Patriotism, Patriarchy & Our TV

The drama was all about army and cadets and parades and stuff. But it will end with PAF’s victorius stunt. What else is there to show? “Narowal sector me bharboor jawabi karwai!”

Hamayun Saeed will play Major Ram’s character. After all he’s our “do takkay ka” Shahrukh Khan. Wish Sahir Lodhi could have been opted for instead.

In a scene, Abhinandan will utter, “Tea is fantastic… as it was in 71”. This will piss Hamayun Saeed and he’ll shout, “Talk about the present, Abhinandan.” And Abhinandan will reply, “Ok! Tea is as fantastic as it is in Kashmir.”

Long story short, Abhinandan will go free and will become duffers’ hero on the other side of the dufferism i.e. India. While here, we will utter “fantastic” in a loop.

The protagonist will embrace martyrdom in an operation. This will give you goosebumps and teary eyes. You will feel patriotism running through your veins; numbing your brain.

Finally, trash will be off-air.

If “Mere Pas Tum Ho” can qualify for cinema screen, then the standard here is already set. No surprise.

Both these dramas would have collapsed in under 2 minutes in front of Asma Jahangir. But that’s another thing.

I think no other two countries would have suffered that much because of blind patriotism as Pakistan and India have. The border only divides the two huge crowds. Always ready for war and blood and missiles; meanwhile dying of hunger, thirst, illiteracy, crime and corruption.

Fighting in cricket. Fighting on poor-sectors of the border (never heard of “gola bari” at Lahore’s DHA sector near the border). Keeping the war business alive.

And media business too. Easier than war – provoking the same insights.

P.S. I watched “Once upon a time… in Hollywood”. It’s fantastic.

She. H! Scented. Unnamed.

When do you stop taking your chances? Well, there are no chances. You try and you exhaust yourself for nothing.

She was a blonde. No, not a real blonde. Dyed blonde. Blue lens. Cleft chin. Little mascara. Neatly manicured. Glossed lips. And silken voice. No, he didn’t notice these details until she left.

By the way it’s ‘blond’ for guys and ‘blonde’ for girls.

Anyway, there are over 7 billion people on earth. 3.5 billion is the opposite gender. Of those 3.5 billion, you get to know and meet around 500. Of those 500, 400 won’t either consider you or you won’t consider them. Of the 100, you won’t think of 80 as a long-term partner. This leaves you with 20. You get your fling, settle with one, and that’s ‘I love you’.

‘I love you too.’

Or, you get this done through a matrimonial service. Dreaming to make fairy-tales come true with a complete random stranger.

Apart from that, you get your chance of love with only living humans. Not from Roman era, or medieval times, or renaissance. I know it’s scary to think but I’m trying to make a point. You don’t choose time. Or anything. You think you choose, but you don’t. No one chooses here. No one chooses you. You don’t choose anyone.

It’s an algorithm, based on possible chances, with your vested interests in mind, infatuation, and bingo… you are married. A step away from divorce.

Chances of divorce are zero if you don’t get married. But you do.
Chances of domestic abuse and psychological torture are zero if you don’t succumb to “settling down”. But you do.
Chances of seeing your love story ripped apart are rare if you leave on time. But you don’t.

Only half fulfilled loves stories are forever. They are worth imagining and re-living. Because they don’t see their eventual demise, and you can dream about them anyway you want to.

And here comes the woman with the cleft chin.

She was in love with an idea of someone ideal. An image. But she fell in love with someone not-ideal. So, she used her imaginative powers and imagined him ideally. She thought about him as she wanted to.

She built her love story around lies. She lied about her name, her city, her everything. So as to build a love story in accordance with her ideal idea of a love story.

That guy knew nothing real about her, except her cleft chin… with her hair dyed, eyes lensed, lips glossed and mascara; cleft chin was the only real her he knew.

She was so afraid of the world and its eyes and its questions that she camouflaged herself in her own manipulated love story.

So what? Her love was real. Her idea was real. Her manipulations for love were real too. She was the one who chose him. She actually exercised the ‘choosing’, unlike the rest of the world which only have an illusion of choosing.

A dimple on chin. A devil within.

And then, she left. She gathered enough memories to have an imagination forever. She gathered enough words from him to imagine his voice for the rest of her life. She chose him. She left him. She disappeared from his life without a warning. She left before the question of ‘forever together’ or death of the whole affair.

Because she knew that only half fulfilled love stories are forever.

He for her. Forever.

CSS – Neither Civil, nor a Service

Jawaharlal Nehru famously mocked the Indian Civil Service as “Neither Indian, nor civil, nor a service”. Lord Samuel wittily lauded the British bureaucracy’s faultless ability to “provide a difficulty to every solution”. Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, soon after becoming PM, thought she should make an informed assessment of the civil servants for herself. In May 1980, she invited 23 permanent secretaries in her government to dinner at 10 Downing Street. She groaned afterwards: “This was one of the most dismal occasions of my entire time in government.” In the UK, according to Mrs. Thatcher, a former head of her civil service beli¬eved that bur¬eaucracy’s function was essentially “the orderly management of decline”. A report on the Indian bureaucracy by a US think tank concluded that “corrupt bureaucrats are despised but thrive; the honest are respected but do not rise; and idealists end up nowhere”. Now come to Pakistan. CSS is one short-cut to an elite life. Just pass one exam – and with luck on your side – you can be sitting along with PM or CM in a decade; distributing your dufferness with etiquette. Let me elaborate. What most of CSPs deal with is the budget. There are two kinds of it. Development and Non-Development. Non-Development is the usual non-technical shit; like salary and non-salary expenditures. Development is about PSDP (federal level) or ADP (provincial level) development schemes which pass through different forums and feasibility steps before seeing the approval day. After which starts the release of funds and execution of the schemes. That’s basic to know the least before chairing a meeting. Even after serving for decades as CSP, bureaucrats are clueless about development. But then, they sit in every single development meeting and make decisions. Result: National misery. Sahiwal Coal Power Project was infeasible. Peshawar BRT is a slap on the face of civil bureaucracy. Lahore’s Orange Line is nothing more than an environmental catastrophe with billions of rupees wasted. And the bureaucratic crap is faced by the Ministers. Ministers are guided by these bureaucrats and they face all the media trial. However, the real failure is mainly because of the bureaucrats who are responsible to guide the ministers in the right direction with right decisions. But as CSPs are surrounded by lickers, they themselves behave like lickers around ministers. To keep posts. To stay in big cities. To save humiliation of thrown faraway or becoming OSD. The purpose of CSS was to offer secured jobs to exceptional candidates so that they can stand against ministers with infeasible demands. Yet, every single major project in every single field is political. I remember a Secretary with 22+ years of service – who remained a Divisional Commissioner too – once asked after a development meeting “what do I have to do here?” A file was placed in front of him for signatures, which he did. Job done. Railways. Always remained under CSPs. Ugliness of this department is a routine news. Pakistan Post is an example which doesn’t need elaboration. Police is another nightmare. People – even after robbed of their property and prestige – prefer not to visit police stations. With increasing bribery and crime and police brutality, one can see how dumb and clueless their top hierarchy is. Health, education, roads and all similar departments fall under the ‘prestigious’ PAS – former DMG. And 99% of DMGs are suited duffers. Manicure, done. Pedicure, done. Cologne, done. Accent, done. Mess, car, driver, chef, a couple of lickers around. Other than that, a couple of poetic verses – preferably Faiz and Shakespeare – and little Marxism to impress you with historical jargons. And that’s it. National misery sustains. CSPs don’t know but every single one is made fun of behind their back. People, their subordinates, laugh at them and mimic how the clown acted like Lincoln. So, what’s the solution? First thing is, CSS is outdated. CSPs should be promoted after their fair performance assessment. Those who were behind serious mishaps – train delays and accidents, merciless killing of people in police custody, billions of rupees wasted on non-feasible projects, etc. – should be punished with termination. Technocracy should be promoted. CSPs should gradually be put into clerical stuff as they are nothing more than white-collar-clerks and have no technical knowledge. IT sector should be managed by IT veterans. Police should be guided by those who have done research work in criminology. Health should be under health professionals. Development should be seen by those who have spent years in development and planning jobs. Here, people with exceptional education and research work stand in queue and wait to salute a BA pass bureaucrat. Don’t get offended. But if that will continue, Pakistan will keep on begging IMF and the world to sort its mess.