Microcosm of Karachi

Vaqar Ahmed tries to capture the essence of Regal Chowk in Saddar

Microcosm of Karachi
Regal Chowk, located in the heart of Saddar, is the place to go if you want to feel the racing pulse of Karachi.

A word of caution is in order though: stay away if your bronchial arteries are not up to the mark, as the Chowk is a veritable gas chamber. Not that I would worry about the visitors from Lahore – whose lungs are by now well adapted to some of the worst pollution in the world!

Another piece of advice is to avoid taking your car as the whole area is a parking lot pretending to be a road.

The feature that confers upon Regal Chowk a special place in the landscape of Saddar is the triangular island in the centre that provides a perfect viewing- and resting-spot. Dotted with broken benches, some shady trees and a newspaper kiosk, it is the proverbial island of peace in the sea of trouble that flows all around it in the form of all conceivable modes of transport known to humanity.

The Chowk is occupied by tired laborers, avid newspaper readers, the homeless, totally calm drug addicts, excitable reformers who shout out their speeches to the passing traffic – some sitting some reclining, some sleeping. Snacks and refreshments are easily available by way of the numerous Bun Kabab, Chaat and juice kiosks dotting the Chowk. Then there are some lovely old but crumbling buildings that are a reminder of Karachi’s past glory.