I had been unable to control my goosebumps since the day I heard Brandon Stanton, of Humans of New York fame, is in Pakistan. I could feel my patriotism growing stronger the moment I realized someone is finally here just to explore the good side of Pakistan.

It had been years now that I had quit my desire of seeing the beautiful side of my country being aired on our television screens. Even if I spare the international media, our local media agencies too have left no room in ensuring that the worst possible image of Pakistan goes to out there. However, with an improving law and order situation, a whole lot of hopes have arrived for me in the form of HONY. The way he has been representing the people of Hunza Valley, I wish I could do something that he stays here till he explores and shows every beautiful place of Pakistan to the rest of the world.

Reading the comments on his page, I could not control my tears. People from US and Canada had been apologizing and regretting for considering Pakistan a cruel country and not giving it its due credit. With a heavy heart, though I have accepted that he cannot stay here forever, I still want that he should visit people of these five places in Karachi before he leaves. Since he runs the page Humans of New York, I think visiting the New York City of Pakistan i.e. Karachi should be a “must do” on his list. Undoubtedly if Brandon missed these spots, the world will lose the opportunity to see a great deal of Pakistan. Below is the mentioned list; enjoy the feast, thank me later.

Mubarak Village: Churna Island

Mubarak Village: Where the sky and the ocean are one

Mubarak Village is located near Karachi, at a drive of a few minutes from Hawks Bay. It’s a small village where people usually earn by their expertise in fish catching. It’s hard to see that the area faces immense heat even in normal days. However, the people continue to live there happily trying to enjoy and compensate the manmade facilities that they miss out on, with the facilities of nature. Yes, you got it right. The place is full of natural beauty. The area is usually covered and surrounded by moderate mountains of limestone. However, what comes after it is a beautiful land covered with sea green water changing its shade to light blue and dark as the day progresses.

It’s amazing to see at the moment when the sea completely blends in with the sky. People living their lives with content faces, enjoy the changing colors of sea and earn with the rich variety of fish they catch from the water. The activities of fish catching have become easy for them because the only spot people visit there is the great Churna Island. This does not cause a disturbance in their business due to crowding on the beaches. Though it’s a rough business for them as they lack storing capacities, residents of Mubarak village have learned to compromise with the situation. For them, they are rich because they can afford to live a natural expanse daily, which not everyone gets maybe even once in a lifetime. If Brandon wants to make his Pakistan trip memorable, a dive at Churna Island is a must have.

University of Karachi

University of Karachi's famous (read: notorious) buses

University of Karachi has been renowned the world over for years now. I believe it’s high time that the world should know how difficult and exciting it is to be a student there. This is the only university in Pakistan that will entertain students from Iran, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Canada and USA at the same time. Interviewing the students here, there is one thing common that Brandon will encounter: the fact that survival in KU is dependent more on physical strength than mental strength.

The distance from the university gate to the departments and the “do-or-die” survival attempt in Karachi University points challenges every KUrian with their different experiences every morning. On my way back to the gate once, I had lost all my stamina to step forward and decided to opt for an auto. Looking at my condition, the auto driver said, “Nothing worth having comes easy”.

That day I realized, that I am not just obtaining a degree from KU with my intelligence and hard work, I am also earning it with all the possible physical strength. It is just this university which is full of unique experiences that one’s not associated with KU would have ever imagined. Students at KU are the best examples of the fact that one does not need fancy buildings and extra ordinary facilities to impart quality and world-class education. I am sure the world would love and desire visiting KU once Brandon introduces its humans to them.

Sea View Karachi

Sea View, Karachi: Where the differences between the rich and poor are overcome and all that remains is happiness!

Sea View Karachi has nothing different that Brandon wouldn’t have seen on his trips abroad. In fact, it’s way more dirty and stinky and the water there is contaminated. But one thing that will amaze him there would be seeing every single person over there really happy. That is right. Despite the fact that it has nothing great to offer, the sea view of Karachi manages to bring smiles to millions of people daily.

Just because everyone cannot afford trips to private beaches or clean water parks, sea view is perhaps a “sasti tafri” (in-budget enjoyment) to many. No one charges them extra to smile, nor is anyone over there in a complex to see who’s wearing branded clothes and who’s not. Everyone there appears so equal – all wet and wild in the water. Indeed, it’s one place in Pakistan where the poor can enjoy freely alongside with the rich. The equal status which Jinnah dreamt of in Pakistan for both the rich and poor, sea view endorses it. The priceless smiles on the faces of people availing unusual camel and horse rides, buying reasonable shell key chains and frames and eating the corn and street food unites the whole nation under one category: happy! Brandon can definitely help the world learn from us, happiness is where ever we want it to be.

Netty Jetty Bridge

The Netty Jetty Bridge's

It may not appear as beautiful as the London Bridge, but Netty Jetty has the best humans in town to make sure it grabs all the eyes and audiences. I have met many people in my life that used to say we are going on a trip to Netty Jetty Bridge which amazed me to a very high extent. This astonishment only faded when I myself had a small experience of visiting the place.

It was night when I rushed at the busiest bridge in town. Unknown to those pressure releasing springs, I thought it’s the earthquake that’s shaking the ground. After screaming aloud, I was told that it’s the latest technology. Soon after I made that blunder, I saw many people doing the same. I wonder if they too were having the very first experience with the bridge. I could see people bringing in their families. Frankly speaking, there was nothing extraordinary that was worth enjoying on the bridge. But the simplicity of humans that it was surrounded by made it worth visiting. I could see people trying to catch fish with their fish catching sticks dropped into the Arabian Sea right below the bridge. As I saw further, I could see massive ships in front of me. I had never seen such large scale trade ships in my life. The food street too was yummy and different.

From European style restaurants like Port Grand to traditional Nuts and dry fruit sellers, there would have been hardly anything mesmerizing that wasn’t there on the bridge – it was pure charm. Brandon would definitely love to experience a mini heart attack once he goes down with the bridge and hospitable people consoling him all around when he bounces back realizing it was, in fact, not an earthquake.

Empress Market Karachi

Where to catch a glimpse of pre-Partition India? Empress Market, Karachi

Empress market is perhaps the oldest market of Karachi. If Brandon intends to see what Pakistan looked like in its early days, surely Empress Market is the place. It still manages to give the pre-partition feeling, evolving with the old traditional culture which isn’t found anywhere else in Pakistan. The buses, the horse riders and cycle autos all can still be availed at the market. Indeed, the entire buildings in the area have remained what they were like before the partition.

I bet Brandon would feel immense difficulty in fathoming that he stands in Pakistan once he steps onto the Empress Market. The colorful market seems to have refused to modify itself with western modernism that has revolutionized the city. From shops of kites to stores of birds, the humans in market earn their livelihood from same old means that once were the successful and most running businesses of the ancient pre-partition period. The traditions of walking, talking and eating too appear to be very different from what the rest of Pakistan lives with today. The Indian touch to that place is felt the very moment one steps in.

Talking to the people there, Brandon can discover their distinctive sense of patriotism and see how delighted they are to maintain a piece of land that can help future generations take a glimpse of the region’s old, pre-partition culture.