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In the city of blinding lights

It’s a little late as I’m on my way home from work. The car’s windows are rolled down, letting the cool evening zephyr in and stirring up my lifeless tresses into little blithe ballerinas. I have City of Blinding Lights by U2 playing on my mind while I let my gaze wander around me. With my heartbeat matching the blinker of the car in front of me, I can’t help but wonder how consistent the heartbeat is and has been that way from the moment I came into existence. Come to think of it, all of us have our hearts beating in that regular manner since forever. Is that the reason why we are always consistent and persistent towards achieving our desires whether we take time out to breathe or not? But then who has time for that in Karachi or as the kids these days call it, K-Town.

As I see the glimpse of a man passively and patiently waiting for his route’s bus, a car, presumably driven by a young man in his early twenties, races past us and the dichotomy of our lives is laid right before me. This metropolis that we live in is vividly and dynamically overflowing with steadfast and tenacious souls. Some who are persistent to actually make their lives better and some who are persistent to show that they have a better life.

I’m still pondering on these thoughts when I reach one of those traffic bottlenecks with everyone losing their temper because everyone wants to get home early. There’s another showcase of persistence, but this time, by the drivers. They’re honking with utmost commitment thinking maybe, just maybe it’ll magically make the cars proceed ahead. The car next to me has a child in the backseat who has her head out of the window and is attempting to count the scanty and ill-defined stars. She loses count and starts again, persistent may I say.

After a good ten minutes, the traffic flow is back to normal, the traffic on Karachi’s roads kind of normal. On the far left of the road I see a middle-aged costermonger pushing his shabby barrow forward. His tired, slow but calculated steps show nothing but persistence. Persistence to push his barrow, sell the fruit on it and earn a living for his unknown and neglected family. I guess that family too is persistent in believing that someday, life will be better for them.

I near the Sindhi Muslim roundabout when I spot an elderly man with his animated gestures, managing the cars that are coming through and those that are of customers of the famous food joint there. I have never seen a forced frown on his face. You will always find him dealing with the traffic as his own problem. His energy and persistence, even at this age is highly commendable. I wonder how long he’s been working there and how long he’ll continue to work.

Just one more traffic light to go before I’m home and to my luck, it’s red. I overhear a slightly faint conversation of a couple in the adjacent car. They’re planning a dine out tonight. Both persistently suggesting their choice of restaurant. Both to which I wouldn’t want to go to anytime soon. Despite the traffic light working, I see a policeman trying to guide the vehicles for obvious reasons. He too is showing off his skills of persistence by aptly dealing with those trying to run the light. That said, all the cars on our side of the road are being shifted into the first gear.

I’m in my lane now and can’t stop thinking about going upstairs, getting into my pjs and grabbing the tab to reconnect with the “world”. A practice that I’m quite persistent with. Now I have been talking about persistence all this while. What’s the point? These cases that I’ve mentioned are just a few examples of people in Karachi who work tirelessly and yes, persistently. With this amount of persistence in just one city, how is it that we’re still a developing country? Are we so caught up in our own issues that we don’t realise what a strength we can be if we come together? Aren’t we sensible enough to see this on our own or do we need a shepherd to guide a rather robotic and mindless herd?

You and I have every right to live our lives the way we want to, but there are certain rights that this country has as well. One of them is having it’s people work towards an interdependent, collective and far-sighted goal of a nation which has respectable, successful and prudent citizens at every step of the way.

So are you part of the aforementioned herd or a persistent advancement?

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