A Shab Baraa’t In Lockdown Story: So obv we couldn’t go to throw our areezas into the sea, as my family has been doing without fail since my parents moved to Karachi in the 1960s. It used to be done from Netty Jetty (along with thousands of others) but ever since Port Grand...>
...came up and the Netty Jetty bridge was cordoned off for commonfolk, we used to sneak on to the Beach Luxury pier to do the needful. Almost always accompanied by old family friends Mr Ghazi Salahuddin, Sadiqa Salahuddin and whichever kids were around. This would always be...>
...preceded by a niaz at our house and then writing out the areezas with saffron ink and stuffing them into small wads of dough (sort of bait for the fish that would swallow them and in mythological theory then make their way to Khwaja Khizr who would get them across to God)...>
...Long ago, we’d figured out that doing all this among the throngs on Netty Jetty was really difficult, thus the decision to prep the areezas beforehand. In any case, this time bec of the lockdown neither could the Salahuddins make it to our house, nor could any of us go to...>
...throw the areezas, even from Beach Luxury. So my mother came up with a novel way of doing it. After the niaz, we wrote out our areezas as usual with saffron ink. Then we dipped the areezas in bowls of water. The ink washed off into the water, which we then proceeded...>
...to pour into the plants in our garden. My mother chose the raat ki rani to water, I watered the chambeli, while my father’s areeza water was used on the cheekoo tree and the motia. In such a way, a Karachi tradition was kept alive in spite of the lockdown. ~ Fini ~
Btw I’ve written before why I find this particular tradition endearing, why it has less to do with religion or superstition than cultural markers, so I’m not going to repeat that here. Sometimes you got to put cut and dry rationality aside and embrace the emotions.
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