Pakistanis are an unusual bunch. We indulge ourselves in endless shopping for exorbitant amounts, and yet we argue over the measly parking ticket outside the same mall. We haggle to no end even with the “Fixed Price” sign on the counter. We’re least bothered to fix small leaks on a pipe, its only when it bursts that it becomes a pain. And let’s not forget the jugaars (i.e. quick fixes).
But we’re an eclectic bunch, we are indeed. We have aspiring sportsmen, electrifying entertainers, magical musicians, and as I’ve recently found out, incredible chefs. Yes, no two Pakistanis are the same, and you could fit a character driven movie cast in a minivan, but the one that I know & love the most is the Sophisticated Pakistani. The one that isn’t necessarily wealthy but they know it and despite that, they will make an effort with incredible panache. Their wealthy counterparts are at a disadvantage simply because they are just too drenched in money that they spend on stuff that they don’t need and stuff that by all rights should not exist (seriously, who thought Vibrams were a good idea?”)
So let’s take a moment to examine this rare breed of self-made nobility, by understanding the things that make the Sophisticated Pakistani what he or she is…
Some Key Facts to remember about the Sophisticated Pakistani, is that they are at any given time:
- Reasonably loaded.
- Aware of when to spend and when not to.
- Ready to indulge every once in a while.
- Rarely at a loss for words.
- Brand conscious.
- Do not haggle.
- Prefer Quality over Quantity
Honda over Toyota
People may migrate from a Toyota to a Honda, but very rarely do you hear of a Honda guy jumping to Toyota. Of course people in Pakistan are an exception to the rule, but that’s because they got for a Toyota blindfolded. Still, Honda beats Toyota on several fronts. Honda boasts sophistication in design which leaves the ga-ga drooling Toyota (ahem) enthusiast in the lurch. Technology, ride comfort, and a near-soundless drive even in the lower budget range City (of course a snob wouldn’t be caught owning one). Either that or Toyota’s are exceptionally noisy since they’re the more gruntier type of car.
Coke over Pepsi
To any Pakistani, Pepsi is probably the lifeblood that every catering event must run on on. Of course, everywhere else is a bizarro-world to them as Coke is the Number 1 Recognized Brand worldwide. The dim-witted Little Nicky’s amazing transformation of a Coke to a Pepsi is widely regarded as an insult and the most ridiculous WTF moments in Hollywood history. But besides the point, Coke has a more stingier taste and people that do drink it regularly will find that comparatively Pepsi is sweeter which makes it unappealing. And the local advertising puts Coke a notch ahead. Whereas Pepsi relies too much on their official cricket team or pop group sponsorship, Coke makes more wholesome ads which kinda leave people pausing to reflect.
DC Comics over Marvel
While Marvel continues to rule the roost as far as big-budget movies are concerned, and may have a wider reader outreach as far as down-to-earth and near-to-normal stories are concerned, the sophisticated do not care! DC has culture & class that fits their choices perfectly. And the argument that DC Comics are “kiddie comics for grownups” is not an issue because the sophisticated Pakistani is essentially a child at heart. In a world where they’ve got to have a more mature outlook over everything else, they recognize their inner child and indulge it as much as possible, which DC Comics never fails at. Two of its major properties are celebrating their 75th birthdays (i.e. Superman & Batman) and both are the most easily recognizable superheroes on planet earth. Not to mention that they’ve had far more success in TV with their animated series and direct-to-DVD movies, and that’s about to be further enhanced with their latest forays into live-action television; no doubt making them the leader in Comics TV entertainment.
Microsoft over Everything Else
Apple, you say? BAH! The Sophisticated Pakistani spent most of their teenage and adult lives mastering Microsoft because A) with Microsoft you’ve got a disciplined and more corporate-savvy architecture and B) PCs were and are a lot more affordable. Microsoft is the industry leader, it is in pretty much every computer around the world and sold with every new desktop, laptop or netbook. It is the market leader in nearly all office software programs, and thus being the software solution provider of choice to the corporate wage-earning sophisticated Pakistani. Who’s gonna shell out four times the money for an iMac? Owning an Apple computer is sheer gluttony and the Sophisticated do not glutton (is that a verb?) Sure they were disappointed when Microsoft fell behind in the race for smartphone supremacy, they are highly optimistic with the new Windows 8 and will treat the Lumia phones as the second coming of arguably the most dominant computing brand in history.
Star Trek over Star Wars
I’ve never seen Star Wars. Lets get that out of the way. Also, Star Wars is no doubt an epic sci-fi franchise. Now with both those undeniable facts out of the way, it has to be said that Star Trek if far more entertaining. For one thing, it follows into something that is lost to this world: exploration. Searching the farthest reaches of space “for new life and new civilizations” makes every episode something to look forward to. And there are a LOT of episodes. In 40 years, Star Trek has delivered six television series containing over 700 episodes set in different generations of Starfleet, not to mention the movies and comic franchises. Most of all, Star Trek has had the daunting task of focusing on several socio-political causes in the most innovative ways while maintaining an amazingly neutral stance. The Original Series in 1966 boasted the world’s first and most prominent multi-racial ensembles, and continues to do so to this day in the rebooted moview franchise. It has created its own fictional alien language ‘Klingon’ which is spoken among the several die-hard fans of Star Trek, commonly referred to as Trekkies. And if that isn’t something to be proud of, Star Trek is by and large cited for several of the breakthrough technological innovations since its inception. Whereas a working lightsaber is still just a concept.
Art over Crass
Sophisticated Pakistanis enjoy the explosive-filled summer blockbuster as much as the next person, but what they really want is intellectual engagement. They want to be challenged, to have a movie or TV show tease their mind with intelligent, clever dialogue and smart character building, along with a bit of personal narrative. Add wittiness, charm, innovation and just the right kind of humor; and the sophisticated Pakistani will eat it up. With all the new premium cable networks, a lot of thought and quality goes into productions such as Penny Dreadful, Da Vinci’s Demons, or even network TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Musketeers etc. What they could really do without is crass-ness. Sure given times there might be the need to view more common fare, but its never really a first preference.
And that’s it for now. There are no doubt several other quirks that set the Sophisticated Pakistani apart from the rest of the pack, and would need pages upon pages to get to most of them. But much like the rest, they evolve into different creatures with each passing decade, adding new levels of sophistication to their already distinct panache.
Suffice it to say, they are in a league of their own.