Lahore is a great city. I am sure it is. I have been living here for 24 odd years (whereas 24 is an even number, I’m sure you’ve noticed). But I know Lahore to be great only becuase so many are saying that it is; it is vast, it is big, it has them restaurants blah blah blah. I am more knowledgable about the city in the ‘blah blah blah’ regions than anywhere else, and of course, as I say this I am realizing that not many people make it their business to find out about the city. Only the really adventourous types (and believe me, they are few and far in between) actually take the time out, perhaps with a camera in hand, to actually give action to their plans and tour the city here and there, find wierd stuff in the most normal of places and find semblance in the most chaotic ones.
But I recently have been reading the autobiography of Mohammad Asad (a great man in my opinion, who converted to Islam from Judaism, lived amongst the Arabs, learnt the contextual Arabic of the classical kind and eventually went ahead to write ‘The Message of The Quran’, arguably the best English Translation and Tafseer of the Holy Book to date!). And the way he has elucidated his experiences, the way he has observed the culture of nations through their dressings, their places, their language and the way he has abosorbed all of that, has made it almost eniable for me. And of course, I relate it firstly to myself, and can clearly see that the fullness with which one can live a society is not even in the same vicinity as being close to what I normally go through on any given day.
I need a camera, I need to travel, I need to observe and learn and apply and repeat ad infinitum. Over here, ‘I’ is as metaphorical as it gets, people. Feeling the culture of a town, of a place, of your surroundings is a great way to learn and move forward, taking those connected to you with you. Almost like seeing and hearing what the society is doing right and what it is doing wrong, from a third-person point of view.Perhaps like reading science, so you know what not to invent.
Hence ended the rant.
Time to go back to that cocoon now.