Today the modern day hero is not so different from the revered Hercules of a time of yore: broad shouldered, heart of gold, some level of complication related to parental rejection and the ability to deliver an epic monologue with the fewest of words. But in Pakistan there is an entire city with a certain kind of hero, not of the super variety or even the type that saves kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings, but the kind whose swagger’s praise has gone unsung for far too long. I’m talking about the Pindi boys.
Pindi boys for the most part get a bad rap in the country; the term Pindi boy is synonymous with rowdy, uncouth and frankly unwanted youths. They are kind of our own customised bro culture; they’ve got a lot of state pride (#Punjabi4Eva), they speak their mother tongue with the ease and enthusiasm that’s bled down generations of Pindiites (Pindians?) and they roam around in packs of their fellow city-men.
Hailing from the smoldering depths of Punjab, right outside the capital of Islamabad in Rawalpindi, these boys and men who take their namesake titles from the city they call home have often faced dismissal and amused commentary on their signature style. We’re not here to point and laugh, but to celebrate. Allow us to explain what makes a Pindi boy so special.
What makes them stand out are very well the exact things that people pin as negative and their main defining characteristic is their confidence. They rock outfits that steer a sharp right away from minimalism. They don’t shy away from loud colours, textured fabrics or silhouettes that accentuate; they rock leather when it’s hot out and ditch knits for blazers and light bomber jackets when it’s cold.
They roll deep: three lads to a motorbike? Seven chaps to a car? No problem, they’re still going to drive that machine like it’s the simplest task to maneuver about traffic when carrying the wait of your pals upon your gas tank. They take in the sites of the country and have an appreciation for growing up alongside lifelong friends coming from neighbourhoods similar to their own.
Another aspect of their confidence, which is not nearly given enough props is their aforementioned pride in where they come from. Unlike many who have more and more dived into the melting pot of the world where cultures are running together like tributaries to a watered down representation of self, Pindi boys are Pindi and they don’t care what anyone has to say about it. Their English has an instantly recognisable accent and their Punjabi is laced with wit and flawless delivery. They love their country and they own their heritage with zero hesitation. This is not to say other people from other parts of the country don’t hold their background in high pride, of course that is far from reality (watch one PSL game and anyone claiming that would be proven a simpleton), but the ‘no need to explain we wear it on our sleeves’ approach of Pindi boys – is uniquely one of a kind.
PS. If you’re wondering why Osman Khalid Butt and the Jaswal brothers aren’t on the list, then be informed that they are bona fide Islamabad and not Pindi. Understand the difference!
- Featured image designed by Hira Humayun.