Abandoned. Abandoned by the Railways but still playing a role in people’s lives. As a socializing space. As a parking space for vehicles. As a storage for tree logs. As a cricket ground for children.
The Karachi Walla expected the station named after the birthplace of Jinnah to be somewhere in Kharadar but it was on the main road leading to People’s Stadium Lyari. In a vast empty space which separates the Mauripur road from Machar Colony. There is not any parking space in front of the station therefore you need to park your car on the main road and pray that no one hits it from the back. The station like everything before the road is now few feet below the road level. The building of the station is a humble one. You enter from the ticket issuing counter. On top it says Wazir Mansion in Urdu and English. The name was fading away with pollution leaving its marks on the oily paint. The ticket issuing counter has been closed since ages. There was a man sleeping on the counter. There were others sleeping below on the floor. They looked like labor working on near by stalls or perhaps they were drivers of the trucks parked around the station. The paint on the counter was slowly being eaten up by the salinity. I walked through it to the platform. Two or three groups of children were playing cricket on it. There were two rooms facing the platform. One of them was open. It said Assistant Station Masters office on the top. There were two gentlemen sitting outside who were still employed by the Railways. I asked them if I could see the office from inside and he graciously allowed me to. The room smelled of the times gone-by. There was no stationary or equipment in the room apart from a communication device which probably should be in a museum. A bicycle was parked inside which was probably the only thing which could have been stolen from there. I sat there for few moments imagining of good times this place must have seen. The hustle bustle of people making their journey on circular railways and of the trains bringing goods from Baluchistan. It does not anymore. The current staff spends whole day waiting for the people in higher echelons to change the fortunes of Railways and Wazir Mansion Station.
I stepped outside in the sun. Children have found a great use of the platform. They have setup pitch on the both sides of the platform. I climbed on top of the overhead pedestrian bridge. A kid was sleeping on the staircase in the shadow which one of the walls made. I could see the whole area. On one side, trucks were parked next to the platform. On the other side I could see the main road and the pumping station. Life went on. At a maddening pace. In shape of vehicles and others. Railways has missed the bus.