Kohsar Moments

There is always a frisson of unease as I walk over or close to the spot where Salmaan Taseer was murdered. Who talks of him now, I sometimes wonder?
And what of his killer, feather-bedded behind bars, feted by many and doubtless going to walk quietly free at some future date?
No matter…Kohsar Market is a chic little enclave that has bounced back after a bit of a dip in popularity after the murder, and one of my regular watering holes when in that epitome of urban blandness that is Islamabad. Fifty Shades of Grey but with all the erotic appeal of milk about to turn.
There are supermarkets that sell high-end imported goods, and whose aisles are regularly clotted with people who are not of Pakistani origin buying ground coffee for more than many would pay a maid in a month.
A hairdresser that probably charges you for telling you that you need a haircut and a shop selling the smartest handbags in the finest leather. At prices to drive you in the direction of the nearest Internet connection and a look at the online fakery and who can tell the difference anyway, daaaaaaahling?
It is also the place where I go to get imported magazines that I pay twice the UK cover price for and the place where inflated egos coupled to a misplaced sense of self-importance occasionally surface.
One such mini-moment graced my breakfast ambles last Thursday. A film crew was setting up shop in one of the several cafes. Cables everywhere, media people standing around with clipboards and looking desperately like they wanted somebody to think they were actually important.
There were probably ‘best boys’ and ‘gaffers’ somewhere in the mix and there was most certainly a sprinkling of women who did not so much stand around as adopt a position, ever conscious of the possibility of a lens looking in their direction.
All in all a fine selection of narcissists and the self-obsessed making damn sure that everybody not only noticed them but noticed that we, the smaller fry, were somewhere considerably downstream in terms of social standing and all-round importance.
Never one to be more than a few inches from my own rather smart camera, it was out with the Lumix, aspect-ratio set to 4:3 and aperture at f:8 to make the best of the light and there I was snapping away.
And oh-deary-me did the boys and gals not like that? No, Dear Reader they did not. The look-at-me-people really did not like a strange lens giving them the eye.
Assorted levels of fluster and waving of hands and pursed lips and tappings of foot as I gaily pottered around making sure I got the best angle eventually culminated in one of the glitterati detaching himself from the me-pod and mincing over to me.
“You are not allowed to take pictures of us”, squeaked media-thingie. “Stop it”. Suppressing a desire to do something unpleasant involving a pineapple, I poked him, but very gently, in the chest. Just the merest graze of an index finger on his lawn shirt.
“This”…say I, “Is a public space over which you have no authority whatsoever, and you most certainly do not have the authority to instruct me as to anything that I might be doing in that space unless it is unlawful – and taking pictures of other people in a public space is not unlawful”.
Media-thingie looked a little taken aback, swallowed and said “Yes, you are right” and scuttled back inside his bubble. There is something profoundly satisfying about pricking a pompous ego. I warmly recommend it. Tootle-pip!