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Technological Wonder: This Mess Of Wires Actually Works

Posted on January 15, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Humor, Photo of the Day, Science and Technology
31 Comments
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Owais Mughal

This photo is a working telephone distribution box of an apartment complex in Karachi. At one end, the box is connected to the local telephone exchange and on other it makes individual connections to several homes.

I had initially chosen this photo for its photographic quality and subject but since then many random thoughts keep coming to my mind. We would love to hear what you think of this photo and what else does it remind you (i.e. tashbeehaat).


(1) From my past life, it reminds me of how the telephone staff had once made a mistake in a similar distribution box. The connections of two apartments got switched. Whenever I called my friend, it went to their neighbors. So after few tries, I decided to call their neighbors number and true to my suspicion, the call went through to my friend’s home. This went on for many days until the telephone staff finally corrected the problem.
(2) Looking at this cobweb of wires, it is amazing how telephone technicians can trace a wire from a home to its correct connection in this distribution box.
(3) Also reminds me of this sher:

kal mila waqt to zulfain teri suljha doon ga
aaj uljha hoon zara waqt ke sulajhne main
yoon to sulajh jatee hain uljhee zulfain
umr kat jati hai waqt ke sulajhne main

Photo Credits: Trekearth

31 Comments on “Technological Wonder: This Mess Of Wires Actually Works”

  1. Boy Wonder says:
    January 15th, 2008 9:00 am

    Cell phones are cheaper the landline these days, I wonder how many people still use landlines.

  2. Naseer says:
    January 15th, 2008 9:23 am

    This represents exactly how the government of Pakistan is organized and working.

  3. ahmad says:
    January 15th, 2008 9:51 am

    it is just like situation in pakistan, one connection army and the rest on the other end, army wire is clean and tidy while the other connections are hard to clean, sperate and into order,,,,,what i can say more , just pick a wire make an international call, other will pay the bill …….

  4. January 15th, 2008 10:06 am

    Much like Pakistan.. the real miracle is that this thing actually works… despite all the visual evidence to the contrary!

  5. Tina says:
    January 15th, 2008 10:17 am

    Unfortunately a public hazard is represented by electricity wires hobbled together in exactly the same way, usually for the purposes of power hijacking.

    On my travels recently I saw in Central America that power poles had rings of razor wire around them to prevent the huge nests of electrical wires from forming along the top as people steal the electricity. Any poles that were not so protected, the poachers had assembled very Pakistani-style snarls of wire up in there.

    Latest trend, at least in India, is to do the same with land-line internet connection. That may also be a cause of an increase in tangles of phone lines. I bet at least some of those wires are hooked up to computers.

  6. Zia Ahmed says:
    January 15th, 2008 10:44 am

    Its normal. I think you have never seen our triditional electric board fitted somewhere at outside walls of houses or at electric polls (khamba).

  7. Sadia says:
    January 15th, 2008 1:15 pm

    Looks like a dangerous hazard. If you had the litigation culture we have here in western europe, someone would have claimed some sort of “injury” by now ;-)

    >This represents exactly how the government of Pakistan is organized and working.

    And a lot of Pakistan generally no?

  8. Adnan Ahmad says:
    January 15th, 2008 1:23 pm

    “”the real miracle” is that this thing actually works

  9. Kabir Das says:
    January 15th, 2008 2:36 pm

    It reminds me of the state of Pakistan. Both work with the grace of God. Mind you it is not an isolated instance. It is a common sight in multistory buildings. And please also note that the electric distribution wires from meters in large buildings are similarly jumbled up which is much more dangerous.

  10. Steve says:
    January 15th, 2008 2:52 pm

    Actually, the wires around my computer and those from my stereo system looks kind of the same….

  11. January 15th, 2008 3:41 pm

    The first analogy that came to my mind was that with the existential conditionof a typical poor citizen in Pakistan. Decimated, ignored, left to fend for himself/herself with the ravages of violence, exposure to elements, sickness, and malnourishment. Even bent out of shape due to being subjected to incessant suffering caused by “imtidAd-e-zamAna”.

    Yet, like that rusted connection box, he/she still drags on – for whoever’s sake – and gives something useful back to the society…

  12. Adnan says:
    January 15th, 2008 3:44 pm

    And this is called entrpenuership

  13. tim says:
    January 15th, 2008 3:49 pm

    >(2) Looking at this cobweb of wires, it is amazing how telephone technicians can trace a wire from a home to its correct connection in this distribution box.

    a cable toner does exactly that; plug the tone generator into a jack in the residence, take the other end with a speaker and probe to the box and start poking the wires.

  14. Daktar says:
    January 15th, 2008 3:52 pm

    Tim, you really think that telephone workers in Pakistan working on this box will actually have cable toners ;-)

    If one could invest in bulk buying cable toners one would first invest in cleaning up the wire mess.

  15. Owais Mughal says:
    January 15th, 2008 4:26 pm

    Tim, telephone technicians in Pak who go servicing these distribution boxes don’t have access to tone generators. They usually have test lamps (to check current) and a handy phone unit to tap into a phone line and to check if it is live or not. I’ve even seen a technician touching telephone wire by tongue (60 V DC) to check if it was live or not. 60 V Dc is provided by the batteries in telephone exchange. The first time I saw a tone generator was during my MS course when an engineer colleague from Siemens proudly did some software decoding on a digital Dial Tone generator as part of our class project. My point is dial tone generators are not commonly available at technician level. Only available to engineers or research people.

  16. Owais Mughal says:
    January 15th, 2008 4:55 pm

    I remember from my childhood that a technician came to troubleshoot our home phone. He put me on the home-set listening, while he went cimbing the telephone pole in the street and tapping into distribution set (similar to the one shown in this photo). As soon as I was able to hear him, he figured out which line was going into our home…so that is how line sorting is/was done in a cobweb of wires in Pak.

  17. Nasir Khan says:
    January 15th, 2008 5:06 pm

    That’s why hiring and firing is not easy in our country!

  18. lida says:
    January 15th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Just came back from Pakistan and this picture symbolizes Pakistan to me. No process, tags, system, discipline, accountability, checking ….
    chalta hai mentality …why do I care ..its not my job mindset.

  19. Moeen Bhatti says:
    January 15th, 2008 5:37 pm

    As many of you have said, This is our Pakistan!

  20. Zia says:
    January 15th, 2008 7:05 pm

    Life of a Pakistani…entangled..without any end..just loops and loops.

  21. zakoota says:
    January 15th, 2008 10:23 pm

    My thoughts are not very different from Adil’s!

  22. Junaid says:
    January 16th, 2008 1:39 am

    this is story of every home and office.
    recently we moved our office to larger location from clifton to korangi industrial area and its been over six months and you know for how long we were able to use DSL just two months for remaining time either phone was dead or line quality was bad..
    few days back we had a new number from different box and switched it to DSL guy who came to install found line quality was too bad he worked on the box and it didnt do a thing so he just took our line out of box and joined it directly it worked but other (neighbours) lines went dead we found out wires were badly attached that little friction would cause them to loose.

  23. Okha_Jatt says:
    January 16th, 2008 5:44 am

    Hmmm, I can think of a hamd from NFAK, “koi tou hai jo nizam-e-hasti chala raha hai, wohi Khuda hai”(There is someone who is running this system, and he is God).

    or the dialogue from an Indian movie

    “Duniya hai, chalta hai, Chalnay do”. This is the world, everything goes, let it be so.
    Cheers.

  24. Pakistan Zindabad says:
    January 16th, 2008 9:06 am

    This is what the Pakistan looks like.

  25. Masood says:
    January 17th, 2008 9:40 am

    I was rather surprised how 80% of the people liked to point out that it resembles Pakistan. Either they do not read the other posts or as always this cycnical habit has taken hold of this forum as well(until now its been few of the good ones). One or two posts like this should suffice, no reason to continuously insult our beloved country.

    To me this is the medusa of the electronic age.

  26. Reluctant Expatriate says:
    January 17th, 2008 9:36 pm

    The picture reminds of my happy days in the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore. We used to replace the fuses (circuit breakers) in the fuse box of the hostel with used shaving blades so as to use electric heaters in our rooms. Eventually the main fuse used to get overloaded and the whole panel blow up. Our punishment was that we would not have electricity for a couple of days. WAPDA people took their own sweet time to replace the panel. This meant we had to prepare our engineering drawings in candle lights.

  27. January 18th, 2008 8:50 am

    Hi Pakistanies,
    this works in Karachi and it is same in Mumbai,delhi or whatsever in India. We the south asians are proud to be a functioning anarchy.
    It WORKS is the important thing.

  28. Agadir says:
    January 28th, 2008 4:48 am

    AOA to alls

    In this time the cell phones are very cheaper and people did not want to take a connection of landline phones.Cell phone companies gives more advantages so peoples are likes cellphones.It is a main difference in cell phone and landline phones and cell phones network is very powerful.
    So the staff of landlines phones did not care their compaies and condition of wire/cables was only on this reason.

  29. February 6th, 2008 7:51 am

    Oh my God it works!!!!!!

  30. Markus says:
    July 25th, 2010 12:14 pm

    I would suggest this crap residential phone interconnection box needs to be replaced. I once saw a british residential line interconnection box, i thought that was bad, but this is worse… Something like wouldn’t even exist one more moment here in germany if one saw it.

  31. Highpower says:
    January 10th, 2011 11:28 pm

    Hi there,

    this remind me only of one thing and thats the f… condition of pakistani state.

    Nations progress forward but Pakistan degrads and that all because the shit mullas and the shit government. Oh people of Pakistan when when will you wake up???????????

    May allah help pakistani poor people.

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