Category Archives: blog

beautiful ornamental headlight encasing

Puppet clothes shopping

I went back to Hyderabad to mail out the ajrak, hat and clothes to the puppet maker in Delhi via DHL. Once I got there, the weight was 0.7 kg which would be rounded up and charged as 1 kg. I decided to go to the cloth markets in the area and see if I could find cloth suitable for any other puppets I needed.

I walked all over, looking at many different fabrics. I found some closer by, then walked all the way to Resham gali to search for some fancier cloth for the Raja Rai Diyach puppet. I grabbed an apple soda along the way, and wondered what I was doing in the midst of this heat.

On the way back, I asked a rickshaw driver for directions. He was carrying cargo in the back. I told me which way to go, then told me to hop in the front with him and gave me a ride. He refused to take any payment once I got there. He was just trying to be helpful, on a hot day as he was taking cargo in that direction.

I went back to DHL, weighed everything and it was exactly 1 kg, so I sent it off. Then I walked all the way to Hyder Chowk to see my friend Abdul Majeed Soomro. I ran into Azam Bugti, from the Hala Design College as well as Saqib, a talented designer. We chatted for a while, then left eventually. I rode with Saqib as he was headed in the same direction. We stopped for a fresh fruit smoothy on the way. Papaya and pineapple was great on such a hot day.

At night, my firend Abdullah came to get me just after dinner. We went back to his place and sat up on the roof. The wind is nice and cool at night in Jamshoro. The electricity was gone, so a few of us just sat or lay on a mat with some pillows. It was a nice change from my hot hostel room. Afterwards, I head back to the hostel.

clothes shopping for puppets thus far

Sindhi Hat

clothes shopping for puppets thus far

clothes shopping for puppets thus far

I need to keep this script moving forward, so I went through all the notes and corrections again, filling in whatever I could, even typing Sindhi verses letter by letter.

I went into the city with Danish to look for a Sindhi hat. I need one for a puppet and wanted one for myself and my niece. We went to an old bazaar, riding a motorcycle through streets barely fit for walking through.

We looked at a few shops there, then head to the Pakka Qilla (Fort) where there are some shops I had seen before. I looked at a few shops, then picked out the hats I wanted. Afterwards, I picked up some cloth for another puppet’s clothes. Then we grabbed some food at a place called Mirchi. I had a Chinese thali which had a variety of Pakistani Chinese food, certainly enough for two meals. The small joys.

Script work and Society

I went for my second session with Abdul Hafeez Qureshi. We worked on the last two Surs, once again making notes and corrections. Afterwards, I learned a bit about his writing and interesting research on Shah Latif regarding mention of history and culture in his poetry.

Again, I spent the rest of the day in the heat, typing up corrections to the scripts based on our meeting. Once the sun started going down a bit, I head over to the Society, where there are shops and residence. I texted several friends who live there to see who might come and join. Saqib joined me as I got some things printed and picked up some cleaning supplies. It was fun to talk about design and to see some of his beautiful work on display at several storefronts that he had designed in the area. My friend Hisam joined us at a little dhaba for a bit, before I head back to the hostel.


Script work in Jamshoro


Back in Jamshoro, I met with Abdul Hafeez Quraishi, who spent time with me in the geography department, going over the Sindhi and Urdu scripts for “Risalo”. I noted many corrections and rearrangements for the text.

I spent the rest of the day typing up changes, even typing Sindhi where needed to make all the changes on the Surs we had tackled.

Camel ride on the beach

Hawk’s Bay Beach

We took a break at Hawk’s Bay beach. It was time for me to get going, but Haider Ali and Mumtaz bhai took me and a few of the kids to the beach. The water was cool, which was a relief in this heat. It was a lot of fun to just hang out, watch Haider Ali’s older son cry for his mother every time we took him in the water and watch Mumtaz bhai’s youngest run into the water without fear.

Afterwards, we came back and rested. It was time for me to get going. I had a contact to follow up with regarding the Sindhi script for “Risalo”, and while I was in Karachi, none of my friends had been able to check the existing script, so I needed to get back in order to make any progress. This thing is ridiculous. I never thought that this would be the step that killed the project, but it is taking everything I have to keep that from happening.

I took a bus back to Jamshoro, messed up and ended up in Hyderabad, then took a shared rickshaw back. There’s no joy in coming back to this. Haider and Mumtaz along with their families really felt like home to me. I would much rather spend time there than back in the isolation and weirdness of Jamshoro right now, but this is where I have to be if I have any hope of getting this project going.


Karachi Zoo

We checked out the local zoo. It was fun, if sad for the animals.

Afterwards we head out to follow a lead on the last traditional puppet maker that I have been able to find so far. He is working at a recycling center in Lalu Khaith, so we went there to visit, with another truck artist who lives there. After a bit of asking around, we met his sons. They were eager to take an order for their father to create a puppet. I did not manage to meet the father who is now 70+ and pushing a push cart through neighborhoods to collect recyclable materials. It is a very difficult and harsh existence. Yet, at the same time, I am not sure how I can help. The sons are not young either, but they are not really connected to puppetry, and who can blame them, when they can not earn a living from it. Even if I get the father to make a puppet, which will be difficult, I don’t think anything changes in this case.

Student Truck Art

On the last day of the workshops at Indus Valley, the Phool Patti team got to see the finished works the students had created based on their lessons. It was great to see the sense of satisfaction in each team member, after the hard work they had put in with the students and likewise the excitement and appreciation of the students.

There were a lot of fun pieces featuring students’ take on truck art culture in Pakistan.


The morning started with another comedy hour, courtesy of my favorite year and a half twins.

Thank you twins, for brightening my day. Until the next show.

Twins from Adnan Hussain on Vimeo.

Dekh Magar Pyar Sai (Look, but with love)

Swiss Consulate and Indus Valley Presentation

I went to the Swiss Consulate with the Phool Patti team. There was a press conference unveiling of some fiberglass swiss cows that had been painted in truck art style, with spots for signatures. These would be placed in the Karachi domestic and international airport terminals.

It was fun to be part of this event and to see the work up close. I took behind the scenes photos of the event. Afterwards, we head over to Indus Valley, where I gave my presentation to students. It is always fun to share.


Trucks and funny kids

Sometimes before class, Haider Ali and I or Mumtaz bhai and I stop by one of several truck stands where work is done. It’s fun to take photos of the variety of art on display, from painted designs, to intricate wood work and all kinds of ornamentation.

The nice folks at Indus Valley put up a little poster for a presentation I plan to give on Wednesday about my work. After the workshops, we head back to Haider Ali’s place. It is a long ride, along bumpy roads, congested traffic and at times powerful smells. It is always a relief to get home, and I’m just a passenger, so I can only imagine how tired Haider must be.

Ali Salman Anchan had sent some goody bags for the kids. It was pretty adorable to see them put on the masks, play with things and eat candy. These moments do wonders to pull me out of the doldrums of waiting and struggling.