Hardly a few months ago, I remember begrudgingly walking down the narrowest street in Saddar to what has become my “pet project”. Every week, without fail I found myself dragging whoever would take me along to Botal Gali and continue to falter, gasp and take a few pictures once there. It wasn’t until this Eid that I realized that the place has started to grow on me. A feeling that allowed me to appreciate the “spirit” of Botal Gali.
In my regular visits to the public space, I have found that it’s a street that doesn’t say much but in it carries such a wide array of contrast that it almost feels like it doesn’t belong to what Karachi is perceived to be today. While the rest of the city is busy driving past its day to day life, the street stops and curtseys. Here, you will find residents who actually stop to exchange a few pleasantries before going about their business.
There are playful children who have made the street their home by coming out with their cricket bat and ball whenever the street allows them to. The shopkeepers may appear unfriendly to outsiders but Botal Gali is one of the more closely knit places I have seen.
(Written as part of the course called Mediated Cities. The last blog in the series)