Live and Let Die!

Sep 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest, Social



It was cold. That’s for sure. It was dark- but in dark times, what difference does it make. Two twin boys. Not more than five or six years of age. They were one and apart. They were alone. Perhaps orphans. Their only source of refuge was in each other and the power of imagination only children so young possess. They were all too innocent and all too unprepared. Will they survive? Have they survived? These questions come back to haunt me sometimes. Sometimes.

Only occasionally do my thoughts betray me. Only occasionally do they escape me. My concerns. My worries. My questions. My comments. My consciousness. My being.  And barely do I succeed in bypassing the gate-keeper who is there to stop me from wondering off into the forbidden territories as he directs me back to that deep pit where I am meant to belong. Merely reminding me of the official dogma of the land, he says “Mind your own business”. And I listen. I succumb. I give in. To myself.

And yet, in times like these, when speaking and humanizing an event seems too much a task a sane person can endure, a painful madness is what we fear is in store for us. We are reminded again and again. ‘Live and let live’ goes the conventional wisdom. It has a soothing mesmerizing effect. We know it is a flawed, conveniently distorted rationalization of going out in the world seeking a good ‘normal’ time, but we buy into it. We are sold into it. For convenient and flawed reasons. To unsee what hides in front of us. Behind us. Beneath us. Just a bit tilted towards the invisible side of the lane.

Those two kids. Beautiful kids. I wonder what has become of them. But are we ever the same persons. Am I the same kid who thought Jupiter and Mars were where girls and boys came from? Who argued with so passionate fervor that Karachi is bigger than Pakistan? Who couldn’t help saying ‘Qaizemaizam’ was the founder of our nation? I don’t know what happened to that little kid. I’d love to meet him. All I have are a few memories of him and the exciting world he lived in. I wish I could go back. But could I wish the same for them. Would they like to go back? In that single moment. When history stops and mourns. It mourns existence. Will they like to go back? Will they like to be where they are today? I’ll never truly know.

It was in Quetta. That beautiful valley town enchanted with cherished memories of my childhood. Ziarat, a popular hill station resort, was not far away- a weekend’s distance. My family spent four years in Quetta when I was a kid. But this time I was on a short visit. This isn’t something so ancient. Ancient treasures aren’t very well received anyway. The image of Jinnah’s residency in Ziarat exists today in my ancient imagination. But so does this. This moment. This memory. This reflection. This guilt.

It was two or three years ago. I met up with old friends. We hanged out in different places across the city. The freezing night was begging for a heavy garma garam (freshly hot) meal. We decided to have some juicy seekh kebabs of the Lazzat Kadda (House of Taste), a small celebrated restaurant near Liaquat Market. It was late when we got there. It gets late pretty early in Quetta. We laughed off the evening.

It was when we were leaving that a friend directed our attention towards those two young invisible boys. Two intensely shivering, identical souls were sleeping on the side of the footpath. They had grabbed on to each other viciously and tightly. As if their young lives depended on it. As if the universe was hanging in balance. They were using each other’s bodies as blankets. They were both only wearing the thinnest of shalwar kameez outfits. They were fighting a battle against an obscenely cold-hearted weather in an obscenely cold-hearted world. Alone. Scared. Resilient. Powerful.

There are times. Sometimes. When I escape myself.  That shivers go down my spine. Not from feeling cold but from feeling overwhelmed by horror. The horror of the event is unspeakable. But what is terrifying to me most is not the event. It is not the scene of seeing two chipmunks left alone in the tragedy of existence. It’s those words that give me nightmares. It’s those words that are truly breathtaking. They force me to self-reflection. They allude me to the society I live in. They push me to myself. They ask me whether I am still there. As a person. As a feeling being. As there. Available. To not ‘live and let die’. To care enough to ‘live and not let die’.

Those words were uttered by a shopkeeper. He said they’re used to it. No worries’.


Saad Lakhani

About the author

Saad Lakhani is a student of Social Sciences based in Karachi. He tweets @Saadlakhani12

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  1. Brilliant. Empathy is a characteristic that need awoken in the world a lot these days.

  2. Many a times we sympathize with the cruel world. But, never dare to empathize and come out of our comfort zone to lend a helping hand to our fellow beings. We try to oversee the heart breaking conditions of our fellows as we do not have time to waste. But humanity survives when we empathizes and help our fellow beings in their sorrows. Then only we will be able to call ourselves true “HUMAN BEINGS”.

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