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Category: Roaming Around

Other cities than lahore

Bang Bang Theatrical Performance: Hua Kuch Yun

So, Hua kuch yun, last night was a fantastic night. 

Around 5 in the evening, while I was completely wrapped up in my work, my cousin brother yelled from his room,  ‘We have to be at Alhamra at 7:30, Apaaaaa. Not a minute late! Tayar ho janaaaaaaaaaaa’ 

Ami hazoor and khala sitting in the middle space, veranda, conversed to each other like this, ‘ye kia kehraha hai?’ Kuch samajh aii is lerke ki..? Kitna tez bolte hain aj kal ke bache.’

‘Achaaaaa. I’ll be ready’ I replied back from my headquarters on the other side of the veranda. ‘Agai hai samjh mama mujhe is kiiiiii. Play ka keh rahaaaa haiiiii’. I assured my mother I have deciphered his unclear voice as I scanned the papers before me. ‘Mai tayar hi hooon, Basittttt. I haven’t changed my kapray after returning homeeee. Chala jayengeee.’

Okayyyyy. The long distance conversation between me and my brother ended calmly with no objections raised. More so, because the theme of the play was partition as mentioned a day earlier. Absolutely looking forward to it, I concluded my work, by leaving the tripod, the camera and all the papers along with my laptop right there on the bed. A very serious mistake for when I returned all tired, it was all still there. Magically. We took the time to offer Isha and around 7:20 pm we were on our way to Alhamra Art Council. 

The play scheduled to start at 8 pm, actually started at 9. But once it started, I wished it to be longer than 1.5 hours. what a performance and what a fantastic screen play! It was all bang bang with pure intellectual and artistic gratification for me. Keywords: Intellectual and Artistic Gratification. The writer Sajid Hasan Sahib and the director Dawar Mehmood amazed us with the very first scene being extremely enjoyable and creative. On the grounds of ethical reasons, I cannot disclose the scene I recorded that blew us away. In fact, not one but many scenes caught our attention for their creativity and magic of extraordinary performance.

Everyone was mesmerized and so was I. And though the story was written with just the right amount of comedy and fun, it still managed to make us teary towards the end of the play. I am not going to reveal it rather encourage the citizens to go and catch the play when it screens in your city.

On our way back, we talked about why was the hall not full and why did some people leave during the play despite it being a good story? It is my humble opinion that such theatrical performances are not necessarily for the educated and upper class who can afford to pay for its expensive ticket. Rather, such well written and thought provoking plays challenge citizens and draw a fine line between people who are really mentally educated and respond to literature alongside art and history. And citizens, who connect more with regular entertainment than meaningful one. And that is okay. It shouldn’t terrify us or discourage. Hail more. 

We need more plays like this. More theater like this. More intelligence, and more meaningful art. My request to the actors that made this memorable for me, kindly, don’t go on wasting your potential in TV dramas ever. Stick with such meaningful themes in theater, for you were on fire last night with your dedication on stage.

Bravo!

Note:  The images have been taken with my cell. Because I had been busy taking pictures all day at Wazir Khan Mosque, I decided to leave the camera at home at night. So sorry for the low quality pictures. Understanding required.

When at Monal

With the year ending, Flashbacks of the adventures and great times I had this year demand that I blog some of those memories. And while The Fairy Meadows travelogue is still pending , my heart wanted me to share this one beautiful night of my life. The night when I  saw the lights from Monal for the first time.

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We humans have a natural, inevitable and almost childlike infatuation with lights. I realized this on my way , up to the top. As our host of the evening drove the car up to the mountain, round and round it went, I rolled down the windows and stuck my head out. The wind against my face was cold. But it’s what my eyes saw in the sky that made me scream like a kid.

 It was sparkling with diamonds. Diamonds that we can never touch. Or eat.

I would never forget those moments. Or any moments that I have spent behaving like a maniac upon seeing a  sky full of stars. The same sky was hundred times more alive with twinkles when I had visited Islamabad in 2013. When you are driving to Islamabad at a clear night and you’re almost near Rawalpindi, you witness a mesmerizing sky filled with wonders. Stars scattered everywhere. 

This time, I was headed towards the most talked about Restaurant,  situated at the top of a mountain.

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This is Monal. 

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This part of the restaurant is very small as compared to the rest of the place. If you ever visit Monal, I would suggest , you roam the whole place as I unfortunately, couldn’t. Because we were in a rush. Secondly, we were done with our food so no point staying there, thirdly, my camera battery had died on me right in the middle of the dinner. And The last reason is perhaps the main culprit. We females had wasted so much time on admiring the amazing shops outside the Restaurant that we didn’t realize the men inside are getting upset and hungry. 

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This man had the most amazing Kashmiri Kurtas in his possession. Out of which,  one Firozi Kurta stole my heart. I tried my best to make this man lower the price of it which in my opinion wasn’t much, but according to my mum, it was outrageous. 

My best shot at getting the price lowered was to bribe him with the prospect of being published at my website. 

Hi Mr, Shop man. In case you are reading this, I did keep my promise. You are on my website. Congratulations!!!

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 Another shop next to this one was of jewellery. I think my mother bought some earrings from there for me. I’m not sure what else she got as jewellery is not my thing. 

Moving on, we entered the most comfortable place. 

And it’s one damn expensive place, too, if you don’t order smartly. 

In our case, we were hungry for sure but we were more hungry for the sight so we made sure we don’t order anything that would go to waste or anything extravagant.  Our menu was Pakistani so it cost us around 3k to 4k to eat to our fullest. 

I can’t believe it.

But that’s the truth. 

The place is packed with people , and the air there is full of delicious tastes. I spent most of my time there photographing the view. And photographing the people. My cousin wouldn’t let me sit for one second and made sure he’s got enough good pictures taken for his Facebook Display.

I couldn’t be more annoyed with this but then my mom joined in, and I couldn’t refuse to play the role of the happy photographer. 

And after few minutes, my camera battery died. I handed the battery to the polite Restaurant Man serving us that evening, and till we finished out dinner, the battery was decently charged. It gave me the chance to take these further shots.

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The above pictures were taken while my cousin enjoyed his Tea standing near the Metal fence. That’s where people get to enjoy the view, as before them sparkle the city lights. 

Once everyone went their way to enjoy their few last moments at this place, with tea in hand. I sat down with my cup of tea and took some random shots. It gets too disturbing to capture human faces all the time you know. You ought to appreciate the details in the objects, too.  And this shot was my favorite picture of the evening. You may or may not understand why. It sat there, quietly, as per our will. Quenched my thirst, as per my will. Not asking me to picture it all. That made it even more innocent. It doesn’t make sense, I know. But sometimes it does.

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What happened to the Photographer?

They could not take a normal picture of her. I had only a series of some blurred and unfortunate shots. Nobody could take a one decent picture of mine. In some pictures my face is not visible. And in one of them I have a glass in hand blocking my face. The pictures my mom try to take of me had me out of focus, and the background very clear. The shots my cousin brother took had me in focus but sadly, the angles are very out of this world.

If you’re ever in Islamabad, try not to miss this place. I highly recommend it after The Faisal Masjid.

That night when we got home, I was too tired but too happy. I still remember the last thought on my mind as I drifted to sleep. It was a half typed text to a friend, telling how beautiful the stars looked. So did the night.

The Monal Restaurant,
9 km, Islamabad – Pirsohawa Road, Islamabad
Phone: 051 5837218, 19, 20

For details, visit: http://themonal.com/

My visit to Islamabad, the Man with the Rubab & some Light Painting

Okay! So here I go. Finally! I decided to share a glimpse of “what-I-did-in-Islamabad-recently” in this quick post. The time I had there was unexpected and unusual. Which means it was both a pain in the heart and pleasure also. I explored some awesome places, met some great people, made a new friend who is by the way Afghani and so right for me, cos I am not happy with Pakistanis at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll meet her again and get to enjoy Afghani food. Ah! Can’t wait for that to happen.

Now! Back to the main point of this post. I’m quickly going to enlist the names of the places I saw there. My apologies for not going in details at the moment and sharing the stack of pictures I took. The reason is: My editing software, Lightroom, just expired. I would have to download the trial version again as I always never gets its key. eee! So till that happens, you guys enjoy the overview of the trip and few snaps.

Places I saw were: 

1- Monal Restaurant (OMG! The view of Islamabad from Monal at night is simply breathtaking. But you guys have to wait for the pictures of that)

2- Saidpur Village (You can’t miss this place. No! You simply can’t! Especially if you mom has huge interest in some 150 years old train)

3- 150 years old mud train (That’s right. Look at the image below. Its in huge pieces and very real. I’m only sharing a small part of it)

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4- Faisal Mosque

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5- Jinnah Super F6 Market

6- The Centaurus Mall 

7- The small hill with Mr Jinnah’s picture (actually this is the place I climbed at night to do some Traffic Light painting, Photography. It felt so cool going into the wild and getting bitten by some zalim ants)

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And some places that I didn’t photograph.

Now, about Saidpur. I had visited this place already few years ago. This was the place where I went on my first photography trip and rocked at my assignment. The place just took my breath away. Fast forward few years later, and  this time  it was a total mess. Why was it a mess and what else I saw there is what I would talk about in detail but later. For now, let me share these two photographs I took there while at this small museum. 

There sits a man who plays some wonderful Rubab.  (Yes, it the same that is a part of my full name)

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If you don’t know what it is, I went to google and got this for you.

Rubab, robab or rabab is a lute-like musical instrument originally from central Afghanistan and Pakistan. It derives its name from the Arab rebab which means “played with a bow” but the Central Asian instrument is plucked and is distinctly different in construction. The rubab is mainly used by Pashtun, Tajik, Kashmiri, Baluch and Iranian Kurdish classical musicians. Rabab is a national music instrument of Afghanistan.

My cousin brother couldn’t resist having his snap with the Rubab. So I had to take his (DP Material) photograph. This was my most fruitful visit to Islamabad.

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Photowalk at Harappa & Those who Prayed there

Have you seen life after death? I saw it yesterday, at Harappa.

On a morning that promised a hectic day ahead, I embarked on a journey organized by prestigious Photo Mazdoor to the ruins of centuries old Indus Civilisation.  My cousin brother also joined me on this photowalk but unfortunately due a death incident in his family, he had to get off at Sahiwal and hurry towards his home.

I carried on.

I like travelling, to a certain point. I love exploring new places to a greater extent, but what I dislike about my exploring routine, sometimes, is when I miss my salat during my travels. There’s always an option to find the spot somehow and pray, if not possible then do Qaza prayers when you get back at home, of course, but still– the Muslim inside feels burdened when prayers that are supposed to be prayed on time just slip out of hands. And yesterday, I felt this burden again when I saw a group of people offering their prayers at Harappa.

Here’s a little Interesting recap.

Harappa is one challenging place to photograph. Being a photographer, I say this because everything around there is lifeless. That’s right. That’s the status of life there.

Utterly barren, devoid of warmth and full of history lessons that are perhaps not meant to capture but to merely acknowledge. The place I feel, is more designed by Allah Almighty to take heed from in this century. Yet photo mazdoors did a great job at digging up graves. I mean, we all literally did best at photography there by photographing the impossible place ever. Some people found pretty birds there to capture. A beautiful shot , I must say, taken by a photo mazdoor.

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Photo Mazdoors made a quite a noise there by arranging BBQ in the middle of ruins! No joke. 

Everywhere I looked, everywhere we all looked, there were just white-brown sands. Graves, Bushes and colorless trees as if they were mourning the times gone by and excavations marks that told how modern men were determined to excavate the remains. I , for one, believe in photographing the details and objects that go unnoticed and voices that go unheard. For this I became almost obsessed with the bruised dirty feet of this small beggar boy sitting near the graveyard. His feet told all his history. 

But then came a surprise for me and my friend, Ayesha. We noticed something extra ordinary there. I wish I had captured that beautiful evidence of extra ordinary life. Subhan Allah! There stood a beautiful tree at the side of a small place dedicated to Masjid for prayers. Every tree around it was dull, too dark in color or either not so pretty to look at or even notice. But this tree was — this one particular gorgeous tree was so Fresh and so Green that my friend and I kept looking at it for quite some time.

Then after lunch when we were packing up to leave the lifeless place behind, I noticed a guy from the group standing at that place and offering his salat. Subhan Allah! Then there went another. One, two , perhaps more than 3 men I noticed, prayed their salat at there, one after another. I admire them for this act of piety. How I wished I could also join them, stand behind and offer my prayer before it gets too late but I don’t know why, I didn’t dare go there. I am always shy to offer my prayers at a public place, in an open area. It’s something that always makes me miss my prayers on travels. Sometimes there’s no water for Wudhu, at other times I am too shy to get up and do it. It’s my error, I fully acknowledge this. But watching those few good men, glorifying Allah’s Name at that barren place, despite the hurdles in way, filled my heart with a strange hope, happiness & confidence for prayers in future travels.

The whole world is a Masjid for the believers where we can worship Allah Almighty. No one has an excuse to miss prayers for this reason.

I will , in shaa Allah, make time and space for my salah during travelling as well. And I concluded, there are 3 things that a Muslim should always carry with him when he/she embarks on a journey.

1- Compass for Qibla detection

2- Praying mat

3- And water for wudhu

To Photo Mazdoor team, I am grateful for the well organized photowalk. Every team member is friendly. The chief organizer himself is a like a good younger brother of mine.

They always make sure the trip is secure. This time even a family joined us which was great. Photo Mazdoor always makes sure that breakfast/lunch and every tea break is a healthy one. The water bottles distributed to the participants is always sufficient, Alhamdulillah. I remember how they made a special announcement on the Qila Rohtas trip, about dangers of dehydration there and gave us Nestle Water bottles with instructions to keep drinking water during photographing the place. There’s no doubt that they work hard.

However, here’s a little suggestion that I feel could make their future travels even more deen friendly.

A little cooperation required for making time and space for salah.

Since we go with them, and there are different people on every trip with different needs and lifestyles, It would be great if they include the praying point in their routine and announcement as well. If there’s no proper spot for prayer, they should locate one and announce that those interested in offering their prayers, especially females, they should head towards that spot. If bathrooms are nearby for wudhu, it’s alright but sometimes there are places where clean water is not available, in that scenario, extra water bottles should be offered for wudhu. People should be assured that no person would be left behind if they stop and make their prayers first. This way, if they make it a part of their announcement and arrangements, those who want to offer their prayers would be guided well and assured comfort. I, for one, would be more comfortable at announcing that I want to offer my prayer without drawing attention to myself. Otherwise, I keep debating inside, on every photography trip, whether to raise my voice or not when I can’t spot a clean and out of sight place for prayers.

I hope Photo Mazdoor would consider my friendly suggestion as they always welcome suggestions and even complaints. So generous of them. I wish the team all the best for future trips and extend my regards for the efforts they put in to make their photowalks interesting.

I would upload my photography of the place in the coming week, iA. 

By the Sea of Marmara…

You don’t ever realise the importance of being with someone special from your family, more than at times like this, when you witness a sunset alone – sitting in a restaurant where you just finished your dinner with a bunch of ‘strangers’ on a trip with you to Istanbul.

I utterly felt someone’s missing by my side during the whole journey…

The view is beautiful and mesmerizing , isn’t it? Its like a pathway of golden dust made upon waters… I could not get enough of it. Just wanted to dive into the waters and swim like a mermaid deep deep….

I hope to visit Istanbul one more time in life, ameen, just to rub off that feeling ‘alone by the sea’ : )

Walking through the Streets …2011, Turkey.

          Istanbul: This man with a pigeon sitting over his head is actually a fortune teller. In Pakistan, we have this tradition of working with a parrot. The bird selects a certain token, and the owner of the bird reads out the fortune for the customer. It was amusing to see the pigeon as an agent this time. Cute! and as my friend Tota Marie says,   “psychic pigeon“.

 Bursa: To see the women on streets , comfortably selling little pieces of jewellery and fruits and fabrics and Lord knows better what more, is really a wonder for the eye. We don’t have such things in Pakistan except in villages where women sell vegetables on Sundays. It all looked very friendly n’ fabulous to me.


Cappadocia:  Have a good Look at the man in the picture. There’s a Silent man behind another silent man. Can you notice him?