Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

Silent road back to Lahore

I wasn’t near a city with a population in excess of 200,000 when tragedy struck and we all saw ‘Daughter of the East’ so brutally murdered in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. Still, I’m witness to the uncertain law and order situation, widespread across cities and even smaller towns of Punjab at that time.

December 29, 2007 was the night when we, as a family, decided to head back to Lahore from the Southern part of Punjab province where we all had spent the last couple of days in reunion fun and Eid happiness.

The plan was to leave after sunset for a seven hour journey that was to take us through several important settlements and cities including Multan, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Okara and finally to Thokar Niaz Beg at Lahore.

With news of total chaos and violence taking place in many parts of the country, especially in Sindh and Karachi, we were quite expecting live accounts of damaged infrastructure, burnt banks, ransacked offices and unlawful crowds roaming the streets and that obviously added to our fear of safety.

We started moving on the Grand Trunk Road – N5, country’s main logistics artery running from Karachi to Peshawar, 1,819 KM in one stretch, in the direction of our destination quite late in the evening.

Our vehicles proceeded without any extended stay except for a break of about two hours at a relative’s house in the middle way. The N5 gave quite a deserted look, the first time I saw it so clear, except obviously in Ramadan during the Iftaar (fast breaking) timing when almost every moving thing abandons roads for at least 15-30 minutes.

Silence and darkness was all that was to be seen throughout the journey which made me feel at that time, how attractive and significant was NHA’s motto of ‘Friendly Highways’.

Despite all fears and apprehensions, we, thankfully, did not encounter a single damaged thing and reached Lahore in the late hours of the night between 29th & 30th of December. And Lahore at that time was no different with now the usual scene of all gas and petrol stations cordoned and closed in fear of getting burnt or end gutted.

All we could relish was refueling our tanks at the Shell Station – Thokar Niaz Beg opposite Toyota Ravi Motors, which probably seemed to be the only operational station in this part of Lahore and that too under armed police guard.

God was to be thanked for making us feel relieved after getting home safely and securely for I have never traveled to my city in so much fear!

A thing called Maintenance

There are always a few significant signs that affirm that we are close to Eid, no?…..for example, “Aitakaf”, then “Shab E Qadar”, indulging discussions about Eid preparations, stalls of colorful bangles pop up everywhere, increased hustle bustle in markets, and most of people really have this feeling of sadness that “oh, its going to end soon” etc etc.

Predominantly, one of the sign is reconstruction/re-touching going on throughout the city and specifically speaking of roads, the lucky portion of the road, that is undergoing resurfacing now a days in my corner of world, is near Polo Ground, that you have to cross when you are heading towards Walton from Cantt area via Tufail Road.

This half a kilometer piece of length was ROUGH, I must say. Though apparently, there were not SO many potholes, cracks or rutting but still it was the one that makes you jiggle from head to toe even if you are at speed of 30. If anyone of you have dust allergy, please change your route for a couple of days because it has a big dusty cloud there.

Let us hope, this repair will get accomplished soon (before Eid) and last longer. Happy maintenance days!!! :)

A Researcher’s Rainy Route-Quaid-E-Azam Library

Four panicked Post-graduate students, One fast-approaching research paper deadline, Trillions of drizzling droplets of rain, and what do you get? A memorable trip down to Lahore’s Quaid-E-Azam Library, situated smack dab in the middle of Bagh-e-Jinnah, in pursuit of Library membership.

Glam to Lahore’s Roads


It’s not everyday that you find such a shiny Glamorous beauty roaming around Lahore’s busiest roads in the Peak hour.

I don’t know about lahoriites but that’s for the first time I’ve seen a beauty of her kind … and guess what NO Murphy’s Law applied in this case. Yes usually all the aaLa cars or bikes have (God Forbid) kind of people in … in this one the hunk was perfectly well-suited for her … made for each other. BTW, It’s BMW Z4Roadster .

Ciao before the string splits :-)

SAARC Car Rally 2007 in Lahore

at_wagah.jpg flying_high.jpg
The participants reached Lahore through Wagha Border crossing on the 28th.

Welcoming Crowds at Wagha Border

A convoy of dozens of Tata Safaris passes through The Mall-Canal Underpass crossing.

From London to Lahore: Qissa Ek Flight Ka

Last year, while flying from London to Lahore I made the following observations:

The Senior Purser, the man in charge of the cabin crew, was quite an older man – perhaps in his late 50s. May be it was the classic “naukar-shahi” attitude, may be it was sheer fatigue of traveling at his age, or may be the classic Pakistani chauvinism; he spent most of the flight sitting down and ordering young cabin crew, mostly female stewardess, around. The stewardesses were visibly tired and weary towards the end of the entire journey, and understandably a bit agitated.

But it was not just their boss who was ordering them around. I was in the section of the plane that directly faces the cockpit. And the cockpit had the cabin crew bringing them water, tea, sandwiches, meals, dessert (once Nirala’s ras malai) throughout the entire flight. Seriously, I was flabbergasted to see the cabin crew spending more time serving the cockpit crew than the passengers. Every fifteen or so minutes the cabin staff would be knocking at the cockpit door to take dishes out and bring something else in. It felt as if there was a party going on in the cockpit being catered by the flight stewardess.

Someone I know who has been working with PIA for the past 26 years told me that more than 250 directors run it. Even Wasim Akram was one of the directors. Most of money earned are used to make those directors Happy and Live Safe. The amount of money spent on the directors can better be spent buying a couple of new aircrafts for PIA fleet each year.


Ok so isn’t it strange that not many Lahorees actually know how their city came into being and where did word Lahore come from? I asked a few friends the same question and only one of them could come up the answer.

According to Legends Lahore or Lohawarana was founded by two sons of Lord Rama Chandra about 4000 years ago. One of them was Loh (called Luv or Lava in Sanskrit) and most historians agree that Lahore was named after him. Kush, Rama?s second son, also founded the town of Kasu (present day Kasur). Ptolemy’s “Geographia”, written about AD I50, refers to it as “Labokla” and locates it with reference to the Indus, the Ravi, the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers. Some of the other old names are Laha-war, Laha-noor, Loh-pur, Mahmood-pur, Labokla, Samandpal Nagiri, Lohar-pur. There is enough historical evidence to prove that the city is atleast 2,000 years old. Hieun-tasng, the famous Chinese pilgrim has given a vivid description of Lahore city which he visited (on his way to Jalandhar) in the early parts of the seventh century A.D. He describes it as a large Brahmanical’ city.

However, there are a few unanswered questions like why did Lav/kush built a city so far from Ayodhya (if Rama was ever born at Ayodhya as extremist Hindu groups claim) considering that we are talking about thousands of years back? And if they did build these cities who rules Ayodhya after Rama? Makes me wonder if only I had a time machine :o).

There is a temple in Lahore Fort dedicated to Loh. The temple is located near the Alamgiri gate where the old jails of the Fort used to be. In Ziaul Haq?s regime the temple was completely closed as the dungeons were being used by the police. It was opened for public later on.

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