There are multiple characteristics that convert a space into place and turn a house into home. Which may include the emotional connection felt with that place due to various different reasons. Such as, being welcomed by the inhabitants of home. Moreover, the acceptance of diversity should not be a question in a home. Moving on, I am intrigued that can loneliness enter like an unsolicited guest at home? In this essay, my intent is to share the memories associated with my home, Karachi, Pakistan.
Karachi- the city of lights is a metropolitan city, in which people from all over the country come for better lifestyle. PECHS, an area located in the east of Karachi is where I reside and also that is where my college is located. This is the area where I feel belonged, as it has provided me with an identity and comforted me numerous times against all the odds. However, like everything else in this world this feeling of belonging is changing and the happiness brought by seems to be fading away. To further add, Khaled Hosseini, in the book “Thousand Splendid Suns said, Happiness like this is frightening, they only let you be this happy, when they are preparing to take something away from you.”
I wonder, what is my home planning to take away from me? As Elif Shafak, in the book honor said, “Men had honor. Women did not have honor. Instead, they had shame. And as everyone knew, shame would be a rather poor name to bear.”
Moreover, after reading the short story, Dilli ki Sair by Rasheed Jehan, I realized that the pleasure of loitering is unknown to many of us because we are excluded from the society left to gaze towards the ones who are free and are included in the society.
To carry out the research for finding out about public and private spaces and their relationship with different genders, I started visiting different spaces and observed the restrictions and rules which were set.
So in order to, start a new journey of discovering public and private spaces, I went to a nearby park called Kokan ground located in Bhadurabad, Karachi. To my surprise, women specifically in that park were not allowed to sit on swings. I found all the reasons to be frustrated with the sign gazing out at me unabashedly.
Adding on, Tipu Sultan road to me has been like my backyard, an extended home and while commuting from home to college, I saw a skyscraper under construction called Roshan tower, which made me recall the conversation by Sarah Ahmed- an architect and a policy maker.
During the conversation, she talked about how the consent of locals is not being taken while building skyscrapers and because of not communicating or taking permission prior to building a skyscraper, the inhabitants feel anonymity to that space. Her talk enabled me to identify why I feel blue; each time I see a construction going on in my place.
Secondly, back in 2018, December while I congratulated Mr. Sikander Rizvi, CEO of Xanders café for opening their 3rd branch on Tipu Sultan road. He expressed his concern over serious parking problems and said, “Your area is too jam packed.” Today, I wonder if this is my area, my belonging why does it not take my approval before welcoming my guest?
Adding on, till yesterday I appreciated the beautiful line written by Sadia Khatri “The world could carry on with their clocks, while mine had ruptured.” Right away, that situation became relatable.
My daddy in the operation theatre getting his angioplasty done meanwhile I found my coping mechanism in work. So, I went to Habitt-a home textile brand to interview the marketing manager for my communication report.
The sign board, home textile made me reflect towards my home and I questioned, if my home will always be felt the way it used or will it be the same daunting the way I left it today for leaving for work? With each wall exhaling anxieties of living.
After I waited for a while, my team mate was there to accompany me. That day, I found all the reasons to lean on to someone and realized the importance of relationships. Subsequently, I had to remind myself of the culture of Pakistan and had to hide my grief.
As the idea of public and private generate so it’s significant to mention the essay by Elizabeth Farrelly, in which she shares her experience of not being allowed to take a picture of a swimming pool. People swimming there indicates it’s a public place however, as they are nearly naked, making the whole thing extremely private. So, that became reason behind an attendant stopping her from capturing the moment…
Similar to this, my experience with the places which I considered private, have been converted into public and that experience has been thought provoking.
So, the Tipu sultan road became commercialized in front of me and the opening of fancy cafes has taken away the essence of that place, which was silence.
Now that silenced road has been converted into a busy road full of hustle and bustle throughout the day and till the midnight. Due to the pandemic, their set up has been stretched to the streets which has taken away the privacy of people while they eat and enjoy with their family or friends.
Their sales have also declined because paying a heavy amount to sit on not so great ambiance and the constant noise pollution of the petrol pump right next to it causes more distress than pleasure.
Furthermore, the smelly and dirty watercourse has taken away many of the customers off those restaurants.
To further add, all these restaurants are making effort to make the outer space attractive by decorating with fairy lights and Lego blocks but cleaning up the watercourse has still not come up to their consideration which typically describes the life of Karachiites.
As, Karachiites make possibly all efforts to manage their house by themselves and take care of every matter from water supply to the security, despite that these things are to be taken care by the government. To look after, the outward things on the street has also become an unwanted responsibility to us.
Yet unfortunately, many of us continue to stay in denial and hope that our home, Karachi will be adopted. Sadly, it continues to live like an orphan.
Today my cultural studies teacher asked,
Where do you come from?
I tell him,
I come from being oppressed,
My fore fathers migrating,
From Makkah to Madinah,
In search of home.
Karachi may be my home,
A neglected one,
Its people the disowned one,
From Islamabad to Istanbul,
This Karachite is still alienated,
From historical sites,
Lyari brings terror to us,
Under the Clifton bridge,
We see drug addicts,
Every broken road,
Tells me the tale of my sister’s womb,
The bumpy road,
May seem like camel rides,
I fear them,
I fear my sister’s womb,
I tell her to stay inside,
Not to step outside,
Not to step outside,
May be because,
The four walls are the only place,
To be called mine,
Safe and secure,
Where we could hide,
With our lost identities,
To envy the Pakistanis,
Which belong to the other cities,
My lost identity,
I want to gain you back,