02 Feb, 2022

love in the time of omicron…

02 Feb, 2022

L: Roasted corn, camel, and sunset (photo by Minal S); R: With siblings, cousins, and Ammi at Usman’s mehndi celebration

My two weeks in Karachi were punctuated with wedding festivities on one side as the family gathered to celebrate my nephew Usman marriage to Barira, held against the backdrop of severe natural gas shortages, unaffordable fuel prices, rationed water, and omicron.

A week after wedding festivities and my departure, my 90-year-old uncle Ismail Saad contracted omicron and passed away; my sister Beena Sarwar shares his story on her blog. And a month earlier, my elder cousin Shireen Apa also lost her life due to other health complications.

And later this month, my family will grieve the passing of my cousin Samina Saad who left the world too soon as her brother Asif writes in his blog. Since the start of the pandemic, others in my extended family have passed away, while on a global scale, more than 5.5 million people are no more.

Here’s a short list of special moments during our trip, listed in no particular order:

  • The wedding week filled with family, music, food, and opportunities to dress up and dance while masked
  • A beach trip with family punctuated by camel and horse rides, cricket, sunset, and roasted bhutta-corn
  • A tour of old Karachi on Super-Savari and introductions to a new art space and hangout, TDF Karachi
  • Shopping for churris-glass bangles with Minal and Myah
  • Manis-pedis, massages, hair-washes and blow-dries just doorsteps away
  • Home-cooked paya dinners and tea gatherings with community elders and family friends
  • Brunch with Imran and Fareshteh before omicron struck our household
  • Guavas and keenoos in the backyard with sun-rays beating on our backs
  • Insider jokes about chai-tea, chawwal-rice, lentil-daal and more
  • House visit by a mehndi artist who decorated the hands of Minal, Beena, Myah, Ammi, and me
  • A new year’s eve bash with cousins Asho and Asif, hosted by the Parsi Institute
  • Minal’s daily cuddles with five kittens in our front porch
  • A shared family photo album where the images reside
(L) Super Savari bus; (R) Guide offering the tour