Lahore is a cage with opened doors. It lets you fly, loiter around, or take flight. No matter what you would always come back to be wrapped in its perennial charm. You would always be ensnared by its enchanting aura.
From Love Letters
The grey, the rust, and the blue welled up in my eyes as I stepped into this place (after ages) – bathing in the fading light of the sunset and bringing back the darkness of the night slowly. An onslaught of nostalgia. As I started strolling around, I felt heavy. Overwhelmed with the feelings hard to contain. I couldn’t move but somehow managed to reach a Pani puri shop and tried to console myself. Ordered and waited blinking away the drenched memories of an idyllic life. At liberty in Liberty.
A brimful plate of Pani puri was put before me, the tantalizing aroma filling up the ambience, ah — its bittersweet taste. Gulped them. And you know it afforded me with a triple joy – Copious, Flavoursome, and Cheap. CFC in Liberty is a must-try. My favourite bit is the crunching sound followed by shroop shroop – the moment when we really don’t give a damn about self-consciousness (you do? Oh, poor you). The shudderingly sour shiver is the cherry on top. It rekindled in me the spirit of ‘Zinda Dilan e Lahore’ lying dormant for obvious reasons. Not to mention the oomph of pani puri eclipsed the overwhelming feeling at least for a little while.
Afterwards, I strolled around happily, tried new drinks and food. Also, got myself a pair of khussa – a visit to liberty is incomplete when I don’t get them – a memento of love. At liberty in Liberty is inevitable whether it’s about delight or otherwise.
… woke up from a deep nap, not by a prick of compulsion but the jammies were clingy. Too clingy to even think of sleeping again while lids still leaden. Stretching to stir the guts to get out of bed.
It’s that time of the day I curse myself if I miss going up.
The Rona (it rarely happens to be in a mood prompting to add q, whatever it may be, doomed to vanish) of the evening vanishes away when I gaze at a sight – a sight to behold forever, I wish. A sight that has always been surpassing the urge to lost in the labyrinthine streets of Androon Lahore – full of vivid colours, telltale stories, zeal, and whatnot. A bustling cosmos in itself. I go for the indulgence lesser in degree perhaps. I don’t feel ripe for the other yet. I stare at the birds twirling over the elevated minarets and majestic domes of the Badshahi mosque. I feel ecstatic.
I went up, as usual, but for drying out the jammies and the cold magic of the sweltering wind over my drenched body. A magnificent and seemingly eternal backdrop was there but no twirling …
From an abandoned journal
Its mysterious aura . . . When it comes to the mystery we feel an urge of unraveling it. But wait. Mystery not in terms of comprehension as I believe some things are better left ununderstood. It doesn’t demand either. Even if you try to understand it you would think about it again and again until it forces you to make peace with whatever amount of comprehension it renders. Nor mystery in terms of the zeal like any other place in Lahore offer where you feel gusto. To imply that it is devoid of it would be a mistaken belief. It has in abundance. But mystery in terms of mystery . . . You accept it the way it is. This is where the charm lies. You find it enticing. All you want is to be engulfed by its tantalizing spirit. Nothing more, nothing less. This is Mall road to me. I have always felt this way – this time when I visited it after a long time the same feelings were enlivened as in times past when I used to visit it every weekend as if it were a ritual of the weekend. However, I would always with pleasure feel this way. What’s more, I would never want to unpick the seam of its mystery. A part of it fits into my unsolved puzzle. I feel a sense of belongingness.