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April 12, 2015

A pleasant respite from the monotony of city life


April 12, 2015

The humdrum of city life, the plethora of worries and burdens in the life of the common citizen, especially one in Karachi, can not only have a telling effect on the individual’s health but also breeds social disharmony culminating in crime of all sorts, including murder.
Perhaps Karachi could be cited as the most apt example of this disharmony with all the crime, inflation and worries to put one’s nervous system to the test.
However, there is a really bright, radiant silver lining to this black cloud. While Karachi may have its own list of woes, there is no denying it that it is teeming with people who, in the most unselfish of manner, are committed to mitigating these woes.
The city could boast of having the largest number of non-profit philanthropic organisations anywhere in the world. What is most noteworthy here is that those out to change things for the better belong to the more privileged classes who have endeavoured to make life look more worth living for the less fortunate citizens.
An apt example of this is the 10-day Numaish Karachi exposition that opened at the Frere Hall on Saturday evening.
Numaish — Urban intervention in public spaces — comprises over two dozen installations and artefacts created by designers, artists, filmmakers, scientists and engineers.
It is a non-commercial venture that aims at encouraging curiosity and healthy exchanges among the citizenry who frequent those spaces. These interventions will be temporary and will not damage the environment.
Hopefully, the exhibition will open up public space for cultural production, as an open air gallery, laboratory and playground.
As the sun started going down, visitors started streaming in and by the time the sun finally went to rest and it was dark, the expansive lawns of the Frere Hall presented a spectacle of illumination with the crowd of visitors swelling.
The exhibition was not only elaborate, it was innovative too. One could see children

really enjoying an enlarged version of snakes and ladders with the format painted on the ground, a big dice and children themselves going up the ladders in between to be brought down by the snakes. There was the screening of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), depicting a whole lot of faces of different kinds and classes and varying trades en route. There were screen images of giant Ferris wheels in the shape of a tram car. There were hexagonal carom boards for six people to play simultaneously instead of the usual four. There were innovative forms of merry-go-rounds and giant wheels being enjoyed by children to their hearts’ content. It was really nice to see children frolicking on these innovations. It was a delight especially for children who came from the low-income, crowded urban backwaters.
“The exhibition is all about exploring the origins of Karachi to enlighten the public,” said Saima Zaidi, curator/designer of the exhibition. “The exhibition will highlight these parts of the city as inclusive urban retreats,” said Saadia Pathan.
Tahera Hassan of Imkaan Wefare Organisation, a non-governmental organisation, told The News that her NGO planned to open up a recreation centre engendering these features in the less privileged locality of Macchar Colony. The event is sponsored by I am Karachi, the Habib University and the KMC.

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