A Journey from Lyari to the US – The trick is to never lose hope

never lose hope. lyari today

Never Lose Hope: This is a story of a young man who left his native village in interior Sindh and moved to Kalakot Lyari in 1960’s to live a better life and get the education. He came from a poor family, as his dad sew clothes to make living for his family. He finally ended up getting a clerical job in City Court Karachi and continued his education at Sindh Law College for a degree program L.L.B and became an attorney and quite his longtime clerical job.

Somehow, he finished his education. He rented a very small house with a roommate and lived a very limited life and owned a bicycle. After he became an attorney, his financial situation improved.

While we were being raised in Kalakot Lyari, our dad continued his education in that poor lifestyle and it was very clear to all of us that this man is really after education and establishment and would like to have the same from his children at least in Pakistan. He could never imagine his kids going to the US. He finished his LLB degree but his wife died when his eldest child was only 8 years old, it brought a lot of turbulence in his and his children’s life and life really went down and took a toll on us. But he remained committed and got married again after three years of the death of his first wife and started to manage a stepfamily. Four other children were also born from his second marriage. After he became an attorney a hope for better life and the financial situation started getting better and gradually helped our family and we bought a small apartment just a few blocks from the previous rental house.

We were raised in an environment where things were very different from the outside world which we realized after moving to the US. Before moving here we even did not know how life outside of Lyari could be and we saw ourselves very weak and behind and had no confidence to pursue things in life. But we remembered our father’s teachings to never lose hope.

Kalakot Lyari Falcon Eye View:

Electricity was a luxury if it was continuously available, sometimes we studied under street lights.  In summer, often it was not available for many hours and sometimes for some days and we spent nights sleeping with our dad on the parked trucks and we woke up early in the morning because of the noise of people around. Our dad started a new day with a routine and we learned from him something which is called hope.

Dawn taught me English

In early 1980’s, there was a bookstore nearby in our neighborhood which sold not only primary school textbooks but also Urdu newspapers and ONLY one copy of English Dawn News Paper, they arranged one copy only for our dad because there was no other customer in the area. Dad used to give us the copy of Dawn newspaper and encouraged us to read the Columns of Ardeshir Cowasjee – A very well Dawn columnist whose columns were widely read worldwide. He was known for his bravery and critics and up front!

We read his columns to improve our English and it really helped me to do so. I and my siblings believe that after God it was our dad who never gave up in life and saw a light at the end of the tunnel and never surrendered in life after a severe tragedy. We all got this potential from this strong man.

A L S O  R E A D

We lived in an era in which if you are not a Doctor or an Engineer you would be seen as a third class citizen. When we got the visas, it gave us a hope to the entire family that our bright days may have started. With time, the whole family was granted visas and now one is a computer engineer, a nurse, one of our sisters lives in London with her husband and the oldest sister lives in Karachi with her family. Our two other brothers are settled in the US and have pursued education and training in computers. Two other sisters frequently travel to the USA. We are happy to finish our education. All of us have completed our degree programs in the US and one of us went to Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge University for some additional education. We live professional lives while dad enjoys this phase in his life with happiness and joy. Our dad is happy to see all of us at this stage in life and enjoys living in Clifton with his wife and Thanks to God and US all the time for the opportunity for education for his kids. We still speak fluent Balochi and Sindhi and stay in touch with people in Lyari and our native village + help them as much we can. We see a change in Lyari today. And we hope this change will be faster and forever.

Never Lose Hope, You are stronger than you know. 

BY: Shahzad Memon