KARACHI: Do you remember that time in the early 90s when Choti Eid was the big boss holiday in town? Ramadan was still ramzaan, and roza nights included hot pakoras, sticky sweet jalebis and midnight drives with the family in a less congested Karachi. Eid clothes discussions would begin mid month with multiple trips to purchase cloth, lace and button and end with bribes to the darzi so coordinated outfits would be ready in time. We would meet cousins at family iftaars and discuss how to break in our new khussas and speculate about our Eidi haul.
After a long time, I’ve felt that same festive spirit in Karachi. Maybe its because my own daughter is (finally) old enough to be excited about mehndi and choories. Maybe it’s the plethora of exhibitions and #ramadannight events have gotten even the crankiest Karachites into the Eid spirit. From volleyball tournaments, games nights and Smile Till Sehri events, this Ramazan has been less about hashtags and more about connecting with friends and family. It’s managed to reduce our Instagram fueled agendas to the simple pleasure of getting together and laughing.
For me, personally, this Ramazan has truly invoked my nostalgia for Eid past. I’ve enjoyed planning iftari at home, waiting for my favorite spinach pakoray to hit the table, bought special Eidi envelopes for those crisp notes and taken my 5 year old to choose our matching outfits. Ramazan passed in a blur of spontaneous sheesha nights, exhibition hopping and late night Gilmore Girl marathons with my mother. Karachi displayed lightheartedness in Ramazan 2018, where patience and gratefulness went hand-in-hand with laughter and tolerance.
Filled with a festive spirit strong enough to challenge any yuletide caroler, I set out to find the best chaand raat activities in Karachi. No night is complete without mehndi application, purchasing matching choories, and eating jalebis and kulfi under a canopy of colored light bulbs in the sky. Here is my list of events taking place all over Karachi, from the most authentic to most burger approved:
1. TDF Ghar
Wondering where I’ll be? You’ll find my little one and I at the renovated TDF Ghar on MA Jinnah road. The atmosphere makes you want to break out in Jeay Pakistan, with the Mazaar twinkling in the background and pre-Partition trees whispering in the wind. Along with their special exhibit on the history of henna, they have organised food, music and henna application for chaand raat. It promises to be a special night.
Full details on their event page Henna Say Eid:
2. Eid Souk
A multi brand exhibition extravaganza, this event has been running since June 9. Located in the Grand Marquees, the husband wife duo from Woot Event Company has really pulled out all the stops. chaand raat celebrations will be well organised, extravagant and family friendly. Once done with henna, you can roam the stalls and eat your heart out at their food area.
Full details at:
3. Uzma Center
This is an old school hang out from even my younger days, but there is a mehendhi set up outside Aghas and choories at Uzma center. It’s not a social event like the ones above, more a quick henna application which is more convenient and has its own charm.
A number of salons offer mehndi application in house on chaand raat, but my personal favorites are Bina Khan and Mint Beauty Solutions. Both are run by amazing women, are very hygienic and create a fun atmosphere.
Bina Khan, known for her incredible make up talent, has a small space, which is filled with love and laughter. They have henna application and bangles available on chaand raat. You can contact them directly for more information. Her salon is situation in Bukhari Commerical.
Mint Beauty Solutions has two locations, one near Bilalwal House and the other on Saba Avenue. The spaces are airy and open and they also carry Snails nail polish, which is a kid friendly brand, if you want to go full glam. Henna application is available on both Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14, just call for more details.
5. Owls Nest Cafe
If you have smaller kids and want something in the DHA area that’s convenient, try out the Owl’s Nest Café. They have planned Eid related activities catering to a smaller age group for chaand raat. The space is specially made for kids so there is plenty to do and you can also grab a Juicy Lucy burger afterwards to hit the food spot.