Stop horsing around!

For obvious reasons, this is a watered-down version of the joke

And I think I have mentioned it before

Two saints are playing golf

One dearer to God than the other

Let’s call him the high priest

The other saint, let us just call him the saint, hits the ball for a perfect 300-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway

The high priest swings and chips the ball far left and lands in the branches of a tree

Frustrated he looks up into the heavens, raises his arms, and suddenly the sky darkens

A thunderclap rings out, rain pours down, and a stream rises among the trees

The ball floats down the street stream when a fish jumps up to bite the ball

At the same moment, a bald eagle flies down, grabs the fish with the ball in its mouth, flies over the green and the fish drops the ball right in, for a hole-in-one

The high priest turns to the saint with a satisfied grin as if awaiting plaudits

The saint looks at the high priest and says “Do you wanna play golf?

Or do you wanna HORSE AROUND?!” Scene changes

I am standing at a grocery store

An ageing man comes in

Asks about the price of eggs

As is customary he is told how much it costs in dozens

He seems to do quick maths and asks for four eggs

Before the eggs arrive, he suddenly sinks his hand into his side pocket, takes out some change and counts it

Then with a jolt, he asks the shopkeeper to amend the order

He will take three eggs

He buys the eggs and leaves in a hurry as if to avoid any embarrassing questions

True story

Happened only yesterday

Another scene

In the late 1990s, Herald magazine published a set of ironic film posters

One such poster shows a man sitting at a dining table holding a gun to his temple

It is obvious he is about to take his life

Next to him sits his mother asking him, “Beta pehlay khana tu kha lo” (Son, take your meal first)

The legend on the poster reads, “Jo ghar gaya, woh mar gaya” (he who goes home dies)

Yet another scene

Director Satyajit Ray’s beautiful film

Shatranj Ke Khilari or The Chess Players based on Munshi Premchand’s short story of the same name

The year is 1856

The princely state of Awadh is about to be annexed by the East India Company

As is evident from the title the state’s affluent are busy obsessing about chess when their state comes under attack by a handful of company men

As all of this is unfolding, two noblemen Mirza Sajjad Ali and Mir Roshan Ali flee Lucknow leaving behind their wives and escape to a small village just to… wait for it…

play chess

And a more recent one

One day the maid hired to do daily chores shows up with her underage niece

The kid was going to a local government school which charges only a nominal fee

But money is tight and her parents cannot make both ends meet

So, she has been taken out of school and now she will help her aunt with daily chores who in turn will share some of her earnings with the girl’s parents

The maid is told that child labour is illegal

The girl is sent back home

The salary of the maid is quietly increased upon the promise that the kid will go back to school

You and I can afford to waste time on political minutiae because we do not go hungry

But elsewhere the future of generations is being destroyed because of rising poverty

One more story

I think I have quoted this one more than once

But you make it so relevant each time

I am summarising it

It was told by playwright Ashfaq Ahmed in one of his Zavia episodes

The story of a Chinese farmer

The old man lived in a village with his son and a beautiful horse

One day the king offered to buy this horse at an exorbitant price

People came to congratulate the old man that his life is made

The old man refused the offer

One day the horse ran away

People came again, calling him unlucky

The man said it was only a phase of life, not a great tragedy

Three weeks later the horse returned accompanied by twelve similar horses

People came again congratulating the old man

He said the same thing

Only a phase of life

The story continues showing the ebb and flows in his life and how others are benighted and mistake a part of his life as a whole

Not a day passes by without the pundits telling you who is winning and who is losing in Pakistani politics

I have a nagging suspicion that we all are losing

When a boat capsizes in the deep sea it matters little who is the strongest of those who are sinking

But sirs, in politics too do not take anything for granted

Pakistan is facing one of its worst economic crises

It is also enduring the revival of the existential threat of terrorism

Switch on your television and browse through the news channels

Do you see any reminder anywhere of the tragic fact that over a hundred policemen were killed in Peshawar only a week ago? Or that the country’s forex reserves just dipped below 3 billion dollars? Or that the poor are all but killed by inflation? Or that Imran Khan and two retired generals’ policies are directly responsible for this mess? No? Why should you? You are not among the elite or the media’s priorities

Petty politics is

Sadly, the institutions of the country, from parliament to courts are not helping either

The big picture is missing from every scene

The pundits who were predicting a sovereign default until yesterday in sympathy with the opposition are now arguing that default is actually a good option

Go figure

The situation can be salvaged dear reader

As it has been time and again

If we behave like a nation

But there is a little indication it may even want to be one

They say someone asked Faiz (poet, not the general) if Pakistan would survive

The good man said that he wasn’t worried about the country’s survival but that it might continue to survive in the same tumultuous way

Sadly, that’s exactly what is happening

Do you think the common man on the street who has been destroyed by tough economic conditions cares even a bit about your precious politics? Sirs stop horsing around before it is too late

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2023

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces

Date:12-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link