“..I am wondering if you’d be willing/able to maybe spend a day with me in the city showing me some of Karachi’s interesting spots..”
It’s been a while that I have been out in the street. A gentle request to show around made me calculate the schedule to explore Karachi in 360 minutes. We started at nine. Heading to the Governor House, I pointed to the Cafe Grand which has been restored, albeit with a pompous shade of stone. We did not make a stop there as I was unsure how the crowd will take a tourist taking pictures in the street at nine o clock on a Sunday morning. I have not seen one in Karachi for very long but as soon as we reached Freemasons lodge, I asked the driver to stop. It would have been unfair with the lady to miss another landmark with such a rich heritage behind.
“Can we go inside and take pictures”, she asked incredulously.
“No one would bother stopping us”, I said while opening the gate.
We took pictures and counted the steps. The tablets still had paint drops which have not been removed. We went out and headed to National Museum.
The Museum’s gate was shut but we could see people inside so we thought there might be another gate. We drove around but instead ended up going to Hindu Gymkhana. The gate keeper did not dare asking saab log about the purpose of the visit. Very kind of him. We took pictures until a suspicious guy reached us.
“Well, we are here to buy the tickets for Stumped”, I said mentioning the play being performed at NAPA right now. The play is special not just because it was written by a special friend. It proved to be bloody brilliant.
I bought one ticket for myself and we moved out in Museum’s direction. This time we found the gate open. The Museum was as sorry as ever. Half of the galleries were closed due to renovation. Rest of the galleries had fixtures which have not been cleaned for ages. I asked a curator about the famous moon rock which was gifted by Apollo 17’s mission on their visit to Karachi for the people of Karachi and Pakistan. He asked me to request the director to get the permission to see it. Surprisingly The director was very approachable.
“We put it inside a locker. Though we are planning to celebrate 40 years of visit of Apollo 17 crew. Please drop your email and we will invite you.”, the director was very kind
“But the lady from far far away won’t be able to witness it”, I tried to work it out.
He thought about it for a second. He allowed us to see it. It was very kind of him.
Afterwards we walked towards Subhraj Chetumal Terrace which is inside the boundary of the museum. It’s still not renovated completely. Few goats were grazing and children were playing there.
The we drove past DJ Science College, Mitharam Hostel, Old British Council, Aram Bagh and Sevakunj Hostel. We finally stopped at Kabootar Chowk opposite Sindh High Court. Little kids were throwing corn for pigeons to chew. My guest was moved with the scene and took dozens of pictures.
We drove to Flagstaff house afterwards. It has to be the best maintained stone building in the city. I thanked the curator for it. He was proud of it. The lady was fascinated to find that it was designed by a Karachite Jew, Moses Somake. We made a compulsory trip to Frere Hall and felt sorry for the only angel left supporting the fountain. We also looked at the people buying books. And people chilling under the trees.
Mahadev temple was the last landmark on this 360 minutes long tour. The temple is inside Bin Qasim park and is a natural wonder. It is inside a huge cave. You need a friend to get permission for going inside. Taking pictures is prohibited.
We parted our ways then. It was a wonderful day but it did not end there for The Karachi Walla. A refreshing play written by brilliant Imran Yusuf was cherry on top of a beautiful day.
Wish a Karachi which will be much more approachable in future. And I don’t pray often.