Apartment Life in Karachi

When I was living in Karachi (which I just googled and found is no longer on the most dangerous cities list since we moved) we lived in a large comfortable house. But I also had the opportunity to live awhile in an apartment or ‘flat complex’. It was ….an experience.
Link for article in Dawn newspaper:http://archives.dawn.com/archives/69571
meet the neighbors
Flat out: Meet the neighbours

By Khaula Mazhar

People who prefer living in a house rather than in a flat have absolutely no sense of adventure. Where else can you find so many different types of people living in the same place, constantly getting on each other`s nerves? Where else can you find such an interesting environment?

For starters, look at the amazing artwork that goes into the décor of even the most average, normal, everyday flat. Notice the dramatic red streaks in corners and on the lower parts of walls? You may call it disgusting, I call it artistic. Only a paan addict can truly appreciate its beauty.

The leaky plumbing is another amazing aspect; the designs caused by the water slowly seeping out of the pipes and into the walls give the place a lot of character. And there`s so much to talk about once your tiles start falling out due to the water damage; at your next family get-together you can hold the audience spell bound as you narrate how a chunk of plaster fell on your head while you were in the loo.

There is constant activity in the complex parking areas, and if you live on the ground floor you`ll never be far from the action; be it the Peeping Toms, who always appear at your window the second you open your curtains, or the cricket crazy delinquents who keep the window makers in business. But all this pales into insignificance once Eidul Azha draws near. The sights (animals of all shapes, sizes, personalities and all of their recycled food lying around in cute lumps), sounds (baaing, mooing, moaning, groaning, screaming, pleading, all seasoned with a few spicy swear words) and SMELLS (let`s just say `organic` shall we?) Who needs a vacation to exotic locales when so much is happening at their doorstep?

Living in a flat also engenders a feeling of togetherness with your neighbours. They know everything about you, you know everything about them. For example, I know the timetable of the lady who lives upstairs. She starts cooking when it`s my bedtime. The second I fall asleep I am awoken by the gentle scraping sound of her `sil butta` and I can picture her grinding away at all those aromatic spices. She`s so considerate, she always brings me a plate of her Bihari kebabs, making sure I get them no matter what — even if she has to pound on my door for twenty minutes, while I try to drag myself out of bed, at a quarter past midnight. Her persistence amazes me; so does her timetable.

There`s a very caring family in the flat opposite ours. They care about what I`m doing, why I am doing it, who has come to visit me and why; what I have cooked and, since it smells so good, can I send some over? Of course, they keep me informed of all their goings-on as well. I feel like I`m part of their family. When a baby was born at one of their relatives, I felt like a proud aunt. A family feud left me indignant. I now have more things to worry about than I need and I doubt I will ever run out. Isn`t that great? They also keep me from getting lonely as someone is always dropping in. If “Bhabi” can`t come by, she`ll be sure to send over her four different sized children to keep me company, no matter how much I insist that I don`t need it.

No flat would be complete without the `been there, done that` family. I know they are very popular, and they are a real favourite of mine. No matter what you have seen, heard, done; no matter where all you have been, you`ll find they have seen that, heard that, done that, been there, and of course, all on a much grander scale. It really boosts your spirits to be associated with such sophisticated people.

Life in flats is never boring; there`s always something going on to keep you distracted. Either it`s an aameen or a birthday, sometimes even a mehndi in the reception area. If you don`t feel like cooking you can always attend one of these functions without the hassle of fighting traffic or driving a distance; just skip downstairs.

So, if you are bored of your large living quarters, your privacy, your beautiful lawn, your own, undisputed parking area, your peace and quiet, don`t despair; excitement is just round the corner! Pack up and move your family to the nearest flat complex.

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