"It's not what you know, but whom you know".
Protocolitis is a phenomenon that needs no introduction in the Pakistani System. If unfortunately, you are not aware of this term, either you are not a Pakistani by heart, or you haven’t lived here long enough.
This term, though rare, the practice is rampant in our society. Everything needs and has to be done through 'special treatment'. From getting any job done in a Government Institution to getting time from a famous private practitioner to of course getting your child into the 'en vogue' Institution, you need connections.
Of course, knowing the right people to get the job done is an accomplishment within itself. It saves one from the hassle of standing in a queue and hence the wastage of time and resources is minimized. The same principle is of course being followed by our wise rulers who have protocol while travelling so as to keep the expenditure of the taxpayer's money to a minimum. And while their time is more important, you can fruitfully utilize yours by teaching your child the number of vehicles in their squad.
The second benefit is the marked change in behavior encountered after the person dealing with you, realizes 'who' you are. This can come in especially handy in no-win situations like arguing with a traffic sergeant, or at your local bank when the 'last date for payment' sign is up. The person upon realizing your noble heritage, instantly replaces his frown with a smile and suddenly finds all the time in the world to respond to your enquiries.
The most dramatic change in my humble experience is observed in the Doctor's office, when you are the chosen one amongst a throng of ailing humanity and the nurse can take your vitals at a leisurely pace with a re-assuring smile, which tends to restore one's confidence of being dealt like a human being .
Others, of course have the right to disagree. A variety of anecdotes can be unearthed regarding this subject, there sadly being no dearth of examples. Remember the last time you were setting afoot on the ‘Land of the Pure’ and recuperating from the ‘cultural shock’ one tends to get while coming back. You are standing in the queue minding your own business, when suddenly a person way behind you is called upfront and given the royal treatment, while you call your relatives standing outside to assuring them you have indeed landed.
The situation is more pathetic the other way round. On departure, pour example, you are required to dismantle all your equipment like a warehouse exhibiting its items, while the’ protocol’ is whisked through.( Wonder if a similar situation exists at our borders, no pun intended).
Proclaiming to be of the blue blood can have its disadvantages as well. Because you are a protocol, it is assumed that you can afford all the ‘special’ favors bestowed upon you. That would probably lead to your doctor prescribing you the priciest treatment, your hairdresser advising you about the choisest hair-care and your bosses assigning you to tedious tasks, presuming you have the right connections to get the job done.
And of course the biggest drawback is being a protocol itself. Once a protocol, always a protocol. Because you once used your connections to get that file moved, next time there better be a bigger one!!