Lahore is a huge metropolis of around 8 to 10 million people today and it keeps on growing by every minute. A vast pie of this population comprises of migrants from other parts of Punjab and Pakistan. There are hundreds of thousands of people who come to ‘Dil walon ka Shehar’ in search of jobs, education, better opportunities and an urban flavor unmatched in the north of the country. All of this gives Lahore a flavor of diversity – all blended into the Lahori way of life as you just have to spend a few years in Lahore to become a Lahori at heart.
The demographic profile of the city’s immigrant population means that a lot of people have families and relatives residing in other parts of the province. Each holiday season, millions of Lahoris flee the city to spend vacations with their families in villages and other cities. Two Eids being the biggest Islamic holidays are the times when you see a mass-exodus of people heading out of the city just to come back a night before the vacation’s over.
If you happen to be a part of that crowd or just visit the railway station, lorry addas or bus terminals, you’ll see happy faces longing to see their loved ones while climbing onto any available and affordable means of transport. There’s a dad who’s carrying presents for his kids in village; there’s a student carrying his meager belongings in a backpack hanging on to the overcrowded entrance of a Bedford bus. Then, there’s a group of white collar office employees, dressed in white shirts and black trousers with a laptop bag, albeit empty, waiting in queue at the New Khan or Faisal Movers ticket counter. Gourmet lafafas are usually a constant at all places of boarding buses, lorries, trains, rickshaws, APVs or Qingqis.. Babus prefer Daewoo or even better, an aeroplane ride to their hometowns. To take advantage of an improved bargaining position, transporters usually increase the fares handsomely and the passengers have no choice but to comply. Not to mention huge gridlocks of traffic outbound on G.T. Road, Motorway and up/down national railway grid.
In short, it’s an interesting phenomenon to witness so many Lahoris leaving the town they love for places that they originally belong. I still call them Lahoris for the city derives it’s character from everyone that brings his/her own flavor to share with the spirit of this great city. If you happen to drive by a calm Mall Road or lazy Canal Bank on a Saturday night during Eid holidays without having to press brakes, you get a feeling that…
Lahore’s missing its Lahoris… :)