‘Karachi: Our Stories in Our Words’ is collection of 99 short stories written by the dwellers of Karachi. Each story has a different author thus have a different tone and expression of describing facts and realities about the big city of Pakistan. For the last few decades Karachi has witnessed lot of progress but at the same time it has seen a lot of bloodshed. Law and order situation deteriorated which gave rise to street crime and other unfortunate happening like target killings robberies, snatching at gunpoint etc. Everyone leaving the house is afraid of his life because of terrorist activities taking place. Every other person living there has lost someone from his near and dear ones in these unfortunate happenings. These incidents have left dreadful affect on the minds of Karachiites especially on its young generation which grown up in the last three decades. That is why most of the stories have the description of suicide bombing, target killing and other terrorist activities in the city. All the stories have different experience from a different point of view.
Karachi is a city of huge population. It is a city where there is lot distinction between people. On one side uber-rich people are travelling on their ultra luxury cars and on the other side some are dying on the roads with bus accidents. Some are travelling in protection of big motorcades and some are being preyed of bullets. The class distinction between the rich and the poor has become apparent and the social gap between the two has widened. The book is vivid depiction of the demographic realities of Karachi.
‘The Heirloom’ is a story which describes the relation between a boss and a servant; it depicts the mentality of the rich man and the poor. Although the story has many aspects but the prominent one is the poetic justice which nature maintains to keep balance in this universe.
‘Need – The Great Equaliser’ casts light on the social gap between the rich and the poor. The both have neither any social bound nor they want to build any, yet they need each other to keep the circle of their life running. The following sentence describes vividly the whole reality of this social gap. “You know, Jamila, the road that takes us poor people to work hasn’t ever seen a wedding procession go from Korangi to Defence, or from Defence to Korangi,’ said Nasir.”
“VVIP Ride” is a pungent stair on the VVIP culture of Pakistan. The story describes how a heart-attack patient loses the battle of his life in an ambulance which was stopped with other traffic ‘for the safe passage of His Excellency’s convey’.
Haji Sadiq Ali, who runs a parchoon shop, has a plastic prosthetic right foot. He lives with his wife Kaneez. Both love each other very much. The story ‘19th September’ reveals at the end that the couple has lost his 9-yaer-old son. It is suggested their son died in some terrorist activity in which Haji cost his right leg.
Stress and trauma are the predominant theme of this book. Grief, sorrow, loss and gain, happiness and sad life, prosperity and poverty are the major themes. There are many stories about social injustice, income disparity but some stories also have hope for a better future. The seashore and beach is another cherished theme. In short how the life is for the people of Karachi can be judged through this book. It is a voice from all over Karachi and the experiences of people belong to different all age group. The book shows that every one of us has some good story to tell based on our experiences. Maniza Naqvi added a wonder book to Pakistani English literature by compiling and editing it.
Title: Karachi: Our Stories in Our Words
Edited By: Maniza Naqvi
Genre: Short Stories
Price: Rs. 475
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Stress and trauma are the predominant theme of this book. Grief, sorrow, loss and gain, happiness and sad life, prosperity and poverty are the major themes. There are many stories about social injustice, income disparity but some stories also have hope for a better future