Is It Just Me or Do the Roads Need Some Fixing up?

Dear Department of Infrastructure,

I have a small concern regarding the state of the roads in the city. It isn’t a very big problem, really, but the broken roads are becoming a cause for accidents, theft, loss of semi-precious lives and injurious brawls. Let me explain this.

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Driving on roads that resemble a mountainous terrain causes cars to either come to a sudden stop, or take a sharp turn to avoid deep ridges on the road. Uneven road surfaces cause damage to ordinary cars. I can understand that you wouldn’t know this because you probably drove around in a Mars Rover all your life. So it really isn’t your fault.

When drivers’ reflexes set in and they take sharp turns or halt the car abruptly to avoid damage to their ordinary car’s shocks, they inadvertently become a cause for accidents. Of course, these accidents only churn out a couple dead bodies, but what’s two more in the ever-increasing death toll? If the accidents aren’t too serious, they may just result in a broken bumper here or cracked windshield there. Damage to the car does, however result in the eruption of heated arguments that oftentimes become physical brawls. But then arguments are such inconsequential matters in this city that we mustn’t waste time on the topic.

Then there are times when the slow speed of cars makes them an easy target for mobile snatchers. It is very convenient to stop an already snail-paced car and take advantage of the situation. But giving up our phones and wallets is the least we can do for our country.

The most important reason for needing new smooth roads, however, is because I do not want to see the VIP Movement in the city being inconvenienced or slowed down. It would be a shame to see 25 or so fancy cars going up and down on a bumpy car ride. Kind of damages the picture of sophistication and royalty, doesn’t it? Also, we wouldn’t want the VIPs thinking that our roads are terrible and ugly. The open potholes, the uneven surfaces, the puddles created in the middle of the main road, and the holes that have been dug for underground pipelines make this beautiful city look like a face filled with acne marks.

I have faith that you will soon give out orders to get the city’s roads in order even if you have to cut corners and distribute massive amounts of bribe. After all, you are associated with the most capable people of our nation; the Leadership! I know that this may be an inconvenient time for you, what with it being your Autumn Break, but I wouldn’t have asked for the favor if it wasn’t for the Very Important People of Pakistan.

I look forward to your prompt action!

Regards,
A Concerned Citizen

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And the Cow Jumped Over the Bridge…

You know it’s your lucky day when you see a thief walk away with your cellphone. If you can see him go, it means he didn’t take your life. Lucky people give away their belongings, while unlucky people give up much more.

Death is nothing but a statistic anymore and what used to be a tragic incident has simply become an inevitability of life in Karachi. It is on a daily basis that I hear about a death or mugging, and it doesn’t surprise me anymore. I’m not sure when it happened, but I have become immune to the threat. Did you hear about the guy who got killed because he got mad at someone for driving on the wrong side of the road? (Talk about “chori oopar se seena zori!”) Or about the woman who got shot in broad daylight right in front of her child? Or about the woman who got shot even after she gave up all her valuables? Or about a friend who lost all her contacts because her phone got stolen?

The sad truth is that most people reading this might have either been mugged at least once, or know of someone who has gone through it. So you will understand what it feels like to have a gun pointing at your head and giving away your hard earned possessions. It is such a helpless feeling. You’re angry, you’re sad, you’re frustrated, you’re scared – a myriad of emotions at one time… But when you get back home, your family will tell you that you’re lucky you’re unharmed. That it could have been much worse, they could have sat in the car, or they could have shot you… They will tell you to take extra precaution next time. Lock your doors, roll up the windows, always be alert, don’t wear jewelry while driving, keep a spare phone to give away, avoid going out too often, and so on.

Let me tell you that it will still happen again, because chances are, that if you’re living in Karachi, you will get mugged at least once in your lifetime and, if you’re lucky, live to tell the tale.

But you know what else could kill you? A cow. No, really. It can.

SO last night, my husband and I went to Nueplex for a movie. (We watched Lucy, btw… I thought it was alright…) It was around eleven by the time we left the cinema. Now, those of you who have visited Nueplex at night know that the road that leads out of Phase 8 is a bit scary, what with no street lights, scanty number of cars, and all the stories about the infamous black Prado! I will admit that I was scared, especially since it was just me and my husband in the car! Alone. At night.

But we managed to leave the area unscathed. Then we had the Expressway to cross, which is a great road, but very dark and deserted at night. I was freaking out there as well. Haply though, we managed to reach Baloch Colony without incident. BUT, it was at the foot of the bridge that we had the scariest encounter of MY life. (I don’t know if it was the scariest for my husband… He’s lived a more adventurous life than me).

It was a dark road, and just as we were about to ascend the bridge, a COW appeared at the side of the fast lane. One half of the cow was on our side of the bridge while the other half was on the other side. The cow was about to jump in front of our car but thanks to quick reflexes and luck, my husband managed to switch lanes and speed past the crazy cow. It may seem like a silly incident now, but I am sure that had the cow hit our car, we would have come out looking like pancakes in metal wrap! The car was fast, the cow was huge, and the impact could have been fatal!

So the point is, it’s not just the bad guys with guns that can kill you in this beautiful city of no lights. It could easily be an accident with a car, cow, truck, or even a wall! It could be a fatal argument, or target killing, but no matter how much you try, if it’s time to go, no precautionary measures can help you. Being afraid of going out at night because you will get mugged is not going to help anything. So live and let live… you hear me MOM? Don’t be afraid because, quite honestly, no one can live like this forever.