The city of Karachi is always on the move. From the break of dawn till the time when the night sets in, every nook and corner seems to be hustling and bustling. The day starts in the same fashion and ends in the same. I see men on motorbikes,their heads covered with helmets, on their way to work. People dressed in orange uniforms sweeping the streets, when I don’t see them and the streets are clean I assume they were here early. Students crammed up in vans, but I guess that’s a sacrifice every student without an AC car or a driver has to pay. The fruit seller slowly moves towards all his fellow sellers, that’s where they all stand, everyday.
The roads are always filled with vehicles of all sorts and people of all sorts. Among the most prominent and noticeable is the monkey guy who shoves his lovely companion on your window screen to get some money,then there are the little kids with vipers, dripping water all over your car, grinning mischievously as you beg them to go away and then there are the vendors trying to convince you to buy newspapers, flowers, tissue papers and even small toys for the kids .Never is there a dull moment.
The king of the road is the massive four-wheeler public bus, which is seen by some as a boon and by some as a bane. It’s the lifesaver for many including my maid who comes all the way from Sultanabad to my place in just ten rupees. It’s the cheapest and may be rightly considered the fastest mode of transport! Roaring past by the cars, scaring off the people, intimidating the constables, leaving the red light ashamed.
As much as you criticize,detest or hate the public transport for being poorly maintained,unsafe or just plain huge, it will always be the most commonly used transport. So the point is these bus drivers will continue to race one another no matter how intense the traffic is, so its better to learn how to share the road with these colorfully yet scary vehicles.
Another character is the ‘rickshaw’ which has biggest personality of all! It’s the only ride which is, as my dad puts it, ‘the three-wheeler’. Take a ride once and you’ll never forget it. I myself have had the (good) fortune of traveling dozens of times. The thing that I learnt was that there is a certain way to get in without hurting yourself! If you would just try to barge in you’d probably be unable to fit or you may be successful like I was but end up getting your shalwar ripped (trust me it happens).The trick is to slide in sideways, perfectly fitting in the narrow opening and voila! You’re in!
I usually traveled in rickshaws for short periods of time, going and coming back from tuitions (yeah blame exams and rising rate of car breakdowns).As much as I detested being seen in one, I secretly realized that every ride that I took was a new and thrilling experience. I used to observe the driver and the interiors immediately, judging by the body language of the driver (usually one foot on the seat) I could tell whether he was a novice or an expert. Other notations, the heart-shaped handles are only seen on new rickshaws; the CNG ones are the most spacious and cost you the same, so beware! And girls should still at an angle that doesn’t allow the Pathan (generally) to ogle at you or you’ll have a bumpy ride!
But no matter what you travel in or where you travel, its important to enjoy the journey rather than being constantly irritated by the traffic or the heat.So have a fun and memorable journey! Aways!
Photo Credits: http://www.google.com