Shuntoo on flipping channels

“What are you up to?” Shuntoo asked as he entered my house.

“Nothing much. Just flipping channels.” I replied and he just turned around and left. I was left confused and didn’t know what to make of this weird behavior, not that anything less than weird could be expected of Shuntoo.

The next time he visited I insisted that he tell me why he left. After about five minutes of my insistence, which began to look more like pleading in the end, he said calmly.

“I left because you were flipping channels. And I saw that it was not because you were looking for something specific on TV. In your own words, you were just flipping channels. That means you had absolutely nothing to do. You had no serious work, no important job to distract you; there was nothing in your life at that time to waste your time. And you had all the time in the world to think, reflect, analyze, improve, and make at least a portion of your life worthwhile. Instead, you chose to flip channels in the vain hope of finding something that could distract you, waste your time, and take the pressure of using your brain off your head. And I did not feel like spending time with such an idiot.”

“Oh come on Shuntoo!” I was annoyed naturally. “Most people flip channels.”

“Ha!” he said. “I don’t like spending time with most people either.”

Shuntoo on Valentines Day

“I am writing a Valentine card for the love of my life. But I can’t decide what to write. Any ideas, Shuntoo?” he asked innocently.

“No.” Shuntoo replied.

“Please yaar! Help me out here.”

“I don’t know.”


And Shuntoo closed the magazine in his lap, lit a cigarette and said “Ok, how about this.

“My love! On this senseless occasion, on which we celebrate something that nobody is really sure of, celebrated in memory one of about four or five people named Valentine, nobody really knows which one, on this day which is probably the modern version of an ancient pagan festival, a day which has absolutely nothing to do with our history, culture, traditions, religion, or common sense, I just want to send you this card to show that the efforts of the media in the 90s to forcibly make this day a part of our lives in Pakistan have not been in vain. This card comes with a message of love, social conformity, and respect for the all the commercial interests who have been using this day in Pakistan to sell flowers, candies, and cards like this at exorbitant prices. This is a gesture of solidarity with all the others people who, with equally minimum knowledge of the rationale or logic behind this celebration, still have the courage to stand up for what they don’t know, to act on what they don’t understand, and to be part of something none of them can make much sense of. Please accept this token and be my Valentine. Say yes, and do not spare a thought for the fact that you have no clue what being someone’s Valentine means. I assure you neither do I. Nobody does, so let’s be a part of this occasion with all the other people. To ignorance, silliness, and blind following of the mob. Till next year. Yours……”

Shuntoo on living only once

“What kind of idiocy is that? You only live once? That’s hilarious. I mean we are just not prepared to use our minds, now are we? Bacchay, bacchay! There’s nothing wrong in learning from wise things other people said, but at least be vigilant enough to tell the difference between wise and downright preposterous. You don’t only live once. You live every day, every hour, every moment until you die. Every day is a new opportunity, every moment the first of your new life. Anyone who fails to realize that gets caught up in memories, regrets and other similar crap. Even an attempt to count the number of times you live is futile, it’s infinite. You live as many times as you want…..until you die. And after you die, you live again…and again….and again…..forever. You live countless times and there’s no limit. Death is simply a transformation, a point beyond which you cannot see until you get there. But, you only die once.”~Shuntoo

Shuntoo-Literacy rate vs. Cricket

“Conduct a survey. Give the general population a simple choice. Would they prefer the literacy rate in this country to rise to 100 per cent or would they rather have our cricket team win the World Cup? I won’t say anything, just ask them and you’ll know how serious they are about issues that you feel they are acutely aware of, but can’t solve since they are victims of circumstances.”~Shuntoo

Shuntoo on Reformation

“Hey Shuntoo! You’ve gotta listen to this,” I knew how Shuntoo disapproved of me posting his views on facebook, but I had to tell him about this comment. Mainly because I loved it.
He didn’t say anything but looked at me with the tiniest bit of interest.

“Listen to this comment on my last post.” I explained and he kept looking at me. “I want you to respond to it.”
“Ok!” was all he said.

“Can shuntoo start from himself by not smoking and not exposing himself and others and environment to harmful effects of smoke?” I repeated the comment and waited for a response.

“Start what?” he asked

“That’s what the comment says.”

“But start what?”

“I guess start the change. The reformation of the society, I think.”

“What makes you think I give a crap about the society or its reformation?”

I didn’t know how to respond to that statement. So I decided to continue reading the comment.

“Can intellectuals like Shuntoo ……”

He began to laugh. “Intellectuals like Shuntoo!” he repeated and laughed again.

“Let me complete it at least. It says Can intellectuals like Shuntoo start taking some positive actions instead of talking?” I finished and looked at him.

“I am no intellectual. I don’t like to talk, mostly you make me talk. And I don’t give a crap about change or the society or your views.”

“But the writer of this comment does have a point.” I said

“Hmmm!” he said. Then he lit a cigarette, took a puff and blew smoke into the air. I kept looking at him expecting something.

After a while, he just said, “What? I gave you my response, I don’t give a …..” I said. “I know!”

Shuntoo on ‘believing on things that don’t exist’

“Hey! I was just looking at the list of Oscar nominees for this year. Where is Zinda Bhaag?”

Shuntoo just scoffed and continued to concentrate on the book in his hand.

“How can it be? We had everyone bragging about its nomination for Oscars and respectable NGOs claimed that it had been nominated at its screenings. Where is it?”

“It wasn’t nominated.” Shuntoo said putting the book aside and looking straight at me. He lit a Marlboro and continued, “it wasn’t nominated. It wasn’t even shortlisted. And all the claims that were made in the past three months were bull-crap, since the nominations weren’t even announced till last night.”


“Pakistanis are not the most talented people in the world.” Shuntoo continued.


“We are not so lucky to be at that stage.” He took a long puff of his cigarette. “We are worse than that. We live in a retarded idiot’s paradise. We believe in things that don’t exist to make ourselves feel better. We won’t appreciate the fact that movies like ZInda Bhaag, Bol and Waar show that with some effort we could make movies that could win an Oscar. No, we would rather believe that a movie already got that nomination and then feel all proud. We won’t say that with some effort we could become the best nation in the world. We would rather believe that we already are the best. We wouldn’t focus on how, with some effort, we could be better human beings. We would rather believe that we already are perfect human beings and spend our life trying to convince others.”


“So we prefer to make asses of ourselves than to make an effort.”


“And it’s hilarious.” He started laughing and the conversation ended.

Shuntoo on ‘living for yourself’

“It’s weird how everyone is doing whatever they are doing for someone else. Sportsmen play for their country. Men/Women make money for their children, work for their family. It’s as if living for yourself is something to be embarrassed about. Although living for yourself is the most logical existence. Get rid of this hypocrisy if you want to breathe. ” Shuntoo

Shuntoo on ‘likes’

“We want likes from girls, from boys from people in positions of power, from any random person we come in contact with. It is normal human nature. But somewhere in that race for likes we completely lose our fundamental values. We begin choosing to do the wrong thing if that brings us likes in life rather than do the right thing which might bore people and they might stop liking our lifebook pages. It’s all about cheap popularity, about attractive advertising, about letting people know that you are something, attracting them, making them like you and then ensuring that they hang on and God forbid, don’t press the unlike button.”~Shuntoo

Shuntoo is ill

I got a weird feeling when I heard that Shuntoo was ill. When I reached the hospital, this is what I found written on the sheet. The words within brackets are my own.

Dear Friend, Relative, Colleague or Whoever you are

If you have not come to visit me and have been handed this sheet by mistake, please return it and go ahead with your own business. (Not falling in this category, I read on).

If you have come to ask me what happened, I came down with a serious stomach virus, the result of something I ate from a roadside stall. I kept vomiting and shitting for three days after which I was brought to this hospital suffering from severe dehydration.

If you are interested in my present condition and my future, I feel much better now and the doctors say I will be discharged in the next couple of days.

If you intend to give me some crappy advice, I already know that roadside stalls are a risk and I am not interested in any frigging medicine or desi totka or a better doctor or hospital or Hakim that you know.

If you have come to cheer me up, you can do that best by returning. I am in a pretty cheerful mood and seeing you will probably ruin it.

If you have brought fruit or flowers or something of the sort take it back and give it to someone who gives a shit. Or leave it at the reception and I will make sure it gets to such a person.

If you have just come to fulfill your obligation as a good human being, relax. Your greatness has been noted and will be duly forgotten and ignored as most such actions are.

If you have come for any other purpose, please note that I don’t care and will highly appreciate if you leave me alone.

And finally, if you have some extremely urgent business (which I seriously doubt) you can call me on my cell. In case you don’t have my number, it shows that you are not very close to me and hence should mind your own frigging business. And please remember, if you call me and your business does not turn out to be extremely urgent, I might lose my temper and will not be responsible for the consequences.