Karachi – messy, slightly dangerous and hot as hell – it’s a place that will infuriate you and seduce you.

This is as cosmopolitan as Pakistan gets. – you’ll meet all sorts in Karachi.

 Karachi-ites have a high opinion of themselves.
Karachi-ites have a high opinion of themselves.

Fast-paced and just a bit insane, it’s a city that will get under your skin.

1. You will become blasé about security.

Yes, you will become a total dheet when it comes to Karachi’s halaat.

Sure, armed guards are the norm and you instinctively avoid no-go areas but, in general, life goes on. When strikes, muggings and the like are so common it’s difficult to maintain a heightened level of worry.

Concerned relatives from out of town will phone you after a scary news report but you’re likely to be at a restaurant or GT when they call. No changing plans unless bullets are actually flying - and if they are, you'll be so practiced that you can have the shutters down and the drawbridge up in under 10 minutes.

 Danger? What danger?
Danger? What danger?

2. You will become lazy and totally dependent on your maid

 When your maid doesn
When your maid doesn't come back from her day off.

Home help is a luxury that you will rapidly get used to.

You may have cleaned your whole house, done the laundry, shopped for groceries AND cooked when you were abroad but now you’ll resent having to go down to the kitchen yourself to get a cup of tea.

3. You will get robbed

Consider it a rite of passage and pray that you get off lightly.

Hopefully the worst that will happen is that someone will steal your wallet or phone at gunpoint. Some traffic signals are notorious for this and I have an uncle who faced a gun at two consecutive traffic signals. Hopefully you won’t be kidnapped or have your home invaded by robbers but in a city like Karachi there are no guarantees.

You will definitely know someone who’s gone through this horrible ordeal.

4. Your wardrobe will gradually turn beige and white

 Desinger Shamaeel Ansari | Nida Azwer
Desinger Shamaeel Ansari | Nida Azwer's Arabesque collection.

It may be our tropical climate or our love of subtle chic, but Karachi-ites wear a LOT of white, off-white, ecru and beige. Live here for any length of time and your wardrobe will start to reflect this.

5. Your driving will deteriorate

Karachi's pick and mix attitude to traffic laws will get to you sooner or later.

Most drivers ignore traffic rules completely and operate on the principal of “might is right”. The horn is king and giving way is unheard of.

You can try to stick to sensible driving practices but it’s likely that one day you will decide, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.

6. You will realise that electricity and running water are luxuries

 When the water tanker doesn
When the water tanker doesn't turn up and you want to shower.

Karachi is definitely better off than many rural areas of Pakistan but the sort of uninterrupted services you get abroad are a dream for Karachi-ites.

You will come to rely heavily on your electricity generator and your water tanker wallah.

7. You'll become surgically attached to your sunnies

 Essential for posing but even more essential for hiding from the blazing sun.
Essential for posing but even more essential for hiding from the blazing sun.

The sun shines here almost 365 days a year. As glorious as that sounds to those who live in more gloomy climates, the constant bright sunshine can get to you. If you couldn’t retreat behind your sunnies, you’d go mad.

8. You will lose weight

Karachi subscribes wholeheartedly to the adage that “you can never be too rich or too thin”.

The average socialite in Karachi is significantly lighter than her counterparts in other parts of Pakistan. You'll find yourself joining the gym or an exercise class or downloading diet plans.

If you're coming from abroad, you’ll drop a few pounds from the repeated stomach infections that you'll get as your body develops immunity to our local bugs.

9. You will realise that 'chai pani' is necessary to get anything done

 You thought you could get it done without paying a bribe?
You thought you could get it done without paying a bribe?

'Chai pani' has nothing to do with chai (tea) or pani (water) and everything to do with greasing palms. It’s not a coincidence that Pakistan ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world.

10. Your friends will become your extended family

You'll make great friends.

Even though living in Karachi can be a challenge, it holds some of the most generous, warmhearted people in the world.

You will make very dear friends who will be like family.

This blog was originally published here.



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