Monday, 12 January 2015
Sunday, 11 January 2015
The sun is spreading its light and the birds announcing the message of God that O! Lovely creatures open your eyes and get enrich with the beauty of the sea, the atmosphere, the shrillness the birds are facing they want everyone to feel it. The sounds of shore slowly marching ahead and spreading over the soil is bringing a pleasant smell to one’s senses. The light of God has spread more and the sky has fully turned on and darkness gone. With unusual amounts of guests, walking over the shore, some feeling the water and other’s chanting sounds that seems to come from the depth of their vocal cord. Announcing that today is Sunday and they want to spend most of their time at sea. These chanting slogans and excitement makes the neighbors near the Sea view get onto their feet as soon as possible. As if we are guests to all these people and we are welcoming a worst day. People from far off places came to visit Sea-view and Sunday is the best time for it. There is a fact that those who come from rural areas to Karachi if they haven’t visited Sea-view than their journey is incomplete. Young guns go crazy on their bikes and their silencers make the worst sound they imagine themselves to be doing a Hollywood action film scene.
Families, couples, young guns and sometimes disabled children came to enjoy and feel the atmosphere which indeed is very different and if you have been there you can smell it right now. The sea is calm; the smell acts as a magnet and the joy is never ending. The neighbors due to unusual guests all the time are sometimes fed up of so much joy. And they wish the Government should banned picnics on Sunday.
We had two guests my cousins at our home that have come from Larkana. After they got free from their busy schedule we finally planned to go to Clifton and Sea-View as it is the famous spot for visitors. So finally the day came and on Sunday after eating lunch we left our home for Clifton. I was accompanied by my sister and two guests.
It was 31st of July on the eve of Eid when we switched on our televisions and we heard that many people have drowned in the sea. It appeared as a common story because once in a week or on weekends many young souls lose grip over their legs and go deep into the water and are drowned. The life guards can’t stop them they seem to be dysfunctional and they can only help people to survive by putting their lives in the sea. Initial reports informed that three young souls and a 12 year old girl have been drowned near famous picnic spot “Do Darya”. But after people arose their voices that more people are missing, government washed their eyes and awakened from a long sleep, the rescue teams expanded their search activities and rescued more bodies whose breath was no more and subsequently the amount kept on increasing as administration failed and Navy with their helicopters came into the battlefield rescuing innocent soldiers and at the end it was reported that more than 40 people lose their souls in water.
The car starts, put into gear and moves slowly and starts to march towards the destination. In the middle of the journey, our guests were enlightened by our tales about the earlier tours with our other cousins. Meanwhile my cousin asked me that can I take them to Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine. So we decided to pray at the shrine. My last visit was before 2007.
We finally reach Clifton Road but when our feet touch the soil, we saw dug-up roads, mounds of earth, choked thoroughfares and alleyways, all were presenting an image of Moen-Jo Daro. It was all due to construction work on a flyover and two underpasses on the site. The area appears to be barren especially the recently renovated Bagh Ibane Qasim and lots of other historic places such as Jehangir Kothari Parade and ancient underground Shree Ratneshwar Madadev Temple.
The temple’s existence is of historic importance. The stairs of the temple lead to as many as six levels, situated in the opposite direction under the parking area many believe it is under Bagh Ibne Qasim. The tunnel which lie in the fifth and sixth basement levels leads to Mohatta Palace, fourth level is courtyard on the terrace there is a cement pigeon house with clean water, situated so near to the sea a sweet water springs at its lowest ebb is another nature’s miracle. Just as the followers of Ghazi believes that the shrine holds the sea back from flooding the sea. The Hindus believe that Lord Shiva third eye watches over the sea and keep it in check. But many of the rocks in the cave have developed fresh cracks due to the digging and heavy construction work outside. But the Hindus haven’t appealed against this development; they are indeed trying to reduce violence between Hindus and Muslims.
We cross this ancient ruin for a good cause left by the mastermind owner of Bahria Town and reach our destination i.e. the shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi. But the shrine which is famous for its spiritual power was under high security zone now and in order to reach the stairs which were zig zag in the earlier days when I have visited the place. We have to cross high small security street and twice we were checked. And finally we reached the stairs and went to pray at the shrine. There were a lot of devotees praying, reciting in loud voices; some were snapping pictures, others crying with their heads bowed and in a line we have to stand to pray at the shrine. Finally after a long lane our turn came but 15 seconds was the time, there were some “protectors or soldiers of the shrine may be” who don’t let you stand for more than 15 seconds and ‘move ahead move ahead’ were the instructions. So in 15 Seconds we came out. I hardly know what my cousins prayed at the shrine in such a valuable time.But it was a technique to let everyone pray as there are enormous amount of devotees. Now we live in an age of terrorism where not even mosques, religious saints and Sufis are protected. But our internal security measures can let to make a difference. Walking back to the main entrance from the stairs, in between we snap some pictures so that my cousins can relive the memories. And walking again through the security lane we reached the main road from where we have to go to Sea-View.
Passing through the Hyperstall mall, the sea was attracting us towards itself; the first sign of it gave you an everlasting joy. But as we reached near the sea my sister suddenly said why there are no people around the sea? Memories of the past events flashes back in my memory, the complaints of the neighbors that we read in the newspapers, the car racing, the bikes going crazy and families and couples at the sea side. We finally parked the car near the street, the car parking instructor was not there so the extortion money was saved. When we arrived there we saw very few people there and then we came to know that section 144 has been implemented and government has banned bathing in the sea. Life guards were standing nearby and they were stopping people from going into sea. Perhaps the government in state of confusion banned not only bathing but walking near the sea as well. Police vehicle was marching on the soil, the sea I think was also in the state of terror and the water which on usual days is on the shores almost near to the end of the footpath was too far thatday. We were unaware of the fact that the government could ban going to the sea-view for so long because almost a month has passed since the incident occurred. But we didn’t give up we felt the soil, snapped some picture and also tried to play with the law and tried to wet our feet’s in water but as we go near to the water , sound of whistle kept on increasing and warning came up that don’t go near the water. Perhaps bathing and getting your feet’s wet are two different things I guess but it was the precautionary measure for future I guess. I didn’t want my cousins to break the law and spent a day at Clifton police station. So we stayed at the shore, saw the sun playing with us. Eating chaat there, we finally left the place as darkness was spreading its shades and the street lights were closed not to be opened till the government orders. And we left the sea for our home with little disappointments in our heart. But days after I was happy to read that people are allowed to visit and bath in the sea. And the sea was spreading its magic again.
So Karachi which is known as the city of lights was hiding itself under article 144, security and terrorism for some time. But we are continuously struggling to make it better, passing through the security zone every day, breaking each wall that it is building around itself in the name of protection. Yes the new Karachi has replaced the old one. But still the old one is alive in our hearts and the sea, shrine and the parks they all are reflecting the joys of the past. And by visiting such places once a week we are being revolutionary against the government and atmosphere which is restricting the people of Karachi to make borders between it and ourselves. But we will break all the barriers and keep on living with the glories of the past.
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
I can sense a presence, as if someone is behind the wall waiting quietly and patiently foreseeing my every move and persistent enough waiting for the right moment to march with an army and attack. They shoot to kill and never miss, I’m terrified. These sounds haunt me like I’m a criminal being threatened by the cops. I can hear distant noises but there is a prevailing silence that makes me uncomfortable. I would have found my solace in knowing if someone was there to watch my back. But for me, it’s like a dream that can never come true. People abandon me for one reason or another, but I’m still not sure what it is. It has been like this for as long as I can remember; all I know now is that I’m all alone out in this battlefield with myself being the only reliable. I did not choose to be alone in life- destiny did.
Roaming around in the house isn’t my hobby, but sometimes, you just have to fight your fears making sure everything is in order and under control exactly as you want it to be. Sitting on the sofa watching a movie is all I can do when all other characters in my life are enjoying their life to the fullest. All I yearn for is to be part of someone’s life- not minding the characters being fictional. I am just about to witness an important scene in the movie in which the villain is walking towards the hero loaded with arms to finish him once and for all, but suddenly, something more important catches my attention. It isn’t the movie, but me. I can hear somebody in an attempt to break into the house. I grabbed the remote control and put the TV on mute. My eyes were on the TV but I was all ears. I wasn’t sure what frightened me more, the walking sound of Mark Wahlberg towards the enemy or the one that I heard while the TV on mute.
The barking dogs confirmed my suspicion that they had seen and sensed something irregular. A beastly presence lurking in the dark with evil desires. Watching the clock repeatedly didn’t comfort me because the sun has abandoned me like the rest of them. All I have now is just the 100-Watt bulb to help me beat the darkness that is growing not only within me but also around me, with every passing second. I switched on and off the lights, to make sure that everything was normal and to reassure myself that there was a party going on in the house. But my heart knows it that the party has been over a long time ago.
People think that artificial lights beat the darkness, yet unfortunately, it’s the light that comes from within that helps us to survive. I’m devoid of such light for reasons unknown and more complicated than Algebraic formulae to be figured out. People have weird concepts of safety and survival. They lock all the drawers but put the gold in their pockets. A sudden loud noise outside grabs my attention- “I have to be strong, I have to be strong. There is nothing wrong” I drilled myself with this idea now and then. I slowly got up from my sofa and tiptoed towards the door to check whether it was locked or not. Thankfully, it was still bolted tightly and firmly.
I am getting tired of being panic-stricken. All I want to do is to rest my head on a soft pillow and escape from all these worries, but it seems that even my freedom angels are conspiring against me. I cannot even wink for an entire second in peace, despite the tiredness of the entire world. I sometimes just want to close my eyes forever, but an unrecognized fear makes me sit up straight in bed. What follows is a storm of howling questions on the eternal submission of our soul to the soil, after which there is going to be no escape. This idea trembles me even more. I distractedly looked up at the TV. Another action movie had started, but you don’t want to watch it when you can sense a vivid trailer of it all around you.
What to do now? I want to read a book but I don’t want to see the traces of blood on it. So I gave up on this idea too. Then what can I possibly do to find some relief and peace of mind? An idea struck me like a thunderbolt, “Let there be light, for there is too much darkness in this world.” Let these lights spread its wings and paint the world in bright colors of love, beauty, hope and friendship. Just have a glass of dew, pick up a pen and a paper and slay all those evil thoughts that are scaring you to death. When a stone hits your door and you open it in fear but there was no one but a ghost friend provoking your thoughts to come and be together on a piece of paper for eternity. When you spread the ink of words, all your fears are killed by your imagination as you enter another world where you get what you want; you become what you can only dream of and be on the top of the world like you always wanted to be.
“What else can you do in loneliness than to write?”