Nilofar, you will be remembered

Published November 1, 2014
Waiting for Nilo. — Photo by AP
Waiting for Nilo. — Photo by AP

Oh Nilo, you were always such a tease, weren’t you? It was never going to end well.

"She's simply too bad for you," they said.

But you were our fetish, girl. We followed you around for so long, and now we want answers.

Karachiites want answers. The Met Department wants answers. My mom wants answers (she wanted to take the whole family to meet you, you know). My editor wants answers. Just yesterday, he was shouting to the entire newsroom:

“Guys, we need to stay on top of Nilofar all night and day.”

But the climax never came. All that teasing and flirting and for what? To leave us high and dry and with possibly a sandstorm instead of rain?

What the hurricane is that about?

Know more: Cyclone Nilofar weakening

For the first time in history, perhaps, the Pakistan Metrological Department seemed to know what is going on when they said:

“Under the influence of the cyclone, widespread rain and thundershowers with isolated heavy falls accompanied by strong gusty winds are expected in lower Sindh, including Karachi, and coastal areas of Balochistan from Wednesday night to Friday.”

What they promised: Cyclone 'Nilofar' will bring heavy rains to Pakistan coast

For the first time, Qaim Ali Shah seemed to have everything prepared.

“We have mobilised the disaster management of every district.”

And for the millionth time, Section 144 was imposed, preventing beach-goers from beach-going so that lives could be saved.

We had good news from even Balochistan, where the DG Disaster Management Authority said:

“Our relief goods are already kept in stores in Makran division and we are ready to deal with any emergency-like situation caused by heavy rains.”

Read about the preparations: Pakistan's coastal areas brace for Cyclone Nilofar

Billboards were pulled down, and gunslingers positioned at the shore so any radicalised waves could be shot down instantly. News channels had their Nilofar packages on auto-repeat in every bulletin.

The anticipation was clearly there.

Mr Taseer here clearly looked forward to meeting you again,

although 'Sufi Sal' took your christening a bit too seriously,

and some may have gone too far in joking with you:

But you were only going to listen to your namesake, weren't you?

We were all there, Nilofar, but you weren't.

I hate that it is never the expected that Pakistan gets. No. It always, ALWAYS has to be the who-saw-that-coming which visits our country, especially the city by the sea.

From a 'severe tropical cyclonic storm' to a mere 'cyclonic storm', you have gone, and some strong winds and a heavy shower some distance from Karachi is all that's left of the Met Department's original promise.

Rain-deprived and revolution-deprived and tsunami-deprived, we now also stand cyclone-deprived; that is, unless a future demagogue some 10 years from now decides to turn you into a metaphor for his revolution,

Nilofar aa nahi rahi, Nilofar chali gai hai!

which makes me think, is the 'tsunami' turning away her face, too?

Maybe I should stop being such a nag, seeing as how lives were saved and all. But of all the good that could come out of a hurricane losing its threat, Agha Siraj Durrani being proven right is not my favourite one.

O Nilofar, light of my life, cyclone of my city, my sin, my soul; you will be remembered. If not in aggressive political oratory, I will look for you on moonlit nights in the shadows of Burns Road in Karachi.

Until then, I'll leave you with this:

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