Date Published; Jan 19, 2012
Let me make a confession. Growing up, I was an avid Punjabi film watcher. There is no other form of entertainment comparable to this. Of course, I am out of touch as I have been away from this great cinematic experience, but I do not miss it one bit. Reason, our great national leaders and the so-called TV anchorpersons (who I purposely ignore), make up for all that is missing from my otherwise dry, mundane and boring life.
People like me, who are in awe of this splendid work of art, know that it is mostly a 'clash of the titans' in a true desi style. You can swap names here and there, but lots of blood and plenty of noise is what you typically bargain for. I would take a Punjabi flick over a TV talk show in a heartbeat. Simple reason: TV talk shows have the noise, but no real action.
In our blessed land called Pakistan, the infamous anchorpersons are supercharged most of the time. They bring panelists with barraks (verbal challenges) and there you have the usual high volume, back and forth. The masses pick up from there on and practice those sound bites, ad nauseam.
Take the recent row between the elected government and the mighty military. What a superb Punjabi flick plot it is; verbal altercation at its best!
It is like both have their daggers drawn at one another, accusing each other for being at fault. The anchorpersons are like the walking talking promoters of this bout. The public has been sucked into all of this day in and day out. Each night they are given an overdose of this bout. It almost seems like there is nothing more important or pressing than this issue for Pakistan. Pakistan has really transformed into 'Talkistan'. I am sure that this is one heck of a conspiracy being crafted in a far away land to numb the minds of our people, with extraordinary details.
Whether Mansoor Ijaz applied for his visa or not, or why former Defence Secretary Lodhi was sacked, whether President Zardari will return from Dubai or vanish, will Prime Minister Gilani's government be able to withstand a no-confidence motion or not — it sure seems like without all of this, people will suffocate to death. Rest assured, the 'independent' television channels are making sure that no one heads off to the other world easily. Thank the heavens for the self-imposed ban; I get to avoid the idiot box completely.
Equally appalling is the enlightened and educated crowd's obsession with 'coups'. Turn on the social media (my refuge from the real one), and you see these urban yuppies almost in 'labour pains' (no offence to my female expectant readers). It seems like all eyes are waiting for a messiah to descend from the earthly heaven nicely tucked in Rawalpindi, and mistakenly called the General Headquarters. Heads rarely roll at that headquarters, though it often seems like a headless quarter.
So in this battle of 'good' and 'bad', mostly the good gets to win. Their usual phat (ultimate blow) comes in the form of a coup. All the noise subsides and our desi thriller comes to its expected grand finale. The yuppies breathe a sigh of relief, as most of the 'bad' guys are generally imprisoned. Some occasionally get bailed; some languish in jail more than the others. Some become the sidekicks of the 'good guys'. Hence the show gets to be recycled over and over again. No amount of 'masala' flicks can come close to this original 'formula flick' from the land of the pure.
Amazingly, the yuppies dream of a totally foreign concept called the 'rule of law' — all this while they abhor and detest anything foreign. Though yuppies love all the dollars, dirhams, dinars, etc, that come in the form of donations, they want the 'good guys' to trash the basic law, which they think is a mere piece of paper called the constitution. Ah, let me remind myself again, the good guys always put this 'piece of paper' in abeyance and draft their own, called the 'jungle law', oops, I meant martial law. It has its own unique moral: might, is always right, always has, always will be. The yuppies must be expecting a lot when they moan about no rule of law here. As naïve as I may be, I blame the good guys for that quagmire.
The title of our national blockbuster can be rightly coined as 'Democracy in Trouble'. Yes, I hear and read some yuppies saying to hell with this democracy, just give us a good king. The king will make all the evils go away. His rule will be a landmark and the rest of the world will look up to us in awe. Almost 30 plus years, with these righteous 'kings' and we still have broken roads, dearth of water and power, lack of medical care, unemployment, rampant poverty, and the list goes on. Hopefully you get the picture.
To those who think a coup is the 'be all end all', and to hell with the constitution, I ask a simple question: has any prior coup eradicated any of the problems this nation faces? If the response is in the affirmative, then I rest my case. Do not just ask for a coup then. Order a super size coup. Heck, add jumbo size 'sense' and a gallon of 'sensibility' to the order as well.
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