This nutritious mix of peaches and feta cheese will brighten your dull mood
Tattered, torn and ruthlessly reduced to shambles. This is not a woman’s broken heart but one of Pakistan’s well-kept, and ravenously neglected, secret - The Makli Necropolis. It is one of the largest graveyards in the world, a UNESCO certified World Heritage Site and the final resting ground to over half a million saints, mystics and Sufis and philosophers, from the 14th to the 18th century.
"Since love has made ruins of my heart
The sunset must come and illumine them
Such generosity has broken me with shame"
Drawing influences from Islamic, Hindu and Persian architectural techniques, the necropolis is a vacant indication of the grandeur and richness this region once possessed. Be it the terra cotta rectangular graves etched with scriptures from the Holy Quran or blue glazed tiles lining the insides of the domes, the place is lying bare, screaming for assistance to restore the magic that it once staged.
"For me the world is just the world
A stage where every person has a part to play.
I play a sad one"
- William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice
I visited the site one fine morning when the sun comfortably bore through the ruins, when stray dogs chased each other for amusement, when the place spoke volumes of its restlessness, and when my comrade and I went around carefully treading through history.
While the place, located in Thatta, is a photographer’s heaven, the dismal state is certainly not what you want to bring back home. Rumor has it that the local people hacked off the signature blue glazed tiles to adorn their own homes. The place needs restoration that the authorities might have chosen to oversee.
"Your dignity can be mocked, abused, compromised, toyed with
lowered and even badmouthed, but it can never be taken from you.
You have the power to reset your boundaries, restore your image,
start fresh with renewed values and rebuild what has happened to you
in the past"
- Shannon L. Adler
The Necropolis, which is about a couple of hours drive from Karachi has often been the venue for fashion shoots and other media purposes, and it’s surprising how the surreal heritage site has never been marketed for its real identity. And my friends, this is the question I have here, why can we not reveal, restore and refurbish our real identity?
"The more you know of you history the more liberated you are"
- Maya Angelou
A heartfelt appeal would be for the authorities to earnestly take up the restoration and maintenance of our national heritage, simply in respect for what it will continue to offer our future generations and also in remembrance for the grandeur it encapsulates.
Feeling rather disappointed post the visit, yet happy, at the same time, over witnessing some ruins that our future generations might not be able to, I thought of the ‘Dump Salad’ featured in the recipe section below. Orange, yellow ripe peach slices, salty feta, nutty walnuts, sharp onion slices are bedded on green earthy rocket leaves, served with tart, balsamic vinaigrette. Just a word for vinaigrettes here: normally a ratio of 1 to 3 is used where 1 part is vinegar and the other 3 parts are olive oil. The dressing below is simple and can be made in bulk and stored for later use. I have just added a few rounds of pepper and some minced garlic while you are free to add whatever tickles your buds.
Peaches and Feta Cheese Salad
Ingredients (Makes about ½ a quart)
A couple of handfuls of Rocket leaves
Half a Peach (Sliced)
2-3 Onion rings (Thinly sliced)
2 tbsp Feta Cheese (Crumbled)
4 Walnut halves
For the dressing:
6 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
½ tsp. Garlic (minced)
A couple of rounds of freshly ground pepper
For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bottle, shake well - taste, season and shake well again. You can also store it in the refrigerator in an airtight jar for 3-4 days.
Then arrange all the ingredients of the salad on a plate and generously drizzle the dressing on top of it - and eat on!