign, let me come to Pakistan as some much needed foreign aid. Pakistan needs something to offset all the hate. No more burning teddy bears I say! What has teddy ever done to anger the religious right? Like Jesus, teddy is simply paying for our sins.

Photo: Shehzad Ghias

There is a saying in the West that true love takes place beneath covers. The saying is true for Pakistan as well, except the people in love are under separate covers miles apart pretending to be asleep every time their parents barge in to check on them.

Why should I have to save Sara’s name under Saad in my phone? I am sick of being called “Shehzadi” every time my girlfriend talks to me in front of her parents. I also do not particularly approve of the fact that my number is saved under ‘Ufone helpline’ in her phone.

We should boldly walk up to our parents and tell them,
“Mom, Dad, I want to go out on February 14th! We are having a sleepover at Saad’s to watch the World Cup match. His parents have invited us for dinner. No girls promise.”

Baby steps you see, nobody wants to go on a date on Valentine’s Day with a chapair (slap) imprinted on his face.

Some activists have gone as far as declaring Valentine’s Day as Haya Day’ (Modesty Day) in Pakistan. What are we supposed to do, fundamentalists? Ask girls if they want to be “our modest” instead of “our valentine”?  Should I hug my date three times and wish her Eid Mubarak?

Photo: Shehzad Ghias

This is not what I sent 200 friendship requests last year for. All those “A$l P|Z” messages were sent with the intention of ensuring I do not sleep in a pool of my own tears this Valentine’s Day. There are only so many wounds ice cream can heal.

The only way activists can get me to observe Haya on February 14th is if they find me a girl named Haya I can go out on a date with.

If they want to throw rocks at me for trying to find my one true love, go ahead. I have seen enough Bollywood movies to know that at least one woman would throw herself over me and start singing,
Koi pathar say na maray, meray deewanay ko.”

(Nobody should stone my lover)

They cannot even stop me by setting fire to everything. I have received enough forwarded Ghalib text messages to know that “Ishq ek aag ka darya hai aur doob kay jana hay” (Love is a river of fire and we have to go drowning) – not that I ever learnt to swim. Just in case, I will be sure to keep a fire extinguisher at hand.

Photo: Shehzad Ghias

I am completely prepared for this Valentine’s Day. I got money for a nice dinner at a nice restaurant, and extra cash for the chai pani of all the police officers who stop me on the way. I even have a fake Nikkahnama prepared for them.

I have a black shalwar kameez that I will wear over my red pants and red shirt when I am in public; my colours are only for my beloved. None of my heart-shaped balloons have any air in them; when I am on the date I will make sure I blow them – the balloons that is.

Photo: Shehzad Ghias

I have even memorised a ‘Ma kee kasam meri bhen hay ye’ (I swear on my mother that she is my sister) speech ready in case a mob finds me on a date.

If all else fails, I have a full proof plan that will completely placate all the religious extremist fundamentalist groups. If they see me out on a date with a girl and refuse to believe any of my other stories, if they insist I provide irrefutable evidence that I could not possibly be out on a date with a girl, I would just tell them I am gay.

That will truly make sure I am safe from the wrath of the mob. Genius.
Shehzad Ghias A graduate from the LUMS Law School and is running his own theatre production company, Cogito Productions.He works as a theatre teacher at various schools. He tweets @Shehzad89 (https://twitter.com/Shehzad89)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Sarah | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Mr. Shehzad Ghias, Kindly give your writings a break. This article was an utter disaster and a roller-coaster ride. What happened to your once phenomenal humour?
slave | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend the example of the above is like cattle when you try to speak to it, all it hears is sounds.....
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