There are many ways to make a living, in Pakistan; you can open a shop, study hard to find a job, go of the country if you are skilled, invest in stocks, vie for a Government job, join the politicians or just remain jobless. The choice is yours! I have come across people who try to make a living on daily basis doing what they can, but there’s one thing I had never imagined, selling food for the crows! This happens in Lahore, Pakistan that is. The landmark location of this famous city, the “canal” has countless such unemployed men selling meat to feed the crows. While this may sound strange to some as you can feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square (London) or fish in Shenzen’s Cultural Village (China) but feeding the crows is unheard of.
This very much is entwined in our culture, let me explain please. People who have money spend it on feeding these birds because the common belief is that this act will bring them blessings as it is a good deed. A good Omen. So you go to the canal any day and you will find many of these self employed vendors selling meat.
Just yesterday I took my kids to the canal to try this self created ritual. You pay the vendor Rs. 50, he takes a bag of meat swirls it around your head and throws it to the crows. This results in a mayhem that seldom lasts more than a minute as all crows and eagles in the area dive, stoop and pounce on the meat. In a matter of seconds it is all gone, finished. You go home satisfied, the crows and eagles have their fill and the vendor has a wedge in his pocket, it is a win win situation for everyone.
Why I chose to write this post? Well I am surprised, amazed and impressed by the will and capacity of Pakistani’s to survive. Sure we are in the middle of a war, we have been braving suicidal attacks for years now, we have no electricity, our economy is in shambles, there aren’t many options available, the internal situation isn’t any good but despite all this we are surviving and fighting against the odds.
To me this makes sense, it gives me hope, it shows our indomitable will to survive in the face of odds which in simple terms is awesome.
Our vendor yesterday was a fine fellow in his mid fifties named Liaquat Ali. He has been selling meat for the last 12 years. When asked how much he makes, he simply said “he is thankful, sometimes Rs. 500 sometimes even 1000″. Daily he wakes up early, goes to the market, buys meat and loads it in his bicycle. This has been his regimen for the lat 12 years. There’s no selling on rainy days, but on festive occasions like Eid sales go up. Despite all this Liaquat is cheerful, hardworking and industrious.
This gives me hope, lots of it.
Check out the pics. This post is for Mr. Liaquat Ali.