3 Years On…

If I look back, it is obvious that I had my head in the clouds when I rolled my bags across the Pearson International Airport. It was a crisp summer morning in Toronto and yet the universe got into action like it usually does, my flight got delayed thrice. But then I am a desi through and through and reading signs just isn’t my thing.  I went on to board that flight and then another and then another and landed in the ‘Land of the Pure’, my eyes set on a bright future. I was going to live alone in Lahore and take rickshaws at 4 in the morning to go watch sunrise from the minarets of Badshahi Mosque and do reporting for a kick-ass newspaper.

I ended up renting a room in a crumbling old building in the poshest area of the city, working as a content writer and coming to terms with my limited access to public space as a girl . Life as a single girl living independently in Lahore isn’t Saba Imtiaz’s ‘Karachi You’re Killing Me’ after all. Here I was relying on male friends to drive me around the city (pre-Uber era), getting pinched in the markets now and then by perverts and finding out that a good sized water melon shouldn’t cost me Rs.1000.

But after three years of living alone in this city, fighting with landlords and dealing with broken water motors and moody circuit breakers at three in morning, I’ve come to realize that Lahore’s home now. Of course, I can’t go for a run on the streets or lay down with a book in a public park. I can’t roll up my pants and dangle my feet in the nehr at night or walk into a market without being ogled from head to toe. But it is in Lahore that I truly kicked off a budding career in communications and community management. I found my path in the yellow woods. I met the most important people in my life along with the most helpful strangers. The city sucked ego and cynicism out of my chest, shattered me more than once and then let me rebuild myself. I’m still in the process of learning to look for solutions, jugaads instead of complaining and crying. I’m still in the process of learning what is socially acceptable and what is not. Wrapping up three years in this city seems like a feat and just about the right time to go from  being the ‘New Girl in Lahore’ to just ‘Girl in Lahore’.

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4 thoughts on “3 Years On…

  1. Congratulations on your 3 years!

    Being born and lived in Lahore all my life, I know what you’re talking about. Growing up with my mom and siblings as my dad used to work abroad, renting places around the city, dealing with landlord issues and moving places was not that easy for our family. For a single woman, it’s SOME experience. I have female friends who have dealt with similar issues and finding places to live, explaining why you’re going to be living alone; it’s just outside of anyone’s comfort zone. Kudos and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Aisha.. I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog.. reading it makes me feel like i am slipping into the pages of mothsmoke.. but then its horrible to compare a creative to another.. Keep it up.. you’re inspiring me

    Like

    1. Hi Raja Girl! This comment popped up in my email inbox yesterday and I kept smiling all day. However blasphemous this comparison of my blog to Mothsmoke may seem, I’m over cloud nine! Thank you so much for going through my blog and the wonderful comment! Lots of love from Lahore!

      Like

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