Monday, May 23, 2011

After 7 days on the beanbag, I think...

...that the movie you must watch this week is Fast Five, the fifth movie in the Fast and the Furious series. And the best place to watch it, in Karachi, is at the Atrium Cinema in Saddar. In case you haven’t been there yet you are missing out on one of the best things that has happened to Karachi recently (besides the book fair at Frere Hall). You can sink into purple couches which line the waiting area and soak in the cinematic atmosphere while munching on delicious honey roasted popcorns. The reasons to watch Fast Five are the same as the last four; sexy cars, sexy women and sexy Rio. After watching this movie, you might get tempted to emulate Vin Diesel but in Karachi it’s impossible, unless you’re a mini bus driver.

Talking of movies, hubby dear and myself also saw The Fighter last week. Based on the true story of a boxing champion and nominated for an Oscar in various categories, the film failed to impress. It made me realize that almost all Hollywood movies nominated for Oscar this year were either true stories, animations or remakes like The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Fighter, True Grit (remake), Toy Story 3, and The Social Network. The biggest movie industry has run dry of ideas? Or does the audience want to watch feel-good movies where the underdog comes out the winner; something they all want to relate with. I’m no expert at movies but the most memorable movies (both art films and Hollywood ones) which I’ve seen did not, always, end up happily ever after.

But what does really end happily ever after? And why are we always searching for it? Isn't being happy enough? Why are we so afraid of grief, pain, loss, change? I think unhappiness is the bigger villain. We, as humans, can and do overcome grief or loss (brought about by a tragic event like death; devastation due to war or a natural disaster, divorce) or change (both intentional and unintentional) but what we impose on ourselves in unhappiness. The spectrum can range from ‘didn’t get the job I wanted’ – ‘ I don’t have a better car/house’ – ‘ We can’t go on a vacation abroad like everyone else’ – to - ‘I can’t buy this bag/shoe/jewellery’. These wants which we convert into needs are the impediments to happiness. In this day and age of consumerism, unhappiness is rampant. I’m also a victim of this, some of the times, but I’ve realized that if it is the bag I carry that will make someone like me, that someone is just not worth the effort.

Sounds like I'm on the road to self-actualization? Far from it, I’m afraid. There are times when I succumb to the consumerism monster and end up indulging in retail therapy. But it doesn’t bring me real joy. Real joy is in simple things like sharing a moonlit night on the terrace with hubby dear or sitting on the steps of the staircase in Frere Hall with the mural of the great Sadequain in view or reading a good book.

Which reminds me, when was the last time you read a good book? Or any book for that matter. Maybe you don’t own a comfortable beanbag in which you can snuggle in and read?! There is no bigger misfortune than being literate and not reading. I don’t know how so many of you hope your children will become readers when they don’t see their parents with a book, ever.

The ever glamorous Imran Khan was in town this weekend. His party, Tehrik-e-Insaf, staged a protest against drone attacks and so far, from what I’ve seen on TV, it was a success. It goes to Imran Khan’s credit that people braved the heat (Saturday was the hottest day in Karachi in 20 years) and drove out to support him. Is he the change this country needs? If we can make someone shameless like Zardari, our president, we can definitely give a chance to Imran Khan. And according to Wikileaks, he is the only person in Pakistani politics who is not for sale. So do yourself a favour, and vote in the next election.

Have a safe week; look for joy in the simple things and if you can’t find it, look harder!

[Note: While I was editing this piece, Karachi was rocked with bomb blasts at a naval base, PNS Mehran, at 10pm. We, yet again, become victims of America’s war on terror and pay the price. And then America has the audacity to tell us we’re not doing enough to combat terrorism. It’s America who is the biggest terrorist and we are bearing the consequences of their brash actions].

Pakistan Paindabad!