Lusting for heroin, living in excess

Karachi is an open invitation to toe the line of depravity and excess. "We should do heroin. What else can we do?"

Fyez Ahmed April 01, 2012
My friends always did seem to be perpetually waiting for something.  They wanted an explosion of culture and expression and art to suddenly rip open their city, something that they could be a part of. The explosion never came and they got tired of waiting.

The paradigm shifted from making music, writing poetry and actually being productive to watching Basketball Diaries and Trainspotting, listening to Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots.

“They did heroin you know?”

“We should do heroin.’’


‘’Because. What else can we do?’’

I saw it happen, this whole fascination with Americana and the people who made it - for lack of a better word - so cool.  For a bunch of teenagers with way too much free time on their hands, Karachi is an open invitation to repeatedly toe the line of depravity and excess. And when your idols seem to not only survive, but thrive in those conditions, then you walk across the line to know if  you too have got what it takes.

Whether it was divine intervention or one of those freak occurrences where things just fall into place, I had to leave Karachi to pursue higher education soon after a unanimous decision was made: to destroy every semblance of normal living in favour of doing heroin as a conscious lifestyle. My friends insulated themselves against the world. They decided to attempt being artists again and filmed themselves in this macabre, twisted state. When I saw it I felt genuine sadness, because I see it in the context of how they are now. Whenever they spoke of heroin, they appeared to be talking as if they were part of a cult of sorts, a members-only affair. They talked in the language of someone who knows something that other people are too ill-equipped to know.

They changed completely. They became more visceral, obsessive as far as their drug was concerned, suspicious of every act of goodwill. It was like every attempt at being normal friends again was seen as a way to somehow squeeze a few grams of powder without them finding out.

But the way they were with each other was even more confusing.

Their dynamics were self-fulfilling, knowing that scoring is easier in numbers but the more people left after scoring the less there is to go around. They all had split personalities; one personality was prevalent before they scored: always in pain from not having its fix, relatively cordial, submissive in the sense that anything was a good idea if it meant getting the drug faster.

The other personality was after scoring. Calculating, observant, empty of emotions and extremely obnoxious. They hung out in graveyards (as clichéd as that may be) and they talked of big ideas. And all they thought about was how they would score tomorrow.

Where are they now? One is working towards mending everything he destroyed, ignoring what he tells me is a screaming voice inside his head telling him he is not meant to be an upstanding citizen, rather slink in shadows content and wasted.

And the others are living with their decisions, still toeing the line of excess and depravity, wishing they could see that line if only to somehow make their way back.

Read more from Fyez here and follow him on Twitter @fyezeatscake
Fyez Ahmed A Dubai based writer who tweets once a month @fyezeatscake (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


PK Expat | 12 years ago | Reply Also, brave article. Well written. Your boys who made the video need to focus on major rehab. Just keep reminding them about the stuff that really matters in life.
PK Expat | 12 years ago | Reply deaths per year should be looked in proportion to absolute use. tobacco, marijuana and alcohol are used very, very widely. The numbers are therefore high, but misleading if you're comparing the effects. Regulation and rehabilitation for heroin, crack or crystal meth is not so much to address the deaths, but to address the effect these drugs have on members of a community.
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