Archive for March, 2005

Mountain Bike OR a Precision Rifle

Coffee and Shakes rock at Gilato Affair , Karsaz . My Channel office is ten paces away from Gilato .There , I park my car and stroll to my office entertaining my ever so ambitious thoughts of cleansing our society by devising television programs of public awareness and social cause . But its either Musharaf , Shoukat or some other VIP who decides to pulverize my ritual by deciding to include this neighborhood in his itinerary whenever he wants to ‘whiz’ by. Every other day i have to move my car and park it somewhere in the streets already overflowing with parked cars from near by offices . For security purposes of course . This happens at least twice a week .Army personnel , armored vehicles , constables and what not go rampant hours before any VIP has to pass . Note to self . Get a Mountain Bike OR a precision rifle .

Bus Ride

How disgraceful one can get first of all by sitting in ladies compartment in a public bus then having the guts to stare at them. Conductor had no issues with it since he was getting the fare so why would he care and well the females I am sure they must be sulking deep down inside, wanting to get off as soon their stop comes.

Street Children

The ever growing number of street children in Karachi is a serious issue. According to an estimate there are about 14-15 thousand in Karachi and growing. Almost all of them are living in worst living conditions. Last year Fatima Surriya Bajya inaugurated a drop in center with the name of ìDastakî (Source Jang.com.pk\thenews). The idea is to rehabilitate children under 12 and provide them better shelter and conditions. I believe more such shelters should come up where such children are provided education and shelter. These are their most basic rights, they shouldnít be deny those.

how (not) to open a bank account

My job requires me to have an account in a specific bank in order to have my paycheck directly deposited into it. I already have an account in a different bank but I had to comply to enjoy the convenience of direct deposit.

But what I thought as convenience turned out be a major hassle.
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Contrasts

Two years back I had the opportunity of attending the book launch of ìSadequain: The Holy Sinnerî at the Mohatta Palace. It was a pleasant July/August evening and the event had been arranged in the lawns of the Mohatta Palace. After a few hours of enlightening speeches from the whoís who of Pakistanís art scene and an amazing presentation on Sadequainís work we left the place. As we were making our way home my aunt suggested we take the route from Saddar instead of Shara-e-Faisal as it would be jam-packed due to some dignitaryís visit. So we decided to make our way through the electronics market and guess what? Within minutes we found our tiny little Mehran stuck between two contract buses. Yes, not even the regular mini-buses, they were those HUGE ones. In those 45 minutes that we were stuck in that traffic I was wondering what contrasting scenes we have in this amazing city. One minute we were sitting in the serene lawns of Mohatta Palace, admiring the work of Sadequain and 15 minutes later we were stuck between two huge buses honking like crazy. Sigh. One can find such contrasts only KarachiÖ

cell phone theives

Couple of days ago my dad’s cell phone got stolen. No it was not snatched at gunpoint or anything, it was delicately removed from his pocket. And no it didn’t happen in the mean streets. It happened in a KFC outlet, while he was waiting in the line to place the order. He came back with the food but had lost the gadget.

This is the third person I know whose cell phone got stolen or snatched. I was thinking about getting a new one myself but I think I’ll pass. My humble Samsung R220 serves me well. Now I’ll have to get my dad a new phone.
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Graffiti Advertising is apparently a new concept in developed countries where you must abide by the letter of the law and everyone knows their rights and what action to take when their rights are being violated. In Pakistan, however, and Karachi in particular, advertising via graffiti for any vendor from the local video shop owner to the mechanic has been done using graffiti advertising. In fact, in many places, I’m sure you’ll find not an inch of space has been left bare on many walls, either because of advertisments or regular graffiti informing you that “sMoKeRz ruLz!”. The widespread and absolutely accepted nature of this form of advertising has caused me to question whether we don’t actually have some really interesting ideas going on in our own “backwards” land and don’t even realise it because firstly, it’s very common and secondly, we’re too busy turning up our noses at it and claiming that you’d never get away with such action if we were in a civilized place like the West.

The picture above obviously represents graffiti advertising in a more upscale neighbourhood, Zamzama to be precise, but to be honest, anywhere in Karachi you look, you can find numerous testaments to the fact that at least with one brand new advertising concept, we were there first.

Handicrafts

I got my first paycheck on the 25th. I decided to get my sisters something that will last for a long long time to come. To remind them of me. I decided to buy them tradition wooden boxes that women keep jewellery in. Slightly smaller than a sadooqcha and slightly larger than a dibba. Something that is traditional and something that is free of time.

First we went to all the extremely expensive traditional handicraft stores in the more upscale parts of the city where prices reflect the neighbourhoods not the objects. We saw everything and made a list of what to buy. Then I went to Zainab Market. I spent four hours there and got excellent bargains on some very very unique, uncommon and rare handmade jewellery boxes.

So, for all of you out there, if you need handicrafts, ZAINAB MARKET!

Row, row, row your boat

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One of the best things about living in Karachi is the sea, as we’ve so often talked about on this very blog. Whenever the weather turns remotely pleasant, hordes of Karachiites pile into boats at Kaemari, the harbour, and go fishing/crabbing/lazing in the middle of the sea. Its a whole lotta fun, and a trip on a boat is enough to make you feel like you’ve travelled a thousand miles away from the dog-eat-dog, traffic-jammed city life to a world of your own. My friends and I did the same over the weekend, and the boat driver took us to a spot near the mangrove forests.
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Police Shmolice

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A VVVIP is due to visit town today. I have no clue who it is, but the presence of fifteen different policeforce members standing at every intersection and roundabout, and all over Shahrah-e-Faisal are confirmation of the fact that we Karachittes are going to be stuck in traffic jams all day today. What is extremely irritating is that they’re only there to ensure the VVVIP’s security and smooth sailing towards his/her destination. Of course, the ten members of the traffic police standing at the SMCHS roundabout today could not do anything to control the traffic jam, but were standing at attention with their walkie-talkies. This is what we’re paying taxes for – so that some VVVIP can whiz by, and be impressed at how smooth the flow of traffic is and how efficient the police is.

P.S.: Please make sure before leaving your office/university/home that the roads are open. Call all your friends and acquaintances who might’ve passed by the route you’re taking earlier in the day to ensure that you don’t get stuck in a horrible traffic jam, without any water or food. Which reminds me, take some crisps and a bottle of water just to be on the safe side.

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