‘Ulte Hath Pey’

Every Karachiite knows that even if you’ve lived in Karachi all your life, it is impossible for you to remember all its twists and turns. Even Google maps fail to help you. So, no matter how much you try to avoid it, you have to pull up at some point and ask people for guidance.

Luckily, everyone in this city is ever ready to help you, even if they aren’t in a situation to do so. And nothing makes them more happier than giving you directions – especially if you are a woman.

It usually goes like this: you stop a rickshaw wala (because you assume he’d know the way) and tell him where you want to go. He will look perplexed and ask:

Kahan?’

You will repeat yourself. And then his face would shine up.

Ap yahan se seedha jayen. Agla signal cross kar k ulte hath pe samne hi hai.’

You will thank him earnestly and drive on.

Needless to say, by following these ‘clear directions’, you end up more lost than before.

Taking deep calming breaths, you will somehow make your way back to the main road.

Next you will ask a layman. He, too, will look perplexed and ask:

Kahan?’

Getting a bit impatient, you will repeat yourself. And this time, his face would shine up as well.

Wo to kafi peeche hai. Ap thora back (reverse) kar k seedha cut lain or main road pe nikal jayen. Seedha jayen, white building aye gi, wahan se seedhe hath pe lain, samne gate hai.

Hoping for the best, you will drive on in the blistering heat. But the promised white building will never show itself.

Now you are running out of time. You have started to freak out and, even with the AC turned on, your face is glistening with sweat. You will start cursing the world, honking angrily every time you see a bird flying freely.

Next you will ask a traffic warden. He will most probably get you the first time and will probably give you the right directions, only they aren’t enough.

Seedha jayen, agle signal se ulte hath pe cut lain, wahan pe…

Now, from wahan pe onwards, you are free to figure out your own way. You can feel your engine heat up so you have no choice but to turn off the AC. Sweating profusely, you drive on, looking for the ‘ulta cut‘. On your way, you yell at some idiots who try to take over your car, curse others for existing, and smack your face more than once. You are already late by now and the constant phone calls drive you even more crazy.

If you are lucky, you might miraculously reach your destination after driving round and round for hours. And sometimes, you might even end up getting actual help. Otherwise, you might as well crash your car in a pole and go home. Since you are already lost…good luck with that.

Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “‘Ulte Hath Pey’”

  1. Hahaha…figuring directions in karachi is really difficult. The best thing is to collect and confirm directions from multiple people.
    Loved the way you presented the irony.

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