The wires that connect us

“Why are there so many wires tangled from poles across this city?”, my dad said in a frustrated tone. We had recently moved from Riyadh to Karachi and this was the only thing I had heard him complain about. As an electrical engineer, it was no surprise that this bothered him.

It was in that moment he decided to write an article to raise awareness for someone to do something about this. It was not only hazardous, it looked horrible. The congested streets of Karachi looked even more complex with the mesh of what seemed like millions of electrical wires intertwined.

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One of the many beautiful sunsets in Karachi with wires obstructing the view.

Last night, something unexpected happened after dinner. Our chawkidaar rang the doorbell and exasperatedly told us to move my sister’s car. An electrical pole right in front of our house was on the verge of falling.

We hurriedly rushed outside and saw the pole was dangerously tipping over, resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa. My sister’s family rushed towards their car to head home, while carefully avoiding the wires that were hanging in a threatening position.

As I watched them leave, it suddenly struck me how this city that was filled with countless tangled wires was representative of how we are intertwined. Karachi is an expansive city with a staggering population of 15 million. Being the most populated city in the country, yet it feels so small.

Ever since I moved here a year ago, I have met people who are somehow connected to me. When I joined my new job almost two months ago, my colleague was casually mentioning how she went to my cousin’s store. I told her how my cousin started it several years ago and she was pleasantly surprised. It turns out that they were neighbors a very long time ago.

More recently, I came home from the gym and as I was getting out of my car, I saw my mom walking out of the house with a girl. She introduced us and told me she had moved to Karachi recently from Jeddah and was living a few houses down from me.

I was surprised to find out that she was also a distant relative. Not only that, she studied at Effat University in Jeddah where I studied architecture for some time! We started laughing at the hilarity of these coincidences as we shared our crazy stories of university days and our mutual friends.

The way she talked, friendly nature, confidence, hyper activeness and increase in volume of her voice as her excitement would build up was so relatable to me because most of my high school friends had a similar persona.

It wasn’t surprising for me to find out that she studied in my alma mater, Manarat! I would have guessed she studied there even if she hadn’t told me, especially because of our shared “accentless” way of talking.

It was such a comforting feeling having a fellow TCK nearby who instantly became a friend. I could feel how easy it was to talk to her and relaxed I felt as opposed to other people I would meet.

It was completely different with people who grew up here because of the difference in their mentality and sometimes, their limited exposure to the rest of the world. I have realized how much living in different countries makes a difference in terms of your judgement and open-mindness.

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Coffee date with my friend – it felt like being back in Riyadh again while roaming around the mall!

 

A few weeks ago, I told my new friend to join me for a walk in the park in front of my house. I got a little late and when I reached, I couldn’t find her. As I began to walk in search of her, I caught a glimpse of a girl wearing a brown scarf with an older man but immediately thought it couldn’t be her. Why would she have come with a family member?

My phone suddenly rang and it was my friend asking where I am. We decided a meeting point and when I saw her approaching from a distance, it was the same girl I had seen earlier. The man was also still walking alongside her. I shrugged and waited in anticipation to find out who this mystery man was.

When she approached me with a smile on her face, the man introduced himself to me. Once again, we found a connection – he knew my brother in law very closely and to top it all off, we were distant relatives! I smiled in amusement at how small this world is.

These random encounters on balmy nights in Karachi were a pleasant surprise to me. I really do believe in the theory of the ‘sixth degree of separation’. Try to look up someone on your Facebook friends list and you will agree with me too based on how many mutual friends you have with them.

Being new to a city can be incredibly lonely, especially when you don’t know anyone. Even if we know a few family members or friends, while it is comforting to have them nearby, we tend to get busy in our hectic lives. It’s usually difficult to schedule a meeting because of all the formalities that have crept in today’s world.

But such unexpected connections that we make along the way are what is comforting. For a second, you feel that you aren’t alone anymore. It is a reminder that we are all under the same tree with our branches intertwined. Just like the tangled, chaotic mesh of wires linked with one another.

 

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7 thoughts on “The wires that connect us

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  1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading my post! Your encounter is truly amazing as well, life really is full of surprises. It’s these experiences that make us feel how we are all more similar and linked rather than different and have so called “barriers” between us. And don’t get me started with KE haha! But they have actually improved now and load shedding is virtually non-existent in Karachi now.

    Like

  2. Yes, you were conspicuous by your absence….good to have you back. The article is so enticing, especially the way you drew an analogy between the intertwined electric cables and a web of relationships we sometimes amusingly find ourselves in.
    It reminds me of a similar incident when I happened to meet the librarian of my secondary school right at the entrance of the school I am teaching in now. It was so soothing to meet someone I had known, after two decades and a half.

    Anyhow, life is full of surprises upsets, and at times confusions like that of K-electric cables in Karachi.

    Liked by 1 person

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