An open letter to my one-year-old brother

Dear Zaroon,

Today you have turned one. I remember last year, I thought I would not be able to see you come into this world but somehow it was destined and I made it. Then there begins the hardest part, leaving you after ten days of your birth. Back then we had not spent much time, I was not attached to you, also it was new for me having a brother who is 21 years younger than me but then again as the days passed I started missing you. I felt something was missing but could not decide was it; I felt a longing I had never felt before

Time passed, my semester ended and there I was back home for winter vacations, those mere 10 days. They were just 10 days, they did not feel like vacations but what I found was a connection with you. You were 5 months old; you had grown so well and no one could get enough of you. You were beautiful, cute, silent and shy. You were different from other babies, our other siblings. Another thing that was astonishing for me was that you had learned, how to hold your own milk bottle, all on your own. I found it so new but also that saddened me because everyone was talking about all the new things you have learned, how you have learned when you have learned. Everyone knew, all the small details about you except me, I knew nothing. I was not ready to come back but the vacations were over and I had to go back.

I did not even realize when the connection built up and how deep it was but now I had a thing for you. I missed you, a lot. I kept on asking for videos of you, what new thing you have learned, what clothes you wore, what hair cut you got, I just could not get enough of it. I wanted to know, everything, I wanted to see everything. I had never felt this thankful to technology; I received your videos smiling, laughing, and doing new things you had learned. I wanted to hold you, feel you, even sometimes I would think how better it would have been if we could touch someone through the phone but that did not seem possible probably not in 2017. I would video call home just to see you spilling your food over your clothes, making faces, crying, laughing, and trying to sit and then fall back.

I pulled through another semester and was excited this time to go home cause I knew what’s there waiting for me. The night before my flight felt so long, it felt like forever, an unbearable one. And then there I was back home excited, the first thing I wanted to see was you but when I reached for you cried and went back to mom, you could crawl now. I felt sad, I rather knew that would happen but I just could not believe that I was that much of a stranger to you. I knew you are my brother but you did not who I was. I just sat there watching you crawl around, throwing stuff, and playing. You were holding on to something, you were trying to get up but it seemed hard. I wanted to help but I knew you would not let me because I was a stranger to you.

Days passed, everyone knew about your likes and dislikes, they knew your language, you knew them, and you both knew what you like about each other. I was just an alien there I knew nothing. I remember the first few days when you would wake up in the morning, you would give me that look ‘when will this person go back’. However, with days I think you just got the idea that I was there for a long time. Nevertheless, for me, it was only one month but this time I knew how to get the best of it. I started spending all the time with you, waiting for you to accept me, I started thinking of ways to get your attention and I am glad I did find them.

We became friends now, you would come to me; I knew what you were asking. Playing your favorite song on my phone or playing your favorite cartoon. When you found sitting next to you, you would climb my lap and put your hands around my neck, which meant you wanted me to pick you up. I learned how to get you to sleep. I was so happy when for the first time you slept in my lap as if I had achieved the highest marks in the final project (well these days marks are sort of everything (Hehe). This time I knew when I leave, I do not want to be Stranger anymore. So since when I came back we have been video calling every then and now. I say all those names I call you with, I sing your favorite poems, you smile and squint your eyes in front of the camera, which means you like them and you do all the new things you had learned after I am back.

It has been two months since I am back but this time at least I know that I am no more of a stranger to you and although I am sad that your memories of me will always be blurry at least you would have them in bits and pieces. I missed all the celebrations and events since your birth but among them, I hate staying away on your birthday the most. I hate that I missed your birthday sitting in my square white-painted hostel room while writing this letter to you. I know that I will miss more of it, I will not be there when everyone would be cheering for you on your new learning when you will learn to walk, talk, your first words; you will have a new name for everyone but except me. It is painful and it will hurt that I have missed everything especially watching you grow up. It scares me that I might miss it again sitting in the same white room apart from you but then again all you need to know is that I love you and I will love you forever.

Link to YouTube video:
An open letter to my one-year-old brother

Bohri Bazar- The Classic Vintage

Bohri Bazar is a famous marketplace situated in the Saddar Town locality of Karachi, Pakistan. The market traces its origins before the partition era and stayed at its place while the time around it evaluated into something more. It was used to be one of the most popular and busy places for shopping in Karachi and reflected as one of the few historical spots of the city. Commodities sold in the Bohri Bazar range from condiments, Home decor, Kitchenware, to stationary material, fabrics and party favors.

There is no exact date of when the market was established but old folks remember it from the era of 1950’s, which makes some of these shops more than a 100 years old. The market back in the time was one of the most famous for its shops and merchandise, which left the customers in awestruck. The market is situated alongside of Empress Market one the British relics left behind in Karachi. Though Empress Market was one of the most famous and architecturally beautiful but Bohri Bazar had its own charm and kept its loyal customers attracted to itself.

Karachi has had a great change since Pakistan came into being, the market has shifted to the area Clifton by the beach and so has the residents but places like Bohri Bazar never let its populace forget about the old belonging and memories they had shared together. It even mesmerize the new comers and make them come again and again. The bazar continues to evoke romanticism and is visited by hundreds of customers and visitors daily for shopping, despite its location in one of the most congested areas of the city. The market is a one-stop shop for everything needed to run a household.

But just like a city, a market is defined by the people who run it and Bohri Bazar has its own share of unique characters. As you stroll through the alleys sidestepping sunrays piercing through the tattered tents, you see narrow shops with dimly lit openings into winding alleys full of shoppers. The shopkeepers not less than magicians impeccably dressed in shalwar kameez, reading newspapers and passing a smile, a sign of welcome to their shops; The books sellers on the footpaths with the piles of books laying in front of them grinning and cleaning the dust from the books, time to time. The beggars strategically positioned at the entry points to make the buyers handing out charity before they run out of money. A tea vendor delivering chai to all shop keepers in the bazaar can make anyone dizzy, an art in itself, the chai wallah expertly weaves in and out of the bustling streets, handing out teacups around ensuring smooth supply of caffeine.

Bohri bazaar is also very famous for decorations and other important ornaments to make your parties go lit. Here you can find an array of artificial flowers as decoration prop, mehndi decorations and other props to make your wedding filled with all the bling and sparkles. Along with other shops, you will also find those related to beauty such as shops selling toupees, wigs, artificial hair, cosmetics, and jewelry including a wide range of Hyderabadi Bangles. Another famous rang of shops are the shoe shops selling zari Chappal, naagra shoes and other types of sandals with a wide range of variety originated from Lahore to Jaipur(India), which are equally popular in Karachi.

The Bazar is home to one of the oldest Nimko shops in Karachi, while others similar snacks like samosas with daal & other fillings, which is still very popular in Karachi. Other than kulfi from, the bazaar is famous for its numerous chaat houses and ice-cream shops selling faluda. A trip to Bohri bazaar would be incomplete without this. As night approaches, the small streets inside the bazaar are surprisingly glowing with the lights set up inside and outside the shops by the owners. Showing another view, one different from the day light. Shops remain open well after sunset, sometimes even busier than it is during the day.

Just like every historical place Bohri bazar has had its history of tragic incident that affected the Shops and residents of the area. The bazaar has witnessed two horrific disasters, one of which was in 1958 when a huge fire broke out in a fireworks shop. The shops were burnt beyond recognition and caused a great damage to the building. The second incident took place in the 1980s when two bomb blast claimed dozens of innocent lives. The Bohri community played an important role in reconstructing the market and didn’t lost any hope. The area is still in need of the attention from the government to improve the electrical wirings, fix the drainage system and other bare necessities.

Bohri Bazar from its beginning is helping people to earn for their families but in past few years due to unauthorized usage of market, this building is now under threat. The Bazar is our heritage, culture, and the core values of our society, a hope for the authorities to get in their senses and preserve this city’s heritage and make something out of the bountiful architecture that is found all around Saddar. we must strive to preserve these places and provide adequate services to the shop owners as it reflects our history.