Your friend asks you a seemingly innocent and naive question, “Every morning when I wake up, I feel this headache. Why do you think it is so?” You turn around and look glaringly at his face and wonder why he expects you to know the imbalance in his metabolic processes, or the hormonal disturbances which cause him a headache in the mornings, but then you realize he’s been trying to start a conversation with a silent companion for almost 40 minutes while he typed messages and smiled after each, while you looked outside here and there and exactly nowhere. People want to talk all the time because somehow they’ve been set up mechanically to do so, as organic robots.You turn around, as he has received another message, and think how boring this life has become. Momentarily, you think nothing happens anymore. But then you recall that a distant aunt of yours died three days ago, and your father rebuked you in the morning because you’re a useless cow. He shouldn’t have called you a cow because it’s not the cow’s fault and besides, the metaphor made you laugh inside. Is it moral to call a useless person a cow? Then, you question yourself if it’s moral enough to slaughter a cow? You do not know but all those people who debate over the friend request sent by a doctor to a lady seem to somehow know who was wrong and right? And then there are those who talk about a native actress smoking with a Hindu actor in New York and make it, gigantically stupid enough, a matter of national honour. Why do men always find their honour hidden beneath women’s clothing? Yeah? Exactly there? Why?Your mind flies away further and claims that the world was somehow divided before in good and bad, or right and wrong, but for some years, both of these black and white dams have flowed into each other and it has become extremely difficult to find out which is which. And people are still in the infant stage as they remember the bygone peaceful days in which good and wrong were clearly demarcated. I have written ‘wrong’ on purpose to make someone point it out to me. Of course, there are more serious problems in society, like hungry people sleeping on roads, women being harassed and raped, children dying of thirst. But they do not seem as appealing a problem as debating about friend requests and their moral positioning, or accusations of a female parliamentarian on a party leader, because the latter allows for a lot of fanciful and verbose thinking into feminism, national honour and other seemingly alien creatures.Somehow people seem to have a vulgar love for endless debates over social and political issues which they penetrate and tear asunder, thread by thread, for its own sake. Here comes a controversial issue and there runs a flock of mad people with their moral and theoretical thermometers and barometers to record the nature of the issue, and comment upon it villainously and endlessly until a new controversy erupts. Now that people have Facebook and Twitter, wow, what a luxury that one can vociferate over with strangers and use to generously offend by abusing them if they fail to digest it in their skulls. How comfortable to fight politics from one’s bed at night rather than actually go out and struggle against problems which threaten people on a daily basis. But then you think people are good with their Facebook and Twitter because, if they are denied these two routes for self-expression, they might come out barking and eating each other on streets given their horrendous frustration over everything that’s wrong with this life and world.There are more serious problems in society, like hungry people sleeping on roads, women being harassed and raped, children dying of thirst. But they do not seem as appealing a problem as debating about friend requests and their moral positioning, or accusations of a female parliamentarian on a party leaderBut then, you think that these are even minor problems as compared to the smog which bites into the eyes of both the rich and poor. And soon in several years, the world is going to go down the deluge because of global warming or an alien invasion. You drop the idea of aliens because they will most probably land in America alone. Yeah, but worse than smog is the impending presence of death which can confront anybody anywhere, as a friend of yours from philosophy department claims. He thinks about death before breakfast, after a coffee cup in afternoon, and sometimes, when he wakes up at night from a horrifying dream.Your degree and your recent infatuation somehow become meaningless before death. You know you are shameless enough to think about death before people. And somehow the idea of death burns away the relevance of any of the above-mentioned problems. But then, what am I doing here if nothing can be resolved? Somehow, frustrated by your useless thinking, you look across the table and see your friend still smiling to the messages which he receives almost all the time. You are certain about his stupidity and you owe him an arrogant grudge for being so. Enough gibberish on your behalf! People talk too much. Could they shut up for just one day, to celebrate a day of silence in mourning over all the nonsense they spit and growl throughout the year at the cost of their stomachs and sanity? You stop thinking and decide to stay silent for a while before your mind starts growling again. The writer is a student of English Literature at Government College University, Lahore and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, November 12th 2017.