In the narrow alleys of walled city of Lahore, I always feel, sweet aroma of love; the vibes from the memory lane of those walls seem floating around me and drifting me to a journey of hundreds of years.
There it seems that the walls of the city are trying to tell those countless stories they have seen themselves in different eras of glory or even in the hour of gloom. They had experienced everything with everyone around. I wonder if these walls could speak they would surely be the best narrators ever. Marvelously carved wooden doors and beautifully painted walls recount the splendor of a period, and stories of the people who were aesthetically strong and they had the power to mesmerize anyone with their art, even after so many years. And that’s how Lahore has become the city of rich cultural heritage on the face of the world.
Walking down the lane of Shahi Guzargah, or the Food Street, there is a wooden door leading us to some fantasy world where the kings and queens live a splendid life with so many Shahi maids at great Lahore Fort; and in Darbar e Aam, King is showing his glimpse to the public and listening to their troubles. These out of the world feelings can simply lead us to some untold tale of an ordinary maid to the story of the queen for whom the king built the glorious Sheesh Mehal. Here we get the feeling that love never fades away and Lahore is ‘Love’.
After exploring the reminiscences of Lahore Fort when we cross the threshold to the real life of walled city, some old men sitting on a slab outside their homes, sharing their random thoughts, sometimes, take us to the expedition to our real self we have never explored. All of us have always tried to give some meaning to our lives but that encounter with a very simple and real face of life in such an effortless way, leaves us amused with the question, why we could never know that life was so uncomplicated.
Here it is, welcome to the Tharra Culture of Lahore. Here people of all ages, with their own philosophies, sit on the slabs outside their homes and discuss everything from petty issues of Allah Rakha, Jannat Bibi or anyone to the substantial matters of Pakistan politics or Indo Pak relationship or the ongoing cricket series. They are expert in their opinions and will give a strong stance in a very easygoing way without any offense and nobody would bother to give a reaction but yes they will convincingly debate and will totally enjoy it.
Lahore is the place where still those people exist who care about each other and keenly notice what is happening around them, sometimes they go a little too far and jump into someone’s matter without even knowing its details or his or her whereabouts and literally come to blows. If a girl getting out of the rickshaw on a stop refuses to give full fare to the driver and starts yelling at him, the wise thing for the rickshaw driver to do is to race his vehicle and run away without even taking the fare. Otherwise, the people standing on the stop will either start shouting at him with the girl or some will take a step ahead by giving him some really heavy blows. This is the funny side of the life in Lahore.
Wandering in the streets of Lahore, how is it possible that you are unable to locate some wonderful food place, a small stall or a dhabba with aroma of lip smacking Lahori food. Lahori heavy breakfast of Halwa Puri, Nihari, Payye with a glass of Lassi, is enough to make someone forty winks for the rest of the day, because after having any of this in meal, no one except a Lahori would have the stamina to stay up. From Gawalmandi, Lakshmi, and Food Street to the M M Alam Road, Defence and any of the famous markets of Lahore, there are hundred of the exceptional places, ready to serve something scrumptious for your supper.
From the history of the city, to the beauty of its recollections, from serenity in the air to the hubbub of life, from places to the people, Lahore is ‘Love’.
Rabia Noor is a broadcast journalist, who also loves to write.