26 Jul, 2007

I've been in Karachi for almost…

26 Jul, 2007

I’ve been in Karachi for almost three weeks, yet it seems like a lifetime, as if I was never anywhere else. I sit at Beena’s desk with all the blinds down. It is past noon and outside, the heat is searing. A mynah sends out a musical chirp. By now, Minal can recognize the different bird-sounds: the mynah that sings all morning, the pigeons that echo guttural coos from behind my parents’ air-conditioner, and the aggressive bellows of the young rooster that the gatekeeper has adopted.

In the weeks that we’ve been here, a lot has happened. On the national front, we landed the week the Lal Masjid fiasco imploded, the day bearded Maulana Abdul Aziz was arrested in a burqa, after which negotiations stretched for almost another week, only ending on 17 July when the army launched an aggressive attack that led to many casualities (the exact body count is still under debate); the almost daily suicide bombings, a new phenomenon in this country, in the northern areas and in Baluchistan; and more lately, of course, the exciting verdict on the Chief Justice who has been reinstated to power.

Everyone is talking about how these events mix together and more than anything, there’s excitement regarding the precedent that has been set when the verdict on the chief justice was accepted—this was the first time the verdict of the Supreme Court has gone against the military government and has actually been accepted. The aftermath of this decision has yet to be seen. In the meantime, suicide bombings continue.

On the personal front, I went out for coffee with five ex-classmates, some of whom I attended school with for more than fourteen years. On Sunday, there’s a brunch where more of us will gather. I’m also in touch with some of my first editors and fellow journalists back from the 80’s when I was working at The Star, one of Pakistan’s leading radical papers that’s now defunct. Next week I’ll be giving a reading at an exciting new spot in Karachi, the Second Floor Coffee Shop. I attended a jazz concert there last week. The music was great but the funniest moment was when I walked in and ran into three people I know from Houston. The world is getting small.

It’s challenging to post blogs right now. For a while, I was riding on a wireless service from someone in our block, but then he/she must have caught on, because a password has been set on the connection. So, I’m back to my mother’s slow but reliable dialup and for that I need time—something that’s always a challenge in my life.