house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Pic Pak

You ask me what is most striking at this picnic in the Margalla Hills.

The buffalo lying in the stream, to start with. That black flank absorbs the whole sun and doesn't give a single blade of light back.

How we swim fully dressed. Cool running water - not on the skin, but on the cotton that covers the skin, like being swaddled in wet gauze. A metaphor, really, of our life here in Pakistan. Yes we see, hear, feel wondrous things, but always through an extra layer, a restriction of sorts. Is reality reduced? Or enhanced - because you need to imagine how much greater it COULD be if...

In fact this whole scene,today, is so unlike Pakistan... it reminds of an Eastern European film set in the seventies. A foreign man in tight cotton pants and vest struts along the riverbank. Someone says 'oooh, sexy' in a sarcastic drawl. He turns to face us unperturbed and, skinny white legs planted in the silt, proceeds to pontificate on the topic: ' but if my tear-rrrousers were made of plaaah-stiko that you buy in sport shop, it wouldn't matter, non e vero?' He's right of course. The all-female audience on the riverbank, hypnotised by the big gestures, the up-and-down, the bravado. Not one can tear her gaze from his crotch, which is of course 'egg-zackly' at eye level.

A couple - the same man, now in jeans and white vest, and a voluptuous woman - dance a bossa nova on the veranda, under an umbrella of barbecue smoke. Other people, having eaten, are now asleep on reed mats. Their fingers smell of roast lamb and cantaloupe.

A walk, later, up a stony hill, mild sunstroke and this conversation:

x: 'The real problem here is deforestation'.
me: 'But you know they tried...they planted hundreds of trees'...
x: 'Yes and the neighbours stole them all that very night...
me: ...'so now they're waiting to get dogs, before they plant trees again...'
x: '… and the neighbours will kill the dogs before they steal the next trees...'
me: ...oh my God, I'd just had the same that perverse, or insa..
x: 'of course you can kill a dog by feeding it a dove.
Me: ...ehm? (thinking: 'did he say 'dove')
x: (clarifies) … you know, uncooked dove...
me: (voice sounding like a tin bark) Really?
x: (clarifies further) …. you know, dowve... you make bread wizz it...
me: AH. DOUGH.
X: Yes, yes, dowe. I googled it when I wanted to kill my neighbour's dog.
Me: What? How? WHAT?
X: … 'because they eat it and it grows in their stomach and they...
me: 'Yeah, yeah, but what happened?
X: 'Huh?'
me: ' the dog? What happened to the dog?'
x: It was beautiful. Bello, big, like this (he pats the air around his chest). I couldn't kill it.
me: 'Pheew.'
X: It was the neighbour I wanted to kill reee-ly, not the dog.
me: 'Oh, that's OK!'

Sunstroke, surely.


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