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I have heard of Bolton Market in Karachi for a very long time but never got a chance to visit it with my family or my friends never allowed me to visit because it was not safe and being a very difficult shopping area, I always prefer to do it alone so that there is no one to nag me while I am shopping.
However recently, I finally decided that I need to visit without telling anyone. The minute I entered the market I was a bit taken back. It was packed, heaping with men, bikes, donkeys and dogs and no space to walk or even stand. There were only a handful of women that looked like flies in those heaping crowds of men.
I thought to myself, “Have I made a big mistake?” But I gained my courage, clutched my bag in my underarm, recited some Surahs to ask help from God to keep me safe and moved forward.
I started walking and well totally unexpected it turned out to be one of the most pleasant experiences of my life. Not only were the people super respectful giving me space to cross and move, but guided me the way to the shops that I was looking for. I roamed the entire market completely at ease for three hours alone and people helped me at every corner with directions. To be honest, I have felt more unsafe at the most famous and posh markets of Karachi.
No catcalls, no staring, no touching or groping the ass but just kindness, respect and help. One of the shopkeepers was nice enough to give me everything I got for free as it was a wholesale shop and for him, the amount I got costed nothing. The market had everything and by everything, I literally mean EVERYTHING. From threads, beads, cutlery, watches, jewelry – Bolton Market had EVERYTHING.
I felt free and got to see one of the most amazing markets of Karachi. After a very long time, I love Karachi because I found my freedom and independence here to be able to see the real Karachi alone.