Day 1 of 30

This diary post is a part of a 30 day trip that I am taking this month which it also happens to be my first ever International trip. So for the next 30 years I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 1, 17-7-2012 – Dubai International Airport, Local Time: 17:22

Today is the day when I first stepped out of my small world into the big world which, I think I should admit finally, has been a bit of scary for me. Despite being adventurous, and everything else, I have never wanted to get out of this country. I really truly have been quite content with the idea that I want to stay in my country. This however is a decision that I didn’t take because of any fear that I may have. Instead, it is a difficult choice that I have made quite knowingly. Therefore it is not a question of whether I like living in Pakistan or not; it is simply something that I have decided for myself, and am much ready to face the wrath of my future kids.

I got my first glimpse of the outside world and of the bigger world when I looked out of the plane window and saw what could only have been the Sahara Desert. A few minutes later, I was staring at modern day highways with wide roads, disciplined traffic, or in other words, my biggest fear.

When I was embarking on this trip, one of my biggest fears continued to be what I might get to see and how it might change me. From the most basic differences which may include wider roads, disciplined traffic, nobody going wrong way, to the more bigger changes of society where everybody has so much more to deal with that they have little time to notice others, where you can get the best education, opportunity, libraries, combined with the freedom of having so many choices at your disposal.  But the biggest change that I was afraid might occur in me is simply about how much simple can life be outside of Pakistan. It’s not just the daily cries that I or one would be rid of, varying from lack of Electricity, water, traffic, hypocrisy. It is something beyond this. It is that once when you are removed from worrying about all this, the potential that I may realize exists to do more in life. More research, more travelling, more work, an easier life which can be truly enjoyed by going to a library, or a park, or movie, party, etc. How different can life be when you are left without all these silly worries.

Today is the first day of that. Today is the first day when although I have not stepped out on foreign soil, literally, and am only in between transit from Karachi to Atlanta before reaching my final destination of Washington DC, I find myself at a world, which is not only cosmopolitan in the true sense of the word, but is also a city so different from what I perceived it to be.

It is strange no doubt to be proven so wrong on only my very first interaction with the outside world and only goes on to show that there is so much more for me to learn and see. Already I am starting to think that Dubai is not what I always thought it to be. It is not an artificial city trying to make itself blend with the Western World. Instead it is a place that embraces technology, mixed cultures and people, like any growing state does and has done in history. It is a state that seems to be not at all ashamed about the fact that it has embraced the culture of technology.



The hybridity that is so talked about in books and novels, which I had until now only read and heard about, is out on display in front of me and I am actually enjoying it. Are my worst fears about to come true? Is this the inevitable sign of the fact that I may actually like the outside world? Is this the beginning of the change which I have always dreaded so much? I don’t know anything at this moment.

Suddenly, for no reason the lines of my father are echoing in my mind that the high culture of any place always has the quality to absorb cultures of lower worth. Then does that mean that the change I dread so much is inevitable? And if it is, is it really any wiser of me to deny it and fight it?


The City of Karachi and Our ex-Nazim

I was just hearing an interview being given by our ex-Nazim (Mayor) Mustafa Kamal, where he was busy dissing the Planning of Defence Housing Authority (D.H.A.) He shared his views about the lack of sensitivity that went into the designing of this Housing Scheme, about how they hadn’t considered the importance of Service Lanes, and thus the lack of them that can be seen in the area.

I agree with him one hundred percent. Defence is one hosh-posh, spoils for the riches, made up of new money, and is considered the ultimate Status symbol to be living there. But there is a whole different side to it too! Despite being the most richest area in the city, some of the basic necessities are  missing from the very urban fabric of this society. Lets consider a few.

  1. No Service Roads: There are for real no Service roads in Defence, except for Defence phase 1 and 2, which were designed much better, and much before we saw the likes of Defence phase 5 and 8. The lack of Service roads is true for all main roads of this new Defence.
  2. The Lack of Proper Roads: Major roads in Defence have been designed as two lanes, while the main roads are 3 lanes. This usually means that the residents of very expensive houses, in their very expensive cars reverse towards the main road, where they block the traffic for several minutes, depending on the skills of the driver. Continue reading