Good old rainy ‘moonsoon’ or ‘MANsoon’ season courtesy the creative tongues of our media wallahs, is here again in Karachi. After a dry spell of several years and the last memorable drown-the-roads rain in 1992, we seem to be getting it all back again. While no animals or male species can be seen pouring from the heavens, the ones on the street are a sorry sight. Stranded on the roads, stuck in jams of their own making, the people of Karachi face their biggest friend turned enemy – water. The city infrastructure just can’t digest any more rain and there may just be a guttery Venice in the making.
Grumble or rumble, this is the Karachi of my childhood, the roads where I have steered that ‘kaghaz ki kishti’ (paper boat), splashed in puddles, got drenched in the rain and smelt the earth together with crispy fried goodies, heard the buzz in the air of happy sounds of laughter, shrieks of joy on spotting a rainbow in the sky and got stuck in HUGE adventures being stuck in the middle of water with open manholes dotting the way; not knowing which step would take me down under and these are the lessons I’ve learnt:
1. When it rains it pours, see one drop and run.
2. Necessity is the mother of all, if you don’t have a raincoat, wear a ‘shaaper’ (shopping bag) on your head.
3. All that is water, may not be water – watch your step!
4. Make hay while the sun shines, have a bath while it rains.
5. If someone splashes you from one side, splash him on the other.
6. When life gives you lemons make lemonade, when it gives you rain in Karachi, make pakoras, mosquito repellents and generators.
7. It doesn’t matter if you’re revealingly wet all over, all your ‘izzat’ (dignity) happens to be atop your head, which MUST be covered on a priority basis.
8. Look before you leap, you may just find an open manhole hidden beneath.
9. Every cloud has a silver lining, make sure your clothes do too!
10. Every dancer has her days, and sometimes they lead to rain.
11. Avoid air and water like the dengue, wear a tent!
12. There is water at the end of every tunnel, learn to swim!