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?
On one of those hot and humid scintillating days on the streets of Lahore, an ingenious Rickshaw wala devices a way to keep the scorching sun out. Works for me. The temperature of the picture says everything that there is to be said about the heat that day. It also says a whole lot more of the increased fierceness of the sun expected in the upcoming days. Damn. Hold on tight, Lahoris.
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 began to feel a pinch of discomfort in my eyes so i blinked. Upon blinking more than once; i opened my eyes to see. Blackish gray painted on the graffitti walls glowed as i stood feet away. There she was, swaying with strokes of her brush, like a puppeteer handling her manequin, paint swiivelled across the huge canvas; imagination pouring out of her consciousness. Behind her was a grand facade of arched windows, remains of burnt wood along the sills, a piece of steel net hanging out from between two bricks higher up. The wall was standing, just freely standing there; a backdrop for her strokes of genius. There was overgrown vegetation peeking out from the gaps of the red brown wall. White pebbles graced the ground it stood on. It looked so unreal, almost smelled beautiful but i knew that had to be untrue. She slowly moved away and turned herself towards the glass on her right. A divine light seemed to somehow pierce through the thickness and through the inverted jagged lines of its top between and beneath the glass, making its way to catch my attention. The inside of a studio space, visible from the glass; the curvature of the opposite end, although static; was everything that seemed just out of reality. Though the walls remained in that space in time; i was uncertain of mine. A drifting passage of harmony so oblivious to my becoming became the only source of support for someone like me. I stayed. I dreamed. I admired. I felt it. I could just stay there for yet another moment before folding inwards.