View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
‘Chalo! (Lets Go)’
Kamran Bashir Sheikh


Same old evenings. Same old routines. Same trite TV programs and the so-called exhilarating ads. Nothing different in our lives. But that day was something special. The day began with an unusual thing. My wife wished me a happy day. Very strange, eh! In the office, no routine hackneyed work, but something different. New plans for the future. The plans that were never made before. I came home with a different frame of mind. Very fresh. Very cool to watch TV with my family. I was enjoying the expressions in the TV ads -- nothing new, though. And then in the midst of such ads came that ad -  that chalo (lets ago) ad. It simply struck the strings of my soul, something that never happened before. Surely not a new ad but it really gave me a new perspective to explore: The product is none other than Pepsi and the crowd is the new generation, of course. The scene is the cricket stadium. The commentator welcomes the one and only Wasim Akram (pronounce ‘Wazim Aekram’, for you don’t enjoy ‘Waseem Akram’ while having a western product) in the commentary box. The superstar takes the Pepsi and sits before the mike. The mike is mistakenly attached to the speaker for announcement in the stadium. The former captain enjoys the drink and so does the whole stadium, only in imagination. With the call of the star for one more Pepsi, the temptation is simply irresistible for the whole crowd to go for Pepsi as well. And then comes that famous call ‘Chalo’ from the leader of the masses, a heavy bearded old man in green, always present at these cricket galas. The next moment the whole stadium is after the Pepsi counter to get the beverage.

The ad opened to me a whole new world of reality. I cared to spend a few moments to think what is hidden in this call to follow that old fellow. ‘Chalo’ is not simply a word, but a characteristic way of doing things by our popular leadership. Just spare a few minutes to enjoy the thrill in this call. No matter what would be the result, but Chalo! Don’t care if the consequences are sad, Chalo! Absolutely no problem if things lead to dire straits, Chalo! It’s like rock music that touches the chords of your body simply unknowingly. ‘Jus’ beat it,’ says Mike the Yankee.

If still not convinced by the force of such calls, you only need to focus on the green-robed old man that makes the ear-splitting yell in the Pepsi ad. Conceiving only supposedly, you can never stop the crowd following that elderly demagogue, only to tell them that Pepsi is short and chaos will be their fate. If you happen to be the one that warns the masses not to go after the senseless leader, they won’t care about you, rather enjoy in trampling you under their feet. ‘Hit him, dear brothers! That dirty enemy of our future, our joys, our destiny!’. But if you have a cool mind and believe in discovering the truth as your ultimate end, you will agree with the idea that in similar situations, this ‘Chalo’ approach is absolutely nonsense in its content and very deadly in its consequences. It is not based on careful thinking or serious deliberation, but rather emanates out of the whims of a senseless leadership. Its only appeal is the limitless thrill it carries. And the masses die for thrill, you know. The thrill of money, the thrill of joy, and above all, the thrill of good future! Thrill many a time is like a whisper of Satan. He enkindles in you an evil idea and disappears, leaving you with negative consequences. Followers of a thrilling cry are aware of bloodshed or a ravaging stampede that is waiting ahead. But they can’t help being carried away by the intensity of emotions.

The Holy Prophet (sws) warned the soldiers not to leave their positions in the battle of Uhud, but the thrill of capturing the booty was far more powerful than sticking to one’s place. The results, I suppose, have not been forgotten by the young and the old. So next time you are called by a ‘Chalo’ voice, just recall the advice of a sage: ‘the truth, apart from being very unorthodox at times, lacks in thrill as well on many a occasion’. Though every truth carries a great force, far more than the ‘Chalo’ call, but not every forceful ‘Chalo’ call is a truth. Only judicious thinking can guide us to the right mix of things.


For Questions on Islam, please use our