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