Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I am completely obsessed with lists. I love lists. I love making them, reading them, counting items on them, crossing things off them, putting little check marks against them. I know this makes me a hopeless dork. Every essay I write comes after an inner battle not to write in entirely list form. It's not my fault I think in bullet points, after all. Nobody believes me when I say that, but it's true. I think in headings, subheadings and bullet points under the subheadings. Putting things eloquently isn't a talent of mine, but at least putting things neatly is. Today, I decided to give up the battle. I've proven my resilence, I've shown the world I can try and be all creative and flowery paragraphy with 21 normal essays. It's time to break out the lists. Here is my Great List of Why I Love Lists.

1) You never forget what to buy at the grocery store. There's never any "oh shit I went to the supermarket and I didn't pick up shampoo". There is only the satisfaction of making a comprehensive shopping list and checking things off it. Not only does it save time, it also helps prevent the "I went to Target to buy scotch tape and came home with a throw rug" conversation which is so apt to come up at least several times in your college career.

2) It makes writing papers (or essays) ten times easier when you have a mental list of what to say. In the case of academic papers, it also makes it much easier to pad your work with bullshit, because it's evenly distributed across the list of relevant stuff. I've noticed non list-makers tend to write very pretty papers, but their bullshit distribution can be a little off-all the nonsense tends to be concentrated towards the end, when there is a struggle to meet the word count.

3) You can start your daily to-do list with things you already did, or that you know will get done anyway (breakfast? Print homework?) just because it makes you feel awesome when you cross them off. In other words, there's nothing like a (fake) list to start your day off right.

4) It's easy to keep track of pretty much everything in your life. I have made lists of places I want to see before I die, things I need to do this week, books I will never read (*cough* Twilight *cough), 90s trends that need to come back and ways I would change my face if I was a Metamorphmagus. In case I or anyone else ever need to refer to these things, I've got it covered. Think of me as your grandfather's gigantic filing cabinet with all sorts of useless crap in there, but very well-organised crap.

5) It makes you feel productive. I have to admit that there were days when I went to the library, thought very hard and produced a brilliant list of everything I need to study. I don't mean jotting down all my homework, I mean a truly epic list, with suggestions and charts and all sorts of embellishments. By the time I'm done with this list, I feel like I deserve a break. Who doesn't like that glow you get when you know you absolutely deserve the nap you are taking?

6) Lists can go on forever. I can occupy myself endlessly making lists of just about anything. There's no getting bored when you have a list-maker in your head. There's also no running out of writing material. If you ever get tired of constructing paragraphs but still have a point to make, a list just might save your day.


I don't think there is anything our nation loves more than a good conspiracy theory, except perhaps biryani and cricket. Of course, when conspiracy theories are discussed over biryani while watching cricket, you have the formula for happiness. I doubt any of us are completely immune to the temptation of believing that either Israel or India is behind everything wrong that happens to this country, but some of us are worse than others, and some conspiracy theories are more creative than others.

One of my current favourite theories is that the Indus flooded because India made it happen. Bund breaches and badly-built dams aside, the idea that the Indian state was doing some kind of incredible rain-dance imploring us to have exceptionally heavy monsoons is brilliant. Clearly, Indians' ability to make it rain at will has not helped them irrigate their own land or feed their own people, but it's just so typical of Hindus to be interested in nothing but our downfall. What's more, they are able to infiltrate the ranks of our hardworking NGOs and play a sneaky double-game in which they offer 20 million rupees in aid while conspiring to kill flood survivors. Since India possesses such great supernatural powers, perhaps we should ask them to target specific militants the Pakistan army is after. That way, it will only rain on the bad guys, and everyone will be happy.

It's not just Indians who are out to get us, though. The Israelis want us all dead too, but I suppose that goes without saying. As a nation of unified Muslims, we are the Palestinians' greatest resource in the intifada. Our material assistance is of no importance, because what the Israelis really want is to eliminate our support for Hamas. That's why they decided to go for the jugular and defame our cricket team. Cricket=happiness=good national morale=sense of brotherhood=concern for our Palestinian brothers=nuclear ally for Hamas. Trust Jews, who have done nothing but persecute us since the very birth of Islam, to engineer false allegations against our national heroes through the media that they obviously control. Because remember: every powerful media company is owned by Jews, and every Jew is an Israeli, and every Israeli is a Zionist, and all Zionists want Pakistan to suffer. There's a page out of Zaid Hamid's book if you lack the patience to sit through one of his lectures. That is really all you need to know to be a fan of the guy.

Then, of course, there was America to blame for everything. Unfortunately, we are one conspiracy theory down because their role in our misery is not only obvious and therefore uninteresting, they've already acknowledged it publicly and are giving tons of aid in guilt-money. However, we need to remember that aid is never just aid. How do we know it's not being filtered to CIA employees, who spend their entire lives trying to convince us all that Al Qaeda exists? Our aid money doesn't just go into Zardari's real estate investments, it also goes into the bank accounts of Americans who are being paid to get OBL lookalikes to make fake videos about how he is hiding in Pakistan, just so they can remain in our country on an extended vacation. Obviously.

Don't get carried away in your hatred of all non-Muslims just yet. It turns out that our religious compatriots are in on the conspiracy to destroy Pakistan too. I heard only today that it's not Pakistani Sunnis who are blowing up Shias. Pakistan is in fact the site of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Iran is trying to convert all of us to Shias, while the Saudis are venting their anger at a Shia nation becoming a nuclear power. This is also evidenced through the sense of love and brotherhood that has existed between sects in Pakistan since the 90s, when Shia doctors and professionals were being targeted by Saudi agents.

Understanding and accepting this world view is vitally important for adding spice to otherwise boring discussions in which we would otherwise have to engage in the dull task of introspection. I strongly suggest that if you don't already know these theories and at least a few more inside out, you get with the program. Remember: while you fool yourself with your feel-good, lets-change-ourselves-and-be-a-better-nation ideas, the world is trying to blow us all up.