Sunday, February 21, 2010

Karachi Kahani...Dawn newspaper, Tibet Snow Aur Clifton.

A Reminiscent Short Story. By Meherzaidi.

My morning started with the teeth brushing. Bathroom was an interesting place in Nazimabad number Chaar.A large mosaiced place, cool, clean and very private. The door opened in the back "Galli". There were many trees, mango tree with sour, sour "kairees" which were lovingly cut into large square pieces for "achaar'. "Paani na lagey warna saara utar jaiega" warned a careful cook or whoever would make the pickle every summer. Every household in Karachi had a ceramic jar or "Barni". Many a master painters in Karachi have used it as a still life study. Even in Lahore. White . tall body, brown color around neck , almost like a stylish woman , in a cotton 'Borderwali saree' so commonly worn in those days. And it had disappeared almost from Pakistani attire till recent days, saree I mean. Thank god to some fashion designers especially from Lahore the saree is back. I was talking about the trees in my back alley. Then there was the tall ,tall tree of some "Phalee" which had grown tall very fast almost as if by magic. There were comments also about some jinns. Well. Shudder.
So my morning would start with Dawn newspaper at the breakfast table. I have a clear memory of Quaid-e -Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the founder of Dawn. As I grew older I came to know him as the founder of our beloved Pakistan also. Gambols were there and they did teach me the importance of  paying bills in modern urban living. The issues and problems remain today, staring , eternal. Even my husband has learnt the importance of Dawn newspaper in my life,essential,almost lifeline.So they have framed my views, my life imaging, these editors, news writers, journalists.
My dressing table or to be presice my mom's dressing table had paraphenelia such as lipsticks, brushes, combs,talcs, perfumes, coat brushes andof course, face creams. but then she never uses Tibet Snow,the small bluish jar with a well groomed lady looking smilingly, enticingly at you, beckoning to come and use it and look like her. Like a moon. This was so popular ,even across the border. "Mere liye Tibet Snow zaroor lana" would be the "farmaish"to anyone taking a journey to India. My mom used "Pond's "cream. Fahionable, those days. Her face like a fair rose, dark, groomed bob, saree.That was my mom. A poet . She learnt Urdu or Indian classical singing, attended "Mushairas"hosted musical evenings at home, ran a montessori school, did social welfare and was a Muslim leaguer. Her shadow overshadows me even today
Then there was Clifton. A beach that has paid an almost eternally important role in my life. So many times I had the opportunty to settle abroad , in America, London but somehow Clifton never let me go . I still reside on this lovable beach. very polluted though , now,after the oil spill too.
There was this Kothari parade,a majestic landmark structure with sloping walls. We would alight from our Bedford van, run across, climb the sloping walls and shriek in sheer delight. Then with chappals in hand run down the sands of Clifton right down to the sea shore about a kilometre or two away.There are roads and hurdles now, in between. It was free, with warm, sands in between then. We wore cotton frocks then, Now even most little girls wear hijab and shalwars. How times have changed. Then those times people were more tolerant, mixed cultures, happier I guess.
The sound of the Arabian sea I still hear as the tides come up every day and night twice. My memories are pleasant , so poetic,so carefree,  so unlike now!

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