I didn’t watch ‘Titanic’ because everyone had seen it. Call it an attempt at appearing different or fake exclusiveness, I find it highly irritating when people start talking about the same thing. Often, nothing new comes out of these discussions and there are the usual rehashed versions of the same thing.

So, I’ve been silent about the whole Veena Malik episode. No tweets, no Facebook status updates and no blog posts. Nothing at all.

So, why am I talking about it now?

A few days ago, in a conversation with the Associate Editor of Dateline, the conversation drifted to the lady in question. Discussions with him usually tend to wander off to cover different topics.  He reminds me of John Donne’s poetry when he makes unexpected connections between unrelated things. It’s sometimes quite baffling but always very accurate.

Here’s how the conversation went:

“So, it’s like this girl, what’s her name?” he said waving his finger in the air.

I waited for him to remember since I had no idea who he meant.

“That girl who’s so popular nowadays because of her photos,” he passed his hand over the pictures in a newspaper in front of him.

Then I realised. “Veena Malik?” I asked.

Throwing up his hands he said, “Aah yes. Veena is like one of those people who are visiting the beach for the first time.”

I waited for him to make the connection with our discussion about how people are often attracted to what is different instead of the usual.

“It is often people who have never been to the beach who find it most exciting and they are the ones who usually have the most fun.

“I lived in Karachi for years, so I didn’t enjoy the beach as much as people from other cities. Veena is also on a visit to the beach. It is a new thing for her. She knows that if she wants to enjoy her visit, she will have to get her hands, feet and clothes wet and full of sand.

“You can’t enjoy the beach if you’re not willing to get wet. You can’t say I’ll go to the beach but I don’t want to get sand on my feet or water in my hair.

“Like this couple I saw once. The lady was covered head to toe in a burka but she stood in the waist-high water with her husband, most probably intent on enjoying it as much as he was.

“It doesn’t matter what clothes you’re wearing, what matters is the intention to do something that you love doing. Veena knows how fickle the media world is. Today they praise you, tomorrow they forget you ever existed.

“She’s not going to let anyone stop her enjoyment of the beach. the sand between her toes and the salt stuck in her hair are proof of how much fun she’s having while others just wait on the shore blaming fate and life for their problems.

“But after a day at the beach, when you come back home in the evening, you still take a bath. You wash out all the salt and sand and only feel at home after you are clean.

“Veena too will have to come home after her day at the beach.”

(Published in The Islamabad Dateline in December 2011)

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