Once again, chicken soup sells like hot cakes as good old days of friends catching up with gossip around bonfire return after a day’s rain in Karachi.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Once again, chicken soup sells like hot cakes as good old days of friends catching up with gossip around bonfire return after a day’s rain in Karachi.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: The city gets chilly for barely a few days. Hence, the citizens here don’t make big preparations to counter the weather conditions. During the winter a blanket should do as long as no one switches on the fans or air conditioners. Then a mug of steaming tea or coffee is enough to warm the soul and relax the mind.

As February drew to a close and spring was officially here, a day of rain threw a spanner into the sun’s warmth and all spring cleaning plans.

The quilts and blankets, wrapped up and folded before being pushed to the top compartments of cupboards were needed once again. Someone or the other was sent to the neighbours again with a request to borrow their folding ladder, again. The jackets and sweaters, too, were brought out and shaken to get the mothballs out.

“Thankfully, it has not been that long for them to be packed in storage for the smell of mothballs to sink in,” a homemaker in my neighbourhood smiled and shrugged.

Well-known clothing brands had already put sale tags on their warm clothing. “They must be regretting it now because suddenly people are buying these,” said one customer looking at designer jackets and woollies at a mall on Sunday.

Rain compels citizens to unpack wrapped up woollies, bring broth to the table

A cousin said that she had started looking at recipes on YouTube to get some ideas about salads. “But we are back to aloo gosht and chicken curry,” she laughed.

Sher Khan, the chicken soup seller in Kharadar, was also back to selling his popular warm chicken broth. “I usually stop making yakhni by the end of February. But it is so cold, suddenly, and my customers are demanding it, so here I am back with what they want,” he said.

The boiled eggs seller with a cart in Liaquatabad also had a similar story to share as he sprinkled salt and pepper on freshly boiled and pealed eggs cut into four pieces and served in small plastic plates.

Dried fruit, roasted peanuts, popcorn and corn on the cob, too, are more in demand than cold drinks and ice cream. The guy on the bicycle with a big kettle and thermos full of hot tea was also finding more customers early morning and in the evening.

The shops with quilts and blankets heaped over each other by the footpath were also glad to be back in business.

Also back were the little campfires by the roadside where people sat down for a bit to chat while warming their hands. The warm glow of the flames reflected in their eyes and brought a radiance to their faces. “It feels like winter is rewound and being replayed,” said an individual enjoying the company at one such cosy gathering.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2024

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