Mediocrity the Pakistani dream

A seth sahab gets into his Mercedes and drives off to his villa-home to his wife. They Skype-chat with their two younger kids in NYC; both are art majors while their elder brother helps out his father in the factory.

The seth stands by his window, looking through the glass, as he smiles on what he has built and repeats “Alhamdulillah”. There. That’s it. That’s the Pakistani dream – to rise above the day-to-day worries, to have achieved enough to fulfill the offspring’s dreams and to have a backup plan in case the dreams turn to despair because there’s always daddy’s business to save the day.

It is not a substandard dream to build your life around and certainly no less of an achievement if you start from scratch. But if you’ve climbed, worked and achieved the position where you stand today, why not go beyond? No, it is not money that I ask you to run after – that never should be the drive or the goal of life but what I am focusing on, is a growth mindset. Why be complacent about being a big fish in a small pond why not scale up? Why not capture the world market and flourish way beyond the second-tier home products?

The fact is, we have all settled down, settled down for being mediocre without the slightest hint of disapproval of our fixed mindsets; we’re sufficiently complacent about it. Heck, we brag about it. We’re bragging about being mediocre. It’s always about how much we’ve done and never about where we want to go or need to be; it’s about the car I drive, the school I send my child to, not the dream of being the best in what I pursue. Or more importantly if I am making a difference for the rest of the people, for the underprivileged class or the needy? Or am I working towards creating jobs, getting my companies or the country’s name in the top 10 of this year or the next ten years. The conversation nearly always ends up in “Allah ka dia sab hay, bohat hay”.

We seem to be a nation of mediocrity swallowed up in our anxieties. Something our neighbors have risen above from and slowing nowhere till they have risen to the top. The Pakistani dream always has a cap and once filled, we stop. You will have no trouble jotting down names of local brands which maybe a household name for us but unknown beyond these borders. Can you name ten entrepreneurs that expanded their business from Pakistan and stepped into other countries and made a billion dollars? 10 household names that we don’t need to google to see. But we are very familiar with names like  Infosys, Tata, Bajaj and Amul.

Have we even stepped out and did an effort to push that boundary?

The seth style of governance doesn’t make it any better: a child who inherits his father’s business, often, does not go the distance. His Pakistani dream has already been handed to him in a silver spoon and well, who cares for the golden spoon? I firmly believe the people who can save Pakistan are going to be clever rich people, that’s what we need people with money and a will to go beyond set up funds, invest cleverly, start building something. It will only take one rovio, one zynga, one facebook to make it and change our mindsets and that is what we need.

And that’s the top end of the ladder. Let’s talk about us. We, the real mediocre. We get a government job and there is a celebration in the family: the safety net of a pension is a dream fulfilled. Everyone else is looked down upon.

I remember after my father passed away and how every other person’s question was why didn’t I get bharti in his bank because that would mean a permanent job, a pension and all that jazz. And I’m sure a lot of us have met that aunty once in a month – at least. Safety nets and supporting wheels is all that we want for ourselves and for the people we care about.

And then there are those who are the pride of the herd. The ones who got out of the country and ‘this system’ only to be proudly mediocre somewhere else. Getting into a company, getting the car we couldn’t afford in the Pakistani mediocrity and settle down for a gora mediocrity with a substandard 3 series.

If we were a product, our tagline would boast ‘Mediocre middle managers come and get yours today!’ – and perhaps, for a lower price than our neighbors.

We teach our children to be mediocre with our anxiety. So how many of you born and bred Pakistani men reading this took an Army entrance exam? Is it because of your profound love for the country, for protecting your Pakistani fellow men and women, for its sovereignty and progress or is it for the plot at the end of retirement? Or the chance to be brain-dead for a couple of decades so you don’t have to make hard decisions about your life to do this or to do that: a defined path followed strictly under order going straight to heaven. Let’s assume for a second that it is the right way to go and all the stars are aligned for it, how many of us get promoted beyond a colonel? I’d be interested to know how many people retire at what-post in the army even in a defined process where you go from ABC to Z like a straight arrow. But the fact of the matter is, we get tired at D but are sufficiently happy, sitting comfortably in our sarkari car and the canal in DHA.

If progress was key we wouldn’t be entering a department with no revenue or part in the GDP. We send our children to be army men because it’s safe, secure, stable and like a CMMI defined process that is aptly streamlined. It is the perfect sanctuary for a Pakistani.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying we are lazy, less talented or dufuss. We are simply scared and if we’re not, someone else will make sure that we end up scared and made to follow a traditional path leading to the dream.

There are outliers yes. There always are. We wouldn’t be a country if it wasn’t for the outliers. But look around you, isn’t mediocrity the Pakistani dream?

Advertisements

Overseas Pakistani Syndrome


If every Pakistani was given the chance to live in any country, Pakistan would most probably be an uninhibited desolate paradise. Most of us living in Pakistan would bail, given the chance. Let’s face it; we would give up our white collar jobs to jump into the “chalo chalo waliyat chalo band wagon”. We would live happily ever after, shelving products, mopping the floors and finally owning the crown jewel kebab shop that every Pakistani child dreams of since the day he can say the word “kebab”. There are some amongst us that are more fortunate than others, and we go for ‘alaa taleem’ which essentially still means “I ain’t coming back” given the slightest chance. We would prove ourselves to be the pinnacle of what academia has to offer; the summa cam lauds, nay the creme da la creme of graduates, with the finest of grades. the same us which had to go to the HOD’s office a couple of times to get the two marks so we could pass the course, it’s the same us.  It’s just that was our parents money and this is well our hard earned cash from the part time job I got which would be beneath me if I was back home. We then graduate and find a job, we serve to the best of our abilities and more, something we’re incapable of doing back home because back there it’s our birthright to litter, to not pay taxes and to try our best to get away with as little work as possible. (And then whine about how the system is at fault)

US-PassportAs days turn to months and months to years, we settled down, get married (but only after we’ve broken up with my girlfriend in walayat and my fiancé’ back home whose nose I find faulty now) to that good looking woman who’d never marry me because, well, I was just a guy, now I’m a guy with a passport that’s not green. Before leaving you promise yourself that you’ll make all that cash and settle down back home with a comfortable life style you could never have if you worked here, but that never really happens. Time goes by, you stop converting everything into rupees and how much it would cost back home, whenever you go shopping. All the while your father’s hair turn white, his beard grows long, and his face gives in and shows the weakness that now consumes his body. Slow and shaky, he reluctantly gets used to carrying that big grocery bag home week after week. Whenever you ask your mother how her bad knee is now over skype she keeps repeating ‘khud hi theek ho jaye ga’ you tell her if you were there you’d drag her to the doctor to have it checked, but you’re not. You’re not a bad son, you always make it a point to show your parents their growing grandchildren, albeit on Skype at least every other week, you try, you really do, but things keep piling up. You have bills to pay and deadlines to meet. Then the inevitable happens you parent(s) ends up in a hospital bed. You want to go, more than anything, that’s the only thing you want to do, but then there is the school that doesn’t consider it an emergency and isn’t letting your kids go to another country without the shots, and the high paying job you just switched to have a different time off policy. You really want to go…. But you don’t.

Hey, I’m not judging you or anyone else, how could I judge anyone when, if given a chance like every other Patriot Pakistani, I would jump through hoops to get into the “Gora band wagon”. How can I or anyone else for that matter judge you, no one has the right to judge you, well not until they’ve walked two moons in your moccasins. But that wasn’t really my issue in the first place.

My issue begins when you sit in your leather recliner chair with the central heating/cooling on, in front of your burger baby kids who would have you committed to a psychiatric ward before they let you move them back to Pakistan. With your trophy wife, who would call the home office and have you jailed, before she agrees to live with your parents in this terror infested, corruption ridden uncivilized piece of land you grew up in. As you sit there, staring blankly into the idiot box watching the Pakistani news channel (or should I say entertainment central), commenting on every move Mr. Politician, whose name while living in Pakistani I don’t know, makes.

My issue is when every one of you folks lectures us on the intricacies of how the country is going to shit and no one is doing anything about it. What bothers me is how you have the audacity to lecture us from the comfort of your centrally cooled/heated drawing room. Yea sure, each and every Pakistan also discusses the same from the comfort of their drawing room, but hey! We do it without central heating/cooling! My issue with you is not the life choices you’ve made nor what your intentions were/are; my issue is every Pakistani not in Pakistan complaining about Pakistan all the frigging time. (I will concede that we do provide a tempting target given our politicians, society, mullas healthcare, education, infrastructure, security, law and justice …).

What is required is you move on, accept the fact that you will never be as Pakistani as the guy who lives here, goes through the power outages every half hour, sees the poor on the street but cannot do anything about it. For God’s sake stop confusing our weakness for indifference, we may not have been able to help the poor on the street but we do empathize with him. We may not have been able to change the system but we sure the hell are determined to try. We may not have been able to bring a sweeping revolution but we are willing to stand under the blazing sun for hours on end to vote. It’s about time you accept the fact that you gave up your right on criticizing this country when you didn’t come down here to vote.

And to all of you living in self-imposed exile let’s ask ourselves what have we done for our Country, how much tax have we paid in the last X number of years, how many schools and colleges did we open? How many people did we provide jobs? How many households did we support from the money that we earned from foreign countries? No one asks these questions, no one really cares. All that seems to matter is what the TV show guy is saying on Geo in the comfort of your modern homes. Yes there are problems with our system, yes there is corruption, yes everything might be falling to pieces, but it’s our problems. It’s the Problems of the people who live and breathe the air here, who go, day in and day out, surviving this urban circus.

You gave up your right to complain when you gave up your green passport. Not your right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness but a far more fundamental one, the right to criticize your Country and it’s time to accept it. You gave up your right when you realized that the day your kids are old enough to know that they can say no to visiting that stinky smelly country and stopped coming. You gave up your right to comment on every single speech the politician with opposing views makes when you paid that mortgage on the second home. You gave up your right when you couldn’t make it to your dad’s funeral because they would kick you out of the 6 digit paying job that you just joined. You’ve gave it up a very long time ago and it’s about time you accept it.

Come visit us meet us after a couple of years or whenever you want, we will welcome you, love you and respect you, like you deserve. We will open our homes and hearts for you. Just be courteous enough not to be involved in the matters of our home. This is our land, this is where we live every day and this is what we will fix. Everyone has a choice, you made yours, let’s accept that and move on. Let’s tune into the news and talk shows that affect our daily lives and the lives of our children, let’s talk about things that we deal with on a daily basis; because if words were food, nobody would be going hungry in Pakistan.

Disclaimer: I think it is my weakness of writing that I couldn’t convey my point properly. I am not criticizing anyone for moving out for one secondly I have no right to ask how you spend your money and how you live. Nor are all overseas Pakistani’s like that. Heck our company is funded by a man who built his fortune in the states lives in the states and has 500+ people employed in Pakistan and to top that off is funding start ups in Pakistan. There are those people and they are great they are the essence and the building blocks of our society and they are our only connection with the western world, they represent us and they do a great job at it. This article has got to do absolutely nothing with them, this has to do with the rest of us. The rest of us who would run away not because we need to because we want to, it’s for us the one’s who would not invest a single rupee in the state (whether charity or otherwise) yet would spend their lives criticizing the country. It’s for us who would never be ease at being where they are and would never have the kahunas to actually move back. Accepting is the first step my friend.

Everythings Fair in love and war?

Holidays, in any culture or community are either the happiest time of the year with people meeting. Forgiveness people coming together, reconnecting and well God knows what teenagers these days in holidays. Sometimes its the best time of the year family dinners bar BQ’s and what not its brilliant. Sometimes sadly something just happens that shakes you up real bad. Maybe it wouldn’t in usual days because your busy in other stuff and you don’t really talk about it. But when something goes down in the holidays its always does a lot more damage.

Sadly, something happened this holiday season. A guy with some sweet wit thought it would be a brilliant idea to lighten up this holiday season not with a goat or sheep blood, God no. Thats for poor people, with the blood of a 15 years old neighbors kid. Brilliant isn’t it, what better way to say Eid Mubarak to your neighbor then with their own only childs blood.

13 Days from now, a distant cousin got kidnapped from near my place. The guys called in for a ransom, obviously his dad didn’t have that much at that time so he asked for some days. The phone line got cut off and he never heard from the kidnappers again. The family kept searching kept looking for clues kept going to the police for ten days. Then three days ago the kidnappers got caught it was a perverted guy living right next door for the a decade. The kid practically grew up with them, the families were pretty close. The bastard was even pretending to look for the kid with his parents.

Turns out the guy fell in ‘love’ wanted to get married to a girl whose parents were well anything but parents. They wanted 3 Million for the girl, money that the guy didn’t have so for easy cash he got his brother in Law into the plan and two other guys. The kid knew them so convincing him to go with them was not easy. But this meant the kid could identify them something the idiots didn’t think of before. So whether there was money or not the poor kid was going to die anyways.

Now there lays a father whose eyes can’t cry no more, a mother who is in coma and the guys brother wants to cut him to pieces himself. For love aye? Everything’s fair in love and war in it’ ? Who cares about the collateral damage.

Islamic Rebublic of Pakistan : Epic Fail

Islamic Republic of Pakist Epic Fail
So its 11:00Pm on a friday night, we’re smoking a couple of cigerettes ( yes your prick when I say cigerette’s I mean just cigerettes) and there is a shop in front of us with a big board that said ‘Imported’ something something. So we went in to see a couple of sneakers ( I think we’re all suckers for oldschool retro converse sneakers) got in there and the my eyes first spots some kick ass langerie and I was like oolala mari (the mate) thats some cool langerie right? He looks at me and goes dude its evening wear. I just stood there for a couple trying to imagine that little peice of black and red lace as evening wear.
Got out of the store still standing like idiots still waiting for the other guys. A new black Corolla stops near us with a couple of middle ages men in it. The window rolls down ( and I’m thinking fuck what did I do this time) and the guy goes like “Do you know where KatHouse is?” in response when he see’s our absolute blank faces he tries to give us a hint by saying “It’s here somewhere isn’t this babar plaze”. And yes we’re still blank, so in order to help us out he goes on to explain what he is looking for “Jee KatHouse the bar/club/disco”. In order to assure us their not kidding the uncle with the white beard from the back rolls down and peeks from the middle. And yes, we’re still staring in mid-air. Then mari goes like why don’t you ask some shop keeping, cause till now we were so sure he’s just messing around with us.
But when he goes to the ‘Imported evening wear ‘ shop and asks the guy, we were pretty convinced on Islamic Republic of Pakistan being an EPIC FAIL!

So its 11:00Pm on a Friday night, we’re smoking a couple of cigarettes ( yes your prick when I say cigarette’s I mean just cigarettes) and there is a shop in front of us with a big board that said ‘Imported’ something something. So we went in to see a couple of sneakers (I think we’re all suckers for old school retro converse sneakers) got in there and my eyes first spots some kick ass lingerie and I was like Olalla Mari (the mate) that’s some cool lingerie right? He looks at me and goes dude its evening wear. I just stood there for a couple trying to imagine that little piece of black and red lace as evening wear.

Got out of the store still standing like idiots still waiting for the other guys. A new black Corolla stops near us with a couple of middle aged men in it. The window rolls down (and I’m thinking fuck what did I do this time) and the guy goes like “Do you know where Cathouse is?” in response when he see’s our absolute blank faces he tries to give us a hint by saying “its here somewhere isn’t this Babar plaza”. And yes we’re still blank, so in order to help us out he goes on to explain what he is looking for “Jee Cathouse the bar/club/disco”. In order to assure us their not kidding the uncle with the white beard from the back rolls down and peeks from the middle. And yes, we’re still staring in mid-air. Then Mari goes like why don’t you ask some shop keeping, cause till now we were so sure he’s just messing around with us.

But when he goes to the ‘Imported, evening wear ‘ shop and asks the guy, we were pretty convinced on Islamic Republic of Pakistan being an EPIC FAIL!

OMG! My Baby girl doing a job? Are you Crazy?

So I’m lucky enough to have family friends who are in the business of making nuclear bombs, no it has absolutely no relation to the post. Just thought to let you know.

Moving on, I was sitting at someones place and mom asks Mrs.Awesome Auntie so where does she start practicing  medicine and where? I thought something bit auntie or something , she pretty much snap-ed. “Allah na karay, why would my daughter practice?” (aaaa aunty because she wasted a pretty precious medical seat for starters? ) So in Mrs.Awesome Aunties opinion girls should not be getting out of their homes to work when their husbands/parents can offered to keep them in and even if something happens they should try to be at home and God forbid practice medicine.I totally agree like what sort of a douche bag  or you a retard makes their daughter practice medicine, how can anyone even think of doing such a horrid thing. Allah na karay what if someone actually benefits from her medical experience we don’t really want that now do we?

I’m stressing on medicine here, because you work your ass off to get to med school you get good grades in your School, high school college just for that one seat out of 200 – 500 maybe. You get that chance you study and then you don’t practice just because your husband wants to see you open the door for him when he comes home? What kind of stupid sense it that, why not do a BA degree, go in arts, literature, computing anything. Where you’re not actually taking a seat from someone who actually deserves it. Someone who would support a family, someone who would actually go out in the field and do something for people.

Who knows the person whose seat you came out just might go out and find the next best drug, he might be the one who eradicates polio by actually “doing something about it”, instead of knitting a sweater for the twin fetus in my stomach because I know medicine so much. What we need to realize is your son/daughter is a doctor/engineer he is an asset to the community, the society, the country. Money has been spent on him, resources given for 4-5 years of his/her professional studies. You owe it to the people to actually do something with your professional honey (no honey just because your daddy paid for the fee’s does not mean you don’t owe anyone anything)

In my opinion, there should be a bond that everyone that goes into med school should fill. That he has to serve for this much time, this much time in research this much in rural areas and this much in cities. Or he/she has to pay a fine of this much amount to the government of the country.

And please think about it, only if you can afford it means you want that last blanket if someone’s sleeping in the cold.

Taliban, The Extremists?

I’m really tired of the Pakistani media right now,  for the sake of  getting top views is it really important that you stop caring of the image your portraying. More importantly the authenticity of the fact/news. Every time something happens they tell it  like its the end of the world. Our beloved reaper is standing right on the head of Pakistan waiting for the lord to say, Chop it off!

Let’s take a little thing here… In Saudi Arab not too long ago , if I want to be more precise I’d say in January. A Egyptian thief’s hands were chopped off and there is a small heading in news and that’s about it. And its there because he wasn’t a Saudi but a Egyptian. Back in 2007 in Somalia they start chopping off hands of theif’s . A headlines comes and it goes away, the government says they’re militants no body bothers to look again. No Aid is stopped saying take them out or we will invade your country. No political leader go crazy while sitting out of the country.

Now here in Pakistan the Alleged video of “Taliban” beating up the girl comes and Hallelujah a video we can put on sell on international media twist it a bit and show how cruel we really are. No it doesn’t really matter investigating the reason of the beating it never does. But what does is that it sells and people go like awww. That’s just awe full, why don’t we do something about it. The awwwww gesture goes such a long way. That our beloved Altaf Bhai who hasn’t seen the land he so loves but doesn’t want to live in for fifteen years. Goes all crazy on how cruel these militants are, like our beloved MQM is just the right thing for the country.

You need to realize there are harsh penaltiess in Islam but only on things that ruin the society. The whole point is in the positivity of the society anything which is banned/prohibited is because it doesn’t let the over all humanity to grow. Something that is causing damage to people and the overall peace in the society.

The point of the punishment isn’t to ridicule anyone or leave a mark on his ass for life, the point is making people afraid . If you do this , you’ll get this in return. Some people just do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Others have to motivated and some well they only do well as long as they know they’ll get some lashes.

So before we go all judgmental and crazy, take a moment to think. What your showing representing rather the way your presenting has what impact around the globe.

What happened to the good old fashioned comic Hero’s?

I consider myself amongst the wee bit less fortunate ones who were unlucky enough to watch “watchmen” and “twilight” in two consecutive nights. Ok I know, I know the novels were amazing and to see it on a bigger canvas was like a dream come true. But here’s the funny part “I didn’t read the novels and personally I really don’t care about them”. I paid to watch a good movie which it wasn’t. If you had written outside it’s only for glorified geeks and the cult following along with the 18+ sign. I would never go in.

I want to ask what was so bad with the old school graphic novels, what’s so wrong with beating the up the bad guy and then he has your girl friend (secret obviously) and you rescue her. Like common that never gets old. Some kick ass vampires kicking around with guns flaps and rocket launchers kicking some wolf butt. Why do you have to drag gay emotions in it?

Look here’s the thing when I’m alone and its 2am I might even enjoy watching a walk in the rain. But with my mates in a big ass cinema the last thing I want to see is a blue guy screwing a chick with its twin. And nude scene’s on Jupiter. Like Common! For heaven’s sake man, their some perfectly straight guy’s here who really don’t give a damn about your inner deep emotions. They’re here to see you kick some butt not you packing up your blue balls and exiling from the planet! And yes I agree it was a really deep multi layered movie with amazing dialogues, so what? Here’s the thing if you argue with me that I didn’t read the novel. Look I never read, Harry Potter, Lord of the rings, but I love the movies. So you really can’t pin that on me, like please!

Until the next night, I tried to give the modern comic hero’s another chance and plugged in Twilight, now that was the breaking point. That was the point when I said to myself I would go to jail making child pornography and die a humiliating death then watching another modern comic emotional hero for two hours alone in a damned room at night.

I can take vampires doing It, I can take vampires being gay, I can take vampires falling in love turning people into vampires shooting the hell out of each other. Fighting for evil or the forces of evil for that matter, what I can’t take is a vampire glowing in the sun, annoying the hell out of me for two whole God Damned Hours!

The plot was so empty and there seemed to be clear gaps and selected pieces been chosen and I just couldn’t take it when they started playing baseball. For heaven’s sake your vampires act like one. Don’t be my stupid cat who loves to watch Frasier. It’s not you you’re not supposed to do that, Reality check!

So yes I choose to see a old fat hairy bastard doing a cow then watch these emotional super nude hero’s again!