A walk through life

Sometimes I feel like a travel bug with a deep-in-heart desire to explore things unknown to self. This was one of those days. For those of you who don’t know, I wake up early; so early that few friends jokingly call me ‘early bird’. Check business mails, some personal agendas and then there’s always Fajr prayer. Still 6 AM and I’m off to a humble nashta with lassi and bun. Can’t be more simple. Usually, I come back after the breakfast and again prepare for the hectic day ahead. But occasionally, I cut lose and go exploring the city and streets. As I told, this was on of those days.

I was sitting on a charpai at Mozang Adda Chowk and was listening to all those talawats and naats filling the air from nearby hotels. 1, 2, 3, 4.. many minutes passed. I stood up and literally dragged myself back to my empty place. There’s a small dirty resturant on one corner named Bismillah Chatkhara Resturant; not so that it’s worthy of mention here but the street beside it. I looked into it with keen eyes and even eager heart of child wanting his toy. This time it hooked me and mesmarized I walked into it.

Initially, I could not grasp the images floating around and varying vibrant figures. Then dust settled down and I was swimming. A fallen legacy with the building’s front had kissed the ground long ago but second floor’s fan still hanging. Those old chajjay and chobaray where once girls would have been peeping into the street. And that mochi; I’ve never seen a mochi up so early on his dukan. Those small baghli streets with all the warmth to attract you into them, but I walked straight like a dignified lawyer not interrupted by things unconvincing. Small stairs – hardly 18 inches wide – going up to the dark floors ahead. Those yellow painted houses with green grilled windows bringing back memories of my childhood days in Saddar. Before I could realize the metalled road converted into bricked street. I was in Nazoli Bazaar. I walked through the tunnel; people, bikes, rickshaws, halwa pori, hot steaming tea. I walked dignified. There was that small gate of a girls school I could not digest would actually have school behind it. But I’ve learnt from the experience in Lahore, that it surely does! Before long, I was in Mozang Main Bazaar. The street did not finish.

Rotten tomatos, ponies and stores from one ear to other. The street was dirtier now. It’s Main Bazaar! That sabzi-walla sifting through his latest acquired stock. Those men sitting at benches of that small tea cafe and that 5×5 feet small video CD shop still open. You could actually see those punjabi stage dramas on the walls, from outside. Now I can see the Lytton Road. Gosh, I walked almost two kilometers. There was that 60 watts bulb still illuminating itself. I could only smile at its foolishness. At last, I touched down on Lytton Road.

It’s a long wide road. And I like traveling on it once in a while. It feels like most of Islamabad’s road, that’s why. I have a bad sense of humor for Lahore Development Corporation. So many times, I think that I’m going straight but I’m not. I thought I would take right, walk a few meters and then right turn back to Mozang Adda. I was screwed. My simple sense of direction developed during more than two decades in Islambad is not proving worthy of enough use here. I strode for long on Lytton Road to find my turn. It was not there. It was literally more than one kilometer ahead. There was that marriage hall with mughal paintings type tiles (whose picture I’ll bring you some day), and that big white decorated mosque. And that graveyard. Boy, I like this road’s curves. I drank water from that water cooler under a tree. Sun is rising fast; just now a bus dashed through the tiny rickshaws. I can see the commuters and road is busier now. Time to go home.

Aha, there came my turn, with Hamdard Markaz’s red faced building. Hamdard is one of those desi institutions I trust. A few more minutes and square zero. Back to base. Over and out. Every man to himself!

2 Comments so far

  1. Samar (unregistered) on August 24th, 2005 @ 11:40 pm

    Beautifully portrayed.

  2. MNA (unregistered) on August 27th, 2005 @ 9:07 pm

    You brought back old memories. I can see through the words and feel the nostalgia that haunt me. I miss lahore more than I thought I ever would.

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