Chick lit across the LoC
HT City finds out the reading tastes of young Pakistanis at the first Karachi Literature Festival.entertainment Updated: Mar 27, 2010 00:39 IST
Pakistanis love reading Chick Lit as much as Delhiites. When HT City went last weekend to attend the two-day Karachi Literature Festival, it met youngsters who feel deeply for novels such as The Twilight Series.
“I love India’s Shobaa De,” says Falak Abbas, a college student. “She is old and yet looks so sexy and her books are so easy to read.” However, quite a few Karachiites were frank in confessing that while they had come to the festival to look at famous authors such as Bapsi Sidhwa and Mohammed Hanif, they don’t care much for reading. “My girlfriend’s Facebook status never says that she is reading a book,” jokes Saquib Shaikh, an engineering student. “Our generation doesn’t read. We don’t like books. Even our university lectures are saved on the laptop.”
That said, romantic shairis are popular in Pakistan. Famous verses of great poets such as Ahmed Faraz, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Sahrar Ansari are routinely forwarded as text messages. “Sometimes, we save their entire collected works on our iPhones,” says Sultan Abbas Rajput, a business student. One of the first sessions in the festival was dedicated to a creative writing workshop. Noor Ussana, a literature student and an aspiring poet, had specially come to attend it. “There is currently so much negativity in Pakistan and the world,” she said, referring to the unending terror attacks in her country. “To escape, one draws peace from nature and that’s why I want to write on the secluded world of forests and flowers.”
When a college student named Fatima Ansari, who had come to attend the festival, discovered that HT City is from Delhi, India, she said, “You must tell your countrymen that Karachi is as normal as any other city. We have no caves. Yes, there is instability and our parents get worried for us when we go out but we know how to have fun.” Indeed, the popular weekend time out in Karachi is having nightlong parties on the city’s beaches. “French Beach is most prized,” says Saquib. “And when there’s a beach, there’s also booze.” Eh, why care for the books?