Another journey. This time, we’re flying to Houston earlier than we planned and the drive to the airport is familiar. Today the roads are clear. There is no traffic; most of Karachi seems to either be fasting or else participating in iftaar festivities. Already, lights are strung along shopping centers with Eid only a few weeks away.
As the driver goes up the ramp toward the departure gate, we have to cross a hurdle of security checkpoints. Armed guards ask us where we’re headed. They search the car with slim metal detectors and the drive into the departure gate is a zig-zag journey through wooden barriers so potential bombers cannot easily pass through the ramp.
We are used to these experiences: Guards manning machine guns standing outside shopping malls, in banks, and on street corners. We are in Karachi after all, in a city that has undergone a decade of civil war. There are daily reports of shootings, arrests and bombings, but still we roam and have become immune to our purses being checked when we go see movies or go shopping.