There are days and then there are days. Karachi living gets to you. The power fluctuated numerous times and my adapter got burned. Got the computer guy to replace it, and the same thing happened again. TV wiring burned as well. Repair guy said the new wire would cost Rs. 8,000 because that is what they charge people in Clifton-Defence who are not willing to cross into Saddar. In the meanwhile, we wait for the smells of burning wires to slowly sift through our brains, and leave a residual stamp of the city's failing infrastructure.
Water used to be plentiful and now we are subject to the same dilemma - buy tanker or sit in a bureaucrat's office with your water tax receipts, flirt a little, and demand a free tanker.
Who cares if academics think Pakistan is a failed state or not.
My mother in law's back ache went from bad to worse. Maintaining her reign, she orders food be cooked, tupperwared, frozen, and consumed in piece-meal over the next few weeks. Ever taste a qorma that's been frozen for over a week? Its wicked. I compulsively buy desserts from Pie in the Sky to compensate for the bad food situation. I could salvage with weekly lasagna and chicken in oyster sauce, and do. Tipu Burgers are not sterilized. Aylanto and China Kitchen are play pens for the rich and afflicted, and besides if I am going to pay Rs. 700 for a wad of fish and a sliver of carrot, it better not be dry.
The entire Mottas shopping area is such a slut show. Khadda market is a slut show. In fact the whole of Pakistan is a slut show.
Sharmeen Obaid, reportedly, got thousands from the US government to help launch films about empowered women. Selling uplifting fictions so Pakistan can remain a good investment. Media devours imagination with repetitive, high pitched drama to perpetuate the military-political-economic elite power and status quo. Everyone is some shade of sleaze. Some get to go to Cannes; others get goodie bags.
Coke tells us how great Pakistan is because that story helps them make money. Pakistan has an exploding population, and serves as a gargantuan consumer market that will buy soda, burgers, shampoos, lifestyles; it provides a ready, able, and willing peoples to be bombed up north so Lockheed weapons can be tested; its labor courts are in shambles and unions few, so labor can be paid cents and in false promises. Corporations have traversed seas, bought real estate, injected millions, and must see returns.
Its about making cash. And cash necessitates presenting a yuppy ethnic-chic lifestyle for the upper middle -- where you can wear your labels, eat at Gloria Jean, sip Coke, and watch Coke Studio and feel artistic and modern -- as gutters overflow outside, there are power outages of epic proportions, people eat out of garbage cans, and talk of revolution is shifted to the back burner. Street cleaners catch a brief reprieve under the tree as they listen to the radio on their mobiles. But, its hot and humid and the world passes them by, despite how vivid their orange uniform maybe. Nothing is funny. Even the witty billboards selling boutique labels are unfunny - because of their desperation of spirit. How long before maverick videos meet the same fate.
Its just that kind of day. You pick up "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" for redeeming language, and the one thing that catches your eye is the story of a Brazilian family that fed on an amputated breast they scavenged.
The Urdu teacher's sister is divorced and carries shame in her eyes. Everywhere I look, there's a I hate Luv Stories. Girls get attracted to the Ranbir Kapoor type; everyone is a Ranbir Kapoor type even the ugly and dull, because they feel entitled to acquire someone younger, prettier, and richer. Girls feel guilty about chastity; and boys gallivant. Everybody is a gangster. Love died - the moment boys figured out just how much power exactly patriarchy bestows upon them.
Families are oppressive; they control the young, yell, manipulate and shriek, brainwash them to adopt profitable careers, but when I see the same thirst for money and lust for early marriage in a student's eyes, I feel like a cat just got run over somewhere in the city. Yes, accountancy is a very pragmatic choice. If you are forty.
My contract says I can be fired at the owner's discretion, without so much as a token hearing. Some capitalist elf out there rubbed his hands in glee when I signed that piece of paper and basically agreed that my four years of intellectual capital is erasable, me dispensable, and I will one day be replaced by some Casanova who calls me old guard and is willing to juggle too for half my salary.
Students think deadlines are flexible. If you say 1st, it could be anywhere up until the 5th. And when confronted, instead of burning the midnight oil and getting you something, they say dog ate homework, mama, and we still respect you.
Got a visit from overseas and suddenly I was in least favored daughter in law status. Which idiom is it? Dhobi ka Kutta? Ghar ki Murghi? Some aunt sends pulao for the guests. I know I've hit a new low when I proclaim, there is simply NOT enough rice for everyone because I want to (insert knife, twist) rather than make there be enough rice.
Durre Shahwar, drama on Hum TV, turned out to be bogus.
Signs were good. I expected a feminist message. However, it messages that girls must suffer through a bad marriage because ultimately relentless in-laws relent, husbands realize, and rescue you from perpetual domestic servitude. Its takes time, but its always safer to play the poor little match girl.
The victimized daughter-in-law is from an elite family. In contrast her in-laws are shabbier, their decorations tacky; her friends and family are aghast when they visit as she quietly admits that life is not a fantasy. Patriarchy, asserted through the saas institution, fixes any fanciful notions she may have about her higher status. Her upper class father submits as fathers of daughters must, and writes docile letters telling her to conform, submit, tolerate. And who else to better subjugate her will to the dictates of patriarchy than a well mannered, educated girl of elite background? The show thus emotionally blackmails audiences to think people with virtue settle into shitty arrangement; its the uncouth who fight back.
Remember the match girl froze.
I thought Durre would rebel or be subversive; sleep with the brother in law who appears to have a crush on her; run away to her husband's house and seduce him silly; consult a witch like Ariel did. But no. Instead she cooks, cleans, irons, plays mother and servant girl; has her washing machine, clothes and jewelry robbed. And her only solace is writing to her dad who says, suck it up baby girl, because if you come back and live with us, you ain't never having sex again. Episode 13 and 14 that show her descent to conformity are probably the most mesmerizing.
She develops empathy for her oppressive mother in law as she too had suffered similarly years ago - and embraces an army husband who is distant and can only relate to his wife by making her jealous about a fictitious lover; but the chemistry is there between the actors because whenever something damp, frozen and regressive is reinforced though pretty faces, we love it because it validates patterns and systems.
Yes, patience and communication could make a relationship work. But this is not about that. Girls should bend. Boys will be boys.
And in other news, those are your testicles.
My 4 year old asked me at bath time. But can you, like, not say that or touch them in school; they will throw you out because schools like family and media reinforce capitalist patriarchy and instead of calling an elbow an elbow they'd rather mystify, obfuscate, sexualize and render dirty.