Publisher: Random House India
No. of Pages: 272
Price: Rs. 299
Pakistan! The name strikes only one thing in mind – a country which has been epicenter of terrorism and always has been at loggerheads with India since it birth in 1947. There is more to Pakistan than terrorism, killings, etc. We don’t get to hear stories about people, culture, life etc. in India. Stories from Pakistan have always aroused interest in me; about its cities, people, festivals etc. Here comes a novel - Karachi, You’re Killing Me! - which takes you through the city of Karachi, its people and the life there. The novel is written by Pakistani journalist Saba Imtiaz.
The main protagonist of the novel is Ayesha Khan, a journalist in her twenties. She is working at Daily News in Karachi. Ayesha reports on all sorts of things - bomb blasts, literature festivals, murders, kidnappings, fashion shows, protests etc. Kamran, who is Ayesha’s boss at Daily News, is not at all kind to her. Kamran was gifted the newspaper by his industrialist father on his twenty sixth birthday ‘following a giant tantrum.’ Ayesha desperately wants to move out of Pakistan but her attempts don’t succeed. She is stuck with low-paying job at Daily News. Ayesha lives with his father who perhaps loves his cat more than his daughter. All of that has made Ayesha’s life dull and miserable.
There is Saad who is a banker and works in Dubai. He is Ayesha’s best friend since fifth class. Saad has been a great support to Ayesha and the one who cheers her up. There is Zara who is a fine investigative reporter working with Morning News TV. Zara is the one who tries to make Ayesha’s life lively. She takes her to parties and fashion events. They smoke and booze together. Zara also wishes that Ayesha finds a man in her life. She introduces her to Hasan. After seeing Hasan for some months, her relationship with Hasan ended on a day when Ayesha arrived late at his birthday party and then left abruptly after being called by her boss Kamran. Amidst all the commotion around, will she finds love in the city of Karachi? I am not going to tell you. Read the novel.
Each chapter of the novel as well as the section within begins with a headline which tells you about the happenings in Pakistan. It is a diary of a journalist struggling in the city of Karachi with the chaos in her life and around. In the novel, Saba Imtiaz paints the picture of problems faced by journalists in Pakistan on a daily basis. Being a journalist herself, she has done a fine job in doing that.
Saba’s novel seems semi-autobiographical in nature. The characters and the events in the novel look genuine. The novel is funny, thrilling, and intriguing. It is a novel which will keep you gripped. The novel is a good read over a weekend or when you are going for a long distance travel. By the way, don’t expect literary pearls from this novel. Karachi, You’re Killing Me! is a perfect plot for a Bollywood movie. A thriller!
(Varad Sharma is a writer. You can follow him on twitter @VaradSharma)