Lahore, My Love


Lahore, My Love

Falling in love is easy, staying loyal is not. I fell in love twice. First got me my wife and the second an eternal fear. Fear of leaving my beloved Lahore.  Of the two, I have been more loyal to Lahore.  It maybe a mere name on the milestone to many and I sulk at the misfortune of those who descend on Lahore every morning for their livelihood but leave in the setting sun utterly unaffected. What can be more condescending to the city of saints and souls of fire? I shudder at the sacrilege and thank God in the same breath. I thank because I am still around to imbibe the Lahore air, drive on the canal and soak up the unrelenting sun.  Lahore, to me, embodies mirth and sorrow, heat and dust, the sun kissed mornings and aromatic evenings, a future wedded to the past and a gloriously resilient spirit.

 

 

What makes up a city? Some would say roads, houses, markets, gardens and people. Some would get more philosophical and with eyes forlorn say that memories of the loved ones, of those who flew away and of those who still stay define a city. I would say Lahore offers even more. It protects and embraces the loyal. Even rescues the deserters when they come back abandoned looking for solace.  When I drive around Lahore, I don’t see structures.  I see memories woven around those structures. Memories woven in pleasure and pain, in joy and grief. Lahore has that magic. It prods you to brew memories, sweetens them through time and then puts them at your beck and call. What a wine we brew in our beating cellars and what a pleasure to quaff this lovely wine when in the company of loneliness.

 

 

Perhaps I need to put a leash on my wandering mind. Lahore so unleashes. My English teacher at college would often ask us in a faintly quivering voice about the most romantic place in Lahore. Excited by the word romance, we would rattle out names of gardens, cafes only to be dismissed by his glazed eyes. New Campus, he would declare to be the most beautiful and romantic part of Lahore. Back then his verdict begged explanation which though was never forthcoming. Time reveals at its own pace and we learnt soon what he meant and why. New Campus was and still is an island in a sea of turmoil. The sprawling green fields, the water puddles here and there laden with green moss, the rickety canteens in the shades and men scurrying to serve the students, the proud old trees standing tall having seen it all and the evening silhouettes of people wallowing in the fragrant air, the campus setting works magic on the fertile mind.

 

 

I can endlessly ramble on the sights and sounds of Lahore.  Some sights have the poignancy to scar the mind for life. One has to see Government College from the top of the New Hostel at the break of dawn or when the sun is bidding farewell. What a glorious sight. The majestic red building, the dazzlingly green sprawl kneeling at its feet and the tower rising above the mundane, affectionately watching over Lahore from the heavens. Then there is Shezan of Fortress Stadium serving the same old by the same old. I can write a whole piece on the menu that pretty much refuses to give in to the demands of the modern palate.  The crease lined faces of the old warriors serving the guests have memories buried in the furrows of their foreheads. The twinkle in their eyes says it all when they see an old timer. Wearing contentment and courtesy, they greet, serve and bid farewell. The veranda at Lahore Gymkhana overlooking the golf course with its worn out cane sofas is another window to a spectacular sight.  Sipping coffee on a winter afternoon when the warm and cold jostle to embrace the body, the green expanse seems to stretch into infinity.

 

 

Born and raised in Lahore, I have had the pleasure of partaking Lahore in the best and worst of moods. It wears red in summers and is intimidating to both friends and foes. Winters strip it naked and it seduces both loyalists and the unsuspecting into a state of sublime peace by serving ice cream on a warm plate. Monsoon rains wash it to pristine green releasing an intoxicating aroma, a heave of relief as water splashes love on to the parched earth.  Spring is a riot of colors and Autumn like a saffron bride. I love you Lahore.



Hasnain Iqbal

The blogger contributes for The News/Geo blogs


  • M.S.Qureshi

    Lahore is Lahore and nobody can disagree with it’s splendours. But, the story is incomplete without talking about its gardens, historic buildings and its wonderful legacies of saints. More over, it is almost a criminal neglect not to talk about its “Thandi-SaRk”.

  • imran

    what about 12 hours of no electric

  • JNK

    Hasnain this piece is an excellent illustration of the beauty of Lahore which is etched in our memories from college days especially the area around Old Campus and Anarkali. Of romantic places it reminds me of Government College’s Oval and the secretive Rose Garden the sprawling lawns of F.C. College, the restaurants like Pak Tea House, Lords in the old Tollington Market on The Mall road, Saloos in WAPDA house’s basement…How old are we?

  • FAROOQ M. HASHMI

    Lahore has a checkered history marked by its invasions by the foreign invaders,civil wars and its conquests by different rulers. Every brick of Lahore’s historical monuments tell the story of the glorious rulers who had built them and those vile ones who had ravaged them.The great historians,Syed Noor Ahmad Chishti, Syed Mohammad Latif and Kanaiyha Lal state that once Lahore used to be the home of different faiths and their adherents used to live in symbiosis with one another.The glitter of the gilded spires of the temples,etc.used to add to the beauty of Lahore.But woe that most of the precious heritage of Lahore_______its historical monuments,its shawalas. its temples and its gurdawara,etc.______had either become a prey to the hammer-blows of marauders or the negligence of every successive government.For instance, the parapets of Jahangir’s tomb, and the floors,the walls and the corridors of the tombs of Asif Jah and Noor Jehan,tell you the lachrymose story of their being denuded of their marble and mosaic finishing. Probably, volumes and volumes cannot circumvent the story of the havoc wreaked by the cruel ravishers on those magnificent monuments and the negligence of the successive governments in restoration of their original grandeur. Lahore has however, withstood the roughness of the human hands and the toughness of the changing times Notwithstanding its adversities,every day that dawns on Lahore adds to its amaranthine loveliness. Lahore has no equal. My memory of my childhood in Mochi Gate,my education at Islamia College,my glamorous two years at the Political Science Department of the Punjab University where I did my master in Political Science and my two years at Shah Hussain College where I did my Master in English Literature, stays in mind as an evergreen shrub. At Shah Hussain college I had the privilege of having,among others, Prof. Eric Cyprian and Prof..Amin Mughal as my teachers.Very often, Mr.Faiz Ahmad Faiz used to visit Shah Hussain College( he held a Master’s degree in English literature). It’s at Shah Hussain College where my political ideology shaped into progressivism. I have tried hard to indoctrinate wife, niece of the late Allama Ala-ud-.din Siddiqui,Vice Chancellor of the Punjab University, with my eco-political ideology but all in vain. Let’s go back to the topic.Lahore is the city of the vivacious people.Lahore is the city which teems in the redolent delectable foods, Lahore is the city of gardens which flit the air with fragrance.,Lahore is the city of academic institutions and Lahore is the city of luminaries.In a word, Lahore is Lahore, and it’s only one in the whole world.

  • Usama Jamil

    Very well written, i admire the beauty of Lahore everyday but here we must not forget the inhabitants of this city. Lahoris are the people full of love and hospitality. Whenever i move into the heart of city, i feel it like home, a big family, no shyness although i left that part when i was seven. But they are quite few, as compared to the whole population of Lahore, want to check? Go for a ride on Eid holidays, you will see a new Lahore…i just love that…

  • emran

    you’re more loyal to lahore…you’re wife didn’t read that line?:P

  • vivek

    so beutifull is this…………..

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  • M.Saeed

    Congratulations Lahore My love for completing the enviable anniversary for remaining unmoved on this site!
    12 months and 12 posts, still not shaken!

    • Anonymous

      Saeed Sb

      Perhaps Madeeha is taking a vacation in Lahore and so taken by the surrounds that the blog has not been updated for a while!