When dreams turn into nightmares | Pakistan Today

When dreams turn into nightmares

  • Why hopes dash and expectations are bound to hurt

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, wrote Truman Capote, an American journalist and author. Capote summed up the supreme dilemma we humans face once our successes defeat us. We mourn our personal losses, we rue our failures, and we get all teary eyed when our hopes die. What we are left with is an intense craving for meaning to make sense of an absurd, nonsensical world.

Some of us find meaning in things divine, some in lofty ideals of patriotism and love, some in written words of long dead folks, some in pleasures of the flesh, some in arms of a beloved, in helping the needy, some in solitude and some in just going wherever the flow takes them. All of us, however, seek refuge. All of us, indeed, are refugees.

We blame our personal demons- joblessness, unfulfilled material and emotional needs, depression- on acts of political monsters. The politician has become the fall guy for all that is wrong in the personal realm. The jitters of economy bring upheavals in individual lives whose stories are fodder for numerous writers. Their misery is marketed and mass-produced in shape of books, films, poetry and theatre plays. We, the acquisitive sons and daughters of Adam and Eve buy and sell each other’s sordid tales to feel human.

We banished tyrants, we hanged dictators, and we brought mighty men down so that the proverbial common man may triumph. Where has that led us? It led to the empowerment of the man in the street turning him into the custodian of the realm. What made that possible? Democracy, an ancient Greek ideal, made that possible. It triumphed all other forms of government before being trampled and mewed up by strongmen like Trump, Modi, Xi Jinping, Imran Khan who promised Eden on earth. As of now, the dawn of democracy awaits its dusk.

They were sellers of hope and change. Now, hope has vanished while rampant change, ranging from cabinet reshuffles to U-turns to downright lies has turned the word ‘change’ into a derided laughing stock

History, it is said, moves in a circle. The same old forms repeat themselves in different guises. The rise comes, remains and then the fall eats it up. The Great Men, many believe, shape the ebb and flow of events and accidents. The rulers dictate laws, the prophets preach right from wrong, the philosophers raise questions, the scientists discover, and the innovators push the envelope a little further. The common man, since the beginning of the time, toils for his bread, listens to the teachings, follows his leaders, expands his progeny and quits the stage.

Amidst all these comings and goings, the idea that keeps many alive and breathing is hope! As old as our species hope is a belief, in absence of any proof, that things will be better in future, that good awaits us that heaven is just around the corner.

And when hopes dash and die, a perennial silence reigns.

Last year in these pages I wrote that power and death changes everything under the reign of sun. A man in power can make and unmake life and fortunes of many. Power abhors vacuum for it needs a medium, it worships vitality as it strengthens it. Power eats those who fail to keep it for it loathes weakness. And lastly, power demands expression for it craves for recognition.

PTI has power, dear reader. PM Khan has authority.
The past gnaws at present with its bloodied sharp claws. The righteous ones now in power have vanquished villains, defeated adversity, hoodwinked naysayers and grabbed power. However, what they said during their long, arduous journey was recorded and is now played over and over again to remind them of heaven they promised while raising hell. They had noble, high goals.

They were sellers of hope and change. Now, hope has vanished while rampant change, ranging from cabinet reshuffles to U-turns to downright lies has turned the word ‘change’ into a derided laughing stock.

We humans are short-tempered creatures who are easily bored and constantly look for excitement and novelty. Give us bread and circus, and we will be sedated. Give us circus alone, we’ll burn it down along with the clowns, lions and the acrobats. Give us only bread and we’ll revolt. Imran Khan has given us A-class, around the clock circus. Of bread, take a guess.

The dream has dashed, let us live the nightmare till our saviour-in-waiting wakes us up.