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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Source: AAJ News

Karachi had the heaviest rainfall of the season yesterday. It was a much-needed break from the hot weather for the Karachiites. However, the fun-filled day was turned into a 24-hour long nightmare by our very own KESC. Yes, KESC decided to deprive the people living in our area of the electricity. This deprivation continued for exactly 24 hours! This is what we call: One hour of rains and 24 hours of pain!

Our family spent the past 24 hours making phone call after phone call to the KESC Customer Service Center (118) only to hear the same old refrain about heavy rains, high number of complaints, blah blah blah. This morning, a female customer service representative had the audacity to hang up on me while I was talking to her about our official complaint. This attitude is becoming a trademark of our service companies who treat their customers as people who are “obliged” to listen to (and believe) their lame responses. I am a client not a beggar, you morons! I called up 118 immediately after this phone incident and gave them a piece of my mind. I was also successful in getting the supervisor on line and complained to him about the rude behavior of their customer service representative. Such a behavior is simply not acceptable from a company whom I “pay” regularly and on time every month for their “non-existent” services.

Spare me the “increased load” nonsense. I know how a company is run and am not falling for your stupid excuses. If you don’t have the resources then let some other companies come into this sector – companies with better plans and management who can set up a well-equipped infrastructure and workforce to address the needs of a megapolis like Karachi. All the customer service representatives kept assuring us that they will “personally” look into our complaint and will follow up. When asked “when” we should expect a response from their “personal follow-up”, they kept giving us a runaround. As if we didn’t know that these guys were sitting in a call center!

Is it a coincidence that the power supply stopped at 3:45pm yesterday and was restored at the same time today? I don’t think so. A “miracle” may be but since when have the KESC people been given the power of creating miracles?

We are sick and tired of all the load-shedding spells. It’s high time we ended the failed monopoly of KESC and let other players enter this sector so that the citizens of Karachi could get rid of this noose called load-shedding.

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(c) devildoll @ deviantart.com

It’s that time of the year when my country gets the monsoon rains. Rains are not too common in Karachi, except in the monsoon season. That is why from the start of the season, I’ve been waiting for the annual quota of rains.

I have always loved rains. Living in a sunny, hot and humid city most part of the year has made me fascinated with rains. The build up to rain, with the gathering of grey clouds, is exciting. As mentioned in my earlier post, the pleasant smell of petrichor announces the start of the much-awaited rain. That is what happened last night. It was past midnight and I was preparing to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I) on my laptop. Suddenly, the power went out. KESC and their bad timing, I thought. After 10 minutes or so, power supply was restored. So, I went to the TV lounge to get my laptop and resume the movie. That’s when I smelled the petrichor. It’s raining, I shouted! Finally. We’ve been waiting for rains for over 2 months now. Every evening the skies get cloudy raising my hopes for rains. Last night, the wait was finally over. It didn’t rain too much though. It was drizzling, and it drizzled this morning as well. The air became light and fresh, the leaves on the trees were washed and looked vibrant, the dust and other air pollutants were gone, and the pleasant fragrance of a rainy day was all around. Oh what pleasure!

Have you noticed that on a cloudy day, time kind of stops. With no sun visible, it’s difficult to figure out what time of day it is. It’s like perpetual morning or evening. No hot and sunny afternoons.

I love this weather. It reminds me of the school days back in the 80’s. All the kids in our building would go crazy in rains, singing rain songs and dancing and playing in the rain for hours. There was construction material dumped on the roof of our building (including huge mounds of soil). We would dig tunnels from two sides until the two tunnels met and formed a bridge overhead. It was so much fun. We would also shut the gates of our building and skid and slide in the water flowing on the long path leading to the car parking. ‘Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ we would go as we slipped from one end to the other in the heavy rain. The usual games became much more interesting when played in rains.

I am also reminded of the day, back in 1989, when I was sitting all alone in a dingy classroom while it rained cats and dogs. Later on, a class fellow came in and we sat and enjoyed the rain, expecting not many students to show up. Such days, different from the routine class days, were always a good change. Rains also meant flooded school grounds (called ‘fields’). We had two of them in our school where the morning assemblies and physical training (PT) sessions were held. Flooded fields meant no assemblies, no post-assembly PT sessions and, most importantly, no classes since all paths to our classes passed through the fields. One or two or, at times, three days of holidays – a sure blessing or, as we call it, naimat-e-ghair mutaraqqiba for the kids!

I especially remember the day when we had to go to the shooting range for our Women Guards‘ training. It was a cloudy day and it rained when I came back home. I sat in the balcony, enjoying an omelet and paratha while watching the rain.

Omelet & Paratha - yummies!

Crazy rains during our bus trip to Skardu in 1994. Our university tour group faced a landslide and had to spend the night in the bus parked at roadside. Precious time spent with friends.

Rain in London back in 2003. There was a power breakdown (very unexpected in London), and the underground tubes were shut down. It was chaos all over and I was stranded in the streets of London – hungry, lost, and without an umbrella. To make matters worse, I did not know anything about London bus system. That’s when I met a girl who became my guardian angel. Thanks to her and her boyfriend, after a long wait at the bus stop and a bus ride through London, I made it to the Kingsbury tube station safe and sound. I don’t even know their names but they will remain in my memory forever. Thank you angels, whoever you are and wherever you are!

Rain in Washington DC, in March 2011, which ruined my sightseeing plans for the day. Cold weather and an insane day which ended well at the Union Station. A hot cup of chai (plain old brewed English tea, made in Pakistani style) and an hour of people-watching inside the Union Station, all the while listening to my favorite music. Priceless!

Rains usually mean load-shedding and no electricity. People leave from work early to rush back home. Why don’t they understand that everybody else is also doing the same thing causing really bad traffic jams? People stranded in the flooded streets, people helping each other by pushing the cars that have stopped working or by sparking the car plugs to make them work. Frustration, name-calling, honking, helping, collaborating voluntarily to clear out the traffic. For few hours the whole city is connected through the phenomenon called, and caused by, rains.

People come out in the streets and in the balconies to enjoy rains, especially when there is no electricity. The whole community becomes one, which is rare and not as evident in the daily life. We become human again. We become a group of human beings, connected by our human experiences together. Isn’t it rare and precious?

The feel of rain and the light breeze on one’s face and hands is amazing. It cleanses your body, mind and soul. It purifies you. After getting soaked in the rain comes the time to change into warm, dry clothes and enjoy a cup of hot chai with the season’s special treats – pakora, bhajiya, halwa, etc. Nothing beats that.

(c) LinAt @ deviantart.com

No wonder I find rains AWESOME!

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I have always loved rains.. but not more than the fresh scent that accompanies the very first drizzle. I LOVE that scent to the point of being crazy about it.

First Rain Drops and Petrichor

First Rain Drops and Petrichor

While searching the internet for details about this phenomenon, I found out that this scent has a name – petrichor (greek) or Geosmin (scientific term). I also found the explanation about what causes this heavenly fragrance. Even though it’s interesting to know the scientific reason behind this phenomenon, the more interesting thing for me is to be indoors desperately waiting for rains and finally smelling this fragrance. It fills me with happiness, nay joy, and I immediately run outside because the petrichor is a sign of long-awaited rains. I live in a port city where we don’t get too much rain, except for the monsoon season between July and August, hence my fascination with rains.

Wheat Flour Halwa

Wheat Flour Halwa

The petrichor triggers a mental map.. a sequence of memories that is connected into my past. It brings to mind the smell of wheat flour halwa (a local sweet) and the scrumptious pakoras (a type of local fast food) i.e. the traditional food for a rainy day.

Pakora

Pakora with mint and curd condiment

Grey skies meant an off day from school, a day spent with family and friends, playing in the rain to my heart’s desire, eating home-made pakoras / wheat flour halwa, watching everybody leave the mundane routine and be connected by the same thread (i.e. the rain and the fun and nuisance it brings). The whole community comes together to become one and this phenomenon is so palpable you can actually touch it and feel it.

Strange thing – About 2 or 2.5 weeks ago, I was up late at night. Suddenly, I smelled a fragrance but couldn’t figure out what it was. I was working at my laptop at that time. Later on, I went out to the balcony to get the clothes from the clothesline only to find out that it had drizzled earlier. That’s when it hit me – it was the pleasant smell of the long-awaited rain on the dry soil. How could I not know what it was? That’s just impossible given my love for petrichor! I must have been extremely distracted with my work on laptop 🙂

I wonder if, someday, someone will create an air freshener that smells like petrichor. I’ll be the first and the most loyal buyer of this product.. and probably the first petrichor addict 🙂

I like what Sonali Bhawsar writes while describing the petrochar phenomenon:

“The most important thing is that these bacteria are found in all types of soils and all over the world and petrichor is universal. So this great odor is available for every homo sapiens to smell. Moreover, Actino and Streptomyces (the bacteria) are not discriminating!”  So true.

Petrichor/Geosmin – nature’s gift to me, to all of us.. and simply AWESOME.

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Raining in KHI

I love rains.. and it rained here in Karachi this morning and this evening. I woke up to the heavy rains early this morning. It rained non-stop till 2 hours! The office car could not come to pick us up so we had a day off yipppyyy 🙂 The afternoon was dry but cloudy and fizzoo kept us company with her lovely antics. We took her out on a short trip in the car and she went ecstatic especially when she was walking on the grass and watching ducks and other birds. It started raining so we rushed back to the car and started our return journey. Stopped at the famous Samosa shop to buy fresh samosas, jalebees and maalpura! Fizzoo was looking at all the hustle bustle at the samosa stall curiously. Suddenly it started raining heavily and I took her back to the car. Like most people, she loves the feel of fresh air on her face while the car is driving and could’ve jumped out of the car with all the excitement! Enjoyed the delicious samosa and maalpura with a cup of hot chai. Dark clouds with a loud thunder later on, followed by heavy showers. What an absolutely blissful and serene day it has been. What’s more interesting.. no load-shedding except for 30 minutes in the morning :O)

“Healing rain is a real touch from God. It could be physical healing or emotional or whatever.”

– Michael W. Smith

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