Never give up on your dreams, keep sleeping – Saira Ansari
Until the 12th grade i remember waking up for school with sounds of news channels growing louder in the other room, where my parents would have their breakfast while watching TV. These channels not only provided the 7 am latest but also, there were these morning shows where the host would appear in extra overdone make-up and heavy dresses to talk about everything that was pointless and unimportant. During my 10th grade i remember ‘Good Morning Pakistan
‘ being one of these shows.
They had Dr.Shaista Wahidi
hosting with new guests, asking them ‘deep’ questions about their lifestyle, personal relationships etc. The show usually ended with Shahista Wahidi dancing to a hip desi song with the invited guest. All of this happened live; and that too at 7 in the morning. On one of these shows i remember Sahista Wahidi attempted to kiss a cobra with an action/thriller background playing in the studios. To spice things up and make it more tense for the audience, her father called her on the show and begged her not to kiss the snake. But of course she did. And then it just kept on getting worse.
By the time i was ending my 12th grade i remember every single channel airing morning shows with the same script outline which included different segments like the cooking corner, morning exercise corner, horoscopes, beauty tips, live calls and even a special segment dedicated to birthday wishing only. Nadia Khan
from ‘Mornings with Nadia
‘ on ARY was very popular for her special birthday dance which personally shocked me. These ladies did anything and almost everything to get better ratings. Now i see the morning media situation has continued to worsen. We have theme weeks now!
There is the wedding week
where the host gets hold of an ordinary to-be married girl, provides her with designer clothes and expensive make up packages. The studio set is turned into a shaadi stage and you even see models pretending to be at a wedding, sitting and chatting around on the set. Then there is the valentines day theme
which obviously every single channel MUST follow. Whatever news or drama channel you switch over to on this day, you see red. Then comes the women’s day theme
and the eid day special
(this continues for 4 days. It just has to) . And if they have nothing to talk about, they bring in a maulvi ghost hunter or astrologist who takes live calls and ‘helps’ the audience with their personal problems. If that doesn’t work either, the hosts bring their families on the show and talks about themselves while their kids run around in the studio or start crying on live television..
There isn’t much left to say because I’m sure everyone else has witnessed such morning show cheapness as well. At the same time i see why no one bothers to change or make such shows better because this is what the audience want to see. And believe it or not, they want to see all of it as soon as they wake up. Aunties and sometimes even very decent uncles just give in and watch these shows because that’s just all there is to watch during certain times of the day. Such overly done segments get the channels their ratings and make the hosts more popular too.
God bless Pakistan.
Flashback Pakistan: Reverse Gear – Saira Ansari
Two days ago, during my usual time wasting midnight activities; which always include over-dosing on food with pointless staring of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram news feeds, I came across this page called ‘Citizens archive of Pakistan‘. The page belonged to a non-profit organization operating from Karachi. What I found out while looking around on their page was that they really didn’t have any kind of historical archives which showed the long forgotten Pakistani history, photography, culture, literature or some sort of historical documentations of the 60s and 70s. Instead, all of the published content was related to recent events held at schools, orphanages and various art exhibitions.
Most of the time during classes, I hear my teachers talk about how times have changed. Sometimes they discuss and try to make us understand about the evolving of history by talking about their own personal experiences and the things that they could or could not do in the early 70s or 80s in Pakistan. Experiences like going to large rallies in support of a progressive and more democratic state, celebrating Basant, living in older parts of Lahore, the kind of liberal environment found in high class hotels and restaurants before the Zia era or even the excitement of going to a cricket stadium to watch our team play. So I began searching for other sources online where I could find old pictures of the open and Pakistani society which I always heard people talk about around me and I was able find out many interesting pictures and facts, some of which I have shared here.
I came across beautiful post card stamps and tourist cards from the 60s which showed parts of Pakistan or had Sufi miniature artwork on them. I found pictures of a bar, restaurant and ballroom in Swat from 1970. During the 80’s the ballroom became an arcade games hall with the very first coin-operated entertainment machines. There were Pakistani Tudor cigarette
commercials made especially for female smokers. I also found pictures of tourists visiting areas such as Chitral, Attock and Multan during the 80s.
What I saw in these images was a safe and pleasant country where foreigners were welcomed and treated as guests instead of being slaughtered or kidnapped. The local populace had the freedom(s) without fear of being stopped or ‘Islamized’. It was while looking at these images of Pakistan that I realized, yes, there was a time that existed. When my country was a ‘sane’ place to be; My grandparents and my parents did live their early years in better times…most of the time, what i experienced and grew up watching on television was operations, strikes and killings and now in an effort to shun monotony, we witness suicide bombings by terrorists. There is no direction to take, we are still and for a long time will be
in the reverse gear.