A couple of weeks ago, in the spirit of spontaneity, my sis-in-law and I got a one-way ride to Seaview (cause getting a one-way ticket to Peru was too expensive, JK). As a Karachiite who lives so close to the sea, the frequency of my visits to the beach (or lack thereof) is just plain shameful. This was an attempt to fix that.
It was a beautiful evening, the sun setting the sky ablaze in vivid hues of orange and yellow. Gentle waves melting into the sand were a stark contrast to the strong, briny wind that we could almost taste. I could’ve stood there for hours, hypnotized by the sea. Except for one tiny problem. Actually two:
1. The garbage everywhere
2. The stench of rotting garbage
I don’t know if it can be categorized as a Pakistani problem – this habit of leaving a trail of trash in our wake. But it’s definitely a common sight at most public spaces in Pakistan. It’s quite a collection too – from McDonald’s wrappers to corn cobs, anything you can think of. We see it so often, it becomes a part of our existence. We learn to carefully sidestep trash heaps and unthinkingly roll down windows to watch wrappers fly into the air behind us.
I mean, I get it. There aren’t enough trash cans. There aren’t enough people in power who care enough to do anything about anything. We could spend hours talking about everything that’s wrong, and still only scratch the surface. But let’s not. Since we do enough of that on all the other days (not saying you should stop, it’s the rite of passage for being a Pakistani, after all). But let’s just make today about something else.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not much of a patriot. More often than not, I can be categorised as the jaded, “nothing-can-be-done-about this country” variety. But I have my days. When I wrestle that demon of cynicism into believing that it’s wrong. And that we’re not headed into utter ruin (despite our best efforts). For me, that doesn’t mean organising rallies where I can wear face paint and mindlessly chant “Pakistan Zindabad” (though I have nothing against that, whatever floats your boat). It just means playing our part as responsible citizens. And if that means, picking up other people’s trash then so be it.
Today, as we celebrate the resolution that helped bring this country into existence, let’s resolve to pick up after ourselves. It might be the tiniest resolution ever but at least it’s one we have control over. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be the start of something bigger.
That’s all for now.