As I look upon the view, from the balcony in an apartment I have spent the last 12 nights praying with a particular group of souls. the flat lines of Karachi, from Phase VII, with its long clean roads, and sparse palm trees, move with a dusty beat of life.
Karachi. I have written about it forever it feels. I discuss it endlessly on dinner tables and late night conversations. Sometimes with old friends who have long gone but come back ever so often to share a beautiful only in Karachi type of night.
Sometimes with myself, as I gaze upon the beautiful mystery of its monsoon clouds, and the many shapes of the palm tree trunks and leaves. It is my endless metaphor for seeking truth and understanding spirit.
Sometimes I am at a loss with its massiveness. Its incredible capacity to cover and hide. How we all live here amazes me, astounds my being and over and over again Karachi becomes my teacher. Sometimes a cruel absent one. Sometimes a loving, kind one. Sometimes, most graciously, a forgiving one that has blessed me with treasures that millions in this city cannot afford, or dream to afford.
I don’t know how many Ramzan’s I’ve spent in this city. How many years that the load shedding has started to get worse as the month goes by. Somehow I missed all those years in between when Ramzan was in the winter, living far away in the snowbanks of Canada. I arrived again as it journeys with the moon through the summer wind of Karachi. Memories of my hot, dusty childhood. Of barely any traffic on Tipu Sultan, and riding in a car with my parents, buying that special can of Vimto, secretly drinking it before the fast opens.
Years later, I’m officially in my 30’s, with growing nephews in the house, a puppy who is what words cannot describe to me, and aging parents. I’m not a child anymore, yet somehow Ramzan always makes me feel like I’m meeting Karachi for the first time, with that same innocence and wonder. Or maybe its that my soul gets washed and scrubbed by the process of fasting, with each year the water getting hotter and colder, stripping illusion away to make space for truth to arise.
And I wish, I pray for the peace of each soul that churns and burns in this city of no real description, while the dark, dusty, endless view of its scape dots my horizon.