On Karachi

This blog post is written as a satire, not focused on any particular individual(s), or group. All characters used in the comments are fictitious, and bear no resemblance to a person in real life. Having said that, you might find these experiences commonplace in Karachi. The purpose of the post is not to poke fun, but to have some instead.

1. Most people would never come on time, and be proud of it. They would flaunt their attitude as they did something that others should learn from:

“Dada, aaj tera bhai bus aadha ghanta late aya hai, teri mohabbat hai.. warna tou tujhe pata hee hai apna tou”

2. There will always be instances where they need to be on time, for example, to get through the government office work. Most people would feel it’s fair they pay someone speed money to get their work done faster than the fools who prefer to wait doing the right thing.

“Abay panch sau rupay nikal aur dekh filo ke paheeye kaise lagtay hain”

3. If by a stroke of chance, one of these people end up coming on time, they’ll regret it so much they’ll keep on repeating ad nauseum to almost everyone. They’ll make sure most people know he/she was on time that day/evening.

“Saleem bhai, aaj tou theek nau bajay pohanch gaye hum, dekh lein sir”

4. When you come on time, these people will be like:

“Kya baat hai Mushtaq, time pe haan bilkul.. wah.”

What they really mean, “kabhi late bhi ho jaya karo over efficient insaan” or “Isko kya masla hai… ajeeb hai – aise thori koi bilkul time per.. ”

5. When in queues, some people will act over smart, and try to come before you even if you don’t know them, but for them your only merit is that you are far closer to the counter (ticket counter, payment counter, bill counter, token counter, fee counter, any counter). These incoming individuals would have an innocent smile on their face, and most will try to pretend they were already there but nobody noticed.

“Arey bhai, hum tou aik ghantay se yaheen kharay huay hain.. ” and when things get out of control, they’ll say: “yaar aap aa jao hamaray aagay, shor mat karo” as if they are giving a favor instead.

6. At most petrol stations, motorcycles would not form a line, but gather around like bees around a beehive, hoping the filling person would put fuel in their motorcycle first.

7. When you go into a supermarket or a crowded place, you realize someone needs to tell many of the ‘burka-clad’ women, that by covering their entire body, they still can’t cover the bad body odor – they too need to take a shower after all – seriously.

8. At traffic signals, almost always you would suddenly find someone trying to clean your windscreen. Mostly, their own mops are dirtier, and they would care to ask only after messing your already clean windscreen a little.

9. At some of the traffic signals, you would find someone trying to sell you flowers, or cleaning cloth. He will only start negotiating when/if you say you don’t want it. Don’t be surprised if he goes from 3 for Rs. 100 to 6 for the same price in less than 10 seconds.

10. Most people are habitually addicted to some form of tobacco, and would not care to even bother about where they are or who is standing around before they proudly light up a cigarette or more commonly, put the red ‘gutka’ or ‘pan’ in their mouth.

11. Once these people fill their mouths, they’ll all start talking in a typical funny way, trying to balance their hedonic pleasure from chewing the pan and communicating that it’s just 3.30pm right now, even when a stranger asks them.

Stranger: “Bhai time kya hua hai”

Pan guy: “Sharray teen huay hhain”

12. You would find a photocopier on every road, but a pan shop/cabin on every street.

13. The number of pan cabins are directly proportional to the number of gutters in the street. Typically, there are much more pan shops in thin, crowded streets.

14. You realize there is no point asking the sugar cane juice vendor if the juice is fresh:

You: Bhai, tazaa hai? (pointing to the already filled juice glass)

Sugar cane vendor: “Arrey abhi nikala hai. 2 minute huay hain.” This answer would almost always be the same even if it’s been 15 minutes. After that, he’d mix some more fresh juice with the same, and hold the same response for another 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat.

15. Most people will not mind spending Rs. 800 on a “fit waali” chicken karahi, but will think twice about spending the same money on a “fit waali kitaab”.

16. In most weddings, the hosts and the invitees both know the event will start only around 10.30pm, but they will still write 8.30pm or 9pm -the logic as people would explain goes like:

“Kamran bhai, saaray aanth likhain gay tabhi tou saaray das pohanchay gay hahahaha” – Sulaiman bhai, this was really not so funny.

17. Almost every ten and twenty rupee note has been circulated through someone who makes, buys or eats pan but doesn’t use a tissue.

18. A lot of motorcyclists presume their coolness is indicated by the ‘shor wala chota silencer’.

19. You know a fuel station has CNG when there is a huge, huge queue of vehicles coming out of there.

20. ‘CNG ki line mein kisi bhi time mobile snatching ho jati hai’

21. ‘Mukka Chowrangi’ is not so much of a violent neighborhood; and there’s no boxing practice area out there either

22. “Golimar ke pull se A.O. Clinic ke baad wala pull safe zone nahee, Gari bhaga, dua karta jaa.”

23. Karachi might be the biggest city in Pakistan, but even today there’s just one “bridge” that divides it. ‘Pull ke is paar’ ya ‘us paar’ –

24. There are still many kind souls living around here.

25. Everyday brings a lot of hope and ambition for many in this city.

26. Airport taxis have a button which they’ll push some time during the journey when you’re busy with something else which will increase the number of kilometers on the trip by 2-3 km. This will happen even if you find the person is very religious, and looks honest. Only two ways to get around this are to tell them in advance you know of this trick and keep monitoring, or just pay for that damn extra travel every time you book one from Airport, even when you are paying a tip.

27. “Aaj bhi Baakra hotel mashoor hai apni 24/7 service ke liye”

28. “Super Biryani bohat aala hoti hai”

29. “Polce ki dooty hai qnoon ke dayeray mein awaam ki madad karna, wohi kartay rehtay hain. Din raat, lagataar, andha dhoond”

30. When you call someone who’s about to reach at your place, the person would say:

“Sajid, bas 10 minute mein pohanch raha hoon, raastay mein hoon” even when he’s still at home, and will not leave for another 15 minutes.

31. When Sajid gets a call from Patel, Sajid goes like:

“Allawala Chowrangi dekhi hai.

Wahan se straight aaja.

Do galian chor. Aur Insaf shoes se right maar.

Teen building-ain chor.

Left pe ik chai ka hotel hai.

Wahan pohanch ke missed call kar dena, mein lene aa jaoon ga.”

32. Many of the fun places in the city become “Families Only” during weekends. You can even find a big supermarket having that sign outside the door. Funnily, two girls become a family, guys can’t be family. Default. rules.

33. Most men are either of two types: those who only go to Cineplex, Atrium, Neuplex and those who only go to Nishat, Capri and Prince. Those who go both places are the normal people, the moderate crowd, in minority though.

33. Cricket fever is always on. Almost everyone would have an opinion on this.

34. Transport business – Khan bhai. Fruits and Vegetables business – Khan bhai. Clothes business – Memon bhai. Rice business – Hindu bhai. Hardware business – Bohri bhai. Paper business – Punjabi bhai. Collection business – Bhai.

35. Everybody respects “Quaid-e-Azam”, almost everybody.

36. A full bus means all the seats are occupied. All space between the seats is also full. The doorsteps are also full. And, the top of the bus is also full. Most people would still try to fit in. “Bhai sahab, thora sa ander hona”

37. You can have a meal at a place from anywhere between Rs. 40 to Rs. 4,000 within 5 kilometers distance from each other.

38. Trains are rarely on time. They boast, when they are.

39. Social gatherings often get past midnight. In some of these, you might get frowns for leaving as early as 2am.

40. “Jab koi TT dikhaye tou cellphone de dene ka jani” – carry another extra cell phone just to give it away when asked to.

41. “Har baat pe dharna hai, har point pe containers.”

42. “Dumthall” at WaterPump stop still has the best halwa puri in town.

43. “Do Darya” is just one “samandar” and you can’t even dip your feet there.

44. Funland rides have their own charm, but beware someone would always be watching you from a distance. Just look around. Watch out girls.

45. “Meerath” kababs are the best. “Bar-B-Q tonight” also comes close though.

46. “Paper Market mein jhando ki variety aatank hoti hai”

47. Cycle market still rents bikes to kids in half hour increments.

48. “Delhi Rabri House” has amazing “rabri”, although not always so hygienic.

49. “Hanifia” has the best hunter beef in town. Their mustard sauce was one of the original, local mustard sauces in the city.

50. 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.

8 Noteworthy Trends in Online Space

Last few years have seen many acquisitions, buyouts, new businesses and emerging areas of discovery as far as online space is concerned. Gleaning through the numbers, acquisition motives and acquired companies, new companies coming up, there are several areas that are becoming worthy of attention in terms of the next decade in online space.

  1. Payment System Effectiveness: We’ve seen Square change how credit cards get accepted and the way virtual wallets are handled. Bitcoins came out and have become partly popular and partly controversial.
  2. Communication Design Change: People are moving to more mobile platforms now than ever before. Right now, there are roughly the same number of PCs as there are smartphone devices out there. Whilst the PCs remain a separate device used at a specific place, the latter are far more interconnected and personal – therefore, these on average have a higher share of the mind.
  3. Social Media Trend: Once you’re onto a network, the utility of the network is directly proportional to the number of relevant people on the same network. This was still difficult to achieve in Web 2.0. What it meant was that once the networks became large enough, people on that network had a larger “social” opportunity cost of moving to another network. For example, it was difficult for many people to move from mySpace to Orkut to Facebook, but with the number of people on there and the inter-connectivity it provides across different websites, it’s even more difficult to move from there. It used to be a big positive for these leading social media platforms as people usually feel it’s too much effort developing the same network again on another platform. Now, with companies like WhatsApp and Threema, this is not such a big problem. Mobile devices, being personal as they are, already have the updated contact numbers of all the “relevant” people in anyone’s network, and connecting through simply a cell phone number means all those who choose to adapt to the change can become part of the new platform more easily. This brings a promise to the newcomer with an innovative appeal to bring exponentially growing user base much faster.
  4. It’s All in the Cloud: The phrase ‘on the cloud’ is getting commonplace. Increasingly, people are beginning to understand the benefits of using the technology to get location-independent access, powerful backups, support, and flexibility. This has begun translating into distinct business models in various spheres. Companies like Dropbox, Box.net and Amazon AWS are opening possibilities to work and collaborate very differently than was the case until only few years ago.
  5. Convergence – One Big Happy Family: Internet has brought together and connected people from all over the world. With mobile internet, people have become much more used to the concept of convergence. People expect to be able to share their experiences tweeting away, instagram-ing their pics, sharing statuses, sending IMs, conducting polls & surveys, getting comments and likes and playing multi-player games. This trend will continue into eGovernment systems, collaboration tools to deliver added-value, software and hardware linking sensory perceptions of sight, sounds, and smell into the mainstream over the coming years. The focus of internet has always been creating visual enhancements, right from the days of early versions of Windows geared towards bringing GUI to the end-user, but now it is driven to create enhanced user experiences using multiple sensory perceptions. Internet will be even more interactive.
  6. Innovation Lead Time Substantially Reduced: With the high-end simulation software resources, crowd-sourced subject matter experts, cloud-based SAAS (software as a service) solutions, pool of committed talent available online, team based offshore development options, crowd-funding accessibility and options for pilot planning – shipping out innovation is faster and cheaper than ever before.
  7. Online Education: With the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Coursera, Udemy, Stanford’s, MIT’s and Other Online Education avenues available now, those who want to gain knowledge in a particular domain are only restricted by their own lack of will more than anything else.
  8. Big Data & Analytics: With too much information, the ability to quickly sift through heaps of data to see what’s important and define the underlying trends becomes very valuable. This will create many jobs and businesses in the future.

 The rapid pace of change would create many opportunities for those who keep their minds open to the trends and are ready for such opportunities.