hum bhi to paray haiN raahoN meiN

Owais Mughal

A common happening in street cricket is that there are usually more players than a street can accomodate or more than eleven that are allowed by cricket rules. In such case all the aspiring junior players line up and the ‘khalifa’ captain chooses his pick according to match situation or his likeness.

Many a times I’d found myself in this line hoping to get picked up by the seniors.

Once i got picked up over a player who was 2 years my senior. To this the guy said aloud:

“dil toRne waale dekh ke chal……hum bhi to paray hain raahoN maiN.”
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Mumtaz Mahal of Karachi Zoo

Owais Mughal

Some of the public parks in Pakistan are one of their kind. Few months ago we had introduced the Haunted House of Hill Park, and today we will introduce Mumtaz Mahal located inside the Karachi Zoo. Karachi’s zoological gardens (also called Gandhi Gardens) has many animals to boast about. Animals are however not the only creatures at display here.

For the past 35 years a ‘maa-fauq-ul-fitrat’ (super natural) character is also kept in captivity here. This creature has a head of a lady and body of a fox. It is kept in a special pavilion called Mumtaz Mahal.

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chiRya ghar

Owais Mughal

I think Urdu language should come up with a better name for a zoo then calling it a ‘chiRya ghar’.

‘chiRya ghar’ at best sounds like a mere aviary or a bird cage. Probably a shameful place for a lion or a tiger to live in.vI once had a first hand experience of confusing a rickshaw driver with this terminology. Aga Khan Gymkhana is located right across the zoo in Karachi. I was once going there to attend a school function. I stopped a Rickshaw in Federal-B-Area amd I thought Aga-Khan Gymkhana may be a difficult place for the rickshaw driver to find so I asked the rickshaw driver to take me to the ‘chiRya ghar.’

The rickshaw driver however gave me a blank face as if he didn’t understand. So I repeated:

‘chiRya ghar jana hai baRay bhai’

at this the Khansaab driver laughed heartilty and showing me all his teeth said:

khoo, ye chiRya ghar kiya hoti hai?

I explained to him that a ‘chiRya ghar’ is a place where animals are kept in cages for human display. Haven’t you heard of Mumtaz Mahal in the chirya ghar where there is a creature of ‘sar insaan ka aur dhaR haiwaan ka.’
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The Mad House at the daak-khaana chowk Liaquatabad

Owais Mughal

Karachi is going through a big infrastructure overhaul these days. Many roads are dug up for building signal-free corridors. This has shifted traffic load to lesser known roads. One such route, which is taking the burnt of traffic load is the University Road to daak-khana chowk (post office intersection) Liaquatabad route via Sindhi Hotel.

I passed through Liaquatabad daak-khana chowk many times during my 2 week stay in Karachi in January of 2007.

During these travels through daak-khana chowk I noticed a traffic policeman trying to manage the traffic and failing miserably. Many people obeyed him while others just passed by as if he was not present there. I saw him in the mornings with a smile on the face, in the afternoons with a frown and in the evening he seemed to transform into a totally berserk monster. One evening I saw him lunging towards a motorcycle, which was going the wrong way, with both arms waving, as if to hit the rider. While motorcycle guy should,ve been cited, I couldn’t believe the actions of this policeman. He had appeared to have gone totally mad. He was waving both hands to traffic, stomping feet and cursing aloud at bus drivers.

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Chinese & Japanese Characters on Pakistani Transport

Owais Mughal

Over the past few years, Chinese and Japanese characters have increasingly appeared on Pakistani public transport as decorations. On my recent visits to Pakistan, I’ve been constantly amused by these decorations and took some photos. I’ve been fortunate to have a Chinese language expert at home as my wife so we enjoy reading a lot of these decorative instructuction markings, which at times do not even make sense. Few examples are given below:

(1) I took following photo on Jan 10, 2007 in Federal-B-Area, Karachi. It shows a school van and I am very happy to announce that Japanese characters on the front also say the same. Somebody did the research beofore buying this sticker. It roughly means ‘Automobile for School’.



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A Walk through Karachi’s Empress Market

Owais Mughal

On my recent trip to Pakistan, I tried to re-live some of the fondest memories of my early youth. One of them was daily travel in public buses during my college days. In order to relive that experience, I decided to take a trip to Empress Market by bus.

Photo to the left shows Empress Market. I took this photo from the overhead pedestrain bridge on the morning of Jan 11, 2007.

At Karaimabad market bus stop, I made a hand gesture to an approaching route 5C bus. The bus driver made eye contact with me and acknowledged by slowing down. The norm in Karachi is that a bus never comes to a full halt for a single ‘sawari’ (passenger) because monetary profits from a single passenger fare is not worth breaking the engine motion. Therefore when bus slowed down to a speed of approximately 5 kmph, I quickly jumped in by grabbing on to the hand rail. It was a proud moment for me to realize that after all these years I have not forgotten the art of climbing onto a moving bus. I looked around the bus with the face of a conquerer but no one paid any attention to me so I meekly sat down at the first available seat.

Photo to the above right shows birds eye view of Empress Market. This photo is courtesy of Ali Zasami. Continue reading