The rains that were

Published: July 20, 2010

Monsoon season in Karachi was once a time for dancing in the rain

As long as I can remember, I have always loved the rain. Everything about it – from the fragrance of the air before it to the sound of the rain as it smatters against the windows.

When I was a boy and it would begin to rain we would run outside in our lane and just stand there. Our arms outstretched absorbing the water like we were sponges. We would run to a small thela wala who wheeled his mouth-watering chats through our streets to sample his wares.

Even when I was a teenager in the 90’s we revelled in the thunderstorms that graced Karachi. We did not have cars so we would take our bmx bikes out and cycle as far as we could go in the rain. Once we even reached sea view! I still remember standing there before the awe inspiring sight of the waves crashing on the shore as sheets of water cascaded from the heavens.

So what you may ask? This monsoon season I decided to take a walk and I met the same thelawalla, Hafeez who is a shadow of what he was when I was young. He has a beard now and wears a prayer cap. He told me no kids ever come to his thela from our street now and that he was forced to go to schools at ‘home time’ for business. This got me thinking.

Every time it rains in Karachi I see  people rushing home, running helter skelter to avoid traffic jams and complaining. From tv to radio to social media sites, the curses pour forth at electricity breakages and (God forbid) the DSL switching off. Oddly, back in the day there were traffic jams too, there would be no electricity for days, signals could go down and there were no flyovers. The city would come to a standstill but everyone would enjoy the break not complain about it. So why have we all become so negative? Does our pace of life now not tolerate any intrusions? Why is everyone in such a hurry in this city anyway – where are we all trying to go?

I remember once a couple of friends and I were going for a haircut when it began to rain. It was so bad that we were stuck on Shahra-e-Faisal for 8 hours. Our car stopped but we didn’t go nuts. We couldn’t call anyone for help on our cellphones because back then we didn’t even have cell phones! We just pushed the car to the side of the road and walked home with a skip in our step and dancing to whatever rhythm life threw at us in the form of waves of water from passing cars or anything else that came our way.

Maybe its because the media has become so strong that the news of impending disaster reaches us too fast. Plus it is presented in such a way that would give the most carefree of souls the jitters. Or perhaps its because due to social media everyone has a voice now, and they do not realise the power or the impact it can have on people reading them, so paranoia spreads faster. Please note, if you are on Facebook in the rain instead of at a pakora stand you are missing out..really. Maybe your status should then say “I cannot spare a moment to live.”

I think we should all take time out from this over reported over saturated lifestyle of ours and for one moment stop to look at the trees as they bathe in the rain, see how the sun shines through the clouds and enjoy the beauty of nature in all its glory. Even if there is a storm coming, lets revel in this precious calm. After all what is life if not its smallest pleasures?


Faisal Kapadia

A Karachi based writer who blogs at and tweets @faisalkapadia (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shaista Hussain

    What a delightful read FK. Brilliant!!!! Makes me want to eat a samosa right about now :)Recommend

  • S. Ali Raza

    Ahh.. we used to go for poondi on Shara-e-Faisal, and made sure to help a strander car which had chics in em ;) The stags can push it themselves. Recommend

  • Saman Jafri

    wow!!makes me yearn for dancing in the rain eating some pakoras and chat…Recommend

  • Yasser

    i think the internet, cable and so much on going political circus and the due coverage of media and mirch and masala news has made most of us too hook on Tv. before it was only PTV to watch :D

    nice nostalgic post :-)Recommend

  • Shairose A.S. Ukanji

    What a piece! The moment I was done reading it, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Awwwwww, I too so miss that time” :)

    Really loved reading your blog, Mr. Faisal Kapadia. You took all of us back to those amazing times that we had without worrying about petty stuffs that we are obsessed with now.

    Thanks for making us recall all those wonderful moments.Recommend

  • F Alam

    I can’t agree with the author enough.

    It is our negativity that has brought us here. Everytime I meet someone, they say its really bad now and it used to be sooooo good last year (and they have been saying this for years!).

    While India shows its glamour and beauty to the world using their media, we search for one odd case of violence etc to glorify that. Lets shrug off this negativity and enjoy life. Our country is still beautiful!!Recommend

  • F.K

    Thanks for the comments people! I often feel that we faced the same challenges as now but were more tolerant in the past. Its good to see I am not the only oneRecommend

  • F Alam

    We’ve come sadists and we like negative stories. If you had written about Pakistan being target of India or about an odd violent crime, we would have seen 100s of ‘likes’ on facebook and dozens of comments!

    We need to portray ourselves positively without caring about ratings till people start seeing the positive side of the story. When I was in Pakistan, I had the idea that it must be the worst country. I realised how good it was when I came to Europe… then it was too late :(Recommend

  • The Prodigy

    Nice post! I really miss my early teenage days when we used to go out with friends in the rain to play football. But nowadays, rain, a blessing and a fun time for few can be a disaster for many! Recently, one of my female friends was out for her tuition classes when it started raining and since she was all wet, people started passing obnoxious comments at her. To add more to her agony, she didn’t get a bus as the cruel Bus wala sped by but didn’t stop for her. So had to get on a rickshaw, who charged her Rs.300 from Gulshan to North Nazimabad because it was ‘raining’. Two people I know were robbed at Sher Shah because their car was stuck in a puddle, while it was raining. So living in a time, when your honor, money and life are always at stake, one is left with no choice but to rush home to be ‘safe’in the true sense of the word!Recommend

  • R. Qureishi

    I feel sorry for the kids who are missing on the fun that we had. Everyone is complaining nowadays! Recommend