Recently I had the good fortune of staying at the PC Bhurban Hotel with my little family. I say good fortune because I always thought it to be one of those high priced places which we would never be able to afford. However, there I was, one busy weekend, spending a cozy holiday in the hills. Now I knew it would be crowded over there and I hate crowds. I hate going to markets, I avoid Sales like the plague, simply to avoid crowds. Mostly our holidays are based in small cottage-type hotels or relatively cheaper and less popular local places so we can have privacy and space. Here, in Bhurban, I was warned that it would not be the case, and how true that was!!
Hordes of people; and up to 4-6 children, per couple. Yes! I’m not kidding. We actually counted. These are the affluent people of this country, who produce children like I produce blog updates…. Quick, random and with scary regularity. So here we were, our family of three, fighting for life at the breakfast buffets as fat mummies regularly elbowed my husband out of the way, children crazily gluttonned to their hearts content, and the daddies walked around with the arrogance that even Hashwani wouldn’t show. At first I was appalled, later scared.
You see, it’s not the lack of manners, or tarbiyat the scares me. It’s not that these people look you up and down as if you are trespassing, or that they treat hotel employees like 19th century Texan slaves; it is not that the kids run rampant in hallways at midnight; or that the husbands rarely talk to their wives, help with the kids or even smile. It is just the twenty years from now these kids will be soul of Pakistan.
Not just that they are 4-5 kids per family. In two decades, they are all going to marry and reproduce and perhaps produce as many off springs. Where will we find space and resources to build them houses, give them clean water, sanitation? How many more trees will be cut down? Will our ill managed agricultural land produce enough grain for them? Will our exports reduce and imports increased? Will we fall deeper into debt? Do we have enough schools to educate and not simply train these kids? Will we have enough jobs for them? What will happen when they all have families and no jobs? What happens when the kids with a sense of superiority, lack of discipline or respect for all those around them, grow up and get disappointed? Angry? Frustrated? Out on the streets?
I usually write positive blogs. I try. I see a positive light in everything, but in this era of economic recession, climate change and wars, we are producing children that we do not know how to raise. The boys learn from the fathers to not help or respect women; women learn from their mothers to not respect other women, and lust after men. The basic structure of family is fragile and unhappy.
I will probably go and stay in Bhurban again. A mother of an asthmatic child, I need a centrally heated hotel in winters. Plus, I was impressed by the patience of the overwhelmed staff and the services of the hotel, but then I also saw a bit of Pakistan and that scares me.
I wish people had less children. I wish people knew how to be a couple before they became parents. I wish we knew the art of parenting. I wish our concept of purdah was not cover your head and stay indoors, but as my beloved Ghamidi put it, simple social etiquette.
I am worried for my rather well behaved child who at less than three can wait for her turn, can understand the difference between right and wrong… and then choose right, who says please and thank you, smiles at strangers, has a thirst for knowledge and mostly, is comfortable enough in her own skin to not judge others. How will she compare to the jungle that is becoming this nation? When she interacts with them, will she not be influenced? I wish the whole country was like my three year old is today. Mostly, I pray my country can sustain all the illiterate or ill brought up mass that is upon it… and that keeps growing.
I can only pray and vow not to be like the rest of them.
May Allah help us all.