Winter Nights In Lahore: By Sana Fatima

Winter Nights In Lahore: By Sana Fatima


Red and black check coat, sweaters, sweatshirts, warmers, socks, shoes, and a wrapped muffler around the neck, and there I was, all set to go out on the night of January 28th to have maybe the first dinner at a restaurant with my family. I said maybe, because if we had dinner before I was too young to remember it now. Although we have eaten Ice Cream many times. This time it was different as I have grown older and the writer inside of me has now emerged from within where he used to be solely a thinker before.


Thoughts continuously went on turning pages, what do we call thought pages? My mind was jumping from one idea to the other, from one chatter to that, from one question to the next, from one memory to the last. My eyes were wide open to engulf all the happenings in my sight and my fist clenched inside the pocket of my coat. I was calmly sitting behind my father on his bike.

We have no luxurious life but a comfortable one. I have never had a wish which went unheard. That’s in my opinion, the most elite sort of luxury. The cold breeze froze my cheeks and nose. ‘Cold noses and warm hearts!’ I smile from my eyes when I see people doing things at night. It was very cold outside but everyone was warm inside their quality jackets which belonged to the British once. Their bodies were providing warmth to them against the sunless winter. Everyone was visible inside the yellow light of bulbs of street carts. Fruit carts, Tikka corners, wood shops, pan shops, general stores, burger stalls, and just people going here and there. The fog was falling from the sky, prevailing over all the activity going on, on Earth.





I was sitting in a moving vehicle so I kept on looking at different people while they were busy with their activities and then my eyes touched the half-sliced marbled moon, same as me, moving. For the first time in my life, I felt a connection with the moon; he was also a silent spectator like I was from birth of mine, Moon had been there silently watching over people since the birth of the earth. I wondered if the moon philosophizes people like I do or not. Each group of people is unaware of the next, in their routine work, in their own world. Each person thinks something, and each human being a human. We crossed them all like these were all the movies going on in theater rooms and I am just readily looking and passing them all, leaving it all behind me.


We leave so much behind us, our eyes caress the moments as our hands do. Like while passing a hallway listening to music, when we slightly touch everything and pass through it. Like the moon, I was watching things over, as they were happening. A lady in front of a medicine shop waiting for his man to return so they could move forward, a child crying his lungs out for a balloon his mom can’t afford, a group of young people in front of fast food shops laughing and giving high fives to each other, a bunch of old men circled around fire sitting comfortably on chairs wearing dhussas of gray, cream or brown color, bikes and cars crossing roads while their headlights tore apart the wall of darkness for a moment and then the wall reunites into darkness. An old man carving wooden furniture into aesthetic sophisticated designs, an old man sitting alone on a chair with the stick in his hand staring into the deep distance, two bikes standing separately on the edge of the road with their tire punctured, ladies curiously looking at what their men are doing and the men trying all the methods to slightly repair bike so it could take them to a mechanic for its own operation and then there I was, seeing things. I was not only like the moon, but also like time which keeps on moving forward and does not stop, I was passing over things, and my sight was unveiling the picture, slowly.


Lahore Winter Snow


I wished I could dance on the road. Roads which went gray with time were also beautiful. When transport went on dark roads, their light illuminated it, like the reflection of stars in the black water of a lake at night. Thousands of lights and thousands of their reflections. Metro bridges are also a thing of beauty now, up in the dark among clouds of fog from where the lined street lights and their cone-shaped light reaching the surface of the bridge could be seen. The amalgamation of white light with mist, photons, and fog dancing side by side, twisting, folding, rising, and falling, up above on the bridges. And then the red bus passes, shaking the bridge, disturbing the peace of street lights and their sweet ballet. Everything looks like something else at night, there is something magical in night and moonlight that is beyond description. I felt my heart bursting with joy, I thought I could right now jump off the bike because of the excitement I felt. We reached Savour Foods and got united with my brother, sister, and mother. We had a nice dinner and it was a beautiful place as well.


The coming home journey began. I already felt my heart would break the ribs and come out to dance itself, well my heart could never be an ‘it’ I suppose. When we came out of the restaurant a little girl asked for money from my father. I feel reluctant to use the word beggar for such a tiny soul. My father asked for her name; Asiya, she said. My head felt a strike, name! I never thought these people do have names as well. I felt as if I am the devil myself to look at them with such eyes. Do I not consider them humans? I asked myself a bitter question. A land cruiser stopped there and a lady came out, I looked at her to see what her name was. It wasn’t etched on her forehead so I couldn’t know without asking. Then I realized that I never thought of peoples’ names no matter what they are or represent. I felt relieved about this conclusion. I didn’t want to drop down in my own conscience. I see people as humans, being humans and that doesn’t include having an identity, at least in my ideology identities other than humans don’t matter. Well, this time human activity on roads was turned down a little. People were going back home, closing shops, shaking hands with friends, and going back to sleep in their warm blankets after a tiring day under Pakistan’s dying economy.


I looked up at the sky, it was darker than before perhaps because the world underneath was slowly coming to silence. The half-sliced moon was now accompanied by tiny little stars. I saw the sky moving, and I remembered Gallelio saying ‘And yet it moves’. The sky was actually moving in a circle but it wasn’t the sky, it was Earth. How paradoxical is the world we live in, what we call the sky from the ground earth is the boundary of Earth itself. The way up is the way down as Heraclitus would have said to me. My head started moving in circles as well so I rested my eyes for a bit. Roads were now empty and my eyes were filled with sleep. I was feeling warmth in myself in the coldness of winter. I looked up at the sky again, there were light clouds spread in the sky like waves in the ocean. It appeared to me as if the dark sky was moving and creating foamy wave clouds on it. Each wave of cloud was woven with a sparking tiny star of blue, red, and white color. Spirals of Van Gogh around stars on a starry night popped into my head. These waves weren’t spirals; they were simply curls holding stars gently. Each star is on his throne or maybe on his own soft bed lying calmly in silk white sheets in the middle of the black ocean up above there. I kept on looking in the distance where the fog was now intermingling with the particles of darkness science hasn’t seen yet, maybe because there is no light in the dark. Whatever, I felt melancholy as the journey was ending.

Lahore is a magical place, it heals wounds and scars. I believe it does. Then we came back home, and my kitten jumped on me and purred for half an hour. Life seems inevitably rich.




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