What class you belong by Madeeha Ishtiaque

Precisely, that concerns me even if I don’t ask you. I’m very interested in knowing which social strata you come from so I could decide and assign you the right place in my rack of social-relations. Obviously, in order to define my self and my prestige I need You to be positioned perfect so I could uphold an impeccable self-image and be respected by those I respect.

What makes you think it’s a hard potato to slice, all I have to do is to have a couple of lingering X-ray shots on you and ask a few rapid-fire question to let myself grade you.

The Magical X-ray Shots:

Wearing Prada or Parda: Well that was just a catchy line. What I mean to say is, my riveting eyes can tell you with an absolute precision what designer you’re wearing-thanks to all the exhibitions I walk in, and the designer booklets I keep internalizing for my tailor.

I.      Tights for Shalwar: In case you’re not wearing tights or flashy trousers, you’re way out of my league. The forbidden, baggy Shalwars that inflate into a balloon each time a little air blows, sadly put you two or three class lower in your social saddle than mine.

II.      Floor-sweeping shirts or You better sweep the floor: Your number up the social class climbs as your shirt outsizes you and turns into a nice, floral, floor-sweeping cloth. It’s ravishing plus it also keeps your surrounds clean. Anyone with the old, average-sized shirt is too paindo for me to stand or stand with. Huh…I’d rather sweep you away with one swish.

III.      Wearing Titan or Titanic (a local watch company): I can perfectly square you with the brand of watch you’re wearing. The glittering, metallic band is surely distinguishable from the fading black belt around your wrist. So, better not wear those Rs. 200 watches if you want to stand anywhere near me. Remember, it’s not about the time anyway; it’s all about the show-off time.
IV.      Forever 21 or Forever 40: You expect me to be friends with a girl who wouldn’t pass for one? Who possibly could, without wearing that branded, shimmering accessories to pose vibrant and youthful look. My friend should be a perfect designer closet showcasing a range of brands on her tiny, petite frame.

And if by any chance, you happen to cover you self up in black chaddar or Abaya, then it already makes us two different creatures , in a cut-throat rivalry and vying to usurp the planet .

Truth-Revealing Rapid-Fire Questions:

I.      Up or down the Bridge: Do you live in DHA? It is the litmus test. No wonder an entire population is trying hard to go up the steep bridge using Rapunzel’s hair for support. Once gone up the bridge there’s no way down. Even my eyelashes refuse to bash southwards and you expect me to descend down? Honestly, my friendship and associations are confined to my neighboring Khayabanis. And the rest, for me, are third-world countrymen.

II.      Which School are you from? Another reveal-er. Not from Grammar and or Convent or perhaps a couple of other schools who charge more than an entire household’s income? Then, you’re a sorry case. For life, your school’s will be the last degree attached you, for the rest are universities also cater the ‘less-privileged’ ones as well. The true qualification of wealth, hence, stands to be your school alone.

III.      How Regressive is your ‘R’: Your accent is a crying identity of your social status. Pronounce your r’s , o’s, and eellzz (l) correct and you win! Or you’ll be labeled a poor monki if your ‘r’ comes from the tip of your tongue!

IV.      What Club do you go to? : Oh not that street-gym! I’m talking about that state-of-the-art club you have the member-ship of. Yes, where madams hold their kitty parties while their kitties walk the paddle. No club? Oh my word, what backwardness!

V.      Which Car is Yours?: This four-wheeler can take you places. A big car (Prado, City or Corolla etc) happens to be the only respectable means of commutation these days. Our car-consciousness has surpassed our moral consciousness to an extent where people can actually kill for a car. I got lame? I know

VI.      No. Of Foreign trips: Even if you can afford to go to Somalia, do that! You’re a naive, little kitten in the cot if you haven’t got tickets on passport. Your foreign trips are the topic of conversation as you brag about yourself with people.

VII.      Smart Phone or Dumb Phone: More than anything else, your cell-phones take the due credit of defining you. Your life without a smart-phone or Blackberry means no worth. Even a thief wouldn’t glance at you with  interest if your phone receives only calls!

VIII.      Got Foreign Degree or going to KU: Everybody is supposed to have a foreign degree even if it is from Kenya. A foreign degree is the only sign that you’re cultured and educated. However, if you’re KU ki awam, excuse me, next please.

While I crack these satires with an apparent lack of shame, let me admit, these are the current stereotypes prevalent and alive in our society. Ironically, how we have attached all the value to things and places only tells us how insignificant we have turned in our own eyes. We, the real Us, are so miserably dependent on Gucci, Titan, IPAD, Prada or Defense to define our selves, our real essence is simply lost somewhere. The effort that was previously invested in welding precious moral values into a person, is now exhausted on earning the flashy labels for ourselves. And so next time, we talk about social and political reformation and ‘change’; know that you can’t erect castles on marshes.

P.S: Proudly, I got my master’s degree from the prestigious Karachi University, travel by a car way smaller than Prado and don’t live across the hill. And guess what, it hasn’t ever made a difference at all.


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