By Umer Raza Bhutta

After a long time, yesterday evening I sat in the back seat of a Public Van. The Van was packed with people of all kind and tastes. I had to bend half way down to enter and then be seated at the last seat in the same way. My back was straight, my legs were tied and I was clubbed between two other perfect strangers (passengers). I had a nostalgic feeling of getting back around 20 years when I was a regular passenger (and perfect stranger) of such vans. I had the same height at that time too, bet the weight was little smarter, though I used to be clubbed at that time too, between two complete strangers.

I wondered the whole time that it was the same situation about 20 years ago when our people were traveling by such vans. They were waiting for hours for any such van to come by when they could climb over one. Such vans are extremely un-easy to travel by and too difficult to wait for as well. There are too many such vans plying all over Pakistan. Such Vans have also created a lot of fuss on the roads as the drivers compete with their rivals to adjust the passengers at a small place. But I thought where, all other things are changing and new ideas are coming forward, Pakistani people will also, one day, get something better to travel on roads.

For last about fifteen years I have been traveling in my own car and was blessed not to wait for such vans. But I was happy today when I sat in this van that I did not feel out of place. I was happy to sit with strange people shoulder to shoulder, rubbing legs together, struggling to reach to the pocket, negotiating with the conductor to demand the just fare, looking out of the window and trying to discuss politics with just a stranger. This was all happening in that one ride. Just beside me there was a man sitting with his younger brother. He was sitting on a seat where it was not possible to sit alone, but he bought only one seat for two. Whenever, the seat beside him was empty he transferred his brother to that seat, but when the van was full he had to transfer his brother back to his lap. That was a difficult thing to tolerate, yet both brothers were happy (they did not have any other option at that time) and were consistently looking out of the window and talking. I felt so good at that time that, though, we may have been negative thinkers, we might have not been observing the true teachings of our religion, we might not have been doing our duties right, we might not have been doing anything right and so and so forth, yet we are pressed to save for us and whenever chance allows us we turn our capacities to the best of our abilities and adopt ourselves to the situation and still remain happy.

That is a unique feature of all the human beings, yet very few can actually realize the worth of this feature. We can and do adopt ourselves at difficult and different situations, however, most of the times these situations are negative and breed negative results. We have adopted ourselves to the electricity and gas load shedding, to the transport decay, to the corrupt ways of living, to the low standard of life. At the same time we can adopt ourselves to work more, to reap the fruits of honesty, to reach office on time, to commit to the full hours of working in offices, to fulfill our promises, to observe the traffic rules, to manage our careers and learn new things in our career, to controlling our emotions, to be positive. When we can adopt to do all this we can adopt controlling our lives as well.

Interestingly we do not look at this adoption very positively. We tend to get carried away by the absurdity of the fact that “WE—ADOPT…….” “Man should be what he is” (or woman should be what she is). We profess the knowing of the fact that what we are, we should be proud of that, we must be natural, We must act as our nature commands us to be. “Be Natural my dear” do not act……that turns out to be an advice by some pseudo intellectuals of our society. Whereas, our natural instinct commands us to adopt and to learn and act with the new ways of life as and when required. If we can adopt to the worst part, we can most certainly adopt towards the best one. Though it may take more time and extra effort, yet that effort is worth the outcome.


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