We Karachiites are inherently born a**holes; from stubborn rickshaw drivers who refuse to give way, to egotistical executives who hide behind an army of personal assistants, secretaries and errand boys. Everybody’s a ‘somebody’, or so they think… they all have their ‘connections’ that fuel their grandiose delusions. Obtaining the desired outcome from such individuals only comes about by acknowledging their pseudo status, thereby giving them the respect their inflated egos feed off of. Sir or ‘Jaani’ are preferred titles that usually get the job done.
Sir Insha’Allah kal tak hojayega (God willing it will happen tomorrow); the standard response given to any assignment. Time is a concept that evades most. This so-called ‘tomorrow’ is as elusive as the golden snitch. When the day called tomorrow finally arrives, it is no longer tomorrow, it is today and another tomorrow is created… Any task set for tomorrow is by default a write off, as that day will never arrive. The Western world has something to learn from our regressive yet effective work ethic. In spite of our haphazard approach, we somehow always manage to get sh*t done (albeit at the last minute)!
Nothing is Fixed, Everything is Negotiable; dates, prices, even shoe sizes can be deliberated. Living in this city, haggling is an art form, seasoned over the course of one’s natural life. Be it shopkeepers, vendors, or your local cable wala, they are all just as likely to take you for a ride. Negotiating prowess can depend on direct factors such as ethnicity or style of wordplay, or can even be influenced by intangible things such as the broker’s bowel movements or the time of day (taking into consideration things like namaz break, lunch break, chai break, etc.).
Paisa Phenkh Tamasha Dekh (Money Talks Bullsh*t Walks); let’s face it; if you’re loaded you can get away with anything! In the words of the great Al Pacino, “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women”… Got money but don’t have power? Just buy off the right people and you’re good to go. Don’t have money? That’s alright; surely you have rich relatives you can mooch off. Don’t have money or power? Damn son you’re sh*t outta luck… Better make sure you don’t step on any toes.
F**k the Police; our law enforcement has only one agenda: Get Rich Quick. Either to line their own frayed pockets or to pay off the establishment that appointed them. Police routinely setup road blocks in order to check vehicles for ‘illegal’ items. They say it’s for our ‘security’, but the only things they actually put in a real effort searching for are ‘illicit’ substances. Pot-smoking kids are the main source of income for these extortionists. Since they’re too high on confiscated ‘maal’ to actually stop smartphone-snatching murderers, they spend their time patrolling the streets for their next ‘burger-kid’ bust.
Everybody stares; Men, Women, Drivers, Maids, even the educated… We all stare. Regardless of gender, you will regularly experience cold glares from strangers. Women stare too; don’t think females are the only ones who get checked out. Attire makes no difference at all… looks will come regardless of wearing tight jeans, lacking a dupatta, or even if you’re donning hijabs or burkas.
Admit it or not, these are but a few ground realities associated with life in the metropolitan city of Karachi. We all have our vices, but what better place in the world to let them all run free than the City of Lights…