Archive for October, 2007

Supply and Demand

A look at karachi’s otherside..

Britain’s colonial legacy in Pakistan left a thriving but dark commercial sector in the country’s capital, Karachi. Massoud Ansari investigates the city’s desperate marketplace that trades in young women…

Read more here

Question: finding good help

In many homes in Karachi, a great deal of dependence is on the army of household workers who travel from the periphery of the city to come work as maids, nanny’s and cooks. If it wasn’t for them, life in the city for quite a few of us would be very difficult.

Still, the number one complain you hear from housewives is, where to find good help from? I was asked this question a little while ago, and couldn’t come up with an answer. So i put it out to all of you.

How did you come to know the maid/gardener/driver (any or all) who works for you, and why did you decide to hire them?

A Different ‘Always On’

One of the ‘rituals’ followed by morning walkers in Karachi is that as the sun rises and the light of the day spreads, fellow citizens show a sense of ownership and concern for power conservation by switching off the manual street lights. It is those cases where the street lights are in a standalone arrangement in the form of a switch attached to the pole. The light is not connected to a single ‘street light power line’ controlled from a central location or an automated photo-switch.

More recently, lots of new street lights have been installed by the CDGK in various localities and while the power is available, the lights do a great job in making the areas usable (and safe!) in the night. But as the manual switches break down due to exposure to direct sun light and other factors, there is an increasing trend to ‘make the switch direct’ by pushing in a piece of wire inside the right places of the broken switches which causes the light to remain always on.

Dengue Virus – Prevention is better than cure….(Contd)

Dengue fever… Causes / Symptoms / Preventions

A sharp rise in mosquito transmitted dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever cases in the past few weeks, with dozens of people in hospitals…..some have not been lucky and have lost their lives in this horrific epidemic!

Following is some useful information regarding the virus:

How can someone get dengue fever?

Dengue fever occurs following the bite of an infected mosquito Aedes aegypti.The mosquito gets the Dengue virus after biting a human being infected with dengue virus.

When should I suspect Dengue?

Dengue should be suspected when you have sudden onset of high grade fever 103-105 degrees F, accompanied with severe headache (mostly in the forehead), pain behind the eyes, body aches and pains, rash on the skin and nausea or vomiting. The fever lasts for 5-7 days.

The Warning That Works!


The local government in Karachi led by Advocate Naimatullah stressed a lot on carpeting the roads (most of the time without going into the infrastructure aspect – something that the current Muttahida led local administration has rightly done this time around) during its tenure. In the Gulshan Town Area, the previous administration had placed lane boards that gave the area or the lane a title and, in some cases, detailed the house numbers found on both sides of the lane. The nomenclature methodology made extensive use of the names found in Islamic political, cultural and scientific research history and even recent global conflicts (the street opposite to SSUET is named ‘Shahra-e-Faloja’ in connection with the resistant Faluja city of Iraq). To an neutral observer, the name selection would appear more politically inclined rather than taking local area roots.

These boards quickly attracted the usual paper banner and pamphlet pastings – from XRose beauty parlors, to the madarsahs and to the coaching centers in the area. The paint went stale and the boards titling the lanes and areas actually became sort of standing scars.

When the new administration came in and more development work was witnessed by the area, it was a pleasure to see that that new management gracefully not only kept the previous names intact but also rehabilitated the boards. The small warnings written at the bottom (along with the you-got-to-get-it color combination used) have served the purpose. It is almost a year since these new boards were put up and most of them stand tall, untouched by the viral posters that were their immediate destiny in their first incarnation.



Spotted on the roads this morning on the Shaheed-e-Millat extension.

My personal view, I probably would not want to own a beauty such as this, not as long as random dig ups on roads are common.

the tax man cometh!

cbr.jpgFor those of you, like myself, who do everything at the last moment.. please remember the last day of the second extension of filing income tax returns in 31st October 2007.

Thanks to the overly simplified procedure of just going in and dropping your return on the desk and coming back, plus the very low number of people left to file their taxes.. there are literally no lines just about now.

FYI: Those of you not wishing to goto CBR office at Sindh Secretariat building, can file their taxes at the Awami Markaz, where a booth has been setup to ‘facilitate’ tax payers.

A Deadly Combination?

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Who is Responsible?, originally uploaded by Raja Islam.

Over crowded motor bikes are a common sight in Karachi, I’ve seen families of up to six members ride with quite impunity. Even under-age driving isn’t all that uncommon. But over-crowded motor bikes and under age drivers combined also with no helmets, now that is one deadly combination of traffic law violations. This is a great capture from Raja Islam (as usual), but its quite scary the way the kiddo driving is not even looking at the road! How come his parents allowed him to venture out on the roads for such a dangerous adventure? And that too not alone but with no less then four other juvenile pranksters along side him! What’s your bet for the average age of these kids? They can’t be more than 10-13 surely?

Bring the funny: Review

Saturday night was when a one of a kind event happened! The funny was brought up front and center, right on the stage of PACC. Sami shah, in his second stand up performance, once again rocked the crowd and brought us all down to our knees laughing!

sami_shah_bring_the_funny.jpgIf you know sami shah, you know he’s going to be very predictable.. he’s going to rant, and being a geek, he’s going to rant in a superhero style! (Thank god his undies were the right side up though!) The show started, albeit half an hour late, with a jab at the advertising agencies of Pakistan, who’ve made us think that if we are fair, good things will happen to us. This continue, with various brands being taken down a peg or two, starting with fair and lovely and ending up with state life insurace’s beema policy! 10 minutes into the act, the guy had the audience in stiches!

His next pieces concerned the kind of people who work in banks, the job hunt and the kind of people who seem to have the same career aspirations as him and keep following him from place to place. How he knows that? Cuz they do the same thing, no matter which office he’s in. Up next was karachi’s dug up situation and the crazy 7 hour traffic jams we had whenever our dear ol’ president and the prime minister went to town. The performance ended on how the comic book world was slowly becoming so real, when our real life ‘heros’ (the general obviously) act like batman! mild mannered president by day… and The General during times of trouble!

All in all, it was definitely a performance not to be missed. A bit overpriced, at 400 a pop, but still very much worth every penny, as the over-filled auditorium of PACC would give testament to.

Disabling Answering Service on your landline

PTCL has quietly activated answering service on its phone lines. I called various places in Karachi today for official purposes and ended up at listening to the answering service prompt.

If your home or office phone number gets a bill of Rs 1,400 per month or more, your line has been crowned with this unsolicited ‘facility’. Of course it is not necessary for PTCL to tell you how to retrieve the messages that your dear callers have deposited in your mailbox by paying Rs 2.01 each time your phone number was engaged and they were presented with an prompt in English language!

To disable the recent gift aimed at turning each engaged tone generation into a sweet little Rs 2.01 for PTCL, get yourself acquainted with the commands that manage this service. Please disable this service from your phone line and save your callers a few hundred therwise-wasted rupees a month!

Here is the complete procedure for all kinds of Call Transfers/Forwarding.

1) call Forwading Unconditional/Immediate

To activate
*21*Telephone number#

To deactivate

2) For Busy

To activate:
*09*Telephone number#

To deactivate

3) For No Reply

To activate:
*06*Telephone number#

To deactivate

Credits: PTCLDude@TGP

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