How incredibly surreal is it that karachi goes from feeling like a safe, bubbly city of many contradictions to a horribly dangerous one over the course of 24 hours? We slept to a safe city, with its regular dose of city problems, but by 9 am we were wondering whether we had sent our children to school or to the gates of hell? What if there are hooligans out there burning buses and shooting people? There was a call from M's school that we must collect her by 11 am. At A's school there were only four children. All shops were closed; gas stations were shut off with shamiana. We went towards Metropole to get ice cream for the kids, and there was very little traffic. The few drivers on the road appeared tentative. As we were coming back, I flipped through the radio stations and all were playing marsias or religious songs and I finally settled for some sufi kalam with a weird seductress narrator. Then I stayed at home the whole day, cut paper, glued it together, painted with the kids, and later edited documents. I am wondering if it is safe to be on the highway tomorrow. It was just another Friday afternoon directly after the assassination of a political leader.
Why is it that this city sighs in unison?
Outside A's school today at 12 pm, I met a friend who told me that her driver, Islam, passed away. He was an Orangi Town resident, and the police said he stepped over a live wife under rainwater. He was in his 50s but looked much older. He had driven my kids and I, along with our friends many times to the Karachi Zoo and other places. It was the saddest news I heard today. Even when this city is safe, there are so many infrastructural problems, lack of social support networks, so many terrors the poor must endure.