One could call them quirks, eccentricities or just being ‘plain old weird’. But they are a part of Pakistani society and have woven into everyday speak. We take a look at some of the oddest things people do in the country...
Hooting during a power cut
Power cuts are common in Pakistan. On average about a quarter of the day is spent without electricity but when people are in a group, they will hoot and clap every time the power goes off.
Bargaining over Rs10
The shopkeeper started with Rs350 and has brought the price down to Rs250, yet the customer will insist that it should be Rs240. Neither the shopkeeper nor the customer will budge and both will lose out.
Not wanting to admit you shop at Zainab Market
You know each and every shop - and the shopkeepers - at Karachi’s Zainab Market, yet when your iPhone rings, you will inevitably say, “Oh, I’m at Park Towers”.
Stealing packets of sugar from Espresso
Yes, there is a sugar shortage in the country but really, do you have to resort to pocketing packets of sugar at Espresso? The number of people who admit to do this is rather remarkable.
Getting angry at people smoking... in a smoking zone
Restaurants usually have non-smoking and smoking areas. If you do not want to be a victim of second hand smoke then sit in the nonsmoking area. And if you have children, ensure they sit in the non-smoking area instead of glaring at all the smokers who dare to light up.
The divide has been taken to new heights; non-Grammarians (students of Karachi Grammar School) are now being referred to as “the others”.
I do not listen to boy bands
Liking boy bands is a no-no if you are not a teenage girl. But if you are lying and saying you have never heard the Backstreet Boys then please, do not start singing “Quit Playing Games” when it starts playing on the radio.
The missed call culture
“Why did you pick up the phone?! I was giving you a missed call! Oh no, now my credit has been cut.”
Those who order more at dinners but pay less. Can anyone spell cheap?
“The other side of the bridge”
Karachi’s Kala Pul bridge has become the dividing line between what people perceive to be the ‘haves and the havenots’. It is rather reminiscent
of “West Side Story” ... and that did not end well.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 10, 2010.