Friday, January 29, 2010

This was my view as I stood on a certain balcony in Lahore Fort one late afternoon this winter.
That's the Badshahi Mosque at the back, or 'King's Mosque' built in the 16th Century by the Mughal Empire. The Mughals were obsessed with grandeur, I believe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I got this candid shot above while visiting Lahore Fort this winter. An ancient, absolutely magnificent structure slowly crumbling spread over 20 hectares and estimated to be here as early as 1025 AD, but for the most part the parts we walked through were built in 1631 AD by a Mughal emperor.
A common lament I hear is that had it been anywhere else in the world, it would NOT have been taken for granted, and preserved. This I heard as we travelled a crowded road leading out of the city near the River Ravi (polluted) and the magnificent perimeter runs alongside, clearly in need of preservation!
I realize I didnt get many good pictures of the fort, rather I shot individual elements such as this little girl visiting with her family who I saw in a courtyard.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One of the two entrances to the haveli (Nano's ancestral home) in the village.. This is the one we would rush through to greet her when we arrived from Lahore.. It opens into a small dark room with a dirt floor, where once I found my cousin calmly observing two tiny scorpions. The room opens onto a corner of the main courtyard. The picture of this ancient beautiful door tugs my heart, for the same door may not let you walk through into the same time you now cherish.
All through life, we must walk through many doors - may each door be one for lasting blessings, peace and joy! Ameen

The above images kind of make up for me knocking my cheek very hard as I tried to spy in the same dark room on a special prayer for rain held just outside, it having been a dry winter and rain so important to the farmers' crops. My mom was there too, but I think she listened or prayed alongside.The old door does not open too silently... with a crack,rather, and with the sound of the camera too, I hope I am forgiven if I am the reason someone couldnt concentrate enough on their prayers!
That reminds me of an old story of my mom's relatives - so immersed in her prayer was she, that she didnt even notice when a goat knocked over a bowl of milk right next to her. I must ask my mom - I cant remember which relative would have been praying right near a goat, and I am afraid my faulty memory sometimes does a good job of imaginatively compensating for it's little storage space. If my mind made it up, I shall come back and erase it iA :)
Anyway, These children studying at the Madrassa in the mosque opposite were luckily right in view.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I love it when I get to relax with chai at my favourite temperature! It IS a blessing that evokes gratefulness in me.
Especially with a good read - magazine/blog, and warmth.
So here I am reminded of a certain chai I had at my grandmother's house last month - I missed the custom of drinking from these ceramic bowls, painfully cheap (each is handmade/hand painted or stamped, and they sell for literally a few rupees each, so my heart goes out to those who make and sell these for a living).
I insisted on drinking from this, and sat stubbornly sipping from my little bowl above while the villagers sipped from their cups and mugs around me.
I let my tea go cold, so I could have the pictures and memory to keep.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fly, soar. Or fall;
There seems no other choice dear soul.

Above Pic: My grandmother's ancestral home

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soft cold, cold rain

The first rain, much awaited by the region, has just begun to fall softly closing in on a truly freezing day in Lahore at midnight.
As I drink my third cup of tea today for some warmth (I rarely do three) and cozy up with some great reading, I pray for all those with no choice but to be out there experiencing every element of winter,by necessity or by poverty, may God keep them safe and warm.
One of my vague dreams is to be able to construct a shelter in Lahore for those who have none... so they may have a choice to come in for a meal and blankets.. and be safe from the streets.


I found this so touching, I am copying here with a link to the source so I can keep it to reread:

An article in National Geographic several years ago told of this......
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, Forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's Damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, The mother had remained steadfast...because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

Just a thought.

Cease forever questioning, it obscures your answer.