Walking the Lane
Islamabad evenings are wonderful even in the middle of winter with a perputual chill in the air and the wind blowing in your face should you endeavor to step out. For this reason alone, most Isloo-ite evenings are spent indoors, preferably with a blanket, quilt or heater in the relative comfort of the home. So post 6 p.m., most streets in Islamabad are deserted and quiet with a few cars passing by occasionally which is when some people who abhor exercise are forced out of the house under duress to please try and incorporate the healthy habit of walking into their life.
Despite my initial resentment, I find that it is almost nostalgic to walk from one end of the street to the other, without the worry of dust or people or even a lot of traffic. It seems more like an adage of just “me and my alone” (I meant to write mein aur meri tanhai but am not sure if it worked too well!) but the point is that this view of the city is very different from the day time chaos of dust and traffic and congested roads and building bloacks. It is in this hour that I can see a glimpse of the city as it was in the late 80s or early 90s before the dawn of the six-lane roads, and mega star hotels and commercialism. If you are lucky, you live in a street that closes at a dead-end which means that at least one edge of the road would be surrounded by some form of natural growth. In recent times, people with their homes on such corners have invested in making them up into neat lawns with lights and grass.
Everything seems more quiet and more settled with the cold of the air settling on your face and your hands. You can smell and sense the winter in the stillness. It is amazing to see the difference in a street that a few hours back was teeming with life and noise, with people standing on gates or cars zooming in and out and makes me appreciate the fact that even today, Islamabad still has the calmness within to soothe the savage beast.
So, do yourselves a favor and the next time you are sick of tv and the PC or your X-box, brave the cold for a while and take a walk down your street to see what it says to you.