A peek in the past… Can you remember it all?

Close your eyes….. And go back in time…. Before the Internet, VCD and DVD. Before semi-automatics machine guns, joyriders and crack …. Before SEGA or Super Nintendo or Video Games… Way back…. I’m talking about Hide and seek (Chhupan Chhupaee) in the park or on the streets. The corner shop, Butter Scotch Candy, Mitchells Milk Toffee,Jubilee, football with an old can, hockey, cricket and Pittu with the same ball.

Jumping in enormous puddles, Building dams. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass. Mayfair bubble gum. A POLKA ice cream pop cone on a warm summer night,wait.. ….Watching Weekday 5pm evening or Saturday Morning cartoons… short commercials, The Tom and Jerry, He-Man, Captain Caveman, Waltron, Walligator,Danger Mouse and Pink Panther. Staying up late for Night Rider, Air Wolf or Power of Methew Star. Watching nice Urdu Plays like Un Kahi, Tanhaiyaan, Sunehray Din, Aangan Tera.

Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Climbing trees, having gola ganda stealing unripe mangoes (Karrie)
from the neighbour’s tree . Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles. Being tired from playing… Remember that? The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.

I’m not finished just yet… Eating raw jelly, orange squash, ice pops. Remember when… You knew everyone in your street – and so did your parents! It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best” friends. You didn’t sleep a wink on
EiD Chaand Raat. When 100 Rs. was decent pocket money. When you’d get a coke for 4Rs. When nearly everyone’s mum was at home when the kids got there from School. It was magic when dad would “remove” his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner! At real restaurant with your
parents. We were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! And some of us are still afraid of them!!! Didn’t that feel good? Just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that!

Remember when…. Decisions were made by going “eeny- meeny-miney- mo.” “Race issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in “Monopoly”. The worst thing you could catch from other person was germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to opposite sex. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a catapult. Nobody was prettier than your Mom. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Getting a foot of snow ! was a dream come true.

Abilities were discovered because of a “double-dare” . Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

If you can remember most of these, then you have LIVED!!!

Credit: Murtaza Ahmed

31 Comments so far

  1. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

    jine ye sab na kiye, o jameya naeen

  2. Farhan (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

    Thank you for making me relive the past , those were among the best days of my life

  3. Lies (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

    I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but entire lots of your ‘memories’ were lifted directly off other websites. I knew this was sort of familiar.

    If you are going to get ‘inspired’, please cite the source of your plagiarism. :)

  4. Cy (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    mansoor: what the hell does this have to do with karachi?

  5. Keep Walking! (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

    CY = Mansoor was in Karachi when he was a kid so thats why.. :)

  6. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

    Credit: Murtaza Ahmed

    Credit or Blame?

  7. Raja Islam (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

    Whatever it is a very nice article.remind me my childhood :)

  8. Phil (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    Well Lived is a wrong technical term, coz most of us werent even born then!

  9. zahra (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

    hehe, adnan that’s a funny one! yes i was getting slightly ticked off as i started reading the post, but to be honest with you i really enjoyed it and think it’s very well written.

    phil, if you werent born then, then you must be under 7 years old right now so go have your diaper changed…:D

    this is a good description of a growing up experience in karachi. what would be really interesting to know is– how different the situation is now, for all those little ones born in the mid/late 90’s, do they enjoy and do the same things we did???

    now thats a nice topic for one of you KMB bloggers… :)

  10. Kumail (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

    I side with Cy, what does this have to do with Karachi? The last time I checked this was a blog abut the city not memoirs of the contributor.
    Lets remained focus folks.

  11. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

    @Mansoor: I can remember the days when cold drinks(Coke, RC etc) used to be Rs. 1.50. And when the prices were increased to Rs. 2.00, most of us (the children) were really pissed off as even an increase of 50 paisas reduced our purchasing power to an extent.

  12. verysmart (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

    No matter whatever is the critism, this is a brilliant post… even if its heavily inspired… brilliant work mansoor and murtaza

  13. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

    ON Nov 21, as I opened the gate of my house on Zamzama Boulevard to go to my clinic, two young men put a pistol to my temple and snatched my mobile phone (0300-8907525). I immediately rushed in my car to the Mobilink office which is also situated on the same road.

    The staff was kind enough to immediately close the number and issue me another SIM of the same number. The whole process took 10 minutes. As I came out of the Mobilink shop, I found my car, Suzuki Mehran AEY 514, standing at a distance without the front bumper.

    A traffic police inspector was standing besides the car. A few yards away a towing vehicle with Defence Housing Authority logo was standing with the bumper of my car. The inspector told me that if I will not pay the fine for the wrongly parked car, more damage would be done to the car.

    He ordered me to pay Rs200 to the driver of the Defence Housing Authority towing vehicle, which I did immediately. The driver issued me receipt No. 2815.

    The traffic police inspector after checking all my papers asked me to pay a fine of Rs600 for parking violation. I explained to him the agonising process which I had gone through 20 minutes back. But he did not bother to listen: I gave him a currency note of Rs1000. He said he did not have the change and asked me to leave. On my refusal, he threatened me with dire consequences of pounding the car. I drove away dazed.

    I would request the DHA authorities to ask the drivers of the DHA car-lifting vehicles to be careful not to damage the cars and take action against the driver.

    I would also request the DIG, traffic police, to take action against the traffic police inspector for taking Rs1000 from me, not issuing a challan receipt and not returning the rest of the money. On inquiring, I have come to know that the challan fee for parking violation is Rs150.


  14. ash (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 9:05 pm

    dr sethi apparently remembers his childhood differently. I cant imagine coke ever being 1.50 rupees, – you guys are old!
    just joking, i remember 2.50 rupees as the starting point.

  15. Dee (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

    @Mansoor….> Lovely post.Its always fun to take journey back to memory lane.Moving forward doesnt necessarily means abondoning your past.So ppl of karachi keep remembering especially your childhood memories.
    God still love those chupan chupai and phel dooj(hop scothch)games and reading all those tiny umroo ayaar and afrasiaab books and Waiting anxiously for Nonahaal and tootbatoot magazines.
    Thanks again For the Memories.

  16. Naeem (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

    I can remember to the extent that you’ve got the spelling of ‘Night Rider’ wrong…i think it was ‘Knight Rider’…that’s how Michael Knight came in lol

  17. d0ct0r (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 12:58 am
  18. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 1:07 am

    I’ve enjoyed this post – it’s refreshing!

  19. mansoor (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 1:18 am

    cy: this is what childhood in khi used to be like.. now its way too different, complex and dangerous.

    Hhmm… u guys rem coke at 2.5??!!! wow! my memories start from it being Rs. 6 :-D

  20. ash (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 3:51 am

    Either we are older or our memories are better :)

  21. SWA (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 5:35 am

    Nice post, I remember doing all this as a kid in Karachi.

    I guess Mansoor is missing his childhood! haha.

    But times change, its pretty sad that the fun Karachi of our childhood went through some rocky times when people’s boundary walls started going higher and higher, and nobody was aware anymore of who their neighbours were or what they did for a living. I wish we could again transform Karachi back into the oasis of harmony it once used to be.

  22. Murtaza (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 9:38 am

    I kind of disagree, ok, the prices may have gone up, but i do think kids still play chhupan chhupai and all those games. Unless, their parents spoil them with the latest apple and sony gadgets. :P

  23. Cy (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 10:13 am

    mansoor: bah! it should have ended with “in Karachi” then. and i don’t know too many people who ever walked to school.

    i’m feeling scrooge-like this winter. bah!

  24. mansoor (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 10:47 am

    cy: u sound like scrooge man :D lolzz..

    well, as for walking to school, i used to live a 2 minute walk away from my school :D

  25. turab (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

    I can relate to it completely and this is a common experience for every KHIETTE!!!

    Go mansoor !!

  26. suhail (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

    hey freinds, if someone is interested in seeing the intros of all those 70s and 80s TV series, Knight Rider, Air Wolf , Man From Atlantis, the good news is, we can see them, at http://www.youtube.com
    just enter the name of the show, and the word “intro” , and hit search :)
    happy memeories ..

  27. adeelz (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 6:24 am

    “walking to school no matter what the weather” – whoever walked to school in Karachi, and the weather – hot and hotter – I guess in this person’s nostalgia, it used to snow in this little village Karachi where kids walked to school swinging their lunch-boxes…

  28. K.A. (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 10:04 am

    Coke used to be Rs 1 in my early school days. Nonetheless this is a beautiful post and reminds me of the things that I’ve seen and experienced in Karachi as a child but my children haven’t.
    Many of the things are kinda unique to Karachi in their own way. I mean they do happen in other places but here they had an individuality.
    If you guys are familiar with the song ‘ye daulat bhi le lo – ye shuhrat bhi le lo – bhalay cheen lo mujh se meri jawani – magar mujh ko lota do bachpan ka sawan – woh kaghaz ki kashti woh barish ka pani ‘ by jagjit singh. The poet is Fakir Badayouni but Im not sure of that. Its a beautiful reflection of what we would love to have back.

    Anyhow very nice post – by the way how many of us remember to make boats of paper now. I dont.

  29. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    @ K.A.: “…how many of us remember to make boats of paper nowBoats of paper” – me neither. But I do remember that as small kids, we would make boats of every loose sheet of paper that we could lay our hands of. Then as we grew a bit older, we started making those ‘flying-upside-down planes….now those are the memories.

  30. mansoor (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    paper planes and boats! fun memories :)

  31. Zahid (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

    An excellent, evocative post ! I remember all this, and Coke at Rs. 0.50 per bottle (that must be in the mid-1960s). I am close to 50 now, and I can confirm that each and every thing wriiten in the original post is correct.

    Ah……..those bygone days, that bygone Karachi. I have recently returned to Karachi after a 15-year hiatus, and am so saddened by its decline. I think only the spelling of Karachi is the thing which is the same as the Karachi of the 1960s/1970s.

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