There is nothing to write. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. (Ernest Hemingway) A friend of mine, in order to save herself from appearing flustered by events unrevealing themselves in the course of a day, always says that we are an ungrateful nation Her face twitches as she says it but I assume she is trying very hard not to appear angry or frustrated at the happenings or the misshapenness of the day. She also owns a copy of fourteen thousand things to be happy about, but I have my reservations on the fact that she has ever read it. She has given me a copy of it too. I have read it in bits and pieces because fourteen thousand things happily counted and I might have to turn into a saint, and I am quite happy with trying to be human at this moment. So, there we are my friend and I, after the first monsoon rain. Shall we call it rain or a pouring of the skies? Severe and crippling for a country like mine and particularly Lahorites who can only spell mangoes when one says monsoons. Any street person can tell you the varieties of mangoes that have hit the market at this point. It was the first rain of the monsoon season and it sent us all looking for nooks and turns, crevices and corners to hide ourselves from the billboards that were looking for human beings to fall on. The perfect scene, of course, was the chief minister Shehbaz Sharif splashing through gutter water mixed with fine clean rain. Hyper is a subtle word for the respected chief minister because he could not believe his eyes that Lahore, his beloved Lahore was drowning. Now don't be mistaken by the rush you saw on television. Do not mistake motion or commotion for action. Preventive measures for matters cannot be taken overnight. That is what I have been hearing since the cable gave us the blessing of news twenty-four hours. Ministers, Prime Ministers, presidents are seen making excuses for what was to be done twenty years ago. Monsoons come every year and if something worse than Global Warming does not happen these monsoons will continue for many years and the severity will increase. Why does it then surprise the state or the local government when something as natural as rain happens on a fine sunny morning? Were they expecting the rains not to arrive? Like they are not expecting people to commit suicide because they have no money to buy atta. Or is it just denial till they pass out. Like I said, my friend and I are having a conversation over the drugged look of the government, and we have Shehbaz Sharif making his way; this way and that way in his Wellingtons. The rest of the protocol are ruining their best shoes and must have trashed them on the way home. He just cannot believe Lahore is drowning.  A bit about losing; losing something or someone is an art. How do you master it? How do you appease yourself over the fact that we have lost the chance of becoming a nation, please eradicate the word 'great' from this term. That we lost this chance right after our beautiful country came into being. How do we come to terms with it? How does one come top terms with losing? There is a poem by Elizabeth Bishop 'One Art' in which she says, 'so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster'. My friend sitting across me thinks so. That if we do not want to save something or preserve it, it is going to be lost and therefore it is not a disaster but an expected eventuality. Five years ago I would have boxed her in the ears for thinking so, but my idealism is becoming tarnished too. Seeing plastic bags fly across the city and garbage dumps everywhere, I wonder if this disaster was indented to be so. The more you lose, the more used to it you become. A day comes when you do not even know what you are losing. Identity, the car keys,  ration card,  the way home, values, good neighbors, names, ideals, strength to go to work for three thousand rupees, your pet,  ambition, sovereignty, getting up for a glass of water, looking for clean water, patriotism, respect, enthusiasm... and my friend pokes me  out of my vision and points towards the window.  Memories of my childhood flood in with the rain. We both walk out into the rain and let it fall deep into the crevices of our body and our soul. I am a girl again and laughing and running and my father is chasing me around the lawn, my laughter chasing him... we are splattering water all over the garden, our splatters mixed with God's. My mother is making pakoras and as the aroma reaches my face, my eyes, my nose, I look back to see how far my father is from catching me.  Troubles come and go like the tide; what remains is the dignity and character of an individual and a nation. Even today, we can, if we have the determination to, rectify what has been damaged and find what we lost along the way. Changing weather gives mankind a chance to change its mind about matters that can make a difference in the lives of the multitude. That is the last thought I had when I walked in to see the rest of the news where something about population control was been gargled by the Prime Minister. There are no perfect solutions, sir, only good intentions. E-mail: