CITY NOTES: Back to school! | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: Back to school!

LAHORE: Whatever else they’re doing, they’re reopening the schools. It’s surprising the similarities there are between Trump and Imran. I mean, they’re both married more than the average number of times, they both have a lot of complaints against them, and while one is actually a septuagenarian, the other is approaching the age. There’s one difference though. Imran isn’t orange.

But both are adamant on one thing. Come September, the schools are re-opening. Apparently, that is the sort of decision that most favours the coronavirus. I mean, here you have lockdowns, and the most vulnerable members being protected from contacting anyone and trying to get them to escape infection. But when schools reopen, the kids will be forced to go, and they will, almost as a matter of routine, ignore all SOPs that the best minds and the most experienced experts can come up with, and return home little hives of infection. Kids don’t usually develop symptoms. That’s good news. But the bad news is that they are as infectious as anyone who develops the full list of symptoms and actually kicks the bucket. I wonder how many grandparents will live out this winter.

I wonder if either Trump or Imran realises when the schools are re-opening. In September, just at the beginning of the flu season, when the second wave is expected to kick in. That is really bad news, for it means that, just when it is going to get really interesting, the coronavirus will get a new vector in the shape of schoolchildren.

Why do I get the impression that both men are listening to parents? Because one of the hardest secrets to keep during this lockdown has been that schools exist for parents, not children. The lockdown has meant that parents have had to spend long periods of time with children. And one reason why the online thing hasn’t worked all that well is not because of the teachers, who have tried their best, but the children, who have tried to bunk even virtual classes? I wonder why. The only place they can hang out is virtual.

When I say parents, I mean mothers. Look, kids go off to school, husbands to the office, women stay home and watch TV. And don’t tell me women have to go off and work. When TV execs starting cancelling morning shows and soaps, then I’ll believe that. Of course, one of the hidden problems of returning to normalcy will be persuading men to give up watching TV and get to work. One problem is that women staying at home do manage the house. But men cooped up at home just sit slack-jawed in front of the idiot box.

By the way, Trump has his own difficulties, as an estranged niece has just published a tell-all memoir. Her late father was Trump’s elder brother and died of a heart attack brought on by too much drinking. He was an airline pilot. Did he have a licence?

That is a question being asked of Pakistani pilots, whose image has changed from neatly uniformed men flying planes to overweight men dressed in dhotis and with pieces of cloth tied around their heads who will not start the plane until a member of the cabin crew slaps a door and yells, “Jaanedo dabbal.” And they are always on the lookout to overtake the plane ahead. The (licenceless) Pakistani pilot also envies the helicopter’s ability to hover. He would like that to make midflight unscheduled stops, letting off passengers with a parachute and a prayer. And they no longer respond to ‘captain’, answering only when addressed as ‘ustadji’ (preferably shortened to ‘staji’).

I wonder if the Bollywood comedian of yesteryear, Jagdeep, died of Covid-19. He won fame for his role in Sholay, that iconic movie of so many decades ago. One of its heroes, Amitabh Bachchan, has got Covid-19, as has Brazilian President Jair B-olsonaro.

Obviously, the letter ‘B’ is susceptible: B-oris Johnson also got it, while B-urundi’s President actually died of it. Neither Trump nor Imran has a B anywhere near, so they’re safe. I hope nothing happens to the COAS.

The wife of TV producer Ali Salman Alvi didn’t die of Covid-19, but something sure happened to her. She was found hanging from the fan at home. Her sister has registered a murder FIR against her brother-in-law, who she said used to beat her sister up. That’s might give him a defence. He didn’t murder her. Just drove her to suicide.

Well, Amber Heard was neither killed nor driven to suicide, but she said that ex-husband Johnny Depp used to beat her. Just examples that wife-beating is not limited to the lower classes. Of course, we know that Pakistan has the advantage of a firm upholder of women’s rights in Imran Khan.

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