One of the toughest things to do when you are a current President and publish your autobiography is to maintain the balance between political correctness and honesty. The dedication in President Musharaf’s book ‘Line of Fire’ was shining with honesty stating that it was dedicated to the people of Pakistan as they wait for a better day…Or perhaps that was too much honesty. The bits and pieces I managed to read before I gave up, however, was politically correct to the T. There is an innocuous paragraph right at the beginning about how when the first leader of Pakistan, Jinnah died, time stopped, skies darkened, the birds stopped singing etc and there were tears in everyone’s eyes. Which is pretty touching except that Musharaf was a five-year-old kid at that point in time.
What was the first death you cried for and how old were you at that time?
I mulled over this question for a couple of days and figured out that the first genuine tears I shed was for my paternal grandfather. Not when he passed away since I was still a kid trying to make sense of why my strong uncles were shedding copious tears. It was sometime when I was around 13 – 14. It suddenly hit me that I would never hear first hand the man who had had the temerity to think beyond his humble origins, educate his sons and set them on paths that would ensure that they (and their progeny) lead far more prosperous lives than he ever would.
Then I thought some more
And I realised that the first time I actually felt sorry for a death was when I was ten. I still remember the day. My sister and me snuggled on a single sofa, watching intently as the lead protagonist of the movie ‘Short Circuit’ was being beaten up. My sister’s tears were freely flowing down her cheeks. As the older, and ostensibly wiser sister, I merely blinked back my tears as the character’s lights went out of his eyes. Literally. The protagonist was a robot and it was the first time in my life someone’s death had moved me to tears. To my parents’ credit (sitting on the sofa behind the two of us), they did not hold their sides and laugh – atleast not too loudly - or try to console us that this was a mere movie. My sister and I watched delighted as were introduced for the first time in our conscious memory to Hollywood’s happy endings. The robot was repaired, given new life and voila! Short Circuit 2 was under production.
All I can say is that the fact I cried for a robot when I was ten as opposed to crying for the father of the nation when I was five probably indicates that I am just not cut out to be President. Or when I do become President and write my autobiography, I might have to edit out some of the parts.