Tuesday 12 January 2016

Touring Pakistan. Where we meet our guide and visit his city

Hello! My name is Hammad Rais and I'm truly grateful to Camille de Fleurville for letting me introduce not only myself on her blog but also my country Pakistan. You may have heard, read or even talked about Pakistan but in case if none is valid, then it's okay. There are so many other places in the world about which I still don't know. I didn't know about Dordogne few months ago, frankly speaking. But thanks to the blogging world, I'm not only seeing such places but also experiencing lives, emotions, joy, happiness, sorrow, adventures, stories and so much more, as people like you invite me in their lives to share something we all have in common: Life.

So, questions like who am I or what I do or what I like or what I love to eat and more, are how I should tell you about me, a total stranger, living in another part of the world.

So, as I mentioned, my name is Hammad Rais and I live in Karachi, Pakistan with my lovely wife Jia and my son Uzair. I’m working in an I.T. service providing company and live a pretty normal life, just like rest of the world. So, my answer to the question "Who are you" is not so complicated: A normal guy with a little different understanding of the world where he lives. He sees things the other way round mostly and love being so different from the rest. He doesn’t talk much, which may seem odd to others but this has helped him a lot in probably every stage of his life. On the other hand, he loves to listen as he can listen to your stories without telling you to please stop (unless you are boring him). 

Easy going, loving, caring, humbleness, down to earth and more qualities like these basically defines me. I care for everyone and always grab an opportunity to help others. I live by simple rules of life and hate to complicate things for not only myself but for others too (that's why I'm so caring). I’m happy with whatever is in my hands as I don’t chase out "a must-have". I love to walk in the sunshine, love to stare the night sky, love to walk bare feet on seaside and love to see all those little things others normally don't pay any attention towards. My life can be considered like a clockwork life as getting up in morning, leaving for office, spending few hours to make a livelihood, returning home, spending time with family and back to bed to get some sleep before I get up the next morning for the same. Weekend for me is about just spending time with kids at home. My brother and I live together. His kids and Uzair play all day long and it’s my job to keep them play in peace and harmony.

So why do I blog? Now this is an interesting question. Back in Feb 2015, I enrolled myself in a short course of Content Writing as I was looking to find a new job. During one class assignment, the instructor told the students about creating and maintaining a blog. Thus (http://hammadrais.wordpress.com/) was created with no clear intentions about what would I do with it. I did some postings on it and as the days passed, I started to realize that this is something I always wanted to do. Why you may ask? Because I always feel that the way I observe and think about what's happening in my surrounding is totally different from the rest. I see things differently altogether. My behavior, if not totally but in some context, is unique. So, letting the world know what I think and feel, there is no better way than blogging.

Okay, enough about me as now I may have started to bore you up. But it was needed for what I'm about to tell you. Back in November 2015, I posted an article on my blog about The Other Picture of Pakistan (you can read it here). Camille saw that post and shared a lovely comment on it. I replied to that comment and ever since, we became like blogging friends. Her encouraging comments on my several posts paved a way for this collaboration of Touring Pakistan, a blogging series about my country Pakistan.

The name Pakistan mostly creates an image of a country which is associated with bad things around the world. Like many consider this country is populated only by conservatives and radically charged individuals and much more. As a Pakistani myself, I admit there are many bad things associated with my country and most of them are true. But that's not the whole picture.

What I see in Pakistan is immense beauty of nature, unlike anywhere else in the world. Here you will find the tallest of mountains, the greenest of fields and forests, people's amazing hospitality, the richness of art and culture which is as old as time itself, the exotic cuisines your taste buds have never tasted before, where past and present blend in an unforgettable way and so much more. This is the Pakistan I know but it has been covered up in the dust of mostly false propaganda.

 My Pakistan is beautiful and that's what I will share with you here. So, I will start off this journey with a little intro about my hometown, Karachi which is also known as Mini Pakistan.

Famous landmarks of Karachi

Pakistan's largest city, financial hub, home to more than 20 million people, culturally diversified are just the few things I can tell you about Karachi. For me, Karachi is like a mosaic - thousands of small pieces tied up together to make a giant and collective wonder of the world. If you are touring Karachi for the first time, you will find it over-populated, a place where everyone will seem to you in some sort of a rush as if there is no tomorrow.

Empress Market after sunset

But this wasn't always the case. Before the time of Pakistan's independence in 1947, Karachi was mainly a port city with few hundred individuals living by. The British ruled and flourished this land before independence as they turned this small fishing village, back then known as Kolachi, into a city as Karachi became the capital of Sindh when British ruled the Indian subcontinent.

Denso Hall and Library

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Bai Virbaijee Soparivala Parsi Public School

 During those times, Karachi saw the potential of what's up and coming as after being declared as a capital city of a new born country, Karachi burst open for everyone from across the subcontinent. With the passage of time, different cultures mixed up and created diversity for Karachi, while maintaining their own individuality at the same time. Here you will find customs from all over Pakistan, whether its food, art or culture and even sports. Karachi is enormous from every aspect and features all the things you can associate with a big city, where days are full of life and nights never sleep. 

Port Grande

Bagh-e-Ibn-e-Qasim at night

Malir Bridge at night 

From mega shopping malls to open air street markets, from high rise plazas to small cottages, from the coziest streets to the most jam packed main roads, Karachi is filled with both. 

A fry fish stall at Burns Road

Dolmen Mall at Seaview

Hydri Market


Flip-flops anyone?

The Karachi way of life is unique, if you ask me. Lifestyle here differs from one locality to another and this has given diversity to Karachi where all colors of Pakistan blend in perfectly. For a shopaholic and food lover, Karachi is an answer to their dreams. But if you are in for more sight-seeing and amazement of nature, then we have to go much further. That's where we are stopping next in our journey!

  All images courtesy of Google and Wikipedia   

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