Friday, January 27, 2006

Die, Pakistani Woman! Then be born again.

When a clueless, fat, old Pakistani woman fell back on an escalator in the ablution areas outside the Khana-e-Ka’aba in Saudi Arabia, I snapped. That woman held on to a static railing off the escalator while a companion of hers yelled at her to let go. She couldn’t tell a moving thing from a stationary one, and rolled back as the electric stairs tugged her up. She came rolling down like a snowball and fell into one hopeless heap.

And that was it for me.

That was the end of the Pakistani Woman’s stupidity and self-unawareness for me. After years of seeing every Pakistani woman over the age of thirty with a permanent backache and an inability to order food off the menu in the presence of the men of the family, after years of seeing women mumbling an opinion before being shut up in the name of their assumed natural silliness, after years of seeing that the most ‘liberal’ women were often merely a shadow of the very misled Western woman – I snapped.

I snapped when this woman fell over because she didn’t know what to do. Because she was so old and fat and helpless at the age of barely fifty-something that she couldn’t learn the function of an escalator nor respond adequately to her companion’s chiding. I snapped because when she got up, I could see in her bewildered eyes and cries that it was just not another accident of technology-unease, but a consequence of the inability to deal with a novel situation and being in a novel place.

What is life but a series of novel incidents that need a novel understanding of each moment? And if this fat, old, clueless woman lived every moment out the same, was she alive at all? Why was her mind unable to understand the simple instruction of “let the stair wall go!”? Why was she among the countless stupid, old, clueless women from Pakistan when so many other women from around the world carried themselves with grace during the Pilgrimage?

I have had enough of the Pakistani Woman as she is. I want to see a Pakistani woman who has grace. Who can think for herself. Who can order food off the menu without stuttering. Who can climb a stair or an escalator without stumbling off. I want to see a Pakistani woman who can walk on her feet, holding her thoughtful head high.


  1. Interesting post. The desi woman you describe is sadly found in so many places across the world.

    First time on your blog, nice blog you got here.

  2. lol funny how she fell.
    btw this is just another i want to c this i want to c tht typical pakistani post.y dont all the ppl who want some change do sumthng abt it instead of just complaining

  3. It's the manufacturer's fault: the railing should move with the escalator!

  4. You want to change 3000 years of upbringing & culture in just a century.

    Good luck!

    How can you expect desi women to be anything else but what they have been expected to be for the last so many hundreds of years.

    Not even the modern society can change that. Esp. when the modern society itself is corrupted, cannibalistic (not necessarily in the physical sense) with no real role models that women can really look up to.

    Yes i know about women like Asma Jehangir et al, but they're not the ideal leaders for this population. They will be admired but never followed. Such is the domain of the desi woman.

  5. oh gosh im a fan of your writing and your thinking. going to bookmark your blog and drop in every day whether you like it or not :D

    this is my nomination for blog post of the year.