Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


More Stories from the Land of the Pure.

10 Aug 2010


That is Ali Azmat live in New York, reuniting with old Junoon band-mate Brian O’Connell on the bass, with Omran Shafique from Mauj, a regular on the Azmat’s live band on guitars as Fahad Khan and Stanton Davis also join in. He’s performing his new single, Bum Pata (Bomb goes off), which is yet to be released. While I’m not completely able to make out the lyrics, they’re along the following lines.

Bum Pata / Bum Bum Pata / Kadi Lahore, Karachi te kadi Fata
Bomb, Bomb goes off. At times in Lahore, in Karachi or maybe FATA

Aithe tael na cheeni na aithe aata
Here there is neither oil, nor sugar, nor flour (Both Punjabi and English updated after RQ accused me of ruining the song with inaccurate lyrics)

And so on. Oh and something like this:

Sohniye Bura Na Mana
Don’t mind this my love.

While Azmat’s radical political views have left many speechless, his music continues to make me smile.

On the other hand the news I read does not make me smile. From reading Express Tribune stories that tell me kidnappings will rise in Ramadan because ‘criminals also have to prepare for Eid’, to the worst natural disaster to have possibly hit the Earth in this decade (I don’t think I can be fair to the near 15 million that have been affected by floods by writing about it. Take a look at the damage in these pictures.) While a bomb hasn’t actually gone off in a few days, not that I’ve heard of, buses and trucks have fallen into rivers, killing scores. Every time it rains I now feel sad, unlike never before. This is going to be my most depressing Independence Day ever.

The flags are up on the streets. Shops have started decorating with lights and little flags, and road sellers have huge ass flags ready to be picked up by patriots. The fervor is there, and I’m glad it is. This is my favorite holiday, a time when everybody again, does come together. But despite it all, it will be bittersweet to say the least. The week, yes, has been terrible for this country.

There is an obvious character to learn to laugh at ourselves. Especially in Lahore. But no one is laughing about the floods.

We did laugh about the cricket though. For those that don’t follow, yes we lost again, but some of our tailenders were a real pain for the English. That made us very happy. Also led to my Grandparent’s servant to recall a story from his village. Pakistan was playing New Zealand late last year and two tailenders had made a similar mockery of the Kiwis, bringing us close to winning. His neighbors were the only ones who had a dish to catch the live telecast, and people from all over neighboring villages dropped by to watch the match together and offer their expert views.  Cricket is this country’s true nationwide phenomenon after politics. A love this uniform is not found for anything else it seems. Us losing is not helping the depression, let me tell you that.

Update: Oh, and I forgot to mention one of the best things from the tribune story. Even terrorists only want ransom in foreign currency. The rupee’s decline is no longer a secret to our government. Shoot.