And you thought white Christmas was romantic. Snow falling outside your window, soft like a lover’s caress. You didn’t know about fog back then, did you? The enigma that wraps itself around the city every winter, subtle unlike the snow, delicate like petals under your feet. Tread slowly or you’ll lose your way. It is in this fog, bundled up in hand me down shawls that Lahore whispers romance over a cup of Pakistani coffee.
Pakistani coffee? Ever heard of the auntie arm workout? You’ve been living in a hole all your life, my friend. Tear open a sachet of instant coffee and slide that dirt into a mug. DO NOT add a cup of boiling water over it and call it a day. Love is patient. Patient and tiring. Add a teaspoon of water, some sugar and beat it. Beat it hard. Keep slipping a drop of water here and there, in between. Those arms are going to be ripped by the time it all starts looking like caramel. Take a sniff, that is romance. Now if you lick it off the spoon…well go ahead. Try. Love is foolish at times. Cut that thick concoction with hot milk. Keep adding milk until you see boundaries dissolve. Now is the time, take a sip.
Wrap yourself in a shawl, walk out into the foggy night with a mug of Pakistani coffee in your hand and Ghalib in your thoughts. Love in our neck of the woods is simple, subtle and nostalgic. Exhaust it with declarations and demands and it will shy away.
Let it breathe.