The joys, surprises and
conveniences of driving in Karachi.
·TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
They say if you have driven in Karachi you can drive anywhere in the world.
I don’t quite agree with this argument because my contention is that with your
Karachi driving skills you may be able to drive elsewhere but you will never
experience the sublime joys, surprises and conveniences of driving here,
When you drive in Karachi, you are advised to wear your virtual regal attire and
crown, for you are your own king on the road! Got it? Yes!
Driving in Karachi is a matter of a state of mind. Before you venture onto to
the road you have to shift your mind-gear and put it on alert mode – the one that
springs up surprises and raps the knuckles on your head, as you drive. If you
have done that you are now automatically in cruise mode. Everything falls in
OK, here we go. I reverse the car from my driveway and the moment the vehicle
glides out of the gate I have to apply brakes immediately – a push cart and a
motorcyclist collide close to my rear bumper. What do I do, well, nothing! Keep
sitting, the two nuts will settle their own scores, shake hands and move on
– without any concern for the nuisance they have caused me.
I drive through the multiple traffic junctions and it’s the usual pandemonium. You
have to wriggle out of traffic coming at you from numerous directions; then there
are pedestrians, animals, car-cleaners, salespeople, eunuchs and beggars who
also target your vehicle. I love every minute of it as I drive through Karachi
streets and have to maneuver my car through a maze of trucks, buses, loading
vehicles, police mobiles, school buses, minibuses, ambulances, cars,
rickshaws (the rozgar menace), pick-ups, motorbikes (1000s at any given
time), push carts, camel, horse and donkey carts and cycles.
Oh, the police? They try their best to control but are helpless; and as far goes
traffic rules, it’s safer not to abide by them! Wearing a belt is about lifestyle and
not safety. Somebody will have to undertake and tackle this huge social
disorder on our roads to solve this problem. Meanwhile, just enjoy your
Hypothetically speaking when you are in a similar situation; what do you think
are the chances of your car being hit or scratched in this melee? Logically it
would be quite high! But practically, given the skills and grit of everyone (who are
always in a great rush) behind a steering wheel or the reins of an animal on the
streets of Karachi, the chances are very slim! They will zigzag around your
vehicle but will not hit you – actually it is the space your car occupies on the road;
that little rectangular space is your kingdom – nobody will come close to
you! Everyone knows that, they never touch your car.
Then there are other attractions if you are seated in your car on a relatively quiet
road, lane or area and are waiting for someone – don’t do that! There is a high
probability that a couple of guys on a motorbike will come to your window,
show you a revolver, and politely ask for your phone and wallet! Give it and
exchange a courteous remark with them. They don’t hurt you or will not shoot at
you but if you panic and try to overcome them, they could pull the trigger in
haste. The choice is yours!
Yet another familiarity is the conveniences you experience while driving on
Karachi roads. You don’t need the traffic lights or police constables to help
you – its self-help! When you cross a busy intersection and have to get to the
other side, your fellow drivers on the side from where traffic is approaching (no
matter how fast) will make the way – all you have to do is drive in the shadow of
the vehicle near you and pronto, it is as smooth as that…!!
If all this is not pure joy, entertainment and conveniences as you drive – what is
it? So when you get into your car and drive in Karachi, enjoy the experience,
thrills and surprises, all in the same bundle.
You will not find this variety of a live road-show, I presume, anywhere else
in the world!