Posts tagged ‘Culture’

November 16, 2013

Outdoor Cafes in Lahore & Around the World

by Khanum

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Outdoor cafes are fun. 

Cultures of  various famous cities and the specific feeling attached to their environment is what attracts tourists towards them from around the world. Whether its Venice , the city made on Island or Paris, The city of Love. These are just two names I gave you. Of course there are plenty of different places you visited or plan to visit , or just dream about due to their specific nature. 

Let me tell you what I’m interested in when am thinking of a journey. Street food. And Outdoor Things. Yup!I dig for streets. Architectural beauties, Buildings and monuments are also of course significant for any fantastic place but let’s just say, cleaner streets and the vibrant walls of the city is what makes me go mad with awe. Definitely because that’s what I usually don’t get to see in here. That’s right. I meant Lahore. It’s about Charming, artistic and attractive Environment! It shouldn’t be like you have to eat in 5 stars always to value and praise the city and actually like its food and living quality. All the charm a city has to offer to tourists and its own citizens even, must be out there in the streets. Right there! Not in PC’s Bukhara or Avari’s  Buffet.

We have a phrase that goes like, “Jinney lahore ni wekhya O jamya e Ni” Loosely translated as If you haven’t seen Lahore, son! You haven’t even been born yet. We have a food street that’s dedicated to food and even though its a great thing but I never felt comfortable there. In fact I have some issues. Some things are super expensive there because that’s the only food street in Lahore. Secondly, It gets congested at times. Well more like all the time. Thirdly, Women usually get teased there. I mean, its more like a family oriented place. Its not a place where you can hangout with friends or hangout with even your brother. Plus The business there is opened at nights only I guess. No morning dining or fun. There are also come cafes I believe which are great to look at but way too expensive and confined to only areas like M.M Alam road, DHA and Gulberg etc. Moreover, they are hardly outdoor ones.

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What I’m saying is, Why such beautiful food active street  is confined to one big area. Why can’t we have outdoor cafes and restaurants all over the city? They might not work in Summers but hey, they can be fantastic during winters season! So….!

Dear people who plan all these city things,

Please upgrade the city to a fine food friendly and outdoor dinning one. If the government is buying Turkish dramas, regardless if they promote Asian Turkish Muslim side or European Turkish Muslim living styles, please pay attention to what’s really healthy for us Pakistanis and can be adopted as a cool living pattern. I mean, Outdoor cafes for instance. It would make people indulge in nice recreational activities, help them develop a taste for a “zauq dar” life, Enjoy food and who knows it may also develop a sense of cleanliness in them. I mean if they like it, they would at least stop throwing garbage on the streets and keep it clean.I have visited Istanbul and they have the coolest outdoor cafes which are not only economical but also make the streets , the bazaars, the entire city look so beautiful.

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Look at that! Such a tiny congested outdoor sitting setup but hey! Look how beautifully they are making use of the tiny space and giving you an opportunity to enjoy food in open air.

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Simply beautiful. Good place for any newly weds or even an old couple to enjoy an affordable romantic meal. (Why should only 5 star places provide romantic space?)

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Okay! Now that may not look like a romantic space but it’s at least still reasonable and pretty.

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And this one’s a beautiful place. You can look at the Eiffel tower standing tall at the left side. I wonder how lucky those people are who sat right there on those white chairs and enjoyed a beautiful evening, right beside a world famous Tower. Ahhhhh!

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Vibrant ! Mesmerizing ! Pretty !

Note: I donut own the pictures presented in this post.

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June 17, 2011

~ Golden Diary of my Arabian Days & Nights ~ Page 1

by Khanum

The story of it  goes somewhere deeper.

Red fine prayer rug, with golden gleaming borders. This is the first reflection that comes to my mind whenever and where ever I think about the journey I made in 2007.

It was the kingdom of Saudia Arabia. The land of the Arabs. With days as warm as the sun and the nights as soothing as the moon and silver. Where neither the earth is fertile, nor the sky is kind to pour down water. But prosperity and wealth still manages to grow stronger and stronger.

In such land of strange wonders and marvels, I lost my heart to a prayer rug.

A shop, the most beautiful and most cultured, and a brown complexion owner, the most unkind and totally opposite in comparison – somehow reserve a special place in my memories.

The background of the shop , the bazaar I walked for days and nights, not less than 5 times a day are also the same vivid collection in my remembrance but the next immediate sketch that my mind always draws with its memory.. is again always associated with that prayer rug.

Lament and compunction…

We had a villain standing between me and my lovely rug…My mother, the budget police and that seller: the unkind fellow as I have already mentioned.

Remorse was: I couldn’t buy that pretty rug that still shines in my head, seldom.

Didn’t I tell you people, the story of it goes somewhere way deeper?!

I felt tranquility in that moment. I heard the man say words I could not comprehend, but it didn’t matter. The rug was the lone centre of my attention. My eyes feasted over its magnificence, the hands felt its softness. It chanted to me words one could never listen. It made me smile and wonder like no other.

Such shop and such prayer mat are hard to encounter, so they are welcome to live in my memory as long as I be in this world.

I like to imagine I will go back one day. Free it from that seller’s possession. I picture my out-of-reach happy ending with it like that every so often.

Me…holding that prayer rug…praying upon it.

My Red fine prayer mat…with golden gleaming borders.

April 7, 2011

What’s Your EXCUSE?

by Khanum

I make it a rule for my posts , not to use images or material which is not owned by me. Therefore all the pictures that you guys have seen so far were my photography. However, This time I am willing to make an exception. An Exception to make you all aware of the commitment and Allegiance of  a Monotheist to His Lord.  Either You’re Muslim, Christian , A Hindu or a Jew. Just Look at these people, how punctual and sincere they are. Isn’t that enough of a lesson to learn?

See! Its not that hard to pray when you have the heart to kneel before Him.

Muslims who prefer sitting idle and skip prayers should feel motivated by these pictures. I didn’t make the effort to copy these here and put a post together just to humiliate you. It’s like a work of Art.  I reach to you – to help you reach Him. 🙂

The category who do pray 5 times a day but skip some of them should make a note of this and never miss their Salah ever again. Its our Allegiance to our Creator! My grandmother offered her last prayer on her death bed, and she could barely even breathe or move. She kept her Allegiance to Him even then. Now that’s real love.

And finally those who are already on the path of sincerity, and way ahead of me, Should feel proud of them and continue their routine. I salute you people!!!

theres simply no shame in stopping by and offering a prayer even while you are at a mall doing shopping or sitting at a wedding with your best clothes on. Either you’r travelling in a rikshaw, a car,  or just walking on foot. Be brave enough to stop your world for a minute or two and bow down to prayer.

For those who bow down to Him can stand up to anything in this world. !!!

“Oh you who believe! Seek help through patience and Salah. Truly, Allah is with those who are patient.” (2:153)

March 11, 2011

Shy & Lost

by Khanum

I’m insane, You’re drunk. Tell me who will lead us home?! …. pure words of wisdom , I learnt from Rumi. A great man who knew love has to be devastating. Whether for Lord or for a mere human. It has its melodramatic phases. Its strange levels. Levels that make one go happily nuts and sometimes broke.

I have this habit, re phrasing the phrases. Re-inventing the quotations. And when I try to connect these words to my life, when I make a quote out of Rumi’s lines from a poem contrasting my  existence. My own  dilemmas become more clear to me. And I begin to wonder how great Rumi was. The man spoke our lives in a poem. In a mere sufi poem.

“I’m shy , you are lost. Tell me who will lead us to our home?”

And then I ask myself. Have you found your Home yet ? Have you even found your own self ?

I don’t know. I may be the lost one here when I am actually also the shy. Which is why all my friends are always trying to make it up for my shyness. They simply start the matchmaking.com. I’m sure we all go through it at some point of our lives. It sucks. I think, it’s worse than being shy. But in several cultures, matchmaking is what leads one to his/her home. A home where only a handful stay happy while others simply live a miserable relation.  Risky , but Hey! Nobody can escape this thing.  A leap of faith we all must take in life.

And The thing with life is, nothing is certain.

You cannot plan your entire existence. If you do , fate will find a way to throw you off balance and make you understand what a low life you are. Then there would come a time when you will give up on planning and wait for things to go in the flow. And guess what ! fate will again throw you off balance and make you regret why you didn’t plan man!?

And I think same goes for finding a partner, with whom you can sail away , climb up the mountains without any worry because you know, Home is this way, with this person who is walking right with me. You come to a point to finally plan things. You do it with all your heart and again …. yes ! Fate. It may give you surprises. and those surprises are what I believe, Rumi was also well acquainted with. Who decides to walk with you, with whom YOU decide to walk and most importantly …how many earnestly and safely reach their home is what our lives revolve around.

Didn’t Adam ask for eve from God?  How beautiful it was what they shared. A marriage in heaven.

Then didn’t they both find each other again after being lost? How honest it was and pure, what they did for each other. It’s all very melodramatic and more melodramatic. I say the word twice because honestly I kan’t think of any other and more melodramatic adjective to describe the feeling . Adam was the height of gentleness and Eve…Our beloved eve the purest of all women. He knew his way with her and he made it to their home.

Either you’re a a man or a woman, You must know where you stand. Do you even know You’re the shy one or the lost stranger?. Because if You don’t Its my advice friend, Do find out yourself first before you expect other one to start searching for your soul.

Valetine’s Day did the trick for me.

And when I mention Valentine’s day – I meant The Movie.

I watched it tonight few hours ago and as I type this post – I am still smiling on the surprises I got from the movie. It spoke to me. And I am speaking to you now.

The characters were running frantically here and there , all looking for the perfect partner. All trying to figure out the way home on a huge day we call as Valentine’s. The deceits and lies and then pop ups surprises of honesty kept unfolding the plot further and further. My goodness,  Several love stories played in One big plot.  It should have bored me to death.

Instead , I fell in love with one tiny story among several. Story of Julia Roberts & Bradley Cooper. A poised graceful woman with a Sophisticated  (tie shie) gentleman. I immensely hoped a romance between the two and a honest relation. And it could have been possible. But hey! What did I say about surprises!? They didn’t end up together but yet I watched the whole movie only for them.

I did it, because I could relate to them. And I bet, even you would want to fall into such situation where you either met Julia or Bradley like person. Everything about the character of Bradley cooper was what every woman would want in a man. And every gesture, every graceful act of Julia robert’s  is what I believe ,a sincere man would look for in a woman.  But when I look around, I don’t see the kind of honesty which Adam shared with eve in people now a days. the kind of manners Bradley Cooper showed towards Julia Roberts in the movie. And it clicked me. He wasn’t Lost like most of the male society today is. He was a real Man!!! so what if he was shy. She wasn’t lost either, but merely a real Woman with reserved sense. And together they made the equation equals to  a state which could lead them home together if they chose to. No deceits involved, no lies. Just a step ahead and they could have a perfect life together.

It could have been possible yes, Only if the writer hadn’t choose to write Mr. Perfect Bradley as gay in the end.

And Julia, as a sad mother.

I would never forgive the writer for writing such a awesome story and ruin it with a hopeless end. Buy Hey! If you want to learn anything good out of it. Learn this. It’s okay to be shy. And its okay to be lost sometimes nobody is perfect. But  IT – IS – NOT – OKAY when you ruin yourself for eternity by being utterly shy and dangerously lost forever.

Adam and Eve set a beautiful example of  the most wonderful relation in the entire universe. He could have asked for a mother to Lord in the Heavens. But he didn’t. And even Lord could have given him a woman in the form of a mother but He didn’t. He blessed him with a wife instead.

And together, they walked home. Blissed.

Wouldn’t you want such a blessed romantic walk ? Honesty forever. Wouldn’t you ?

February 11, 2011

The Yogurt Twist!

by Khanum

 

Wait wait! I know the food looks delicious and if u’re a Pakistani , ogling the dish above with mouth watering condition, I’m bound to give u its recipe pal, really , no problem! Just make some ‘Dahee ka Raita’ aka Yogurt Twist and throw in some lazeez ‘Tasty Tasty’ meat balls in the mixture! finish off with a desi ‘tarka’ using garlic n ginger! and WOALLA! there you go! Eat it with Roti or just with your fingers !

Yogurt Twist! My mom’s version!

 

 

 

February 8, 2011

The story of Corn seeds

by Khanum

These corn seeds came to befriend me and ultimately go down my throat when I was walking back to my home with my mother, who was kind enough to take me to doctor on such rainy cold night.  It’s the first winter rain here in Lahore. Ever since it started raining, my mother and I were aching to have an excuse to get out there and enjoy the cold breeze of February . And thanks to my allergies, I was able to walk a mile to see my doctor.

Such little beauties , I just couldn’t resist asking my mother to get me some as soon as I walked out of the doctor’s clinic. There was a hawker , probably a Pathan with ‘Tilley Ki karhai’ wali topi, ( for my non Urdu  chums, the phrase is, embroidered hat ) who was selling those 10 Rupees jewelery and accessories for which we girls usually go bankrupt. Per item 10 Rupees seems so tempting, doesn’t it? But I smartly turned my head away from Mr. Pathan and his Loot sale. It was too much for me probably because I was on my mom’s mercy. She was my bank at the moment and I  wanted to capitalize my opportunity to get something else. Something I had set my eyes on, way before I had seen the jewelery we women tend to treasure.

Yes, It was these white corn seeds…

Only a few paces away from our Pathan bhai sahab, there was another Pathan Sahib, I must say a very tall and good looking gentleman standing with his one foot on the wheel of his (whatever they call it) A cart I think. Yes. Definitely a wooden cart with small wheels. The street lamp was very dim, I couldn’t see what was he selling but by the fragrance of the stuff… Oh My God, I just couldn’t help myself resist it. We took a few steps closer and I shamelessly inhaled the sweet aroma flying up and high & slowly overcoming the whole street. My mother looked at me as if I had seen the man with those delights for the first time. But she knew better, so she just smiled.

I have been brought up in Pakistan, I have been living in lahore ever since I first open my eyes in the labor room of Itefaq Hospital and these kind of pathans surround me everywhere I go. They are outside my University when I  signal a auto or rush for my bus, and they are outside every shopping center there in every corner of Lahore, at every street.  (I’m sure they were there even at the time of my birth, but obviously outside the hospital). They own Pakistan, wouldn’t be a wrong statement to pass. And I am happy, they own it. As long as they are there providing me these delights which refresh my childhood memories , I am so happy.

How kind our mothers are, just one glance at our faces and they know we want something. But you don’t get it before a full fledge inspection of the product being sold. ‘What kind are these ?’ asked my mother to Pathan Sahid, taking a handful of corns.

‘It’s white white corns baji, white corns from kashmir. Very tasty baji.’ He replied looking at us one by one. ‘just give me some for 10 rupees’, I was the most impatient one. I just wanted to chew some hot and crispy corns on my way home. My mother was just delaying the pleasure, which happens all the time and without any sensible reason. And to add more to my misery, the two begun chatting on the revelation of White corns imported from Kashmir. You see, Few days back someone had gifted us white corns flour from kashmir and we had made its ‘chapati’. So my mother began telling him about the story that how nice the roti was and how delicious we think it is but Pathan Sahid revealed the opposite of our mention. He was heating up my corn seeds in the iron pt filled with salt, which I used to think of as cement, lol …and meanwhile He tried to convince my mother that making its roti was not possible, it usually ends up in a mess. Which was not quite right as I had witnessed such a miracle myself, so only to save time and to be honest I had my eyes on the corns, as they were turning from white to gold,  so to end their debate over its usage, I intervened and reminded them about the ‘ soon-to-happen loadshedding’.

Which worked. And in a moment I was handed over my delight for tonight. If my mama jaan wouldn’t have been there, I would definitely have made a run instead of  making a slow journey to home on my happy feet.

The good news is, Mama bought me the corns for 20 Rupees instead of 10. BUT…I got robbed of my corns the moment I formerly asked my family to have some.  Ah- That’s just so typically Pakistani. And I love every moment of it!  I wish I had a camera with me when I had went out but then which idiot takes a camera with him to a doctor’s clinic. lol  An experience on a cold night such as this one was enough to cheer me up. As I haven’t received a reply from my Publisher yet and I am still almost unemployed, I am trying to find happiness in these little things which are there, but we never truly treasure them .

I must say, these white corns have triggered another adventure in my mind. Pathans are very friendly, and since I belong to  a pathan family too, it wouldnt be hard to befriend Pathan Sahid at all. And why am I saying this….well.  Because ever since I walked away from that hawker, Kashmir and its corn seeds are dancing here and there in my mind but since we have no relatives there just far far far away friends…wouldnt it be a super dooper idea to befriend pathan Sahib and make a trip to his home in Kashmir ? 😀  I’m convincing my Mamu (uncle) for this crazy trip. Let’s see where I land.

The photographs were taken at home because I simply need an excuse for photography. I hope they please your eyes as much as they please mine.

February 6, 2011

EPIC WAVES OF REVOLUTION THROUGH TUNISIA TO EGYPT AND NOW WHO’S NEXT ?

by Khanum

I hope its Pakistan.

The story of Tunisia’s heroic shout against the tyrant system can now be seen in all the Muslim hearts especially in Egypt. Its huge and its burning and when that kind of things happen in some Muslim state, Another state who thinks superior of itself is bound to comment on it as if its another terroristic event! Boo hoo. That’s sadly not the case. In fact these steps should have been taken long time ago when Iraq and Afghanistan got burned down , what for ? A satisfaction? A revenge?

I serioustly hope Pakistan soon stand up and take action. Same thing same corruption is destroying my land. There’s shortage of electricity, no food for poor even for middle class people now and no proper system for the evaluation of income, that is where the President gets away with all the national treasure. A minister in Pakistan has got 34 more ministers to advice him for God’s sake. What is wrong with these ill hearted leaders. Smart nations learn from their history and avoid repeating the same errors made by them in past. That’s how ordinary nations emerge as strong ones. That’s where we have an opportunity to progress.  Now with due offence intended towards Power hungry states/people, I am not sorry to say  its time for Tyranny to end against Muslims by their own Muslim leaders and people behind tyrant rulers who support them in the name of war against terrorism. When sovereignty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. But when it is surrendered voluntarily by default, it can never be recovered. In both cases, your strength of mind is to be questioned.  Right now, what I wanna know, what my family wants to know at home for which they are  glued to TV for updates on recent uproar in egypt , is not when it will end…but How it will bring revolution to oppressed states with filthy rich leaders!

It’s definitely going to catch more fire, that’s what I think because these kind of protests is what’s been happening in Pakistan since ages with no fruitful results. Sometimes we thought it was a revolution to bing the chief Justice back on the seat and sometimes we all stood up to end Musharraf’s reign. But never, and it pains me to see that never in my life I have witnessed a true revolution anywhere in the world. It all starts with hopes and then we all know where it leads to.  Along with Egypt and Tunisia, its crucial for Pakistan to get rid of tyranny because I do not understand why the Alien forces have been allowed to walk freely and kill freely in MUSLIM LANDS? In Gaza at least we know who killed who but in Afghanistan and especially in FATA, US forces are shooting off our citizens blindly and nobody is there to question them?

If our leaders speak of our sovereignty then what those alien forces are doing at our borders and inside our houses?

Those who think its unjust to think well and wishrevolution to people fighting against tyranny, then I know that some, in  the World are still able to comprehend the difference between support for humanitarian and favoritism. In such time of chaos, I only expect  Spectators to act as understanding as possible.