Tidy Barbie in the Untidy City


Today, I witnessed an absolutely new – at least for me – scene on the panorama of our cityscape.  I was waiting for the signal at Naheed’s, headed towards Dhoraji, when I noticed the biker next to me nodding a teen to move aside and she stood there innocently asking for a moment while speaking to a family in a red luxury car.

Dressed in a jeans and shirt this young lady in her adolescence held some light up toys. She was very tidily dressed and although I couldn’t hear; here I was guessing that, she was not only speaking softly but very professionally as well. I watched her as she walked towards the biker, once finished with her prior sale, and upon enquiry answered “50 rupees”.

I was able to see beyond my bias when she uttered these words and I came to a realization that, what I took for a begging gimmick is actually a dilemma of my society shouting at me in silence. Her manner of speaking and her body language was not of a professional beggar but of an educated sales girl. She seemed totally aware of where she is, what she is doing with sheer pride on her innocent face. She looked like a tidy Barbie placed in our untidy cityscape.

Riding away from her I was not sure if I should be feeling sorry for her loss of innocence or be proud on the elegance and self esteem with which she was containing herself. She left me thinking about where Karachi is headed and what exactly had put her there on that signal and lastly who is to blame?

Sadly enough, my country’s Fatima Jinnah, Ra’ana Liaqat Ali, Carla Khan or god knows Benazir Bhutto to be is bartering her innocence and her future bit by bit with every sale she makes and our country’s leaders have yet to determine if Musharraf should be allowed to leave? How to keep Taliban at bay? How to do anything and everything but the real issues our families are facing and our forthcoming generation would be born with.

Being a part of this rotten system, I thanked god when the signal turned green before she could walk up to me. Before she could silently accuse me, with all her innocence, of my crimes for I find myself just as guilty of all the charges.

About the author

Saad B Murtaza

Saad B. Murtaza is a journalist and creative writer based in Karachi. He has been working as an Investigative/Diplomat Reporter since 2010 and as a Creative Writer since 2008.

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