Before we go to bed the previous night, we learn about the Mumbai bombings, but when we wake up in the morning, we sense new tension in the air as a result of a statement made by Dr. Zulfikar Mirza. The city is once again at a standstill as shops remain closed and public transport is curbed.
Today is also the day for Minal’s last music and dance class at Neem Tree.
“It’s not far from here,” my mother says. “They won’t be closed.”
But when we arrive at the school to drop off Minal, there are no cars. As I push open the door to enter the house, I can hear music. We walk in to an improv-music session run by the teachers, who, rather than sit
around informing students about class cancellation, choose to use their time to practice their craft. Minal joins in and drums her hands on a clay pot. Instead of the formal class, she receives a lesson in improvisational music.
Later on, we stop by my friend Salma’s house; with the city closed once again, we use the opportunity to catch up with each other. As we eat lunch, we receive a text message from my mother telling us that the Gizri bridge is “clogged with agitators.” Over the phone, she tells me that certain mosques are demanding that everyone walk out onto the streets to protest against Dr. Mirza.
Unable to move, we wander over to the rooftop, where Minal chooses the moment to create art.By the evening Dr. Mirza issues an apology. Twenty-four hours in Karachi.