1 June 2017

Karachi, I'm not afraid


Last month I got an email from a girl who lives in Dubai and got a marriage proposal from a guy in Karachi. She asked me about Karachi. How things work here? Where do the Karachiites go for shopping/to have fun? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? And I realised I'd have to explain about my home. If my home is safe. If I'm scared of it. If I'm scared of what roams on the streets. If I'm scared I might get hurt. I know this city has blood on the streets and it can be cruel. But I'm not afraid of Karachi. Even though I've moved to a ghost city Thatta, Karachi will always be "the home".

I was born here. I grew up here. My favourite people are buried here. I know all the roads, from Shahrah e Faisal to Sadar & from Sohrab Goth to University road. It feels like no matter what happens, I'll find my way back to where I want to go in this city. It doesn't hurt me even if it's mean sometimes. I understand what goes inside the city. I've been a part of it's sadness. The only politician I ever cared about was murdered here. I watched her dead body being carried away on tv, about 25 minutes away from the crime scene. 



I know its dirty traffic, too many cars with shouting men. I know its street food, the lemonade stalls, the gol gappay & aloo samosas I'm emotionally attached with. I know the areas I'm not supposed to go alone. I know where to go to find the best clothes and the best fruit and the best meat. I still remember the night of Karachi Eat earlier this year when it felt like half of the city was out to celebrate the night of food, it was bright and everyone was happy. This is how I remember Karachi, brightly lit on a dark night. Not as breaking news on other people's tv channels or a sinking economy. 








We know each other, Karachi & I, by heart. Maybe it knows me as the little girl who was born on the northern side of Karachi on a busy August day when half of the country was still wrapped in Pakistani flags for independence day celebrations. Or as the girl who went to "I'm Karachi" campaign booth to help in making Karachi better. But I remember Karachi as my first home. There's a famous poetry verse in Urdu, "Pahunchi waheen pe khak jahan ka khameer tha" (translation: the dust returned to where it rose from) I keep going back to Karachi and I hope it will also be the last home for my bones one day. 

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