Karachista’s Diary 7th – 13th Feb

Happening around town in Karachi
The SAARC Women’s Entrepreneurs Day and The Karachi Literature festival were among this week’s highlights

It’s been another busy week in Karachi. Last weekend started off with the SAARC Women’s Association Entrepreneurs Day, which was held at the Marriot as usual. This once-a-year event is basically a brilliant bazaar with clothes, jewellery, accessories and crafts. It’s known for having a great selection of clothing from Lahore, India and Bangladesh. You can also find small-scale Karachi designers as well as lots of Behbud associations at the event.

SAARC Mela fabric
Unstitched suits from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
SAARC Mela Natural Dyed Blockprints
Natural Dyed Blockprints
SAARC Mela Hand emboidered suits
Hand embroidered suits
SAARC Mela hand painted trays
Hand-painted trays
SAARC Mela jaipur jewellery
Jaipuri style jewellery

Karachi-ites head to the bazaar every year to stock up on Lahori shadow-work, natural-dyed block prints and Indian cotton suits. It’s also brilliant for cross-stitch, rilli and other local crafts. Several brilliant charity organisations sell towels and suits embroidered by under-privileged women.

SAARC Mela cotton fabric
Cotton suits
SAARC Mela lahori tarkashi
Lahori Tarkashi
SAARC Mela jewellery clutches
Jewellery, crockery and clutches at the SAARC annual bazaar
SAARC Mela Shadowwork fabric
Shadowwork suits
SAARC Mela blockprinted suits
Blockprinted suits

Some stalls are there every year and others choose to use the event to gain some publicity. There were so many gorgeous creative things to see – from hand-painted trays to pottery. Two newbies were particularly popular this year, both of whom were selling home accessories.

SAARC Mela accessories
Zahra Ebrahim accessories
SAARC Mela chameli tray
Zahra Ebrahim Chameli tray

Zahra Ebrahim’s was one of the hottest stalls at the bazaar. Her chic, contemporary trays and accessories are simply stunning and buyers snapped them up rapidly.

SAARC Mela inlay table
Inlay table by Azra Ahmed
SAARC Mela marble console
Marble Console inlaid with semi-precious stones by Azra Ahmed

Azra Ahmed’s stone and marble pieces also did very well. Her mosaic marble pieces inlaid with semi-precious stones were particularly artistic and appealing.

Karachi literature festival 2015
The Karachi Literature festival attracted huge crowds

The 6th Karachi Literature Festival was also held over the weekend and was, as ever, incredibly vibrant and absorbing. The festival included panel discussions, book launches, film screenings, performances and activities for kids. It apparently attracted 120,000 people, up from 70,000 people last year, which is easily believable because the traffic and crowds were horrendous. There were around 200 speakers discussing topics as varied as women in fiction, the role of creativity in tackling instability and the world as the author sees it.

karachi literature festival 2015
KLF 2015
book fair at karachi literature festival
The festival included a book fair

This is one time you see the creative, culture-loving Karachiites out in force. Although some were obviously there to see and be seen, most are passionate about books and the arts in general. Many sessions were packed with people happily sitting on the floor.

panel discussion karachi literature festival
With dozens of sessions at the Karachi Literature Festival, it was difficult to choose which to attend
book sale at karachi literature festival 2015
All sorts of books were on sale
book fair at karachi literature festival
A family favourite

As usual, there were so many things going on that it was difficult to decide which session to attend – you ended up wishing you could be in two places at once! The sessions can be a hit and miss affair. Sometimes people who write brilliantly are not terribly good at speaking, others seem woefully underprepared. In general, however, the festival was stimulating and thought provoking.

anwar maqsoon ka dharna
Anwar Maqsood Ka Dharna

This week I finally had a chance to catch Anwar Maqsood Ka Dharna, and it’s very good . Don’t expect too much in the way of a plot or nuanced analysis, just some excellent jokes and a truly inspired depiction of Imran Khan by Dawar. It’s on till 18th February and Karachi Arts Council worth a look if you haven’t already seen it.

mews cafe karachi
Breakfast at Mews Cafe in Karachi

Other highlights of the week included the chance to review two new restaurants. You can read my review of Pan Asian restaurant Tao here and my review of the new café Mews here.

Tao restaurant karachi
Some of the delicous offerings at Tao

I also enjoyed the chance to catch up with Zara Shahjahan and her hubby Saad over lunch at Flo. It was also a chance to pump Instep editor Aamna Haider Isani about her visit to Mumbai to cover the Filmfare Awards. The power lunch also included top blogger Faiza Lakhani, the awesome Umair Tabani and actress Syra with her hubby Sehroz.

syra and shehroz at cafe flo
Shehroz & wife Syra
faiza lakhani and umair tabani
Faiza and Umair
aamna instep and zara shahjahan
Aamna and Zara

Zara was in town for the soft launch of her new flagship store in Karachi. It’s opened on main Khayaban e Shujaat in Bukhari Commercial and I’ll put up a proper post on it as soon as I’ve had a chance to visit. Meanwhile, here’s a little peek at how the store looks.

zara shahjahan karachi store launchzara shahjahan karachi store launch
zara shahjahan karachi store launch
Zara Shahjahan’s flagship store in Karachi
zara shahjahan fashion pakistanzara shahjahan fashion pakistan

Finally this week has been all about the run-up to Valentine’s Day. Team Karachista hunted out the best Valentine’s deals in Karachi and put together some great gift ideas for the love of your life.

Have a great weekend folks – thanks for reading Karachista’s Diary. Check out what’s on in town this coming week here. See you next week!

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerastahttps://karachista.com
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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