The PMC Watch- An Epilogue

[Note: this article has 2 parts, both are being presented here for the reader.  Enjoy!]

PART 1

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

PART 2

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)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

PARWAZ 2010: A Review

Parwaz ’10 has finally arrived.  For all the hype that’s supposed to build up in the run up to its arrival, one is wont to see people having philosophical epiphanies, while reading it in the corridors, or the lawns, or the library, or wherever.  But, you get the point?  Parwaz is HERE.

Things aren’t hopeless; this year’s Parwaz has something to offer.  The fact that it is better [English section*] than last year’s, is an accolade in and of itself.

First I will discuss, what I thought was worthwhile in Parwaz ’10, and then, obviously, in a PMC Watch-esque style I’ll indulge in some criticism too.

I’ll be honest; I opened Parwaz, with the intent to find something to criticize.  And, having flipped through the first few pages, I did feel quite justified.  But as I laid my eyes, much to the chagrin of my brain, on more and more material, I realized that there was something substantial to be found in it: if read it wouldn’t be a complete waste of time.

Let’s take a few noteworthy examples:

The title that first caught my eye was “Free Will Eschewed”.  I admit my weakness for ‘big’ words, hence the excitement.

Even though, the piece was disjointed at every other paragraph, and that the author seemingly contradicted herself.  I still thought it merited mention because there was a peculiar abundance of difficult and obscure words in it, many having been employed properly.  The author deserves credit for that.  Though, if it had been well thought out, it could’ve been a great piece.

Another article that stood out was verbosely titled: “Ridiculous Fashion Modes (Invented by Ignorance and Adopted by Folly)”.  This article contrasted well with the abovementioned piece in many ways.  It had coherence, was easy to read, and made sense.

Its content happened to discuss a very pertinent issue: the shallow standards of our society, and what it imagines  the so-called ‘modernity’ to be, and tries hard to adopt, especially through ‘fashion’(faayyshaan).

The article also had a hint of wit.  For instance:

“…Their clothing is beyond description (seriously!  But I’ll present a little picture), pants would seem to fall any minute, their hairstyle[s] are beyond imagination, working like new mountain ranges.  These ‘dudes’ (I am stressing on it, mind that) with spikes look more like a bunch of porcupines.”

The author has done a decent job, she should continue writing.

Another piece that I particularly liked was “Group Nomenclature” , because it discussed an issue that touches at the very heart and core of PMC’s culture: Group-ism, a need for ‘identity’, and the boundaries, all so meticulously constructed, that exist at PMC.  Or, how people feel compelled to ‘change’ their selves, and adopt a new social ‘identity’.  How, we so often see that those who only yesterday were meek bookish nerds, turn, almost over night into local versions of ‘Jonas Brothers’ [Click to get a better idea :P], or ‘Gossip Girl(s)’ [Yes, another pop culture reference, but no pic this time].

The article had a good dose of sarcasm, and the author cleverly utilized medical terminology, and that added to the effect immensely.  It’s worth a read.

There were quite a few ‘discourses’ on religion too, which is commendable.  But, they were either pseudo-intellectual interpretations (such as that of Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa), OR, reminiscing and lamenting the course of history.  When indeed, the need of the hour is to talk about ‘relevant’ issues from an Islamic perspective, and connect past to present and make “it” relevant.

Much of the rest was the same old drill, with the same trite and pedestrian topics:  we need democracy, we need this, we need that, and of course ‘political’ commentary having self-bestowed the ‘expertise’ to do so.

Then, there were the token ‘My first day at PMC…’/ ‘How I love PMC…’ topics.  Nothing wrong with it, but there are innumerable ‘real’ issues at PMC that one could talk about and there’s a dearth of material on these.  Instead of paying lip service to already used and abused topics, explore more avenues.  Nonetheless, the authors should be congratulated, as they at least chose to write!

In passing, I must mention that I do have a bone to pick with one particular poem, “The Potion of Love: A Panacea” .  I’ve been befuddled with this rather convoluted (and probably tasteless) recipe of ‘Love’, as it does not make much sense, even with layers of metaphor.  The aspiring poetess states that it is love [quote], “…for which cupid shared the blame.”  Apparently, it is the ‘magic’ of this cupid’s love that gives [quote], “…birth to hope, banishing barbarous plunders.”  Is she suggesting, that if every man in the world had a woman to love, and every woman a man, it would be a ‘Panacea’ [remedy/solution] to all of the world’s miseries?  I am confident, even a Bob Marley intoxicated with Marijuana, would think this far-fetched.

Now, to some constructive criticism, if I may.  Allow me to begin with the ‘editorial’.  I can’t recall having last read such a deplorable ‘editorial’.  To mention just one illustrious mistake; whoever even writes an ‘introduction’ (‘tamheed’) in a second paragraph?!  And, to think the Editorial Board had a ‘whole’ year to get it correct.

A further proof of the lackadaisical job done by the respectable Editor-in-Chief, is how he made a factual and historical error in one of his numerous articles, by calling the caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (ra) : ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz.  What happened to proof-reading?  Cross-checking?  In short, editorial duties?!

Another beautiful example of how the whole range of Editors, Sub-Editors, Asisstant-Editors […], were completely blind-sided by the enormity of their task, that they seemingly decided to not do it at all: is plagiarism!  Yes, they even managed to have plagiarized material published.

To quote someone is one thing, but to have a whole page filled with someone else’s words, and write two measly sentences of ones own at the beginning, then have it published under one’s own name [even after having mentioned the actual author ‘Gabriel Garcia Marquez’], is blatant plagiarism.  No excuse for it.

I really can’t comprehend this conduct of Parwaz’s editors.  If they take their jobs more seriously, it could greatly uplift Parwaz’s stature.

Notwithstanding the unforgiveable editorial shenanigans, there IS a silver lining.  In this year’s Parwaz, some raw talent has shone through, which definitely needs to be developed.  Even with the unoriginal material, the standard of language, content, and its delivery has improved.  This by all means is an achievement.  Parwaz certainly has cause to celebrate, but still not much to boast.

Catharsis

I remember some wise guy once saying:

The freedom of expression guards our other liberties.

Freedom: a word full of meaning and beauty, but foreign to our society! Whether it be the freedom of speech or thought; you name it, and we don’t have it. “Why is it that every beautiful and noble thing is non-existent in our society?” I always ask myself! Anyway, I am not here to answer this question (neither am I in a position to answer this question ;-)). In fact, I am here to relate the consequences of the ‘absence of freedom’.

Everybody would agree with me on the fact that a lack of proper communication has a catastrophic effect on mental health; and it is as necessary as food or air to express oneself. Freedom is the most important thing to make this happen. We could fully express ourselves only when we feel that we are free to say whatever we have in mind. If we place even a single barrier, the whole purpose of communication gets killed.

Before proceeding further, I would like to justify this statement: “Freedom is the most important thing to achieve the real purpose of communication”. Whenever something goes inside, ultimately, it has to come outside. We come across a variety of feelings here in PMC on daily basis, for example, getting humiliated by the teachers, getting depressed because of samosa getting more and more costly, being let down by the fact that we are single and so forth.

These feelings do make their way inside our head, but they never actually come out of it. Could we tell our teachers of what we really think of them? Could we do something about the cost of samosa? Could we tell our friend that we are jealous of him/her because we are single and he/she is not?! The fear of a supplee never allows us to express our real feelings to the teachers; authority of the Café guy stops us from arguing over samosa price; and our ego prevents us from confessing that we are tired of being single! This evident failure to let go of our actual emotions and feelings has led to some extremely disastrous consequences, one of them being (as put in my own words) “a frequent, abrupt and nasty leakage of repressed emotions through certain highly unpleasant channels”.

Everybody has some companions who are otherwise useless but are a good means of releasing frustration and anger. We talk to them and feel somewhat relieved. Some of that “garbage” might get disposed of in this way but much of it remains within us because the above mentioned and other similar reasons compel us to never open up fully to them. We never talk to them about actual matter, hence destroying the purpose of communication.

At this point, I would like to quote Arthur Schopenhauer:-

The conversation among ordinary people mostly consists in hackneyed commonplaces, which they alternately repeat to each other with the utmost complacency.

The conversations that take place among us poor PMCians consist of nothing but hackneyed commonplaces. By taking part in these conversations, any keen observer would readily sense a degree of frustration that has arisen as a result of suppression of the underlying emotion and at the same time would get amused. The charm of these conversations is that they do not just take place among us fellows; they take place almost everywhere in PMC, that is, notice boards, walls, benches and anything that could bear the weight of our delicate emotions!

Thing that makes these conversations so special is that they are a genuine reflection of our collective mindsets and represent our true selves. Take a look at the following ‘picture’:-

I am not a Paindu!

It says, “I am a PMCian and I am not a PAINDU”. It is evident that the people who wrote this are suffering from an inferiority complex because they came to PMC from their pind with a hope that PMC would be a different place (a Camelot, thus to speak). But, nevertheless, we should admire their benevolence because they left much of the chart empty for the others to share their sorrows too!

Now, take a good look at the following placards which give glad tidings of an oncoming ‘book-fair’:-

Book Fair 1

Book Fair 2

The one on top, at various places, contains references to Munni and Sheela. Book-fair, Munni, Sheela…do they seem related to each other? If you are a PMCian, your answer should be: “HELL YEAH!” At other places, it says: “Sir Najam ki pencil mere pas hai, mujh se rujoo karein (I have Sir Najam’s pencil, contact me)”, “uthtay janazay dekho (see the funerals)”, “harkat check kar lo (check that action) etc.

The second one has these inscriptions: “haye Ammi, bhaoo (oh Mom, BHAOO)”, “chal rehn de baba kam kar (leave it dude, go do your job)”, “dafa maaro yaar (let it be, yaar)”, “Molvi teri to… (Molvi, you are a…)”, “jaldi lagaao yaar (do it soon, yaar)”, “Islamic bhai mujhe cheap books buy krni hain (Islamic bhai, I want to buy cheap books)”, “bachna ae hasino, lo main aa gaya (brace yourselves broads, here I come)etc.

Sometimes, the notice boards get polluted with filthy politics. As politics is also a means of letting the ‘garbage’ stored inside come outside, we see many politicians in PMC. Remarkable thing is that you don’t have to belong to some party to be a politician!

The following pictures show ‘politically emotional outburst’ which took place when a party planned an event and some other parties opposed the plan (and probably the ‘planners’ too):-

Political poster 1

Political poster 2

Now, see the rebuttal:-

Political poster 3

It says: “JALLAN KI MAARI (name of the opposing party has been censored)”

Apart from the vulgarities, indecencies, and random trashy stuff; some creative work could also be seen sometimes. Take a look:-

What a great BONGI is this?!

It says: “The RING IS MINE! SAURON LIVES!!!

ARAGON LIVES

FRODO LIVES

–What a Great BONGI IZ This?!–

Now, I would like to end this article with an advice: It is the freedom of thought which is actually important. Real freedom comes when your soul is liberated from petty desires. Learn to communicate with yourself. A famous nazm of Faiz is crossing my mind…

Bol, ke lab aazad hain tere

Bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai

Tera sutwan jism hai tera

Bol, ke jaan ab tak teri hai

Bol, ke thora waqt bohat hai

Jism-o-zaban ki maut se pehle

Bol, ke sach zinda hai ab tak

Bol, jo kuch kehna hai kehle

(Speak, your lips are free

Speak, it is your own tongue

Speak, it is your own body

Speak, your life is still yours

Speak, this brief hour is long enough

Before the death of body and tongue:

Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet

Speak, speak, whatever you must speak)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

Kick Ass M.B.B.S. !

 

 

Altruism; chivalry; women. In many ways these are the three essential components of what truly makes one a Kick-Ass.  In fact, these are the three principles by which he abides.  I am quite justified in using this term; Kick-Ass, especially because we have a very befitting pop culture reference:  Kick-Ass the Movie.  The movie is about a kid who gets obsessed with becoming a real life super hero, who goes around doing good things, and also finds it an excellent way of winning over the girl he likes.

 

We however are not discussing the movie.  It has been mentioned to give some necessary background on this term “Kick-Ass”, as the three principles mentioned above can be observed in this movie.  It holds some useful cues for an aspiring PMC Kick-Ass, who more likely than not, had a very suppressive teenage.   No quick judgments should be made, as this is not a complete tragedy.  We are after all going to discuss how a PMC Kick-Ass unravels:  The story of a true hero in making.

 

In order to do this, I will have to contextualize the abovementioned three principles into PMC’s environment and realities, and how these reflect in a PMC Kick-Ass.  So, bear with me as this is nothing short of celebration of a crucial aspect of PMC’s lifestyle.

 

Altruism

Altruism technically means giving to others, being charitable, and caring for others, and so on.  The question is, how is Altruism embodied by a PMC Kick-Ass?  Surely it can’t be donating blood, and other clichéd manners of ‘caring for others’.  A true PMC Kick-Ass always has an excuse; from life threatening health condition to wrong blood group.  As an uninitiated new comer, he must first learn to appreciate what Altruism really is, for this he turns to the ‘sages’ often referred to as ‘seniors’.  Remember, he is already a PMC Kick-Ass in spirit.

 

The very first lesson he learns is, “puttar spending on yourself is the greatest act of charity in PMC”. Hence he acquires the key to being altruistic.  The process of extreme makeover begins.  Out goes the checkered   formal looking shirt that he once buttoned up to the collar, with great pride, suddenly tight t-shirts and fake polos are in.  Branded jeans, a sure eye-catcher, and of course, china made pair of converse.   The first step to completion of his manhood has been covered.

 

Now he busies himself with spreading his altruistic spirit by giving much needed fashion advice to other aspiring PMC Kick-Asses.  Soon, he gathers and establishes PMC’s very own, and abused version of Backstreet Boys (I say abused, because there’s a history of precedents).  On a thoughtful second note, I should probably scratch the reference to Backstreet Boys, what I really meant was macho, testosterone laden Kick-Asses.

 

 

Chivalry

Chivalry means having valor, generosity, gentleman ship.  So, it is not terribly hard to mistake the Kick-Asses as knights in shining armour.  This alliance of evil fighters goes out into the corridors of PMC everyday to scout ‘possible threats’.  Their primary aim is to save the innocent and unsuspecting girls from the ‘marauding’ theethas, who aren’t “JUST” discussing viva questions, or exchanging notes, or suddenly showing up in the same societies, or running for sports rep.  There’s a more ‘sinister’ reason.

 

A PMC Kick-Ass, after all those facials and threading routines, not to mention the military like regimen he has to get used to, in order to look like a cheap rip-off of MTV Roadies, has a greater right to such reasons.  Or so he sincerely believes.  Only he should hit the jackpot.  He’s the man, no…the superman!

 

Women

Naturally, many would ask the question: why be altruistic?  Why be chivalrous?  Why ‘save’ the ‘unsuspecting’ girls?  The answer, which is biologically and psychologically sound, is: because they are GIRLS!  This one is a no-brainer.

 

After years of being walked over, of the survival of the fittest going awry, girls are quite literally ‘the forbidden fruit’.  Being disadvantaged is a great motivator!

 

So, “women” (ladies, take no offence; ‘women’ is being used a suitable synonym for ‘girls’, there’s nothing wrong with being in touch with your feminine side) is the last and most important principle and component of a Kick-Ass’s existence.  First two principles are a corollary to it.

 

In not so far past, when he wasn’t a Kick-Ass, the PMC Kick-Ass’s expertise in this field included:

 

Ogling girls sheepishly, hiding behind pillars and doors.  All the while pretending to fix his thick prescription glasses.

Reading depressing poetry.

And, of course being in touch with ‘modern ways’, like those ‘love meters’ on such educational outlets as Aag TV.  He loved (still does) utilizing such digital means of finding the perfect other to message late into night with.  After all what are the ‘youth packages’ for?  A 70% on the ‘love meter’ would turn out to be so incredibly exhilarating that he would go to sleep with head held high, like a warrior who had won a most prized trophy.  The only problem is, he imagined his name on the ‘love meter.  He was too clever to spend any money.

Today, the PMC Kick-Ass stands a real chance, or, at least he thinks.  And, he is always looking for motivation.  What really boosts his morale is the fact that the girls he wishes to court (or has been successful courting) aren’t exactly ‘houris’ either.  This in itself increases his chances exponentially.

 

Now, all of this may sound a little bizarre and even disturbing to a non-PMCian.  He or she may ask: why go through all this trouble?  What could possibly create a desire in a person to become a Kick-Ass?  What are the possible social and psychological causes?

 

To my untrained mind, these sound like intellectual and philosophical questions.  Attempting to answer these is likely to bore me, the PMC Kick-Asses, and rest of the PMCians.  So, I’m going to leave these unanswered.

 

As for the outcome of such endeavours, it isn’t always as a PMC Kick-Ass expects.  The success rate is quite abysmal.  Only the most skilful ones actualize their ‘goals’, most others have to settle for ‘less’.  It’s ruthless competition.  Many PMC Kick-Asses may have withdrawal symptoms that feel like Spiderman in his real life, except that this is their only ‘real’ life.

 

However, there IS a silver lining.  After having spent five years with much philogynist vigor, a Kick-Ass is not simply Kick-Ass, he is now the PMC Kick-Ass M.B.B.S. Here, his story turns a new page.  What happens next does not concern us, but the legacy of PMC Kick-Ass lives on.

 

 

PROF Woes

The ordeal for most begins one sweltering afternoon sometime in summer.  The realization takes place in passing.  It couldn’t in any other way because of the inevitability.  Deep inside we all know that it’s bound to happen, even if we are wont.  So, one day while pushing through the drudgery of theories, diseases and actual work, one goes, “Oh man PROF!!”.

Work it is, to everyone.  But how is it an ‘ordeal’ may not be discernible to quite a few.  Those with a ‘fool proof’ life plan.  How it all began for them requires wandering down the uncharted memory lanes of the ‘dedicated’.  However, every ‘way’ has its perils, and with PROF come great perils.

That PROF is an instigator of such ‘perils’ is only partly true.  The PROF season does, however, provide an important microcosmic insight into how a certain stratum of our society thinks and operates.  Here I’m considering the middle class, who make up the bulk of the educated and the ‘being educated’.  How the way they perceive education and how it affects what they do in future, most certainly does not take place in a ‘void’.  The rat race to success in PROF mirrors much of what takes place after one finishes his or her studies.

Politics of PROF

So what are these perils that I speak of?  Most certainly studying much of day light and night hours to the extent that you lose sense of time, but still relying on ‘chance’ to make a difference between great success and mere success, or success and failure, is a perilous situation to be in.  This is exactly the mental cacophony that has to be dealt by someone studying for PROF.

The social background of the individual also makes the situation ‘perilous’, or at least I would like to think.  Middle class, the educated middle class, lives in a world, in a bubble, which is the height of mediocrity.  The life has a set path.  You are born, you go to school, you go to college, you become a doctor/engineer/civil servant, and you make money, get married, make babies, and perpetuate the cycle.  Over and over again.  Such a life style should raise questions, and it does.  However, I intend to discuss only what’s relevant to the issue at hand.

What piques my intuition is, what exactly MOTIVATES people who choose to remain and continue to remain in such a lifestyle?  The answer is intricately wound in the way our society, culture, and social conscious operate.  We have to remember that education is one of the factors that create ‘social mobility’, and still being traditionally agricultural society, a large part if not most of the middle class, comes from a rural underclass background.  The realities of life, the tug of war over land, possessions, high status of a village noble, translate into an urban struggle.  The same mentality is at work, even if one moved on from ‘the village’ generations ago, it is deeply ingrained in the psyche.

In the dullness of middle class life, competition is ‘created’, along the lines of money, land, possessions, connections, social status, caste, and even color (the whole ‘fair and lovely’ complex).  Since we aren’t exactly a meritocratic society, corruption helps immensely as well.

This ‘competition’ is particularly profound when it comes to ‘doctors’, because of the notion that exists and persists among us that it is a noble profession.  Noble here means status and money.  Hence parents work hard, and so does the ‘educational system’, to produce these trophy children, who know only, and think only to achieve that would ensure and perpetuate their status quo.  It is strange the profundity with which this urbanized village mentality persists, almost like a religious obsession.  Even though, doctors are barely respected anymore, nor does such a profession ensures monetary safety.

Hence, for these trophies to shine, they must compete.  Compete for space, compete for position, and compete for status.  I doubt most realize they are guinea pigs to the system, regardless of how well off they are likely to be after acquiring the M.B.B.S.  Before someone gets pragmatic about this (maybe not so obvious) ‘peril’ and says, “well isn’t that the point? To study for PROF and MBBS?”  No it ISN’T.  If it were about knowledge, and imparting knowledge, more people would become teachers or go into research, which obviously is NOT the case!  It’s about the lustrous trophies.

This is PROF, the politics of PROF.  It is not a mere ‘examination’.

Caveat

Regardless of what PROF represents, we all have an inkling of need for PROF, whether big or small.  PROF is not without its advantages.   An obvious one is ‘success’ which is a great motivator for everyone, regardless of the underlying driving factors.  We all want to taste success, because it provides satisfaction, which in turn helps us to survive and continue.  I am petrified, just like anyone else, even at the thought of a “suppli”, because this would lead to LACK of satisfaction among other things, and that would just make it harder to even bare the look of medical books.  I hate to use clichés, but PROF either makes you or breaks you, notwithstanding your philosophy on life.

All in all, I do not wish to turn this article into a piece of unauthoritative psychoanalytical babble, not more than it already is! 😛

So, the question is; is this deeply felt expression of woes with PROF meant to help ease the pain?  Maybe, provide some release?  No, not really.  One would be hard pressed to find a ‘remedy’ for something that is needed to provide remedies for countless other pains.  But, try ingesting Prozac.

Keep the Change!

Change is a vital element of nature. A static world is unimaginable, no doubt. But when a person or a thing undergoes a change to such an extent that it can be termed as ‘transmogrification’ then the situation surely deserves, or rather, needs a second thought.

According to my observation, most of us today have ceased to be what they were back then. We have out-smarted the Family of chameleons in changing appearances. This change has been so remarkable and rapid that even the most composed minds have not remained safe from its influence. This prodigious change is not just limited to persons; it is more like a component of the atmosphere in PMC. It has operated like a chain-reaction on the minds, affecting the weak and fragile minds in a highly destructive manner. PMCians are the realistic examples of the “Mutants” which we see in sci-fi stuff. We can often spot a guy who is ‘chilling out’ with the other ‘dudes & pals’ in the ‘coolest’ sense possible, who was actually a slow-witted nerd throughout his past life (or a Theeta, as they say in PMC). A chivalrous young lad who was (and probably could still be) a notorious narcissist can be frequently seen striving to lend a hand to the female colleagues. Pseudo-Mafiosi, who were actually henchmen of some bully in their school life (probably due to the fear of getting beaten up themselves), also grace the PMC corridors with their precious presence (so much so that they don’t even bother entering any department because they feel that their presence should be felt uniformly throughout the premises during their brief visit).

Just a bit of introspection and each and every one of us can easily detect these ‘changed selves’. Well, as far as the reason of this change is concerned, it is quite vivid: unclear objectives! Before coming here, our goal was to get admission in some medical college (preferably K.E for most of the ‘unlucky fellow PMCians’ 😀). After the admission, every one of us had to set new objectives. Most people got derailed at this point because they neither had experience nor sufficient will-power which was required to do that. The parents used to take all the decisions for the majority of us and then this responsibility suddenly shifted to our shoulders weak shoulders. Consequently, two entirely different ‘races’ emerged, whose partition is graphically evident in almost every aspect.

  1. Theetas
  2. Non-Theetas

Let me make a generalization here. At first, people mostly choose to continue their old lifestyle (Theeta lifestyle). But they have to go to the other (Non-Theeta) race later on due to the seniors’ influence, stigmatization of the Theetas in general, the ‘encouraging’ company of friends and mainly due to the fact that they had always wanted to lead a carefree life after admission (a reward that was promised to them). In the end, only a few manage to stay the way they were.

The Non-Theetas are a diverse group of individuals. Fifty percent of them are entirely clueless of what they want to do with their lives, hence their existence and non-existence has same effect on others and themselves. They don’t want themselves to get engrossed into anything, be it study or something else. Their ideas keep on fluctuating and they spend their five years like a football which roams about between the two halves in the field and ends up getting nothing except kicks from all the players. They mould themselves according to their company (which is highly volatile) and adopt the ‘ideas’ of the group to which they belong to at any point of time.

The other fifty percent population is better in a way that they at least manage to have some vague idea of what they are going to do in these five years. Now the irony is that the future plans of this lot are so incongruous with their original self that they also have to end up empty-handed (though they delude themselves by cherishing their unreal achievements all this time). Generally, their ‘ideas’ sound like one of these:-

  1. Make a mark in the activities unrelated to studies.
  2. ‘Set some sexy bold and pretty Bacchi’ (the most appropriate word to use here is sexy, but it sounds somewhat impolite).
  3. Do all kinds of cheap things in the name of ‘shughal’ (amusement).

Now reflecting upon the above lines, answer this question: Is any of the above mentioned ‘purpose’ going to take you anywhere in life even if you succeed somehow in achieving it? Temporary rapture and ultimately it is all over and even then we transmogrify ourselves for these useless things. It is a fact that most of us were groomed in a confined environment and that explains much that why these things fascinate us. But just because you have been admitted to a co-ed institution does not mean that you start ruining your life in pursuit of foolish aims. Another thing is that PMC is not even a co-ed institute, it is ‘pseudo co-ed’ and that makes my point even stronger. Try to realize that you have actually been put into a primary school instead of a college and then you will easily understand that it is utterly useless to release your frustration in these useless ways.

Everybody has some potential but the education system in Pakistan is incapable of polishing the abilities of youth and consequently it gets wasted in wrong directions. The situation usually gets better at the graduation level, but unfortunately, it worsens in case of PMC because there are not enough opportunities to show talent in co-curricular activities (there are many reasons for this and they will be addressed at a later time inshaAllah!).

Lastly, I want to state that the purpose of this article is not to encourage everybody to become a Theeta. The point is that choosing to be a Theeta is like choosing a lesser of the two evils. Try to indulge yourself in purposeful activities both outside and inside PMC. If that seems difficult to achieve, at least try to have well-defined objectives. And whatever you intend to do (whether it’s setting a Bacchi or anything else), commit yourself to it and do it tactfully. Because Meer said,

شرط سلیقہ ہے ہر ایک امر میں
عیب بھی کرنے کو ہنر چاہیے

(shart saleeqah hai har aik amr mein

aib bhi karne ko hunar chaahiye)

Regards,

The Philosopher’s Stone

طبی مدرسے کا احوالِ خفیفی

دور تلک اندھیرا ہو ، نہ روشنی نہ سویرا ہو ،تو جو روشنی دکھائے،جواندھیروں کو مٹائے،قلب کو جلائے،وہ یہ طبی مدرسہ کہلائے۔شھر کے جھیڑوں سے دور،کلاک ٹاور سی مفرور ،اپنی آغوش میں سینکڑوں ایسوں کو سمیٹےجن پر دنیاے طب کے باقی سارے دروازے بند ہوںاس مدرسے کی آن بان دیدنی۔

اپنے اندرایسے موتی سمیٹے جن کی کوئٍی قیمت نہ کوئی مول،اور ایسی موتیاں جن پر کسی کا نہ زور۔  ایسے آفاقی طبیب جب منہ پر مسکرائیں تو آپ دس فٹ دور جائیں ،دانت دکھائیں تو گوہرًًََِ نایاب شرمائیں،زلفیں اڑائیں تو جی متلائے ،زبان کھولیں تو خاندان کا پتا بتائیں ،ہاتھ ملائیں تو انگشت بدنداں ،سینے سے لگ جائیں تو انگشت نہ جانےکہاں کہاںّ۔موتیاں بھی شاز مختلف نہیں ، ان کی ذات پر نہ جائیں حرکات پر جائیں۔  ایک سرخی ایک وقت میںکے اصول پہ پیرا ، گلابوں کو شرمائیں ،دلوں کو جلائیں ،سینوں کو تڑپائیں ۔ انگریزی بولیں تو انگریز شرمائیں،زبان پر ایسے نشیب و فراز کہ الفاظ تھک جائیں ،باہر آئیں تو ھوٹل ،ھوٹییل اور ھیلو،ھیلییو بن جائے ،موتیوں کےقریب آؤ تو دور جائیں ،دور جاؤ تو مسکرائیں آنکھیں ملائیں ، دل لبھائیں ۔ پھر یہ صنعت،یہ سرخیاں،یہ شوخیاں چہ معنی دارد؟مریٕٕضوں کے لیے پانچ سال مریض تیار کرتے اس مدرسے کی مزید بپتا قابلّ شنید ہے، سننے کی سکت تو ہو۔

نوٹ۔ اس تحریر میں کالج کی ایکخاص مخلوق کی جانب اشارہ ہے ،یہ اصول سب پر لاگو نہیں۔

dooor talak andhera ho, na roshni na sawera ho, to jo roshni dikhaaye, jo andheron ko mitaaye, qalb ko jalaaye, wo ye tibbi madrissa kehlaaye. Shehar ke jhagron se door, clock tower se mafroor, apni aaghosh mein sainkron aison ko samaitay jin par duniya-e-tibb ke baaqi saare darwazay band haun. Iss madrissay ki aan-baan deedni.

apne andar aise moti samaitay jin ki koi qeemat na koi mol, aur aisi “mautiyaan” jin par kisi ka na zor. Aise aafaaqi tabeeb jab moonh par muskuraayen to aap 10 foot dooor jaayen, daant dikhaayen to gohar-e-nayaab sharmaayen, zulfein uraayen to jee matlaayen, zabaan kholein to khaandaan kaa pata bataayen, haath milaayen to angasht-bad-nadaan, seenay se lag jaayen to angasht na-jaane kahaan kahaan.

“Mautiyaan” bhi shaaz mukhtalif nahi, in ki zaat par na jaayen harkaat pe jaayen. “1 surkhi 1 waqt mein” ke asool pe paida, gulaabon ko sharmaayen, dilon ko jalaayen, seenon ko tarpaayen. Angrezi bolain to angraiz sharmaayen, zabaan par aise nashaib-o-faraaz ke alfaaz thak jaayen, bahar aayen to “hotel”, “hotiyell” aur “hello”, “helliyo” ban jaayen, “mautiyon” ke qareeb aao to dooor jaayen, dooor jaao to muskuraayen aankhen milaayen, dil lubhaayen. Phir ye san’at, ye surkhiyaan, ye shokhiyaan cheh-maani-daard? mareezon ke liye 5 saal mareez tayyaar karte iss madrissay ki mazeed bapta qaabil-e-shaneed hai, sun’ne ki sakat to ho.

Note: iss tehreer mein college ki 1 “khaas makhlooq” ki jaanib ishara hai, ye asool sab par laagoo nahi.