Let's love Pakistan: A new resolution (II)
It's taken a while, but here's part two of the best things about Pakistan we take for granted.
In September last year, I took up the challenge of making a list of 65 reasons why I love Pakistan; the poor broken country we have begun to take for granted. The idea was simple, but its execution not so much, which is why it has taken me four months to come up with the second set of reasons. I plan to compile the list by August 14, 2012—Pakistan’s 65th Birthday.
Here’s a short excerpt from my previous blog to establish the idea behind this otherwise puerile exercise:
I’m going to try to complete the list (of) reasons - some small; some serious, some funny; some definitive and some not so evocative or significant… but each in its own way a contributing factor to why that tiny spark somewhere inside each one of us still remains buoyant… because let’s face it we all love Pakistan
So, here goes.
6. Truck art:
Granted it’s only found the kind of respect it deserves recently what with some goras giving it their stamp of approval a few years ago. However, I’ve always found this fascinating kaleidoscope of unapologetically flat motifs, wild cats and prey birds done up in rich, screaming colours to be rather dazzling. Ghich-pitch and totally kitsch, these brilliant canvases on wheels depict the true zinda-dil (lively) colours of Pakistan and its people perfectly.
7. “Free” media and journos
From merely three channels back in the 90s, Pakistani telly now comprises of a whopping 150 channels that are actively broadcasting their (mostly trash, but what can we do) content throughout the country. Whether it's reporting or entertainment, our journalists and anchors have truly mastered their craft and continue to impress with their talent and prowess. There’s enough drama, godawful yet sadistically addictive morning shows, breaking news bulletins and highly enjoyable rabid mud-slinging prime time talk show ho-downs to keep us all well entertained throughout the day, every day… and if that’s not positive growth I don’t know what is!
8. All the drama!
Let’s be honest; nobody cerates drama like we do. Sure, we went astray for a couple of years a few years ago, but boy, are we back on track and producing some of the best television drama ever… Hum TV, Geo, ARY, and now Express Entertainment: the choices are virtually innumerable!
Soppy romantic shadi-biyah (wedding) fodder for aunties and teeny-boppers, check.
Conniving saas-bahu shenanigans for potential crafty saases and bahus, check.
Hard-hitting reality-check-type storylines for the art lovers, check, check, check!
9. Our landscape:
Pakistan has five out of 14 mountain peaks of height over 8,000m. That’s over 26,000ft! Murree’s altitude is merely 2,300m! These attract adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially to legendary K2 that stands at a staggering 8,600m. It is also the only mountain that has six names: K2, Savage Mountain, Mountaineer's Mountain, Mount Godwin-Austen, Chogori and Mount Qogir.
10. Pushto cinema:
11. All the repair men:
Seriously, in Pakistan, there’s nothing—and I mean nothing—that can’t be fixed; if you know where to find the right person to do the job, that is!
In Karachi, Saddar is usually a good place to start, and I’m sure there’s at least one such hub in all the other cities as well where you can go with your damaged possessions and return with a big smile on your face. Whether it’s your heirloom furniture or the circuit of the little red bulb on a Rs100 remote control; a cracked prosthetic limb or an otherwise disposable electronic gadget - Pakistan truly is the anti-spendthrift’s heaven!
12. All the random holidays due to political strife:
Don’t we just love the fact that, except maybe a few war-torn countries in Africa, we’re probably the only modern-day republic where children get more days off from school in a year than they do on? Moreover, the entire workforce only has to go to work an average of four days a week instead of five! Who cares about the kharaab haalat (bad conditions) as long as you get to laze around the house and watch all the action on live TV, right?
13. Cheap domestic help:
Before you roll your eyes and dismiss me with ‘whatever,’ do a little mental math: an average upper middle class Pakistani family these days hires two maids. At least one of these maids is likely to be a full-time employee earning no more than a four-digit salary (with perquisites like constant bickering and nitpicking, of course). The usual responsibilities of these maids usually include, but are not limited to everyday chores like sweeping, doing the dishes, washing clothes, ironing, cooking, looking after children, and sometimes even doing the groceries. The regular everyday help you’d very well have to be a member of the millionaires club to avail anywhere else in the world is right here in Pakistan!
14. Our resilience:
One of my readers pointed out our ability to be extraordinarily pliant by saying,
We are resilient in the face of adverse events like floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and Zardari.
I couldn’t agree more. We’re a tough bunch if there ever was one. Of course, some people may compare us to cockroaches, and rightfully so, but still, I think our deep-rooted resilience and infallible spirits have more to do with the belief that Allah Mian will eventually make everything alright (read: strong faith) rather than us simply having evolved to make the best of what we’ve got! We may not be rich in a lot of virtues, but resilience and faith are certainly not two of those.
15. Arfa Karim
Although it shames and saddens me to admit that I did not know who Arfa Karim was until a couple of weeks ago when news of her unfortunate illness started doing rounds, I now couldn’t be more proud of the young prodigy who was indeed, in retrospect, Pakistan’s very own miracle child.
Recipient of the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of Science and Technology, a Salaam Pakistan Youth Award as well as the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance, Arfa, as I’m sure we all know by now, was also dubbed the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in 2004. Her sad, unexpected demise at such a young age is a national tragedy and I have no doubt that everyone will agree when I say that Arfa and her legacy is indeed one of the 65 reasons we’ve got to love Pakistan.
Read more by Saad here.