Dear Mr Gilani...as a kid I used to be fascinated by the possibility of life on other worlds. My Mum and Dad used to get me a comic back in those days called ‘The Eagle’ and I always looked forwards to the adventures of Dan Dare, who had his own spaceship, several pals one of them a woman of interesting proportions at least to my young eye – and he battled the forces of evil led by a nasty green thing called ‘The Mekon’.
The Mekon was transported around on a gravity-defying little craft and forever wanted to exterminate Dan Dare and his brave companions. Of course he never did, but I did wonder what it is like living a life on another planet, which is why I am writing to you today.
You see, Sir, I always thought that it was a made-up story, and that things coming from outer space was a bit of a silly idea really mostly because of stuff like string theory and the laws of physics and the impossibility of travelling faster than light. But then I came to live in Pakistan.
Wow! My dreams came true! A whole country ruled by aliens from another planet! Being here in Pakistan and having extraterrestrials walking around in broad daylight and doing things and having meetings and looking pretty much like almost everybody else apart from the designer suits that is.
And the electricity. It’s the electricity that is the giveaway, Sir. I know you are from another galaxy because you have amazing powers that us ordinary humans do not have and electricity comes on in every room you walk into. You cannot deny this as there are pictures in the newspapers and on TV. Even when you are in a room with not many windows the lights are on even though for miles around you the wires are as dead as the proverbial dodo.
So I am dropping you a line today to ask that you set up a special task force to look into the possibility of transferring some of your special powers to all the rest of us. Well...not everybody, just me, actually. And a few of my relatives, maybe.
There are some other things that I have noticed that you aliens have got that I would find quite handy as well. Like a car. Any chance of you organising that for me? Would I need to go into some special chamber and have a gazillion jillavolts pumped through me to make the changes in my bodily abilities? I don’t mind one bit really. Not one bit.
Then there’s food. I notice that you seem quite well fed and ‘healthy’ as they say here. Obviously this is because the planet you come from allows you to absorb proteins directly from the air. Sadly several million of my relatives are close to death from starvation, so I wondered if you could, you know, work some of that Gilani magic and take all my brothers, sisters, nieces, aunts, uncles and cousins away from deaths door and give them at least one square meal a day?
Lastly, and I know you are a busy man and I do not want to detain you any longer than necessary, do you think you could teach me to tell fibs at the same time as having a broad smile on my face? This seems like a jolly clever trick that could be useful in all sorts of situations. Give my regards to your family on planet Tgorg and if you could sort out that thing with the electricity I would be grateful forever. Yours sincerely...
The writer is a British social worker settled in Pakistan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org