Little America is the story of Sharif Barkati, a boy from the slums of Karachi who aspires for more—he wants love, he wants to be free. He achieves this by creating his own little haven of ‘freedom’, first in his school, then in his father’s car and then in a few ramshackle buildings with his friend in the city. He himself does not indulge in any of the freedoms he offers others—a space to drink, smoke, dress, speak and love as they want to; his exhilaration comes from their joy at expressing themselves unrestrained by society outside. And the space he creates is for everybody. His own plans to move to the land of the free having failed, he dreams of creating a Little America right there in Karachi. He puts his plans down on paper and leaves copies around in the restaurant he works in, in the hope that a kindred spirit will find them. And that miracle does happen.
November 2021, volume 45, No 11