September 13, 2011

Once upon a time Karachi used to be a city filled with entrepreneurs. With people who had migrated from different parts of the country to make their living in this burgeoning urban metropolis. The city was difficult to maneuver, often dangerous but it offered the promise of opportunity-enough for anyone to be attracted to the city of lights. I have heard stories from my father's generation of people who used to walk to work from Nazimabad to Saddar (for those of you not acquainted with the terrain, it's a hell of a long walk) to make it to work on time. For there was a time when Karachi was home to a thriving middle-class with dreams of self-improvement and a rigorous work ethic.

I landed in the city last night amidst pouring rain and made my way home to work on a presentation that I had to deliver today to a client's team. I got a call this morning saying that they've decided to shut their offices (they're a consulting company) and their staff can't meet in another location because the roads are flooded. So meanwhile I - and my colleague from Islamabad - are cocking up our toes at home it's business as usual for my mother and my brother. They're off with a client to a model building, and then onwards to have a meeting with another colleague without much thought of how wet they get in the rain.

It strikes me, over and over again, how the general ambiance of this city has changed. Karachi has always been difficult to live in, but somehow people tend to complain a lot more now. I've been traipsing in and out of the house since morning and there's water, sure, but nothing our cars can't handle. While the daily-wagers and entrepreneurs make their way to do what they need to do employed people think of this as yet another day Karachi gifts them with paid vacation. When it's not bad weather, it's an impending strike - either way this city gives people a lot of opportunity to be scared and sit at home. And sit at home and be scared.

What happened to the city filled with people who had a dream? What happened to the lights, the energy, the bustle, the sound?

More than just a day's worth of rain has washed out Karachi.



Amna K said...

I take off from work when it rains this bad. Car breakdowns are super-annoying and costly. I'm a Lahorite :/

Thoth said...

Falling apart everyday since (wonder what will be the correct year). Don't worry, we are tough.

Anonymous said...

LAHORITES are annoying!