NP 13/18 is one of many pre-partition houses in the heart of Old City. One with a corner balcony and tinted glass windows. It reeks of forgotten genius and aesthetic sense which gave character to the old neighborhoods of the city.
Intricately carved balconies, tinted glass windows, vintage tiles and wooden staircases have found their survival impossible in Today’s Karachi. The death of aesthetics! And its not just limited to the architecture; take language, business or art. The assembly lines everywhere are mass producing output which lacks inspiration and merely serves a functional need. Look at the landscape of the city today and you will see its impact; A concrete jungle, odd conocarpus thickets, faceless crowds marred by the struggle and demands of everyday life.
This is an ode to NP 13/18 and its residents. Thanks to VASL Art, The Karachi Walla was able to visit this personal space on a Sunday. On the ground floor were few shops which were shut. Through a narrow opening we entered the house. A staircase led us to the next level where an artist had installed onsite work. There we met the proud owners of the house who kindly allowed us to visit remaining levels which stood more or less in the same way they found it in 1947 when they migrated to Karachi.
Sanitary works were going as we climbed the staircase. With time the house has required repairs but the owners have taken utmost care in maintaining the original look and feel of the house. They told us that living in the neighborhood has been a challenge, due to uncertain security situation and commercialization. Their kids keep insisting that they move out to a safer neighborhood where their relatives have already shifted but the older generation has their heart set in this house and the neighborhood.
As I looked out of the window I saw other buildings, equally majestic but but not as fortunate. Some of them were abandoned already and would possibly pave way for concrete soon.