If you are feeling, you’re alive. I mean that’s the fundamental purpose of living, to feel; sorrow, pain, creativity, abundance, anxiety, grief. Existence is dependent on the evidence of feeling. In that regard, Karachi has a lot more of living than most cities, they feel blatantly and echo the emotions for others to feast on. It creates this connection with the desire of living. It produces reasons to live and then shares them with anyone who has a yearning. They cry into their death with a memory wrapped around their ankles and wake up alive to gather a sorrow that may repeat it again. Dust, moist and air. Karachi feels relevant only until you make it seem that way. It abandons you as soon as you undermine its magnificence. Like a God that does not like being compared to anything other than greatness. Karachi laughs through sorrow and weeps in the absence of joy. For them, the arrival of pain is no less of an opportunity to create an art they can breathe into. Like a ghazal to play on a small Nokia cell phone with loud speakers whilst sticking naan on the walls of a tandoor, or stumbling around the veins of the city selling popcorns as the air pushes the dust up and presses it into their faces interspersed with some misra that makes them gasp and live to welcome another. In the winters, ghazals keep them warm, the poetry that kisses the very few beautiful memories they have keeps them at chambré, or cosy. And it keeps them alive at the expense of devaluing art and literature. Making it too accessible. Now I know, devaluing is a heavy word, one that a Karachiite may not be able to swallow as he/she reads this. But it does, at least discount art and literature in a way that is pleasant and justified. Lahore is more subtle with its approach to visitors. It’s the house that doesn’t appreciate guests. But Karachi wraps its arms around you and gives you first class hospitality Karachi is a city that only gives the romantics it establishes while walking into a trauma alone. If it’s one thing about Karachiites, is that they are very giving. Let it be art, empathy or love. They do not reconsider before they splay whatever you desired and whatever they can offer. Even if everything. Somehow, they do not require trust nor the promise of anything I return. They have this innate tendency of providing evidence of their loyalty. Of home, they want to make you feel good about being in their city whereas Lahore doesn’t care, at all. Lahore is more subtle with its approach with visitors. It’s the house that doesn’t appreciate guests. But Karachi wraps its arms around you and gives you first class hospitality. Music is part of the soil; they walk on music and breathe only the air that they can sing to. Karachi worships music, and the mingling between music and literature, as it turns into a song worthy enough to be at the tongue of anyone. It lets the artist do whatever he wishes and then encourage the effort if not the art itself. For them, art can be produced even without an artist. Karachi never sleeps. And it most certainly doesn’t. Karachi yawns into the night but keeps its eyes open. Tracing the edges of some sharp memory associated to some ghazal that may be rather difficult to understand for many. At a point it almost seems like Karachi is haunted by the poetry it chooses for itself. They stay up with the poet through the nights of his sorrow. They relive his agony and burst fearless into the morning wiping their tears with their palms and then exude this special kind of confidence that says, I know the trauma although I cannot claim it. The writer can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2019.