Karachi with Rs: 100/-

During my first couple of months in Karachi, I was whisked into the world of cafes, fine dining, parties, and all that is luxurious. The city I saw was buzzing with life and wealth which was a stark comparison to the poverty on the streets and the general lifestyle of the masses.

Although it was dazzling to see the high life in the city, I was determined to learn about the lives of the common man. So, I decided to try and conduct a ‘100 rupees experiment’ to analyse what kind of different activities I could indulge in, in this city with that amount of money (this sum which I presumed would be accessible to everyone – from the common man to the elite).

The list of activities is exhaustive, but the video presented here is a selection of a few of them which I managed in Rs 100 each.

The highlight of my experiment was using alternative forms of transport in the city. I had been getting around usually in rickshaws, which is fun but expensive. Thus the alternative of a mini-bus and a motor-bike ride were very thrilling. The bus ride in particular was eye opening because I had been warned of how it would get crowded and suffocating within the space. But interestingly, when I boarded the bus, a young boy gave his seat up for me and began talking to me about his science lesson in school. The bus conductor, contrary to conductors on buses in other countries, was a child. He was fiercely gregarious and drummed the doors of the bus as well as the handles on the seats, sang along to the tunes playing, and demanded people to pay him the ride fee. The bus ride itself was noisy as the music playing collided with traffic noise and the dangerous thundering of the vehicle against uneven streets. But I survived and in fact enjoyed it even more with the conversation with my new found nine-year old friend.

As for food, when it came to living below Rs 100, dhabas (roadside cafés) were an obvious choice. I had been told that they were frequented by mostly men and the standard of food would be greasier and unclean. However, my experience turned out pretty good. I had the best chai (tea) served hot and full of flavor and naan (bread) served hot too as well as crisp, and replaced with more hot ones when mine turned cold. The men who were there were intrigued by my presence and my loud “oohs” and “aahhs” of appreciation. I learnt not to smile too widely to appear ‘suggestive’ to them and they were otherwise harmless and very courteous in ensuring I had a pleasant meal.

The best part was finding countless things I could do for free in Karachi, like catching the sunset, walking through the parks, a stroll at sea-view or the beach and so on. These are simple things most have forgotten in our pursuit of chasing after more ‘fun and luxurious’ things to do. There is a meditative quality about walking and I’m glad I got the chance to do that here at several beautiful places, for RS 0 as well. I hope this video inspires you to go out and seek things to do in the city beyond the notes in your wallet; to make the ordinariness of your day something worth celebrating.

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