Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Imbalanced Social Equation


Last night, I happened to have the honor to be at a party – societal elite’s gathering. I had never been bestowed with such an honor ere, so this night was quite a night for me. I came across souls which were difficult for me to relate to. I had never met so many people from this class at one place like this before.

The gathering was arranged in a ‘house of the lord’ – expensive chandeliers; shiny marble floor; Italian style wooden furniture; vintage crockery; classy decoration pieces; and breathtaking original paintings on the walls were some of the attractions that dazzled my eyes. Apart from this, their silky attires reminded me of the Roman monarchs - adorned with gems and other embellishments.

I have to admit I felt like a fish out of water; someone who didn’t really fit the bill of the gentility but I was having a nice time scrutinizing the ‘Martians’ – and I was returning them the same favor.

The best part was the dinner; the serving was done in silverware with a blinding sheen, and an array of dishes occupied the large glass table. From Asian cuisine to exotic delicacies, from a variety of fruits to colorful beverages; things seemed to have come out of a book illustrating the food in heaven or at any Mughal emperor’s court. Caterers, in their regalia, roamed around crooning ‘yes, ma’am, yes sir’.

I took a bite and I was chockablock – it seemed as if the food was as shallow as the milieu – outwardly tempting but inwardly unsavory. I wrapped my sandwich in a tissue paper to throw it away later, since I could not see any leftovers on the table and I thought it was one of the aristocratic class rules – so I was forced to follow their norms…as the old adage goes ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do.’ Naturally!

Flabbergasted in my mind and stumbled over the existence of such a class in our society, I wanted to take some air so I went out to gather myself. Dramatic, it may sound, but the atmosphere was so intense, I badly wanted some fresh air. The patio was a semi-circle with a fountain in the heart of it.

Just when I was observing some mosaic pattern on the wall, I faintly heard the eesha azaan – very feeble and dead in the deafening Spanish music. I thought it was time for me to leave.

I bade farewell to my hosts and walked straight to my car, thinking about the witnessed pomp and show.

I realized the sandwich was still in my hands (now somewhat stale and sweaty), looking for a garbage can, I reckoned I would better dump it in my kitchen trash bin. Just as my car turned at the crossing, I saw something on the road – was it a dog? May be a big cat? What was that on the road? Oh! It was a man! With his eyes weary; his skin tan; his finger nails blackened to the end; he came forward with pursed lips…I thought he must be hungry, so I gave him the sandwich I was previously thinking to dump. I don’t know how to explain that in words, but he gnawed at that piece of sandwich like an animal. I had never seen a man eating that way ever. I am not sure since when he had not eaten anything, but I can certainly say he was as much a human with stomach and taste buds as the people in the ‘palace’.

My car stood in the mid-way; on my right was the illuminated chateau, where the royals celebrated their jamboree and to my left was a hungry man, born to live on leftovers and to lie in dark alleys. It gave me chills down my spine. I was thankful to Allah for giving me a life better than so many others, and moreover for giving birth to me in a country like ours, where I can see both the black and the white, and can be thankful to realize that I lie in the gray part between the two extremes! I am proud of living in a country with four seasons, but I think it makes me less proud to be a part of a system with such an imbalanced social equation. 

11 comments:

Bilal lashari said...

wow... great piece with a greatest message! Indeed the society is the most vital part of a Nation or a Country. and our Society is full of rubbish... Elites rejoice while the poor starve!

*Claps* great piece .. Keep it up

Amna Tariq Shah said...

@Bilal

Thanks a lot for being my regular reader :). True! The worst part is our power elite does not even bother to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. They are too busy accumulating wealth and exploiting the rest in this social system.

sana malik said...

great writing n i must say "it gave me chills down my spine",this face o our society is not hidden from anyone,but thr are only few who feels it,and evn fewer who get time to give it a thinking. its a marvelous piece of writing,felt all the emotions that are put into it..great done, keep it up!

Amna Tariq Shah said...

@Sana

Thanks, dear :) True! Our society is bitterly divided into a class system that holds injustice to its very roots. Even social stratification is not possible in a society like this where social curses like corruption and nepotism rule.

Zain said...

How wonderfully you explain the tragedy of extreme dualism in our society.. one part whose even pet eat imported can-food and other who starve to death....
Can't say anything upon this just applause at your words and your thoughts.. Keep it up buddy..

natasha said...

Applause! Very well written. It's so cohesive and sensuous. For a moment I thought I was watching it happening before my very eyes.

Amna Tariq Shah said...

@Zain

Thanks for reading...ya, this is the bitter truth of our society.

@Natasha

Thanks, dear. Wow! That was a compliment.

ارتقاء حیات said...

http://tehreemtariq.wordpress.com/ میرابلاگ شائد آپ کو کچھ پسند آسکےدیکھئے اور تبصرہ کیجئے

Hasan Bhatti said...

Wonderful piece of writing .. i like the flow in ur writing .. n u gave a very true depiction of our divided society ..i guess its always been like this ..wish we could have some kind of social security net.

Amna Tariq Shah said...

Thanks so much for your comment.

Yup! You are so right... and one reason for this wide gap is our flawed taxation system - it seriously needs to be revised. It goes the other way around... the rich enjoy the pleasures of a tax-free income, while the poor are taxed :s Ridiculous!

abrarali khan said...

great dinner but where it was?have u a facebook account??

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