19 January 2018

a quick trip to Lahore gone wrong gone right

The first time I went to Lahore (back in 2016) nothing went wrong, except for the weather and we couldn't go on a city tour because it started raining out of nowhere. The second time I went to Lahore, I missed a flight. It was absolutely pointless, all that missing flight thing. It was pointless because there was no drama involved, as I believe all the missing flights should have. We were stuck in the traffic right in front of the airport. I could see the airport walls. It was pointless because it was supposed to be a perfect plan, reaching Lahore in the morning and getting back in the night. But we missed the return flight. I felt like I had a responsibility to cry at the airport when they refused to issue us a boarding pass and I did (though I realized how comfortable I'm with crying in a public place) It felt inappropriate not to feel anything, like sadness or regret, you see I missed a flight and now I have to go and stay in the city I don't know but I absolutely love. 

Me // Noor 
I was with my twin sister and then we went to stay with my aunt. I like to think if Lahore had a physical feature it’d be a permanent grin. I also like to imagine Lahore being the center of the country, even though it’s not. I think I just like Lahore too much.

Next morning, we got exactly two hours to explore around before we left for the airport to catch the afternoon flight back to Karachi. Lahore was cold, but it was a happy cold. Or maybe I was just happy there, cold or no cold. My aunt lives in Bahria Town and that’s what we got to see. We were driving to random places and my aunt kept telling me about all the important places. Then she started talking about this one mosque with so much passion and love that I was overwhelmed by an unexpected feeling of loss. I like mosques, I really do but I’ve never been to many of them. It’s not mandatory for women to go to a mosque in Islam. And I never had many women-friendly mosques around in my hometown.

Grand Jamia Mosque, Bahria Town Lahore
I had no idea I was about to swap my heart for a mosque I had no idea existed, or existed in such a huge area and with such beauty, I suddenly felt like a fool. I was unprepared, I wasn’t expecting a mosque to be this beautiful and be in the city I claimed to like this much. I remember joking how it didn't matter that nobody is taking me to Turkey because here we are at a Pakistani Hagia Sophia. And then it felt like missing my flight wasn’t that pointless at all, I was just supposed to see the Grand Jamia mosque.

Being in there made me think a lot of things, like what would my mother say about this mosque and how beautiful it felt to be standing under that huge dome and the aesthetics reminded of Subhi Taha and his Friday prayer snaps I get to see every week on Instagram. Mosques also remind me of everything clean, completely crystal clear clean. I wish I had time to pray there.

We took a fair amount of pictures under Lahore’s sun. I didn’t take many pictures the day before because two reasons: we were there for work. Lots of work. And secondly, we worked on a super cool project I don’t think I want to talk about before it all comes out. But I took some pictures for my Instagram stories and I’m just going to put a few here too.

(that's studio light which almost worked like sunlight for this selfie)

Getting back to Karachi seemed easier in the afternoon. On our way to the airport, the traffic was nicer and we kept telling our driver that we can’t miss this flight because we missed one last night and even though we like Lahore so much we’d still like to go back on time. And even after we made it to the airport on time, Noor & I ran to the check-in and then to the boarding lounge, probably for a dramatic effect or maybe, maybe, maybe we just stopped trusting everything at the airport. Okay, we definitely stopped trusting everything at the airport.

The last time I went to the Lahore for the first time, I was scared to talk about it. Or it was probably just me being selfish because I liked the city too much and I wanted to keep everything about it to myself. Also, I had no idea I’d end up writing this post in the middle of the night, but maybe this is how Lahore and I are connected: through absolutely wrong timings.


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