City Nostalgia – Life of an Expat Student

Note: Thassim Akbar, A Sri Lankan student spent five years at NED from 1971 to 1976. Following is the second part of his experiences in the city. Read the first part here.

As I wrote about my first year at NED after landing in Pakistan in February 1971. My time was spent between Studies and Tabligh work. We would attend Makki Masjid on Jumrat. Since I did not know Urdu, they arranged translations for me in English. There were two translators who translated for me regularly, one was Br Shanawaz an Engineer working at Dockyard and other was Br Jawaid Akhtar a Ref Engineer running his own company. Very soon I began to pickup Urdu which is a very sweet and melodious language. I remember Bhai Ameen Sahib Amir of Karachi Tabligh Jamaath, Haji Ibrahim Sahib, Haji Khuda Buksh Sahib and Haji Basheer Sahib who often gave Bayan. Also Hafiz Abdul Rashid Surti had a shop at Burns road where we often visited to meet him. We also had daily reading of Hadith in our hostel which was attended by several hostellers.

Karachi is cosmopolitan city with people of many communities. Similarly food belonging to different communities was available. A place where we used to visit was Burns Road. There was the Punjab Lassi House and Fresco Sweetmeat Mart where we were regular customers. In the cold winters night we would go to a Nehari shop at a place close to Eid Gah (don’t remember the exact location). Nehari was a special dish which is very hot in both senses of the word and I would sweat when eating it even on the coldest night. There was also another Kebab place on one of the roads off Burns road where we tasted the Seekh Kebabs and Tandoori chicken. Another restaurant we used to patronize was the Kali Delhi Hotel of Bunder Road. The Kofta and Kurmas accompanied by fresh Naan at this place where really good.

During the course of the First year we were visited by a group from Engineering University Lahore. During the study tour some of the students would engage in Tabligh work and they visited our hostel mosque located at Mitharam Hostel opposite DJ College. Here I met some of the students from Lahore. Their Amir was Ali Ahamed Jan from Gilgit and they were accompanied by Prof Wajihuddin who was Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. He was a very religious figure with turban etc and he advised me on certain actions with regard to Thaharat (purification). We had a one day Tabligh outing to a poor area called Orangi Town where many migrants were living. Consequently I made intention to spend 40 days in Tabligh during my vacation. There was a three day Ijthima at a place called Tando Adam in Sindh which I visited with my friends.

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Categories: City Nostalgia

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