I surprised my future wife with a romantic(?) Valentine’s dinner the year we were dating; and then for the next few years after our marriage.
…and just as suddenly those romantic dinners stopped J, not for want of trying … I just “forgot”!
There is no religious significance of Valentines Day to the general public in Pakistan. However, we all like to celebrate it as a means of entertainment.
Valentine’s occasion brings activity to Pakistan’s society in general. It’s a means of entertainment- besides eating and drinking, there’s not much more one can do in a large city like Karachi.
I’ve found that occasions like Valentine’s increases market activity; there’s a positive vibe in the City; employment and commerce is generated by eating places. Besides this, roadside sellers of flowers have a boon. Patisserie orders increase (…so does your waist line!).
Pakistanis are not celebrating any religious angle with Valentines. It’s purely an emotional outlet … a release for us.
Hotels go full; restaurants go full; the City buzzes; and people enjoy “just another evening” in the guise of “Valentine’s Day”.
So, get out, take your spouse out tonight … enjoy the lights of Karachi and whatever palate suits you’ll.
… I’m surprising my wife with a romantic dinner for two at a Bhatiar Khana (roadside diner) J … either I’ll see you’ll tomorrow or, like the title picture, I’ll be in the hospital.
“Mix Breed”, based on a Parsi family who have to face “intermarriage” issues, is a light portrayal of the real-world issues our Community is facing. With double meanings and inflections, the cast (90% of whom learnt Gujrati “on the job”!) entertained the Gujrati speaking communities of Karachi.
The Script was written by Mrs Huzan Wadia, who has successfully
acted & directed it in Mumbai; and selflessly extended the script on a
gratis basis to Natalia Karanjia in Karachi, this play being the latter’s directorial
debut. Yay to Natalia!
This is what Karachi, and Pakistan, lacks- ENTERTAINMENT. We have food & drink and …………
hmmmmm. Play and theatre is picking up
in Pakistan but to a very restricted market.
The mainstream citizens do not get to enjoy theatre on a regular basis-
whether drama, comedy, musical. Our cast
explained to me the ‘power’ of theatre – they get their rush when the crowd
reacts with them- it’s a powerful, intoxicating feeling; there are no second
chances for a mistake; and when you make a mistake, you have to think on your
feet and keep going.
In the 2000 decade our media was opened – creating a new source of
employment – for budding theatre artists, actors, directors, writers, film
makers, etc. It’s a growth market but we
have to create more facilities for this talent to be nurtured, taught, portrayed
– AND WITH IT allowing us citizens to enjoy these productions and enriching our
lives. Kudos to the NAPAs, Arts Councils
and other such facilities – but we need more!
(The naatak was sponsored by the 109 year-old Young Mazdyasnian Zoroastrian Association (YMZA) and the Karachi Parsi Anjuman- however it is not meant to be any endorsement or official or unofficial stance of the Anjuman, the YMZA or any individual thereof)
I can unequivocally state that my parents’
generation enjoyed the BEST times of Pakistan – no two ways about it. However, my generation of the 1960s have
evolved through one of the most INTERESTING and EXCITING periods of history –
the TECHNOLOGY explosion. I mean, we have
first-hand witnessed –
change from rotary to touch button telephones;
to Digital services telephone services;
advent of the PERSONAL computer (my first computer was an IBM machine) in the
phones – GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G … and all the future “G’s” that are to come;
sat phones, VOIP tech, skype, whats app, wechat, tablets;
to online news and RSS feeds;
media to Social media;
cameras to Digital cameras- in fact, I found one such camera and asked my studio
for a 36mm reel only to be told they’ve been discontinued 😊! So, I’ve started scanning my old reels into
digital photos for posterity;
records, cassette tapes, VHS & Beta to cloud based music & videos;
cameras, car cameras, CCTV – you name it … it’s out of the old “BOND” movies we
used to see!
used pens & pencils but the latest tablet & phone technology uses a
stylus and speech-to-written technology.
Careem, Uber … the list goes on an on.
The generation of the ‘90s has grown up on
digital … they never experienced non-digital communication! It’s online movies, Netflix, cloud-based streaming
movies, etc. Yes, my kids come to the
theatre but they don’t need a cable TV set up in their dorms anymore- they are
quite content with seeing their content on their laptops.
However, I feel, what technology explosion we
saw in the ‘90s was one of the most interesting a generation can witness – notwithstanding
what is yet to come! – and things are
It’s only a matter of time when our thoughts will be transcribed to the written-word … I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s already here !
Look at where we are now … ☹☹☹. We can have all the latest, mechanized tools
but there’s no “system” or “will”, so we might as well [continue] to live in
the dark ages.
There is no reason Karachi cannot reclaim this
glory. I AM KARACHI (http://iamkarachi.org/), the social NGO, has proven that keeping city walls clean & painted
with street art, ensures no vandalism or defacement of property. In the same vein, once the city is cleaned
& maintained by the Municipality, there is absolutely no reason why we will
not maintain the same. I am not
justifying wrong actions but it’s only when our citizens see a clean city will
we continue the practice … and there’s no rocket science involved.
Throw out all mechanical tools and go back to Jamshed
Mehta’s simplicity – put idle bodies on the roads, give them a broom and bucket
each and get them to deep clean the roads, the garbage bins, the nooks &
crannies every night from midnight to 6am. Put a garbage bin on EVERY alternate light
pole; on every street corner; at every traffic signal – enabling people a means
to throw their daily trash! Through the
day have roving street cleaners who will simply pick up large debris like cans,
plastics, etc. You will create
You will give an honest day’s wage to the
unemployed and a meaning to their lives.
Infant mortality will increase. You
will eradicate mosquitos, disease and other scourge of pollution. These are not simply PR words – this can
In return, we will get a clean city and healthy citizens.
We live in a City but hardly go to visit the sites therein…and Karachi has plenty to see!
So, off we
went some years back to see Manora’s Lighthouse and St. Paul’s Church, both located
in the Karachi Harbour and both which we pass regularly when sailing.
This is not only the
second oldest lighthouse (1889) of the British Raj but, we were told, ONLY one
of two lighthouses in the WORLD which are still cranked by hand (and not
battery operated). The other lighthouse is
apparently in Chennai, India.
There is still a
lighthouse keeper … and every 50-odd minutes, he has to physically crank the
lever that rotates the light, dusk to dawn!
Hats off to the
Karachi Port Trust in maintaining this iconic structure and the traditional art
of operating the lighthouse successfully for the last 130 years.
still-active 1865 Church, St. Paul’s, stands adjacent to the Lighthouse – and
maintains a weekly Mass every Sunday for the Christian residents of Manora
According to https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/pak.htm, the British captured
Manora in 1839 and made it their initial base of operations in what is now
Pakistan. The lighthouse & Church
are located on the southeastern tip of the peninsula facing the Arabian Sea.
Not only was this our first visit ever to both these legendary icons but a first for us on Manora Island itself.
Last week I had written about recycling & harvesting rain water (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/08/and-the-rains-are-upon-us/). Then we faced rains in Karachi which I have not seen in decades. The “natural” effect of this was the massive misinformation & incorrect (some genuinely mistaken) social media warnings & alerts on the effects of the rains in Karachi.
One post in
particular, on the flooding of Malir River, got me thinking. At the outset, let me clarify that these are
my personal views and I hope it doesn’t lead to controversy …
Water flowing down Sindh province makes its way into Malir River, which generally lays dry through the year. It’s only when we have sudden rains or this current set of rains when it fills up, and in the latter case, overflowed too.
The major sources of Karachi’s water are the Hub dam, Keenjhar lake & Haleji lake.
Why don’t we “DAM” up the Malir River Basin within Karachi’s limits? Why let the precious rain water go to waste, into the Arabian Sea? If Karachi is seeing its own effects of climate change and our soothsayers predict more of this to come, let’s channelize that water into a massive & natural reservoir down Malir River. A dam in the middle of the City will also become its own, inbuilt tourist attraction (just like Nasser Dam is in Egypt). It’s just a matter of finessing this future dam as the main structural setup is already in place.
There will NOT be any negative environmental effects – in fact it will save water; be a positive social change for the people of Karachi through tourism; it will control the environmental pollutants currently flowing into the Malir River. There will be other benefits!
Do you water experts out there agree to this- or a variation of this idea?
… and now the rains are upon us and we don’t have any catchment system.
Karachi is facing proper monsoon rains for the first time in decades. It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.
What is lacking are individual CATCHMENT systems. Each building can easily have their own rainwater harvesting systems – it doesn’t have to be expensive. After the last set of “rains” a few weeks back (though our rains are nothing compared to what India and Bangladesh have to go through during their monsoons and cyclone seasons ☹) I started reading up on rainwater harvesting systems. In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way! Brazil, Singapore & Australia are other successful examples.
There is a great need for our Government to lead the way in promoting private households, buildings and tall rises to try to catch and reuse rainwater – the WATER IS FREE PEOPLE … we just need to capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it for non-drinking purposes.
This Instagram post from @house.of.leaders got me thinking…
There is a growing disparity I see in our daily lives between the those of us who “have” and the rest of our society. There is a gulf which grows as the years progress.
Information technology, medical technology, smart phones, mortality rates and so much more are, without doubt, getting better – yet I believe the standards of life, in general, are getting worse for the vast majority of the world! As I type this on my laptop in the comfort of my chilled room, @house.of.leaders’ quote glares at me in my face, as I realize 70% of the rest of our Country is withering away in the heat, families trying to get their children a minimal education, so that they can at least read & write, let alone own or use a laptop.
We have a roof over our heads; we wear clean clothes and shoes; have access to daily food, electricity, water, education, transport, medicines, justice … all of which we take for granted. I just have to look out of our car’s window daily to actually see what the rest of our society CANNOT take for granted!
We all have our problems- whether health, mental, physical, work, family. We shouldn’t complain when things don’t always work out for us; because the majority of the world’s population don’t even get a choice of how they can live … they just do!
(Ending Note- coincidentally, a complimentary Tweet by @sudheenkulkarni identifies this deficiency of “compassion” – had both our countries’ governments practiced compassion, I think 50% of these social problems would not exist!)
As a parent, you should be your child’s friend; but, can you be their “BEST” friend? Should you be?
At the very heart of this question is the quote mentioned above- and in my opinion to raise your children well you cannot be their BEST FRIEND. You can be close friends. To be a good kid entails us, as parents, TO BE PARENTS. How can we correct our child if we are their best friend? How can we teach, encourage, feed, advice, “tell”, scold or do so many other things which, as a parent, you can do but as a best friend you cannot or may not be able to?
Practically speaking, even between friends it’s difficult (though not impossible), to correct your best friend– however, as a parent you don’t have that worry.
However, if you are your child’s best friend & vice-versa, won’t you spoil them to maintain that friendship level? Would you be able to say something they are not prepared to hear? Won’t you ‘let things ride’, which actually should have been corrected?
Can you actually raise your child to be a good kid yet maintain a “best friend” relationship?
We are an inquisitive nation and by extension an inquisitive people 😊!
Politically, we just cannot stop poking our [long] noses into others’ affairs … and more than that, commenting on the same. We are ‘holier than thou’!
Locally, we must be part of the crowd – we just cannot mind our own business.
Socially, not only must we ‘keep up with the Joneses’ but we must comment on “them”, their life, clothes, dogs, cats and anything else we are inquisitive enough to bitch about.
We’ll stop to see an accident; we’ll mill around the affected; we’ll give our comments on who was right or wrong without even knowing anything about the incident; we’ll even pronounce judgement – all along with no relationship to affected parties concerned. All because our voice must be heard above the din of another 50 onlookers with exactly the same purpose in mind 😊!
Oi people!!! … Get a life! There’s more to life than inquiring into our neighbors’ comings and goings; the food they eat; their lifestyle; or who they meet.
We should get our own house in order … after all, there’s another countless tongues wagging at [against] us!