Sunday, May 08, 2011

Jaan Bahut Sharminda Hai

It will be a while before I can get around to posting my travel diary. As is now usual for us it has been quite a month of travel, toil, meeting new friends and family old but all that has to wait.

The events of that May Day er Night should have infuriated me. Yes, there were a couple of How Dare They (The U.S. And Us.) forming, fuming on my lips. But soon the all-too-familiar sense of loss returned. I had long said goodbye to summer holidays amongst white rose creepers, grey stone houses named after English counties, the green glens, and pointing out to President Ayub's house and had reconciled to it becoming a base camp from where the Thandiani-Nathiagali adventure could be launched. But this. This finally marks an end to that period of my life.

But what saddened me most was bidding goodbye (albeit temporarily. I the Idea of Gulsher . Friends (and foes to the idea) know that gifting The Toddler with the aka Arhaan and Gulsher (merey dau dau naam) was a tribute to the Charlie of the Alpha,Bravo,Charlie and all that was good and gold about Sunehrey Din. In a very non-Tiger Mom way I was preparing him not to be an Alpha Male but to grow up to be the sweet, smiling, peaceful "man at his best" who was nek karam about his karma. Yes, yes I am confusing you dear readers with the oxymoron. The paradoxes of my journey so far (and hypocrisy some whisper. Hai, you? proponent of non-violence naming your son after an army officer. And Pakistani Army. Take back her dissertation RIGHT NOW). But it has been so. The gentlemanly Gentleman Cadet. The honorable service-man. Who did the right thing but never aspired to be the Praetorian who thinks he knows best what is right for everyone.  He didnt exactly need to be a man of uniform, for you know Gulsher was the Common Man.

It did not make a difference that Gulsher was reel life (also  that in real life the actor/army officer who played him in the teleserial was from the same village that sent out the Time Square Bomber). For I firmly believed Gulsher was out there. As an officer. As a soldier who knew it was not for him to ask why, but to fight our war with the Other, with Our Self, and with Some Who Could Be Like Us. Many Gulshers died and continue to do so, while the military busied itself in the business of mil-bus (Nods head to Ayesha Siddiqa , milbus is now part of our lingo), but for me the dream of Gulsher continued.

This week not so. I am bewildered. Ashamed. Cheated (as many of us are. Need I repeat our plight of being left hungry, illiterate, without health care just so that this beast of a war machine was fed). Suspecting that perhaps Gulsher is a pipe dream. 
And very very scared. 
I know that every generation questions itself as it raises its children. What World Have We Brought Them Into? I am sure my mother did, raising me in the shadow of our misdeeds circa 1971. Then again things might have a way of working out. Perhaps everything does turn out all right in the end. I might be one of Zia's children but in the end he didnt get my soul did he? And in spite of all that our army unleashed in 1971 and 1979  , I still had the dream of Gulsher.
But that May night, and ironically the town that gave us our Gulsher (Abbotabad-Kakul-the Army Academy geddit), took away that dream as well.
And for this I will never forgive the ISI, assi read us, tussi read you and the U.S.
And Osama bhi.
Oh you the bearded one, when you looked away from the TV screen and out of your window did you perchance witness a bereaved woman and her young family speeding towards a brave soldier who lay dying in the fire that you spewed? The constant theater of our lives has never been  as soap opera-ish for me. That the woman who makes my dream worth living might have passed the house of he who conspired to kill it.
And now I wait for what happens after the Interval. Picture abhi baaki hai right?


  1. It's when our dreams lie shattered in the dust that we feel the sense of desolation and isolation the most. The brave-hearts are the ones who can pick them up, blow gently upon the pieces and put them together again. They also know that no matter what, they are not alone.

    Hum hain, naa? Pataa hain tau?

  2. There's something for you on my blog.

  3. What to say- the pain of this world is sometimes too much to bear.Betrayals galore abound. And yet, without hope, we are all nothing. May the toddler inhabit a better, more hopeful world than we do. Much love.

  4. Thanks for this post Aneela. Its so important to be able to read a nuanced reflection on that may night. The only voices across the border that we get to hear are as caught up in empty rhetoric as is our empty empty media who gives them the space to vent.

    And I absolutely loved reading up on all the popular culture references. My knowledge is limited to dhoop chaon and the other serials that we used to watch on VHS tapes.

  5. what a world we're living in, no?

    I woder of the pointlessness of it all....betrayal...pain...hatred, that's all that we seem to be living with. But life will have to go on, that's the truth of this world.


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