The last three days have been very eventful and interesting. It began with several Good Bye’s and hugs and kisses on the 16th morning to submitting my visa document at the immigration and flying across the border in less than two hours. Two hours might be enough to change jurisdictions, alter the weather and time but the mind goes slow I guess; it needed time to adapt and leave behind the fond moments spent which now will become memories that I cherish !!
I was received by my Maa and cousin Kabir and was in no time on the wide roads of Karachi leaving behind the trafficked and hustling bustling Mumbai. Meeting everyone at home was nice but somewhere I felt I am still not with my physical presence... That vacuum passed by especially the next day when early morning I was up for my duty – drive Bhabi and Priya to college. That felt nice, I got time to chat with them and then
go and meet other relatives as I always do J
Pakistan is experiencing a new phase at present – “The Historic Elections” and somewhere I felt I need to be a part of that and so I did get the opportunity to join a talk show discussing the questions by the youth for parliamentarians. The questions revolved around change and so did the answers yet not many questions were asked and answered as to how that desired change will be brought -> a culture of blame that has so deeply become embedded in our society was reflected recurrently. But I must say, amongst all of them there was one independent candidate who did make sense and was well rooted in context when answering questions posed to him. I also asked a question --- in respect to the misuse of Blasphemy Law but the answers fell again all over the place. Post the talk show I got engaged in a deep discussion with a lady about Islam and Pakistan !! I didn’t know if I should or should not discuss the socially censored topic as this one but I went with the flow and it felt nice somewhere that at least in some space this discussion arose and one could share his/here views.
In some parts of Karachi re-polling was scheduled for the 19th of May due to accusations of rigging. The area in which the civil society rose against the unfair polling was majorly the elite residential units of Karachi who for the first time gathered in favour of change and dared to challenge the dominant party in Karachi that is armed to its teeth. Its’ a positive change in that light however the grass is not green on the other side either. It is the formally educated, well dressed, well spoken Imran Khan’s party PTI they vote for – who speaks of Change but the vision is somewhere blurred and the facts speak for it – in Lower Dir, one of the districts in Pakhtunkhwa where Imran Khan’s party won, a contract was signed with the tribal elders a day before elections debarring women from voting in the elections. If the road to democracy starts with a compromise of fundamental rights I don’t know what change to expect.
The next day I decided to experience the elections for myself and chose to become the polling agent of one of the independent candidates. In the evening I attended a briefing for the same and was excited to be in the field the next morning. Same evening late at 11 pm a breaking news flashed – breaking news comes every next 15 min in Karachi however some are of more importance than the other. This one told about a senior most member of the PTI being shot dead just in front of her house that is in the same area where polling was to take place the next day. At 7 in the morning next day I was ready to leave but met my father on the way out who shared his concern and asked me not to go. It felt bad cause I had promised but situations sometimes do alter your decisions – I chose not to go after discussing the many incidents my father shared with me depicting the state of lawlessness and fear under which Karachi stays a-live today. I don’t know the distinction between stupidity and bravery – may be the line is too thin or may be we need more words in between to fill in the grey area.
Amongst all the fears I fear most ‘the state of helplessness’ cause I feel that makes me feel unworthy and that’s not true !! So I accompanied my father to the nearby park where he interacts with a nice group of senior citizens who walk and do yoga together. That was fun – it was a mixed group – Sindhi, Punjabi, Hindu, Muslim and may be Shia and Sunni also. The sects and caste don’t matter when we are friends and may be that gives hope for a better tomorrow. I also chose to pick up all the trash that came my way and hope to do that everyday ... may be that’s my way of not feeling helpless and feel good so that I can do more and contribute to my best...
There is lots more to learn, unlearn and understand here and I hope I do that with a a calm and focused self --- and enjoy being in the present as Shardamma says J “Do not lament over the past or be anxious of the future – stay in the present”
Lets’ Hope for the best !!!!!