The Last Summer

These few months are all we have left. After this, it’s another beginning, the final beginning of the final lap of this 4-year race. This is that brief space of time to do, to be, to have, to see. To live. This is the last summer.

I sound dramatic, I know. But there’s a feeling of urgency involved. We’re 21, we’re young and free. We’re going to remember this age later, later when there won’t ever be “world enough and time”, there will only be regrets and a sense of ‘if only’ that will linger around like a sour smell of dreams wasted. We so eagerly look forwardly to getting older when we’re young, we yearn to emulate our parents and older siblings, have real jobs, be independent, steer clear from heartbreak, look glamorous. But in the wake of all the effort we put in to making this happen, we forget who we are. We’re not made of steel, we can’t be consistently rigid. We’re clay right now, the type that my niece likes to play and make funny shapes with. We can be molded now, we can experiment and be rash rather than reasoned and rational. This is the time to try and fall, and try again.

Let’s not waste time on pleasantries or small talk. Let’s not worry and fret over what may or may not happen. Let’s not consider consequences or forecast calamities. Let’s not give up but rather give in. Let’s not sigh and shake our heads in resignation but seize the day instead. Let’s not chase shadows when we can see tangibility dance enticingly around. Let’s not turn away from momentary bliss because it’s hurt before. Let’s not take a U-turn and just keep going wherever the road leads. Let’s live.

The Old, the New, and Karachi

So before I write anything else, I just want to know: how have I been getting over 50 hits a day this past week when I haven’t blogged anything new in over a week?? I am one of those obsessive bloggers who always checks site statistics before doing anything else and when I did that today, I was rather confounded. I do have the benefit of being able to view how readers come across my blog via Google but that only accounts for about 1/3 of the hits. Curious indeed. It seems my readership is growing ever so slowly. I is a proud blogger indeed 😀

So let’s see. I am in Karachi again; I haven’t been in this city in over 3 years and although quite a few things have changed, much has still remained the same. New buildings have sprouted up, there seems to be a designer boutique every few inches, and all these too-posh-for-my-oversized-trendy-sunglasses bistros and restaurants have emerged out of the ground, each boasting it’s own take on taste that’s unique. At the same time that faint trace of sea salt still hits my nostrils every time I go out, the wind picks up every time I get closer to the seaside no matter how scorching hot and sunny it may have been 10 feet away, and yes, I still hide my phone from view and tilt back in my seat every time a motorcyclist passes by my car window.

My visit here is of a different sort. Yes, I will be attending weddings (it’s summer, who DOESN’T attend weddings in Karachi at this time?!) but my main purpose is to get some work experience. I’m lucky enough to be getting that opportunity at a great company, and it’s really changed my view of who I’ve always thought I am. I knew there would be significant changes in me this year, but I didn’t for a second think they would happen in such a manner. A writer is how I’ve always identified myself, and I know that it never going to change. I am never going to put down my pen. But, now there’s this peculiar sense that perhaps I might actually be good at other things too which would also earn me a living. An occupation that thrills me in a different way than writing does, gives an other sort of fulfillment which makes me think that it might not be so bad to have a REAL job. Yes, I too can be corporate. But I always will be a writer.

I like it here. I thought I wouldn’t and that I would been like a visitor on vacation, which is kind of what I am. I’ve never lived here before, and only been here at stretches of time during the weddings of my brother and, later, my sister. But I don’t feel like an outsider. I remember that I used to love the chaat and juice from Flamingo, would salivate over the raja saab paan on Boat Basin, and wasn’t at all bad at bargaining over shoes of mysterious origins at Sunday bazaar. It feels right here, more upbeat than Dubai, more peaceful than Lahore. A good mix, I think. This city of constant evolution and change has that surrealistic feel of paused time for me. And I’ve never been more relieved to simply…stop…and be.