I feel sad.
When I see middle-aged, middle-class, salaried guys
lugging their gigantic UPS machines all around Co-
operative Market, Saddar (Karachi). Their anguished
faces covered in beads of sweat which fall from their
balding heads with windswept hair. The sweat forms
rivulets of grime across their face, as they navigate
through the tight confines of the market where there
is little light during the middle-of-the-day and they
have to fight for air and space in there.
I saw one particular guy. His face is seared in my mind.
He was in his early 40s. He was wearing shirt and pants,
the kind you get from the tailor. The edges of his clothes
were frayed owing to frequent washing. He moved from
one shop to another, asking if his UPS (which he was
carrying on his shoulder) could be repaired ?. Every shop
owner looked at his out-dated machine and flagged him
away with his hand, with the sort of disdain that is
reserved for street beggars.
As time passed, he got visibly tired. He was slumping
under the weight of the giant metal box. He would put
the heavy box on the ground to catch his breath. His
face was a picture of anxiety and a creeping desperation,
as his sole means of averting the daily KESC torture at
home (for himself and his family), now increasingly seemed
like a lost cause.
"Kaha na! yea repair nahi ho sakta! Ab itni purani
cheezain market mein aati hee nahi hain, bhai!".
Who knows how stretched his means are. How much
are his dependents counting on him to return home
with a working UPS. A small baby, a sick mother, an
angry spouse. He will go home and he will disappoint
all of them tonight. His male ego will be cut-up into a
thousand pieces with the dull blade of recriminations.
And tonight, the KESC M.D. which gets paid millions for
doing such a good job, will be sleeping in a chilled room.
He gets to be a hero to his family. He gets invited to the
CM and PM houses. Dozens of people salute him daily.
He doesn't get sweaty. He just keeps getting rich, off
of guys like the one in the co-operative market.
I feel sad and I don't know why.
Sheikh 'Allah Dekh Raha Hai' Chilli