Sunday, December 07, 2008


Party went well. My cousin Nishrin who had come with me from Bombay said that Pakistan was surprisingly "quite civilized" which aroused the ire of all the natives. Later that night, she traipsed up to me (hitherto I'd been quite horrified by her nationalism), and said triumphantly that we had won. One of my cousins who lives a few houses down was going to walk home, but decided that she would first take off her jewelry. See! That would never be necessary in Bombay! I giggled.

Today we are going shopping! Clothes and jootees mostly. I'm feeling a lot less gloomy about the situation since I heard about the arrests and have felt free to enjoy myself. Whew!

Oh and a note about the food here. Meat, meat and more meat. I've been eating the gravy and salad, but my cousin Nishrin finally protested that she had had enough, some palak Please!


We're all ready for a big party tonight (mostly) in our honour.

The day has been interesting. Went to a nearby police station to register ourselves, then drove around for hours looking at Karachi landmarks and neighborhoods. I find myself looking for differences between Karachi and Delhi, but really, they are remarkably similar. Lots of space, big houses for a small elite. Interestingly, Karachi has few luxury apartments, though more are coming up. Seriously secure gated communities. Went to visit Jinnah's mazaar and his house. I felt uncomfortable - as much as Pakistanis revere the man, I felt nothing, guess we have been as conditioned to revere our own heroes.

This morning, my cousin triumphantly led me to this morning's Dawn: the headline announced that two Indians had been arrested with connection to the blast. See! I read the article - they simply bought SIM cards for the terrorists. The reinforcement continues...


I can't quite believe I'm in Karachi - considering we were attacked so brutally by a bunch of lads with connections to this city - who set off for their awful mission from this port.

I wasn't quite sure what I expected. A bit of denial - I'd read a couple of columns in Tehelka & Dawn (Irfan Hussein - one non-delusional Pakistani) - that talked about how the majority of Pakistanis believed 1) that Indians (either Hindu fundamentalists or disaffected Indian Muslims) did the attack and the whole Pakistan angle is simply a fabrication and 2) that terrorism wasn't a big deal anyhow since there were regular (almost weekly) attacks and bomb blasts in some city or the other in Pakistan.

What I wasn't ready for was the completely blase attitude of my cousins. They kept throwing out silly statements - how was it possible that they got so much ammunition in, how did the security establishment not detect the boats, what happened to the dead terrorists, what about the Deccan Mujahideen. It was complete denial. And this is the relatively rich section of the population, well read, well educated, with plenty of family in India, who have regularly visited Bombay (and that too, Colaba). They must have been horrified when this happened. Of course, part of these suggestions was simply cousinly teasing - they know how seriously I generally take things. But below all that, there is a genuine ignorance of where the world stands on this issue, and on top of that, constantly reinforcing their views with any little tidbit or rumor they can find.
I brought up Mukhtar Mai and expressed my admiration. At first, they looked each other uncomfortably - then later as they were showing me their city, made a comment that not all Pakistani women are like Mukhtar Mai. That was not at all what I had meant. I assured them that I deeply admired her and in fact wished that more Indian women in similar situations had her courage.

Tomorrow is Bakri Eid. My 15-year old niece is excited to wake early tomorrow to witness the slaying of several goats (almost one in every lawn) as well as the beheading of a camel.

Other than that, am enjoying myself thoroughly. The warmth of my family, the uproarious laughter, the catching up, the endless leg-pulling. Good times