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Experiencing Karachi in Foreign ways

I used to look at the foreigners roaming around on Karachi streets and would always wonder as to why they are here, what are they up to, what kind of people they really are? How would it be to spend time with them? By working with an International organization, I got answers to all my questions. Through this organization, I got an extraordinary opportunity to treat the foreigners as my own family members for six weeks. There were six Chinese, one Turkish and one Indonesian. Each one of them became such an important part of my life that their departure affected me a great deal.

From family meet ups to friends’ gatherings, from work at NGOs to tourism, from museums to ancient historical buildings, from bike rides to tuk tuk rides, from dining in at dhabas to having dinners at elite restaurants, from shopping for traditional dresses to making them have little experiences such as Paan, Gola Ganda, Coconut juice, Pakoray, Golgappay and a lot of desi food.

The best experience with these interns is indeed our night stays at my home. We would stay up late at night, gossip, confide in each other, have discussions on as crucial topics as religion, play board games, watch movies and in the daytime, we would cook Pakistani, Turkish and Chinese dishes for my entire family and dine in together. They used to wear my and my mother’s Pakistani dresses and I can’t describe how beautiful each one of them looked. They eventually became a part of my family. My mother became their ‘Ammi’ and my father, their ‘Abbu’. I can surely say that my house became the alternate place of residence in town.

Since Pakistan is the best desi shopping hub, we would go out almost everyday along with my co-members, roam on Tariq Road and Gulf streets, shop from different stalls, experience street food and meet a lot of local people. I won’t ever forget the excitement on their faces while buying Pakistani dresses and especially traditional bangles. My parents would also accompany us at times.

Apart from making them have different experiences, I myself had some new ones. Specially when once I invited all the interns to spend a day with my family at my home. Initially I was anxious if every thing will go well or not but it turned out to be one fine amazing day. They enjoyed ever bit of it. Since there were seven Chinese, I decided to make them experience our Pakistani-Chinese food. I was glad to see them taking second shifts. Also their expressions while tasting our Pakistani desi Halwas were indescribable. We took a lot of pictures, watched a movie, played video games, ate a lot of food, sat on the roof, and shared several experiences and what not. I can sincerely say it was indeed the best time I ever spent.

Aside from making these interns learn about my culture, I got to learn a lot about theirs. I learned basic Turkish and a few sentences in Chinese, Indonesian and Korean as well. It not only gave me the opportunity of experiencing diversity but also helped me in grooming my personality, teaching sense of responsibility and confidence. Hence, it is totally a new experience for my own self to experience Karachi with such different perspectives.

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