Inspiration #1, 2010

Asif Patel, the ceaseless motor.

This is the amazing story of a mechanic who runs a full-fledged auto workshop in Karachi that he started alone – and now employs five.

Why amazing?

Because he was born blind.

After my mood was soured by news of another bombing in Pakistan to kick off 2010, this came as a relief – a testament to the extraordinary resilience that the Pakistani people possess. It takes unbelievable guts and enormous strength to work 12 hours a day knowing that a bomb could go off anytime, that few people out there are truly protecting you, that you might never see the people you love again.

That’s the reality that the “stupid common man” in Pakistan wakes up to every morning (Peshawar is probably the worst hit city). Karachi is, no doubt, back to life and bustling with energy and activity as I type these words, days after a horrific series of bombings and what was clearly a premeditated and well-organized attack on some of the city’s largest and oldest markets. A similar assault in any Western city would probably bring activity to a grinding halt and instill fear in everyone; but in Karachi, as Asif Patel demonstrates, threats are simply par for the course and life goes on.

(By the way, this post also highlights the great job DAWN News is doing – arguably one of the best TV channels in Pakistan for consistently producing good, meaningful content. I was full of criticism for it when it launched, but they’ve learned from their mistakes well and are a great example of what’s right in Pakistan.)



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