Today I participated with friends in a city-wide architecture and art-themed scavenger hunt called Art Ki Talaash. It was a fundraiser for the first Karachi Biennale in October 2017. Our intrepid team, the 4x4s, registered at 9 am, braved the streets of Karachi for six hours, and came back at 4 pm sweaty and triumphant.
There were about 20 teams, most of them made up of youngsters, and one team that braved it with two small children. My team was made up of friends, and although we were neither four in number nor did we drive a 4×4, we put our great minds together and came up with nearly all the answers. Some had to be photographs, others videos, and we also had to purchase three items – an ajrak, spice from Empress Market, and a pair of jhumkas, or women’s earrings that dangle like bells from the ears.
We managed to go all over Karachi, from MA Jinnah Road, to II Chundrigar Road, to Lyari, to Saddar, to the airport, to Karsaz, all the way back to Clifton, the beach, Mai Kolachi, and Netty Jetty. I got to see parts of the city I’ve never seen before and learned a lot about the place we live in. We took photos at temples and cathedrals, and many of the city’s iconic buildings, part of its heritage and history, and some new structures too. It was a warm day but armed with water bottles, food, good music and a great attitude, we hardly noticed any discomfort.
The contest closed at 4 pm and it took about an hour and a half to tabulate the results. The lucky winners got 2 air tickets to Dubai, but there were prizes for 10 teams, all the way down to food and beauty vouchers. Even teams who didn’t win the big prizes stuck around the NJV College, Narayan Jagannath Vaidya High School, a Sindh Heritage building, to see who won. We were entertained with music and kept well-fed with snacks and tea.
At the end of the day, it was a really super idea and very well organized. I am impressed with the efforts of the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors. Everything went like clockwork and the results were transparent. A good kick-off to the Biennale and a promising start for the city’s celebration of art in the coming year.
- The name of the temple is the Swami Narayan, not the Naraswami temple. We couldn’t go in unless we were Hindu, because of security.