You know that really popular story about a traffic jam where people are stuck for so long they start their lives right there, befriending each other, helping each other and, in some cases, marrying each other. And then after I don’t know how many years or months the traffic starts to flow normally and then all those people take off, back to their normal lives. Can you relate? With the traffic jam, I mean. You will be able to if you live in Karachi.
I tried to romanticize the constant traffic jams I get stuck in almost daily, the same way but alas. The reality hit me real hard on the head making me realize that, stories really are stories. The head hitting part is not an expression. I did hit my head once, (or twice, or more, I don’t remember) when the rickshaw driver tried to cut through the traffic like superman and missed the steepest bump on the road making me jump so high that my head collided with the metal rod on the roof of the vehicle. And no, he didn’t apologise, just in case you were wondering.
I know this sounds like I’m whining. Maybe I am. When I talked about this to my mother, she simply said, ‘you should be used to this because you live in Karachi’. That is reason enough. If you are a citizen of Karachi you are not supposed to be allergic to dust and smoke and noise shouldn’t irritate you. But that’s not fair. I mean why shouldn’t something, that is totally unacceptable, irritate you? Following this notion, I didn’t take her advice and continued to be over sensitive about the traffic.
It doesn’t really make a huge difference to your mood anyway, whether you are sensitive or not, you eventually lose your mind. When dozens of cars, motorbikes, rickshaws, chinchi, buses, trucks etc. are jammed together, so close that you can easily shake hands with the person sitting in the vehicle next to you, except they are not in a friendly mood so they just yell at each other and sometimes get into a brawl, you can’t help but get angry. The constant honking and attempts to overtake each other, not to mention the races between public buses, it all just drives you crazy. The confidence that the drivers of public transport have in themselves is really overwhelming or else a rickshaw driver wouldn’t think it wise to over take a jam packed bus driven by a crazy, almost blind, driver. No one seems to care about the lives they are putting at risk. Often there are life threatening accidents and no one even looks back. As for the traffic police, I don’t want to get started about them. I sympathise with them BTW.
Point is, Karachi just drives you crazy. If it weren’t the case I wouldn’t have written this absolutely illogical blog which doesn’t even make sense to me. Cheers.