You think of Karachi and you imagine dust and dirt, you look out of your car windows and you see avenues of beige, roads of grey and skies of blinding teal.
On the streets, hawkers sell withered roses wrapped in cellophane along with deflated balloon hearts on dirty strings. There is a constant cacophony of sound. The ironic burst of a silencer, the oddly eloquent Persian swears words and the trill cries of hungry crows.
Karachi’s fragrance is rancid, seeped with the stench of decay and cow dung with notes of diesel and day old kebabs.
The perpetual summer of the city weighs down on its many citizens with the sunlight not dazzling but blinding, making every inhabitant of this ‘bustling metropolis’ perpetually lost in a haze of hurry. Every face is anonymous and every man or woman disappears into the myriad of lanes and alleys that zigzag across the map of Karachi.
On the news, on the internet, wherever you turn our city is a goldmine for bounty hunters of gritty lore. There is an army of explorers that tunnel through the stories that thrive in Karachi. Stories of adventure and art, of music weaned from violence and epicurean feasts served in roadside cafes.
CITYFM89’s City Stories are a series of vignettes that capture the essence of Karachi and give you a glimpse into the lives of the many unique individuals who make up this realm of madness by the sea.
Owner of Waheed Music Shop
Set in the middle of a dusty road in Laloo Khet is Waheed Music Shop. A tiny store full of musical treasures. The walls are lined with guitars covered in plastic, there are tabla’s and flutes and banjos sitting on the floor. The entire space is taken up by all things music related and Abdul Waheed sits outside bringing old and tired instruments back to life.
He’s been doing this work for over 40 years and has honed his skills over time. He has had renowned artists visit his shop for all their musical needs. He is a quiet, humble man earning a quiet humble earning. He is a fixer-upper, music-maker and this is his story.
Here’s what we saw and heard:
Click here for our previous City Stories feature on Haider Ali, a truck artist.