-Illustration by Mahjabeen Mankani/Dawn.com

Once upon a time, Karachi’s young men, or at least a subset of them, concluded that the reason they can’t land a date is threefold: no phone, no car, no place. Motorbike was a reasonably upscale means of personal transport for bus riding college students-till-recently, but uptown girls preferred the privacy of a car and a safe and clean environment before they allowed intimacy to happen. Or so the boys believed.

That notion, right or wrong, led to a lot of the professional development that you see in Karachi today. Young men equipped themselves with new knowledge and vocational skills, and broke into small business. They fuelled service industry with their toil, and sailed the crest of internet revolution. New paths were carved and old ways were polished and repackaged. The objective was to make money, enough money to buy the lifestyle conducive to their youthful fantasies. They did make a lot of money before their sideburns started showing slivers of white and their six-packs bulged into sacks of flab. They have cars, latest hand phones and comfortable dwellings for years now. But those who couldn’t get a date on bike, failed to get one into their sedan either.

Morale of the story is: Work solves no problems; it only creates more problems and more work. A lot of people out there are working because someone needed help with their business, which assists other businesses that help someone else do their work. Every bit of work done is created by other workers, and results in keeping more workers busy elsewhere. People are working because of others. Everyone is making every one else work more, and harder. Everyone is responsible for adding misery to our daily life. And for what?

While the young date-less men were studying computers or business management in the evenings and doing some pathetic work to make equally pathetic money in the day, another subset of young men and women were dating on Honda CD70. They understood the wisdom of the maxim: ‘work is the death of youth’ and concentrated on the task at hand. They used the neighbour’s phone or a PCO to arrange the outing, their bike was the flying horse at their disposal, and they didn’t need a flat: slurping kulfi at a public beach was a good enough date for them.

Today the first set runs huge offices, meets important people, and has more disposable income than ever before; all the while the young are dating on motorbikes with some low-brow names like Ready Cash. And they do it on bicycles, on foot, heck even on someone else’s rooftop.

Those who are happily retired are the ones who can break the code of silence. Educate our young men and women. Tell them they are standing at the brink of life. There are things their heart desires, and the only thing standing in the way is … work. They put off nicer things in life like love, romance, happiness … thinking work will afford them the money that will set them free to chase their dreams. Work is exactly the opposite of it – it weds you pompously and demands complete loyalty, with no divorce provision in the contract. It’s a relationship for life in which casual flings are frowned upon.

Work gets you money, power, privileges, social benefits … but one thing you never have enough of is: time. Time for yourself, and your loved ones. Time for all the things you wanted to do. You are free … as far as the rope of time stretches. If you are lucky you’ll opt for early retirement and take a fresh start in life. If not you’ll grow into a miserable, or depraved – or both – old man or woman who lived all their life merely to ‘raise our children’. Wrong. It was work occupying their time for the most part of their lives. And it’s the realisation of the fact that desirable women and bike-riding young men are still attracting each other, but you with your snazzy sports car are not in the game any more, that makes them bitter.

If you aren’t already retired, or about to retire, you have a choice: Go on working, or find, live, and enjoy the rest of your life.

Masud Alam is an Islamabad-based writer, columnist and journalism trainer. He can be reached at masudalam@yahoo.com

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Masud Alam is an Islamabad-based writer, columnist and journalism trainer. He can be reached at masudalam@yahoo.com

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (45)

July 6, 2012 9:14 pm
Very True n on the point, but dear if u a r a public sector employee, U can still enjoy the "Moments for ur self as well as for the "Loved One", thats why beside numerous opportunity im still a public sector employee, Hats off to GOP.
July 6, 2012 12:45 pm
Very true indeed , but not all young men work with choice , many are forced into doing so and thereby losing the best moments of life they could have enjoyed , a marvelous article , very well thought and superb observation .
sarosh Khan
July 7, 2012 4:33 am
awesome article..!!!It makes u think a lot...!!!!Great job sir...!!!i need ur autograph...!!!!!
July 7, 2012 1:42 am
It is very well written article expressing hard realities of modern life. All this so called economic development has left very little or no time for oneself. Life has become work only.
July 6, 2012 3:40 pm
This is a worthless article. Am surprised to see people appreciating it. This is not worth publishing or reading by people who actually want to achieve something in this life and here after. This is only for the losers.
July 6, 2012 9:34 pm
Does the writer wants to convey the youth that stay away from work and date !!?? As this is not a light piece of writing, I find it highly misleading. The key is balance between work and fun, and work for sure takes the higher priority. This "don't work" or "delay work" attitude is reason we are here today.
July 6, 2012 4:00 pm
Absolutely rubbish article and thought process. I am amazed at author's thought process and shocked at Dawn's decision to print it. The writer actually is trying to say education and work is bad while remaining illeterate and no career is the way to go. Someone who got good education and made it big doesnt need a crappy date to prove himself. Shame on writer and Dawn for publishing such absolute nonsense.
sarosh Khan
July 7, 2012 4:46 am
oh BE come on...!!!!where u r taking this...!!!LOL
July 6, 2012 10:57 pm
Masud Bhai Maza Agya. I certainly had a share of the modern, peaceful & beautiful Karachi back in late 70s to early 80s but now feel bad for lot of youths who are totally deprived of being a youth. Ignore our desi gora aka BE, he is one of those "those who couldn’t get a date on bike, failed to get one into their sedan either."
July 7, 2012 3:59 pm
Yes, love helps, sadly does not pay your bills!
July 6, 2012 11:33 am
This is hilarious !
July 6, 2012 3:16 pm
Thats kindda hit me !!!!
Raoul Ciao
July 6, 2012 10:32 am
Yo're the man, Bro' Masoor Alam !
July 7, 2012 4:12 pm
People in the west mostly work hard with dedication and also play hard too!
July 6, 2012 12:24 pm
Thats really a very good article.......
July 7, 2012 1:20 pm
Message was good but not properly put. Running after money never helps to get a good life. Though one thing that is missing is that this actually is not a choice for majority in Pakistan. Not everyone is going for too high education majority hardly ever gets an education or any leisure time. Working is the only means of survival for them and they are people who are increasing everyday.
July 7, 2012 11:43 am
Masud, I love you and hate you for writing this article . . . as it made me ponder over those bits of my life, the doors of which I had kept shut for ages, bits which give me a feeling of pain with pleasure. A high flyer living in the West, I spent my youth and early professional career in Khi. I don't think I ever found love or time for love in my life until I had my first kid. But I still had several crushes, first one in class 9th and then another one in class 10th. I got a bit religious afterwards, so it became a 'no-go area' for me. Upon entering my professional career and making early strides, I starting getting attention from the opposite gender (I am M). But, for those who haven't tasted it, let me tell you that becoming a highly successful professional is an addiction itself; hence I never responded to those welcoming gestures for the fear of getting distracted. An arranged marriage finally closed the doors for any youth-fun. We did enjoy our days of going out as a couple, but without the excitement (/fear!) of getting caught by police or by an uncle/aunty known to our parents. I know I can't change the past (and don't think I want to change it either) but now I have a good balance in my life, still working hard here but enjoying the family time as well. Masud, thanks and keep up the good work!
July 7, 2012 10:27 am
Don't agree with some points but overall article is good read and provoked different thinking. No doubt a lot of money is not required to find love of your life.
July 8, 2012 5:42 pm
Good article. I can relate to it. I am seeing this more of it. The new gen is shirking the responsibilities of being bread earner and preparing for future, hence a new class of young men are beng trained. These young men can only take care of themselves and want to take care of thenselves only. Only few of those highflying dating guys succeed in internet/whatever profession. Dual working families are borned. Men become less men/metrosexual and women becomes more like men. This phenomena is observed in all civilization, east or west. I still love those carefree high flying days on a motorcycle where only thing you had to worry about is where u get money for petrol/gas ;)
July 8, 2012 10:11 am
Good Job, Good sex, Good Food is the definition of a gud life.
Naseema Perveen
July 6, 2012 9:47 am
very well written...truly appreciable!
July 6, 2012 4:42 pm
Does the writer wants to convey the youth that stay away from work and date !!?? As this is not a light piece of writing, I find it highly misleading. The key is balance between work and fun, and work for sure takes the higher priority. This "don't work" or "delay work" attitude is reason we are here today. And I am amazed at the people praising the article!!! Go people, work, and do the best in your part. If all of us do our part best, our societies will be a better place. Let's see what Dawn admin do to this post :):)
July 6, 2012 11:06 am
Hats off. You what I was in my heart.
July 9, 2012 4:41 am
I just loved this article.. a bitter truth of life with simple words and narration. And your writing style is simply adorable......:)
July 6, 2012 1:35 pm
That is a very racist and prejudiced comment. Why don't you learn some manners and in the future just stay away from reading Pakistani newspapers. This is a light hearted article and I living in the West for 20 years can attest that many people here have a laid back attitude about work and life too and feel just like this author does. And just like the article says there a lot of people in Pakistan who do study and work extremely hard and defer some goals to achieve others.
July 6, 2012 2:53 pm
Nicely put forth
July 6, 2012 4:05 pm
I have been living in west for very long also, i am not sure which west you are referring to, but the west i live in people take work seriously. That is the reason why living standard here and in pak are worlds apart. I hate to agree with BE, but unfortunately he/she is right and whomsoevet praises 'no work no education' thinking is wrong.
July 6, 2012 1:14 pm
Out of the whole article you picked that one line and started with your anti Pakistan sentiments, BE their is another story in this article as well and that is " time is a very precious so do slow down and enjoy life's little things as well"
July 6, 2012 12:16 pm
You are the man...... too late for me unfortunately.... but will hopefully save many!!!
Humayun Khan
July 6, 2012 4:13 pm
Great article with an important message "just work without play is dull and boring" However another important thing that I think is missing from the article is to be cognizant regarding the "rewards of delayed gratifications" Both are important lessons and guiding principles for our youth. It is indeed a fine balance of the above two which lends to a happy life in my opinion and personal experience.
July 6, 2012 11:49 am
"Morale of the story is: Work solves no problems; it only creates more problems and more work." No wonder nothing gets done in time in corrupt and inefficient muslim countries. If the people of Pakistan don't have the ability to feel any pride in work well done - then please stay in Pakistan.
July 6, 2012 11:45 am
somehow its true.......! but for a successful, secure and bright future of a man and his children it requires to do hard work as in future u one could make their family more happiness ans comfort. But no doubt in that hard work somewhere adorable moments are missed, little happiness, joys is foregone and missed those must be availed, and when it is realized the time is gone. work is also done for that life n family. so along with work life should also be lived. keeping smile on face and make others to smile.
July 6, 2012 11:58 am
Very nice sir. Thanks!
Zainab Shah
July 6, 2012 8:59 am
Superb Article..... :) This is actually happening nowadays.... ppl r running after all the luxuries though miss the best moments of life....
July 7, 2012 7:51 am
A life saver. Fantastic article.
July 7, 2012 7:53 am
After reading this article, i feel like, "Youth is all about dating"...:-/
Imran raza
July 7, 2012 8:54 am
Ever heard of the maxim "Without work there is no leisure"?
sara khan
July 8, 2012 11:33 am
There is no love, these people you talk about in your article, dont end up together, they end up broken heart, or pregnant. Love only exist when one is a teen and only in movies. I think our society needs to change back to the era when folks married at a very young age. Being 27 I am hardly attracted to anyone...never been in a relationship either
July 8, 2012 2:03 am
And when these young men and women who spent their youth dating, decide it is time to settle down and raise a family, how will they pay for food, housing education, etc etc etc?, when they completely neglected work? It is possible to work and date at the same time, and achieve a fair balance
July 8, 2012 2:56 am
When we talk about work life balance, does not means dating (not acceptable for society); specially when you demand virgin girl as your bride in pakistan. Giving time to yourself, excersice go to vacation. Donot idict yourself to work so that all extra time spend in office.
July 8, 2012 5:48 am
I think the message is clear in this article,work,work hard but don't forget to have fun,enjoy life and like most,don't forget the family you are earning for.after all,what good is the money to your family if they can't enjoy few minutes with you.
July 8, 2012 6:15 am
BE: HA HA. Relax man, don't take every word you read seriously.
A Reader
July 8, 2012 6:30 am
I do not agree with this article and it could be misleading but every one is free to express what ever he likes, However since its published in DAWN it am assuming that the Dawn's editor agress with these views as well.
July 9, 2012 7:16 am
The writer seems to have completely missed the point here. The fundamental concept he is trying to present is the element of entertainment in life instead of "wasting" your life away "working". Entertainment, my friends, is essentially not about dating on motorbikes. It is about finding reasonable avenues in life during your youth to "enjoy". In west, there are night clubs, pubs/bars etc. to channel this kind of energy. Chinese government is now opening state sponsored night clubs in all cities to ensure that their people get proper enjoyment while working like asses five days a week. There are similar examples in other parts of world. But let's be very clear, in all of these countries, work is the supreme and ultimate objective of life and partying up is the channel to vent out your frustration and to get ready for next week's work (i've spent several years in some of these countries). I honestly believe that this article is dangerously misleading and DAWN should not have published this piece of junk which clearly seems to have come from someone highly immature. Revised moral: "Work hard (best education, business, job), party harder".
July 9, 2012 7:27 am
Excellent Article !!! well thought and beautifully crafted. Take the example of educated people of my age in b/w 23 - 26. We get reasonable jobs after graduation, but due to high competition in the job market we need to constantly improve our education. For that we go for MBA/ Master Programs offered in evening or weekend. But I believe that we are missing on the best part of our lives . In comparison, the lives of our parents few decades back were more fulfilling and joyous
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