Sunday, June 22, 2008

It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood…

Won’t you be my…
Won’t you be my…
Won’t you be my neighbor?

I’ve been planning to give you a tour of my neighborhood for quite sometime. First I had to decide what I wanted to show you. Then I had to go out and actually take the pictures. Then I had to process them to make sure they were small enough to fit on the blog. Finally I had to put all that together in one blog post. Prep work, go figure. So finally I’ve made it at last. Come let me show you the sites.

Introducing the Motorway Police. These guys are responsible for the nation’s highways (motorways, if you want to get technical). They’re the counterparts in the US would be state troopers. For the most part people would say that local law enforcement pretty much sucks. However these guys are different they get paid well so are not as likely to fall into the trap of corruption. This is one area where the government is spending wisely. Just check out their cop cars they’ve got SUVs and a corolla, sweet. Plus I’ve seen some of the officers touting assault rifles.

This particular station is just a stone throw from my house. For the most part they’re relatively quiet neighbors. On occasion they might sound their sirens, probably want to make sure their working. Also when any of their superior officers come down from Islamabad to pay them a visit there is a general air of activity around the station. That’s when they like to march around to the sound of bugles. Marching also requires screaming and hollering (abouuuut, face!) otherwise you won’t get it right. Sometimes they like to throw a party for the neighbors to make up for all that hollering. Yay free food!

A little further down the road you’ll come across a Masjid. The town in which I live has a standard template for the architecture of Mosques. All mosques built by the town follow that template. This Masjid does not. That’s because it’s been built by donations from the community. There was a need for additional space for worshipping, this Masjid fulfills that need. There are other Mosques that are also not following the template. Those mosques were not built due to a lack of space but because of ideological differences. Shiites and ultra orthodox Muslims have also built their own mosques. Which is a good thing everyone should have their own personal space.

A personal note on Shiite Sunni relations. I am a Sunni. And I could care less if the guy in front of me is a Shiite. To me the most important thing that matters, is how decent a person is. Needless to say some of my best friends are from that community.

Nothing like fresh air to calm the nerves. My town also hosts some of the best parks in Karachi. This is just a sample. Some of them have artificial lakes and waterfalls in them! Too bad I don’t have time to go visit them. And besides when I do have time I rather stay in and read a book because I am such a geeky whimp.

So who’s managing all this? The town hall of course. This municipality was originally established by a senator. This was a rare instance in which a government official faithfully served the people. He was the original architect of the town and brought together a wonderful group of people to pull it off. Sadly he has passed away. A corporation has bought ownership of the town (I don’t quite understand how that works) They’re doing a fine job and continue the work of the senator.

This noble public servant also had a love of education and was responsible for establishing the Karachi Institute of Information Technology, my alma mater.

I’ve spent the best four years of my life in this place. The people I met here are some of my closest and dearest friends. I was voted vice president of the student body twice in a row. So the love was mutual. We still keep in touch, mostly online. Some of them are working in software houses in or around the city. Most of them left the country heading for Dubai, the UK and of course the US.

Fresh out of High School I was packing my bags to move to Pakistan with my family. People told me that I could get a better education in the US and should stay. That may be true. But here’s a fact to consider. Half of Silicon Valley is populated with Chinese, Indians, and Pakistani migrant tech workers. Now that person most likely got an H1 visa while he was still in his native country. Meaning the US needed his assistance based on the education and experience he received while still in Pakistan.

That means I could get a good job after college no matter if I studied in the US or Pakistan. After all that’s what I wanted from my education. And on top of that I get to get in touch with my heritage something I was unable to do. And what’s more that insight into Asian and Western culture is a huge asset to companies wanting to outsource their work overseas. So yeah all these years later I still believe I made the right choice.

So that’s that. I took you on a tour of my neighborhood. Stirred up some controversy. All before bedtime, ain’t blogging grand? So what’s your hood like?

P.S. A hundred points to anyone who can guess the name of the town I live in!

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