“…that’s how the painted desert got its name”


yes i know no one ever claimed that pecos bill made it to to the persian gulf.

but since the song holds him responsible for virtually everything that ever happened, i’m willing to lay the last pack of extra chewing gum on the line – and yes i value chewing gum very highly – that he’s the reason why them there girlies are wearing them there boots.

where i come from the only times you ever hear someone talk about boots is when they’re talking about the pharmaceutical company or discussing pir pagara’s ridiculous predictions. and if you so much as suggested to ms. so-and-so that she might like a pair of boots she’d either think you were insane or some sort of latex fetishist or both. and frankly, that’s not what most guys want the ms. so-and-sos of this world to be thinking. but because i am no longer where i come from – though i did come from here when i went to where i come from and, as far as other people were concerned, i came from where i come from before i got to where i came from when i got to where i come from  (yes my life really is that confusing, i’m always the person who’s not where he comes from) – i must now try to think like the people of where i’ve come to. and here they either like to wear boots or they get paid to do so.

short, tall, fat, skinny, fair, dark or anyother generic description you might choose to employ for them, they’re almost all gorgeous and almost all wearing boots. the arab woman is an interesting sub-species of the human race. as incomprehensible as the women from papua new guinea, peru or pak colony in karachi, these ladies have a distinct air of well, distinctiveness about them normally highlighted in the supreme clash of cultures in the way some of them dress. it is not unusual to see someone in a miniskirt without one square milimetre of skin on their legs visible. that may be hard to visualise but i think someone has started selling woolen spandex if there could possibly be such a thing.

and of course there are the boots. why women who can’t even manage stilletto strap-ons would even want to attempt stilletto cowboy boots – i’m sure i’ll run into one with riding spurs one of these days – is way beyond me. but don’t get me wrong, i don’t mind. it gives a people watcher like me a great new show to watch. and it is kind of relieving to know that its not as easy to get out of, pick, aim and throw a ten kilo arabian girly boot as it is to bombard with pakistani girly sandals. thank god for small mercies. plus, lets face it, the average arab hijaabed and flowing-skirted bebe is twenty times more gorgeous than the average pakistani traffic stopping billo.

apart from that all a guy can do is marvel at the irony that there are actually pakistanis who can so snobbishly refer to the middle east as a dead end when what they call a sattelite is what an arab calls his car.

and yet, i miss everything. from street crime and loadshedding and diesel smoke to aloo bharay parathay and proper urdu and the smell of the raat ki rani wafting in from my bedroom window. i was asked today by a palestinian hottie about what my country is like. and i tried to tell her. about how it looks like at sunsets when the angels dance at saif ul mulook. about how it looks like at sunrise when life wakes up yawning in nathiagali. about how at nights in dadu you can hear your two angels sharing a joke. about how you can’t hear your own shouts when gale force winds lash cape monze. i tried to tell her how no desert safari can match a simple train ride through cholistan or how no shifting dune compares to the 400 year old stillness of trees in ziarat.

but of course i couldn’t. you can’t just describe what goes on in the throbbing of your pulse. so all i said was, “primitive. but beautiful”. and strangely, she seemed to understand.

for all of you who think i’m being melodramatically sentimental, try growing up with a raat ki rani bush just outside your window.

and yes, she was wearing boots too. knee high, brown, probably buckskin.


14 Responses to ““…that’s how the painted desert got its name””

  1. wah wah…kya yaad dila diya…

    Primitive and yes very very beautiful…been lucky enough to be around Pakistan too…and there is no country better in the world…though I am also someone who has come to somewhere else from where I was originally from…there is no place like HOME…

    As for arab girls…I would be surprised if cars go out of fashion and we see Arab girls with cowboy boots, spurs and HORSEs on the road ….and they do their clint eastwood moves of rolling a cigarette…oh yes…the Wild Wild MIDDLE EAST…!!

  2. the arab chic is distinct because she feels she belongs to a superior race, which may be true, given how they are blessed with black gold. just short of being racist, anytime you feel like having aalo walay parathay, pop on in, ill make you some. i hate cooking for myself but i make mean parathaas… it’s the punjabi in me 😉

  3. @ pir saeein: no place like home indeed.

    @ bhutta: hey cool! you’re human after all. i’ll hold you to that offer then. shukran. um… shukran kaseera?

  4. shukran katheera, if you want to go by the book, or you could say “mashkoora” which would mean you are greatful… but no, im not human, im better – yani punjabi, which is just so cool, and what’s cooler is that you are now indebted to me… muhahahaha.

  5. 5 Saadat

    “primitive. but beautiful”.

    Damn. That’s the best description of pak sarzameen I’ve heard in a long time.

  6. 6 PsycheD

    no way!! u shifted base???????

    only u can describe pak the way u just did…both the longish and the shortish versions 🙂 – and i second all that! 🙂

    gud luck!

  7. 7 skzworldofdreams

    ;/ is all I have to say to you.. ;/

  8. 8 ayesha


  9. Did you check out the bebe’s boots too? :-p

  10. So are you residing here in the land of the Malls and home of the expatriates? You are in Abu Dhabi?…. come to Dubai for a visit…let’s meet up, finally!

  11. @ saadat: hey, it’s home. 🙂

    @ sparky: thanks!

    @ bibi: 😉 to you too

    @ ayesha: thank you.

    @ sumera: obviously. 😛 i normally start from the feet up…

    @ zaitoon ki… ream: i will. 🙂 sometime soon, hopefully.

  12. thats the problem with Middle East, it does not have a culture of its own, hence everything from cowboy boots to uggs (in desert !!!!) to Saville Row Suits for men (again, in desert climes!!!) to cashmere power suits for women, is borrowed and is most unsuitable in that region’s weather. In order to survive Saville Row and Cashmere, they artificially maintain the temperature at 12 degress and contribute immensely to the global warming.

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  1. 1 “…that’s how the painted desert got its name” | Tea Break

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