My recent drive to Lahore.
Driving a car is my ‘me time’, my fun time. It is a time which is exclusive for me. I love taking along friends for drives too. As a small kid I remember going for long drives. It was always fun with my parents. At the age of five years, when my father was instructor in PMA, we’d often go for long drives to Mansera or Batrasi. I was seven years old, when my father drove all the way to Hyderabad from Kakul. I agreed to marry my husband Najib Khan mainly because he shared my love for travel. We’d often go off the beaten track to discover new places and later took our friends along for barbecues there. Whether we were in North or South of Pakistan, or in Kuwait, or going for Umra, the drives were our real thrill. We had many adventures and have lovely memories.
When I became an educationist and a writer, I saved up enough to buy a car. My first car was a Suzuki Mehran. Packing my children into the car we’d go off for long drives, singing at the top of our voices. Yes, my cocker spaniel Paprika too loved these drives. She would sit on the back seat looking out of the window with her ears flapping. If I got home too early, she would refuse to get out of the car, so I’d have to go on another round, round the block for her royal highness!
Somehow, life changed, and now suddenly there are hardly any long drives. Usually, I find myself going by the popular Daewoo bus to Lahore. This Saturday, I decided suddenly to go by car. I called up my expert of cars, Daniyal and asked if he could just look at my car, and tell me if it is fit to go on the Motorway. He came over within half an hour and gave me the green signal. (Yes, I know, I should have done that a day earlier!).
So, my daughter and I were ready to leave.
The important things were done:
- Music downloaded by my Waliya for good entertainment.
- Books to read were added.
- Snacks: sandwiches, and cut fruit. The bottles of Lemonade and water.
- Car checked.
- Bags packed.
Hasty good byes. All SOPs settled with my domestic help. And off we went!
On the Motor way a few points to note:
- Always start with the reading of prayer for a journey. It is really a beautiful one. (Learn it by heart and recite it every time you leave home.)
- Speed checks according to the boards. (120 KPH most of the time, and 40 KPH in the Kalar Kahar area)
- Note the emergency number = 130
- Also, note the numbers on the poles marked every few kilometers. Because if there is a problem, then this number would be your reference point, so that the highway police can locate you, and be able to help.
- At least one stop is a must. Usually Bhera is the best, as it is exactly half the way, whether you are coming or going to Lahore from Islamabad. That usually coincides with the prayer break, so you go and say the prayers in the mosque.
- Choosing where to eat becomes a challenge with KFC, McDonalds, Hardees and local stuff too. Really cool.
The views, the traffic and the road. All is wonderful. Definitely worth the effort. Actually I enjoyed every bit of it. But the best part was when Waliya read out portions from a book she was reading. It was awesome. We exchanged our views on different aspects that the author had mentioned. Taking a book along is definitely my thing. Otherwise one can take the Audio of a book. The important thing is, it must match your mood of the moment. Don’t force yourself to read or listen to something which you don’t want to, at that moment.
Singing along with songs too is a must. Yes, even if you don’t know the words quite so well!
I’ve loved this experience so much that I’m going to do it more often now.
Next time I’ll go alone, as I’ll have to leave my daughter to take care of my parents, only then I can stay longer in Lahore.
Stay blessed my dear reader. It is always important to get out of your comfort zone, and do what your heart tells you to do.
Note: Photography: Waliya Najib Khan.