The horror of ‘the other side of the bridge’

Published: June 19, 2012

I bet Hardees opening here was a real buzz kill for those who have never set foot near Nazimabad. GRAPHIC: ERUM SHAIKH

Phrases like, ‘Oh no! Your house is on ‘the other side of the bridge’,’ or ‘That side of the bridge is so far away,’ often frequent the regular Karachiite’s tongue. In fact, there is a general feeling of time wastage, shock, disgust, annoyance, frustration and condescension associated with ‘the other side of the bridge’ in Karachi.

Many of these chords ring at the mere mention of the bridge that connects the Defence side of Karachi to the rest of the city; the ‘other side’ of the city – the darker, scarier, gloomier side of the city.

Sheesh, the drama!

Here are a few things I have a problem with about this whole ‘other-side-of-the-bridge’ saga:

1. The eyes wide shut syndrome.

People living in Defence have the inherent perception that Karachi comprises just the ‘Defence’ side of the bridge.

“What is University road? Is that in Karachi?”

Seriously? Most of Karachi’s heritage lies on this side. You may want to book yourself a tour of ‘Karachi city’ and see for yourself.

2. The disgusting double standards.

“I can’t come to your place; it sounds very unfamiliar and far away from my home. Why don’t you come here instead?”

News flash! Your place sounds pretty far to me too; and technically, I’d have to journey all the way to you, covering the same distance. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? You have never really been out of ‘Karachi’ (read: Defence).

3. The exasperating excuses.

“You are used to coming here but we don’t ever go to your side.”

Why? Because your delicate, pedicured toe nails may not be able to take the scorching heat of this side of town? Why must you always presume that when we decide to hang out, it’s over to ‘the other side of the bridge’ where rainbows descend and the sun shines in cool, lemon yellow?

4. The new venture prejudice.

Boutiques, restaurants and other outlets prefer to first serve the Defence side of the bridge. Only once they have generated enough curiosity over this particular side will they come here as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Oh, thank you, your highnesses! We are ever so grateful. Please tell us, tell us how we can repay this generosity?

5. The non-delivery-area conundrum.

“Good afternoon! XXX Pizza place. How may I help you?”

“Hello, I need to place an order for a pepperoni pizza.”

“Where are you calling from, ma’am?”

“Karachi.You deliver in Karachi, right?”

“Yes, ma’am, what area?”


“Oh. Sorry, ma’am, we only deliver in Zamzama.”



I guess that must be the whole of Karachi then, huh?

6. The non-availability of stock.

When you go to a boutique over the ‘sad’ side of the bridge and ask for a latest design that you had seen a friend sporting, you may get the following response:

“Sorry, ma’am, that design is only available at the Zamzama and Clifton outlets. Why don’t you try out these designs?”

This will, undoubtedly, be a design that practically everyone over that side of the bridge has already worn and disposed of.


7. The where to dine problem.

A common argument among friends:

Friend over this side:

“Let’s go out, yaar?”

Friend over that side:

“Sure, let’s go out. How about Butlers? Or maybe Snog? Let’s try that out.”

Friend over this side:

“Hey, why do you always come up with places that are on your side only?”

Friend over that side:

“All the good places are on this side.”

Friend over this side:

Shrugs and accepts defeat.

8. The unequal pocket drain.

You spend thousands of rupees worth of gasoline just so that you can go over to that side to meet your friends. Contrarily, these on the other side happily await your arrival and wonder why you are broke and tired all the time.

9. The we-are-better-than-you attitude.

I have often been victim to jeers and remarks from my friends on the other side of the bridge about how limited my side of town is.

Guys, regardless of whether you think you are superior to me on not, the fact remains that Hardees decided we are better than you.

Case in point. I win.

Sana Ashraf

Sana Ashraf

A BBA student, majoring in Marketing from IBA. She is an occasional writer and will be graduating this year kick-starting her professional life. Her interests include reading fiction, blogs and articles, baking, and watching movies.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Confused

    Congratulations on winning.Recommend

  • ahsan

    I dont live in defence, but this article is lame, specially in the end.Recommend

  • God help the author

    Are you serious? You really take this “this side that side” stuff that seriously?
    cause if you do… then its really bbaaaaad for your health! : )
    the bottom line is that dha is where the money is flowing … whether neatly earned or otherwise… hence its good business for new businesses and high end outlets…
    … the issue is that you really do not need to take it that seriously.
    Karachi infact started from what is now Lyari! … that makes them the original Karachities… every area has its own plusses and minusses… there’s only one AKU in Karachi… and that aint in dha… nor is the national stadium…the expo centre… PAF museum… Baharia Museum… airport…arena… safari park/go aish… zoo… even the Quaid himself ;) I could go on ffor a couple of hours… but seriously… thats not the point… the point is that every area has its own significance and so does dha.. Recommend

  • THE

    I do understand where the author is coming from and appreciate the intended humor! Maybe people need to lighten the heck up for once!Recommend

  • Malik Hidayatullah

    I hate that stereotyping. Well written.Recommend

  • Uza Syed

    Don’t worry too much about that side of the bridge, let them find out one fine day that the distance from this side to that side is just a couple of minutes and we from this side can tolerate them on that side only so much. Once we run out of our patience then there won’t no difference between hereand there, it’s our city, whole, undivided, complete. They will find this out and with their this attitude, it won’t take too long and let them perhaps make arrangements for a safe haven. What would they like plaese, is it Dubai or Europe or under the Taliban? Recommend

  • really?

    I think the author has a slight chip on her shoulder about being on the other side of the bridge, as “God help the author” said, every area has its own pros and cons, maybe the author should learn to enjoy where she lives and not try and win an imaginary competition that only exists in her own head. Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Really interesting commentary on the social class structure and how it permeates relationships…I have not lived in Karachi…but I have spent a life time on the other side of the proverbial bridge…so I can certainly relate to what you are trying to say…Recommend

  • Smiley

    I hear you. My friends on the defence side refer to my area as China. can you freaking believe that?Recommend

  • Wish the Hardee’s part didn’t spoil the reader’s mood. Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Historically the social divide in Karachi has been driven by the two rivers. The Lyari and the Malir rivers run through Karachi. The upscale areas have always been between the two rivers. The other or the wrong side of the river can mean beyond either of the two rivers.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Ok ! that was a fun read. Recommend

  • Sane

    The contents of this article are baseless and far from the reality. I have many relatives and friends living in Defense and Clifton and they very conveniently come to my place. While I live at least 8 km away from Defense and Clifton. The people to whom I know living in Defense and Clifton even go to Landhi, North Karachi, Gulshan e Iqbal etc. etc. very frequently top meet their friends and relatives living in these areas. May be you are talking about those people who are termed as NAU DOLATIA.Recommend

  • Wanderer

    Very true Sana..Whatever the people are commenting the fact remains that whatever the writer has stated is absolutely true. It always happens. Those who do not agree, go and check out the educational institutes and you will find out all the phrases written in the article. Recommend

  • Sane

    My kids were educated in ‘elite’ schools of Defense and Clifton and their friends and families who were resident of Defense and Clifton very frequently visited my place. Probably you could not acquainted with the class other than NAU DOLATIA.
    First ever McDonald in Karachi was also opened in North Nazimabad A-Block.Recommend

  • fatima

    i am so sorry but i really dont agree with the author here. i live in DHA and i know almost each and avry place here in karachi, even the UIVERSITY ROAD that u mentioned..i graduated frm KU & i knw the routes out there frn gulshan-defence better then my frnds already living dre in gulshan or pechs areas.. and as far as the food & garments outlets r concerned ;the barnds wnat thier products to b sale out so they need to intrduce dem 1st to those ppl who r willin to but dem.. and they find more sales in areas like dha or clifton.Recommend

  • Anon

    SOUR GRAPES!!!Recommend

  • sidjeen

    i smell something burning.Recommend

  • Doomed Lions

    Interesting commentary on the hierarchy of minds that permeate our societies. Recommend

  • Blind folded

    Somebody’s really pissed ;p
    our side rules |m|Recommend

  • Hameed

    Actually it all started with Mr. Umer Sharif making fun of residents of clifton and defence as burgers. That was back in the early eighties. Since then ppl from other localities also started mocking them as too dainty and delicate. Now when that wedge has been firmly planted in ppls minds they make hue and cry over the discrimination. Fact is good and bad ppl live everywhere in Karachi even Clifton and Defence. its just that our society now has complexes which are driven by money power and wealth which is amply displayed by residents of these so called posh areas.

    But in all honesty I’d rather stay in Defence that Gulistan-e-Johar anyday :)Recommend

  • Billy Pilgrim

    We get it, youz got burger friends and an inferiority complex. 1/10Recommend

  • Sadaf

    Good article and quite funny. Spoiled it at the end though with the I win comment!

    People its a generalization for the sake of mockery. She is not saying every single person living in Defense and Clifton is like this or vice versa … chill!Recommend

  • http://Karachi. GlobalNomad

    Saur grapes it is….. OK if this author gets a proposal from DHA/Clifton, she will be the first one to jump at it. The other day I was talking to some family, looks like they go against all odds to send their daughters to Unis located at this side of Bridge so they can hook a well off defense wala. Dont challenge me, I am much older then all if you authors and have seen this happening have loads of cases. Recommend

  • Eerab

    wish u hadn’t said the Hardees part..spoiled the article.Recommend