It has been a few days, so I’m sure that by now even the most technologically reclusive amongst us have seen the brooding Chai Wala. Whether you indulge in him as a harmless internet story, or obsess over him as the doom of things to come, let me be the first to suggest that it is time to move on. In fact, let me help you out by offering five things that you could tweet about instead.
Lists can be incredibly bland, so let’s start with a fairytale. Once upon a time there were three prisoners, bound by chains. They had been trapped in a cave since birth, and their necks were chained so that they could only look at the wall in front of them, forever ignorant to the fact that the entrance to the cave was directly behind them.
Behind them a fire burned with ferocity and as people carrying ornaments, statues and animals passed the cave, they cast shadows on the wall. For most of their adult lives, the prisoners only knew the world outside through this distorted shadow play. They carried on in this oblivious state of bliss, until one of them was dragged out of the cave and set free. He spent days getting used to the sun, the touch, feel and possibilities of reality. Eventually he realized how flawed his visions of the world were. Overwhelmed by enlightenment, he ran back into the depths of the cave to tell his comrades about his discoveries. But they wouldn’t listen to him, calling him mad and delusional. When his calls became too persistent his ex-companions killed him.
It’s a great story. And like all great stories, it isn’t original. If you’ve been keeping up with your philosophy lessons then you know that I stole it from Plato. Apparently he was painting an allegory for civilization, which only saw reality through a distorted lens, oblivious to the truth outside the cave and hostile towards anyone who dared to challenge those beliefs.
Observing the hysteria that followed now viral tea seller, I know that the lesson is relevant today.
It’s difficult to ignore how much people are reading into a rather striking pair of blue eyes. Since that first meme, eighteen-year-old Arshad Khan has garnered a lot of attention. Some fan themselves over the site of his piercing gaze, others question the morals of drooling over someone based on their appearance. Dawn went as far as to call him a case of ‘reverse sexism’.
Still, let me shakeup the shackles of shadow play with five things (in no particular order) that happened while most of us were obsessing over a perfect stranger.
1. Supreme Court Adjourned hearing for Asia Bibi
Asia Bibi was accused of blasphemy in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010, since then her lawyers have approached the Supreme Court (SC) to repeal the sentence. A few days ago the SC adjourned the hearing for the appeal. Her case has become exceedingly controversial, particularly when Salman Taseer was assassinated by his body guard for openly supporting her. The hearing was adjourned when one of the three judge bench recused himself. If the sentence is carried out, Asia Bibi will become the first person to be executed under the Blasphemy law.
2. Man maybe executed despite schizophrenia
In 2001, Imdad Ali was arrested for and convicted of the murder of a cleric, in 2012 doctors claimed that Ali was a paranoid schizophrenic, unaware of his actions or their consequences.
Ali’s lawyers have since said that he is mentally unstable, not understanding his crime and hence unfit for the punishment.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that it does not recognize schizophrenia as a mental illness, because it is a recoverable mental disorder. Ali maybe executed as early as next week.
The human rights group Reprieve has called the verdict “outrageous”.
3. Karan Johar vouched to never again work with Pakistani talent
In a video message, Bollywood heavyweight Karan Johar broke his silence regarding the rising India-Pakistan tensions.
Following worsening conditions in Indian held Kashmir, and the Uri attack which killed 18 Indian soldiers, Indian authorities blamed Pakistan for rising tensions, while Pakistan’s government has denied involvement. Many prominent Indians spoke out against Pakistan.
But Johar had maintained his silence.
Hardliners called him out for letting Pakistan’s Fawad Khan star in his film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.
In the video Johar assures that he worked with Fawad when the situation between the two countries was “completely different” further stating that he won’t be working with Pakistani talent in the future.
4. Usman Riaz amongst Forbes’ 30 under 30
The musical genius and founder of Mano Animation Studios attended the Forbes’ 30 under 30 summit, representing his newly established animation studio. Prior accomplishments for the young entrepreneur include speaking at and being a senior fellow for TEDx. Currently, his team is finishing up Pakistan’s first hand drawn animated film titled “The Glassworker”. They garnered a lot of attention for a successful Kickstarter campaign and according to their social media the trailer for the film will be released next week.
5. Viral reporter/security guard kerfuffle
A video showing a reporter aggressively questioning and being slapped by a security guard has been making virtual rounds. Saima Kanwal and her team were recording a live program outside the NADRA office in Liquatabad when an argument broke out between her and a stationed security guard. Since then Gulbahar police have launched an FIR against the security guard. Simultaneously NADRA and Police have launched a ‘counter-case’ against the television channel K-21, for which Kanwal was reporting, for hindering official work.
6. Chai Wala update
If Chai Wala Khan is still your obsession of choice, then here’s something to keep you going till next week.
Since the phenomenon started, young Arshad has been interviewed by BBC Asia and landed his first modelling gig for fitin.pk.
No-name tea seller one day, viral talent the next, that’s the internet for you.