Back to Karachi

Some months ago, upon my return from a longish trip to the city of my birth, Karachi, I wrote here about my distress at what I described as the miserable state of that city today. My words caused pain to some who live there, and who felt my expression of disquietude as a sort of betrayal. Though my own feelings remain unchanged, I am pleased to be able to present a more sanguine reflection on Karachi from a fellow exile; one, moreover, who is a dear and old friend. Zainab Masud writes today in Karachi’s best known and largest daily, Dawn:

Again, it is the people in Karachi through who you sample the sense of gaiety and energy the city has to offer. The individuals who made my world — some family members and friends — all have something in common. Strength and sensitivity. They are brave and kind, undeniably loyal and unflinchingly optimistic. I saw them take on their challenges in life with resilience and integrity. Through my good and bad times, through happy days and heartbreak, they promised me that it would be ‘all right’. And it was. It’s the people that make a place, they say. It is.

I’m continents away now, and last night I stood by the Mississippi river watching the mist float over the waters and into the town. New Orleans lay steeped in old-world charm; through the mist we walked into the French Quarters where horse-drawn carriages trotted down the centuries old streets. A pale-faced man in a long, black coat reminded me that this was the home of the vampire.

I am far from my own home, trying, tentatively to find a new beginning. But the beauty of Karachi lies deep in my heart. Having found it after much trepidation, I cannot let it go. When the plane glides down, towards Karachi, the lights of the city sparkle with confidence. Wounded and aching after years of violence, Karachi is still dignified in it’s resilience. The energy is luminous.

Read Zainab’s full article here.