Ms. Kanwal Akhat raised a very valid point in connection of foodies and Karachi Eat. It is story of the other side of this mega food event.
The festival has been pushed to next week (Friday) so I believe we can fix this and earn some good numbers where they really matters. We are copying her words as it is because she explained it the best.
“I attended the Karachi Eat Festival yesterday. Although it was a slightly brief visit, on account of the rain, I’d like to share something.
For a foodie like me, this festival with its plethora of cuisines, the celebtatory feel in the air and the delicious smells is like a food haven.
However, when I came out of the festival I was faced with an entirely different picture that has left me guilt ridden since yesterday.
In the area that was not cordoned off for the festival, I saw children selling balloons, a paapar wala, and a couple of other street vendors trying to make sales to people who were waiting for their cars. These people depend heavily on their daily sales, in the frer hall grounds, which had now come to a standstill for 3 days until the festival ends.
I’m all up for celebrating food but shouldn’t being grateful for it also be a part of it? While we taste food, throw away leftovers in the bins and get second (even third) helpings of what we liked inside the festival, the poor are outside shivering in the cold; their only connection to the festival being the smell of fresh food being cooked and seeing attendees carting boxes of packed treats to take home.
Here are a few things we can do as attendees to the festival to not only celebrate good food but be thankful and give back to those who are not blessed with it:
1. Carry a couple of extra bags to the event. Use them to buy something extra for the poor or even put in leftovers if need be. Just don’t throw half eaten food to waste in the dustbin. You may not like it but it could be someone’s dinner for the night.
2. If we can spend thousands on food there, surely a hundred extra on food for the people who can’t afford it wont do much damage to our wallets. Just think about it: if there are a thousand people visiting the festival in one day and each buys 2 extra meals to give to someone on the way back home, that’s 2000 hungry mouths fed on a cold Karachi night.
3. As attendees we can always give feedback to the organizers and participants of the festival. Rather than just providing feedback and opinions on food, arrangements and arguing over the ‘only families allowed’ rule, we could give feedback on how to accomodate the underpriviledged into the event. Organizations like Robin Hood Army could be involved for example.
Another suggestion to give it to the organizers could be to get some of these street vendors be a part of the event. After all what is a food festival in Karachi if it does not have our regular makai, bhutta and paapar wala? 🙂 In this way at least these vendors won’t be deprived from their day’s earnings in that area.
Just some thoughts we can keep in mind and share amongst friends as Karachi Eat comes back tomorrow and the day after. Each small good act on our part can contribute to a much bigger, positive impact on many who can not afford a single, decent meal for the day.
Photo by Umair Kazi.0