August 13, 2012

Celebrating Pakistan's independence day. Or not.

Yours sincerely, Pakistan
I've always wondered why we celebrate our independence day on 14th August. I mean Pakistan gained independence from the Indian subcontinent at 00:00 hours on the night of 14th and 15th August. Which technically means we were independent on the 15th of August because 00:00 hours signify the next day. But of course in our inadvertent desire to be distinguished from India, we decided we would celebrate our independence day a day earlier than reality. But of course that is neither here, nor there.

Over the past many years I have celebrated 14th August with a lot of fanfare and joy. I have found something to celebrate even if it is pinning that tiny pin up flag that's sold for Rs 10 to the front of my shirt. I have bought many small paper flags strung together and hung them on my house's balcony much like the Americans' fetish with TP (toilet papering). I have bought firecrackers and something called a "sootur bum" which is like a very dangerous kind of firecracker. In my time I have thrown firecrackers into a squash court just to hear that unbelievable blasting sound that actually caused guards to come rushing to the sports complex. I have taken part in the mandatory night parade celebrations of 13th August on Rawalpindi's famous Murree road. So yeah. I've celebrated. A lot.

This year is different though. I didn't get any of those celebratory pangs of joy that precede 14th August. Maybe its got something to do with my mood. I am in a bit of grey mood nowadays if I'm honest. But I think my lack of joy has less to do with my mood and more to do with the environment of my country. I have experienced first hand corruption, nepotism, jobbery, ineptness, hypocrisy, impatience and a lot of other traits that have come to define the Pakistani strata. I have seen people not care. I have seen people die. I have seen law enforcers breaking laws. I have snapped. I have given the finger to many policemen escorting VIPs because they told me to back off and not cross the car of the motherfucking prick they're escorting. I have become angry. I have lost patience. I have lost the dream of seeing a happy, prosperous Pakistan.

Pakistan is just a geographical identity. Pakistan is a bit of land sandwiched between Afghanistan and India. What makes Pakistan, Pakistan, are the people who live in this land. Sometimes those people do amazing things. Sometimes they become lazy inept losers. This year those people are morbid. This year 14th August doesn't have the same joy. This year those people have killed 14th August.

I wish I had the same energy that I had last year during 14th August. But when my grand vision has been shattered and my joy reduced to nothing, there is nothing left for me to call that energy upon and expend it. I wish this 14th August was a happy one. I wish we could sing and dance, and laugh and play. We can't. Because our idea of 14th August which had already been reduced to a mundane display of flags and firecrackers is nothing more than that. A flawed idea.

A happy albeit subdued independence day everyone. May God bless us all. May God bless Pakistan.