[Note: this article has 2 parts, both are being presented here for the reader. Enjoy!]
The PMC Watch?! I will cut to the chase; the idea was conceived one eventful night more than a year ago, in a dark corner of a study room, while chatting with a friend. He was confided in, so there were two of us.
Messages were discreetly sent to individuals who we believed had a potential to write, and were most likely to collaborate. Out of all the people we invited, and there weren’t many, only one showed interest, and gave an encouraging response. He came onboard. I must say ever since he has been our best asset. So, there were three of us. Much later a fourth was brought on to the team. So, there were only four of us who ever were involved with running of, and writing for the PMC Watch- the blog and the facebook page.
Why the PMC Watch? This is a difficult question to answer. But, it was borne out of a need to provide a different edge and angle, to views and commentary on life at PMC. And, to think in a different paradigm than the prevalent one. Candid sarcasm, raising serious questions, and giving truthful conclusions has had been our hallmark. The ‘need’ to do all of this was felt, after having observed that it wasn’t necessarily the ‘intellect’, the ‘right’, the common sense, that prevailed in the PMC culture.
So, the very core of our message was and is the ability to ‘self-criticize’. This stands important, because it is only after one confronts one’s own faults, at individual and societal level, and the weak ivory towers are demolished, does one begin to see with a higher level of clarity.
How successful we have been in imparting this message, I cannot say. Whether our work has been appreciated or slated, is something I am not too concerned to seek an answer for. As a wise woman once said:
“If we have been accused of what is not within us, then how many times have we been praised for what is also not within us.”
I believe a point has come where we need to benefit from some introspection for our own good. Whether the PMC Watch is a worthwhile endeavor or not? Whether we facilitate ‘change’ and ‘thinking outside the box’, or do we pontificate? Do we have an audience or are we just hitting the wall? Are we sincere in our work, or just self-serving? And, so on. Add to this the pre-PROF drama, and we have valid enough reasons for a BREAK!!
As I make a ‘temporary’ departure, from this ‘fiefdom’ (lol) of pen, I am reminded of, in a caricatured way, of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s verses, which he penned while being exiled to Rangoon:
My beloved tormented me so much
We were forced to leave our native land;
As drops of wax from the burning taper
So as we quit the circle of life
Fell tears from our eyes.
The gardener forbade us sporting in his garden,
With laughter we came,
With wailing we parted.
No I don’t suddenly feel forlorn and heartbroken! But, the point is, just as some have their text messages and the ‘significant others’ [a sign of manhood these days], and others have their hostel life and its hustle and bustle. Then, there are those who have their medical books to cherish and hug.
For me, it was (and is) as much as a question of ‘survival’ as of not being quiescent, in an environment which is lopsided, layered with pretenses, fueled with group-think and sheep mentality, seeking to be something it cannot be, and all the while passing off as normal! So, you can understand the dilemma.
So, my ‘circle of life’ to borrow the poet’s words, which helped me survive (and hopefully will in future), is writing with a ‘cause’. It is as much an antidote, as it is a symbolic expression of shattering the ‘idols’ that are such degenerate values and ‘mores’. No one questions these, no one sees through these, but all find ways to twist and twist!
Anyhow, at the moment it is time to close this chapter in PMC’s lackluster history; only to emerge once again…sooner or later. Or maybe not!
– The Obscurantist
Preamble has already been given by The Obscurantist, I guess. I would just like to add a little bit from my side.
It was a fairly cold day in the first week of March of 2010, I remember. The Obscurantist approached me while we were leaving the Physiology Lab. He handed me a tiny piece of paper on which “pmcwatch.wordpress.com” was written. I asked him about it and he said that I should check it whenever I had time. I visited the blog and found the idea really striking and felt kind of flattered too because The Obscurantist had himself invited me to contribute to it. So, I hopped in! I contributed my first article the following Sunday. The Obscurantist welcomed it and I was added to the list of the authors.
Basically, I joined The PMC Watch for two purposes: ‘Recreation’ and ‘Catharsis’. And, I got both of these fulfilled through the course of time. I was aware of the fact that people mostly don’t go about reading anything written in English unless they have to prepare for some exam etc. But still, I thought that it would be worth writing even if just two or three people read it and it would be enough if I successfully impregnate even a single mind with my ideas. I never considered it a platform which could change anything significantly and neither had I ever thought of it as a mere pastime.
For me, the most important of all things has always been expressing my mind in as subtle a manner as possible. I prefer releasing the frustration in a cloak of humor; the frustration begotten by the sense of not being able to do something in a broader perspective. The PMC Watch provided me with the opportunity to do it, that is, express my mind, and I am grateful for that! Even if I get to write my thoughts on a wall (preferably, my Facebook wall :D), I get contented. And undoubtedly, The PMC Watch has always been better than a wall :). As Meer has said,
وقت خوش ان کا جو ہم بزم ہیں تیرے
ہم تو در و دیوار کو احوال سنا جاتے ہیں
(waqt-e-khush un kaa jo hum-bazm haim tere
hum to dar-o-deewaar ko ahwaal suna jaate hain)
The question as of whether or not to carry it on arose when The Obscurantist recently intimated to me that he seemed to be getting too egotistic regarding The PMC Watch. I said, “Do whatever you deem right, I will support”. He made a decision and hence I am talking to you now, which could be the very last time we ever talk. Everything that begins has an end, and if it is going to end here, I would like to end it with one of my very favorite verses of Faiz.
فیض، آتے ہیں راہ عشق میں جو سخت مقام
آنے والوں سے کہو ہم تو گزر جائیں گے
(Faiz, aate hain raah-e-ishq mein jo sakht maqaam
aane waalon se kaho, hum to guzar jaayen ge)
The Philosopher’s Stone