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2009 – An account of the night when we won the World Cup!

I have reproduced what I had written back then when we won the World Cup in 2009 …. oh what a magical night it was. It was what pure happiness could mean. It was all that happiness could give. Let’s hope we see something like that again ? : ) Let’s hope we get a chance to be so naive about hope and patriotism as I was, when I wrote this : )

A Khan brought the trophy home again. Infact Younus Khan, Umar Gul and Shahid Khan Afridi carried the fortunes of the team. This country’s fortunes are sewn with Pathans; would somebody please stop driving them away ??

It’s ironic that the ethnic group most tormented by our Government has brought this nation the most happiness. The country is bathed in ecstasy; I myself have been delirious since the winning leg-bye was scored. Cricket means to me more than anything. I say this without drama, that nothing moves me as much as cricket does.

It’s a sport that stretches beyond the realms of a mere sporting victory. This victory has given this nation renewed hope. This victory has perhaps woken us all from the deep slumber we’ve bin entrenched in and instilled in us a reinforced pride and passion for our country. Suddenly you see people being outrageously patriotic and happy for living in Pakistan.

The night of the World Cup Final will forever be etched in my mind. I was part of the wild celebrations that went on and on throughout the night and I will never forget the ecstatic face of the nation. I had personally never seen such a huge crowd gathered in one place for any reason other than political affiliations. But on that night, there were hundreds of Pakistani flags on the head of bikers, on the windscreen of cars, hung across streets, hung across the backs of guys and painted on the faces. Admittedly, there were some political flags seen too and while some idiots still continue to value that flag more than the national flag, the masses were there for Pakistan.

I can’t remember myself ever being so happy and content; why wouldn’t you be? How often do you hear nationalist slogans across Karachi? You don’t. But on THAT fateful night, as I hung outside from a friend’s car’s window, on every Pakistani’s face was a brutal expression of joy and freedom – the slogans of JEEVAY JEEVAY PAKISTAN echoed through the night! People had gone absolutely crazy. They would stop at every signal, get off from their bikes and cars and dance wildly and then move on to the next stop.
It was like every bike and car was heading for pilgrimage, in this case being SeaView! Those were just unbelievable scenes where every car was being stopped at SeaView McDonalds and people would dance and sing and clap; they’d ask the car inhabitants to come out and celebrate too. Some of them were game, but we encountered a fair number of spoilsports too! You moved on ahead and you saw roads completely blocked by people. I can safely say there were at least 15000 people there that night. Container trucks were stopped, guys were dancing on top of the containers, on the bumpers, and all the time accompanied by the rhythmic clapping on JEEVAY JEEVAY PAKISTAN.

It was a time when the public dared kid around with the Police and Rangers. The ecstasy was just infectious, intoxicating. You couldn’t help but be absorbed in it. It was a night you could do just about anything and get away with it. You could shout yourself hoarse on streets at 3pm in the night, you could hug policemen, you could talk to girls you have seen for the first time in front of their families without any ramifications! That’s how infectious this WorldCup victory was.

I traveled all over Karachi hanging out of the car, shouting slogans at every bike and car we passed with the omnipresence of the victory sign. Infact that is the way everyone was that day. Nobody knows how many years it’ll take for a moment like this to come again where the streets would be flooded with Pakistanis and not Muhajirs or Sindhis or Pathans.
All I can say is that whoever stayed in their homes that night deprived themselves of a phenomenon, unwittingly alienated themselves from the mercurial nation that Pakistan is and perhaps slept through the happiest night in Pakistan in years.

Now you better Stand Up for The Champions !

Resigned Acceptance of Class Difference

This is also something that I wrote around 2 – 3 years back, but it still applies …. our resigned acceptance of class difference : )

It was a hot afternoon and I was in the market looking for a cold Coke ( which is not easy to find cuz of the blessed KESC ).

I finally found one that kept Coca Cola and had it chilled too. That is when I heard a crash to the left, towards the main road. A guy was standing with his thela upturned on the road and all his possessions were lying scattered across the road. It looked hilarious from a distance; however when I was crossing the road I saw him calling out to other thela men to help him pick up his things. It was a pretty big mess and dint look like two weak guys could have handled it easily in that heat.

This is when I felt ashamed of 2 things, one after the other. There were cars all around, horns blaring, people shouting obscenities at the guys for blocking up the road. It pissed me off cuz everybody could see they were having trouble managing it by themselves. I offered to help them and asked what things needed to be picked and set on their thela again. Here is when I felt hesitancy for the first time. What was I doing stopping on the street in the middle of a crowded market to help some poor guys with their thela equipment? Though it was only a slight hesitancy, I felt shame at myself for even hesitating for a second.

I joined in their help and bent down to help them pick up the heavy stuff that had fallen off. The guys did not let me help them. They both stood their ground looking embarassed, ‘ saahab, app chordo, hum karlain gay’ (Translation :  Sir you leave it, we will do it). I asked em why not ? It would clear up the road quicker and it looked like those two could use some help. He says, ” App chordo, appkay kapray kharab hojaayeingay …. hum hayn na ye kaam karnay k liye, app ganda mat karo apnay appko” (Translation: You leave it, your clothes will get dirty. We are here to do this work, it is our job, you don’t dirty yourself) .

It was one of those rare occasions where you feel ashamed and embarrassed of being slightly more privileged than the average guy in your country. I certainly felt very uncomfortable wearing a clean shirt and jeans at that time. But what worried and saddened me more is that people seem to have accepted their roles defined by the unruly governance that governs this part of the world. What I saw in his eyes was surprise, then disbelief and then a resignation of one’s position in a society that treats you like vermin once you are under them.

People seem to have accepted that everyone has a prescribed class of job to do here. One cannot stoop below a certain level and one cannot rise above a prescribed glass canopy. This approach has led us to stagnation in social and moral development of people in Pakistan. People have resigned themselves to the fact that they will not get the same equal rights and recognition as a person sitting on a fluffy chair in a stuffy setup.

Every single one of us has this responsibility to make people like these feel as equal as everybody else. Pakistanis are accepting the tradition of the rich man being in control. Although this has been true for decades, acceptance of it is when the system is brought to its knees. And I suspect it is already saying it’s last rites in this case. If we hope to revive society, to instill justice …. we must interact with the commoners; people who struggle for survival when inflation rises by a mere percentage points.

It is upto every one of us to ensure that when the next thela overturns, we do not have ignorant pigs shouting at the poor man, and to ensure that thelay walay call out to people boldly to help’em. You can start by helping someone yourself. It does not have to be an overturned thela necessarily.

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