Friday, March 25, 2005

Mango Republik


All those of you who do not live in Islamabad have no idea what the rest of us have to put up with in the name of the March 23 parade. In the old days, the parade was held in the safe confines of Rawalpindi, which is an army cantonment town and better equipped to handle such things. Some wise guy must have seen the equivalent parade in India (at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan complex in New Delhi) and have decided that we too must follow suit. The difference here is that the facilities in India were built by the colonizers to allow parades of all shape, size and colour to be watched (in amazement) by the natives. The modern designers of Islamabad had no such motive. Hence the incongruous sight of tanks and juggernauts rolling down streets lined with Dunkin Donuts and Mobilink Jazz and next week's production of Moulin Rouge.

This year was no different. The army band has been housed in a large park very near my office. I have had to bear them practicing milli naghmas while focusing on other things. Preparations start weeks ahead with the city paralysed the last few days as dress rehearsals take place right in the centre of town, dislocating traffic for miles. Finally comes parade day itself.. Unfortunately, my new house is about twenty yards away from the main parade ground. It all starts with my bedroom rumbling as tanks roll by down the road. My dog (a.k.a the Beast) does not stir even though he can hear a wrapper of Dairy Milk being ripped opened at least a hundred yards away.

When the rumbling becomes unbearable, I finally decide to go to my terrace (dragging the Beast in tow) to read the papers, while sipping my coffee and nibbling on French toast in my stripy red pyjamas. I hear a strange noise and look up. Parked stationary right above me is a chopper with two javans dangling on a rope waving the Pakistan flag. In military terms, I can see the whites of their eyes. In other circumstances I would have been quite happy to have commandoes over for breakfast. The ludicrousness of it all hit home just then. Me, PJ's, coffee, toast, chopper, soldiers and the chand tara fluttering madly.

Finally, on a PC note: Wouldn't it make better sense to disband the parade and put the (taxpayers) money which is funding it to better use - say Pakistan Day schools to be opened with the money saved. Leaving aside the inconvenience, such parades have now become the preserve of tinpot banana republics. Apart from the French (who are contrary in every respect) no self respecting Country displays its hardware quite so shamelessly. The Brits keep a handful of elaborately costumed guards on display to keep the populace and hordes of Japanese tourists happy. These are much prettier (and cheaper) than Hatf 3 and Ghauri missiles which all look the same anyway. Nahin ? Pakistan Zindabad.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jalal said...

Stop being such a sissy. It is only an extremely irritating parade.

9:45 pm  
Blogger Uber Homme said...

Ok Jalal. Next year we have the parade go by your bedroom ??? :)

1:37 pm  
Blogger Sin said...

Too late. The parade is IN his bedroom as we type. ;)

2:21 pm  

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