A Karachiite's Survival Guide to Karachi (Barely)

By Shanzeh Jalali | 27 Dec, 2022

Ah, the city of lights. Where the lights get stolen when everyone is dozing off, but nonetheless, the city of lights.

No city on this planet can beat Karachi’s culture (except for Gotham)

I have lived in Karachi my whole life. I am accustomed to the culture, its people, how it behaves, and what one should do when things get out of control. I have heard of and witnessed its hospitality (even when it is frowned upon by strangers).

Recently, I was going through TikTok and found out how a student from LUMS came to Karachi and managed to get robbed within an hour of being in my city; hence, this is a Karachiite’s guide to surviving here, but barely.

Here is the link to the Tok if you want to check it out:



@shayadzohair I love my life ! Mashallah to me !! Road trip time 🚗 #karachi #karachiboy #karachii #karachiking #lahore #lahorepakistan #fyp #foryoupage #fypシ #fypage #isloo #islamabad ♬ Getting ripped x Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – 💵


1. DO NOT Carry Your Phones When Going Outside

source: Samaa English

This might seem a bit off, but trust me; phones aren’t super important. Try to live your life at the moment. Your memories will stay, but your phone will not. If you truly and dearly love your cell and cannot breathe without it for an hour or two


2. ALWAYS Carry A Phone For The Third Person

source: Dawn

Ok, hear me out. Sharing is caring. Everyone has a heart and they have needs, and if the person is “politely” requesting you to give them your phone, it’s smart and kind to carry two of them at all times.


3. Learn The Slang

source: Driver’s Alert

It’s a tradition and part of the culture. When stuck in traffic, learn at least four to five charming words that will make the road look at you in awe. It’s always a good thing to participate in social activities like these.


4. Stop And See

source: The Himalayan Times

A road accident on the side? You have to stop your car and see what’s going on. Butting in on other people’s affairs is how society improves. If things escalate, keep a pair of boxing gloves in your pocket, just in case.


5. The Paan Is A Lifestyle 

source: Dawn

It’s a habit to spit out the paan residue wherever you go and whatever you’re doing. Don’t you eat paan? Do not worry because the water in the mouth does the trick.


6. Gun In Pocket For Fashion 

source: Alamy

Go to your nearest children’s toy shop and get yourself a charray wali gun. Keep it in your pants and occasionally take it out if you are on a bike. For the culture, of course. 


7. Forget Sleep

source: PBS

We, as Karachiites, do not sleep at all. It is considered a bad omen to rest your eyes in bed. We take power naps from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and get to work. We have never known sleep and will never know it.


I truly despise this city but a part of me will always be affiliated with her. No matter where I am I will be a Karachitte who is ready to throw hands when biryani is slandered. Let us know your guide to survival in Karachi! 

cover image via iStock

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