Dear Diary,

It has been decades, isn’t it? The last time I checked it was Dharna-I and God knows I was scared. The atmosphere was tense. The capital had been a warzone. I had once tried to break in to my neighbour’s house but was caught for attempted burglary and placed under house arrest for almost a week. God knows all I wanted was to inform them that it is ‘Go Nawaz Go’, not ‘So Mamnoon So’. I got to know that their youngest born was named after me and the mother would yell ‘So Mamnoon So’ at night. Good times!

Years later I found myself in a similar predicament. I had to travel in a rail in order to show solidarity with our Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique . He had been depressed as of lately. I don’t know the reason but aides told me the whole international conspiracy theory had taken its toll. When I met Rafique, he appeared to be older than his age. I was shocked. As one of my favourite customers at our little eatery, I had known him for years.

“Greetings Sadar Sahib!”

“Hello Rafique! You seem a little out order.”

“What more to expect Sahib, this international conspiracy is really taking its toll. Pre-1947 was ‘Two-Nation Theory,’ post-2013 is ‘International Conspiracy Theory,’”

“You need to relax. Let’s go for a ride like we used to on your 125, back in the days. Good Times!”

I had managed to cheer up Rafique a little bit. He got up, sobbing, and ordered for protocol. After all, the president was in town. We both ended up in a customised train, straight out from The Fast and the Furious.

As fate would’ve had it, or, I would say, as always, other passengers failed to recognise me. Several heads were turned but later returned to their original position. Not for once was I greeted. God knows what was happening. Were they waiting for the National Anthem? My 76-year-old brain had given up on me.

“What on God’s green earth is this? Rafiquuueeeee!”

“Oh my! I… I have no idea Sahib.”

“Get your baldy head together and tell them to stand. The President of Pakistan is amongst you.”

“Errrrr….. Yesssss! Oye khlo joe Sadar Saab ae nay (Stand up, the president is here).”

The people again turned their heads, confused, accompanied by “where?”

“What?” Rafique and I both spoke in unison, perplexed at what we had just heard.

“He is the president!” Rafique shouted - his fingers pointing towards me that made me look more like a culprit than the head of a sovereign state.

After a moment of silence, the crowd burst into laughter.

“Hahahahahaha! He is the president. He looks more like a homeless oldie.”

“My Oh My! I hear they’ve gone extinct. The last one to claim the presidency was Mr…. I don’t know what percent.”

“You look like an old artifact from the Indus Civilisation. Go away!”

The last one went too far. I wasn’t ready for that. I know Rafique wasn’t too. In fact we weren’t ready for any of the bulls***. Pardon my language.

“Bullshhhh…..” I almost choked out before Rafique grabbed my wrist and asked me to accompany him to the engine.

“Sahib…. This is not the time. Let’s leave before we go viral.”

But Rafique’s warning came a little too little as he had already posted the pictures of my arrival. There was no turning back.

Before another misadventure we left.

Days later, I received the news international media outlets had covered the incident. I called Rafique and asked him to explain

“Rafiqueeeee! What is this? ‘Homeless man on train claims he is Pakistani president,’”

“Sssssahib… I guess it’s an international conspiracy.”

“Whaaatttttttttt!”

Yours truly,

Sadar-e-Mumlikat, Mamnoon Mashkoor Hussain