I remember patiently waiting for the clock to strike 4.30pm. I remember you coming home from a tiring day at work after finally climbing the spiralling staircase of Mughal Chambers. I would wait for you to freshen up and then greet you with a tight hug and a kiss and eagerly ask you,
“Dada, can we please go for a walk?”
I knew you were tired but I hoped against hope that you wouldn’t refuse, and you never did, despite the fact that you were so exhausted,
you never did.
You saw your six year old niece crossing her fingers behind her back with eyes beaming with hope and excitement and you always said with a smiling face
“Come on, lets go!”
never showing how drained out you were.
I remember starting our walk by buying bhutta from the bhuttay wala who would stand underneath our apartment everyday,
some days we would switch from “bhutta” to chips and Polo from the “paan wala”.
During our entire walk, my questions about every thing that fascinated me were endless but you answered each and every one tirelessly and in full detail. From walking past the colourful houses in the Hindu neighbourhood to standing in front of the chai wala and watching him pour chai in a brightly coloured cup. I always wondered, what would happen if the chai would fall while he was pouring it from cup to cup, but you said he was experienced and that he would never let the chai spill.
“Experience” was a big word for me and I remember asking you what it meant, it was a new word added to my vocabulary.
I remember you always holding my hand and never leaving me out of your sight as we walked, making me feel so safe from the big red building to the old abandoned house that I would get scared to walk past.
On our walks, I would silently pray that you would stop at Yaqoob uncle’s shop to buy a few groceries because it was the only shop that sold my favourite milk toffees and you always remembered to buy them for me if you ever went there.
Our journey would end at last at the end of the lane, the VCR shop. If I had been a well behaved girl at school you would rent cartoons for me to watch from the shop, after which we would make our way back to our apartment.
Dada, thank you for patiently hearing all my stories.
Thank you for taking me on long walks even though you were drained after a long day of work
01and thank you for showing me around Commissariat Lines, like no one else could.
Zoila Solomon was born and brought up in Karachi, Sindh where she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Art from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi in 2016. Solomon enjoys story telling which is evident through the stories of her family and friends that she narrates through her work. She has exhibited her work in two group shows in Pakistan. She currently practices miniature painting and photography and also works as the assistant curator at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi.
Her Photo Essay is based on the memories spent with her beloved late uncle. Growing up in a joint family, a majority of her time was spent with him and she affectionately called him Dada, meaning father.