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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Washed Out!!!

There are plus points, no doubt. Karachi hasn't smelled so beautiful in days. The air hasn't been cleaner, the dust more settled. The Malhaars have never sounded more apt, and even the pako∂aas that Fatima has made taste good. (Fatima is employed in the capacity of 'cook' - a term, that in her case, requires the use, in equal parts, of imagination and compassion). But there are other realities to consider, unfortunately. In the past 48 hours the rains - though far from torrential - have played more havoc than they should have.

A shayr - by Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari - keeps buzzing in my ears:
Barsaa to sahee abr ..... magar khül ke nah barsaa
Baethaa nah meray dil ka ghübaar ab kay baras bhee

On the home front:
We have had occasional electricity over these two day. Blackouts have lasted 16 and 14 hours at a stretch. The current one is in its 7th hour. This has also meant that most food in the fridge has altered its physical state: Ice Cream is now Milkshake. Meat smells of the animal when it was alive and wallowing in its own doings. The kitchen floor is only navigable on stilts. [The ants are all gone, though. Yayyyy!] The lack of electricity means the water cannot be pumped up to the overhead tank and we are now sharing the experience of dry-cleaning with our garments. Other, smaller, inconveniences include having to throw yesterday's newspapers (used for drying the puddles on the doorstep) out of the gate and hauling in today's drenched editions to salvage what we can, while singing Wring out the Old ... Wring in the New! The already Work-to-Rule Model Generator has, in a sudden decision to pay homage to Murphy's Law, conked out! (For those of you who do not live in 'developing countries' - where the term 'developing' applies to the bank accounts of its leaders - Electricity Generators are de rigeur here, as soon as one can save enough money. In fact they have shifted above Umrah on many priority lists, except for government officials who perform that pilgrimage at our expense and probably get a free generator through devious means, too).

On the City front: It's best to let this morning's email from activist/warrior/friend Naeem Sadiq speak for itself: The Clifton Underpass Lake
As a citizen I protest at the criminal negligence exercised during the design and construction of the Clifton Underpass. Just twenty-four hours of rain has converted this underpass into an 18 feet deep lake, causing untold misery and chaos, and literally washing away 180 million rupees of tax payers' money. Not surprising that a foreigner, after taking one look at [it], said that in his country whoever designed such an underpass would be in jail in no time flat (but what do you do, when, in the words of Habib Jalib, "Darj thay jin kay naam thaanoñ mayñ / Aaj shaamil haeñ hükmaraanoñ mayñ" - ?- Zak), and would be banned from all government contracts. Whoever approved that project would also be serving time alongside. Even the Mohenjodaro era artisans did a far better drainage job. The other great monstrosity gifted to the citizens of Karachi, the 225 million rupees of wasteful water-fountain has already packed up in its first 3 months of operation and closed down under the pretext of maintenance. Would the government account for this blatant squandering and hold the concerned (haah! you mean 'unconcerned', NS. - Zak) individuals accountable? Would the citizens of Karachi, for once, unite and form a group to demand action. (Frantic United Citizens of Karachi? - Zak)
On the Work front: Fortunately, for me, b.i.t.s. runs superbly without my going there. In fact, the COO (pronounced coup) will probably say it's because of my not going there. But the generally amazing Sabeen - even now more up to the challenge than many others - is going bonkers! Her house is Flooded. Yes. With a capital F. She is running a team of people that can't (or won't, given the national work ethic) make it to the office in this weather. Unlike what a technology-based company should be able to do - she and the team cannot work out of homes, since most ISPs are incapable of providing reliable services under these conditions. And I am being no help, glued to my iPod Shuffle and Kesarbai's 78 RPM transfers! (No, it's not Apathy, guys. I am recovering from surgery.)

Oh what I would give to be a Solipsist (although some think I come close!) The fact is that, for a small company, trying to do an honest (remember this word from some strange past, fellow citizens?) job, while getting brow-beaten by everyone and their uncles (who always seem to be employed at Powers That Be, Inc.), this place is near-impossible. And getting worse.

Anyway ... I haven't just been sitting idle all day. I've been working out an exit strategy. I have had 3 career changes in my 65-year life and, partly because of these disasters and partly to satisfy the wanderlust that's beginning to rear it's head again, I am thinking of a new direction for b.i.t.s. --- Clothing and Accessories: gear@bitsonline. Here are 3 initial offerings: The Lippman Cap The Edison Tote The Goethe T-Shirt These should make the business model transition easier, since they do represent the b.i.t.s. philosophy.

[Finally, a word of cheer to The Last Man Leaving the Country: You don't have to worry about switching the lights off!]

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Blogger the olive ream said...

"WOW" to the post, "Gasp!" to the flooding and "Holy Sh@t!" to the apparel in absolutely hilarious kind of way. I love 'em!

Are they on sale?!! If not, why not and and when??!!

I ask because I'm currently (HONESTLY) working on my own apparel line, I kid you not!

what a co-inky-dink!

01 August, 2006 23:08

Blogger sabizak said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

02 August, 2006 04:49

Blogger cheesoo said...

i want the tote.. will you put in a small url here whenever it goes on sale?

02 August, 2006 22:54

Blogger vintage said...

i kind off like this post a lot. and as for coming to work, i came to work. it was pouring heavily but i still made it before everyone else called in to say they wouldn't be.

and a bits clothing line?! i love the concept but but.... bits clothing line? *raising eyebrow*

i'll take a while to sink in...

03 August, 2006 13:41

Blogger Zakintosh said...

sabizak & cheeso: the olive ream will (hopefully) carry the stuff on his apparel line. why replicate the effort?

vintage: well, it was a fun idea while it lasted. i even got 3 prospective cusomers. but i've given it up, since it clashes with the philosophy of the other project i am working on: a nudist colony.

03 August, 2006 16:03

Blogger vintage said...

zak: where do i sign up? ;)

04 August, 2006 13:07

Anonymous ali kazim gardezi said...

thanku ZAK for updating us on the havoc caused by the rain in khi. on the other side... im receiving some beautiful photographs after this rain. so i believe there r always two sides of the coin.

And abt the apparel ... i loved them. if u ever think of making these... consider me a buyer too :)

05 August, 2006 07:06


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