Where in Karachi?

karachi zoo
Let’s see how many of you can guess this, answers at 9 o clock. As a hint, here’s a translation of the poetry on the wall:

This thing is for looking, look at it again & again
Talk to it, Look at it closer
The head of a human, the body of an animal
This is not real but an illusion.

Image credit: To be revealed with the answer!

Update at 11:58 PM : Sorry about the delay, but as most of you have figured out, the correct answer is of course, Karachi Zoo. Thanks to Umair Mohsin for the image who uploaded it on Flickr yesterday.

I’ve only ever been to the Karachi Zoo once in my entire life, and that too was way, way back when I still in Montessori school. I barely even remember the place, except from pictures we took on that outing. I do however remember reading reports in the papers not that long ago that the zoo wasn’t in particularly good shape, but its heartening to learn (via one of the comments here) that things have improved in recent times. This particular photo was striking, even somewhat disturbing for me, for several reasons, especially as I read the description of the picture Umair provided:

One of the ‘illusionists’ (more like a rip off) at the Karachi Zoo. Seemingly there’s this head of a woman joined to the body of a fox. Once you enter the place, it’s more of a eunuch’s head who’ll request you to extra rupees to talk to him/her.

My first question was, what exactly is an eunuch doing at a zoo (a facility where animals, not human beings, are confined within enclosures for being displayed to the public)? And secondly, what gives anyone the right to describe them as having the “body of an animal” like the poetry near the entrance implies? In fact I’m fairly shocked this hasn’t been caught up by any human rights organization thus far. Or perhaps eunuch estrangement from mainstream society is so accepted a fact that traditional norms of political correctness with regards to gender issues no longer apply on them. Am I missing something here or do others also find this equally disturbing?

14 Comments so far

  1. calyps on May 6th, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

    Karachi Zoo


  2. abdulsami on May 6th, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

    Gandhi Garden, Karachi (commonly known as Chirya Ghar)


  3. shoaib on May 6th, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

    Yes and the picture of the lady is Mumtaz Mahal or Begum. I wish i can have so strong memory to rememebr 25 years old things. Karachi Zooligical Garden almarrof Gandhi Garden.


  4. Adnan Siddiqi (adnansiddiqi) on May 6th, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

    It was very "difficult" Zainab. So difficult that hardly any native Karachiite could guess it.


  5. Shamsi (shamsi) on May 6th, 2008 @ 11:18 pm

    ahhhhhhhhh gandhi garden…. Late Motee (the elephant)….. Late Kangan (the tigeress)

    Mughal Garden ~ Baradari

    Zoological Garden Karachi aka Gandhi Garden @ Nishter Road (Lawrence Road) Karachi – 33 acres of area established in 1878

    http://www.karachizoo.com.pk


  6. balma on May 6th, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    Last time I went in to see this (and the only time) was 35 years ago, there was this hijRaa type person acting like a woman. Even as a kid I could tell that he was talking dirty, because I remember my mother and her neighborhood friend (bengali neighbor) getting annoyed.
    But, the classic thing during that trip to the Gandhi Garden was our neighborhood aunti, who was Bengali, pointing to a little bird and saying…baazi, voh uloo kaa paThaa daikhyae.
    And us brothers were all excited that …auntie nay gaali dee hae, auntie nay gaali dee hae…. Moral of the story: gaali in one language is a normal statement in another. This was a couple of years after Bhutto, Yahya, with the help of Jamat-e-Islami and army had destroyed Pakistan….Pretty soon, bengali auntie with our other Bengali neighbors were sent off to a temporary shaamiaanaa in our neighborhood to be sent to the erstwhile East Pakistan. Their place was taken over by the hordes of Biharis and other Urdu speakers who were travelling in the other direction from Bangladesh.
    Time flies.

    I have been to Gandhi Garden couple of times lately. Though it has much fewer animals, the place really looks much nicer, cleaner, and greener.
    When my goochi poochi was feeding the ducks, I thought to myself that many many decades ago probably my father thought I was a goochi poochi too when he saw me feeding the same ducks in the same pond.
    There was no haathi though!


  7. Tariq Khanani (tariqkhanani) on May 7th, 2008 @ 10:04 am

    i used to go there in summer vacations during my schooling, and man i was excited about it. we usually returned home by Taanga, that was fun


  8. Tariq Khanani (tariqkhanani) on May 7th, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

    @balma

    my father thought I was a goochi poochi too when he saw me feeding the same ducks in the same pond

    those ducks must be very old now :p


  9. balma on May 7th, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    yeh figure of speech thaa, not exact truth:-)


  10. Syed Johny (johny) on May 7th, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

    :)

    I went to this zoo around 16 years back when I was here for Vacations ( I used to live abroad),

    I have no memory of the place, but this post has given me a desire to visit it again ! :D


  11. khirocks on May 8th, 2008 @ 4:51 am

    Good post! I went to the zoo during my childhood, dont even remember it clearly now. Now, I plan to visit this place on my next trip to Pakistan :)


  12. salmakhan on May 8th, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    Nice to hear about Karachi Zoo…..good old days.


  13. extiinct on May 8th, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

    We used to drive by Karachi Zoo on our way to school…catching a glimpse of the elephant used to be the highlight of our drive.


  14. seskey on May 8th, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    mouth organ bajanay wala hathi and ride on the massive animal wow, by the WAY thats is the ONLY Green patch Oxidising City polluted area. hope it stays there for our grand children



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