I can unequivocally state that my parents’
generation enjoyed the BEST times of Pakistan – no two ways about it. However, my generation of the 1960s have
evolved through one of the most INTERESTING and EXCITING periods of history –
the TECHNOLOGY explosion. I mean, we have
first-hand witnessed –
change from rotary to touch button telephones;
to Digital services telephone services;
advent of the PERSONAL computer (my first computer was an IBM machine) in the
phones – GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G … and all the future “G’s” that are to come;
sat phones, VOIP tech, skype, whats app, wechat, tablets;
to online news and RSS feeds;
media to Social media;
cameras to Digital cameras- in fact, I found one such camera and asked my studio
for a 36mm reel only to be told they’ve been discontinued 😊! So, I’ve started scanning my old reels into
digital photos for posterity;
records, cassette tapes, VHS & Beta to cloud based music & videos;
cameras, car cameras, CCTV – you name it … it’s out of the old “BOND” movies we
used to see!
used pens & pencils but the latest tablet & phone technology uses a
stylus and speech-to-written technology.
Careem, Uber … the list goes on an on.
The generation of the ‘90s has grown up on
digital … they never experienced non-digital communication! It’s online movies, Netflix, cloud-based streaming
movies, etc. Yes, my kids come to the
theatre but they don’t need a cable TV set up in their dorms anymore- they are
quite content with seeing their content on their laptops.
However, I feel, what technology explosion we
saw in the ‘90s was one of the most interesting a generation can witness – notwithstanding
what is yet to come! – and things are
It’s only a matter of time when our thoughts will be transcribed to the written-word … I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s already here !
Look at where we are now … ☹☹☹. We can have all the latest, mechanized tools
but there’s no “system” or “will”, so we might as well [continue] to live in
the dark ages.
There is no reason Karachi cannot reclaim this
glory. I AM KARACHI (http://iamkarachi.org/), the social NGO, has proven that keeping city walls clean & painted
with street art, ensures no vandalism or defacement of property. In the same vein, once the city is cleaned
& maintained by the Municipality, there is absolutely no reason why we will
not maintain the same. I am not
justifying wrong actions but it’s only when our citizens see a clean city will
we continue the practice … and there’s no rocket science involved.
Throw out all mechanical tools and go back to Jamshed
Mehta’s simplicity – put idle bodies on the roads, give them a broom and bucket
each and get them to deep clean the roads, the garbage bins, the nooks &
crannies every night from midnight to 6am. Put a garbage bin on EVERY alternate light
pole; on every street corner; at every traffic signal – enabling people a means
to throw their daily trash! Through the
day have roving street cleaners who will simply pick up large debris like cans,
plastics, etc. You will create
You will give an honest day’s wage to the
unemployed and a meaning to their lives.
Infant mortality will increase. You
will eradicate mosquitos, disease and other scourge of pollution. These are not simply PR words – this can
In return, we will get a clean city and healthy citizens.
We live in a City but hardly go to visit the sites therein…and Karachi has plenty to see!
So, off we
went some years back to see Manora’s Lighthouse and St. Paul’s Church, both located
in the Karachi Harbour and both which we pass regularly when sailing.
This is not only the
second oldest lighthouse (1889) of the British Raj but, we were told, ONLY one
of two lighthouses in the WORLD which are still cranked by hand (and not
battery operated). The other lighthouse is
apparently in Chennai, India.
There is still a
lighthouse keeper … and every 50-odd minutes, he has to physically crank the
lever that rotates the light, dusk to dawn!
Hats off to the
Karachi Port Trust in maintaining this iconic structure and the traditional art
of operating the lighthouse successfully for the last 130 years.
still-active 1865 Church, St. Paul’s, stands adjacent to the Lighthouse – and
maintains a weekly Mass every Sunday for the Christian residents of Manora
According to https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/pak.htm, the British captured
Manora in 1839 and made it their initial base of operations in what is now
Pakistan. The lighthouse & Church
are located on the southeastern tip of the peninsula facing the Arabian Sea.
Not only was this our first visit ever to both these legendary icons but a first for us on Manora Island itself.
Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/). Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades. The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi.
One post in
particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking. At the outset, let me clarify that these are
my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …
Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year. It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.
The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.
Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits? Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea? If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River. A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt). It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.
There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!
Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?
… and now the rains are upon us and we don’t have any catchment system.
Karachi is facing proper monsoon rains for the first time in decades. It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.
What is lacking are individual CATCHMENT systems. Each building can easily have their own rainwater harvesting systems – it doesn’t have to be expensive. After the last set of “rains” a few weeks back (though our rains are nothing compared to what India and Bangladesh have to go through during their monsoons and cyclone seasons ☹) I started reading up on rainwater harvesting systems. In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way! Brazil, Singapore & Australia are other successful examples.
There is a great need for our Government to lead the way in promoting private households, buildings and tall rises to try to catch and reuse rainwater – the WATER IS FREE PEOPLE … we just need to capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it for non-drinking purposes.
People say there are only two finite things in this World- however, I believe there’s only one … DEATH. Many of you may not agree but I do believe DEATH is the only certainty in the whole world. Everything else is your destiny … and what you make of your life.
William Somerset Maugham’s last play, “Sheppey”, tells the story of Sheppey, an hairdresser, who believes he is a lucky man. Maugham ends the play with an old Arabic Fable, where “DEATH” visits Sheppey; and in reply to Sheppey, tells the story of a merchant in Baghdad trying to escape death. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheppey_(play)). Jeffrey Archer’s very first chapter, titled “Death Speaks” in his book “To Cut a Long Story Short”, requotes this very Fable.
Whatever our life and however good or evil we’ve lived it, in the end we just cannot escape the ONE certainty life has in store for us – our own DEATH.
We may be terminally sick, a building may fall on us, die in a war or an earthquake swallows us – nothing is by accident. This was our fate, with the time and place written.
The only measure of comfort we may be able to get out of this certainty is how we die – the more violent, harder or painful may very well be a factor of how we lived our life.
So next time someone “good” dies – whether at a young or old age – I will try not to blame the so-called “cause” of the death or go in for a “blame game”; but look introspectively and try to reconcile that the person’s time had arrived. Don’t blame yourself, nor the opposite person, nor the circumstances surrounding his death – this was meant to happen, at the time it happened and in the place it happened.
In the 1980s, my two friends – #Shahrukh & #Shahveer – and I decided we’ll be on time for every party. Guess what happened … we were the only three there at the appointed time! What a riot … even the hosts weren’t around.
On average, we only have 657,000 hours in our lifetime – so why WHY NOT MANAGE TIME BETTER!?
Amongst my many idiosyncrasies, I hate being late and I hate waiting for latecomers – I get irritated; it vexes me (I love that term 😊); and it truly gets under my skin.
A close relative has an uncanny ability of turning up at a party just when the food is coming out or a minute earlier. There has NEVER been a time when he has to wait for the food 😊.
Another close relative just cannot be at an appointment on time – even for his departing flight! The one time I decided to trick him into going earlier by saying the flight was leaving 30 minutes earlier, was the only time he got to the airport on time … and the flight was delayed! IRONY!!!
So what can one do-
Try putting your watch forward 15 minutes? However, your internal clock will smarten up almost immediately and you’ll know you have the additional 15 minutes available- and you’re back to square one;
You can have your partner nag the hell out of you to get out in time;
Your secretary can keep calling to pester you to go on time:
… OR, you can realize you only had 657,000 hours available (on average) in your lifetime – before the reaper comes calling – so make the most of it and DON’T BE LATE!
(Incidentally, we couldn’t fight the party system and Shahrukh, Shahveer & I were forced to (in the words of others)stop this ‘ridiculous’ behavior! 😊).