Monday, August 13, 2012

The Soil I Would Die For: The Olympic Mindset

The world has found itself in quite a festive mood over the last couple of weeks owing in great part to the mighty Olympics that have been on display in London.  We have witnessed the best characteristics of our humanity in these games.  The Olympics are a great deal more than the just the worlds’ premier sporting event.  It is a statement of intent to emphasize our global relevance in every era.  It is an event which ultimately reduces our heritage, our nationalism, our caste, our creed, and our allegiance, down to an equilibrium of border less sweat and tears.  It was indeed a surreal moment to physically witness man made divisions being suddenly flooded with involuntary feelings of compassion and humanity.  With the athletes visibly putting every last drop of their soul into the competition, it suddenly ceased to matter what country they were representing.  Striving for sheer and honorable excellence will trump nationalism every single time. 
When the athletes roared with excitement after winning, we roared because we felt the energy that was radiated.  When the athletes broke down into tears, we broke down into tears because we could feel the emotion of the dedication that was required.  There were athletes competing who couldn’t so much as personally afford the shoes their feet were in, standing eye to eye with those with far greater privilege, and none of it mattered.  Not to them.  Not to us.  Greatness meant that all who competed with absolute honor would be equally treated regardless of background or privilege.  And that is exactly what happened.   There came that surreal moment in the midst of all the chaotic activity when a perfect tune suddenly started to emerge.  It was as if everything slowed down and all became silent except that perfect tune, which echoed throughout the corners of the world.  It was a tune that could not be heard but could certainly be felt.  And it said something.  It said it loud and clear.  It said that when we finally choose to, we will be alright.  Mankind will be alright. 

We know however that that is easier said than done. We know because we know what we know. We know that we are hypocrites. We know that we can hate as easily as we can love and that we can break as easily as we can create. We know that we can forget in an instance man made differences like borders and religions and governments, and yet we can just as easily hate to the point of wishing death upon each other simply because of accidental geography or the color of our skin. As we speak, there are wars being had and people being killed across the world. Who is right? Who is wrong? Does it even ever really matter? Will we ever start to believe in the power of our collective effort? Did not the plethora of color blended into every single shade imaginable within the crowds of the athletes and fans glow far brighter than any one single color?

The reality is that there are and will always be differences. However, differences are great. It is what makes life exciting. Just try to imagine a world where everyone is the same and how incredibly boring that would be. Differences are not the problem. It is how we deal with them that seals the fate of us as a people. And as every victim of such thought secretly dreads, the shocking sobriety of realism always follows the drunken romanticism of idealism. So too must I realize that life will always be prettier in thought than in actuality. 
Mind you however, I have seen my moment, albeit temporarily, live itself out to its best. London. She gave me that over the last couple of weeks. She showed us that even it if was just for a brief moment, we could destroy every single wall of division and hold the world's largest party where all were invited. She showed us that for a brief period in time, we didn’t actually have to worry about hating each other because we were all too busy enjoying the hell out of each other. She showed us that the success of our global collective effort will always be more powerful and beautiful than anything else. Finally and perhaps most importantly, the London Olympics showed that to really matter in this world and be treated equally, the only prerequisite is a heart that wants and a heart that strives. And that is good enough for me. It is good enough for now. It has to be.  Right? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Case of Exploding Mango Juice

As a human being, one of my strongest characteristics is the ability to hate. I hate well. I am in fact, quite good at it. I hate for so many reasons and depending on the mood I am in, I can hate even on the shortest of notice. However, before you judge me, please understand that I am fully entitled to my hate. It is one of the perks that someone of my stature gets to enjoy at will. I am you see, a proud man who has been lucky enough to be amongst the chosen few who was raised, from birth, in the only right and acceptable way possible. The stars all aligned for my upbringing. I was born a male,(which already put me on the right footing), into the correct sect of the correct religion, growing up in the absolutely right manner of learning all that was presented to me, never questioning my correct elders, and growing up into a correct adult who was never taken off the path of absolute righteousness. It is my moral duty than, to address the unfortunate people who have not been blessed with my luck, and guide them to the correct path.

I am also a generous man you see. I could have hogged up and kept private all of this righteousness that I enjoy and never once share it with the less fortunate people. However, that is not me. I want for everyone what I have. It would be criminal of me to allow for such a diversity of people hopelessly roaming around this world trying to find their own paths, when I in fact have the perfect one for them to follow. And so it is, that I advise people on how to live. I give them clues, tips, and whatever else I can to share the light. I sometimes give warnings and if need be, scare them with a little tough love, so that they understand the seriousness of their insanity.

For example, today I share with the world an issue of such vital importance, that I feel life itself would have be to paused until this matter is to be resolved. It involves a juice beverage. Shezan, to be more specific. This issue has been brought to notice because the powers that be in the corridors of the Lahore judiciary have taken a bold step towards walking my path of nobility. Naturally, I feel pride in them making the right decision on behalf of everyone, without even needing to consult them. That is the power of being correct: you don't need to confirm it with anyone. People will just accept it. However, I am intelligent enough to know that there are some unfortunate people of lesser mindset that would be perplexed at such an action. Indeed, they may even be outraged at this act of clear nobility. Now, before my critics question why an ideal man like me of such elevated standards of righteousness, would worry about an issue involving a beverage, allow me to explain myself. You will, I am sure, immediately understand, and follow my cue.

This juice beverage, is not any ordinary beverage. The devil is in the detail, no pun intended. You see, this beverage, which has a conniving front of being a delicious mango juice(perhaps some other flavors as well), is actually not what it seems at all. You may have been enjoying this juice for many years without once knowing of its dark secret. Thousands of workers are gainfully employed in the Shezan factories, providing food, shelter and education to their own families without knowing of its dark secret. The government is receiving hefty tax payments from them. Charities are given large donations from them. Multinationals have come in to invest here because of them. And yet, NONE of them know the real darkness behind this beverage. Honorable folks, I will tell you the vile truth of this company. I will tell you because I am sure that as soon I tell you, you will jump up with disbelief and wonder how we could let this happen. You will instantly realize that none of what this company has produced positively as mentioned above, could even remotely measure against the harm that it is doing.

This beverage company, my fellow citizens, is owned by a family that is not of the same sect of the same religion that I am of!! The audacity! We might as well all be drinking the blood of a pig. I shudder to think of anything that deserves capital punishment more than this heinous act. Can you imagine living in a country where we allow people to provide products and services to the unknowing public, when secretly they happen to have a difference of belief in the absoluteness of religion? How would one be able to digest anything knowing of this act of evil? This leads to my next point: ALL products and services that are provided in this country should hereon forward give all of us an exact description of the operators of the said services. Would you buy nihari from a proprietor if you knew that he didn't go for his Friday prayers to the mosque? Would you get clothes made from a tailor if you knew that he shares a flat with someone who doesn't fast during the holy month of Ramazan? Would you drink from the same glass at a restaurant that had a few months back also been once served to an atheist? Of course you wouldn't to all of the above!

Please be comforted however, my fellow citizens. We have addressed this situation, and the sale of Shezan has been banned in at least one part of the country by these brave visionaries. People will accept this because they fear what we will do to them if they do not abide, and so this ban will spread to the rest of the country as well. With your help of screaming out your support for this brave act to everyone and anyone, we will reclaim this land and its people back onto the right path. My path. The only path.