As I streamed the first few episodes, of Pardes I said to myself – I can’t do this. It’s too sad, tragic, and depressingly real!
But then I watched the next few episodes. There’s something deeply magnetic about Zooby as she trudges through life, living on the hope that her husband will return soon. There’s something deeply soul-stirring in Ahsan’s phone calls back home – in his controlled emotion, his internal suffering, his sacrifice for the good of his family.
It’s called poverty
And a desire for every lower middle class family to climb the ladder and reach the next rung, skip a level (if you were playing Doom) and play an advanced level of the game called life, as you seek to better your circumstances – overnight, literally!
That is what Pardes is all about. Someone has to be the qurbani ka bakra.
Unfortunately, in our families, it is often the eldest son, sent abroad, snatched from experiencing a regular family life, to win his lottery, and send it back home so that the entire family can avail of life’s basic amenities – refrigerator, car, aircon, behen ki shadi, etc etc etc. Do observe how our priorities do not include long term gains of providing a better education for our children, or investing in a long term business with that money. It’s all about amassing material wealth – a true desi trait?
Pardes is more life-like than we’d like to believe, and the depiction is not just limited to the lower income families.
Yours truly has witnessed families in every income strata fall prey to the pardes temptation. It is a topic that many relate to. Even the toxic saas syndrome has been played out in real life and with equal ferocity.
Why watch it?
Pardes is giving us grey areas, grey characters that mirror our conscience in ways that we might want to deny. We might be the mother in law watching this one, or the daughter in law who lost her husband to pardes, or the daughter or son, who lost his/her father to a kamaane ki machine.
Ask yourself these questions before you label Zooby’s mother in law a selfish woman.
Should Ahsan have listened to Zooby and resigned from his job to come back home? Should the family have continued living a life of poverty – a limited existence with zero hope of ever making it to the other side, at least for the next few generations?
It is a formidable experience to watch Shaista Lodhi on screen – she has the ability to set it ablaze every time she enters the frame. Add to this, the super chemistry between her & Sarmad Khoosat & you’ve got a winning combination right there!
Pardes might not be entirely your cup of tea. Because it’s not Ishq jalebi, or Chupke Chupke, or even, Shehnai. It’s about real life. Sometimes, it’s important to slip in the real with the pretend. Give it a watch so that, when you catch the latest episode of Shehnai, you know you’ve given your minds, and conscience, a meaningful chunk of real life – after all, you can’t keep sitting on that living room couch pretending it’s all good – or can you?