Nostalgia chooses to peek out of the strangest corners; it envelopes me when I look at deserted, half-constructed buildings, when the smoke from piles of burning rubbish gets caught in my throat. when the stench of fish accompanies me through half of Clifton, the beach with its sour, dirty smell against the too-bright glare of whitewashed light. The streets with roads eroded and filled with water because of rain, swarming with mosquitoes. The urchins and the hijras and the thousands of beggars in Ramadan. Streets suddenly plunging into complete darkness because of power cuts.
And of course, Abdullah Shah Ghazi ki mazaar. It twinkles and shines, like a gaudily decked out monarch showing off his jewels. You can blow up as many shrines as you want, and these people will still flock to them.
In the evenings when the air is still and balmy, and there is not a single hint of a breeze.
At 3 am, when the roads are empty and quiet, yet never quite asleep.
At random times when there is nowhere to go, nothing to do except sit around and hang out in someone's room.
It is always the same Karachi. It is in my blood and my heart and my flesh. Karachi, in all its third-world glory, unabashedly proud. It is home, like no place will be.