Image Courtesy: Express Tribune

They say a picture speaks a thousand words..

But this one right here left me speechless…..

I live in Canada. And the moment I say “Canada”, snow and cold is the first word that comes to mind. We have extreme temperatures here about 9 months a year and even in those three months that we call summer, weather is never reliable. We dance when the weather hits double digits, and 16 degrees is like Ooo La La!

July 1st evening has never been the same; I remember going to see fireworks with n extra hoodie on because the weather is chilly. Yes on July 1st!

During winter, temperatures in my region reach to -30 and -40.  And this is nothing compared to further northern provinces where these are not extreme but regular temperatures. Yet life goes on!

As soon as the weather is forecasted, city governments announce Extreme Cold Weather alerts which means that shelters and warm centres are open and accessible for the homeless and the poor.

The communities help each other. even my lovely neighbours offer to blow our snow when there is a snow storm and its impossible for one person to clean the drive way.

Yes we pay taxes, and then those taxes are spent on situations like these to help keep things running. Its not an ideal world, it has its own flaws and corruption and politics and what not.

Yet when I saw the picture above, I was short of words…..

I am a Karachiite, and I love Karachi. This is the city that feeds millions all over the country, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, religion or race. The resilient people living here have seen things like street crimes, gang wars, political fights, load-shedding and what not. We are the people, who when hear that a storm is about to hit our coast, run to Clifton to see where the storm is coming from and how. We get married and bury our loved ones in the shade of gunfire, explosives and curfew. Everyone who wants power claims he loves Karachi.

Yet when it comes to situations like this heat wave that has swallowed about 700 plus lives in 3 days and that even the local media here in Toronto and global media is giving full coverage in prime time, Karachi is no body’s business. Everyone tries to push Karachi in someone else’s court and everyone runs away. Karachi becomes a prostitute for these shameless creatures called our rulers who want to have all the fun with her, but do not want to own her! If it were not for the brave and courageous people of Karachi, who are always all by themselves when it comes to situations like these, Karachi would not be the same!

I have also spent few years in Dubai and I know what and how 47-48 degrees feel like. But I guess even the Arabs that we always so keenly make fun of, have some respite and humanity. They work evening or night hours, when the mercury goes down a bit. Air conditioners and cold water is everybody’s basic right. Well kind of as I have also seen poor expats working with charcoal and cement in that scorching sun.

And then to top it off the holy month of Ramadan. Where the ordinary people do not know that Islam is not asking you to kill yourself in the name of pleasing Allah. If you’re sick or fear of being sick (Read heat stroke) do not fast.

Plus in Ramadan, everything, i.e., milk, yogurt, ice, fruits, electricity and hence water either disappear from the markets or are out of reach of the common people. So imagine fasting while living on the Sun!

I had been reading so many Do’s and Dont’s about this heatwave, so I thought its going to be a good idea if I sum those up in here. I googled couple of these and found some on Twitter.

  • Stop/break fast. Allah is the ever merciful; He knows!
  • Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency.
  • People over 50 are most at risk, although anyone can be affected because of improper ventilation, dehydration or chronic ailments.
  • Throbbing headache, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat & breathing, behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation and unconsciousness are but some symptoms of Heat stroke. DO NOT IGNORE!
  • If some one or yourself have any of these, fan air while wetting skin with water.
  • Apply ice packs to armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.
  • RUSH to the hospital. And try not to take the entire family as the Emergency rooms are already crowded.
  • Keep an eye on elderly neighbours and try to check about their well being.
  • House maids, servants and drivers are humans too. Try to schedule them during late or early hours of the day, hand them some water bottles before they leave and let them use that air conditioner that is otherwise not allowed!

There are many people who are doing volunteer work on their own. Find someone and if nothing then at least get some cold water bottles to the nearest local hospital. It doesn’t have to be mineral water. Even clean, boiled tap water would do. Remember every good deed is multiplied many times in this holy month!

I called my father as he is old and alone and I am concerned about his well being. And he goes, ” I am okay, you people stay indoors, its hot over there I’ve learned so take care of my babies!”

So basically he was telling me not to worry for him in 47 degrees without water and electricity while I should watch for myself and children as it was 25 degrees in GTA today. Parents are always parents!

My own sister had some serious diarrhoea and nausea last night. After I finish these lines, I am going to call her.

Stay safe Karachi… You are love and are loved!

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