15 March, 2009

I had told myself I would not notice the taking off and landing of the plane, nor the announcements and security checks at the airports. This wasn't a week-long trip across the planet but a continuous living of life in a global village, where no connections are severed by a mere geographical displacement. Dubia airport had been impressive but my progress on Giedion's Space, Time and Architecture had been more impressive. I had slept and eaten, and was fully awake as we approached Karachi. And then as the landing gear clicked and the plane dipped, my heart skipped. I could no longer resist the little blinking lights of what was once the city of lights. Now they seemed watchful and tired.

Was it strange that I felt love and yearning for a city? Perhaps the city symbolizes a memorable childhood, and encapsulates the spirit of all its inhabitants whom I love.

Karachi has no skyscrapers, no Times Square, no architectural monuments to put on postcards (not since 1947 anyway). It is a blank slate. It's burning history, traditions, and energy are waiting to be articulated in concrete. It's fledgling spirit needs architectural columns to rest on.

What kind of monument, I thought, would be impervious to terrorist bombing or graffiti? What kind of monument would counter the extremist brainwashing of people by providing an alternative avenue for religious discourse? Karachi needs a Hagia Sophia! Will I design it some day?

The plane touches down and I snap my book shut, waiting to get out. Very soon it would be dawn. That, at least, was inevitable.


m. said...

Beautifully expressed!

Angela said...

beautiful photo.
beautiful writing.
just beautiful.