Karachi’s Sea View beach is like a two faced creature. If you are looking out at sea, you will be rewarded with a beautiful face: peaceful, pure, and mysterious.
Turn your back and you are greeted by its other side. This face is scarred with flotsam, and a mosaic of discarded plastic and paper containers. Clouding your vision is the black smoke emanating from burnt garbage. All this served with the backdrop of ill maintained, decaying and ugly looking apartment blocks.
This contradiction is a direct consequence of the relationship of the sea to those who enjoy it. . The ugly side is created by those who use, abuse and leave. The idyllic side is due to the few who have a special relationship with nature.
There are only two creatures that coexist with the sea: birds and fishermen. They both need the sea for their survival and they know that abusing their source of livelihood will result in their own demise.
The fishermen arrive with their nets and step quietly in the sea, they keep walking as if they are on a solid path until you see just their shoulders. You; the outsider; worry about their safety. But it is like worrying about the safety of fish in the sea. They spread-out with the net that becomes taut like the muscles of the men. So begins the arduous task of pulling the net through the water and the tide.
While the fishermen go about their daily routine, the birds are busy eating and apparently– having fun. Some walk alongside us a while, then for reasons unknown, take off. Others soon replace them.
The sun sets. The crowds of sea-users and abusers arrive. Water and land prepare themselves for fresh assault. It is time to wear the other face: the deformed one.
—Images and text by Vaqar Ahmed