By Fareeha Qayoom
fter the weekend, it’s fairly normal for you not to want to join the fray…the weekly grind, the same old, same old boring work routine but this Monday, (August 8, 2011), it was more than the normal Monday blues…I went to sleep around 4:00 AM (no sign of rains at Sehri or at daybreak) but when I woke up to go to work around 8:00 AM, it was raining cats and dogs.
Shela, my sister let me know, it had already been raining like that for at least an hour…hmmm. Well, Adnan (my brother) and I started procrastinating – normally, we are ready to leave by 8:30 AM but this Monday? We were both kind of reluctant to leave home….finally, around 8:30 AM we had a conference and decided to let our respective bosses know we would be late because of rains…(Yes, I hate driving in rains)! Once bitten, twice shy.
There was no let up. After an hour and a half, the rains had turned to a light drizzle so we decided to leave for work. It was around 10:00 AM. Big mistake – DHA main roads were flooded. Walton Cantt area was too. The T-junction between Cavalry Grounds, DHA and Cantt was no better. A tree was down. Traffic had been moving at snail pace. A bus had broken down too. It was holding up traffic ‘coz it was parked smack, dab in the middle of the fast lane…finally, we crossed the T-Junction and got stuck at the traffic lights on the cross roads before the Jinnah Bridge. It took us about 20 -30 minutes to cross this patch of the road.
After crossing the Jinnah Bridge, Adnan advised me to take the Ali Zeb Road instead of the road that leads to Liberty, MM Alam Road and the Hussain Square. It was bound to be flooded. Well, another big mistake. We were stuck in floods of water and Center Point crossing was no better. (Did I tell you, Adnan had been recording the events via his cell phone? He had been taking photos of back to back traffic, the floods, puddles, and what not?)
Center Point crossing was a total nightmare! I kept praying the whole time I crossed this patch of the road. Adnan told me whatever, I do I shouldn’t brake but should keep going…luckily, everything went okay and we were not stuck. By this time, we had already spent more than an hour on the road already…Liberty Square was no better. It was flooded too. I dropped Adnan on the curbside of the Main Boulevard. I didn’t dare cross the patch of the road before the crossing at the Gaddafi Stadium to drop Adnan at his workplace. It was truly scary. He had to walk to his work place.
I decided to go over Ch. Zahoor Illahi Road from the main boulevard to cross over to the Canal Road. Another nightmare of puddles and floods…finally, I was over the bad patch and on to the Canal Road. Things improved here. Did I tell you it was consistently drizzling the whole time?
At the Canal road, it turned into torrential rains for a bit. But no puddles or floods thank God; I could finally drive at 50 – 60 KMs per hour. My left foot had gone to sleep clutching the clutch and brake the past hour! By the time I got to work, it was more than one and half hour drive. I got there 11:45 AM. My boss was pretty happy to see me which was kind of surprising. First time, I was late and didn’t get a scolding…She hadn’t been expecting me yet. She thought I would start right after the rains and it was still raining…huh?
On the way back, it was puddles galore again. In fact, Gulberg, Cavalry Grounds and DHA continued to be full of rain waters well into the night. However, it wasn’t as bad as the morning. But next day, the rain water had all gone down from DHA at least like it was never there …it was also hot and sunny. Cavalry Grounds and Gulberg were still bad in places…
I understand there is no city government anymore – you know the feud of commissioners vs. Nazim thing and hence, no local functioning bodies at city levels…but what the heck, DHA is a society in its own right. They charge us enough money for the privilege of living here. They also have functioning drains that used to suck the rain waters from the roads before the year 2008. I don’t get it? What happened to them? Did the management change? Did the drains get clogged? How come the rains miraculously cleared overnight without the sun but didn’t do so in the full light of the day? Is there a special reason that DHA gets flooded each year now? Is this a solidarity thing?
Anyway, why can’t they save the rain water? Conservation is the new buzz word all over the world! Does that take a lot of investment? Funnily enough, we know Pakistan comes under the Monsoon belt. Somebody should be working on this but we seem to be never prepared…It’s so frustrating but heck, just an average day in Pakistan…■