‘Oh my God, he looks weird.. is it PK?‘, were my first words as my gaze fell upon the man standing in front of me.
I was mildly shocked and amused, looking at the person donning a typical ‘ghagra‘, a heavy golden zari embroidered shirt and a vintage cassette player hanging around his neck. His whitened face complemented big attached plastic ears. In a mental image, I compared him to the notorious character of a Bollywood movie ‘PK’.
The appealing yet awful getup had gotten my curiosity. His act of taking selfies with onlookers got my attention. Curiosity got the better of me as I decided to talk to him to know why, and how did he do it. As I got near, I realized that he had a very unique way of earning his bread and butter; charging people for making selfies with him.
PK generated Rs. 140 million for the box office, why won’t it generate something for me?
In a country where 40% of people lived below the poverty line, this Bollywood inspired PK was charging Rs 100 rupee from the customers in a shopping mall. His way of earning inspired me; at least, he was not begging like majority of people choose to.
Poverty, particularly in Pakistan has been a consistent problem throughout the history, no matter what. The median salary, daily wage, unemployment or a perfect prosperity level; there are always people who are homeless, hungry and are ready to do anything to earn their living. To cope with their needs and wants through self-sufficiency is a real achievement. For me it didn’t matter if it looked strange or wacky in the process.
“I turn PK to earn PKR,” he said answering my questions as to why he dressed like PK. “PK is an attention grabbing character and has inspired almost every person”, he said, replying to my question. His choice of becoming the PK’s doppelgänger was interesting, at the very least.
‘Rs 100 for a selfie’ was the business model of the Pakistani PK
“PK turned out to be a block buster worldwide and has done business of more than 180 million rupees in Pakistan“, he said as I engaged him conversation. “If this movie can generate this much for Pakistani box office, then it will surely help me too”, he told me.
His background story was intriguing. As it turned out, he was a white collared man and owned a garment store. ‘Times are hard and one job does not help me make ends meet‘, he said to me. That was the reason of choosing the eccentric outfit to better his living standard.
After getting to knowing his story first hand, a wonderful saying of Bertrand Russell – a British philosopher, came into my mind “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric”.
Rather than discouraging the odd people, we must create space for them and accept them, because normal is overrated and odd is what makes us think. My motto is that if you are going to be weird, be confident about it.
A day job of a shopkeeper and part-time act of the Pakistani PK, was how the man earned his bread
If every citizen, dependent on others hand could adopt the idiosyncrasy of the talented man I had just met, we can surely get rid from the curse of begging, which has indeed seized majority of the country.
Many times we may have innovative ideas, but fear demotivates us and makes us suppress them. All we need is courage to be able to lead life on our own terms, as those who dare to be different have succeeded in life and clinched many laurels. A calm sea, after all, has never made a clever sailor.
Ali Hasnain is a Broadcast Journalist, currently associated with 24 news. He has his expertise in domain of Education and Health.