PK


Been back a couple of weeks now, been working_have been productive. But have noticed a certain touch of Pakistaniness in my prioritization of tasks to carry out. Before christmas I was all about studying Dave Allen´s method for Getting Things Done and making it all happen. Post Pakistan, however, I´ve been pretty mellow, what´s the rush. The concept of time seemed totally different on the subcontinent, people will easily dedicate their days to you without batting an eyelid. Something Northern Californian David Allen can´t do without consulting the to-do lists on his Blackberry first and giving you an appointment for the following week. I´ve given myself the privilege to let The Journey to the Roots sink in, and now I can get back to action.
Not a Dream is screening in Barcelona in a couple of weeks, so I´m going to get my lokaTV marketing hat on in time for that.

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All the best photos from our PK tour are here. Check them out.

Daud looking at the HimalayasOrnate PK truckTaera, Sabina + SahiraLahore FortAbu + Aunties

“Chakawali” is a well known term in certain circles and is endowed with many meanings. Rooted in the Taera language, it can refer both to certain individuals and very particular things. Here are some of the most famous chakawali people of the moment.

chakawalis

We´d seen extremely cool trucks and lorries on the road to Islamabad, but when we got to Karachi it turned out their public transport is pretty cool too. Check it out

Another religio-cultural influence that Lahore possesses in greater quantities than any other city is that of Sufism. The mystical sect of Islam is commemorated with hundreds, maybe thousands, of shrines to Sufi saints, many of which are difficult to find. One nestles just outside the colonial-era King Edward Medical College, which resembles a sort of hot-weather Hogwarts. These shrines, in any case, are fascinating to see if one’s experience of Muslim culture is limited. They are a proof of the mutiplicities of Islam and a rebuke to the repulsiveness of any orthodoxy that wishes to curb their crazily blissful peacefulness. The Sufi, of course, are also responsible for qawwali music, and Lahore is full of qawwali performances. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the famous Pakistani vocalist, was a Punjabi, and at the shrines you imbibe something of the flavor of the intoxicating gentleness that defined him. We tried to check it out one evening, but it was cold, late and Taera and I didn´t much like being inside the ladies cage although its probably a good place to be when things eventually get going.

Spinning Sufis

As good first worlders a lot of our visit has been dedicated to shopping…sure we like the prices and the exotic knick knacks make great gifts, and it´s also something we can do on our own.

I think Rang Mahaal is where we went dopata crazy, oh, dopatas are the scarve element of the typical lady´s shalwar camise (shalwar = trousers, camise = long shirt). We discovered you can choose your cloth, have it dyed the colour you like best and even get it hemmed with a fancy thread. So we lunged straight in and bought a bunch of dopatas for ourselves, for Farzana, for Maya, for Daud´s friends in Madrid…dopata crazy indeed.

Dopata crazy

The other cool bazaar shopping experience we had in Lahore was in Anarkali, named after the legendary star-crossed dancing girl buried alive for her love of the young prince Selim. To delve within the Old Walled City is to cross into a truly unique zone. There is simply no other city anywhere that has preserved the mixture of influences that produced the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries’ great cultural flowering in this part of the world. In Fatepur Sikri (near Agra), you can see an abandoned capital that records the intermingling of Muslim, Hindu, mystical, secular, imperial and local influences that were synthesized during the reign of Akbar, the greatest Mughal. In Lahore, you can see what that intermingling actually looked like, rather than merely its reflection in elevated architecture. Traverse the walled city from one gate to another, get lost, and find your way back out. It’s an experience of incredible density and richness.

We went off on another road trip, this time to Burewala, a rural area of Punjab where our cousin Aisha and her family live.

It was refreshing to see open fields and a less congested lifestyle. As well as the usual first class treatment we got a mendhi session in the morning, that is a henna tattoo which is usually done on special occasions and weddings.
We saw sugarcane fields and how sugarcane juice is reduced to sugar…and we ate a super traditional Punjabi meal of locally grown saag …who can ask for more?

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