The stinking cesspool of urban mental decay

Irfan Malik penned a brutally honest rant in Dawn‘s Concrete Jungle column yesterday, complaining about everything from harried life of the hardworking, the worsening traffic, routine power-outages and growing pollution to the brazen indifference and “macho” mentality of some the city’s elite.

The article is a brilliant summary of all that is dysfunctional within in our city these days, and is well worth a read on its own, but the portion where Malik describes how this mass dysfunctionality is affecting the temperaments of Karachi citizens, that is most thought provoking bit for me personally.

Like the koel there was something vaguely monsoon-esque about power failures, coming as they did soon after the first pitter-pat ter of rain. Now they are the norm and we are like laboratory rats being subjected to twice the maximum dosage, just to see if we can take it and live to tell the tale.

Tempers fray easily under these conditions. Arguments over restaurant bills turn fatal and minor car scrapes degenerate into fistfights. People scowl habitually and an absent-minded smile will most likely be met with a stroppy ‘kya dekh rahe ho?’ (what are you looking at?) Not your ugly mug, you retort, shelving the stray happy thought and diving headlong into the stinking cesspool of urban mental decay.

As I was reading this I found my inner self reluctantly nodding in agreement. It’s only the beginning of the summer yet, rains haven’t even blessed us yet, and already, the trials of the summer are taking their toll. The Met Office has again predicted temperatures of up to 42‚ó¶C for today, and with the prospect of more traffic, pollution and load-shedding as bright as ever, our patience will be tested again. Urban mental decay, to phrase it in Irfan Malik’s words, is going to be out there haunting us again. What will you do to keep your cool?

9 Comments so far

  1. wasiq (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 3:09 am

    no comment!

  2. Petarian_88 (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 4:01 am

    well, it sums up the current mental state of affairs pretty much. i can’t argue against it:)

    it’s not just the problem with the electricity…’s a problem of our mental paralysis! we are devoid of any satisfaction of the soul!

    iam sure it has got something to do with the hectic efforts to feed one’s family in this madness.

    the ones with jobs are on the brink of mental disorder because of the work pressures and our civic problems and the ones who are jobless are whole different subject:))

  3. Petarian_88 (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 4:05 am

    if you think my above comments don’t make any sense then pls forgive me. it’s pretty late and my(mental) batteries are discharging fast:0

  4. Kamran (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 6:11 am

    Sums up pretty well. And its really unfortunate, because its difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel, just more darkness and gloom everywhere.

  5. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 7:35 am

    Its sad, one could see ppl protesting (i.e burning/throwing stuff) yesterday. (Thursday).

    I know everyone feels frustated, but kam as kam weather ka to we cant do much.

    Id suggest to keep hydrated & try and stay in some kind of a shade.

    Consume more fruits and veg’s. Cucumbers & water melon are both easily accecable & do a potent job of keeping you Thanda thanda Cool kool :P. (what advert was this? :S).

    KESE is load-shedding atleast 6 hrs/day around me, worse is they take it all night.
    Even if ppl do fall asleep, they wake up sweaty and with migranes.

    If one sleeps outside, the mosqito’s celebrate “Mithi Eid” :{.

    Messed up.

  6. zeeshan syed (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 8:53 am

    What’s even more scary is that next year will be even MORE difficult. This year, we are seeing 6 hours of load shedding, next year, we will probably see 8-10 hours and NO, I am not kidding at all!

  7. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 9:16 am

    Yeh, Liaqat Jatoi (the current Power minister) said that back in feb. He furthered it that if demand kept rising @ the same rate, we would be lucky to have elec for 6 hrs/day.

    Sounds like Baghdad :S.

  8. Petarian_88 (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

    did u people hear Water & Power Minister Liaqat Jatoi saying on TV that the some people have this problem in their heads that there is a power shortage when there is no such thing!

    is the guy real or is an idiot/retard with his eyes closed.

    maybe he meant that he has UPS on which his A/C also works!

  9. Imran (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 1:35 am


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