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March 16, 2015

The world according to Don Malik


March 16, 2015


Out of my head
So there I was on the 6th of March, 2015 at the Czarachi airport (Conspiristan’s largest city and economic hub is appropriately named, ruled as it is by czars of all kinds – criminal, commercial, corporate, ethnic, political, you name it – and one kind of czar is also often another kind as well, the lines are conveniently blurred) trying to turn my frown upside down.
Having to get up at an ungodly hour to catch the early 7.00am flight to the capital city Saazishabad on the national carrier isn’t likely to put you in a good mood but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to earn a living. So, like I said, there I was – grumpy, frumpy, and sleepy – but bang on time to check in and board the flight as I was expected to do. I had even received a text earlier in the morning from Conspiristan International Airlines (or CIA for short – unfortunate, I know, but larger truths are sometimes revealed in the most unexpected ways) confirming that my flight was on time so I made sure that I wasn’t late in getting to the airport.
But about half an hour before the scheduled departure time came a not-so-sonorous voice over the public address system announcing that the CIA flight to Saazishabad had been delayed due to bad weather. A collective groan went around the departure lounge and I dragged myself over to the announcer to ask approximately how long the delay was expected to be. Of course, the lady behind the counter was noncommittal saying that she couldn’t say as it was really dependent on the weather.
Five minutes later came the announcement that the private airline Air Blew’s flight to Saazishabad, also scheduled to depart at 7.00am, was ready for boarding. And, miraculously, the heavens must have parted and the sun must have started shining over Saazishabad as Air Blew took off at 7.00am on the dot. Apparently, however, wonders had worked for only Air Blew passengers as CIA announced, soon after, that it would now be

departing at 7.30am followed by another announcement 10 minutes later that the scheduled departure time was now 8.00am. The reason? Bad weather!
One more announcement followed. Departure now 8.30am. We were finally asked to board just after 8am. As I took my seat I glanced over to my left and saw a well-known politician across the aisle who currently carries the status of a minister of state (no big deal there – aren’t there like hundreds of the favoured out there carrying the status of minister of state? Certainly feels like it). When she’s on television she always looks like she’s sucking a very bitter lemon but she was certainly much more pleasant looking in person.
Then I saw him sitting just one seat ahead of me. Ex-interior minister and boxing promoter Don King’s doppelganger. I’m sure you know who I’m talking about – Don Malik looks exactly like Don King, his hair defies the laws of nature just like Don King’s and he orchestrates a spectacular three-ring circus just like Don King. The only difference being that our desi impresario’s playing ground is politics whereas the favoured arena for his American double is pugilism.
Ah, I thought to myself. They’re all off to the horse and cattle show known as the Senate elections currently going on in Saazishabad (and not be confused with the horse and cattle show concurrently being held in the capital of Conspiristan’s largest province, population wise). Then the penny dropped. Just about six months ago, Don Malik had kept a CIA flight with all passengers already onboard waiting for two hours till he took his own sweet time getting to the airport.
The angry passengers had refused to allow Don Malik onto the plane and the entire event was captured on camera for posterity. This time, at least, the passengers were kept in the departure lounge and didn’t have to sweat it out in the cramped aircraft seats getting all worked up (and then they say our politicians learn nothing).
The last time the Don had denied all culpability. He’s innocent this time too, of course. If the heavens are parted for Air Blew and not for CIA then how is he to blame? We must not doubt his desire to be a servant of the people. We must not point fingers – and that too unjustifiably – at our hard-working, honest politicos. Doing so only provides more ammunition to the powers that be to pull strings and levers and flex their muscles and bully the poor legislators around. It’s all our own damn fault. As usual.
The writer is a freelance columnist.
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @KhusroMumtaz




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