We Pakistanis might have different dreams but what unite us are our nightmares – the living on, the ones that are breathing around us. It might sound very poetic to phrase it this way but when we go through this drill every other day, it leaves us drained and at an absolute low point in terms of physical and metal energy.

What a regular morning it could have been yesterday if I had not woken up from my cozy bed the way I had to, like most late risers I lowered my blanket to see what the time  was so I could go back to sleep by stealing few more minutes before the day starts for me.  And just like all the law ‘abiding miserable souls’ of Pakistan I have also scheduled my activities around the ever disappearing electricity.  

9am is the time when I can switch on my kettle and toast the stale bread but as a nasty surprise the IESCO on its own had decided to extend my rest in the bed for an infinite time. Since I am a ‘law abiding’ hapless citizen I bowed before the will of IESCO and kept tossing and turning in my bed.  But there is a rebellious side to all of us that pushed me out of the warm bed when the hands showed me it was half past 9 already.  

My naivety claimed the better of my senses when I considering the regular oven an option kept fiddling with the gas knob for more than ten minutes. The realization was bitter: there was no gas in the stove. So basically the break of the dawn had brought IESCO and Sui Northern together in conspiracy against me the ‘wretched law abiding citizen’ of Pakistan, who after making numerous calls at the complaint office of SUI GAS was told that since they discovered ‘gas theft’ in the  G sectors I the ‘law abiding citizen ‘had to bear the price .  

With an empty stomach and a constant rage boiling my head to 100 Celsius, I roamed around the room bumping into pieces of furniture lying around the living room resulting in hurting my foot during this time. Then came the golden moment of realization which I never expected myself capable of attaining… Eureka!

I could try to wash my face, get dressed, leave the house and hit some decent restaurant on my way to the office. Well, such are the times that test the strength of your faucet rather than your inner power. I remember myself hitting the tap with all the strength that was left in me after the long hours of hunger and anxiety. There was not a drop of water available. Well I called my building management that was already irritated with answering the exact same kind of queries.

The guy on the other side of the phone told me how IESCO and Sui Northern Gas were not the only ‘accomplices’ in this crime of robbing me of peace. WASA was also a part of the ‘evil nexus’.

And I like other true, peace loving, helpless Pakistani citizens got into an old pair of jeans and sweater to get to my work after utilizing every drop of water stored in bottles and buckets in the house.  

The moment I left my house I bumped into a woman at the gate of my building who was trying to find a taxi, in her face with knitted brows and a sallow expression I could identify myself. It seemed like she also was going through the same hell as I was. I somehow managed a smile to tell her how disturbing the feeling was not to share the dreams with your countrymen but the nightmares, before I drove off.

Geti Ara is a story-teller, journalist and a documentary maker