Updated: Sep 15, 2020
As an outsider, I was very keen to know the place where my husband was born and brought up. I first visited Karachi, after 5 months of my marriage. (Read the story of my marriage here)
From the time I applied for a Pakistan visa and processed for my traveling, I was dealing with multiple emotions. That feeling of how people will react, how will I adjust in another country, will I be able to manage, how will the immigration people treat an Indian, will they gibe on this cross-border relation, and a lot more.
I applied for a visa from Dubai, since it was my first application for a Pakistan visa, I was called to the Pakistan consulate office for an interview, which made me quite nervous actually!!
I answered with timidity to all the general questions asked by the officer. Thus they approved my application right away and sent it for further processing. In some way, they satiated my anxiousness and fear.
Within a week, I got my visa and we maneuvered to the journey. Everything went so normal and we reached Karachi. Eventually, it was time to explore new people, new surroundings, new mindsets, and places.
Now, let me narrate you about the journey and the five things which impressed me to the fullest.
Five most impressive things I found in Karachi, Pakistan
When we talk about any new country or a city, the first thing that comes in mind is the people of that particular place. Peculiarly, when you have so many misconceptions about them. All my doubts were cleared up when I was welcomed amazingly by my husband's family at the airport. It was a grand welcome with whistles and shout outs, which made me feel like a renowned and broke a lot of stereotypes in my head.
I never felt non-acceptance behavior from any of them. Even, that turmoil wasn't required.
I recall the incident when I was in the market and my sister in law asked the shopkeeper to give a discount as I am from India. He grinned and responded, "arey apto mehman hain hamari" (you are a guest), that was a true example of hospitality.
Likewise, where ever I visited, whether it is a restaurant, saloon, or hotel, I never felt like an outlander.
If you are an epicure, then this is the place for you. I must tell you this city is a heaven for meatatarians.
While moving on the streets, you will observe thousands of food joints and every spot is filled with people relishing the taste. Even though I am not much into non-vegetarian, I started liking the variety of Karachi cuisine.
There is no doubt why Karachi is considered the melting pot of Pakistan. According to Wikipedia, the food of Karachi is influenced by several cities of India, as many people migrated from India after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. Karachi is a place where you will find numerous north Indian and regional cuisines.
The first street food I tried in Karachi, was the famous Hot N Spicy chutney roll. Boneless chicken tikka pieces wrapped in a paratha with a tangy taste of chutney is a quick, cheap, and perfect food for the city constantly on the move.
Since we live away from our cities, one food that my husband often talks about is Bun Kabab. In my visit, I discerned it to be unique and reasonable food.
Besides the food that quenches my taste buds were roasted sweet potatoes sold by street vendors, and litchi flavored limca drink... just yum!
Whether its an occasion or not, you will always find Karachiites in a purchasing spree. I enjoyed shopping in the city and was amazed by seeing people's enthusiasm towards it.
Being a business hub for the country, Karachi has many medium to upscale local brands and designers. Which makes it possible for the public to afford things of their pick.
I am very fond of female clothing from Pakistan. Even before my marriage, I used to order dresses from there. There is a huge amount of collection in ladies' suits (Shalwar kameez), that made me splashed out.
This place has numerous designers and their dresses that just tempted me to buy unreasonably. We went in summers, and there was a new launch of lawn collection, which woke my inborn inclination towards dresses.
I explored many brands in clothing lines but dresses from Limelight, Generations, and Nishat linen won my heart and are still in my top pick (not advertising).
There is no uncertainty, why it is known as the king of fruits. Pakistani mangoes are famous worldwide. Hence, I need to say nothing about it.
Even so, I must share my experience of trying it during my visit. I am one of the mango lovers, who wait for summers just to relish the fruit.
I don't know much about the breeds and their names, though I was always infatuated towards Indian Alphonso. When I tried mangoes first time in Pakistan, it astonished me by its taste, after that mangoes were my everyday dessert until I return. One thing that affected me was the price, as the fruit is grown in their realms. It's affordable for all.
Even there are ample of Pakistani mango lovers in UAE. That reminds me of a recent Gulf news coverage about Australian ambassador Dr. Geoffrey Shaw, who shared his photos on twitter savoring Pakistani mangoes with knife and fork. Locals dared him to put away the cutlery and eat in "pure Pakistani style" with bare hands, to truly enjoy the taste. He accepted the challenge, and within a few hours, his twitter account was filled with appreciation! impressive.
When I say nightlife, you must be thinking of clubs and bars!! you got me wrong, I meant about the late-night gatherings. I was astounded by late hour meetups in the metropolis.
It is very normal for people to gratify in their late-night activities, even though they have work the next morning. As I was on holiday, I used to keep roaming outside, to see the night-life around me. And I found it very appealing to see people, hanging out with friends on a tea shop; playing cricket in the street lane, family gathering on an ice-cream parlor, or ladies conclave in the vicinity.
In Dubai, we hold a routine life, and staying up the late-night is a weekend activity for most people. But Karachiites influenced me to be as active on weekdays as on weekends.
I had a wonderful time on my first visit and did not feel odd for a moment. After that, I have been to Karachi many times and had similar fun. Since I have gotten a family visit visa which is confined to one city. I could not traverse the famed beauty of the northern areas of Pakistan. Hope to explore it someday, till then keep reading my blog and join on social media.