Life in Karachi and an Insight on How to Survive

Karachi, popularly known as ‘roshniyon ka shehr’ always has some sort of chaos trekking over it; be it political instability, social intolerance or religious differences.  The city is layered with many flavors and colors which form the very reason for its vibrancy.

This large-hearted city will never turn anyone away but will surely test them with periodic trials that make survival continuingly difficult - You need to be tough, well-informed and resilient with the challenges thrown, in order to survive in this metropolis. 

  • The Traffic
This city is struck by a general urgency and a chaotic calm. Everyone is in a rush to get out from one place and reach the next in the shortest amount of time possible. And since we still haven’t figured out a way to travel at the speed of light this usually means violating basic road ethics. 

Frankly, we don’t believe in something as clich├ęd as ‘traffic rules’; we rely on making paths along the way.

Does this cause us more inconvenience? Yes
Will we learn from our mistakes? Of course not 

You have to have a killer road sense to drive in Karachi and acquire the superpower of looking right, left and center simultaneously. Because before you know it, some over-smart biker is going to be coming from the wrong lane while a CNG Rickshaw cuts left in front of you without an indicator – That’s just how it works here. 

  • The Social Divide
Like any modern city Karachi too has a fair share of divide in its population. And these are not just based on religious and political views but also dependent on the location of your residence.

The Defense people are the burgers, Liyari guys are considered the ‘mailas’, Nazimabadis are a little better off and the Gulshanites are a mix – You need a road map to not only navigate but also socialize.

  • How to Figure out the Food Scene?
The food of Karachi is absolutely incredible, and I dare to say, even better than that of the food capital, Lahore (#achasorry). From the classic ‘Javed ki Nihari’, Kolachi’s Karahi, to Burns road’s classic anday wala burger, Karachi has a variety of offerings for all taste buds and budgets. 

If you’re looking for a cheap deal you’re guaranteed to find a tasty meal under Rs. 250/- if you visit local diners in Johar, Bahdurabad, or Nazimabad. And if you’re looking for some place with a more extravagant setting then check out high-class eateries at Do Darya, Board Basin, Clifton and Port Grand – They’ll be expensive but totally worth the experience.

  • How to Deal with ‘Haalat Kharaab’?
So everyone living in Pakistan knows that Karachi as a city is not exactly calm and peaceful. We are guilty of making headlines for obscene reasons like target killing, extortion, and political instability very often. The infamous ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ are always to blame with the poor Karachiites forced to cope with the damage.

But if you’re a newbie in town this is how you deal with things:

Activate news alert messages on your cell phone, always check the news before leaving your house, and keep a duplicate cheap phone in your dashboard to hand over to any mugger that comes along the way.

If the haalaat really are kharab, call up your loved ones and tell them to avoid the affected area pronto and try to stay indoors for the next 2-3 hours (that’s usually how long it takes for the situation to normalize and for us to get on with our lives. Also, because that’s usually how long we think about any given incident).

If you still feel threatened, know that 25.3 million people live in Karachi and continue to lead normal, happy lives without being terrorized or enrolled in gang wars - So chill, it’s not as bad as it looks on TV.

  • How are the Job Prospects?
Since our city is considered to be the economic capital of the country, we mean business. If you’re looking to make a living in Karachi know that you have to invest blood, sweat, and tears. Job opportunities are ripe but the unemployment rate was just under 6% in 2015. It’s all about supply and demand, if you’re hardworking and talented then there’s no better place to look for work than Karachi, just be prepared for the struggle. 

It may take some time for you to adapt but the bustling vibrancy and speed of Karachi are all so infectious that you become a part of it without even realizing. The quick pace of this city forces you to join the race. 

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