Random Numbness – Hated Ideas and Nostalgia

Cold War between America and USSR made the way to space. Just to attack each other’s capital at a distance of 7,816-km through rockets, the two went up in the air. Up, up, Until space. And then moon. Cold War is the reason that world is getting into the extended universe today. Interstellar.

Capitalism is the reason people have stuff. So much stuff, inside and out. Cars. Mobiles. Laptops. Clothes. Shoes. And hundreds of unnecessary things. Capitalism has offered cheap fast food 24/7. Globalization and McDonalization. You can tap your screen and anything will be at your doorstep at a pretty competitive price. The connected world through smartphones and internet at almost ZERO charges (as you are the product in such cases) is a blessing (in disguise) of capitalism. No more expensive calls or long awaited letters.

Colonialism had its own givings. Rails reached all across the world from UK within three decades only because of colonialism. The tracks were constructed in Africa and Asia which failed to expand after colonialism collapsed. Afghanistan has none even today.

Colonialism is also a reason that world have maps today. When Europeans sailed into oceans to find and conquer new worlds, they made maps. East India Company gave India its first accurate and comprehensive map. The same colonizers found heritage sites like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro which were nothing of concern for locals.

Colonialists came with technology. They built dams and dug canals. Made new cities with new businesses and banks. Some of the giant cities of South Asia were established / expanded by the British Raj; including Karachi, Calcutta and Mumbai. Our tourism hotspot – Murree – has also a colonial history. Every major city of South Aisa has Raj’s monuments, schools, universities, hospitals, roads, bridges, tracks, museums, libraries, etc.

Spanish Colonialists went to North and South America and made their ways there. All the colonizers were cruel and unsympathetic, no disagreement. They annihilated some of the oldest tribes in America, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. There is not a single New Zealander aboriginal alive today.

New Zealand didn’t even exist for humans as no one reached there till 800 years ago. Today, we have Kiwis who lose finals in Cricket and Lord of the Rings.

Darwin and his theory of evolution also resulted through colonization. He was part of a sailing mission to find and conquer new world. European colonizers used to set voyages with scientists, botanists, etc. So came Darwin in one of the voyages of Royal Navy. He collected and studied species across the world for years and thus evolved Darwinism.

A thousand years back, Asians ruled the world, Europeans didn’t count, and America didn’t exist. People feared the giant armies of Asian Empires, particularly of Arab, Turkish, and Chinese. But they were least innovative and had no thirst of finding new worlds beyond oceans. They just wanted to rule Asia.

For example, gunpowder was innovated in China. For 600 years, it was used in fireworks only, and no one thought to use it as a weapon. But then, one day, Constantinople’s walls were bombarded by gunpowder by Turks. Fateh!

Anyway, when Europe was thirsting around the world and finding America and Australia, Asia was busy fighting Asians. When Europe was rising from ashes with ships, warships, companies, banks, royal armies, scientists, innovation, rails, and technology; Asians had swords and elephants. Soon, Asian giants succumbed to mere couple of hundreds of Europeans. A few intelligent and cunning colonizers conquered the rich world of Indus and Ganges.

Such is the history of the world. Cruel.

No one talks about the Russian soldier who was wounded in snow when Napoleon came. We don’t even know the history of common people and their sufferings. We know the history of emperors and empires only. Only fiction based on true events told us some actual stories. War & Peace of Leo Tolstoy told us that the wounded soldier staring the sky was Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky. Relax! It’s a fictional character. Just like Zia of A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Pun intended!

After all, fiction is the powerful imagination of the unheard.

Greed made every single product around us. Capitalism made this whole world of today. We were going to be a century back (comparatively, not genuinely) without capitalism. Wars made new empires. Empires made nations. Nations bacame states. States give us goosebumps today with looney-tunes on parade days.

And then the system brainwashes you. Let me give you an example.

Mass transit is a system for public. A service. There can be debates and disagreements but the state makes you think that it’s a burden on nation. The service is not generating enough revenues and is running on government support on taxpayers money. And you forget, you are the taxpayer and it’s a service for you. You keep your eyes close on huge useless military budgets. You have no questions for fencing and unfencing of the border. You have no issue on hundreds of billions utilized on houses of generals, governors, ministers, bureaucrats and their luxury kitchens and cars and roads to their homes; but, metro is a burden. And you debate these burdens with your friends. This is the system and you just keep on playing as a pawn for the queen.

Nothing catchy in homeland. Any homeland It’s just the business of the riches that makes you a patriot. Or a traitor.

By the way, are you a fan of Shahrukh Khan? Haven’t seen a human-brand bigger than him. The tunes of his songs takes us back to late 90s and early 00s. Nostalgic compositions of A. R. Rehman, the finest one after R. D. Burman.

Easy! It’s Random Numbness. SRK can have a cameo appearance anytime.

90s had its nostalgic charm. Telephones were there but no smartphones. Computers but no laptops. CDs and DVDs were the game changers but VCRs and casettes were alive. Marriages were organized mostly on streets. And 80s. 70s. 40s. 1800s. As Sylvia Plath wrote, “I’m nostalgic for a place that doesn’t exist. I’m homesick for lips I’ve never kissed.

Nothing serious. His Highness didn’t post anything new for last some weeks. So, here is this Random Numbness on ideas / ideologies we hate but these ideas / ideologies shaped us. And the world around us.

Ending this with John Lennon:

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free.
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be.

After Murree

PM: What’s this new mess?

Fawad: I lost the count at 100,000. We were doing really great.

PM: 22 is the count idiot. And you?

Sheikh: I am an interior minister. That snow is not my concern.

PM: Trains were not your concern either. You broke the news, right?

Sheikh: Habitually.

PM: Okay, so what’s your take?

Sheikh: Had an omellete.

PM: Not in-take. Take on the matter?

Sheikh: I am interior…

PM: Enough of that crap! You are as much interior as Qureshi is exterior. You are more in the information ministry to stay alive. Now, tell me?

Sheikh: This happens everywhere. Just like train accidents. People die in the snow every winter. And people have died in the previous tenures of PMLN too.

PM: That’s thoughtful. Give me some empathy. I need to be empathetic.

Gill: A little empathy and people will blackmail you like they did last year with the dead bodies in Balochistan.

PM: True, Gill, but I need words to handle dead bodies. They don’t even decompose in the cold.

Fawad: Martyrdom. Give them shahadat. Badges of glorious death.

PM: But they went to enjoy the snow. They were tourists not fighters.

Gill: Remember the APS kids? They were also students in a school. Tags like shahadat and martyrdom keep the actual questions of security lapse in a cantonment away.

PM: Yes, people are stupid.

Fawad: And they died of their stupidity.

Sheikh: No disagreement.

Gill: Offer them martyrdom.

Shibli: In the name of Pakistan and tourism.

PM: That’s poetic, Shibli! Keep that up.

Fawad: I need to tweet. Tell me where we stand now!

PM: I will tweet. You all will retweet. Blame the previous regimes when you can’t handle anymore.

Gill: Noted sir.

PM: So, here it is: they laid their lives for the prosperous future of tourism in Pakistan. They are shaheeds. They sacrificed their present for our better future. When you were sleeping, they were…

Fawad: Don’t romanticize much. It wasn’t Kargil.

Sheikh: Can we call this collateral damage?

Shibli: It was neither a missed drone on a village nor a CTD action in Sahiwal.

PM: A verse again, Shibli. Keep that up.

Shibli: Thank you sir.

Gill: Unlike father, unliked son.

PM: Ok, this meeting is over. I need to snort… snore. I will tweet and you will retweet and let the administration do what they can do.

Gill: How long will we keep on answering for every death? I am tired of this. Balochistan, Karachi, Sahiwal, Sialkot, Islamabad, now this. Even rapes are somehow our responsibility. We need to come up with a solution for all the upcoming deaths and rapes.

Shibli: Like Deputy Commissioners on Twitter.

Fawad: Or like boys coming out as heroes in every tragedy, even when they are part of the tragedy.

Sheikh: Don’t cross the line Fawad. You sat in their lap, under the table, over the table and everywhere.

Fawad: And you Sheikh? You came out of the pit on your own?

Shibli: No need to fight. We have our arguments and we have dead bodies too.

PM: Again, poetic! But let’s end this. It’s too cold here.

Gill: Yes, let’s disagree in agreement. Let’s tweet and handle this on Twitter.

PM: Wait for my words on Twitter. And let me not be blackmailed.

Tweet: Tourists in Murree should have checked the weather. They should have gone for snowfall in the Summer when it’s easier. But, let’s pray for the martyred souls who have sacrificed their lives for a prosperous tourism future of Pakistan. They are shaheeds and shaheeds are always alive.