During Ramazan when the people do not frequent the beaches during the day for horse rides, the horse owners bring them to middle-class neighbourhoods for cheap rides.—Tahir Jamal/ White Star
During Ramazan when the people do not frequent the beaches during the day for horse rides, the horse owners bring them to middle-class neighbourhoods for cheap rides.—Tahir Jamal/ White Star

KARACHI: Hussain Bakhsh makes a beeline for the water tap installed in the boundary wall of a girls’ school in Lyari’s Singolane with his chestnut horse Raju.

Raju follows him faithfully and he patiently stands by his master, who washes his hands and face before turning to the horse. He takes off his bridle. Then bringing out a clean plastic bag, he fills it up with water before offering it to Raju, who guzzles up the entire liquid within seconds. In fact he finishes several bags full.

It is soon after Asr prayers that one can see so many youngsters, most of them under the supervision of the horse owners with some also taking the animals for solo rounds as they while away their time on horseback. Bakhsh says that he comes to give rides to children from nearby Mauripur where he lives. “I am originally from Sehwan Sharif but I came to Karachi in search of a better livelihood,” he says.

‘I am originally from Sehwan Sharif, but I came to Karachi in search of a better livelihood’

Bakhsh says that he usually offers horse rides on Raju at the Clifton and Seaview beaches. “But these days the weather is hot and as most people are also fasting during the holy month of Ramazan, there is hardly anyone at the beaches at this time. So I head towards such middle-class neighbourhoods,” he says as he stops to accept some money from a toddler who wants a ride in return for his money.

There are several youngsters all waiting for their rides with a Rs10 currency note in hand. “I offer short rides to children from one side of the street to the school building for Rs10 each as that’s what they can afford to pay me here although at the beaches I ask for Rs200 per ride,” he says.

“The care and feeding of horses doesn’t come cheap so me and Raju need to keep working and earning whatever little we can,” he concludes.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2019