Trip to Lahore January 2016
Just love going to Lahore. Once, I belonged to it. I’ve spent many years in Lahore. – Most of the formative years of my childhood, and my teenage too. Later on, I’ve been going there regularly. So, this time when Nudrat Tariq rang me up to ask me what date would suit me, to go to Lahore for Hi tea at PC Lahore, I happily accepted the invitation. She was calling the entire class of 1976 Home Economics College. Inviting them all was made easy by Asma Mazari, who has collected all of us on Whats app. So, we remain connected there now. There was Kandy coming from New York, and the others in Canada and UK, were watching with great envy… I quickly coaxed my other friend Naila to join me, and we went to Lahore in Daewoo bus. I told Naila, that I’ll stay with Riffat and Naim bhai as usual, and Riffat was happy to have her stay there too. So, that was settled.
The party was a great success, most of the time we were busy guessing who is who. The best part was that though we may have changed (‘expanded’) a bit from outside, inside, we all felt the same! It was so great to see each other and feel that we have been blessed to be together after forty years. There was the sumptuous Hi-tea, red roses and cake… the works, all arranged by Nudrat Tariq, thank you, lovely lady.
Four of my friends couldn’t make it. Through all these years I’ve kept in touch with my MSc group (Fairy, Fitrat, Ayesha and Riffat) and my BSc group, out of whom now only Tanvir and Tabassum are left in Lahore. So, my MSc group meeting was pending, and we met in Defense. Had a delicious lunch at Espresso ordered by Fairy, which I thought was too much, but we ended up gobbling it all up! The pan fried fish, the wraps, club sandwiches, and what not. She said dessert will be served in the sunny garden next to McDonalds! They, of-course, refused to let me pay. Ayesha had come from her home in Canal View, Fitrat came from near-by in Defense, we had decided to meet here, so she is not too far from her husband who is not too well these days.
I just love the way all my friends make time for me whenever I go to Lahore. I really appreciate it, as I know, life is really hectic. However, when we meet and hug each other, feeling happy just to be together and see each other, it just melts away our problems and issues. We feel stronger. Our bonds become stronger. There is no ‘takalluf’ or false pretenses among us. We are who we are, and we know we genuinely look up to each other and stand by each other. All my life, they’ve been there for me. They are better than the sisters I never had. Even their husbands are so sweet and I know they are there for me too.
Naim bhai was very upset that I was returning on Sunday. We keep joking that we are business partners. Actually we are. I’ve offered in my Shireen’s Studio, to send paintings at the doorstep, and it is through his courier service that it is possible, anywhere in the world.
Fairy offered to drop me at Tanvir’s place on her way home. Meeting Tanvir was another pleasure. Her husband Pervaiz bhai, was a good friend of my husband Najib, also he came to chat with us, remembering old days, and asking about my father. He too had had his IBA get together of the 1976 batch on 8th! I never knew he had studied from IBA, it is one of the top most institutions in Karachi in the field of Business Management.
Riffat and Naim bhai are the true Pakistani hosts. He will cut up fruit for me with breakfast and make sure I taste all the different fruits he could get for me. Their domestic help Nasir won’t be out done either, serving me two fried eggs with my toast! Then both husband and wife present me with jams. Naim bhai made the strawberry jam, and Riffat made the guava jelly. He watches me eagerly, as I taste it. “Please say mine is better, later you can tell Riffat that her’s was the better one!” Actually both are amazing.
Riffat was most concerned about our gifts which we had got to give to our friends. There was the cake lying next to the fruit baskets. (we got worried that the guava smell doesn’t get into the blueberry cheese cake.) When we were going, Riffat was worried it would get spoilt in the car while we had lunch in DHA, so she offered to come back for the cake .. adding another 35 km to her trip through the crazy Lahore traffic. I was at the door when I heard this and put my foot down. I said “Nothing doing! The cake goes with us!” There it went beside the fruit baskets… as we sat in the car, Riffat said “I’ve got the latest guava fragrance for my car.” We all smiled knowingly. The moment we all met, Fitrat declared “I’m feeling so young just looking at you all.” Again we smiled, yes, we all were feeling young too! When we meet we talk as if we had last met yesterday. Pulling each other’s legs and telling funny jokes. -Making fun of each other, and remembering funny old days. We have added a lot of more funny memories to our college days’ jokes. So now we have a good pot-pouri of these. Of course, like the good times, we have shared all our bad times with each other too. We are careful to avoid the bad memories.
Meeting old friends is like taking a tonic with no side effects. They can make life good!