A few way word drops of ran and the entire infrastructure of the city goes belly up. And it is the same year after year as the tall claims of the local and provincial administration of being “prepared” for the monsoon look like so much hot air.
In fact, the very term infrastructure is a misnomer in every sense of the word since the dilapidated shambles that are the inevitable epilogue to every monsoon season are a hollow mockery of the very term.
Here, if we were to talk to a random Karachi as to what he believes may potentially go wrong come the monsoon season, the odds are he will launch into a monologue of the many ills and travails that he would have to ensure.
From trying to find his way home while walking (or pushing his car or two wheelers (as the case may be) in knee deep water gutter water, in pitch dark while being ever alert to the ubiquitous muggers to the stray dogs and if he is especially unlucky than open man holes who will suck him under (with the slow inevitability of a black hole) and he will end up being disgorged somewhere in the Arabian Sea.
And if after hours of splashing though the streets, our intrepid traveler does make it back home, he might want to take a shower to get rid of all the gutter slime, but turning on the shower is no guarantee that there will be any water. With rain water finding it’s into the main KWSB pumps (a near certainty every year) the odds are that he will be stuck in his washroom while being covered in soap.
By the time he manages to find his way out and tries to relax in front of his TV screen under a fan, pfft…. There goes the electricity leaving him fuming in the dark sweating from each and every pore in the exceptionally humid conditions.
Muttering expletives, he just might want to make up a cup of tea to drown the day’s sorrows, but with water seeping into the gas mains, getting his stove to work would be a tall order indeed.
And this tale of woe is ubiquitous to virtually all the cities of the country and their low lying and lower income areas.
However, it is much worse for Karachi because, it has increasingly been treated like an orphan by all the three tiers of the government. I.e. at the federal, provincial all the way down to the municipal levels.
In last week’s downpour were washed away not just a few roads but also all the promises made by the state and local bodies government agencies.
From the complete shambles of the newly constructed University road all the way to the hopeless inundation of ‘all’ the underpasses constructed in this blighted mega city. Not to mention the complete power breakdowns that occurred immediately after the first few drops of rain fell from the skies.
And to further compound the misery of the people, we have our very own home grown muggers who used the pitch darkness to their advantage and ruthlessly gunned down anyone who dared resist their robbery attempts.
With such a sad state of affairs is it any wonder that the people are simply seething in anger. Even as they listen to the same meaningless process of cleaning the storm water drains that remain perennially chocked and their useless vehicles are made to float like boats. As the people who make these fragile roads that fall apart after a few drops of rain are once again given the same contracts, so that this vicious cycle continues and the corrupt continue to gather their kickbacks.
Yes, the people are seething and there will come a time when enough would be quite simply too much and they will tear down the hallowed halls of those who continue to exploit them in their own name. The rulers of our nation should do well to beware that day. Because sooner or later that day is fast approaching.