The element of surprise is what I love about the older parts of cities.
Chaotic little gullies, far more populated streets, jharokas of the old Sikh and Mughal buildings peeking out at you, tea stalls, food kiosks (dhaabas) at unexpected nooks and rickshaws and bikes honking at the passerby are just a few of the spectacles.
You just never know what awaits you right around the corner.
We had the most delicious tea at the Bhatti Tea Stall, and accidentally went into a narrow street that led us straight to the Shrine (Mazaar) of Bibi Pak Daaman.
The constantly apparent animal-like greed of the workers at the shrine was the highlight of the day. The women at the security check wanted chandaa (money) for tea, the men taking care of our shoes, that we took off outside the shrine out of respect, also wanted chandaa for the food that was going to be distributed later that night. This money seemed more forced out of the crowd that given out of real respect and deference.
It’s quite sad to see these places deteriorate so rapidly. You can no longer feel a real spiritual essence in the air around you. The world is commercializing around us; does it make sense for these special little places to become commercial hubs as well?
Looking back on glorious days spent in Lahore.
Of particular importance can be this particular spectacle : The Quaid-e-Azam Public Library in Bagh-e-Jinnah, also known as the Lawrence Gardens.
The Library was built in memory of John Laird Mair Lawrence, first Chief Commissioner and Lt. Governer of the Punjab from 1853 to 1859 and subsequently Viceroy and Governer General of India, and Robert Montgomery, second Lt. Governer of the Punjb from 1859 to 1865. Built in 1866 at an initial cost of Rs. 108,000, the library was later named after Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Open only to members, it has a spiraling collection of more than 100,000 volumes, both in English and Oriental Languages (Urdu, Arabic and Persian).
The architectural presence of the magnificent structure was breathtaking. Pictures of the Library are not allowed from all angles due to security reasons, but it would do absolute justice to leave you with my favorite which captures the real essence and timeless beauty of the era that it represents.
I doubt therefore I think, I think therefore I am.