The Partition of Shame
Here I am again in that waiting area I posted a guess post some time back. For those who are still guessing, this is the Daewoo Rawalpindi bus terminal’s new waiting area, which is usually empty except for a couple of eunuchs lying on those comfy metal chairs here and there. No I’m just kidding, eunuchs don’t hang-out in bus terminal waiting areas, they have a more visible presence in crowded areas like the Jinnah Super, where they walk around in a small group, scaring off all the shurafaa with their suggestive advances towards the innocent citizens’ nether regions. The sleeping people in the terminal are the ones who probably have a long wait before they board the bus, or who have no where else to go, and for the latter there is always a couple of hi-fi security cameras scanning the entire breadth of the room, alerting the local security personnel about suspicious sleeping people, who are probably dreaming about a better Pakistan or their latest electricity bill.
The new addition in this lovely waiting room is that lovely red partition on the other side. Behind this partition are a few people who are not fasting for some reason… which could be health related, spiritual reasons, or for no reason at all. Before this underground waiting area was made, the partition was created in the main waiting area above. I have never actually seen anyone walk into our out of this partition… or maybe they crawl under it to avoid the disgrace of being considered a khoja.
For some reason I find this a bit disturbing. We continue to create divisions amongst ourselves, repeatedly ignoring the essential element of tolerance for others spiritual inclinations. If you’re foolish enough to go to the public toilet here, or in any other public area, you’ll see food garbage lying around the filthy eastern toilets… a half eaten banana, a cup of tea with a wet teabag inside, slice of pizza… and all this lying around the usual artifacts like syringes and other unmentionables. Just imagine for a while; an old man with some physical problem quietly walks into the public toilet, locks the door, pulls out a sandwich from his pocket, and takes a quick few bites while standing over the welcoming hole below. How do you feel? (By the way, I suggest you keep a hand sanitizer in your bag if you’re a wuss like me).
Before I took this picture, I was at the counter waiting to buy my ticket, when a person much older than me sporting a beard and a skull cap rushes ahead, buys his ticket from the counter and walks away. Then another red cheeked zombie from the north comes up, points at the lady at the counter and exclaims in pushto that she should be covering her head in the holy month of Ramadan. I thought that he should be covering his mouth in the holy month of Ramadan! You see, it is that easy to be immoral in this country. If someone complains, just give a little smirk and walk away! Besides, the place is too crowded for a brawl since you’d be pulled out of it for assaulting a bearded man with a skull cap, plus who really has the time (or patience) nowadays to take these matters in their own hands. All we can do is… well… whine and complain.
So where do we get this time and patience from? The more we wait, the more the partitions, separations, divisions solidify themselves, and their supporters get bolder and bolder, eventually crossing the lines of morality and human respect in order to establish their own system of social governance based on a mutilated religious or religio-political concept. What we need is something more powerful than the current system, something that would be in the control of the people, yet it would not let the people control each other in a manner which violates human rights and freedom of expression.
What we need is a nice little place which serves the best halwa poori, alu bhujya and siri paey in town. Oh YES baby. We need to fill our tummies in this holy month and make sure we absorb all the lovely cholestrol. Because that is the only way out of this mess… affordable, legal, nutritious, delicious intoxication.
Ramadan Mubarik everyone!