Karachi: An acquired taste…

I don’t know if you’ve ever driven a long Shar-e-Faisal at 5 am in the morning, but it is so surprisingly peaceful. It got me into reflecting on my time being here, and it hit me that in the past 7 months, I’ve really come to love this city. Something about it grows on you overtime.

I’ve traveled a fair bit, and every city I have been to has a different feeling to it. Delhi’s busy, chaotic streets and greedy rickshaw drivers leaves one dying for a moment of peace; Paris gives one the impression that love and art are the same sensation, and that no matter what you decide to do in life, you can always resort to becoming a painter; Amsterdam is its own world, where rules don’t seem to apply, whatever one desires is made available, to the point that desire itself is replaced by a humble sensation of having everything at hand, a unique freedom that builds character in some, mischief in others; Toronto’s fast paced life is underplayed by its inclusive cultural diversity; Dubai has a grandeur that inspires the smallest of men/women to reach for greatness, until they yearn for something more than just profit making…

Karachi’s feeling has changed for me, at first it was an exciting metropolis, with crazy traffic and cluttered roads. Now Karachi is like a melting pot of social class, something different for anyone, yet nothing for everyone. The change here is so fast paced, it leaves pure excitement and anticipation of what is next to come. Not an immediate impression, but one that grows you, and many others that live here for long any length of time.

I know many of our readers are from abroad, or have done a lot of traveling, how do you compare that Karachi feeling you are left with at each visit?

17 Comments so far

  1. ash (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 4:13 am

    I’ll tell you what neoka, you start looking for/seeing “karachi” everywhere else. And you’ll see it in any coastal city. I see it daily in the crazy manhattan traffic. And whenever you see the “melting pot” thats what you think or at least i do.

  2. SS (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 4:25 am

    It’s easier to see Karachi in New York with loads of Desiz every where and people from other countries. I had a friend visited me in Minneapolis MN from East Coast and he said, “Now I see the USA with all the Caucasian folks around which is hard to find commodity in East Coast.”. But yet, I make my surroundings such that I feel in Karachi all the time :)

  3. wasiq (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 4:30 am

    i like new yorkers more….why? because they are amazing people….after saddam i thought they are going to celebrate it for long but no..watching the NBCshows it seems they found a bigger issue in rosey vs Mr trump…..

    life o’life…..some may have more cash than you..

  4. Tamed~. (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 6:24 am

    Karachi was known as commercial hub of Pakistan,
    Some would say it still is. But in last few years, the city has changed so much, increasing lawlessness, chaotic traffic, power failures & street crimes to name a few. My impresssion (the last time I visited Karachi 7 months ago) was that the city has become a ‘problem hub’ of Pakistan.

    But still I love the city & will always.

  5. fazeel (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    I try to compare Karachi to every other city which I have visited.I agree Manhattan more resembles as Karachi but it resembles to the Sadar or the Zaibunnisa Street.Whenever I visit Karachi I feel calmness in my heart which I never find in Manhattan.Eventhough Karachi is chaotic but for me it is the calm city in the world………

  6. turab (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

    karachi karachi hai,
    jinne karachi nahein dekha uunaay jamya nahien

    i luv karachi ,,, soo apna… honestly,,, its hard to find a true karachiette where i live and hence i know the value of karachi and being karachiette!

    i was there last summer and loved every second of it despite a few short comings… karachi is kickin ass! esp compared to the dreadful 90s..

    i can find an open photocopy shop at 1am !! that pretty sums up the vibrant karachi…

  7. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    Neoka, I wholeheartedly agree with you, Karachi, definitely, is an acquired taste…..a taste that will hook you for good and you will keep asking for more.

  8. Bayl (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

    Lovely piece Neoka. Karachi will grow on you so surely you wouldn’t wanna leave at the end of it.

  9. Henna (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

    You’re right-
    London,Houston,New York,Hong Kong,Dublin,Dubai,Bankok,Paris they make no comparision.
    Karachi is chaotic and insane in its own precious way-:)

  10. Neoka (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

    you’re right bayl, I really don’t want to leave!

    isn’t it interesting, a city always has a conscience of their own…

  11. Lies (unregistered) on January 13th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

    Whats different about Karachi is that the sum is much greater than the individual parts of the city. On their own, not much seems to be working for it (transport, power, sanitation, safety, etc) but all put together somehow make an irresistable combination.

  12. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on January 14th, 2007 @ 12:43 am

    What a crap ??? Most of the people who are abroad and miss Karachi would never like to settle in Karachi. They might visit once in few years but would chicken out if they have to live in Karachi. And similarly those who are in Karachi are given a chance to live in Chicago or London, they would not hesitate for a second to move on. I understand there are always few cases which do not follow patterns but this is the whole game. We are never satisfied and we will always wishing for that we do not have right now.

  13. Sufi (unregistered) on January 14th, 2007 @ 4:43 am

    Lies, you put it up very beautifully.

    pph, remember my friend “we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” same goes for people. we don’t see them as they are, we see them as we are.. just because you think like that, please don’t think others have the same values.

  14. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on January 14th, 2007 @ 5:21 am

    Illusion , this is a problem. We would never accept reality, we would always bring some quote to cover us, we would always dream. Wake up please and accept life is not as defined in books. But I agree that people are different and I might be odd one here.

  15. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on January 14th, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

    Have travelled around the globe, Once adopted New York as my 2nd home when at school, BUT

    The peace, tranquality, and calmness i feel after landing in Karachi (Karachi is my home town) is priceless matchless, with places like Manhattan, Rochester, Buffalo, Ontario, Amesterdam, Paris, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Bonn, Dubai, New Delhi and you name it.

    And yes am very much proud to travel HOLDing my Pakistani passport everywhere –

    No Matter how dishonest, bad and how uncivilised we are as nation, there is no place like Home Town KARACHI

    Usually I arrive on emirates flight to KHI reaching at 0455 am, taking radio cab home at day break watching city coming to life is a different experience. Karachi Allah Tujhay Shad Abad Rakhay Ameen,

    By the way I have heard acorss the border that majority of Lahore movie celeberities have shifted to Karachi , is it going to be….. Karachiwood in next few years ??

  16. icedmocha (unregistered) on January 15th, 2007 @ 3:27 am

    can’t realli describe it. like jamash says..the place is just ‘priceless’…its home!

  17. wasiq (unregistered) on January 15th, 2007 @ 5:24 am

    ok folks its too late to go to sleep now and too early for fajr prayers so i sign off and make my breakfast…i’ll fry an egg and reheat the meatloaf of the hunters beef and have it with Lipton yellow label tea…..subah bakhir.


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