By Fareeha Qayoom
esterday morning, my sister and I went to our neighborhood bakery – Gourmet Bakers to pick up a fresh stash of bottled water (Jumbo pack) and breakfast. We had been out for hours and so far, it was proving to be an unproductive day. The Sui Gas people had given us a total wild goose chase but that’s another story. At the workplace, no one had turned up for work yet so I would have to go back when the staff had trickled in to get some work done. That meant loads of extra petrol and few more hours on the road. We had already visited LESCO’s office. The management was not around – from the SDO, XEN, SE etc. Sigh. Needless, to say, I was not in good mood.
My sister went inside to pick the breakfast while one of the Gourmet servers took care of the bottled water. It was around 11:00 am. The sun was out with a vengeance. The bottled water was lined up under the sun. This was the last straw.
I told the guy to put the bottled water away from the sun, in the shade or if they couldn’t do that, put up an awning over the water, since they have a warning printed on it to keep water under shade at all times. (No, I was polite. Just because I was in a bad mood, didn’t mean I was going to take it out on a stranger). Guess what he told me, “It’s not my problem!” All he had to do was report it. What was the big deal? Apparently, a lot, we have lost all our conscience. Our fellow human beings can die a slow death or quick death. What do we care? It’s not our problem.
Imagine my frustration! You can’t win in this country no matter what you do. You are made to pay through your nose for the privilege of living in it. Given the run around by government servants – don’t forget you pay their salaries, 16 (or is it 17 now?) percent GST on every service you buy plus you pay income tax and various assorted direct taxes that have no name or at least I can’t remember them off hand- you are given the run around by private sector (you buy their products so indirectly you pay their salaries too!), you are underpaid, overworked, individual who has no job security, your job can fold any time given the state of the economy, your country has gone to the dogs, there are wars being fought in your neighboring country and now your country too, you have terrorists killing hundreds of people daily, (God knows what their real agenda is and who is masterminding the whole deal), the absolute last straw is that you can’t even get a decent glass of water without loads of chemicals falling into your water causing cancer! You are paying for clean, safe water! And if you complain to get at least one problem fixed for hundreds of customers who will be buying this product today, the retailer’s representative tells you, ‘not my problem!’ (Where can you go to get a fix? You can join the recruiting office of the Talibans. They house you, feed you and even let you blow yourself up and countless others as well. At least, loads of people will suffer for your death! Try it. It’s a surefire, anger management course! Sorry, excuse my sarcasm. Like I said, I wasn’t having a good day.)
When we got home, we had to contend with hours of unscheduled load-shedding. The electricity came back around 6:00 pm.
These are dangerous times. No wonder we keep praying for deliverance every day. As citizens of Pakistan, should we just give up and die? Today, its March 23rd, an important day in Pakistan’s history. The Indian Muslims decided to get a separate homeland for themselves on this day. They didn’t want to live a deprived and discriminated life in a hostile land because of their religion – guess what?
“Organized Religion” is a dirty word in today’s world. The new world order advocates every man for himself, instant self-gratification, “eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow you die.” Belonging to any organized religion is not on. The only religion allowed is that of Darwin’s theory of evolution; “Survival of the fittest.”
We need to rethink our strategy. In such a situation, there are only three options – ‘fight or flight’ or ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’ You can run, but you can’t hide. So might as well, join the fray and add your two cents worth. My advice, pick the good side to fight on. I choose to fight the good fight. I will not give up. As Scarlett said in “Gone with the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”
…“Did you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive”…*
*song by Gloria Gaynor