- Todays Paper
- beta 2.0
Coffee and gunshots on Zamzama
Aine Moorad April 20, 2011 Posted by Aine Moorad
Last August, a friend and I were sitting at Butlers Chocolate Caf enjoying fancy coffees and chatting about life when suddenly, the cafes lights dimmed.
At first, I thought the power had gone out but when I saw an expression of concern on one of the waiters faces, I suspected there was something greater at play.
I asked the waiter if everything was okay. At first, he appeared a little hesitant to leak the news, but then he said:
Some men are firing on the main road, outside the restaurant.It took me a minute to truly fathom what he was saying. I had heard of such incidents happening in Karachi lately, but never for a moment had I thought that Id be a victim.
There were gunmen outside the cafe, openly firing, treating guns as though they were fire crackers. And, we were caught in the mayhem. There was nothing I could do to avoid what was happening outside. Absolutely nothing,
Stay calm, I told myself . After all, I was sitting in a cafe at Zamzama, an upscale street in Karachi, not some random eatery in Nazimabad.
As one of my relatives told me Defence, Clifton mein kuch nahi hota. She clearly didnt realise that one always has to be on high alert in Karachi, no matter where one is!
It suddenly dawned on me that my driver, Ishaq, was waiting for us in my car outside. Worried about his safety, I called him on his cell phone. When he didnt pick up my heart began to race. I anxiously called again, hoping that he was alright. At last, he answered.
People are firing, he blurted in Urdu. There are men on motorbikes with guns. I could hear gun shots in the background. He instructed me to stay in-doors.
My friend and I looked at each other; our catching up session had come to a startling halt.
But amid such chaos, I couldnt help but notice something striking. I was amazed by how calm everyone was in the restaurant.
People werent crouching under tables, worried about being injured nor did they appear to be panicking. Perhaps, they were worried, but there wasnt an atmosphere of fear in the air. I remember thinking, God forbid, if a similar incident happened overseas, people would not react like this.
I could barely eat the extravagant chicken pie I had ordered and wondered how people could swallow their food, knowing that there was a high probability of being injured, or worse shot dead. The cafe had glass windows and a bullet could have easily pierced through.
A few minutes later, I heard police sirens. My phone rang a few seconds later. It was my driver, informing me that it was safe to exit
The next day, the street was full of busy shoppers and diners as usual, the same street targeted by dangerous gunmen only a day earlier.
I was thoroughly impressed by the way the Karachiites had handled the situation.
It seems Pakistanis have become immune to such occurrences so they continue living with or without fear, they live kind of believing that if theyre destined to die, they will. And perhaps this is the best way to live. After all, for how long can the people of Pakistan live life behind closed doors?
We only live once.(http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/5471/coffee-and-gunshots-on-zamzama/)