Sensitive Furniture

These jingoists, they have no shame, whatsoever!

Yes, I can hardly bear watching Indian TV channels anymore.

What Indian TV channels? I’m talking about my fellow Pakistanis.

Why, what happened?

Look at this Tweet by a so-called liberal Pakistani. He is mocking Bangladeshis for eating fish, Bhutanese for living on a mountain and says that Afghans are dumping Pakistan to go to the IPL … as refugees!

How is that jingoism?

It’s racism!

Satire is supposed to sting, no?

It’s terrible humor. It is people like him who are isolating Pakistan.

Well, the Russians are here, so are the Chinese; and the Americans too are still around. Seriously, they do matter more than at least Bhutan.

You are being arrogant.

And India is not?

How is mocking poor countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan, humor?

Pakistan is poor too. How is mocking Pakistan humorous? People mock Pakistan too. But you don’t seem all that upset then.

Stop being an apologist for this kind of hyper-nationalism. It’s tasteless. We need to swallow our pride and recognize India as a bigger power.

But India is poor as well, no?

Well, yes, but it has a globally-recognized film industry.

So this makes it a superpower?

Listen, all I am saying is that so many Pakistani actors and actresses and singers are embraced by Bollywood. Now they will all be chucked out.

That would be bigotry.

How so? India has every right to do that. We send terrorists into their country and …

They do too.

What proof do you have?

What proof do you have? And please do not talk about pigeons.

There is enough proof.

That RAW guy they arrested from Balochistan a few months ago …


How do you know that?

I just do.

Gut feeling?

You can call it that.

And a few captured pigeons, maybe?

Not funny.

Okay, I understand, it has now become tough to visit literary festivals and conferences in India but …

Oh, so you think this is why I am so upset?


That’s sheer arrogance. You have become a warmonger.

Dude, have you watched any Indian news channels lately?

Yes, I have. They have every right to feel angry.

Just because India has a large film industry?

Not funny. All these great Pakistani artistes will be chucked out from India.

Sad, indeed, but why are you so hung up about that? You can still visit India and talk about all the horrible things Pakistan has done in the region, no? It’s not like you had a Bollywood career that has come to an end.

Actually, I almost did.


I signed two films in India in June this year. Both starring Salman Khan.

Really? That’s awesome! I did know you were a budding actor. So what will you be appearing as?

Well, in one film I’ll be appearing as a coffee table and in the other as a sofa.


In one film I’ll be appearing as a coffee table and in …

Yes, yes, I heard. But what sort of roles are these, mate?

Why? What’s wrong with playing a coffee table or a sofa? You are being a racist here.

Against whom?

Against coffee tables and sofas.


I am always serious, unlike that pathetic, bigoted so-called satirist you were just defending.

To hell with him, but please, please do explain how is one a racist towards a coffee table and a sofa.

An Indian coffee table and sofa.

Indian, as in made in India?

I’m not sure. Let me check the script.

You were given a script to play a coffee table and a sofa?

Now you are being prejudiced and stereotypical about coffee tables and sofas.

But they are inanimate objects.

That’s such a prejudiced statement. So what if they are inanimate?

Why can’t the directors just put some real tables and sofas in the films?

That’ll be so uninteresting. We Pakistanis are so uncreative.

That’s such a prejudiced statement.

Ha! You are all in denial. Always denying the truth.

That’s such a prejudiced statement.

It’s the truth!

So is the fact that tables and sofas are lifeless objects and a man being asked to play them in a Bollywood film is ridiculous.

It’s at least a start.

To what?

To going on to bag bigger roles.

Like what? Playing king size beds and chandeliers?

What’s so wrong in playing beds and chandeliers, racist?

Well, good luck. But do tell what sort of a sofa are you playing?

A shiny leather one in the hero’s TV lounge.



Cow leather?

That’s bigoted and insensitive of you.

I know, I can get lynched in India for saying that.

As if nobody gets lynched in Pakistan.

But India is such a bastion of tolerance, no?

It is.

Except when it comes to things like cows, Kashmir and …

Kashmiris are dancing to the tune of terrorists sent by Pakistan.

And the captured pigeons said so?

The whole world knows.

By world you mean Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan?

Ha! Another racist statement.

Very well. I should go now. What are you doing tomorrow?

Nothing. I’ll just stay at home.

Oh, come on, cheer up. It’s not the end of the world. It’s silly of India to mix politics with sports and the arts.

What else should I do? Bigots and warmongers like you are messing things up.

Hey, chin up. You are a talented guy. Who knows, maybe the Bhutanese film industry is looking for Pakistanis who can play sofas and tables.

Get out.




I can’t believe we have finally defeated the Soviets. The Cold War is coming to an end. The world will become a much safer and better place now.

Yes, it will. We can sleep more peacefully now. But we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Afghans. Such brave and honorable people.

Indeed. We avenged our defeat in Vietnam.


Now we can sleep easy. No need for sleeping pills anymore.

Indeed. Sweet dreams, dear.

Sweet dreams, honey.




I can’t sleep. This Monica Lewinsky scandal is bothering me.

Indeed. Clinton is such a dog. He should be impeached. Immoral liberal.

Indeed. These Democrats have squandered our victories in Afghanistan.


Yes, honey.

What’s Afghanistan?


I have become an insomniac, thinking that Hillary might actually become our next President.

Indeed. We need someone like Trump. We are surrounded by Muslim terrorists.

But I think we are to be blamed for this as well. Poking our nose in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

They are all brutes. We had to intervene.

Indeed, but they’ll never let him win. He’s too politically incorrect.

Well, to hell with them. I’ll be voting for him. These Muslims must be isolated. And the Mexicans too.

Our gardener is Mexican. And the taxi we took today was driven by a Muslim.

Horrible. We have become prisoners in our own country. We should expel them from America. Trump can do that. He must win. He’s our only hope. Our way of life is under threat, dear. Dear?


Boiling Point

Husband, why don't you let me drive a car?

No, Jamila, driving messes up a woman's anatomy.

What about a motorbike?


A bicycle?


A scooty, maybe?

No, Jamila. You can't. Now go and boil me an egg.

You can boil an egg yourself, husband.

I do what a man has to do.

Like what?

Like driving a car.

But it doesn't mess your anatomy.

Men are different that way.


See, Jamila, even just thinking about driving is messing your anatomy.


You are asking me logical questions. What woman does that? Now go and iron some clothes.

But I just did.

Iron some more.

There are no more clothes left to iron.

Then iron the ones you've already ironed.

But that will mess their anatomy.

Clothes don't have an anatomy, Jamila. Stop being a child.

What child is not allowed to drive a scooty?

A female child.

What female child irons clothes and boils eggs?

Jamila, you are being unreasonable.

But you just said I was asking logical questions.

That's how women become unreasonable.

By asking logical questions?


This does not make sense.

That's because you are being unreasonable. Now go and dust something.

We have a Bakistani maid for that.

Fire her.


I think she is putting all kinds of wrong ideas in your head.

She hardly ever talks.

I think she drives a car back in Bakistan.

She can't afford a car.

Then maybe a motorbike.






I see. But her anatomy seems all messed up.


So many questions. Enough. Go make me some tea.

We don't drink tea.

Then make something else. Behave like a woman.

But women in other countries drive cars.

Have a look at their anatomies. All messed up.


They act and think like men.

Is that a bad thing? To think like men?

For women, yes.

So, if I think that you should boil an egg for me, that's a bad thing, but if you think I should boil an egg for you that's the right thing?

Yes. Something like that.

By the way, the car is short on fuel.

How did you know?

I sat on the driver's seat and pretended I was driving.

What? Did anybody see you?


They can throw you in jail for that! What have you done? I'm running out of breath. I think I'm having a seizure. Call a doctor, call him now!



Messed up anatomy. Can't move.

What ... what are you saying? I'm passing out! What should I do?

Boil an egg.



Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...
Nuclear miscalculations
26 Jan, 2023

Nuclear miscalculations

IF the claim of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan and India came close to a nuclear exchange...
Exchange rate cap
26 Jan, 2023

Exchange rate cap

THE ‘management’ of the exchange rate by the State Bank, allegedly at the behest of the government, to ward off...
Fawad’s arrest
Updated 26 Jan, 2023

Fawad’s arrest

Does the state really need to fan public discontent in a period as fraught with uncertainty as this?