Comme mon monde tourne
Friday, February 29, 2008
Sights and sounds of my first rendezvous with Lyari
I got lost on my way to work and ended up in Lyari somehow. Interesting place. First there was Napier Road, which I recognise, and I was, like, well okay. Then all of a sudden there were really REALLY narrow streets. A bazaar. I asked people where I was. "Lyari," they said.
Aah, so THIS is the "legendary Lyari," I thought. And the air was made up of particles of spices, prompting volleys of sneezes from me. Donkeycarts blocked our way quite a few times. For a long time, the transparent spice-particles surrounded me, and then the smell of the bazaar changed, so did the people around me.
"JIYAY Bhutto," someone said. Some others answered. The smell of spices was replaced by the overwhelmingly sweet smell of soaps. Crudely packaged goods replaced open bags, overflowing with granular substances. Chaddors replaced full-on abayas. Cheap shoes replaced tattered sandals and bare feet. Bicycles replaced donkeycarts.
This part of the bazaar seemed shorter than the earlier part, and the galiaN seemed a tad wider. A little further on, the human tide stemmed almost completely. We were now in some "gold market." Shop upon shop upon stall of gold. Shiny gold, dullish gold-mixed-with-too-much-copper, ugly chunky jewellery, fine purdysome stuff, bangles, bracelets, you name it, they had it. How much of it was "authentic," I can't really tell. Suffice it to say, I wouldn't vouch for the items there. Of course, there were very few people around in this part of the bazaar. The galiaN were narrow, dotted by the occasional car or motorbike.
Then we got out on to the main roads of the area. The Lyari UC-5 office to my left, a tattered school and a mosque nearby. Children all around. More men than women. More pictures of the Bhuttos and the "arrow" than people. "Jiyay Bhutto" is almost a background sound all over this area.
As we went further "in," the number of unkempt policemen with kalashnikovs increased. Impressive-looking weapons, all polished and waxed -- in contrast to the stubbly, grubby people holding them. Irony.
Two little boys sat by the roadside, religiously polishing shoes, their fingers blackened. More children milled around, some buying sweets and chips and stuff. Others stood by paan-stained walls, watching them buy sweets and chips and stuff.
Then we got out towards Lee Market and were finally able to find an unblocked street that led to I.I. Chundrigar Road. The reason we'd got lost in the first place was because the Shias were having something today, and almost every road known to mankind (and womankind) was blocked.
I don't think I was too happy to reach I.I.Chundrigar Road. I would've liked to have explored Lyari some more. It seemed like an interesting place. My kind of place -- full of little bazaars, and mysterious little shops. Only, it was a little too crowded for my taste. I'll probably go back there on of these days and explore it ziada.
Something tells me a lot of tales lurk in those streets -- stories waiting to be told, lives revealed. Stories do that, y'know. They wait for people to come along and discover them. They wait to be told, to be set free.