Sarafa Bazaar, Karachi

Winding lanes and gullies

one to two metres wide

Stacked with

narrow

tall

jewelry shops

A small step up

into each

No doors

windows

or buzzers

Blocking

us

from them

 

It is a feast for the ears

neck

wrists

fingers

toes

This market

of delicacies:

curls

lines

hoops

shapes

in gold

in silver

new

or antique

Studded with

emeralds

rubies

amethysts

pearls

diamonds

(that may be zircon)

Laced with dust

Some dirt-inlaid

Sweetmeats

of a bazaar

more than     years old.

 

Down a gully

half a metre wide

in a shop carved in Mahogany

Some antique earrings

catch our eyes

(though they aren’t what we’ve come for)

Thick

and fine

silver webs

clasping teardrops

of gems

Some studs

Some hanging

And a few pairs

designed to lay along

the entire length of the ear

Curls of silver

punctuated with tears

like lovers

at dusk

 

When we return

for those lovers

After combing several shops

for the tribal jewels we read

could be found at Sarafa Bazaar

(finding only a long necklace

with flat square medallions

of Red cut like glass

very handsome, very costly

adorned with a shopkeeper

completely uninterested

in our haggling)

The shop in Mahogany

is wide open

without a shopkeeper

Gone for sunset Namaz

Or maybe a bite to eat

We sit on two long stools

and are soon joined

by two women in burkha

Also here

for some choice pieces

 

As dusk approaches dark

And the shopkeeper doesn’t return

We have to take our leave

(afraid we’ll lose our direction

through the windy way back)

 

When we try again

two days later

we find Sarafa Bazaar

and the surrounding markets

cordoned-off, police-infested:

A murder, the night before

 

from breathing for breadth

(TSAR: 2005, pp. 36-38)

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