Friday, October 12, 2012

To the citizens of Self.


There’s this part of me, this self-absorbed materialistic part that so badly would love to own a classic quilted lambskin Chanel 2.55 bag. Do you know how much this bag costs? It’s insane. The sad part is, I can afford it. Not even a second hand from eBay but a real one, without making a significant dent in my saving either. Isn’t it crazy? There are people in this world lacking basic necessities and I am able to sit here and spend my time mulling over what handbag I would love to have next.

The simple fact that these luxuries exist and they create desires in the common person to possess them baffles me. Baffle. My husband laughs, but I tell him how sometimes when I sit and think about the world we live in I’m simply baffled. There is no better way to describe it.

Relating to this topic, I’ve started watching this HumTV drama Shehr-e-Zaat (I believe it means City of Self). Initially I thought why am I bothering? I could not in the least bit relate to the protagonist, a pretentious girl from a wealthy family who is a fine arts student in college. She finds a guy who looks exactly like the sculpture she’s been making and falls madly (when I say madly, I mean like cuckoo for cocoa puffs kind of mad) in love with him. She has never been like this before, usually it’s her that is being pursued all the time and now she’s stalking down this guy, meanwhile he is not all that fazed by her. She’s even got this ‘Boy next door’ buddy who’s head over heels for her, but she’s too much in love with Sculpture Guy to pay him any mind. The show is still running, but so far she gets Sculpture Guy to marry her, he (inevitably) cheats on her with a far less attractive girl (he has his own issues, we won’t go there). Which now leaves her in a state of anxiety, questioning her entire existence as this is first catastrophic event to ever occur in her life. She’s having major epiphanies of how self-obsessed she’s been all her life. She’s finding herself turning towards religion and spirituality in hopes to right all her wrongs. Think of it sort of as a Pakistani version of Eat, Pray, Love so there are impeccably deep dialogues, serious religious references and can’t fail to mention some amazing wardrobes.

I’m a fairly level headed individual (most days), who never quite traveled down that whole crazy fanatic in love path. So, I couldn’t really relate to this character for the first 6-10 episodes of the show when she’s going gaga over this guy. But now, as her character has moments of self-reflection, they’ve really incorporated some great dialogues. These are moments we all go through, because we all have an ugly materialistic monster inside of us who craves all the worldly luxuries or who gets too caught up in the petty things, but we also have a compassionate side. A side who can’t justify paying a month’s salary on something that’s meant to carry our crap around when that could buy food, clothing, education for a year in some parts of the world.

I hope what this show does is hit home with the upper class youth in Pakistan (that is where this TV series is airing), because they are living SO closely to all the poverty, famine, and destitution yet many of them have closed up their eyes, hearts and minds to that reality which exists a few miles away from their gated communities.  Inside their lavish homes they have created a bubble untouched by the reality outside. They have air conditioning, flat screen TVs, and the women are shopping.. ALL THE TIME.  Yet, just step out to a common bazaar and there are beggars everywhere. Young and old. Maybe the upper class has become numb to it, because they see it so often and partly because they have to in order to go about life. But that doesn’t make it right. The low income population of that country has turned into a business for those with power and money, manipulating them or just treating them as subhuman. I’m not saying the youth of Pakistan needs to go out and shower the poor with wealth. Just stop spending their time and money on their own selves and think for a moment about the bigger picture. How all this self-serving really never fulfills us internally.

I’m not blaming Pakistani youth alone, the entire global society has become self-interested. We care only about our needs and wants all the time. And the truth is, those ‘needs’ will never stop. As long as you lust for the worldly treasures you could worship it but it will never be yours. It will only leave you wanting more. But I’m focusing on the adolescents here, because that is the prime period of our lives when we are so passionate about everything. We think we’re passionately in love with the boy in our math class, we zealously hate our mom’s for never letting us have a social life, we’re extremely eager about fitting in with the crowd, but mostly about discovering who we are.Take that passion and channel it towards something of true value. Use your time and prosperity seeking out more gratifying things than nabbing the latest Lawn prints before everyone else. Trust me, your grown up self will appreciate the years of self-therapy and soul searching you saved.

Did you see what youth in other parts of the world was capable of? How they were able to overthrow tyrants and rulers, because they stopped thinking about how difficult it would be for them to fight the oppressor and they channeled all their energy towards actions which would improve the lives of so many others. O.T.H.E.R.S.
Post a Comment