Thursday, March 15, 2012

Delayed Publishing of Crappy College Essay

I say 'crappy' because I'm not too proud of it but I'm still posting it because it's about something very close to this heart of mine:

"My first memories of growing up are of weekly Sunday puppet shows at the Alhamra on the Mall. I remember pestering my grandmother for leftover bits of cloth as soon as we would return home so I could create my own finger puppets. Later I developed a love for drawing and painting. During a visit to Lahore’s grand Lawrence Gardens, I was captivated by the story of each and every geriatric tree, withered flower and picnicking family. I vowed to return with my sketch book; and I did. When I was old enough to be trusted with a camera on our trips to the Lahore Fort and Jahangir’s Mausoleum, my family were disappointed when they discovered that I had been taking pictures of everything around me except for them.

Lahore is a city of multiple faces. It rushes to keep up with the 21st century, yet its romance and allure remains the same as that which once inspired the likes of Saadat Hasan Manto and Ashfaq Ahmed. Being born and having lived all my life here, the city has had a lot of influence on me as well. So ever since my love affair with Lahore began, I have tried to capture, in any form, the emotions and thoughts its places, people and scenes aroused in me.

My father spent his youth living in the Walled City, the heart and soul of Lahore, so authentic Lahori cuisine is a regular feature in our household.  I was eating spinach with corn meal rotis and broth from curry made of mutton trotters even before I could say the words ‘baby food’. I learned to celebrate food. To savour flavours and to appreciate the way in which it could magically bring people together. And so the kitchen became my playground; the artist’s studio. I began experimenting with ingredients, and making combinations that sometimes worked wonders on my palate, but mostly resulted in disastrous formulations that had to be thrown out.

For a foodie like me Lahore is heaven on earth. The vast array of cuisines found here offers the ultimate opportunity for culinary exploration. Enjoying good food and cooking has now become my passion.

However, the greatest effect of my city upon me is the way in which its contrasts have nurtured the thinker inside of me. Unfortunately, in Lahore, as the number of luxurious multi-story houses with lush green lawns increases, so does the number of slum dwellings surrounded by heaps of trash. The desperate looks of suffering in the eyes of young children selling daffodils at street corners and the stark disparity of one street corner to another are often enough to disturb me throughout the day. But despite rapidly escalating crime rates and intolerance amongst the population, a simple incident restored my faith in the city and its people. I was in a busy market with my family to buy some fruit when we noticed a cart loaded with the choicest fresh, red apples. Two cats sat lazily underneath but the vendor was nowhere to be found. We asked around but no one else knew either. Finally we discovered that he had gone to offer his prayers.

If, in the Lahore of today a common fruit-seller can leave the precious source of his livelihood unattended without fear of theft, then I too can devote myself entirely to this city without any apprehension. Lahore - my home - is my passion and because of it I am myself today. I yearn to give back to it all, and more than, it has given to me."


Thoth said...

What are you studying?It's a pretty good essay.

FarhanJ said...

amazing thing that fruit seller did. If thats not true faith than I don't know what is. I am a little bit moved by your post.

Nur R. said...

Thoth - Thank you. And at the moment studying math. But later... not sure.

Farhan J - Aw :] It really made a difference for me too.

Ankur said...

What on earth do you mean by calling this "crappy" ?
This was quite exquisite...
Devoting oneself completely to a city, feels like a utopian concept to me; yet, you have instilled in at least one reader, the desire to visit your city :)

Nur R. said...

Oh God really? Thank you so much!

Come by it's not too far! (: