You don’t see such generosity and simplicity anywhere else, not even within your own relatives anymore.
Entrance to Sonehri Masjid
Delhi gate, one of the doors of Walled city
People gather early in the morning for gossips and a cup of tea
Item seller in the streets of walled city.
Langar at Daata Darbar is a blessing for countless people
The other thing which further accentuates the importance of the walled city is the cultural mix it offers. From colourful katlamas (deep fried stuffed bread) to handmade necklaces, from siri paaye (cow trotters) to street vendors selling anything and everything; the walled city has a lot of diversity to offer.
The people are humble, generous, and kind
A few weeks ago, I took a shot of a man while he made this incredible bread called katlama. He posed and created a beautifully huge round piece, and to my surprise, he gave me a generous piece of that bread for free. Can you imagine giving away your asset for free when you’re barely making enough money to make both ends meet? This hospitality is to be seen literally everywhere in the walled city.
While enjoying that precious piece of bread, I looked down and there was what seemed like a 15-year-old boy blowing off the coal to keep it burning for the cook. His face was literally burning because of the steam and smoke, and yet he was too busy in his work to notice my presence. When I asked him his name and a few details while taking his shot, he smiled and said
"Ap meri tasweer Facebook pe lagaen gi kia?”
(Will you post my picture on Facebook?)
Astounded and awe struck, I realised that everyone everywhere is quite different from our expectations. And these sorts of eye opening experiences are another highlight of the walled city.
People of Lahore
But of course, every place has its flaws as well. In this case, they might be minute, but exist nonetheless. For instance, it’s not safe for females like me to visit these places alone because there’s always someone who can tease and harm you. Furthermore, there’s no proper place for parking and the traffic can get horrible after mid-day.
But to sum it up, the experience in itself is worth all the hassle that I go through, something new every single time.
Exposure to the walled city and its people is a good way of reinforcing values like simplicity, humility, and generosity in my personality. I know it’s hot outside and the odds are against anyone visiting the walled city, but the experience is worth every bit of difficulty you face.
The experience of exploring Lahore is worth every bit of difficulty you face
Make sure you take your children or younger ones along with you in order to establish a connection with our traditions. In this world of pretentiousness, take some time out and meet the people who have only sheer warmth to offer.
All photos: Anam Saeed