I am jaded about the country’s past, present and future all rolled into one.
However 14th August I leave all my usual sulk aside. Instead of the groan and grunt that things usually elicit, I sing, I dress up, I celebrate because you know what? Growing up here 14th August seems more like a third Eid.
Yes the craziness on the roads still irks me. Yes the lawlessness and the lack of civic sense still drives me nuts but I see one thing through all of that. We all come together as a nation and celebrate US. Those who didn’t grow up here are strangely disconnected with this mad PDA but for us this is part of being Pakistani. So perhaps come tomorrow and we will join you in the snide remarks. Today it’s show time and whether we like it or not, for one reason to another we are all here. I’d rather raise a child that sleeps through fireworks and cackles through a backfiring Rickshaw enjoying Urdu Literature as much as English instead of living in a bubble with a perpetual deer in headlights look on her face.
I saw the 1920s Rolls Royce that the Nawab of Bahawalpur had imported back in the day and went through the first few Heads of State for Pakistan up close for the umpteenth time but his time, decided to document it. What if my baby walks past without knowing what this is?
I watched the entire flag lowering ceremony at Wahga border on TV. I went there around 21 years ago. It’s more elaborate now and with the crowd chanting along side it has become quite the spectacle but the drama ensues. I also categorically remember the Indian and Pakistani guards sharing a tete a tete post the rash display of displeasure through the ceremony, spitting on their sides and glaring at each other with angry eyes.
Must we do this? Perhaps replace it with some great quality classical or semi classical music instead of “Mardé Mujaahid” and talks of “Waqté Shahaadat”. I mean please quit justifying the defence budget already.
What I loved about it was the fact that the crowd would chant in unison the usual Pakistan Zindabad and Allahu Akbar. A welcome addition was Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan. Would’ve been instant love forever if they also said Love Chai forever but it’s alright. A girl should be strong to avert some disappointment in life.
It was an active day for Sass, to meet two of my friends for lunch and then a family friend’s household Doting on her all evening. It got me thinking.
I may be jaded about the country my child isn’t. Not yet. She would keep rushing over to the tower of balloons to pinch them even after having burst a few and rushing over to me for a quick but fierce hug and running right back to the next. Being startled won’t deter her from attacking yet another tower of balloons.
These friends of mine are bright, strong and resilient young women. The kind of people I want my child to grow up around. The kind who live here amidst severe misogyny and the usually discomforts any Pakistani woman faces and much more
but they’re different.
They push back and they push back every single second of their existence.
THAT is what my child must learn to do.
To love her country for whatever we are she makes us but also to keep pushing back for claiming space which is ours and ours alone.
These are the khalas who will raise Sassi with us and hear her out once she starts talking even while they don’t understand what she says. For none of us were carved out to talk about unicorns pooping soft serve rainbow ice cream. Not me. Not them and I certainly hope not her.
Let her be fierce, let her be the change, let her be the fear in the eyes and hearts of all those who change the country for the worst. You all know who you are. So beware, I’m raising your worst nightmare here along with those of us who seem to bother you a pinch or a smidge.
Abhi tau party shuru huee hai