My recent experience in Pakistan was great. It was filled with family, friends, lots of love, even more food and relaxation. But it was very hard to turn a blind eye to the vibes in the air and the reverberating decadence that has entered our part of the world. When I say our part of the world, I mean that one area we live in and the people that you meet in your day to day life. I don’t think its fair or necessary to call it out, I think it’s pretty self evident.
But to come back to my observation, the general society seems to have deteriorated. There is a mass desperation for entertainment that I never felt before, a desire to be ‘seen‘ at every place possible, regardless of an invitation or an inclination. People are meeting more frequently in a ploy to alleviate loneliness instead of the sake of pure companionship. They’re talking more about each other and less to each other. There is no conversation about the things that matter, the simple things. Or even the big things, I mean, I’m sure the country being in shambles should be of some interest, no? It seems to be that you are now judged by the amount of thread work adorning your shirts as compared to the thread work weaving in your brain. The greatest asset you carry is now a bag, not your intellect.
It saddens me because these people I hear about and occasionally bump into are intelligent, well placed, highly resourceful individuals who can move mountains if they put their minds to it. Their connections are enough to fix not only minor, but major problems. Yet they prefer to lie in an oblivious stupor, pacifying their egos with self-pats on the back or surrounding themselves with equally uninterested/unmotivated individuals who encourage this lack of self-awareness.
As an expat, having lived almost 11 years outside the country, I don’t consider myself an authority of Pakistani society or even deem my opinion valid or important because I am outside, looking in. But it’s impossible to shake the feeling of despair when you hear the way that people are clamouring to money and to those who possess money. How people are now willing to sell their soul to be caught at the arm of those that society has elevated to ‘high class‘ status. Of course this fraction of the nation is minute, almost negligible. But they possess the most amount of resources, wealth and clout. That is why, they’re difficult to ignore. They’re also infuriating because of their lack of interest in the betterment of anything: their surroundings, the country, the society, the perception, their own health or their own spirit.
It saddened me this time around. The peer pressure on everyone seemed as heavy as the world on Atlas’s shoulders. There was constant hustle bustle in salons, at weddings and at restaurants. Everyone’s eyes were roving the crowd, desparate to be noticed, to be appreciated and to be deemed worthy of this ‘high society’.
Which brings me to the question I asked as this post’s topic. If we are spending our time trying to climb the totem pole of popularity, when do we have time to fix the glaring issues plaguing the nation? The injustice, the killing, the fundamentalism, the sexism, the disgusting distribution of wealth and the apathy raging in the veins of all those in positions of power. How can the body be fixed when the soul has deteriorated? When in the depths of a struggling society lies a bunch of people too self-centred to care? When wearing a beautiful outfit with flashy accessories (branded of course) is more important than being nice to each other? When your worth is quantified by what you can provide an individual as compared to how good or bad a person you are?
Maybe what we need now is some soul searching. A bit of introspection. A silent moment of analysis. To put aside the blingy distractions and focus on the things that matter. Love, family, togetherness, respect and empathy.