City Life – Monsoon Rain, Frere Hall

On a regular Sunday, Frere Hall is one of the best places to observe people in public spaces in Karachi. It is one of the most popular spots for casual photo shoots. You will find hundreds of kids taking photos of each other, some even bringing lighting equipment. It is also a very popular picnic spot. You will find here a lot of families resting under the generous shadow of trees, some of those as old as Frere Hall itself. Invariably hawkers and mobile foods stalls find their way too and you will see them lining up in anticipation since morning. There are few victoria buggies which are ready to give you a ride till Clifton or in any other direction. Then there is a regular Sunday book market which has been going on for ages. This also is perhaps the best place to experience a monsoon rain as we figured out last Sunday.

Karachi had an extended monsoon this season. It does not usually rain in Karachi during end of August/September start. Therefore it came as a surprise when dark clouds started hovering over the city suddenly around noon. It did not take long before it started pouring. The Booksellers ran to provide cover for the books. They were able to put some books in the cartons but for the rest they had to cover them with water proof sheets. We took refuge under the arch in front of Frere Hall. There were several hawkers and photographers taking cover under it. It did not appear that the rain was ending anytime soon. We stepped out.

There were others who were out there already. We walked shatranj ke ghoray ki chaal, from one tree to another. Much to our surprise we found Abdul Hayee sb, the veteran painter along with his students under one of the trees. Abdul Hayee sb has been unwell recently and was bedridden until recently. Therefore it was a relief finding him high in spirits. Farrukh, one of his students told me that they came to Frere Hall after having their regular class at Kaala Paani in fisheries. Abdul Hayee sb has not recovered fully but his commitment to art and his students has been unreal. The rain got heavier. Abdul Hayee sb and his friend bode farewell and started walking towards their vehicle.

We walked into the rain. There were some who have taken the refuge under the arches on remaining sides of Frere Hall but most of the people were out in the open. Parents, Kids, Elders and Hawkers. All of them soaking in the rain which might prove to be the last this season.

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Categories: City Life

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