…and there’s no two ways about it. I often say that my heart is split in three – one part is in Boston, where I left it last summer. One part is, obviously, in my body, where it beats a melancholy rhythm, hoping to be reunited with at least one of its sisters. And the other is in Lahore, where it has been for the last 15 years, since I moved there at the age of two with my family and even after I moved to Dubai nearly 6 years ago, resting amongst the history, culture and fast-paced present.
I’ve been spending the past 20 or so minutes reminiscing about Lahore with my fellow Lahori-away-from-Lahore, Rameesa. It’s strange and wonderful, how we have the same fond memories, the same notions of nostalgia, the same remembrance of certain places and areas – we aren’t an isolated case either. Every Lahori will have experienced the H block food street, the midnight drives to Iceland for fruit juice and ice cream, the paanwaalay in front of Gaddafi stadium, the festivals at Alhambra, splurging at Readings and Variety – just to name a few things.
I think that’s the beauty of being from a city as vibrant and wonderful as Lahore – the solidarity between city people is something incredible. It’s a weird thing to draw inspiration from, but it is genuinely so inspiring.
It’s bittersweet, though. Nostalgia can only take you so far down memory lane before you meet a junction that puts you on a track to wistfulness. I recognize my privilege – it’s hard to ignore that when you life in a place like Dubai where you’re reminded day in and day out of luxury and extravagance and all the things that Lahore…frankly, lacks in (at least in the modern day – Lahore in its Heart of the Mughal Empire (TM) days could give Dubai a run for its borrowed money).
It’s true – I do have more comfort and freedom here than I would in Lahore. I mean, I just got back for, dinner at 11pm on a weekday – the idea would be inconceivable back home!
And yet, there it is: Lahore is still “back home” for me. That’s where a piece of my heart remains. And that’s where it will always remain, as long as I live.
Lahore Lahore beshak hai. Nothing and nowhere I go can ever change that fact.