August 14 as a child had its unforgettable aura. I remember commencing preparations for the eve right when the calendar entered into its eight month. I had stern competition in my neighbourhood friends; because I wanted to decorate my house better than anyone ever had or ever will. There was so much at stake, but adults could never understand it. What did they even know about the day? All they ever did was watch parades on television. Boring. The task to convince one of my family members to take me to the market was painstaking. I had to buy all the essentials needed. The largest flag at the stall always fascinated me. I would stand and stare at it until my neck started to hurt, but it was worth it. The colossal piece of cloth dancing at the tune of the breeze, making thumping sounds. Magical. I would buy badges, buntings, flag, smaller flags for my bicycle, caps and what not. Oh! And did I forget colourful bright lights? That was the best part. I would spend days, in scorching heat, attaching buntings to threads and then tying them up at different areas of my house. As soon as I finished my laborious task, in scorching heat obviously, the clouds would magically appear, and as much as I love rain, I knew it was not here to appreciate my efforts, rather to dismantle them. It would still not break my will. I would start all over again because I wanted my house to appear better, brighter and more colourful than the rest. At night, I would often sit on my rooftop and stare at those colourful lights wriggled around my flag’s pole. The glittering, bright and colourful lights were mesmerizing. I was always so proud of myself and would always tell myself that when I grow up and gain more freedom to shop alone, I would buy better than what I already had and decorate my house better than I do. But today, it feels as if my excitement did not grow up with me. On the contrary, it diminished to the point where I just do not feel like buying a flag anymore, let alone getting my hands on the colossal one. Last year when my brother bought flags and lights, I asked him what was he so excited about? Regardless of the fact that I used to celebrate the day with similar enthusiasm, or perhaps more. Maybe it was the competition that brought about the effort, because like myself, my neighbourhood friends have grown up too, and there’s no competition anymore. And kids these days? They will never experience the excitement of tying buntings to threads in scorching heat, or staring at illuminated flags. They are too possessed by digitalisation. I am not critcising however, because I understand times have changed. What I do not understand is – where did all my excitement disappear? Perhaps when you grow up, you observe things, feel all sorts of emotions and understand your roles, the excitement starts to disappear. Perhaps there’s a designated time for everything, even celebrations, and just when the time limit expires, so does all it carries along with it. As a kid, I thought my country was the best thing ever. As an adult, I think the very same, but emotionally. Factually, technically, statistically and (insert whatever may please you), it’s far from it and as a wise man once said, the first step to finding solutions is identifying the problem. There’s this thing called terrorism that aims to destroy my beloved homeland. Then there’s corruption, sectarianism, hatred, illiteracy, unemployment and the list goes in. Despite all the nuisance, this country continues to stand firm, and will continue to do so, but for that, we will have to understand our roles. Pakistan has not run out of heroes, but realisation. I see pictures of heroes throughout Lahore, heroes that make the country proud. Heroes that were and are similar to us in abilities, but they realised their roles. Quaide Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Dr Ruth Pfau, Dr Abdus Salam and many others. The former two set foundations of the country and the latter made sure Pakistan emerges as a nation with immense talent, ability and heart to sacrifice their needs for the needy. This country has seen sacrifices of the Armed forces, the Police and Civilians. Should we let their sacrifices go waste? I was once told individuals have power to change the world, but for that individuals ought to change themselves first. There’s no rocket science involved in it. If you want to see a better Pakistan, you first have to work for a better you, because you are Pakistan. I have realised that as adults we are supposed to act just as children. We need to be excited and enthusiastic about decorating our country with buntings of love, bright lights of peace and eliminate hatred, corruption and divisions. This country needs us, as individuals working collectively for a prosperous nation. And remember the colossal flag I talked about earlier? We need to own it and keep it dancing to the tune of the breeze. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!