Sensei Presents: Islamabad the Beautiful: Vignettes About Town
Scene: a traffic signal in a posh neighborhood. The light is red and a variety of expensive cars are lined up and revving their engines. The sun is glinting off of chrome and the curvaceous chassis of BMW’s, Prado’s, and the occasional Lexus. Observe the silver Mercedes in the rear-view mirror, and the well-dressed young man in the driver’s seat. Notice his index finger, busily employed in one nostril. Ah, the common touch…
Scene: a waiting-room in the lobby of an office building. An armed security guard is standing at attention in the center of the marbled entrance-way. People come and go around him, but none pass within a few feet of him. His radius of personal space is ensured by the severe look on his face and the conspicuous shotgun slung from his shoulder. At the opposite end of the hall, a janitor with a wide dust-mop has lined himself up for another push from one end of the room to the other. He begins pushing quickly, with his head down, intent on his work, unaware that his current alignment has him on a collision course for the armed guard. A few observant people gasp as the dust-mop is about to crash into the back of the guard’s left leg, but just before it does, the guard lifts it without so much as a twitch of his ferocious moustache. He stands momentarily with one leg raised, the most dangerous looking flamingo I’ve ever seen.
Scene: a four-lane divided road running through the center of downtown Islamabad- Blue Area. The median is planted with flowers and palm trees, which the Capital Development Authority (CDA) waters every few days. Two CDA water tankers are watering them now, having started on opposite ends of the road, and they are now converging towards the middle. The men with the high-powered hoses are blasting water at the trees and flowers, until the two trucks meet across the median, when the hoses are raised and the men begin blasting each other instead.
Scene: The shoulder of a road on a cold, rainy day. A four-legged man in a large, shiny jacket is driving his motorcycle slowly through the rain. The first set of legs appear to be his own, they are long and trouser-clad. The second pair of legs is short, neon-green, and wearing a pair of pink sandals. They appear to have sprouted from his puffy, air-filled jacket, beneath which a small child is hiding from the winter wind.