By: Shahzad Memon
Imagine when a group of people contacts the team of “Hamaralyari.com” through an e-mail describing an unclear image of Lyari between what they see on the website of and what they know without seeing Lyari. They are confused to draw a fine line and finally corresponded and willing to visit Lyari. Hamara Lyari team was quick to respond back and very welcomed their decision visit Lyari. Seemed the web administrator lived on the site and sincerely makes himself available 24/7.
Right after Eid-ul-Fitr, the visiting group arrived in Lyari and met at a famous football club, as soon they arrived, it was really hot and all of the sudden some neighbors brought cold water for us and they knew from our attire that we have come from the outskirts, as a gesture of good hospitality they wanted to make sure we were comfortable and felt home, we were very surprised to see people were being very considerate form us.
We asked as we see all this talent in Lyari through the website with well-versed English descriptions and pictures, we want to experience and feel it and clear our doubts. They said Lyari went into some turmoil but now it has much improved, a couple of decades ago Lyari was very peaceful and it has started to come back to it again as it happens all over the world, neighborhood change all the time and we as a team doing our best to surface the facts and help people image Lyari positive. They drove us around Lyari.
They said, please note Lyari is the oldest settlement of Karachi and it is diverse internally and externally. The talent you observe is a combination of many ethnicities.
To us, it looked very normal, kids spending their Eid money at festivals taking manual roller coaster string rides. Traffic was moving fine and people wearing new clothes and socializing in the area, hotels were busy, people were eating food and drinking tea, covered women were passing by, vendors were busy selling toys to kids, music could be heard around from several locations and even from a passing by Vespa motorcycle, it was a normal atmosphere to be in.
The vendors with big boards with hanging balloons, holding a sports gun and with a little price tag, they let people shoot the balloons and joy.
They took us to a famous football club and described their achievement and passion for football, some players recognized at National and International level, our findings were that people loved sports very much.
People seemed dedicated and rushed to the Mosque to perform their daily prayers.
Beside local commute buses, we saw other buses being loaded for Baluchistan, people had very close ties with Baluchistan, we asked how long does it take to enter Baluchistan, they said it starts at “Hub Choki” in ½ which we never knew that it takes up to 15 hours to get to far end and usually people go to Makkuran and Turbat cities.
It’s lunchtime, they said you guys must be hungry by now, we said, of course, they took us to a nearby restaurant to have lunch, after we finished, we wanted to pay for the lunch but they stopped us and didn’t let us pay and said guest never pays in Lyari, it’s on us.
A L S O R E A D
Do you know the reason behind your passport color?
While we were cruising around, we discussed music and we said we heard some Balouchi music on Coke Studio like “Wash Malley” and we really liked it, they said it would have been even more fun if the back female singers were wearing traditional Baluchi dress, it would have looked even more authentic. They suggested they will introduce male wedding ceremony “Lewa” and its lyric called “Lewa Lyrics” to Coke Studio.
We asked about Hamara team future goals, they said there are many initiatives going to take place and one of us have just arrived from UAE to look into management aspect of it, especially focusing on Education, Child development, Art, Film and Singers etc. In addition soon we will be advertising some positions for females candidates to join our team and soon we will be collecting resumes and shortlist them to interview.
In the evening, they took us to watch a football match, the park was full and we could see the passion for football people had. They shared a story of a European football team which visited in early 80’s and played a match with the local team and were defeated by the locals, we wondered, Europeans in Lyari, that’s image Lyari.
We were delighted to meet the sportsmen, Students, Artists, and Actors and saw their fine painting and movie work which are shown on their website.
After that, they invited us for dinner and we were shy enough to accept their invitation. We set using mini benches on the floor at a vendor site where we ate BBQ, this BBQ was cooked on charcoal using a fan but we were astonished to see some people showed up with their own bread, we inquire why they bring their own bread? they replied it’s an old culture that people like the combination of homemade clay oven bread – it can be seen as “Bring Your Own Bread” (BYOB) which is very similar to like in the West where people bring their own bottle (BYOB) at restaurants, seemed first it started in Lyari- the culture of BYOB. It was delicious food.
We were tired and wanted to leave but they insisted us to stay and watch “Lewa” (authentic male wedding musical event) at night. We were tired but wanted to experience something new and end our journey with. We had some tea and moved to an area where Lewa took place:
A lead drummer who was playing a very large standing drum and 4-5 of his team mate sitting as a circle around him playing “Dhol”(mini drum) with a very unique music beat which never resembled with any music we ever listened and seemed an African music and marriage visitors danced uniquely and thrill their shoulders with fast consistency around the music band following a circle and with distance a large number of another circle as spiral chair were placed as a big circle people were sitting at and the fancy looking, groom, was walking and meeting people around. When invitees came they put “Haar” (neckless) of flowers or neckless of freshly printed money notes and put it on his neck and groom shakes his hand and said “Thanks for coming”!. Lewa event was all about fun, drink tea and dance until early morning. They made us dance together and we did, though we didn’t know how to exactly do it well it didn’t matter, it was all about sharing fun and being together! While we were there they shared some stories:
It was after 4 AM, Lewa didn’t seem to stop, as the night got older it got more crowded, as Fajar prayer call started, everything stopped with great respect, it’s time to pray now.
We were in Lyari since yesterday morning, we didn’t see any sign of turbulence or fear rather an active and cheerful environment. It was very eventful, surely it is coming back, and we were exhausted and almost dead. Hamara Lyari team walked us to our vehicle and invited us to come back again and feel home here and they also said, in case you travel abroad some of our members live in UAE, Sydney, London, and Chicago, you are welcome to visit them and they will show you around and feel free to stay at their places.
Please visit us gain and Thank you for visiting Lyari, it was our pleasure to meet you.
We had a blast!!! and will encourage others to visit Lyari and change their image.
Thank you Hamara Lyari team, it was worth coming, NOW we truly image Lyari!