Woes of a Karachiite

Somebody asked me yesterday if my blog was politically motivated. I said no, of course not, since it isn’t. But let me make a sort of exception to that rule to rant about this nightmare of a city I live in.

Disclaimer:

This rant will be nothing but the disgruntled grumbling of a fed up citizen so if you’re in a happier and calmer mood, I would urge you to walk away (or navigate away, to be more technically precise).

Franklin Roosevelt said in his inaugural speech “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” and I feel that’s exactly what’s happening with us. A constant, nagging fear of the general situation.

“Halaat kharab ho gaye hain”

is all we hear. We dont know where or what. All we know is somewhere in Karachi somebody’s unloaded a brick-load of explosives or gunfire, a certain number of people have died and the rest of us have to scurry back home from school/work/point xyz as soon as we can. If we’re lucky traffic won’t be that terrible and it wont take more than an hour. If not, well what can you do? Show me a Karachiite who hasn’t been in a 3 hour traffic jam and I’ll show you a liar (either that or he/she’s a hermit. Or a bike wallah. Or just one lucky sonovabitch).

Last night I happened to venture into one of those frequently sighted CNG lines with my mom. Yes, those
blasted CNG lines causing the traffic jams. What possessed my mom to get into a CNG line at 11:15 pm is something only she can explain. We finally got our precious CNG around 12:30 am. I don’t suppose there’s anything enlightening I could say on this subject, so I’ll refrain. Other than the fact that In a weird way it was kind of humiliating. Like we are so far gone that they can slowly deprive us of basic necessities and all we can do is queue up and hope to get our hands on some.

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Hardy har har. Being stuck in a CNG line for hours, so funny I got a stitch in my side. Lunch, omg this cartoonist is a hoot! Asshole.

After our CNG adventure, I came home and fell into an exhausted sleep and dreamt that I was jolted awake by gunshots which went on and on for what seemed like four or five minutes. After which hundreds of people came running out of buildings and houses like they were being driven away from it. I suppose I must’ve joined the crowd at some point although I don’t remember doing so. We all assembled in a large hall or tent somewhere and nobody had a clue about what was going on and frankly nobody seemed to care. It looked like people were quite used to it from what I gathered because nobody seemed surprised or bothered much. There were kids playing around within minutes of intense gunfire so I’m guessing this was a regular occurrence. I looked around for my family and friends and saw them loosely scattered around. My friend was there, crying on her mom’s shoulder about some boy! Another friend was there doing something trivial. Point is, nobody was bothered about why we were driven out of our homes in the middle of the night by these men with the guns and in my dream at least, I was the only one aware of this being an unusual or unacceptable occurrence. The overarching feeling was helplessness and a general
shrug-just-bear-with-it attitude. Eventually everyone scattered and left the tents and that was the end of it.

I woke up with a start at 6 am, sweat running down my face and the first thought that came to my head was “I hope I’m not psyhic”. As a Karachiite I have my usual share of stubborn pride in my city but who knows how long it can stand the test. Some of us are here because we have no choice, some because we have no place else to call home. Those with the means to do so are tch-tching on the situation in the country from the comfort of their new homes in another country. The rest of us are stuck here just trying to make it through.

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