Afia Salam's Blog

Life is a journey

Posts Tagged ‘Karachi

Memons on my mind!

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Now we all know the nexus between Memons and money.. well if one community knows how to put the money where the mouth is, it is them. From building hospitals to schools and orphanages and mosques, to technical training institutes to so many other philanthropic ventures, they have done it all Yes yes there are palatial houses and flashy cars and glitz and glamour too, but besides all that, this is a community of doers that shares and cares.

So while all of Pakistani cricket lovers crib about being starved of their beloved game, they pulled open the pursestrings and launched the Memon Super League in style! And because nothing succeeds like success, are now into its second season for which the players draft has been held and 7 teams chosen who will be facing off against one another in three of Karachi’s best flood lit stadia.

I can perceive some raised eyebrows from people who have known me while reading this. Not because I am waxing lyrical about a community, but because I am talking about a ‘super league’ .. an oldie like me, who is way out of her league at there ‘player drafts’ and auctions, which somehow I always viewed with a bit of distaste and suspicion.

Why? Well it is all part of my growing up process into the game of cricket. In the age of the dinosaurs (Your’s Truly) Test cricket was not just the ‘real’ thing but it was the only thing! Even the Sunday League in England, that birthed the concept of One Day Cricket, started later (yes I know I am giving away my age by saying that).

However, rooted as i was in the cerebral contest that Test cricket was, I was still young enough to welcome and enjoy the advent of limited overs’ cricket in the form of ODIs. This is why when my cricket writing idol, Omer Kureishi, whose writing and commentary had a deep imprint on my cricket learning, said that ‘it was not cricket,’ i put it down to him being a purist and a traditionalist.

What I didn’t realize at that time was that this shortened version would be further truncated to the Americanish, slam bang T20 format! Now here I was echoing Omer Saheb, we we all called him… by lamenting, albeit weakly, that ‘this is not cricket.’

But then came the IPS, BPS, PSL et all.. and i thought we had all lost our way, as sure THIS couldn’t be cricket! OMG..they buy and sell players? and what’s with these skimpily dressed women cavorting along the boundary line. And what in tarnations is this Power Play etc. I was keeping pace till electronic umpire was introduced but then i let go of the game that was the air i breathed and food i ate. Until these Memons drew me in, to my own surprise:

 

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Shoaib Mohammad

It took Pakistan star opener Shoaib Mohammad, scion of the legendary Mohammad family, who had graciously accepted the invitation to come and show support, to take me through the paces and explain to me how the entire system worked. He was familiar with many of the persons present, and felt confident that they would be able to make it a very successful tournament, given their past experience in the promotion of the game.

And when Emmad Hameed started the auction (shudder shudder) of the players, my young friend Faisal Kapadia probably saw my expression and came to explain that it isn’t always about Memons and money… as the points being used by the team owners are of non-monetary value (phew).

As as i said before.. I was drawn in. Boy oh boy i thought it was just the game on the field that could get competitive but i was wrong. The auction was as competitive as it gets! Guess cricket excites emotions on and off the field. The Memons sure knew their boys, but they also roped in non-Memon players to allow the boys from their community to get the flavour of competitive cricket, and get a crack at the bigger league of the game.

That basically is the aspiration. The destination. To play in the big league with the big boys. The journey to that destination is the Memon Super League, now in its second season, and garnering support from some big sponsors who have invested to give the boys a chance to play at three of the best flood lit grounds of Karachi, the Rashid Latif Academy, The Asghar Ali Shah Stadium, and the tucked away in a corner but a very well maintained IBA stadium at the Karachi University.

With specially prepared colourful kits for the teams (Memons.. textile business.. you know.. wink wink) and attractive prizes, the boys are all set to set the grounds alight with the willow and leather. So come independence day on August 14, 2017, and we shall see a lot of engaging, entertaining cricketing activity in different parts of the city. What better way to gain independence from boredom and cricket starvation.

Yes Yes.. I admit to accepting T20 as cricket as it lights up the faces of the legion of fans this game has. Let is have cricket. More of it the better.. Theek chey?

Press release MSL – Auction (updated ) (1)

Once upon a Christmas in a Town called Hussain D’Silva

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I was introduced to Christmas for the merry-christmasfirst time as a four year old when we moved to Karachi. I was put in a ‘Christian’ (NOT Missionary) school, and lived in the upper portion of a house where a Christian family lived, whose daughter was my classmate. Being a diffident newcomer, I tailed her in school, and recall being gently led out of the chapel where she had to go for her religious class. I can’t for the life of me remember what we non-Christians were taught at that time.

So that is how i experienced my first Christmas, saw a Christmas tree, and exchange of gifts. But my real, and most memorable Christmas experiences were when we moved to a small housing colony (not gated, Thank you!) in North Nazimabad, known as Hussain D’Silva Town.

Strange name, but very apt; it was a joining of the names of two friends who were architects and developers, one of whom, Mr. Hussain passed away a few years ago while Mr. D’Silva moved to Canada. Little did they know what a little intellectual oasis they were forming.  Some big names of the country in journalism, arts, in the armed forces, advertising industry, poets, writers and television personalities trace their roots to Hussain D’Silva Town.

This little housing colony developed in the late 50’s for the new upwardly mobile middle class was where I got my first taste of pluralism and diversity. Our house was next to the one housing a Church. In those peaceful, trusting times, few houses had gates and most had waist high walls that were no barrier to children visiting their neighbours. I of course was intrigued at the stream of people coming to the church in the evening, yes, every evening, not just Sunday, and would watch over the wall.

The neighbourhood was dotted with houses belonging to Muslims of all sects (though we didn’t know what that word meant at the time), Christians, a lone Hindu family and I think there was one Parsi family.  We as children had no clue why some neighbours had open house for Haleem and others for koondey. Everyone went there. Come Moharram, and all of the children would be part of the sabeel group. On eid we knew there were some familieid-mubarakes who went to somewhere other than the mohalla masjid  for their eid prayers because they were from the Ahmadiya community, but that only meant that we had to wait for them to return so the children could get together to go around on the eidi collection mission.

It was here that I learnt what Christmas was. It was a time when the Christian schoolmates and neighbours would decorate their houses, go shopping for new clothes, and presents, and ‘do up’ the St. Jude’s Church, which had moved from the neighbouring house to a proper premises; a premises which had been ‘financed’ by those living in Hussain D’Silva Town, Muslims Hindus, Parsis, alongside the Christian residents,  by way of generous contribution to making the annual fete in November a success. Everyone dug into their pockets.

Of course this does not mean we were passive watchers of the Christmas preparations. Oh no. Just like they would come visit us, in all their finery, over both eids, on which the sawiyan and the meat from the sacrificial animals used to be sent to their houses too, minus our Hindu neighbours to whom we went fruits and mithai, Christmas was a busy time for us too.

After all, if we were hoping to consume the delicious melt-in-the mouth almond toffee or kur kurs or the divine cheeselets that were the staple Christmas fare, we had to do our share of the hard work. More than a week before Christmas, we would be at our friends, helping them unpack and string up the decoration items on the tree, help their moms in the arduous task of stirring the toffee or frying the other goodies. Other party of the ‘must be a part of Christmas rituals was seeing our friends go Christmas carolling… how can one forget the groups of carol singers moving through the streets in the cold winter nights. No one really snuggled in the beds, as how could one not listen, to the final ‘product’ after their weeks of practise.

Then of course on Christmas day, it was our turn to play the visitors, and we too would don our fine feathers and go for the Christmas visits, armed with presents, and devoured the goodies which included the ‘non-Christmassy cake’ especially plated up for the Muslim visitors as it was sans rum which was part and parcel of the Christmas fruit cake.

Those who had special friends among the Christians, like I luckily did, would receive a plateful of goodies on Christmas eve. The older and more adventurous ones joined their friends in the midnight mass at the Church. This was a norm, across Karachi, not just in Hussain D’Silva Town.

But imagine what proved to be the icing on the cake! not just metaphorically but literally! In 1974, Eid ul Azha and Christmas fell on the same day! The entire Town wore a festive look and the difference between visitor and hosts was no longer there. Every greeting elicited the answer of ‘same to you’ and ‘khair mubarak’ in a perfect display of coexistence.  I miss the Christmas in Hussain D’Silva Town. I wish my city of Karachi had many more such oasis.

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Written by afiasalam

December 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Karachi: Beware of an earthquake; never mind the Tsunami.. yet!

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Written by afiasalam

September 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Critical Mass

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Show: The Afia Salam Show

Host: Afia Salam

Topic: Critical Mass

Description: Who would have thought that Critical Mass, a term usually associated with nuclear fusion, could have such positive and healthy connotations?

A bunch of cycling enthusiasts across the world have given a new meaning to it, and two of the founder members of this ‘movement’ in Karachi and Lahore tell us more about it. Let’s see if it makes you want to push pedals!

Language: Urdu

Written by afiasalam

November 12, 2011 at 8:00 am

Environment for Poor

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Show: The Afia Salam Show

Host: Afia Salam

Guest: Shahid Sayeed Khan

Description: Meet Shahid Sayeed Khan, CEO of Indus Earth Trust, who tells Afia Salam why he became an environmental architect, and how his organization is trying to build a sustainable environment for the poor.

Language: English