How much things have changed!

The younger generation simply doesn’t have any idea of what life was in the nineteen seventies. To understand how much things have changed, let me tell you how Pakistan was thirty years ago.

To make a telephone call from Peshawar to Karachi, one had to stand in a queue at the post office. Often it took four or five hours before one could talk to one’s relatives in Karachi. One had to change three buses and spend an hour before one reached a good library to read books and make notes to prepare for exams.

I had not yet graduated when I got my first job. To get to work at eight in the morning, I had to leave my house at 6:15. After leaving the factory (which was located in the hills of Manghopir) at five, I would get home at seven in the evening.

Cars were very expensive, and I was able to buy a second hand car (an eight year old Fiat 600) seven years after graduation. One could never even think of buying a brand new car. If you had an engineering or MBA degree, your starting pay was Rs. 500 per month (the salary of a bank manager was Rs. three to four hundred per month). It was very difficult to get another job if you had been foolish enough to resign or if you had been sacked. Books were imported from England or the U.S., which meant that not everyone could afford to buy them. But despite all the hardships that we had to endure, we were happy.

There was only one television channel, and only four hours during which you could watch it. But there were some programs which were very popular, like “Danger Man” and “The Fugitive”. The roads would be empty whenever these programs were being telecast. People had more time for each other, despite having to travel long distances by rickshaw or bus to visit each other. The telephone was not very common, and the day a family got their own telephone there was much celebration in that house.

Oh yes, things have changed, and life is much better now, but I do miss the old days when I had more time to read and walk and talk to friends.

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