Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shezan will never be on the Rocks!!!

Its 1am on a Saturday morning in New York City. My last guest has stumbled out of my apartment to catch the 6 train back into Manhattan. I am winding down, exhausted after hosting an evening I cleverly titled “Shezan Happy Hour” on the Evite. Earlier in the day, I ransacked crates of Shezan from Jackson Heights and then invited my friends to come over for the GT. We spent the evening shuffling tunes on the Ipod and drinking a delicious Mango Juice as we toasted to our “glowing health.” Now, I enjoy one last glass of juice with a cigarette, a taste in my mouth reminding my of my A-level days. There are ice cubes in my glass but Shezan will never be on the rocks…not in this lifetime. Thanks to inspiring organizers like Ammar Haider Shah, Ali Kazmi, Tashfin Rasool, Natasha Ejaz, Ali Abbas, Shahbaz S Azmi, Meera Ghani and Tammie Mahmud.

Why Yes!

Oh so how quickly we forget! Seems just like yesterday when Muslims all over the world had banded together in one of the most endearing ways to stand up against the profiling and the bigoted backlash that had been a direct result of one man’s idiocy on September 11. A Junior in college spending a semester in NYC as both a student by day and a stripper by night; I went to all the rallies around the City. I stood with placards in my hand and chants on my lips, rubbing shoulders with hijabis, African Americans, Pakistanis and just Muslims and their allies from all over the world. It did not matter how we looked or how we prayed. It was not our place to judge! We were there simply to teach the world that “hate” and “discrimination” were not ever justified for any religion, caste, creed and sexual orientation. When the media egregiously stereotyped us as mischievous terrorists, we stood up and denounced it. When TSA agents pulled us “randomly” out of airport lines because of the color of our skin, we quietly complained about it. It was almost sweet that for once we all came together to educate the West. And made sure the West tried to listen. But now I think that maybe before we begin crying and whining like babies….we need to practice what we preach. We as Muslims have no right to complain about any “hate” and “discrimination” based on our own religious background unless we learn to walk the same walk ourselves!

Recently, I came across a very disturbing piece of news which I almost dismissed as fabricated sensationalism. Something I would expect from hyperbolic rags like The National Enquirer. Unfortunately, it was true. The Lahore Bar Association (LBA) had decided to ban a fruit drink from their court premises simply because the manufacturers were Qadiani’s. And…..your point is…..?????

Umm…I’m sorry my laywer buddies but tell me if I’ve missed something here. The last time I checked…it was a free world….we were living in 2012….advocating to the world that Islam is a religion of peace…and drinking everything from fruit juice, to Starbucks, sodas ad yes some – gasp - even liquor. Who died and made you the king of me?

Well then…two can play that game! Darling you missed a few bans… so let me do the honors.

You see…every time you don a black blazer with dress pants and pair of shiny Moccasins…do you wonder if that is appropriate garb for Muslims? Shouldn’t you all be wearing only Shlawar Kurtas and chappals?Oh you forgot…its ok, I ban you from ever wearing anything westernized ever again….and while you are it…why don’t you go ahead and make sure that your shalwars are always above your ankles…from work to wedding functions…including your own.

On a sweltering, no-electricity day…when you gulp down a fizzy bottle of Coke or Fanta or Sprite…do you stop to wonder its origin too. Are they all manufactured by Muslims who pray like you? If not…I ban you from ever drinking anything but lassi and water.

Did you enjoy Avatar? Did you enjoy Jab we Met? Do you sit with your other lawyer buddies discussing the “action scene” in the latest blockbuster and do you tap your fingers on your steering wheel to “Oh Shanti Om” as you drive down to ask if the “Master Print” for the latest Hollywood or Bollywood is available? If so…I ban you from ever watching those films again. Stick to watching Amir Liaquat croon and purr on the screen omitting any behind-the-scenes footage. And if you want to sin on Sundays…you are allowed to sneak in a peek of Reema and Meera’s thumkas. But no more!

In fact while we are it…I’m sure you only feel comfortable emailing, typing and conversing in English to make your point. You know to sound educated and all. Oh but my dear….didn’t you know…English isn’t our first language. So why don’t I ban you from ever reading and speaking English ever again. Replace that book with a copy of Khwateen Digest!

Ok sir…lets take a good look at you now. Wow! You are now a specimen who only wears shalwar kurtas (shalwar above the ankles)…drinks only water…doesn’t hum or listen to songs…cannot converse in English and who advocates for fruit juices to not be bought because the manufacturer may not be your idea of a clone. Good luck getting on a plane now buddy!

How does it feel? Thought so!

Listen…who cares who manufactures what….at the end of the day its a fruit juice to quench our thirst!

Who cares if you are Shia, Sunni, Qadiani or Ahmedi….at the end of the day you are a Muslim.

Who cares if you are Pathan, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi…at the end of the day you are a Pakistani.

Who cares if you are a Muslim, a Christian, A Jew, a Buddhist, Hindu or an atheist. At the end of the day…you are a human being.

Who cares if you are dark, fair, fat, skinny, short, tall….at the end of the day, you are a person.

Let me introduce myself. I am Padash! A 30-something woman living on my own in the Bronx, New York. I am not married by choice but I do often enjoy the company of men and sex. It may also be news to you but I am a Muslim, a Pakistani, a human being who enjoys drinking Shezan simply because DAMN it tastes good!

I will go ahead and lift away all the bans I just placed on you. Its your turn to do the same now!