Right across my house there is a wall of a compound which is part of a building belonging to, and built by, Parsis. Sadly, the wall is not properly maintained. It is covered with graffiti, wall-chalking and posters like so many of the walls all over Karachi. If you look carefully at the wall, you can see there is a Parsi name scribbled on the left hand side of it, while in the middle of the wall, there are letters that read ‘Pakistan Bachaoo Tehreek’. Above these letters, there are ugly posters advertising the IELTS and TOEFL examinations.
I think the ‘writing on the wall’ is a complete story in itself. It aptly sums up the current overall tempo of the citizens within the country. In a way, the writing on the wall is like headlines, or breaking news, except that there is nothing new about it. It is a story we have all come to know so well.
Parsis are the oldest and richest developers of the city of Karachi and their development efforts of days gone by are ridiculed by posters and walking chalking. Their heritage sites are crumbling.
However, there are still a bunch of people who still have hope and can see the silver lining in our country and want to make every effort to salvage its soul. Yet, at the same time, there are bunch of people who don’t want to live in this country anymore and want to run away. Although this is a sad and cynical school of thought, can one blame them for wanting to opt out? In order to successfully ‘run away’, they have to sit exams like TOEFL and IELTS. Such sons of the soil do not feel the need to return anything to their country, and think along rather self-centred terms.
In this way, I feel that this one small wall, tells the real story of our country, in a nutshell.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2016.