Customer service in Karachi

This was supposed to be my first blog entry, before I got carried away by my KESC rant.

Most people I meet complain that I am a complainer, a negative, caustic human being who has no need to be this way.

All that changes today. I have found my soul mates. It appears everyone in Karachi has customer service issues and everyone is upset with the Traffic or the lack of civic sense or lack of privacy. The funny thing is living in N. America the leader in customer service, I was made to feel an out cast as only my 40 min. conversations MONTHLY with my cell phone co. for incorrectly billing me, stood out. I was the exception. (The fact that I would correct my plan each month and ask that I be billed accordingly, only to see them bill me incorrectly the next month and then my calling them up, each month, waiting for 40mins each time, before being greeted by a representative on the phone only convinced me that someone in customer service really likes me. That this was all a grand ploy to have me call them up each month just for my thrilling wit and sparkling conversation.

Needless to say, I felt alone and unloved. People with complicated billing issues at the most notorious gas and electric company, saw their issues resolved within 5 minutes while I waited on the phone for minutes on end, when my only issue was a change of address or something equally benign.

In any case, I digress. Here back in Karachi, where I used to see these inefficiencies and then I saw them shadow me in N. America and now that I am back, I see them here again – I used to take them personally. I felt there was something wrong with me. I felt futile as a human being, that if all I do is chase after customer service people, there must be something “faaltu” to my existence. Perhaps I should be no more. Now however, being back in the land of the Pure, I see I am amongst my sordid downtrodden brothers and sisters. Here everyone suffers!! (Honestly it seems I attract friendships based on their past customer service experiences!). Anyway this is a topic that will exhaust me before I can exhaust its many levels, so I must move on.

Apparently I appear to be complaining again. My own blog houses stories I have experienced, most of them miserable, sad annoying setbacks. I would like to take this opportunity to say that when we complain, it’s a means to starting the “fixing process”.
Only when we identify the problem can we work upon it.

Now folks please do not mis read me, yes there are problems but then there are also “good” folks who work here and are making efforts in resolving these issues. The fact that on my commute home the day of the bad rain last week, (potentially one of the worst days for traffic given the thrashing downpour all morning), I saw no standing water shows that the city Nazim has stood true to his word. They have been working on these drainage issues.

(My problem is with DHA, the rest of the city appears to be doing the right thing. Case in point, its as if my rant about KESC registered somewhere ! Last night again due to low voltage issues, I called the KESC (at 118) and each time the phone was answered. I say each time, as I had to call about 4 times over a 2 hour period. Would you believe it, the dudes there were MOST polite and helpful and though one of them gave a 15 min time to resolution to my issue (which turned out to be a lie) the others were most apologetic and said, “We cannot give you a time line as that would be creating “false hope and misguiding you”!” I was most impressed. Would you believe, the electricity was restored to my house (and yes it was just my house again) soon after. I actually called Mr. Fahimuddin of the night staff (at KESC complain center) to thank him. Yippee, our city is on the path to betterment!)

The fact that I see 5 traffic policemen at each intersection at peak hours, manning traffic and correctly opening up the side where we had an ambulance fills me something strange in my heart… I believe its called hope. I have held onto my cynical view so long that this feeling appears alien. I am scared. Shall I let it in? Shall I get used to having this thing in my heart instead of sarcasm? Will people stop littering next? Dare I “hope”? Easy, I tell myself, be still my racing heart…. Life happens here, perhaps things will improve, perhaps we will all become murderous, perhaps everyone will drive in their own lane, perhaps people will learn to stop at red lights, perhaps people will not inch their way into the middle of the intersection and block traffic, perhaps I will receive water in my water pipes….. so much to live for suddenly! I might actually like this “hope” thing after all!!

21 Comments so far

  1. JACKnJILL (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm


    do world a favour and go kill yourself.

    u bored me to death.

  2. Nadir (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:31 pm


    Who asked you to read all the way down? Its you who have been bored with your life so you should be the one killing yourself! At least Saba spent her time to express something other than an advice to kill oneself.

    @saba: I totally agree with her, this IS hope, which is good. BUT the problem here is that it has been almost 60 years. Now people have started realizing and consequently (people like you) started complaining.

    I too believe that first, a problem has to be recognized, only then the solution could be worked on.

    But since this complaining process started after almost 50 years. How long will it take to actually have a working solution? Another 50 years?

    We may not be living by the time, so my advise to you (although this is the first time i’m reading your post) is to develop a little acceptance to the current situations. No matter if it is Good or Bad. First you have to accept it then moderately comment on both, the things that are on the course of betterment and secondly the things that need serious consideration and attention.

    This way by the time we reach “Our Time”, even though the condition would not be completely better, we would have not been turned into a complete pain-in-in-the-neck big-complainer.

    Cheers All!

  3. original-faisal (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:35 pm


    What an absolutely rude and childish comment!
    If you felt that this post was boring you, what
    possessed you to continue reading all the way to the end?

    At least Saba writes in flawless English which is more than can be said for the majority of authors on KMB. That alone makes it a pleasure to read.

  4. zee (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

    Yeh kuch ziada hi ENGLISH english hai. Behin meri thora halka sa likho jo hum jaisay nacheez logon kay samhaj main aye. It’d be great if you stop trying to write it in a “STORY” style.

  5. angrez (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 11:16 pm

    Yaar Zee, let there be a diversity of KMB writers. I really appreciated Saba’s post and enjoyed her writing style.

    Saba, stick with your own writing style whatever commenters may say.

    Zee, if all KMB writers wrote the same way, tau phir kya maza?

    Completely agree with Faisal as well – the style, format, and grammar was a step-up from what we normally see on KMB.

  6. MB (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 1:27 am

    Hey Saba, Dont worry about that “complainer, a negative, caustic human being ” labels attributed to you.

    I was notorious for same but when i left my last company, they had to admit they got me wrong. Till that time it was too late for them to stop me. Relax, ye zalim dunia hai. . . .

    Nice post by the way

  7. Straight Talker (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 1:32 am

    @Saba, you sound very real:
    “Now however, being back in the land of the Pure, I see I am amongst my sordid downtrodden brothers and sisters”..

    Please make sure you don’t get spoilt by the status conscious freaks who pretend that they live like “Angrez” in our poor city called Karachi and have a lifestyle which is “Zara Hutt Kay” from the rest of us. Try to stay away from such weirdos as much as you can.

  8. Allama (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 3:45 am

    Saba, I love u and Cisco needs you

  9. JACKnJILL (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 5:43 am

    you wrote,
    Who asked you to read all the way down?

    you wrote
    If you felt that this post was boring you, what
    possessed you to continue reading all the way to the end?

    i didnt, i didnt!
    had i read this whole crap, i might have blown my head off.

    i spared me my life!
    these kind of writers shud be banned, they make readers to commit suicide.

    i wonder how come you guys are still alive???????

  10. Saad (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 6:25 am

    Great choice of words Saba. You said there was no standing water on that rainy day. I don’t know where you were driving but there was plenty of water in DHA. Here’s my proof:

  11. Saad (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 6:28 am

    Great choice of words Saba. You said there was no standing water on that rainy day. I don’t know where you were driving but there was plenty of water in DHA. Here’s my proof:

  12. bee (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 6:39 am

    jacknjill, love your english, why don’t you educate saba and all the rest of us and write your own blog? i can see you have a perseptive and intellectually mature style, would love tohear more nuggets like “do world a favour” and “i spared me my life”

  13. bee (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 6:44 am

    jacknjill i lve your english, why don’t you educate saba and all the rest of us and write a blog of your own instead of wasting your valuable time on saba? i would love to read more of your perceptive and intellectually challenging nuggets like “do world a favour” and “i spared me my life”. more, more! don’t leave your fans hanging!

  14. JACKnJILL (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 7:23 am

    @ PEE, oh sorry! BEE

    Actually i am desperate to PEE, i cant hold it,I MUST RUSH TO THE LOO, i hope there’s no long queue outside the rest room…….

    seeeeee ya PEE, oh i mean BEE

  15. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 9:19 am

    One more lengthy post. What I learn that you were once in US. And your post is filled with I/me/my. First 7 paras are just about “YOU”. My lady, this is metro blog, not your personal blog. Please.

  16. Keep Walking! (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 10:50 am

    I agree with OBI WAN KENOBI and JackNJill. What the $%^%? This is KMB guys please!

    Well, I rarely comment here; just read silently, laugh and move on but posts like these irritate me a lot. This KMB is becoming a complaint centre for KESC and DHA. Ok so here I go…

    No mosquito bit me when I was in Basel and here there are so many Machchars (oops!) that its difficult to live here. But I must admit that some machchars are quite friendly and they bite me on my own will..

  17. Nadir (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

    Dudes! We have lost track of this post. Saba’s post is no where in discussion by now.

  18. faylasuf (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

    hahaha sum times comments get more interestin then the original post

    Obi Wan Kenobi, keep walking and jackn jill i cdnt agree more.

  19. faylasuf (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

    btw by supporting i dint mean to say i support the use of PEE BEE!

  20. Original-Anon (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

    “perhaps things will improve, perhaps we will all become murderous”
    Why on earth do you hope that people will become murderous?

  21. Momin (unregistered) on August 31st, 2007 @ 1:00 am

    Nadir spoke of learning to accepting how things are. Although this is a useful starting point (for a calmer frame of mind :P), we Pakistanis have a tendency to slide into complacency (except in particularly irrelevant, nonconstructive situations – as Saba’s wannabe fans demonstrate, lol).
    As for your style: Saba, this was the most natural piece so far (one to go)…what’s the point of writing if one cannot narrate well!?

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