Thursday, July 26, 2018

Once upon a time in Lahore

Once upon a time stories have always been fascinating as these always talked about beautiful princesses and princes, sometimes princes turning frogs too though. But their end was always charming and ending with kisses and love forever. 

I too grew up listening th the once upon a time stories and I wish I could go back to my childhood when may parents and all siblings were there under one roof and listen to those fascinating stories once again. But now with parents long gone and all siblings living their own lives scattered over different places, once upon a time is only a dream now.

And let me share my Once upon a time In Lahore [1], where I was born, raised (listening to the stories), and then left in search of my bread and butter to places far away never returning to live there again. But whenever I visit Lahore, I make sure I walk down on lanes and streets where I once walked with my family - now I walk alone cherishing the nostalgia of the days when love was in abundance and everywhere.

One of the roads we frequented with my family after sunsets was the Abbott Road. Starting from our house near once famous and thriving Lahore Hotel, we would go to Abbott Road truing left from where now Gulistan cinema stands. In those days, there was abandoned house surrounded with bushes and trees and looked like Dracula's house. In those Dracula films were very famous, or notorious I may say, and whenever we five brothers went past that place, my pace would speed up lest Dracula got out and suck my blood. But with my family and parents around, I felt no fear for my father was a fearless man and I know he would break Dracula's neck if he dared !!!

OK back to the Abbott Road, which like the abandoned "Dracula's house, was all barren, unlike its present screaming and congested traffic due to many cinemas that came up, was quite road with fields astride both side of the road. At the end of the road, there stood the Radio Pakistan building, the Television Station came a few years later in 1964. From here we would turn right to climb the once famous Shimla Pahadi (Shimla Hill). I do not know why it was called after Shimla, a beautiful tourist resort of northern India, but perhaps the presence of this raised ground reminded someone of Shimla and this small hillock was so named.

It was here that there used to be lot of fireflies and they would give their feint yet visible light and fly by us. My mother would catch some of these in her dopatta and I would cry with joy seeing these fiery creatures trapped inside. And could cry when my mother would let them go.

Now there is no Shimla Pahadi and no fireflies, and no once upon a time stories. All gone with the wind of the time and leaving behind the memories which saddens me for it reminds me of my parents and my elder brother who are no more, may they be blessed, and the galaxy of siblings living in their won smaller worlds, perhaps reading out once upon a time stories to their grandchildren.

Do you remember your once upon a time stories?

Photo : [1] Lahore is a thriving city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan
If you like Jaho Jalal, please follow us on Facebook