There remains a buzz every time and again on the topic of furthering leisure time tourism within Pakistan, both by foreigners’ temporary immigrations, as well as curtailment of large-scale emigration of, at least, some of the more wealthy Pakistanis from our country.  Writing about tourism, Cynthia Enloe pens down in her book titled Bananas, Beaches and Bases: “Tourism is being touted as an alternative to the one-commodity dependency inherited from colonial rule.”  However, some say other colonial legacies, at least in the early and formative years of Pakistan, did certainly present equally ample opportunities to be cashed in; these include the civil services, the railroads, the schooling systems, etcetera, all to be played off in tandem with lush fields and lands due to the irrigation system, topped by the geographical topography, and neighbourhood countries that had potentialities for cross-tourism.

Growing up in a secluded one-TV channel – non-cyber world – round about the year 1984, many youngsters from my school, the Aitchison College, Lahore, received their first practical foreign visit experience when they arrived at college abroad.  I had grown up in a relatively more emancipated household, with, if not girlfriends, at least their telephone calls been received rather receptively!

I do not know much - and this is not in humility - about the cyber world.  However, even with state-of-the-science technology at the hands of our young men embarking upon collegiate careers this year and in future, the culture shock may indeed be gigantic.  For instance, as Cynthia pens down: “If the women are of a different culture, the male tourist feels he has entered a region where he can shed civilisation’s constraints, where he is freed from standards of behaviour imposed by respectable women back home.”  Any brainstormer on how far and wide this one can go!?

Similarly, if at all tourism is opened up to become a realistic substitute to a one commodity economy, and foreign female tourists, or males for that matter, spill into Pakistan, another world and word of advice from Cynthia: “A woman, who travels away from the ideological protection of ‘home’ and without the protection of an acceptable male escort, is likely to be tarred with the brush of ‘unrespectability’…….by contrast, a man is deemed less than manly, until he breaks away from home and strikes out on his own.”

We have all made our mistakes; and that, too, at a price!  Indeed, that is man’s forte in life!  Let us try and begin to remember that back yonder circa 1851 the “sewing machine” was invented as heralding women’s liberation - “it symbolised progress: technology was a liberator of women and men.  Countries whose women had access to sewing machines could congratulate themselves on their women’s freedom from the sort of physical toil that characterised the benighted societies crowded at the bottom of the global ladder.(Cynthia Enloe).”  Especially within the West, womenfolk are likely to be eons ahead of our young though smart college-bound rookies.

About myself - losing focus was all I did at college, and you name it and I’ll answer aye-aye. 

Alan Paton once wrote: “While there is life, there is hope for amendment of life.”  An age-old adage relates: “Wise people learn from their own mistakes, but the wisest from others!”

This is my attempt at amends, O’ Lord God and a plea for our young men not to follow my footsteps!

    The writer is a financial consultant and a teacher; and still pursues the Pakistani dream.