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Karachi in Rs100

During my first couple of months in Karachi, I was whisked into the world of cafes, fine dining, parties, and all that is luxurious. The city I saw was buzzing with life and wealth which was a stark comparison to the poverty on the streets and the general lifestyle of the masses.

Although it was dazzling to see the high life in the city, I was determined to learn about the lives of the common man. So, I decided to try and conduct a ‘100 rupees experiment’ to analyse what kind of different activities I could indulge in, in this city with that amount of money (this sum which I presumed would be accessible to everyone – from the common man to the elite).

The list of activities is exhaustive, but the video presented here is a selection of a few of them which I managed in Rs 100 each.

The highlight of my experiment was using alternative forms of transport in the city. I had been getting around usually in rickshaws, which is fun but expensive. Thus the alternative of a mini-bus and a motor-bike ride were very thrilling. The bus ride in particular was eye opening because I had been warned of how it would get crowded and suffocating within the space. But interestingly, when I boarded the bus, a young boy gave his seat up for me and began talking to me about his science lesson in school. The bus conductor, contrary to conductors on buses in other countries, was a child. He was fiercely gregarious and drummed the doors of the bus as well as the handles on the seats, sang along to the tunes playing, and demanded people to pay him the ride fee. The bus ride itself was noisy as the music playing collided with traffic noise and the dangerous thundering of the vehicle against uneven streets. But I survived and in fact enjoyed it even more with the conversation with my new found nine-year old friend.

As for food, when it came to living below Rs 100, dhabas (roadside cafés) were an obvious choice. I had been told that they were frequented by mostly men and the standard of food would be greasier and unclean. However, my experience turned out pretty good. I had the best chai (tea) served hot and full of flavor and naan (bread) served hot too as well as crisp, and replaced with more hot ones when mine turned cold. The men who were there were intrigued by my presence and my loud “oohs” and “aahhs” of appreciation. I learnt not to smile too widely to appear ‘suggestive’ to them and they were otherwise harmless and very courteous in ensuring I had a pleasant meal.

The best part was finding countless things I could do for free in Karachi, like catching the sunset, walking through the parks, a stroll at sea-view or the beach and so on. These are simple things most have forgotten in our pursuit of chasing after more ‘fun and luxurious’ things to do. There is a meditative quality about walking and I’m glad I got the chance to do that here at several beautiful places, for RS 0 as well. I hope this video inspires you to go out and seek things to do in the city beyond the notes in your wallet; to make the ordinariness of your day something worth celebrating. — Taahira Booya

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Comments (67) Closed



saad May 09, 2014 06:07am

Loved the video! Way to look at the city with a different lense. Just wish it was longer :)

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danial tariq May 09, 2014 06:41am

seaside, camel and horse ride, amusement parks e.g aladin to name few more activities under 100!

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Jehangir May 09, 2014 07:11am

Anthony Bourdain wannabes

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daanish May 09, 2014 07:30am

Excellent idea and video .

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USPak May 09, 2014 08:12am

100 dollar??? She spent 200 in the video

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Chaigram May 09, 2014 08:39am

Love it...Thank you Taahira.

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Imran Zaheer May 09, 2014 09:38am

Liked it very much, you need to be brave especially women to venture into such projects but at the same time if you are a woman then you are treated better given more respect everywhere you go except a few incidents of taunting & gazing makes you restless. Anyway in Rs 100 you could get more fun the opportunities are endless but the only problem is of security of your life or small episodes with muggers who are found every where round the corner. Hope if the City becomes safe & the wealthy beaches of Karachi turned into lovely resorts than it could become a tourist attraction.

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Feyyaz May 09, 2014 10:23am

An exciting reading, which provides windows to watch peace and life still hanging out in this otherwise violence prone country.

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Yasser Khan May 09, 2014 10:27am

Very nice video. Good to see people enjoying in Karachi.

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M1968 May 09, 2014 10:31am

Besides her name....I didn't understand a word of what she said. Video was nice and reminded me of the good old days of Karachi.

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anony May 09, 2014 10:44am

I LOVE Karachi.

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anony May 09, 2014 10:46am

Beautiful video :)

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Pak soul May 09, 2014 11:07am

I love Karachi and it's one of the best places to live. Living in Australia makes me miss Karachi, the whole Australian population is less than Karachi's population. But how the city has overcome traffic problems by building bridges and underpasses is amazing. In Australia, even for such a smaller population, we have terrible traffic and even Karachi's salesmen are THE best. Really wish if they could train some of Australians too in regards to how to take care of their business and customers.

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Pak soul May 09, 2014 11:07am

No doubt why the city was ranked in The Guinness book of world records for being the most cheapest city in the world

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Patriot. N May 09, 2014 11:08am

Karachi is a paradox and a paradise. Ultra, filthy rich and the poor and down trodden rub shoulders in the city. This is the reason it is called the 'gharib parwar' city. And the best thing is nobody sleeps hungry, with a lot of charitable institutions in the city. It is a also a city of philanthropists with the highest charity per capita in Pakistan.

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somro May 09, 2014 11:36am

Tahira you can beat anthony Bourdain ... good start.

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Ghalib May 09, 2014 12:08pm

Great , Dawn,

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Saraz May 09, 2014 12:22pm

Do you know the ingredients in the food they sell. you were just another lucky woman who just escaped from thugs, bandits and day light robbers.

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Leo May 09, 2014 01:13pm

@USPak Exactly!

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SULAIMAN GULAMANI May 09, 2014 02:12pm

Bravo! good to see the city that we love with wet eyes...........keep doing good work.....

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Jami May 09, 2014 02:19pm

@Saraz compare crime rate of Khi with any other metropolitan city in the world and you will be amazed

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Salman May 09, 2014 02:34pm

Beautiful depiction of life in my city- KARACHI! Love you and Miss you always! From Cheshire UK.

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Nazim May 09, 2014 02:39pm

Enjoyable

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sharabi May 09, 2014 02:56pm

Food was looking delicious Bus was scary for me, We Indians are unable to find such affordable & mouthwatering food in 100 INR. You guys are really lucky.

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Ayaz May 09, 2014 04:09pm

Just fell in love!!

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Karachi Wala May 09, 2014 04:16pm

While the Video and narratives are enjoyable, I wonder can a young girl alone roam this freely at the places she mentioned or showing in the video?

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gerry d'cunha May 09, 2014 04:28pm

my beautiful, excellent karachi where I was born and grew-up - I feel proud to be a karachite

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Zafar Iqbal May 09, 2014 04:43pm

What is so exceptional ? Two parathas Rs.40 ,egg Rs.20 ,tea Rs.20 and bus fare Rs.20 (one way ) another Rs.20 require to go to home . I hope these things are available in every city of the sub-continent.

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Aman May 09, 2014 05:54pm

Agar hum kahe aur wo muskura de :)

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kamal singh May 09, 2014 06:01pm

@sharabi Come to Bombay (now Mumbai) & I will guide you.

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sharabi May 09, 2014 06:03pm

@Zafar Iqbal Not here Iqbal sahab, Your 100 Pkr is 60 INR & in 60 you will get an Omelette perhaps. Forgot PKR even in 100 INR it is nearly impossible to do such thing. Inflation is very high.

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mohammad shafique May 09, 2014 06:36pm

nice video and very charming lady

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nabidad May 09, 2014 08:29pm

Lovely piece. Almight God Bless her (Taahira Booya) and Karachi. Long live Pakistan.

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Amna Noman May 09, 2014 10:17pm

Love Karachi ,miss u a lot

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Voltore May 09, 2014 10:23pm

Great video!! Loved it.

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marghoob ahmed siddiqui May 09, 2014 11:01pm

We may say any thing but it is a fact that Pakistan is the cheapest country in the world. Long live Pakistan.

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NOEL May 09, 2014 11:42pm

loved it , Great to see real karachi style

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NOEL May 09, 2014 11:44pm

loved the video .

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Muhammad Ahsan May 10, 2014 12:14am

Well i am 24 and am doing it since I was 18 and that time I managed it all in 60 ;) now its 100 and it is no doubt a great grand low cost city exploration. I am really proud of you Tahira for this work at this level. Applause

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sufi Mateen May 10, 2014 02:08am

What a beautiful video and beautiful girl with divine grace. Thanks Dawn for a light moment..in the maze of craze.

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Rashid May 10, 2014 07:53am

Love this video. My Karachi !!!

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saeeds May 10, 2014 08:53am

@Pak soul I like your observation , specially with population comparison,no doubt authorities are doing their best .

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ali May 10, 2014 10:25am

It's a very good, lucid and innocent effort to high-light the true picture of simple and easy lives at Karachi! I appreciate her feelings. Despite all of her socio- economic hazards, political-administrative mismanagement, sectoral/regional disputes, and ethno-religious conflicts (although she didn't mention it), Karachi could boast of her moderate metropolis characters where most commoners are simple,philanthropic,cooperative, tolerable and friendly by nature. I wish her every success, peace and prosperity.Go ahead Karachi, go!

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Observer May 10, 2014 10:44am

My Karachi.... Thank you Taahira....

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Lal Khan May 10, 2014 10:50am

So, all you can do in Karachi for under 100 rupees is eat at a road side cafe and walk in a park...?

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nazish May 10, 2014 11:48am

my beautiful Karachi.miss u

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Asad May 10, 2014 11:59am

You're beautiful

Love the genuineness in your video!

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Imran Sultan May 10, 2014 03:58pm

Simply amazing . This is real Karachi, beside so many issues & problems. Still Karachi is one of the best place to live in. Yes I admit there are security issues and people get mugged but tell the me place in the world where these thing does not happened. Taahira Booya thank you very much for showing the real face of Karachi

Love my Pakistan & feel proud to be a Karachite

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Indian May 10, 2014 04:55pm

@sharabi You get tea for INR 10 in India. You can get Gobi Manchurian for INR 50, chicken for INR 100 in small cafe. Here in Banglore we can have chicken sorma in INR 80. It is same in Pak or India. There is not much difference man.

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Zee May 10, 2014 05:28pm

Great experiment. I always believed that there was some parallel system in place which catered to the people with less dirt (money), to keep some sanity in their lives, and this video definitely shows one part of that. Hope people indulged in unlawful ways of earning realize that it doesn't take too much money to bring a happy AAH and OOH in the life... something else matters.

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dr sajad May 10, 2014 07:29pm

in the sense of just writing and visiting,its wonderful.but truth is very dangerous........poverty.......to eat meat is difficult in Karachi but to kill a man is very easy

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vallilakhani May 10, 2014 08:30pm

almighty give peace to the world also give progress to the world

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Fiz May 10, 2014 10:52pm

You are right. Beauty lies in simplicity, if you have the eyes to see it. I love dhaba chai and maash ki daal. Give it to me any time and I won't ask for chicken karahi or bihari kebab.

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ABG May 11, 2014 12:33am

loved it.. and miss you Karachi :(

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Arif Mahmood May 11, 2014 01:32am

I am a very frequent traveller and definitely Pakistan is the cheapest place on earth, it we (Pakistanis) don't appreciate especially those living abroad presenting a grim picture of Pakistan. Karachi is a lovely place to live -- God Bless Pakistan

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Tower May 11, 2014 03:22am

@Pak soul why don't you come back and be the CHANGE?

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Najma May 11, 2014 05:47am

It's shame that we do not have affordable restaurants in Karachi where Taahira Booya can go to with feeling feeling out of place in run down eating places with stalking eyes. I felt really really bad for her since she is from Singapore with lots of high quality eating places. Taahira Booya is indeed very graceful in her presentation and did not criticize at all about the dilapidated state of Karachi. The lonely shot she had in the video at Clifton's beach made me sad that how badly we have integrated women in our society. Almost no women folk anywhere functioning normally in society.

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Zafar May 11, 2014 08:37am

I envy you having those GOLA KEBABs, by the way good job, now don't you post the next venture in HANFIA BURGERS.

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M. Shahid Yousuf May 11, 2014 09:52am

Wonderful video. You may have taken health risks that are inherent in unregulated food establishments anywhere in the world. Your group's commitment to your project is laudable. As an old Karachi dweller pre 1975 it reminds me of our youthful enthusiasm as students at Adamjee Science College and Dow Medical College.

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Pareen May 11, 2014 12:57pm

Wow!that was wonderful piece of real picture of Pakistan. I am impressed with your work. God bless you dear. Pakistan zindabaad.

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Youth May 12, 2014 01:43am

Excellent short video I could literally smell the the famous burns road dhaga kabab. Presentation was very good. The guest from Singapore looked quite comfortable. A real mood changer.

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Shehzad Dalal May 12, 2014 10:20am

I thank Taahira, Kurt and the 2 Umars for a lovely video. I guess the secret's out about Karachi. Actually, I do this every morning and have a blessed time (we start late here in Karachi, so the mornings are pretty lazy, fewer people and very laid back after the school rush).....drop the kids to school, spend time with my daughter (her school starts a little later), relax, have some breakfast, feed the birds, walk (but its hot these days) and read the newspaper. There is an advantage in working for yourself that you can start late. I think i'll make a video too. Thanks guys, but you stole my idea and secret. Regards, Shehzad D.

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sharabi May 12, 2014 11:43am

@Indian so you can ride a bus, eat a nonveg snack, take a tea with parathas or omelette? really? seems Bangalore is really awesome than Delhi? i think we should not shy to accept that we are not so lucky as Pakistanisin this matter we are paying to much for the same, imagine the parathas in 20 Pkar dude, After all Karachi is consecutive 3 times cheapest city in the world

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Ijaaz May 12, 2014 03:34pm

@sharabi Well...sir please dare to venture into the likes of ghettos like Madanpura, pydhonie etc. You will be satiated in around 50-60Rs for sure.

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Mirza Ali May 12, 2014 03:56pm

Good to see the light side of Karachi.

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Mirza Ali May 12, 2014 04:06pm

@Najma true.

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Naseer May 13, 2014 02:09am

I want that Naan and Kabab - Feeling very hungry after watching the video

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