S:     What am I still doing here?

A:     Well, we could go outside, but I must warn you. It’s quite cold, and you’re not drunk.

S:     I wasn’t complaining about being in the room.

A:     Go on.

S:     I have thought about this for as long as I can remember, but lately, I have been considering it very seriously. We get one life, right? I mean this is it. Look at that clock on the wall. You see time passing by. That’s your life, right there, ticking away.

A:     Thank you, but I have always been fully aware of the relationship between life, death and time.

S:     No, listen. I live in Pakistan, and honestly, I hate it. I don’t agree with the majority of the people here. I don’t just disagree with their views, but I despise them. I detest its culture. I detest its politics. Heck, I don’t even agree with this country’s full name. Every day, I read horrible stories and I see horrible things, and it all makes my blood boil. I walk around, angry and sad, mostly both, and I ask myself: if I was born elsewhere, and visited Pakistan at this age, would I ever consider moving here? No way! May be I should spend my life somewhere else, a place more agreeable, less intolerable and ignorant.

A:     Sadiq, I understand your frustration. Believe me, I do. But I don’t think it should prompt to you to pack up your bags and move to another country. You don’t like the way things are? Change them. You can’t mend it all, but you can do your part. You and I both know of so many people, from this country, who continue to live here when they can easily settle overseas. Instead, they have dedicated their lives to bringing a positive change. I don’t doubt your sincerity, but if this country has a chance, it’s because of people who stay here and struggle for it, not those who leave in disgust.

S:     But, I don’t think that this country has a chance. Even a reformed, better Pakistan doesn’t seem like the place I'd spend my entire life in. And let’s be realistic, please. I can’t influence the sort of change that is needed. What can I do? Write a column? Open a charity? Yes, that’ll surely change the course of history. That will change how the military thinks and the politicians feel, sure. One life, Ameen. I can’t punish myself for being born here.

A:     I’m sorry if you feel that way. Perhaps you should move if you’re this upset and feel so helpless. I just feel more sorry for those who do not have the luxury. I always thought that you’d be able to do something for them.