I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

...Of Lahore

2 months.

That's how long it's taken before my folks have despaired of Lahore. The distances have gotten to them, and the traffic, and the higher cost of living, and the heat. Boy, the heat! For a family who've lived the most part of the last 6 years in the North, it wasn't a great idea to land in Lahore just when it had climbed to the top spot in Beelzebub's "Homes Away from Home for Vacationers From Hell" list. The past two weeks' steadily rising mercury has slowly eroded my folks' "new city,new home" excitement and even the thought of regular Persian lessons at the Farhang-e-Iran isn't succeeding in driving the thoughts of colder, calmer climes from my father's mind.

I must digress however. Granted it's swelteringly hot. Granted too, that the traffic in most parts means that a driver like me who isn't even qualified to call himself a novice can't take his new car out for a spin on most roads without bringing it back with at least a lac or two chopped off it's resale value. And granted that even though I've always been a bit of a miser, the last month or two have repeatedly left me asking for handouts because although I've been working for two and a half months now, my pay doesn't arrive till the 1st of July. The upside of which is that come 1st July, I'll be rolling in the stuff.

But what makes me less eager ,and possibly even averse to giving it up on Lahore is the fact that I've enjoyed it immensely ever since I came here. I'd been 'staking the joint' over the last 5 years and had a pretty good idea about these and many other killjoys that I might have to encounter If I ever moved to Lahore and I'm pretty much prepared to take the rough with the smooth. And it's been more smooth than rough so far.

For a start, I'm actually enjoying my job. The housejob year is probably the most important year in a doctor's career, where armed with the accumulated knowledge(?) of five years of Med School and filled with a mix of excitement and trouser-soiling nervousness, he finally starts seeing and treating patients. I've been at it for the last two months and it hasn't proven as hard as I was expecting it. The hours aren't as bad as in most other hospitals AND I'm learning stuff at a steady rate AND the senior doctors are more than helpful,most of them being alumnus of my college AND like I wrote earlier, I'm not as complete a cretin as I was expecting myself to be. Most of all, as my choice of medicine as a profession was more by default that by choice, it's gratifying to know that I actually have what's vaguely referred to as "aptitude" for it.

This being the food capital of Pakistan and me being me, I've let my taste buds lead me all over Lahore and I can safely vouch for their instincts. From hidden-away dhaabas to shishipoopoo coffee house,I've been there and eaten that. And if the pot belly that had completely vanished at PMA attempts a comeback, it'll be a well deserved one. And it's not just food, I've been able to indulge most of my maghaz tastes here, from attending Qawwali sessions to stand-up shows to getting in among the publishers at Urdu Bazar. I'd told my folks that once I'd gotten to Lahore, It'd be pretty hard for them to keep me housebound.

But most of all, the friends and relatives I used to make those cross-country visits for are now close by and I can arrange a meetup if not every week than at least every fortnight. That fact alone accounts for more than 85% of Lahore's awesomeness.

Books Of The Week,Alistair Cooke,The Biography. The Graveyard Book,Neil Gaiman
Movies Of The Week,Zombieland,Monty Python At The Hollywood Bowl