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In case you’ve been wondering why I haven’t blogged for over two months, well let me please tell you, I have to relocate every two years or so (due to the obtuse nature of my job). And so this time they sent me packing from Karachi to Islamabad, or Isloo as they call it, lovingly, that is. So what is the first thing to do in a new town? Obviously, look for a house, and that’s exactly what I did. And man was it difficult!
Snuggler wanted to live in Isloo, she said she won’t settle for anything less. So after having called a dozen or so property dealers I went on a mad search for “the house”. That, the property dealers business is a messy affair, I can write a book about in the coming days. They; come in all shapes and sizes, they; will try to sweet talk you in to a house which you don’t want to rent, they; will tell you all the good things about it and not one bad, they; want a commission, that’s all they want, they; will retract their statements every few seconds, they; will try to con you, they; will actually pimp you, sell you off, fool you, rob you, only but only for a commission.
So the search for “the house” took me to Isloo, I found that in Islamabad there was Islamabad, there was also lots of Pindi or Rawalpindi in Islamabad, I also found some Peshawar, Multan, Sialkot, but most of all I found lots of Pindi in Islamabad, that took me back to Pindi, and in Pindi I found lots of Pindi and some Islamabad, so I settled for the Islamabad in the Pindi For reasons to follow.
So you think finding a house is a simple affair? Nay, it ain’t. I found myself asking time and again the same questions, “pani ka masla to nahi?”, “sardee mein gas aati hai?”, “bijli kitne deir jati hai?”. And I swear each time they told me no such problem, with words like, “pani, ji abhi apni bore karwai hai”, “gas sardi mein kabhi kabhi kam aati hai”, “bijli to pooray mulk mein kam hai”. So it goes like this, the people that were supposed to ensure water supply have failed big time, so everyone has now a small hole dug in his yard for pumping water out of it. Imagine so many holes in a city of millions, that explains why the water table is going down every second. And also you just can’t do anything about the “gas” and “bijli”. You can’t just dig a hole in your backyard and get it out of there. You actually have to live like that. You actually don’t have a choice, you actually are a second class citizen, you actually have to buy everything. Well you can consider, installing a generator, but that also means you buy more fuel, you maintain it, and you get to hear its not so low hum every alternate hour. You could also go for a gas cylinder, you could, it works. That’s the way things work now, or that’s the way things will work from now on, like it or not. Well, you see why don’t you travel on the Metro instead, it will give you a good feeling for a few hours. So I settled for the Islamabad in the Pindi because it promised me water, gas and some electricity for a steep rent.
That got me thinking, what are we doing for our kids. I grew up in a generation oblivious to water shortage, electricity load shedding, gas outage, security problems etc, but see what I am giving my kids instead? They will learn to live like this, with water, power and gas shortages. They will learn the art of manning a water motor, they will learn how to negotiate with con men, they will learn to live without gas or power. They will learn to live in the Islamabad in the Pindi.