Stories about public transport

Suffering from Asthma? Here is why inhalers should be your best friend!

Asthma is a rapidly spreading disease around the world, including Pakistan. The number of Asthma patients in Pakistan has increased to seven million, out of which two million are children. There are 300 million Asthma patients around the world and this figure is predicted to rise to 400 million by 2020, if preventive measures are not taken. Asthma has no permanent cure and the victims have to live with the disease for the rest of their lives. There are many suppositions on asthma but as a patient of this disease myself, I can surely say that many of those assumptions are false. My battle with ...

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Here is why Paris is always a good idea

Having lived in Paris (well, not in the heart of the city but in the suburbs) for over eight years, I can safely and confidently say that I know this city and its off shoots quite well. This is not exactly a tourist guide but my humble attempt to write a few lines about this city for those who are not in-the-know. I came here in 2007 when I hardly spoke more than a few basic lines in French. I had simply taken a crash course in French from Alliance Française, in London, before starting for France. I had been ...

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No, I am not beckoning you… I am just a woman trying to get to work

To you, The driver who sees my loosely wrapped headscarf, jeans and long shirt, and wonders what’s going on; the passer-by who watches me adjust the messenger bag on my sagging shoulder with one hand and cover my eyes from the sun with the other, squinting at something in the distance; the curious men and women on motorcycles, in vans, riding bicycles and on foot, wondering what I’m doing on a street corner, so early in the day. And especially to those who might wonder if maybe, just maybe… Let me stop you right there and say what doesn’t need to be said ...

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Travelling on a Pakistani public bus is never boring!

I am sure many of you have travelled on public buses in Pakistan or know someone who has gone through the ordeal. In case you haven’t, allow me to enlighten you of what the rest of us have to go through. Here are ten of my experiences while travelling on public transport and the issues many of us have to face on a daily basis. 1. Bus stop? What’s that? Drivers of public buses in Pakistan never bother to wait for their passengers at the bus stops so there is hardly any point in waiting there. And it goes without saying that if you ...

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Help, I am a pedestrian!

While walking in Lahore, I stepped onto the footpath like any other pedestrian. I had only walked for five minutes when I realised that being a pedestrian in Pakistan is the saddest thing that can happen to a person. Apart from the government, that waves away the concerns of pedestrians quite often, car owners also make sure that things are not easy for those walking on the road. This wasn’t the first time I had walked down the street. In fact, I have been a pedestrian for eight years now. I have always been an outdoor person and hence, I enjoy walking and ...

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A commuter’s plea: Revive the Karachi Circular Railway!

I can still remember the days of my childhood in the mid 90s when I would sit in front of my father on the oil tank of his Yamaha motorcycle, en route to my uncle’s place. I can still hear myself squeal in excitement and wave my hand at the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) trains that would pass through Gharibabad level crossing. Closing of the gates, the all too familiar whistling sound and then the speedy appearance of a giant machine pulling large railway carts; it was from this fascinating experience that I started developing my love for train ...

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How thieves on a bus ruined my birthday

It is no secret that public buses are not safe. Speeding, overloading, harassment and reckless driving aside, the recent rise of robberies inside the vehicles while they are still moving has added to the reasons why one would feel unsafe while taking a bus. Previously, I had only heard stories of people being robbed by armed men who board these buses as passengers or by sneaky pickpockets who lure you into a hearty conversation while they pick your pocket unnoticed. A few days ago, I too fell victim to these robbers. I was heading to work in the afternoon on my usual ...

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Why do pickpockets go scot-free?

Embarking on an assignment to investigate a crime, I became the victim of a pickpocket. These days, the twin cities are in the grip of this age-old social evil plaguing our society, especially the poor vulnerable class using public transport. Though I have had the experience of falling victim to pickpockets many a times, this time it was coupled with embarrassment. More often than not, it is old men, women, pensioners, careless youth and the salaried passengers who become the target of the expert pickpockets. The last time, they had taken away all the cash I had on me, my cell ...

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In Amsterdam: When Pakistanis bring shame to Pakistan

‘Hi! Good evening, I want to go to Diemen please!’ I hopped into the second taxi waiting in line outside the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena Station. It was almost 2:00 am and I was returning home from the 25 year jubilee dinner that my company hosted at Den Haag (The Hague). I normally prefer to travel via public transport but this odd hour didn’t leave me with much choice; the night bus would require a half an hour wait and an additional 20 minutes to get home and I was tired. On the other hand, the taxi ride would take me around ...

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Dear women, all men are not rapists!

It was a regular Monday morning, and I left home early to meet a client. I assist a friend with his event management business and we were meeting this ‘rich’ client and so, I made sure I was dressed well and looked my best. My friend promised to pick me up from a spot close to my place, a spot where I decided to get to by a qingqi rickshaw. For those who don’t know, a qingqi is a motorcycle rickshaw with a compartment that has enough space to accommodate six people — three ladies in the back and three gents ...

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