Talk about a rain check, I checked and I got stuck.
On Thursday Karachi faced the heaviest rainfall in a long time. I was in Clifton in a meeting when I heard that heavy rain has started. The approximate time – 3:45pm. My car drenched, I reached back at the office only to find the rain had no chance of pausing even for a short while. Finally, a word from our boss that we should all leave before we get stuck at the office overnight, or in traffic any time later.
I left the office at around 5:45pm, with the hope that I’d make it home in good time. That was not to be, as I encountered a jam-packed traffic flow at the Tipu Sultan intersection on Sharae Faisal, and the rain kept hammering down on us all. When the rain stopped around 8pm, people just started abandoning their cars and ventured to go home on foot. It took a long time to convince me to get on foot and start hiking to some place dry. At around 8:30pm, I said ok, and ventured to get a cup of coffee or tea or something at the Days Inn hotel, off the Baloch Colony Bridge.
My colleague, who thought it would be a good idea to reach somewhere in my car, kept pestering me and of course the public outside weren’t any different when it came to coercing to get out and start moving. Coming from our refreshments, I saw a worsened traffic situation, and I gave in to move across to may be Tariq Road, just to be on the dry side. Since the car was insured, I didn’t have to worry too much about it. Of course, what I was worried about was how on earth would I be able to get home easy, considering that had my car been traveling across the same route on a dry day, it would take at least 20 minutes to get home, and that too at an average speed of 60 km/h. To add to that, there was a lot of rain water accumulated, enough to put a bus to a complete halt (and there were several stuck already).
Anyway, at the corner of Tariq Road we had some snacks, charged our cell phones. My colleague had luck, and ventured off to his cousin’s place near by, and I got a call from my brother that the roads were somehow getting clear. He was stuck in the same situation, but played it rather cool than I did.
I managed to get back to the car, and stayed there a bit till I found a route leading out. At the same time I got a call from my brother, he found the same way out and was heading towards clearer ground at Nursery (which generally is not so clear when it comes to rain). We met up in about 10 minutes; I managed to fill up the gas tank again, as there was no queue there. Then had dinner and reached home safely at around 2am.
Took a day off yesterday, and today learnt that only 3-4 people had showed up. Today is comparatively better, with a slight drizzle lasting for about 30 minutes, starting at 8am. Now it’s dry, although the MET office has mentioned a new series of rains is heading towards the lower parts of Sindh, so more action on the way, within 24 hours.
A lot of bad news has circulated too – 26 people died of electrocution in various areas, and not to mention the bandits taking to the streets in lots, snatching cell phones, cars, wallets, jewellery from the chaps who were somehow trying to get home on foot, even in such flooded condition. The looting took a different form with car mechanics roaming around offering services to trapped people at whatever price they wanted. I guess the people here are just too selfish to care about others and help them. Imagine a man or a woman, trying to get home and his/her cell being the only line of communication available to stay in touch with the family. Here comes a robber, pointing a gun at you and asking for your cell phone. You end up having no communication for don’t know how many more hours till you finally manage to get home, and your family is devastated because you weren’t able to get in touch with them. And what about being robbed off your car in a similar situation? What do you do? Should these ruthless and utterly selfish people be left on the streets to keep continuing with their exercise, or be executed immediately on sight?
But of course, I cannot undermine the absolute dedication of so many people who did their best at helping people out. Just last night I was reading at Karachi Metro-Blog that an SHO named Dost Mohammad and his crew of brave policeman ventured off to the streets to help people get their cars moving and have them move on to reach home. Another such occurrence was in the Clifton / Defence area, and many other areas where many people were helping each other, even at the cost of their own lives.
Salutations for those brave men and women who were helping each other out. It is at times like these that we see the best in each other. This is how we should all be, brave, honest and looking out for each other. We should work together to take this country of ours forward, rather than staying in our own cocoon.