Lahore Walli: Rants of a Desi Bride

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Fauzia, the girl behind ‘Rants of a Desi Bride’

Why is the last button on a button down shirt always oriented horizontally unlike the rest of the buttons? What is the purpose of the loop on the back of a shirt? When did dhaba owners decide to use the adjective ‘coozy’ for haleem? Is it really cozy? You get the point?  I’m a curious person and E is a patient listener. He listens to questions, shakes his head and leaves me to Google. Very smart.

But Google isn’t always helpful. When I wondered what Disney meant by happily ever after, it revealed its idiocy to me. A few months later, I stumbled upon an Instagram account, Rants of a Desi Bride. There was my answer.

Fauzia is the desi bride behind the blog, Rants of a Desi Bride. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of her Instagram page and start going through her shaadi journey, listen to her rant and laugh. She made a beautiful bride. And now that she has been married for a year, she makes you realize what Disney meant by happily ever after, only Disney never talked about the positive mindset that Fauzia talks about.

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Fauzia with her husband

But I decided to talk to Fauzia about something else. She moved from Karachi to Lahore to be with her husband and I was curious about how she was finding the city. Luckily, I didn’t have to turn to Google. We had a little tête-à-tête:

When is Lahore at its best for you?

Fauzia: Just as summer starts fading away, there is this beautiful chill in the air – For me, Lahore is definitely at its best then. I love that beautiful winter smell in the air.

What would a perfect evening in Lahore look like? 

Fauzia: A perfect Lahori evening? Hmm…For me, on a very personal level, it would probably involve a very casual walk with my husband followed by some disgusting roadside french fries/pakoray/chaat.

Lahore and food are somewhat synonymous. Favorite Lahori eatery?

Fauzia: I am obsessed with H&G’s Ginger Mint Lemonade. Give it to me right now and I’ll have it. As for food, I really like Lahore Social, mostly because their food is consistently good. My go to place, however, is definitely Johnny and Jugnu. Their tortilla wrap is incredible. And of course Maro Tandoor for those awesome stuffed naans.

How are Lahori weddings different from Karachi weddings? 

Fauzia: Lahori weddings are way too flashy. Sometimes its hard to figure out who the bride is because everyone is so dressed up. Haha. I feel like in Karachi, people are becoming more mature when it comes to the shaadi business. Less events, less guests, less wastage. People here say things like ‘Oh they had one event? Probably just trying to save money’. That is a mindset that is almost out of Karachi and I hope Lahore follows soon. 8-9 events per wedding makes me want to jump off a cliff.

Lahore is like…

Lahore is like that very loud neighbor we have a love-hate relationship with. It is a little judgmental, sadly very materialistic but deep inside has a kind heart and is very welcoming.

A tourist is in town and can visit only one spot, where would you take them?

It would either be Masjid Wazir Khan (mainly because I still haven’t been there myself. What better excuse to go? Haha) or Badshahi Masjid.

Curiosity sufficed!

Lahore Walli: Tülin Khalid-Azim

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Kicking off this section with a heart-to-heart with Tülin Khalid-Azim.  If you don’t know her already, she is a freelance theatre director who dabbles in modern calligraphy, hand-lettering and design.  Here’s what she has to say about how she came to accept Lahore finally…

Defence is Islamabad within Lahore. My husband and I came to that conclusion the first time we moved here in 2010 from Islamabad. I had been determined to bond well with the city during our first move. But Lahore! Ah! Lahore! We have a complicated relationship.

I began this complicated relationship by refusing to drive here, relying entirely on my husband and the driver instead. The traffic here terrified me, especially the assault of motorcycles and rickshaws from every angle.

And then my husband and I went from having a toddler to a toddler with a newborn. It didn’t help our relationship, Lahore and mine. I am not ashamed to admit that I was overwhelmed, struggling with postpartum depression, and living in a self-imposed isolation while trying to care for the kids.  I was relieved when my husband changed jobs, and we moved back to Islamabad in 2013.

Fast-forward to 2014, and my husband got a great job offer based in—you guessed it—Lahore. This time, though, I vowed to not make the same mistakes, starting with the decision to take on Lahori traffic head on. Oh my! The traffic still drives me crazy, but that one decision has been the most empowering. I have learned the layout of the whole city, taking time to explore Gulberg and the Western side in ways that were impossible for me the last time. I have joined a yoga class, which forces me out of the house regularly, and into a happy, friendly environment regularly. I’ve made good friends with other moms at the kids’ school, and, perhaps most importantly, I have kept myself busy. I don’t work full time, instead taking on freelance projects or working on my modern calligraphy practice, allowing me to spend more time with the kids, and set the pace of my life as I would like.

Lahore Calligraphy
Lettered by Tulin

I’ve understood that Lahore is a different city for those who have grown up here, and they will maintain that their soul belongs to this city. For the elite, it would be summers spent at the pool at Gymkhana or Royal Palm, winters spent riding at the Polo Club, exhibitions, openings, and the winter party and wedding season. For Lahoris in general, it means eating out together regularly (the options are fantastic, and has become a weekend ritual for our family, too), meeting friends and family, going to Liberty or Fortress Stadium on the weekends, enjoying the Shalimar gardens, and generally having fun in public spaces. That’s one thing you have to give credit to Lahoris for: they are bon vivant, and it’s difficult to not get swept away by that love for life when you’re here.

Have I integrated myself wholeheartedly into the Lahori lifestyle the second time around? I can’t say that I have, but it does finally feel like home.  And Lahore, now that I’m showing you some love, if you could do me a solid and cool down a few degrees, our relationship would be a lot less complicated.