Dawn Images – No spinzone 50 ways to leave your lover

March 15, 2009

Source: Dawn Images

“You know Zeb and Haniya?” asked the Turkish Ambassador Engin Soysal. No, I don’t, I said. “Well then come over and hear them.” I did. Pakistani youth was there. Fresh, beautiful and honest. Untouched by the phony stench of politics in the capital. Guitarist Haniya sang a vintage Paul Simon number 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. While my toes tapped, my mind was elsewhere doing its own math looking for 50 ways to leave one’s lover. Don’t take me literally. ‘Lover’ has no sexual connotation; for that you have Aunty Agni on these pages. My take is: “One who is fond of or devoted to something.” Are we not all ‘lovers’ – men, women, old, young, poor and rich? We spend our lives in love. We end up burnt. The name and identity of our paramour is ‘id.’

The problem is all inside your head
At the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
I’d like to help you in
your struggle
To be free
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
As Haniya sings Simon’s song written after his wife leaves him in 1973, thirty-six years later, my frame of reference can hardly be a cry for an ephemeral in flesh and blood ‘lover.’ My lament is for the permanent lover that is larger than life. It’s the id. It shadows us; it stalks us; it ruins us. Do you know that the mother of all egos and superegos is the id? It’s the unconscious part of our minds. It’s the sum of our personality, our inherited instincts. Freud calls id ‘the deepest part of the psyche’. It is from the id that the other two elements, the ego and superego originate. Listen, it’s good to have your id fully functional, but don’t let the id run away with your life! Don’t elope with your lover.

Since all Pakistanis are political animals, it’s but politically correct to examine the id of our government first. From the president down to the peon who serves him coffee, the id lives in every man and woman holding power. The president’s superego is obvious in hundred ways – his whimsy with his own photo benignly looking down upon visitors sprawled on the sofas below; his passing of ordinances that in his view are good for him; his daily edicts that massage his and his party’s ego more than the nation’s. I can go on, but let’s leave at that. The prime minister has his own id at work. Looking dashing at all times appears his uppermost preoccupation. “How many designer suits and ties does he own?” asks a former ambassador. Gilanis’s island of ministers is more seized with accumulating status trophies like gaudy homes, a cabal of yes-men and fleet of Prados. They want more and more of the bounties because their id demands it. The sound of sirens and flashing lights accompanying them releases doses of serotonin, that miracle hormone flowing in the brain giving their egos a feel-good high. Kowtowing sends their superegos flying up in the sky.

Not only ministers but all of us are in constant search for serotonin. We want our brains to download this magic potion. But happiness is fleeting. Infatuation with our lover, the id never lasts. Better then to count the 50 ways to leave our lover.

Cancel the deal with the devil

Ten things best avoided for people in power: saying sayonara to your conscience and the fear to speak up before the boss because it won’t get you that promotion; indulging in timesucking activities; loyalty and not merit when promoting your juniors; pinching government resources for personal use; pawing the slush funds that win you friends and defeat your enemies; horse trading to pony up your numbers in the parliament; lying through your teeth; profligate spending of state funds by schmoozing with hangers-on; holding rent-a-crowd- rallies to show off; letting the 40 percent of Pakistanis living below poverty belt go to hell!

Cancel the deal with religiosity that harbours hate and hypocrisy

Ten things best avoided while practising Islam: fear of plain speech because you’re afraid of the religious right; buckling under militant pressure to allow them whatever they demand; failure to come out on the streets against brutality of fellow-citizens like honour killing and throat-slitting; accepting men as superior to women; donating funds to religious outfits with militant links; acquiescing to the militants demand that girls cover themselves up fully or be blown up; acquiescing to the militants threats that women not come out of their homes; accepting the ignorant and the unlettered as your religious alim-e-deen; elevating rogues to the status of holy men; listening to phony religious sounding verbal junk.

Cancel the deal with

flashy flimflam

Ten things best avoided for bosses: contempt for others; proud and boastful behaviour; insecurity of your status; backstabbing colleagues; giving unfair reports to subordinates just because you hate their guts; taking yourself too seriously; sucking up to your superiors; not being true to the organisation you work for; launching a vitriolic animus against your juniors; sexual harassment of women working under you who dare not protest for fear of getting fired.
Cancel the deal with self-worship

Ten things best avoided for all: stop being a self important pundit; seizing the best for yourself at all times; pushing and shoving others in the line to be served first; screaming on your cell phone not bothering that others around are being disturbed; jumping the red line; driving like a yahoo to overtake others on the road; following the dictum that more is better therefore you must acquire through whatever means possible more and more; Eating like a pig at parties while hogging the table and not letting others help themselves to the food; talking about yourself; playing fast and loose with facts.

Cancel the deal with materialism
Ten things best avoided: becoming lotas and lotis when offered millions to change party loyalties; land grabbing; wallpapering our lives with false gods; getting sons and daughters foreign scholarships that they don’t deserve; getting sons and daughters jobs by pulling the right strings and not through merit; showing off before those less fortunate than yourself; raising monsters who think they are the chosen mutts. There you have it. Leave your lover and move on. Closure is best.