Thursday May 30, 2024

Esso Peas

By Naeem Sadiq
May 19, 2020

Pakistanis and peas go back a long way. Earliest archaeological finds confirm that peas were popular with the people of the Harappan civilization some 4500 years ago.

Harappans grew numerous varieties of peas – garden peas, field peas, snap peas, sweet peas, snow peas, dry peas and black-eyed peas, to name a few. Continuing with this ancient organic tradition, in March 2020, Pakistan became the first country in the world to develop a unique variety of peas, patented as ‘Esso Peas’.

What exactly are the ‘Esso Peas’. They are an indigenously developed multi-purpose, broad spectrum, long-acting, papyrus-based cure for the world’s most dreaded virus called Covid-19. In simple words, a superior equivalent of the vaccine that the rest of the world is frantically spending billions of dollars to develop. The primary ingredient of an ‘Esso Pea’ is a 99 percent pure sheet of an A4-size paper that is laced with a number of stamps, signatures, and statements conspicuous for their typos and grammar mistakes. Scientists (read politicians) claim that the ‘Esso Peas’ exhibit effectiveness over a wide range of pathogenic viral and bacterial organisms. In fact, they insist that the same ‘Esso Pea’, with very slight changes can be reused as an equally potent cure for any other kind of virus or bacteria.

While the invention of ‘Esso Peas’ is a milestone of the 21st century, their manufacturing process dates back to the 17th century colonial era. The ‘Esso Peas’ production involves seven machines, of which only one actually adds value, while the other six machines only ‘countersign’, ‘hold’, ‘forward’ and ‘put up’ the file to the next work (read idle) station. The machine that actually thinks and writes the ‘Esso Pea’ is called an ‘assistant’ to a section officer. The other six machines (or hurdles) are: section officer, under secretary, joint secretary, additional secretary, secretary and chief secretary.

Although the people of Pakistan had never heard of ‘Esso Peas’ before March 2020, it took only seven days for the new invention to go viral. Vulnerable to readily parting with common sense, every citizen, politician and bureaucrat got readily convinced of the efficacy of ‘Esso Peas’. They were hailed as a brilliant, free and effective alternate to the unaffordable vaccines or blood plasma treatments. All that is required to create an ‘Esso Pea’ is one functional and six redundant machines, coming together to place, tag, flag, sign, stamp and staple an A4 size paper in a folder. A nation that historically abhorred anything written was suddenly working overtime to mass produce ‘Esso Peas’.

Once an ‘Esso Pea’ is prepared, it can be simultaneously administered to millions. This task, typically performed in televised press conferences, is allocated to smooth-talking government ministers, of whom there is never a shortage. All they have to do is appear on TV and utter a few standard one-fit-all platitudes. “We have come to an agreement with the traders’ association / religious scholars / hair dressers that they will follow the impossible to follow 14 / 24 / 34 ‘Esso Peas’ prepared by the government.”

The parties involved in all such ‘wishy-washy’ agreements fully understand that the virus is blind to the presence or absence of a document called an ‘Esso Pea’. They fully understand that the chances of implementing these ‘Esso Peas’ are no better than an individual getting struck by lightning twice on the same day. Here the ‘Esso Peas’ act as a brilliant face-saver and an effective ‘eye-wash’ to keep doing what they always did.

Having excelled in the field of epidemiology, it may be prudent for Pakistan to develop two more ‘Peas’. The much needed ‘Lesso Peas’, to focus on having less children through stricter social distancing. Finally, there ought to be a series called ‘Restin Peas’ – to be administered, just in case, all other ‘Peas’ fail to deliver on their promised outcomes.

The writer is a management systems consultant and a freelance writer on social issues.