Would someone please pop the desi-elite bubble?

Published: November 10, 2010
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When one lives in the ‘elite’ bubble, all seems quite well with the world.

Have you ever tried to see through a soap bubble?

The world seems distorted; askew. But what if you were inside the bubble?

What if everywhere you looked, your vision was tinted by the soapy, bubbly lens – the world would still look distorted but you wouldn’t really know, because no matter which angle you chose to look out, the world would seem the same.

So, when one lives in the ‘elite’ bubble, all seems quite well with the world!

People in this bubble hail from rich families, have been educated at either the most expensive schools or have a foreign degree, promote atheism, excessive partying, weed and alcohol as the only ‘real’ proof of being enlightened but most significantly, they have an opinion on each and every thing on the planet and consider their opinion to be the only correct one.

The ‘noble mission’

Most of them consider themselves to be very patriotic and are on a self proclaimed mission to promote the ‘soft’ image of Pakistan in the world.

They will change their profile pictures and update their statuses to show off their desi-ness and quote classic English literature to highlight the gut-wrenching situation back home. They will claim to know the real Pakistan and then go on to say that Pakistan is about Sufis, Basant, Nihari or some such sappy sweet stuff and God forbid, if anyone dares to show the uglier side of Pakistan, they pounce at him, swords drawn and banish him from the ranks of patriotic Pakistanis.

But however jooshilay the rants, and however indignant the accusations maybe, all I hear from them is yap, yap, yap, for the simple reason that they can’t even see the real Pakistan.

How can they?

For them riding the public bus is an adventure which prompts charming little anecdotes about ‘riding inside a piece of art’ which jokes about body odours, road bumps and sleazoids and ends with a mention of truck art, which of course is more important than the plight of the regular passengers, cause hey, the problems don’t promote the ‘soft’ image remember?

They make documentaries about bars, dance clubs and bootlegging in Pakistan and think they’ve shown the world that Pakistan isn’t really a nation on brink of disaster.

Armchair activism

They get into pseudo intellectual debates about the problems of the country and rant endlessly about how people don’t do anything but criticise.

You must have seen them spilling their hearts out on Facebook.

‘The lynching has destroyed Pakistan’s image. All of you GET OUT and protest NOW!’

‘DON’T be a #[email protected]drawing room activist.’

Help flood victims, you can afford to leave your comfort zone, when millions are dying, can’t you?’

If you (somehow) happen to be friends with them, they must have bombarded you with links to protests and charities. They must have played on your guilt and made you feel like a loser for not doing more.

But what are they themselves doing? You’ll get the answer in more personal profile updates.

‘Dilemma! To shop or watch the parade at Notting Hill.’

‘Eid shopping complete – No London store can compete with Anarkali though.’

‘7 days left! Then off to Paris on a much needed vacation.’

‘Handbags and Sushi at Oxford Street, pure bliss.’

If God forbid, they actually live inside the country, the Oxford Street would be switched by Zamzama or some other place in DHA but the activities would remain much the same.

So, while waving a few banners outside the press club, relieves them of their duty and leaves them free to leave for expensive coffee shops, salons, or exotic travel destinations, you would still be condemned for not showing up at a protest. No it doesn’t matter that you live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to take so many offs. It doesn’t matter that you are already paying for everything that is wrong with this country and it doesn’t matter that getting to and from work without being ‘target killed’ drains you everyday.

Nope, what matters to the people in the bubble is only the fact that your presence would have brought up the number of people in the group photograph they have to upload under the caption, Youth of Pakistan unite for flood victims.

Here’s the real deal

Nope the real problems of the real Pakistani citizens do not matter to the elite, when it comes to fulfilling their mission of promoting the soft image.

Ah! How to make them realise that the Pakistan they see is NOT the Pakistan I see.

There are no softer sides when I can’t go out without the surety that I won’t be the random victim of a political war. There is nothing positive that I’d promote when I live hand to mouth and yet give more income tax in a month than Mian Nawaz Sharif gives in a year. There is no jazba, no azm after I’ve realised that the only thing that gets one anywhere in this country is money or contacts.

What is ‘resilience of spirit’ to you, is only majboori in real – the poor, the unfortunate survive in unspeakable conditions not ’cause of any kind of zeal, they survive simply ’cause they don’t have any other choice.

So please, someone pop the bubble and save me from the infuriating racket it makes.

sadaf.khan

Sadaf Khan

A broadcast journalist based in Islamabad who was formerly associated with Geo News and Dunya News. She blogs at ibteda.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.