REVIEW

Lahore: Rants and Raves Unrelenting

March 04, 2010
Halima Khan

While I rant to prove how passionately Lahori believe in preserving their taste buds it will be unfair of me to neglect the cultural activity and the entertainment this city is bursting with. But then of course no denying that it all does end up on food! The wedding season which seems to be in season all year round but reaches the climax around November and December and lasts till February? Wedding can be considered the most elaborate occasion on the family event calendar with 'dholkis' 'mayo' 'mehndi' etc spanning over months before the eventual day. Fun and frivolities mark the celebration all through. The preparations involve shopping and the dowry for the bride, which is a traditional gift of clothes, furniture etc to the newly weds. The exquisiteness of the lavish food is the real delight of this whole affair.

To add to this traditional and religious celebration of matrimony Lahore hosts people from worldwide to welcome spring annually and to boost its festivity of Basant. Kite-flying and dance and music mark the occasion, giving people an opportunity of entertainment. These opportunities of entertainment are definitely not rare in Lahore. Independence Day in August shows the same fervor and free spirit that Punjabis boost of.

However every year what really puts Lahore on the international platform is the World Performing Arts Festival; where the only language that binds everyone is art. To add to this ritual of promoting peace and inter-cultural exchange another event that is gaining momentum is the Annual Marathon.

While there is no dearth of opportunities to kick off your boots and enjoy good food and have good fun, Lahore also offers the best shopping experience. So if you decide to keep your boots on and want to gear up for an unforgettable spree that's exactly what this city has in store for you. International brands and local chains to retail outlets; Liberty, Anarkali, Shahlmee, there's everything of every sort! Hafeez Center is the biggest computer market, and the prices you'll find here can't get better.

As the population in Lahore has increased from estimated 6 million to estimated 10 million the city has expanded and the suburban population is constantly moving outwards. The previous residential areas are being turned into commercial centers. All this development has resulted in development of the upbeat Liberty Market, MM Alam Road, Jail Road with the finest office buildings and the Main Boulevard with the largest shopping centers.

If I could sum up Lahore I'll do it like everyone else does - this city doesn't sleep. Even late at night or even earliest in the morning there is sense of continuous on-going activity. It makes you feel alive, the raw energy that runs in its streets and boulevards. The tradition and culture so rich that it has even seeped into the westernization attempts; do don't worry if the Big Mac here tastes a wee bit different. Lahore may have spiced it up a little!!

Halima Khan is a research associate at Pielle Vision, an international social development consultant group.Moreover Halima is a freelance writing and editing professional. She writes for many leading publications while also being associated withrespected online journals. As an academic she is currently working on the translation anthology of an early 19th century manuscript compilation on Islamic epic stories.
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