Once upon a rain in Karachi!

By Samreen Awan
Tue, 09, 19

My kids scream in delight, unfamiliar of the sensation of rain water splattering down all over and around them....


My kids scream in delight, unfamiliar of the sensation of rain water splattering down all over and around them. The scorching Karachi sun has finally been defeated and is nowhere to be seen on the cloudy grey horizon. I stand under an umbrella taking stock of my surroundings. Though tempted, I am wary of stepping directly out in the rain as it drenches my spectacles and I need to keep an eye on my girls jumping around on our roof with the not very high boundary walls. My heart swells up with joy just watching these two out in the rain without a care in the world. So much more because it has finally pulled them away from staring non-stop at their favourite YouTuber’s mundane yet addictive life on the computer screen. Wow such is the power of nature! If only we could engage our kids more with nature - its beauty and diversity - they probably wouldn’t seek so much solace in the virtual world of social media.

Smiling to myself, I look down and around the wet neighbourhood. The old lady next door comes out to their terrace balcony and picks up an empty round white porcelain plate from a chair. ‘She probably forgot it there...’ I think to myself only to be proven wrong a moment later. As I looked out of the corner of my eye, she picks up the plate, raises it to her mouth and drinks the rain water gathered in it and places it back carefully to be refilled. Amazing! Must have some hidden health benefits. I make a mental note to Google it before I follow suit. However, this must be done urgently to take advantage of this downpour, slight delay and I maybe left waiting for the next two years.

Afraid of being caught in my peeping tom avatar, I shift my gaze to the road where cars are speeding past heedlessly splashing oodles of water on the helpless pedestrians. A man hurries past wearing what looks like a plastic shirt. I squint and stare to realise it’s a long dry cleaning cover bag; the type they put on our clothes for pickup. The creative guy has cut out arm and neck holes to wear it and protect himself somewhat from being drenched. We are a nation that finds creative solutions and ways to survive in limited means or else we would have long been obsolete with the issues we face.

Suddenly a loud rumble of generator machines announces that the electricity has left the building rather the vicinity yet again. My heart so swelled up with the happiness that rain brings with it starts to sink slowly. ‘How long is the electricity gone for?’ ‘Do we have enough petrol?’ ‘What if it’s a major breakdown?’

‘Mum look it’s so much fun to jump in the water without shoes’ the twins are tugging at my sleeve. I quickly smile and shrugging off my dark adult worries slip my feet out of my shoes to know what they mean. Ahhh pure bliss!

‘Lake, Lake! we need a boat Baaji’, the girls are screaming for attention again, but not mine. This time they are excitedly taking to our house help Saba, a young girl who has also taken a break from the routine work and joined us on the rooftop. I move forward to see what they are pointing at and freeze in my tracks. The plot next to our house has turned into a huge mud coloured lake as my daughters have named it. I look at it in dismay as rain drops plop fast and heavy on the surface of the huge water body formed due to the depression in the middle of the plot. With colourful polythene bags and assorted objects from trash floating on it this is a horrific lagoon. ‘Mosquitoes, Dengue, Danger’ thoughts and worries loom large in my head. Must call the local authority to do something about it. No one will do anything and this lagoon of stagnant water will stay next to our house for eternity.

Saba, I notice, doesn’t share any of my dark brooding thoughts and is happily chatting away with the kids as excited by the emergence of ‘the lake’ as them. ‘Shouldn’t she go back to her chores? How will she complete the dishes before her mother comes to pick her if she will stay here this long?’ Another pragmatic and slightly mean thought probes my mind with its sharp nudge.

I can feel familiar anxiety slowly starting to creep up on my mood that becomes second nature when you start to be a full time mom and a home maker. My spirit is gradually sagging under heaviness that worries bring with them. With a herculean effort, I muster up all of my will power and say to myself that I must get out of this negative mood and take notes from my kid’s unfazed happiness. After all it’s finally raining properly in Karachi, we are virtually dancing out in the rain, the weather is great and it’s not hot for once. Let’s just thank God for that and enjoy this moment. ‘Alhamdolilah’ I mutter softly as we all head back down to get tea and biscuits and return to take in more of the delightful weather. If only it would rain pakoras, life would be just perfect right now!