This is late 1979, I had completed my intermediate, and my father had retired from his government job in Islamabad. We were moving back to Karachi from Islamabad via train in a reserved coupe of the economy class. The train system was already in a fast decline then. Gone were the days when the reserved compartments only had passengers with confirmed seats. Our
reserved compartment was full of people standing and sitting on floor without reservation or even without tickets. My father had already complained to the ticket checker several times but to no avail. We had put a bedcover in front of the coupe as a curtain to gain some privacy. There were people standing and slowly nudging closer and closer to our reserved seats. One of them asked for the space to sit on our reserved berth saying "guzara karna hai" (need to just get along). The word "guzara" somehow got my father to explode and he viciously turned the person down. I did not understand why my father, who was otherwise so considerate, got so much angry; after all it was just a matter of some space on the berth for a few hours. I could not understand then that it had to do with the use of the word "guzara", and the attitude associated with it. But, now several decades later, having seen the continuous decline in the quality of the services and products all around, whether government or private, I have come to the conclusion that this word "guzara" has become the bane of our existence, it is a malaise that is afflicting our society and eating its foundations.
|Coupe of the Train|