Mar 12, 2008

The Civil Service of Pakistan.

This post is a year late. Today it comes due to a small, insignificant event. I was at the bank to submit my salary paycheck to be encashed. On the cashier's desk lay a long list of "Civil Servants of Pakistan" paychecks.

So here I go.

Parents always exaggerate our real potentials. People who love us tend to always think that we're more than what we are.

It's true that we're not. It's true that we are ultimately the products of their gestalts. But if we have faith enough in their judgment, we sometimes feel that it kind of adds to our gestalts and then we tend to think - why not... why CAN'T I be twice the person I think I am?

So my Dad made me think I could do things larger than life. He thought I had the potential to set the pond on fire, create waves like never created before. I gotta hand it to him, y'know. He comes from a very patriarchal system. And to have faith in a woman like that ... a girl, a daughter ... takes some nerve. Courage.

He was the primary impetus for that fateful registration in the 2007 Civil Service Examination. That was our moment of truth. The ultimate judgment of my calibre. If I made it - it meant that everything I have done in my life was worth it. Everything was going to work out, we'd live happily ever after, and I'd never get to hear a harsh word from him ever again.

So I prepared. Not well, but I did what I could. Amidst family crises, educational hyperactivities and the day-to-day crazinesses, I began studying for what could be the most defining point of my life.

My last paper ended 3 days before my engagement, the house was a mess due to renovations and I was literally sleeping and drooling off my books which were always lying around me, next to me or flapped over my eyes. I was always thinking of some theory or some fact or some fill in the blank or some grammar rule that my fiance had relentlessly tried to make me remember and continued to say, "I TOLD you this is what comes after this!"

Six months and some days passed. I would only remember the fact that I had given exams only when someone asked me about it. I had taken Political Science, Psychology and Urdu. Urdu didn't go exceptionally well, but I did great in all others.

I knew it didn't matter to most people what result I would get - but I knew it heavily mattered to some. My dad. He was one of those people who said he KNEW it in his bones, from day one, that I'd get a position in it. He just KNEW it. Hah, I thought. ALL parents KNOW it. Even of those who fail miserably.

One night the result arrived. And I found out I hadn't gotten in. I hadn't made it in the written exam. I couldn't believe it - because deep down inside, I knew it myself. I knew it in my bones too (after all Dad and I are the same flesh and blood) that I would pass. I knew it.

I had to accept it. I had to accept that I was not going to be a CSS officer - that long, childhood idyll that my father had for me hadh cracked. I had let him down, I could not do the things he'd expected me to do as his brilliant, exceptional daughter, and it was that and that alone what made me sniffle.

A week or so later the marksheet arrived. And that's when my gestalt shifted.

That's when I found out that the Civil Service of Pakistan is nothing but a sham. Lot of people say that I say that because I have the 'misfortune' of having a Karachi Domicile.

Whatever the reason is.

It still doesn't explain why they failed me - in English GRAMMAR.

A subject I had been teaching to students since I was in O levels myself.

Something that I'm so particular about that when I'm checking Psychology and Sociology papers, still gives me the heebie jeebies when someone misspells or mispunctuates.

I got great marks in Political Science and Psychology. Even passed respectably in Urdu. Did well in all compulsory papers.

And failed. FAILED english GRAMMAR.

And then I started to laugh.

And then I thanked Allah.

This wasn't a result. It was a revelation. It was telling me that I hadn't failed the system. The system had failed me.

Just the way it has failed the entire Pakistani infrastructure.

Whoever it is, responsible for this weird theory of failing people so that there is a saving of quota or keeping Karachiites out on purpose or whatever the hell it is that you people are doing back there ...

Get over yourself.

Because what you're doing to this country is nothing but disaster. And trust me - it is my curse and of all the others whom you have not given that due credit - you will reap what you have sown. I do not know if 'our time shall come' but when it does - whether it's the Day of Judgment or any time before that - you people will get what's coming to you, what's been long overdue and has been biding its time since the day you failed the first deserving candidate.

How's THAT for grammar.

You filthy, green-plated, bureaucratic, biased, incompetent, white-collared jackasses.

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