The passport office in Garden Town Lahore is not only the means to renewing burgundy-colored British compatible buildings. It has become a terse version of the emblematic city itself.
1. The Attendees
There are two kinds of people- masses of children accompanied by 6ft tall broad-shouldered men who “politely” ask you to move aside; they’ll be in the building within minutes-agents and their minions!
Then there are those old-schools who would genuinely queue for hours. Call me a strong proponent for old values [and the law-abiding citizen] I vouch for the latter.
In my defense how fun would that really be? I mean, who would miss the chance to have a glimpse of shoveling and pushing followed by a brawl, the true Pakistani spirit.
2. The Environment
A fashion hub with a tumultuous history which dates back to the Mughal era, Lahore is a pivot for diverse cultures. Residents from the suburbs have migrated to the city in hope for a new start. Outside the gates of the office, you witness the divergence aforementioned, from a shoemaker to a pathan who could be seen selling counterfeit goods to youngsters.
Bhainn qasam tmhara asal channel [chanel] ki ainak ayyye lee lo 1500 rupay ki.
Despite the fact that the founder of this brand would be turning in her grave, the pathan surrenders at the petty amount of forty rupees. He still earns the profit and the girl gets to show her friends the souvenir her father brought from his business trip to “Europe”. A win win situation for both the parties.
3) The best part: the food, nom nom nom!
“I solemnly affirm that I shall not succumb to the decisiveness of rich aromas and unique delicacies of Lahore. I shall abstain from indulging into any eating extravaganza and falling deep into food coma or so help me God.” No ardent Lahori would ever submit to such heresy!
The park that lies before the office is the home to myriad cuisines. Starting with the local Nafees Dahi Balay to Murg Cholay, Malai Tikkas and infamous Nihari these culinary dishes tantalize one’s taste bud.
4) The Zinda Dilaans (The lively)
The Lahoris are the true manifestations of livelihood and amiability. They are cordial and polite to the visitors and leave you basking in the warmth of their welcome.
Wearing contentment and courtesy, their answer to everything is a smile. The passport office only confirmed the much-trumpeted rumours.
Asking for guidance, smile!
Submitting your fee, smile!
Overtaking the row, believe it or not, smile!
No doubt, whoever coined the phrase Zinda Dilaan had obviously been exposed to the slice of life in Lahore, a zenith of splendor and awe in Pakistan.