Saturday, February 11, 2012

Karachi Lit Fest kicks off...

It has been a hectic two days in Karachi. Very hectic. The KLF kicked off this morning under a glorious sky and wonderful weather. William Dalrymple must have been distracted by something or someone, for instead of delivering a keynote address, he read extensively from his book... and nobody stopped him. The reading ( about the Afghan War) was terrific. But it couldn't in all fairness pass off as a keynote address! I enjoyed my own one hour solo session thoroughly, even if my poor interviewer was suffering from a really bad throat. The questions from the audience were lively and informed. All the press interviews that followed were fantastic as well. Karachi has changed since I was here last ( but then, which sensitive city hasn't?). I was told not to wear jeans or sleeveless tunics by a well meaning lady. Of course, I ignored the advice.... and hey - I'm still alive , right? In fact, over a delightful lunch with the ladies of Karachi at Okra ( superlative food ), we discussed several tricky issues ( sorry... girlie stuff. Can't reveal) But I was struck by more than just their beauty and style. At the hotel ( Carlton) where I am staying, I'd noticed a prominent sign at the entrance which said, "No weapons allowed inside." It sounded, errrr, ominous. It IS ominous. Thank God for ignorance! I am happily traipsing around the city minus body guards ( the norm, btw). I fact I attended a fabulous sangeet and mehendi evening last night at which tout Karachi was present. I felt right at home as the youngsters took to the dance floor energetically while the dj played 'Dhinka Chika' and 'Ooh La La..." Such deja vu, darlings! I had dragged Vikram Seth with me, and quite a few Suitable Boys came up to get introduced, along with sexily clad Suitable Girls. Vikram is adorable! And I enjoyed his astute observations, as he surveyed the scene, sipped a mild Scotch and water ( flowing like the Indus) and spoke about Mohenjo Daro.
Tonight I shall be attending a Quawali with my local friends. It promises to be a sizzling soiree. Shall go in search of Multani plates at the Itwar Market tomorrow. And inshallah meet Imran Khan who's in town to attend a shaadi.


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11 comments:

Pooja Rathore said...

Good to know all is going well with the fest and you.
Keep posting!

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

Sharab haraam hai! and it quitely flows like Indus!!!!!!!!!!

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Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam said...

Hi Shobhaa
Journalist from Pakistan here who was all awe-struck when I got the book signed by you. I am glad you saw more in Karachi than the "No Weapons" sign. This city is alive, growing and resilient, just like the people of Pakistan.
You are an inspiration.Thank you for that.

Divya Virmani said...

Glad to know you are alive! Must have been a nervous trip initially. Seems like you are enjoying there and finding many similarities between both the countries. I'm happy to know normal stuff takes place there as well... Will be waiting for more blogs on your trip! Aish karo...

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*Aham* said...

what competition! vikram v /s shobhaa who attracts more suitable boys to the dance floor.

and what do friends like me do?

do i vote for Vikram - my sexuality prototype.

or

do i vote for you - my perfect dimaag and blogdost prototype.

:-)

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she expected you to not dress in jeans and sleeveless.... what did they expect you to wear... a TENT called salwar kameez???

i feel you are sexy at sixty.

whoever the dame asked you to dress appropriately, rather deserves a dressing down.