Have you ever listened to a maniacal laugh? Like Mark Hamill‘s when he portrays the Joker, except that the laugh I am talking about will never amuse you, but will cut through your spine with its icy chill and its razor sharp edge.
There’s a very peculiar feeling attached with being a Pakistani: you see it all. You grow up in this country — land of the pure — and the amount of purity that you see around you is simply tremendous. You see hate, violence, greed, corruption, restlessness, and death — all in their purest forms. And you see them all so many times that whenever you see them again, you nod to them in polite recognition and even smile at them. A smile, which doesn’t warm up your heart, but rather makes it hollow every time. And when your heart reaches the point where it can’t be more hollow, it stops. You cease to exist as a citizen of land of the pure, and start to live as a citizen of land of the dead.
And then something happens. Not very different from what has become a norm for the land of the dead, but the sudden shock of it tremors the very core of your (dead) existence. You stare at the headlines springing up all around the World Wide Web, and you switch from one television channel to another watching the screaming news. And then you see your fellow citizens — fellow deads — transform into zombies. You see them forming groups among themselves and you see them charging at other empty souls, sucking whatever life has left within them out of their bodies. Just like in a horror movie, except that a horror movie has background music and ends after 3 hours; land of the dead has background cries and there appears to be no end to it.
So you sit there and try to comprehend whatever that is happening, and then you realize that your mind has long ago given up on thinking. That you can’t do anything except sit in horror and disbelief at what your fellow zombies are doing to each other. And even though you want to smash the television screen when someone questions the stability of land of the pure, you simply change the channel because you now live in land of the dead. So what if this land of the dead was once land of the pure, you are a zombie now, with a hollow heart and an empty mind, and have nothing better to do except recruiting more zombies and raising hell, or otherwise sitting in your home feeling too numb with the utter atrocity of circumstances.
Which leaves you with just one, single thing: an icy, maniacal laugh.
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