You know how you feel this rush of emotions about the situation in the city and just DON'T have words intense enough to portray it? One of my closest friends, Tooba Akhtar, is a patriot and Karachi lover. Also, a brilliant writer. She has managed to come up with this beautiful, beautiful piece. MUST. BE. READ.
Karachi is my city. It’s where I was born, where I grew up, and where I intend to be for the rest of my life, provided it’s what God has planned for me.
Karachi is also where some, in fact most, of my best memories are. It’s where I attended school and made friends. It’s where my parents held my hand and took me out. It’s the city where my dad demands he kisses me on the cheek every time he leaves the house, be it for a few hours or a few weeks. It’s also where my grandparents spoiled me relentless, and it’s where they, together with my parents, taught me manners. Manners to lead a peaceful life, manners to make niceties, and manners to be a lady; though the latter is not something I always stuck to.
Karachi is where I experienced friendship, and the wonderful people it familiarised me with. It’s where I made friends, and where friends unfriended me. It’s where I had my first crush outside of television. It’s also the city where I experienced heartbreak for the first time.
Karachi is where I found God. In my heart, which is in my body, which is in Karachi. I belong to Karachi and Karachi belongs to me.
Up until recently, I hadn’t realised just how deep my love for Karachi was. I knew I loved it always, don’t get me wrong; I just didn’t know how much. I loved it enough to always defend it. And enough to point out every opportunity I got that we have a beach. But I never quite knew Karachi could make me feel pain.
But it can. Karachi hurts now. Seeing how things have become in this beautifully diverse and uncompromisingly resilient city of mine gives me heart ache. It hurts. To an unforeseen degree. It really hurts. The pain is stifling, bordering on excruciating. So much bloodshed. Of my people. It hurts. And with every half a drop more of blood, the pain becomes increasingly crippling.
But more than hurting me, watching Karachi go down makes me cringe. It brings frown lines to my forehead. I never wanted to feel this way about Karachi, but it has left me with no choice. From being the city that taught me how to trust, it has now become the city I can’t trust. The irony of the situation isn’t lost on anyone. I can’t trust Karachi with my family, my friends, my loved ones, my fellow compatriots. I never know when Karachi will swallow any of them. I never know who Karachi will swallow next. This unpredictability used to amuse me once, it added to the beauty of my city; the city that took every opportunity it got to surprise me, and others like me. But now, Karachi makes me feel scared, but more than scared, I feel vulnerable.
Karachi has now become the city that has enough power to take everything away from me. Everything that’s mine, and everything I love.
Until you recover, Karachi, until you recover. I’m not going to abandon you. Ever. I’m not going to be an opportunist and find an easy escape route. No. I’m gonna fight for what’s mine. I’m gonna struggle. Till I don’t get you back, Karachi.
Karachi, meri jaan. You bring tears to my eyes, and that’s how much I love you. I hope to live to see the day you become you again. Godspeed.