Karachi, the largest and most populous city of Pakistan, is famous for its seaside and humidity. However, one thing that Karachiites are deprived of (apart from adequate electricity and fair share in the country’s budget) is rain. The rainy spell in Karachi is quite short, but always has long-term repercussions.
Karachiites love rain!
Pakistanis, as a nation, are in love with rain. Karachiites in particular look forward to rain like an avid dieter anticipates a cheat day! Hence, due to the peculiar climate and infrastructure of the city, there are some things that are sure to happen whenever it rains in Karachi.
1- People race towards the nearest open space to bathe in the rain
Karachiites are known for their devil-may-care attitude; safety warnings be damned. We wait so long for the rain that when it finally arrives, we throw all caution to the wind and race outside to enjoy the cool droplets. Since a large number of the citizens of Karachi live in apartments, they either head to the streets or to the rooftops to bathe in the rain.
2- Everything looks clean… for 5 minutes
The rain washes away the dust that has been accumulating for months (and sometimes years). The buildings and roads return to their original colors and the trees take on a bright, shiny look… for the first 10 minutes only. After that, the roads are like swimming pools, the paint on the buildings starts to peel off with trees falling down in the suburbs. Absolute chaos begins in no time.
3- The mandatory ‘barish wala status’ and the rain selfie
According to the modern saying, ‘If it wasn’t updated on Facebook, it didn’t happen.’ As soon as the first drop of rain hits the ground, Karachiites reach for their cellphones/ tablets, updating their Facebook statuses. These posts normally go like ‘Enjoying cool cool rimjhim mausam with Minnoo, Tinnoo, Pappoo, Guddi, Guriya, Baby and 32 others’! Some people are even kind enough to tag their location to let the world know which areas are or aren’t experiencing rainfall. When the rainfall starts properly, people take selfies, and upload them on social media. Being the daredevils that we are, we don’t even care about how the rain water might ruin our expensive cellphones. Selfie achi aani chahiye, bas!
5- “Chalo chalo seaview chalo…”
What do Karachiites do when they’re feeling angry, hungry, bored, sad or happy? Head to Sea View, of course! After all, it is the city’s most famous and accessible public place. In the rainy weather, Karachi ‘boys’ take out their 70 CCs and ride towards Seaview, with their families following close behind in Suzuki dabbas, minibuses or rickshaws. Often, the families pack food like chicken biryani, kabab paratha and aloo qeema, because what’s a picnic without some yummy food? In short, Seaview is the number one destination for all Karachiites who want to enjoy the rain. This is why you can find a huge crowd there whenever it rains. In fact, the phrase ‘ Barish ka lutf uthaane ke liye Karachi ke manchalon ne saahil-e-samandar ka rukh karlia’ is one of the most-repeated sentences on Pakistani news channels!
5- …and getting arrested
Monsoon beach picnics and having a ‘talk’ with the Karachi police are a package deal. The city’s administration usually imposes Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure at beaches and coastal areas to ban swimming in the sea during Eid and other such public holidays. Banners are also hung at prominent places near Seaview Beach, warning people to stay away from the water. These measures are taken as the sea tends to be quite rough due to the monsoon season. Do Karachiites pay heed to any safety warnings? No, not at all! They completely ignore all safety precautions and end up getting arrested. This monsoon season, more than 500 citizens have been taken into custody for violation of section 144 on Karachi’s beaches!
7- Karachi turns into Venice
Karachi is a low-lying city. Some parts of it are even lower than the sea level. Also, the drainage and waste management systems are quite faulty. Most roads and alleys do not have any drainage outlets. Hence the entire city becomes submerged in water whenever it rains. In some areas, the water level rises so much that it enters houses and buildings. The only thing that differentiates Karachi in the rainy season from Venice is the lack of the Venetian gondola – as we tend to use our cars instead!
In Karachi, a power outage ensures a heavy rain than any meteorological or news report. The local power company KE (Karachi Electric) is credited with cutting off power in the city with almost military precision and dedication. This rainy season, KE continued its glorious tradition of power outages. Most of the city remained without electricity for hours on end, as almost 400 feeders tripped on account of the rainfall.
8- Rehmat turns into zehmat
Another favorite phrase of the news casters, the rain in Karachi almost always transforms from rehmat into zehmat. Many people face accidents due to the slippery roads, falling houses or trees and electrocution. In June 2017, more than 11 people lost their lives due to rainfall-related accidents.
The stagnant rain water and garbage dumps create perfect breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects like the common house fly and the dengue mosquito. These insects breed freely influencing diseases which go viral in no time.