I enter Dolmen Mall Clifton for the first time. Uncomfortable to see so many consumers, hundreds going into and coming out of fancy shops in this huge-ass shopping plaza. I enter a store, look at a shirt, then at the price tag. 5,670/-. WHAT? 5k for a shirt? I can get one in 250 rupees from Gulshan Sunday Bazaar. But, well, that shirt would be Landa not Levi's.
A kid looking very poor, very rugged, very hungry is selling roses. I overlook him and go to a cake shop. 1 small cupcake is for 240 rupees, 1 big cupcake for 410 rupees. I buy 2 big cupcakes because my hunger is justified. But why is my hunger justified? Because I have capital in my pocket. Okay. It is justified. Very well.
Few days later I walk the streets of F10 Markaz in Islamabad. Beautiful place. Trees everywhere. Clean roads. Good shops. Rich people. Beautiful place. But those dirty kids are here too. Shit. Selling their dirty balloons. Who buys these dirty balloons any way? Not us. We are from 'good families'. We cannot touch the untouchables. Or sit with them. Yuck. We don't even want to be seen near them. So we treat them as invisibles. They are there, around us, while we buy a fresh salad cup from Bakewell or drink a smoothie in this pathetic summer at Gloria Jeans (does Gloria Jeans have smoothies?) but we don't see them. Good for our beautiful eyes. Then we call a Careem, stylishly sit inside while a taxi driver looks at his daily wage riding away. But we are good people, from 'good' families, so we deserve good. All the good.
But hey, what if we are walking calmly towards our Careem after having that smoothie at Gloria Jeans and a leeper comes to us, clunges our pristine bag, and begs for money? Simple. We tell them to shut up and do some work instead of begging. We say 'Aapko mangte huwe sharam nahi aati? Maangna achi baat nahi'. Of course we are authorities on what is achi baat, what is buri baat. After all, we are from good, educated, clean, beautiful, middle-class families. We are not poor. We have capital in our pockets. We deserve all the good.