Why Not KHOKHAS Everywhere?

Publication Year : 2020

As teenagers, we used to walk or bike to local khokhas to pick up all manner of goods, as they were conveniently located and often cheaper than bigger stores. They were also willing to give you one cigarette from a pack or one biscuit from a pack as opposed to buying a whole packet. Time stands still for no one, so, somewhere in the 80’s the suburban DHA model arrived in Pakistan. Roads were widened to make way for cars and many of my favorite khokhas disappeared. I wondered where the owners had gone until one day I found one of the vendors in dire straits, being forced to beg on the streets. Later , our pristine sub urban neighborhoods became very exclusive and the mobile vendors seen everywhere, were diligently stopped by the police as well as private security. Various hawkers, the churun guy (a spicy paste or powder), the ‘baby sweets’ or ‘baby chips’ guy selling homemade candy and chips, the kulfi guy, all disappeared. I wonder where they are now. Begging for a living most probably.