JournalismPakistan.com Aug 25, 2013
We find it so difficult to enjoy little pleasures, the fun things we used to do before we earned a bit of money and painted ourselves with a splash of so-called worldliness.
Suddenly, these common entertainments are embarrassing and we would rather be more esoteric in our pursuits.
Old friends irritate where once they were a pleasure. In our misplaced scheme of things we find we have outgrown them and we haven't the inclination to return to that old level. Sometimes, even family members are nonplussed as we posture and preen and become quite obnoxious in the way we turn up our noses at everything that was once our turf.
We tend to see things in how much they cost or how splendid they are. The idea of going 'slumming' is dreary; let's go to the coffee shoppe at the five-star instead. Even gifts do not excite us unless they are expensively tagged.
Remember the aunt who made those super pista biscuits? Her displays of affection are now uncomfortably overwhelming. The biscuits aren't that hot either. Former colleague drops in and you have that lofty, superior approach, you even feel sorry for their humdrum stuck-in-the-groove lifestyle and you don't realize how offensive you are being. They shy away and you fool yourself thinking they are envious of you and that's why they cannot swallow your financial 'success'.
You would not be seen dead walking in the park or eating at a roadside stall. You drop brand names, knowing full well you cannot be contradicted. The movies the rest of the family enjoys bore you, and you give out a certain restlessness.
You want to talk about this model car and that model TV and how the new Faxofone works and your trip to Rome, and this surrogate boasting (you'd think we invented the machines) then settles into a sort of endless critique of everything around us. The dirt, the smells, the phone that won't work, the traffic jam, the queues, are all part of life at home, a life that not so many years ago was ours.
We even reduce our expressions of affection, unable to shed that self-conscious awareness that we have liquidity beyond what we once had. We occasionally stir ourselves to join old friends but their conversation is tiresome, their jokes absurd, good grief, were these really friends.
We shop only at the best places, find the old car's huffing and puffing comical, and try and impress relatives and friends with our highly traveled image. What we actually end up doing is making perfect asses of ourselves because we are masquerading at something we are not.
But the pretense aside, which, in many ways is just a camouflage for being out of synch with the place, we are the real losers.
We have changed, Home hasn't.
I hear you say, what's he talking about, we are not like that, we look forward to it.
If you say so.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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