Let’s love Pakistan: A new resolution
I’ve often been accused of being a killjoy. I mean, I’m not inherently morose or anything cool like that; it’s just that I take the little anomalies of everyday life a little too seriously. This usually forces me to over think stuff, which leads me to notice again and again the not-so-proverbial glass in its half-filled ignominy, which in turn causes me to be incessantly bitter and irritable with the way things generally run in this country. Yes, living my everyday life in poor broken Pakistan certainly helps make things much, much worse!
Last month however, a few days before the Independence Day, I decided to make a list of 65 things that compel me to love Pakistan. It was a personal exercise, really; one that I assumed wouldn’t just dust the dirt off my shelved patriotism, but would actually polish and dress it up for the big day as well. But boy was I wrong. Not only was I unable to go past 20 half-decent points to endorse my love for the country that is my home and identity, I felt much worse than before the brilliant idea came to me.
And that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate this Independence Day with the kind of sentiment it warranted. I feel that too much has happened over the last year alone for us to turn a blind eye—even if it is for a day—to the tragedies we as a nation have been forced to endure. Slowly, day by day, one after another. Our emotions, courage, hope and patriotism have all been put to test, bringing each one of us in our own little way to a cusp where we no longer understand the meaning nor have the patience to stand united, for we prefer to walk alone; to have the faith, for we are incapable of trusting; or maintaining discipline, for we have allowed ourselves to become, well, monsters.
But I want that to change. On an individual level at least, I want to stop being forever angry at my neighbor for being so unbearably annoying. I want to stop wasting my time grouching about the rabid traffic I have to suffer every day on my way home, and the general disregard my fellow countrymen have for civil rights and other laws and regulations that should essentially be indispensable. I want to stop being irked by the escalating inflation rates in this country and how nobody in decision-making roles seems to be panicking about the plummeting economy yet. However, more than anything else, I want to stop fretting over our politicians’ everyday shenanigans and focus on the bigger picture—on Pakistan, the country, independent from all its blood-sucking vermin and other ailments.
I want to be able to come up with 65 reasons to love the place I call home!
And that’s why I’ve decided to give that list a shot again. With your help, over the next 11 months, I’m going to try to complete the list. Some big, some small; some serious, some funny; some definitive and some not so evocative or significant… but each in its own way a contributing factor to why that tiny spark somewhere inside each one of us still remains buoyant. Let’s face it, no matter how profoundly and habitually we criticize the country and its system, we all love Pakistan.
And right now more than ever, I believe it’s time to start celebrating that love
1. Our unabashed sense of humour. Take the SMS joke culture, for instance. Nobody who isn’t a true Pakistani at heart will ever be able to really enjoy the hilarity of a joke that talks about carrying around a jute sac in your trunk, or how if Zubaida Apa, Zardari and Ahmed Faraz were ever to walk into a Nagori milk shop together, they’d actually be creating desi-joke history! It’s commendable how we’ve learned to laugh in good spirit at everything from our selves to everyday societal misfortunes like street crime, target killings and now, even suicide bombers. (Thank you Ali Azmat forBum Phata)
2. Don’t even let me get started on Pakistani food! Ignoring the fact that most of it comes with a health warning in blazing neon, we pretty much excel at arts of the culinary kind. Whether you’re looking to spend a few grand on a single meal or only have a 100 Rupee note in your pocket, you’ll find something and that something is sure to make your tummy very happy indeed! Everything from roadside bun-kababs, chaat and fried chicken to desi bar-b-q and those scrumptious chicken rolls that come in—hold your breath—75 different flavors! Heck, even our Zinger Burgers taste better than the ones Colonel Sanders is so proud of! Seriously, once you’ve spoilt your taste buds on Pakistani food, there’s little hope you’ll settle for anything less tantalizing!
3. Let’s be honest: We’re not just laid-back and always looking for a good laugh, we’re also the best looking bunch in all of subcontinent. Period.
4. I used to hate KESC & PEPCO for being such nuisances. I mean, what other country that claims to be at par with the progressing world still has to resort to load-shedding to meet its power needs, right? But then one day my coiffeur sweet-talked me into getting a steam facial and charged me an arm for it. He then looked at me with big sad eyes when I tried leaving the salon without tipping him. Suffice to say, I had to pay a lot of money to get a fancy treatment our power companies have been giving me for free, three times a day, for years on end now! Let’s all hear it for KESC & PEPCO and their gratuitous facials!
5. Pakistan has 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and innumerable other historical attractions spread throughout the country from the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in the South to the historical fortresses of Hunza and Chitral in the North. Some of these other sites have been placed under the protective wings of Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO and are definitely worth checking out before you plan a sight-seeing trip to Italy. So, the next time you find yourself sulking because there’s nothing to do in Pakistan except eat, eat and eat some more, think again—and go out and explore your beautiful country!
What do you love about Pakistan?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.