Choosing to see if your glass is half empty or half full is a matter of your sanity if you are living in urban Pakistan these days. Since you have to constantly counter the crises of electricity,water and gas supplies, educational, economical and political contingent situations, unwanted relatives and so called friends and again electricity. I'd like to share with you one such day to elaborate my point.
I woke up drenched in sweat and my children stuffed in between me and my husband...not to my surprise (though only God know how they end up there every morning, while i ensure they are tucked tightly in their bedroom every night ! ). I 'm sure most of my Fellow Pakistanis are familiar with the sweat drenched mornings or midnights as the Air Cons turn off as the electric power goes off, and if the power doesn't come back in an hours time then the UPS also starts to slow down and eventually the fan dies too. Now if your husband has any active bone in his body that works during the zombie hours then he'd get up to turn the generator on. or you will wake up soaked...as it happened in this case.
Thank the Lord above it was already morning and we had to wake up anyways, and i was hoping that my cleaning maid would turn up earlier that day as a long lost friend of mine was coming over to visit. She had returned to Pakistan after 8 years, from the USA. So i got up, got everyone up and welcomed the day. As i went to the loo , to my surprise there was no water! As it happens sometimes the electricity crisis had affected the water tank that supplies water to my neighbourhood, and no one bothered to announce or inform us. Our over efficient gardener watered the plants and left the hose on to replenish our newly acquired American grass, and leaving us waterless. But thank the Lord above, we have a lot of drinking water in the kitchen and refrigerators, and whatay delight it is to use chilled water for poo poo and pee pee purposes on such hot and electricity/water-less days.
From 10 am to 1 pm i was getting the kids have breakfast and do their school home-work, ignoring the noise of Jenny (our generator), facebooking and anticipating my maid's arrival. By lunchtime i finally accepted that she is not showing up today, so i got my wits together and got up to sort out the house. With no water and now will it was a drag. My cook and driver had already had a fight about some trivial issue not to my surprise as it happens on hot days in Lahore.
Anyways.... the day dragged along and by the mercy of the Lord above things somehow turned out fine before my precious guests arrived. The cook cooked food, my cleaning maid, water and electricity all showd up after lunch, i got the kids cleaned up, phoned hubby to remind him to come home early,ordered nik knacks, got a massage and finally got dressed. The sun retired and the guests arrived by the evening prayer and i found myself in a very uncomfortable situation , climatically and socially. It appeared that out dear guests who had decided to bestow Pakistan with their presence after almost a decade were not happy to be back with their Old widowed mother and Blind Sister ( its a reference from Indian Cinema's Amitabh era... just so that you know). They thought that Lahore's society had lost all its manners and etiquette in the last 8 years. People walking the earth on this part of the world resembled "Mental Dogs" (pagal kuttay), and all the doctors and In-Laws were "Educated Illiterates" (perhay likhay jahil). The traffic system was run by aliens and the electricity crises reminded them of stone age. Since their children couldn't speak urdu, they were very apprehensive of the education system here as their kids had problems communicating with others.
Their lives back in the US and A were so perfect that they couldn't wait to go back. They had come for 3 months and now were regretting their decision. They confessed that they missed their busy lives there ... lives where they wake up at 5 am to go to work and come home at 6, cook food, do laundry, meet the kids and go to sleep. Where they dont have friends as they don't want to interact with the alcoholic infidels. Where they socialize on Eid only which is not a day off from work either. Where they are ensuring that their kids do not turn out to be like other kids or God forbid treat them how the white people treat their parents. Where there is no electricity failure ever!
I was trying to look at my cup which was half full literally ... sipping coffee and thanking the Lord above that my husband was somehow still keeping his calm. As soon as they left i apologized to my husband for inviting such disrespectful people over, and i couldn't be grateful to him as he only beat me with his shoe that night and not with his belt. He has told me i cannot meet any of my friends ever again and i'll make sure i never ever do that.
After all how could they say such things about our homeland? after all it is our land which has kept us grounded and connected to our religion! and it is our religion that connects us back to the land of the holy Arabia. If the roads of Lahore do not remind you of the desert of Arab, how will you remember who you are? The palm trees provide us with the shade not only from the sun but also from the satan.
May we all drink mango juice as smoking is injurious to health. After all all super hero movies now are in 3D and we have got to respect that.