I´m starting to look at this trip as research for a juicey reality show. We seem to have all the elements for a great story: a family saga with the usual ups and downs that
make for great drama and intrigue. Happy times, occasional deceipt and greediness, success and broken relationships.
Totally unannounced we took a trip to the heart of Lahore today, to the building where my father grew up, it´s on Maulabaksh Street, named after my grandfather, once an important engineer who built the Lahore railway station amongst other things.

Daud@Maulabaksh St.

Little did we know there´s still a bunch of our family living there: cousins and aunts mainly. I was totally shocked to walk into a dimly lit living room in a pretty run down second floor apartment to find a photo of Taera and me from when we were about 10 years old!
Then there´s the whole inheritance issue that was never dealt with…when both grandparents died nobody split the Maulabaksh Street property according to the law. So one of my cousins doesn´t seems to be managing things to everyone´s liking.
As non urdu speakers we know we don´t get the nuances of most of the family stories we´re told, but it´s also quite obvious that nobody tells both sides of any story. There seems to be a high rate of arranged marriages between cousins that don´t always work out, as well as a tendency amongst my father´s brothers to have more than one wife and family. This makes for a large clan of Shaikhs who, for the most part, stick together as Pakistani families do, whilst indulging in a certain amount of gossiping, interfering and helping each other out. Family is really what life revolves around here, whilst Westerners may distract themselves with office politics or buying more stuff, Pakistanis like to dream up marriages between cousins and prevent these unions from falling apart no matter what.
I guess the reality show would fit on a Western screen thanks to the combined Euro-NY element that our branch of the family and Shazi contribute. Taera says it could be done Winterbottom style: combing interviews with real people and actors playing the part…I wonder whether there´s enough material for a good script.

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