The Rule of Incremental, Consistent Effort

Building up on an earlier post on the Multiplier effect, there’s another important rule – the rule of incremental and consistent effort. The best summary of the rule is this:

The other side of the rule suggests that if you’re consistently doing less than yesterday, how big of a negative impact would it lead to:

For those who don’t have so much of a mathematical interest in the equations, the point of this rule is that regardless of the size of base, an incremental yet consistent positive change everyday can bring in massive improvement in a year. The flip side being that a marginal yet consistent reduction can lead to massive decrease in the starting base in only a year.

This rule can practically be applied almost anywhere – savings, investments, work effort, planning goals, manual labor, personality and skill improvement – practically anywhere.

To sum up, the real power is always in the progress in whatever you do and not really where you start. This is the real reason many startups end up challenging and outperforming massive companies in the long-run. Also the reason why some people seem to keep achieving everything whereas a lot of people don’t seem to be able to much done despite spending hours at length in intermittent sprints. This is also a valid reason to consistently put our best foot forward – finally, this is how many leaders have transformed themselves and even the fate of their nations in less than their lifetime.

The One Thing This World Needs the Most

Whenever I marvel at how human beings have progressed so much in a wide range of areas including arts, literature, architecture, science and technology, I also keep thinking about things that could be even better.

Although it is heartening to see people work hard and take the entire generation forward, one thing that I feel we need the most today is kindness. Whilst people are always trying to get on the fast track to success, we may start to believe we don’t have time for that, but one of the things that distinguishes our human race from millions of other species is their ability to feel the others’ pain without having gone through it – to empathize.

We are definitely blessed to be living in a wonderful time where the determined can achieve much and create a lasting impact on a far bigger group of people than was ever possible before in our history. The legacy we need to be working to leave should be spearheaded by kindness. This will in turn also make this world a better place to live and would ensure our time here is well-spent.

Car Preparations for Road Trips

Amongst the most common questions that I got, one was around car related preparations for a long road trip. Hence, this post. I’ll try to focus on the things you should check or get checked before a road trip to ensure the likelihood of a smooth trip is much higher. Having said that, just like any other mechanical thing, cars can break down and I’d address some of the things to carry along to face some of the possible unforeseen scenarios.

First things first, get your car properly cleaned inside and out. When you’re headed for a road trip, the car’s engine should generally be good especially since it’s going to be traveling for longer distances, possibly for at least a few hours without any stops. If you have a fairly recent model, these are some of the things you should check before embarking on a road trip and once in the morning everyday during the trip:

Engine Oil: Ensure that engine oil level is within the prescribed range, and would be good with regards to the prescribed mileage for the trip. If you are anticipating clocking in few thousand kilometers in the trip, it’s better to get it changed before the trip.

Oil Filter/Air Filter/ AC Filter: Get them replaced too to avoid any troubles later.

Tires: Ensure they are in good condition, check the treads, and signs of strains, bulge or damage. If they don’t look right, replace them as you really don’t want to be left stranded with tire problems in the middle of the journey. Also, ensure the condition of spare tire is good and the air pressure levels in all tires (even spare one) is 30-35 psi (preferably 30 psi).

Battery: Check it is in good condition.

Brake Oil: Check the brake oil level is within the expected range, and if not, just ensure you fill it up to that.

Radiator Coolant: Use a good quality coolant. Flush the radiator if you haven’t done that in a while.

If you’re using a car model from a few years ago, do check these additional things before starting your journey:

Gear oil levels, steering and brake oil fluids, wheels’ alignment, replace spark plugs (ensure they’re thoroughly cleaned, and even keep a set of 4 as spare ones), get steering and suspension checked, get the rain wipers, car lights/blinkers/fog lights checked, check the car horn, ensure there are no issues with car’s tire shields, get the AC/Heater system checked to ensure everything works, and get the brakes serviced before the trip. I’d recommend you to get your car’s fuel pump checked too, as the quality of fuel available across different fuel stations varies and sometimes all it needs is cleaning the filter with petrol (this ensures the fuel pump would not let you down in the trip – the fuel you would get in some of the places especially in-and-around the mountainous region is not as good, so this would prevent any unforeseen breakdowns – also, if it is possible, put in hi-octane while you’re traveling in hilly areas).

Apart from the things to check, these are some things you should carry:

A good quality jack suitable for your car, a dual-motor battery-operated air pressure pump, extra mobil oil, tool kit including screwdrivers (at least one flathead and one phillips), wrench, plier, hex keys, wires, wire cutting pliers, tire pressure gauge (if possible), tire puncture repair kit (get a simple one if possible, for super emergencies), some extra wires, zip ties, duct tape, and a few jet clips of different sizes, good quality battery torching cable set, good quality towing rope with heavy hooks, WD-40 or similar liquid aerosols spray, some car air fresheners, few bottles of fuel injectors, a good collection of DVDs/other media (card/USB, etc.) for music/videos to play during the trip (there would be patches where internet may not be available), sunglasses, hand sanitizer, gloves, a small garbage bag/dustbin, car mobile holder, power bank(s), and car phone charging and aux cables.

These are the additional tips for the trip:

Get the fuel tank filled before getting on the motorway, especially M5 from Sukkur to Multan as these generally don’t have fuel stations and you would have to get off the motorway to get it refueled which is a time waster.

Try using a good quality fuel injector along with refueling the tank. Put an entire bottle in at once. This improves the mileage and helps clean the carburetor and keep the engine in better shape. You can use a bottle every time you fill the tank, but I’d recommend using one every second or third refill.

Try to get your car washed, cleaned everyday. Some of the hotel staff can help you with that if you pay them something, so you don’t necessarily have to go to a service station every time.

Keep an eye on the tire pressure and engine oil levels – these tend to go low in higher altitudes sometimes.

When driving on high gradient plains, slopes and curves, try to minimize the use of brakes. One, that’d help extend the life of the brakes in general and two, it would ensure they are effective as they won’t heat up due to over usage (a lot of amateur drivers overuse the brakes going down the hilly parts and even climbing up – it also causes a lot of unnecessary wear and tear).

Wear your seat belts – applies to everyone but especially the driver and the person sitting beside the driver.

You can probably use an inflatable bed, but that takes up a lot of space so I recommend keeping a blanket or two and few pillows for comfortable naps, especially for kids.

These were the things I could remember to share, if any of you have more things that I may have forgotten and are useful, please send me a note so that I can edit this post accordingly. Have a safe journey!

Exploring Pakistan’s Beautiful Landscape – 4250KMs in 2 weeks

As some of you are aware, my wife and I decided to take our kids on a road trip this December with an initial idea to see and play in snow and make a snowman. After several rounds of stories about Frozen’s Olaf, the kids clearly knew what to expect and it got them excited already. Now that we have completed our trip, most of the people whom we relayed our experience to mentioned they’d love if they could have these details, tips and tricks and that would encourage them to do something like this on their own. I’m posting this to help others who may be planning to venture out on a road trip in Pakistan.

We tried to enjoy our trip with a relaxed pace, visiting places that we wanted to go to starting everyday when we wanted to so it was a fairly freestyle flexible plan. Here’s a link to our trip itinerary for those of you who are interested.

The places we covered or stayed in are: Multan, Mingora Swat, Malam Jabba, Bahrain Swat, Kalam Swat, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Nathiagali, Patriata, Murree, Khewra, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur.

The road network in Pakistan is pretty good especially with the motorways M1-M5 across KPK and Punjab, driving is not an issue. The belt which is slightly difficult to drive is from Hyderabad to Sukkur Rohri. There’s hardly an issue with network throughout and wireless internet devices also work well for the most part. On the motorway, you can easily access help by dialing ‘130’ as the motorway helpline and they’re very responsive.

The best way to start off the journey is to start early morning from Karachi and head straight to Multan to break the journey by staying in a hotel. One can make a small pit stop or two leading up to Multan and rest overnight out there. As the City of Saints is famous for the Multan’s special sweet “Sohan Halwa”, it’s best you buy from here only. There’s a place called “Hussain Agahi Road” where you’d find the two most popular brands selling this halwa: “Hafiz” and “Rewari” – once you leave Multan, you’d find other random brands selling this halwa but none of those are as authentic as them, so don’t wait to buy these later.

After a refreshing night, we headed out to Islamabad, and in our case we decided to chill out a bit and take a good night’s sleep before going to the actual destination the next day. After having our breakfast, we took Swat Expressway to reach Mingora, Swat. The weather around mid December was decent, and surprisingly not-so-called. Do try the sweet “malta” fruit when you enter Swat, it’s unbelievably good but ask to taste first to be sure they’re the sweet ones. We decided to make Mingora our base for 2 nights as it’s an hour’s distance away from Malam Jabba and has much better resorts/hotels as compared to Malam Jabba. For the ones who have the budget, you may decide on staying in PC Malam Jabba, that way you’d be able to make the most of the snow activities in Malam Jabba. For Malam Jabba, snow boots are a must. You can buy them from Karachi or decide on renting them from there only. There are few vendors renting out boots for Rs. 100/pair.

While you’re headed to Malam Jabba, and if you decide to drive all the way up there, make sure you have taken some medicine to avoid motion-sickness (something like Stemetil would help avoid dizziness and vertigo issues). While you’d drive up there, some of the things you would have to notice is hotels and car rental people would keep advising against it and sell you their packages, but it’s doable if you are a decent driver and your car is in good condition. Also another thing is somewhere during the trip up to Malam Jabba, you’d inevitably come across someone selling you chains to put on the tires saying it’s not a doable plan otherwise. My suggestion is that if there’s no snowfall, you should not opt for the chain as that’d put an unnecessary strain on the tires and you’d be surprised to find auto rickshaws all the way up without any chains, so cars are no issue.

Malam Jabba has a lot to offer: Skiing, Chair lift, Ziplining, Jumping Castle for kids, and a lot of snow to play with. You can enjoy the piping hot pakoras and tea in that cold weather while enjoying the breathtaking views from the top.

Once done with Malam Jabba, we stayed another night in Mingora and moved on to Bahrain Swat. There’s not much else out there except a range of mid-range hotels and being an hour’s distance from Kalam, this makes a perfect base for onward travel. The road from Bahrain to Kalam is a bit tricky as it’s a smooth road for the most part except a few patches of unpaved road where they’re reconstructing bridges. This means you have to be careful speeding up on the route and also the unpaved roads can become slippery in rain/snowfall conditions. We drove all the way up to Kalam bazaar and then there’s a forest right after. That’s almost all you can do in your car, and you have to rent a 4×4 for places beyond there. You can rent a 4×4 for 2 hours or so to cover the 4-5 spots after this point for Rs.4000-6000, but if you don’t want to do it, you can still enjoy the views in-and-around Kalam forest by hiking up there, and you’d see several areas with patches of snow blankets. This is most suitable to make a snowman or have a friendly snow fight with friends and family. The beauty of this place is very difficult to explain with words and probably the reason this is called “Switzerland of Pakistan.”

We didn’t stay in Kalam because it gets very cold at night and doesn’t have many good hotels with all the heating and hot water facilities. In fact, we didn’t stay in Bahrain for more than a day and got back to Fizaghat to stay at a good hotel before concluding our Swat adventure. We also tried the food at a famous restaurant there called “Hujra” which has decent food which they serve in cozy family rooms (hence the word ‘Hujra’).

On our way back to Islamabad, we visited Faisal Mosque and then headed to Daman-e-Koh to check the view of the city. After that, we went to check out the Centaurus Mall, which is just another mall but has a bunch of familiar fast food joints. Since we planned to visit Ayub Park in Rawalpindi the next day, we decided on staying close-by at a hotel in Rawalpindi. Ayub Park is a must-see for a good day out with kids since it has rides for children of different ages, a mini-zoo with several interesting animals (not just tons of deers like they have in Bahria Town Karachi).

From there, we decided to leave for Abbottabad. It was a perfect place for us to stay at since it’s an hour’s drive from Nathiagali and 2.5 hours’ drive to Murree. We explored Nathiagali one day (check out the Nathiagali Park and enjoy the Snowtube), kids can again play with snow for hours and it’s generally a fun place to visit. Nathiagali also has a ton of accommodation options, but the mid-range cottages have water issues and you may find issues getting water in taps at night as temperature drops.

We ended up exploring Patriata and Murree the next day and decided to not stay in Murree because it was so full of people and we wanted to avoid staying in such places. It’s almost 2 hours from Islamabad, so we went back to Islamabad to rest, and checked out Lake View Park the next day. We also enjoy the F1 Traxx park nearby in addition to a private Speed Boat ride in the lake. We were not rushing around, so stayed another night in Islamabad.

We headed to Khewra the next morning to explore Khewra Salt Mines, it’s the second largest salt reserve in the world. It has a guided tour which you may take if you opt for the train ride to the inside of the mine. There you can see many important monuments in Pakistan created by using salt. Since Khewra is almost mid-way between Lahore and Islamabad, we had planned to make it a stop-over and head to Lahore, but due to the intense fog, we decided to de-tour and stay in Faisalabad for a night. When you are in Faisalabad, try out a Pakistani restaurant called ‘Baba Tikka’ – it is a place inspired by Kolachi and other Do-Darya restaurants and serves very good Pakistani cuisine. Another thing to try out in Faisalabad is cream chaat from Meher Fruit Chaat shop which is open 24/7.

After Faisalabad, we went to Bahawalpur to explore the city of Nawabs and see a place called Noor Mahal. We enjoyed their light and sound show that lasts for 25 mins, and is worth attending. After the show, we checked the Palace itself which has now been converted to a Museum. We then explored Bahawalpur a bit more by going around, and checked-in to a hotel there for the night. The next morning we started off early and came back all the way down to Karachi. We barely made two pit stops, and since we were mentally ready for the long trip back home, it was manageable and went well.

That’s how we concluded our trip ending up with 4250km traveling across KPK, Punjab and Sindh.

Innovation During Recession

What do these companies have in common?

Zendesk, OneDrive, Dropbox, ThemeForest, Asana, KhanAcademy, AirBnB, Okta, Uber, WhatsApp, Udemy, Stripe and Square.

These companies have helped radically improve the way we collaborate and learn, and almost all of these leveraged technology to innovate and solve a dire problem of that time, but interestingly, another common thread amongst all these companies is that they were formed around the last recession. The word “recession” has its roots in the latin word “recess” which means a period of time where proceedings or activities are temporarily suspended. While we’re in the midst of a situation where people are more concerned about the oncoming days, these innovative companies are a reminder of the array of opportunities that await us.

Innovation during recession

Zendesk (2007), OneDrive (2007), Dropbox (2007), ThemeForest (Aug 2008), Asana (2008), KhanAcademy (2008), Airbnb (Aug 2008), Okta (Jan 2009), Uber (Mar 2009), Udemy (2009), WhatsApp (2009), Quora (June 2009), Stripe (2009), Square (2009), Pinterest (Dec 2009), Instagram (Oct 2010), Snapchat (Sep 2011), Zoom (2011), Coursera (2011).

Of Conspiracy Theories

With the Coronavirus spread and the entire world struggling to face this challenge, I have a few conjectures around how this virus started and why this has become one of the fiercest epidemic we have faced in a long time. There are four theories I’m thinking could have been a reason for this –

Theory 1: This is politically motivated, and man-made fiasco prepared in a lab with the purpose to let China down in the global race towards becoming the world leader.

As it is, China is the world’s factory. Most of the things most of the people use and buy are coming from China, even when the companies producing them are not really based out of China. This has given the country a lot of technological excellence and created a big dependency on their production. Moreover, whilst the world’s dependency on China has increased, China’s dependency on the world for its own consumption has shrinked as illustrated in this McKinsey research below:

All along, another interesting development has been the rapid progress of Chinese Supercomputers in the Quantum computing race, where 219 of the fastest 500 supercomputers are Chinese. Also, amongst the top 5, there are 2 Chinese supercomputers closely following US’s lead in this race. The conventional computers are based on bits that can process 0 or 1, hence, binary, but quantum computers are based on qubits and have the power to process 0 & 1 at the same time, thus giving them much more computing power to do advanced calculations at a much faster pace. Now, these quantum computers can theoretically help banks do better and faster risk management, solve the biggest warehousing and inventory management problems, or help tech companies ensure their code is bug-free, or even help government espionage by cracking cryptographic codes, which mandates significant number crunching.

This has deep implications for the success of an economy in this new age, where information and access to information has become the key to attaining that status. Clearly, the leaders in this race would have the power to access a lot of classified information as well, eventually giving them an uneven advantage over others.

Yet another interesting angle to this theory has been the rise of 5G and its impact on how things are done. Whilst the increases in expected speed are prodigious at an estimated 50Mbit/s to over 2Gbit/s at the start and expected to grow to even 100Gbit/s (100x faster than 4G), there are big concerns around surveillance through potential espionage by Chinese equipment vendors, primarily Huawei. Even a report published by the European Commission and European Agency for Cybersecurity warns against using a single supplier for a carrier’s 5G infrastructure.

Advancement in technology boosting fast-paced progress in supercomputers, quantum computing, 5G infrastructure are inevitable, and China’s lead in these areas could be a possible reason for concern for some of the other developed economies.


Theory 2: This is politically motivated, and man-made fiasco prepared in a lab with the purpose to reduce the global aging population (hence, the old age benefit) to help contain the ever increasing health expenditure of countries, especially the developed ones.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly two billion people across the world are expected to be over 60 years old by 2050, a figure that’s more than triple what it was in 2000. Because of such increases in their aging populations, some of the world’s largest economies have started facing subsequent increases in their health-care costs, higher pension costs, and a decreasing proportion of their respective citizenries active in the workforce.

Haider, Faraz 2017, Countries With The Largest Aging Population In The World, WorldAtlas, viewed 23 March 2020, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-largest-aging-population-in-the-world.html/


Clearly, with a diminishing fertility rate, and advancement in health technologies leading to longer average lifespans mean the global population is moving towards a higher proportion of their people above the working age. Understandable a lot is changing in terms of extension of retirement age, change in pension benefits and overall increase in the world GDP as well, but there’s a significant financial burden attached with this aging population.

https://www.oecd.org/health/Expenditure-by-disease-age-and-gender-FOCUS-April2016.pdf

A small portion of the population accounts for a large share of health care spending in a year. Although we tend to focus on averages, few people actually have spending around the average, since individual health care needs vary over the life course. Some portion of the population (the elderly and those with serious or chronic illnesses) require more and higher-cost health services than those who are younger or otherwise typically in need of fewer and less costly services.

https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-expenditures-vary-across-population/#item-discussion-of-health-spending-often-focus-on-averages-but-a-small-share-of-the-population-incurs-most-of-the-cost_2016

This is not something that has started to show up all of a sudden, global aging population has been a phenomenon we’ve known about. It has been accepted as a fact of life for the most part, and people have largely come to expect it to be that way. “In the developed world, people live longer with very intense disease — and costly treatment,” says Vegard Skirbekk, professor at Columbia University’s Aging Center.

This seems to be a sensitive issue, as countries are supposed to be working towards the welfare of their own citizens and increasing life expectancy leading to an aging population is something to be proud of in many ways, but it does mean a higher health care spend – given this disease does not give much of a second chance to an older segment of the population, it does mean even when we’ve got this pandemic under control, most of the lives lost would be elderly people.


Theory 3: This is politically motivated, and man-made fiasco prepared in a lab with the purpose to initiate an economic crises, leading to unbelievably good asset prices for fresh entry – hence, ensuring the status-quo prevails and the few wealthy continue to dominate and control the finance (hence the world) for another few decades, or more

The argument here is that the global wealth divide is sharply skewed with most of the wealth falling within few hands. It is easier to explain this through a visual depiction of how lop-sided the wealth equation currently is:

Although this is a state of affairs in general, over the past few decades and specially with the rise of the internet, telecommunication and new technologies, the composition of the few at the top has changed. This includes all the adults who became billionaires in the past decade or so. Thus, in order to keep the status-quo and keep the wealth within the selected few, this crises was needed. The thought behind this is that a crises of this proportion creates a massive shock for the economy leading to most of the assets becoming mispriced due to the confusion and negativity. This creates an entry point for extremely wealthy to take new positions at very low prices, thus ensuring that when things get back to normal, they retain their status in terms of accumulated wealth.


Theory 4: This is politically motivated, and man-made fiasco prepared in a lab with the purpose to move the global economy, thereby creating an opportunity to exert global power and influence to ensure access to the global superpower club

The thought behind this theory is that this crises would take the world by surprise and create a widespread panic (which it has already). This kind of situation would lead to fundamental changes in the way the world operates. In this situation, the ones who are able to control the healthcare access through top-notch facilities and vaccine development for instance would also be the ones which would control global capital flow. This would mean their global power and influence would increase.

Moreover, the impacts of this created situation would be asymmetrical – so even with the spread of this disease to 195 countries (as I write this), the negative impact would be varying. Now, of course the countries that have the most number of cases or where the virus is spreading fast would be hurt, but many countries from the developing world also would be hurt worse when the virus penetrates and spreads there, because they would be less equipped to deal with it due to fewer medical facilities, ventilators, testing kits, tracing challenges, fewer quarantine centers, relatively lesser doctors/nurses and medical staffs and higher density of the population. Many of these developing countries boast a growing population, but with the aftermath of this medical emergency, these states would be in terrible straits which would spiral into fewer opportunities for the skilled and educated, leading to brain drain to those countries who are competing to get the lead in the global superpower race.


In conclusion, these all are just some theories about the possibilities of how and why this virus has spread. Regardless of whatever the motivations behind this were, I sincerely hope it is contained soon, and the world doesn’t have to pay a big price for this in terms of loss of lives or a lasting disease for many.

Amen.

Living through the Pandemic – II

Knowing that there’s going to be continued restrictions on movement for some time, and people are going to be staying at home a lot more than usual, I wanted to write about how we can make the most of this situation and talk about the pluses that will emerge out of this extended stay-at-home. In this post, I’d focus on the three areas we can possibly focus on while we’re going through this.

In terms of the things to do to make the most of this situation, I find we can leverage this time to enhance our connections, learn things and reflect on our lives.

Enhancing connections can be done by being able to spend more time with family, and be able to give some quality time to them to improve the value of the relationships. It also means connecting back with old friends through a call, or a video chat maybe. This time when things have been made to slow down, we can explore our relationships and invest in them to improve our well-being.

Learning things can come in a variety of ways, you can focus on learning a particular skill, read books, work on your art, or generally take up a hobby. You can probably leverage many available online courses in your areas of interest to expedite the learning process. This could even be related to learning things you’re passionate about, be it in your industry or something completely different.

Thinking back and reflecting on our lives could open up insights into the things we are doing right or the ones that need more work. We can utilize this time to reassess our lives with its different facets. Now, there could be a ton of different ways to go about this, but I find one effective way is to create categories (such as Physical, Spiritual, etc.) and write them on paper – then under each of these categories, start writing what your ideal life is and how you want it. Once you’re done laying it all out and committing it to paper, then it would be time to write how things actually are in all these different quadrants. Having a fair assessment of life is an important aspect in an effort to improve it, and we usually don’t find enough time to take stock here, so let’s utilize this time in this.

If you feel there could be some better ways to spend this time, please share with me as well.

The 3 most important areas you can choose to work on now are: Building and enhancing Connections, Learning things, and Reflecting on life.

Living through the Pandemic

We’re passing through a tough time, where the extent of impact of this COVID-19 pandemic is far-reaching, global and devastating for many. Different governments are responding to this emergency in different ways, but all are focused on keeping their citizens safe and healthy.

Looking at the rate at which this is spreading and knowing we’re without a sure-shot solution to this (yet), the debate is focused on flattening the curve. What it essentially means is that we take care and exercise the necessary precautions in our individual capacities to ensure ours and others’ safety and contain the spread of this disease. It’s our moral and ethical responsibility, yes and it is in our own interest as well to do so.

Please keep washing your hands with soap and water, stay indoors as much as possible and help flatten the curve. This fight is beyond any one country’s borders, and as global citizens we are all in it together, so let’s put our fair share and make things count.

Peace.

On Karachi Part II

After the initial post “On Karachi” was much appreciated and well received, I thought of writing another one to cover some left off areas. The idea is to focus on the specifics of the city, and mention the hidden good points of the city with the covered sarcasm. All the mentions about places, people or events are based on my personal perception, and I really have no intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments, but to share things about Karachi from my lens.

1. Native Jetty offers a wonderful view, but you can’t stop there and feel the serenity for long because that is not allowed due to so many suicide incidents.

2. Burns Road Punjab Lassi House uses “Shikarpuri dhoodh” – the one that is kept frozen and reheated in the shop next to theirs. They time the milk delivery after 1.30am.

3. Misquita Bakery in Saddar probably has the best “double roti” in town.

4. Pakistan Steel Mill is also a part of Karachi.

5. Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s is an all-purpose mazaar. Apart from the reverence some people have with the saint, a lot of people go there for other reasons.

6. Quaid-e-Azam’s mazaar is the earliest daters’ paradise; now, they’ve started renting the room by his grave for an hourly rate.

7. Even when we love Lahoris, we’re going to keep comparing them to us all the time. Let’s accept we are somewhat different.

8. In most areas, you would find a decent mosque, but not a half decent public washroom or library or a park. Sad.

9. People don’t like walking on the footpath all the time – a lot of them just love the adventure of dodging cars coming from the other side.

10. Gulshan is bigger than some countries in the Europe, so yes a diverse lot lives there.

11. The government needs money to function, so all tax payers must pay more tax. Most taxpayers and filers will still get an SMS or mail from FBR almost threatening the person to pay more every once in a while.

12. Dar-ul-Sukoon and The Citizens Foundation are doing great work. Support them.

13. Mama Parsi School is not only for Zoroastrians

14. There is a donkey cart race every sunday, and the star performer donkeys have names and a lot of respect in the in-group.

15. Jackson market is near Keamari, where you find some excellent second-hand in cycling bikes and accessories.

16. You can virtually find a rickshaw in every area. Now you can even Uber or Careem it in many parts of the city.

17. Keep wondering about the ridiculously low price points of the bar-b-que served in stalls in Saddar.

18. Students’ Biryani is a fainted glory at best now.

19. “PIDC bridge ke neeche wala chai ka dabha achi jagah nahee hai”

20. Domestic servants are there in many households, some families have up to 4 – and they’d still say they don’t find time.

21. Most traditional Chai stalls (a.k.a Dhabas) are owned by Khans from Quetta. Many new ones are not really dhabas anymore. Rather, they’re less glorified bistros catching up on the bandwagon to cater to a niche who would not otherwise think of going to a dhaba.

22. It is still a mystery if the Chai stall near Railway Station on I.I. Chundrigar and Pyala hotel use some “extra ingredients” to make their chai so addictive!

23. Uber & Careem have become game-changing models in transportation business in this country. Way to go!

24. Karachi Zoo, a.k.a., Jinnah Park (or famously known as Gandhi Garden) is not a good place to visit on weekends due to the sheer crowd that goes there on weekends.

25. SWOTs and KFD reviews are not always genuine – sometimes the reviews are really not indicative of true quality of food.

26. Google Maps has made life easy for most who care to check the latest traffic situation of the city.

27. Karachi Eat Festival is a good festival that now happens every year. It’s overhyped because that’s one of the known festivals of the city and also because it involves food.

28. Frere Hall still puts up weekly book stalls every Sunday – good to visit every once in a while.

29. Imtiaz Shopping Centers have changed household shopping for a good chunk of Karachites.

30. You can order food online pretty much any time of the day.

31. Regardless of where you live in the city, the quality of roads would bother you and cost extra repairs on your vehicle.

32. Chinese people can be found all around the city nowadays – sometimes they don’t even speak English and are selling stuff to random people on the road.

33. Karachi is a really big city and there would hardly be someone who is well versed with all areas.

34. There are some amazing snorkeling points nearby, so you can surely go and have fun.

35. Arts Council sometimes showcases some amazing plays – most of those are worth buying a ticket to.

36. You can find really talented and educated people in almost all fields in this city.

37. You must try Javed Nihari for the authentic nihari taste.

38. Kolachi is one of the best places to take out foreign friends/family for Pakistani dinner

39. You shouldn’t always trust the Careem Captain who says his phone is having problems and he would mark the trip as complete in a short while.

40. (I know this one is a repeat) – Despite all odds, this city is such a melting pot of cultures, languages, customs and faiths, it lives in the hearts of all Karachites, wherever they go.

Thanks for these 5 Years

 

Hi All,

It’s been 5 years I first started out with this blog. The idea when I started this was to put it out as a forum to write what I wanted to share with the audience I know, and to have their feedback. Also, this was to serve as a platform to introduce people to my work, thoughts and ideas.

Over time, I have received various emails and comments that have helped me improve. Thanks to all the readers who contributed by reading, emailing or commenting on my posts.

Also, thanks to #Amir Anzur for initially suggesting me to open up this weblog and to #HostMarkaz for supporting the setup for 5 years now! 🙂