COUNTRY, LOVE & OTHER THINGS:
TANDO MUHAMMAD KHAN, SINDH PROVINCE
“WHEN THE GOING GETS WEIRD, THE WEIRD BECOME PRO.” – HUNTER S. THOMPSON
I could hear the rain shatter everything down outside as we sat in an abandoned old ‘autaak’ belonging to a Syed, the royal blood, who never visited unless it was the hunting season, the wind became chilly, the thunder struck as a lonely dog howled in vain but to his support another dog from the east created a surround dome sound when more dogs joined in. We sat inside with doors closed and lights off but a candle moderately lighting the room.
The new Prime Minister was chosen in the morning today, It didn’t really come as a total surprise the new revolutionary tides hadn’t come to a rest. The people had once again been force to believe that power will always remain to the powerful, I suppose that isn’t wrong for the locals to live their own lives and not to mingle with the games played those who could sight the throne, that is nature’s way, it has always been, some have suggested a power shift to the local people but who is to know if the people in power next could handle it, This struggle of achieving prosperity will always be uneven.
I had newly met Zarek but similar lack of ambition and love for a few things had brought us together, Sachal, the safe keeper of this autaak had already told us the risks, but we had experimented before and wanted to, some more, just to know better, it’s not like we were of any vital importance to our nation anyways, Zarek had managed to acquire some really good Afghani afeem or ‘opium’ from his ancestral home, Chaman. The different faces of Pakistan are so unlike each other, that we could call it diverse, for the love of our country, the things happening in the streets of Pakistan, people didn’t give fuck anymore, love was to some, what was war for other, although I often wonder if our problems are due to our confused nature, we are stuck between western modernism, eastern antiquity, religious extremism and ethical reality. It could be argued that British imperialism had a lot to do with this but they just merely showed us what they got, just like we showed them what we got, they seem to be doing fine. I refuse to believe that the human brain is weak enough to not form its own opinion and use these diverse openings to create something new, cities have been sieged before, empires destroyed, civilizations conquered by new ones it all, that’s how societies progress, new ideas, new visions, new art, new literature.
A dark vapor formed on the foil holding the opium, I had never tried it before, and it wasn’t something I would get hooked to, I felt it’s not my sort of a drug, nothing against the drug but, personal opinion, that’s what I was thinking when I inhaled the dragon to my lungs, Zarek took a drag, Sachel did, came back to me, no backing out, the circle went on, this didn’t taste like hash at all, you get used to the taste of hash, you get to like it because it is likeable, this wasn’t that herby, it was, but much more crude, hash got you high, this didn’t seem to be doing anything at all. The thunder outside hit a menacing note, no sound of birds but the rains from heaven hit the ground harder each time, I felt I could hear each and every drop of rainfall which crashed against the ground outside when I closed my eyes, Zarek was the sort of a person, who never ruined a movie for you, in fact if you watch a movie with him he became a part of that movie. A cloud over my brain seemed to have lightened up, I could feel the drug working its way through my viens.
Change starts at the core of your own self, the discovery of within will tell you that your purpose isn’t war, your purpose isn’t to tell someone who is wrong that he/she is wrong, your purpose isn’t to lead your country to achieve its optimum significance, your purpose isn’t to stop me from doing drugs, your purpose isn’t to tell a man he is not right because he was born into an household that believed in a different book of God, your purpose isn’t vote for the right minister, your purpose is simply to live. Caught up with all the complexities of politics, religion and international propaganda we had forgotten what we were born to do, we were born to live, it sounds too simple, sounds like a cheesy line from a cheesy advertisement campaign but we got to understand the core of this sentence, core of the word ‘live’ this revolutionary tide isn’t about who is going to be our next ruler, it is not about achieving our right to food, shelter or the right to freedom, those are just things which were given to me naturally, living is exploring, living is finding, living is loving, living is choosing, living could be whatever that you want to, living could be watching a movie, living could be taking your six year old out for a walk, carrying him on your shoulders, living is to each his own, living could be sex, living could be drugs, forget about the states responsibility towards us, change comes from within, we all know that sentence, what does it mean, it means that when someone next time is talking about a general stereo typical perception of a particular race, you won’t argue, you won’t say anything, if you don’t want to, you won’t get into an argument, because arguments are for the intellectually challenged, but at your core you will believe that just because he is was born in the south the south of Punjab and not the west of Balochistan doesn’t make him any different
My senses seemed to have directed in on smooth flow, it was all headed towards one direction I couldn’t hear it, but I felt like I heard my heart beat, Zarek handed me a rolled hundred rupee bill to inhale the tar like substance, and I did, the sweat dripping from my forehead made its way to the tip of my nose and faded into the darkness. I stood up, the rain hadn’t stopped, the candle was steady, Zarek sat laid back on the bed, no wonder what he was thinking, Sachal had assumed that his place was on the ground, because he was just a peasant within us lords, he had a similar gaze to his eye, we all had different thoughts but a similar gaze, the relief on everyone’s faces when I opened the door suggested that even our thoughts were similar the winds refreshed us, it didn’t kill our high, just refreshed us, two separate things, the doors had opened and with thing opened a whole new dimension the rain seemed different than what it did before we had smoked up.
But it is not wrong to think about how misdirected things had gone, what we were supposed to be, and what we are, we aren’t supposed to be nations, we are supposed to be humans, in fact not just humans, we are all living beings, our negligence of animals, plants and other living organisms have led us to the biggest problem that we face today and I do not mean all respected Nawaz Sharif winning the elections, I mean problems like global warming, it doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s election manifesto what they will do about the years of our disrespect to mother earth. This isn’t a blame game, this isn’t your fault or Obama’s fault, it isn’t, Captain Imran’s fault, It isn’t poor Sachal’s fault, it is everyone’s fault, It is no one’s fault.
The contradiction between my restless thoughts and my calm body had led me outside the mighty clouds showered down their waste upon us to bring us joy the western winds let go of their rage upon us, creating perfect harmony in E-Flat minor the sound with that dogs vocal in it was sad, depressing yet hopeful, kind of like human race in the current time, may be at all time, we are not a thankful race after all.
The rain hadn’t stopped but had turned into a drizzle, my eyes were closed when the change had occurred, and I think my eyes were closed for quite some time because the sky had become dimly lit my body temperature was uneven, my mouth was dry, I felt sick to my stomach, I sat down on the ground, on the same level as the old Sachal, the loyal keeper of his Syed’s autaak, he looked at me, smiled, I looked at him and hoped to smile. Morning had come a new day had come, We said our goodbyes to Sachal who offered us tea, we refused and headed back to the 4 hour long drive to Karachi hoping to reach back in time for work, waiting to be sucked in by the daily routine.