Pull it down

Ejaz Haider

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_4-4-2004_pg3_4

Triumph has an ad in this week’s The Friday Times about its new line of push-up bras, the ‘Maximizer’ it is called, no less. But make no mistake: ‘Maximizer’ in this case is not about maximising advantage (though that can’t entirely be ruled out), but hiding a disadvantage, or shall I say a lack of endowment. This clarification is in order, not least because of the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal’s newfound craze for maximising its advantage by any means possible.

That aside, why should I be taken in by a bra ad? The fact is I just chanced upon it while leafing through TFT and thinking about this hormone-crazed India-Pakistan thing. The very effusiveness and starry-eyed character of this oh-so-sweet, peace-in-the-air romance has got to me. The cricket euphoria, the Indian hordes descending on Pakistan, the Pakistani glitterati fawning over Indian celebrities and the dozens of letters I have been getting everyday since the two sides have ‘discovered’ each other.

But what has India-Pakistan got to do with the bra ad? Intriguing, isn’t it, even if I say so myself. The essential point relates to the adjective — ‘push-up’. What is a push-up bra? Well, squeamishly defined, it is a contraption that helps the fallen and in quite a few cases makes a mountain out of a molehill. To that extent you can also perhaps call it a salvation bra. To me this new bonhomie looks quite like breast dissimulation.

Francis Bacon wrote a great essay on ‘simulation and dissimulation’ — he was into writing great essays as a matter of habit so there’s no big deal about it — but of course he couldn’t have anticipated the possibilities offered by a push-up bra, though they had corsets in his time and they were more or less meant to do the same thing. Anyway, he missed out on it somehow, which goes to show that even great men can falter sometimes.

But let me not digress. The reality of peace between India-Pakistan is quite likely an A- more than a D-cup that all the brouhaha is making it out to be. It may be pointed and budding, but rotund it certainly is not. And while I am at it, let me point out to all the mouths that are watering over the possibilities that push-up bras also enhance the cleavage, a fact that should not be lost on anyone. So let’s not merely focus on the bust line here, nice though it looks at this point. Also, before I go any further, let’s not forget that bras are not like bikini tops and have wires in them. So this one is wired, too, and here I am definitely using ‘wired’ in more than one sense.

But who are all the people cheering the Indians and talking of friendship? Are they real? The question does not relate to the glitterati of the cities; they certainly don’t belong here. The one uncontested fact about the Pakistani elite is a total abdication of all responsibility. This takes some doing and they have worked hard at it. Who says being brain-dead is easy work. It requires idleness and purposelessness of a very high degree honed over a long period of GT-ing, nocturnal un-doings, watching oodles of Friends and SATC episodes and just lounging through life waiting to happen. So, dear readers, as I said earlier, these are not the people I am talking about (at some point I will, but not this week). I am interested in the common man.

Why is the common man going crazy? My own assessment is that this has to do with two things: the hospitality that comes natural to us and the fact that this is the first time so many Indians have come to Pakistan and there is an element of newness about the experience on both sides. They will get over it soon, habit taking the shine off the whole thing. That’s the thing about push-up bras. Come boudoir time, dissimulation ends on bare truth.

Meanwhile, I’ll be remiss if I did not mention cricket in all this razzle-dazzle. Cricket is serious stuff and this business of getting the cricketers to win the hearts and minds is a lot of nonsense. Cricketers are not supposed to win anything but matches. Unlike our boys the Indian team seems to know this. So while we have kept the line and length pretty tidy in an attempt to win over India, the Indians have focused on giving us a sound thrashing on the field. Maybe, the boys should take heed and begin to do what they are supposed to do — i.e., thrash India — and leave the job of winning hearts and minds to the happening and not-so-happening crowds.

Ejaz Haider is News Editor of The Friday Times and Foreign Editor of Daily Times

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