buddy you’re a young man, hard man…


laraz jaata hai aavaaz-e-azaan se

from queen’s east/west fusion track on coke studio’s thirty-third season.


no, i had nothing to to do with the hashish they found in mussafah.

and this post was not written while under the influence of anything stronger than the shai haleeb that the tea boy, hidayatullah the blessed, manages to plant on my desk every two hours despite my insistence that i have brought my pepsi, thank you very much. nor is it the natural outcome of breaking up my sleep into two sessions of two hours each and trying to catch the remaining four hours while ostensibly awake. and even though i’ve found that it is actually possible to sleep with your eyes open – what do you think kamran akmal does behind the stumps? – the couplet above was not composed during a night(or day)mare. no. this comes out one of my memories of a school i never attended, regurgitated into pixels on your screen because of an email from the other abbas on the blogosphere, who, probably because he shares my name, is a helluva nice guy.

millions of years ago, i was a teenage kid trying to conform (and i know the last three words are redundant but i like to boost my word count) and was constantly frustrated by the fact that i actually preferred my faded dolmen centre jeans and kholapuri chappals to my ridculously overpriced levi’s and uncomfortable caterpillars. but i was from a “cool” school. and if you’ve lived in karachi and don’t know what a cool school is, your school obviously didn’t qualify. the identifying trait of cool schools is that apart from the fact that they have kids in every class who actually want to play basketball – not because they’re more than 5 feet tall (they often aren’t) – but because that way they can show off their nifty new air jordans and three hundred sizes too big chicago bulls teeshirts (yes they have the nba tag) and the fact that one in every 2.79 girls has blonde streaks, wears her jeans painted on and has a cellphone in one back pocket and a pack or marlboros in the other and the fact that they all have sports teachers who tell their buddies scandalous fantasy-realities about their young charges when they meet up with the said buddies for chai paratha at cafe pyala in north nazimabad; is the fact that all the cool kids at these schools know all the other cool kids in all the other cool schools in karachi. so if you’re natasha or altamash from bayview high you will know phareed and zulekha (zookie) at kgs who will know meeckaal and sahar at the centre who will know sikandar (alex) and sophie at karachi american and all of them will know that the beige versace top that momo wore to rascheed’s birthday bash at french beach was probably a fake because she’s such a loser and a wannabe and her dad’s only got a corolla and did i tell you about the rx8 my dad bought me for my sixteenth?

to the rest of the world, or at least those beyond the bridge, these kids are as much of a novelty as intelligent life forms in the national assembly. and just as they have a name for the idiots of the hallowed houses of parliament (its unprintable as this blog is suitable for family viewing) they have one for these kids too. they’re called burgers. now while i would like to say that the word shares an etymological history with the term “bourgeoisie”, the words share little besides the fact that they both refer to the delusional upper classes of elitist karachi though you use the latter if you’re a pseudointellectual journalistic type working for dawn news tv and the former if you’re a maila reporter type working for geo news. and as you are no doubt aware, who the hell wants to watch news in urdu anyway? we don’t even understand it. and in any case the guys at geo news are all such wannabes in bad imitation lanvin suits and no taste in ties and don’t even get me started on the fashion gaffes committed by the women they have and can you believe that fat guy who goes and stays at people’s houses for the day who asked shahid afridi if his bmw is an amreekan car and by the way did i tell you about the rx8 my dad bought me for my sixteenth?

sami shah, the only pakistani english language stand up comedian i know of, wrote an absolutely hilarious piece some time ago about his experience at the old grammarians’ annual mela and the ridiculous tinge these events have started to take nowadays. his experience with grammarians is almost exactly the same as mine except that i probably remember mine more than i should and then there’s the little problem of actually having thought that these guys were cool back in the days when i was that teenager trying to conform. and in their own idiotic way they were. what’s being cool other than having people believe in the myth that you are? so despite the fact that i’d probably bop my pepsi bottle on the head of the next hot blonde type who says kal mein nay paon se magarmach mara – magarmach is cockroach, right? despite having spent all her life in my very urdu city – or punch in the face of the close friend who thought iqbal’s bekhudi was written by junoon – or clip the ear of the pot smoking dunce who thought mohammad ali johar was the name of the math teacher – or beat the “cultural” type to death with her dkny sandals who thought that abida parveen’s gharoli was the best pushto song she had ever heard – i wouldn’t have those people out of my teenage years for anything. failing to fit in with them made me the man i became and i’m not entirely dissatisfied.

note: the author’s only saying that in a belated attempt to assimilate with the cool group but he won’t succeed because he’s a wierdo governemnt official type and a wannabe and from a one car family, speaking of which, did i tell you about the rx8 my dad bought me for my sisteenth?


14 Responses to “buddy you’re a young man, hard man…”

  1. yes. the other abbas IS a very nice guy 😀 i LIKE him!

  2. 3 Specs


    I went to a cool school too and you’re right; if you don’t know whether your school qualifies, you probably aren’t within a mile of it. Hahaha 😉 I was the most uncool kid that cool school had ever seen.

    LOL@ magarmach is a cockroach.

    The fake angraiz-wealthy-wannabe-act isn’t that rampant in Islamabad..maybe they’re all really rich or I’m moving in the wrong circles, but Lahore is bursting at the seams with these types.

    I had the dubious pleasure of visiting Lahore a few days ago and that’s what I noticed the most. Mostly LGS and Lyceum kids… What’s with the fake rolling r’s in Urdu an the weird sentence construction? And even if you’ve been to ‘Lundun’ for ‘vakayshuns’, that doesn’t give you a license to say ‘hum log tu na, oh my god, rodo per races laga rahay they’ (1 road, 2= rodain).. or the best one, ‘baitay, mud mey na jain. Apkee sockses dirty ho rain hain’

  3. 4 Faiz

    The recent OGS mela wasn’t actually all that bad. And I like ur post, even thought I think its’ a rather exagerrated account of what happend st the so-called “cool school”. I mean, I go to KGS and its not like v r bursting at the seams with “burgers”.

  4. 5 Mystic

    u kno wht the sad part is? a lot of the uncool school kids try to be like the cool school kids and they come off worse!

    @ faiz: if that is the case, then i guess kgs is not a cool school anymore 😛

  5. rofl @ magarmach! 😀

    if a KGS kid ever read this post, he’d prolly say: ‘you just hate us cause we’re black, nigggaaaa!’ 😛

  6. and the title of this post sounds wrong … 😛

  7. i like it.

    by the way, faiz, the statement “I mean, I go to KGS and its not like v r bursting at the seams with “burgers”.” screams “burger”.

    abbas, how about we collaborate that novel of mine into a new blog?

  8. @ specs: i was uncooler than you. 🙂

    @ faiz: much as i hate to say this, your comment implies one of two things; (a) that you don’t go to kgs and/or (b) that you are a burger. 😀 thanks for appreciating the post, though. 🙂

    @ mystic: yes. i think we know that variety.

    @ farooqk: i suppose queen should’ve thought of that all those years ago 🙂

    @ abbas: i’m for it. but do you mean a post on either of our blogs or a serialized version on a new blog?

  9. lets setup a new one. i think it would be more apt.

  10. 11 Sam

    Lol @ farooq’s first comment.
    As for the post, ill tell you somethin even more interesting (or not, guess it depends :p). You will find me writing all the time about these idiotic wannabes that we call burger.. And you know the kind of ppl we were in highschool.. And beyond.. Yet, if i had a dollar for everytime someone called me a burger.. I would probably have bought off microsoft. Or AIG. :p
    But ive known what a magarmach is all my life! :p
    Either way.. to hell with those nike wearing, versace donning so called elites. Aik to our qaum has that Godawful nodaultya-pan.

  11. 12 knicq

    Imagine coming across this post just when I was browsing the net to choose an appropriate school for my kids in Jeddah… or at least to make a list of appropriate schools to choose one from.

    Which do I pick? The British school or the Pakistan English Medium? I think your post just confused me all the more. Or perhaps made it clear to me that none of the above is a better choice.

    Saudi National School here we come… OK, fine, I made that up – the bit about Saudi National School and the latter bit of that statement. The trouble here is how do you make sure that your kids go to a school, but fails to conform just as you did?

    I’d rather they knew a laal beg from a magar mach – and still knew that cockroaches are not the ones not to be messed around with in a river accoring to the Urdu Mohavra.

  12. @ cyma: correct me if i’m wrong, but i seem to remember a pair of boots from ten years ago… 😛

    @ knicq: trust me, don’t go in for the pakistan english medium. as far as urdu is concerned, i only studied it as a second language and that too for only a few years. i get by. its what we speak at home. and what you speak at home is normally the language you learn to think in. thats all they need to do to restrain themselves from stamping on crocodiles at a riverside picnic.

  13. 14 cyma

    hey we all have our little burger moments… so you r gonna judge me just cuz i ALWAYS have atleast one pair of knee length boots! :p you wore those expensive colognes… you r no prize either 😉

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