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NYAhmadi's Adventures in Pakistan

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    NYAhmadi's Adventures in Pakistan

    NYAhmadi has just got back recently from Pakistan. here he shares his experiences, adventures and eating experiences with the rest of Gupshup. Here's the full story, warts and all:

    ================================================== ========================================
    By NYAhmadi

    Going back to Lahore once every two years is not enough, and only for little over two weeks. Not enough, even to take a breath of the Watan’s air that is ever so exquisite. My appetite for Lahore cannot be explained in words. If it could, it will have to be Dickens or Dostoevsky's words. The word “fat” is often mentioned in many contexts, people do not tend to think of awesomely powerful rhinoceros, the supremely efficient and magnificent sperm whale, the deadly grizzly of North America. They do not say, “fat as a well-fed-tiger”. No, they say, “fat as a pig”, a creature which eats its own **** and has never been a symbol of dignity. Well, you can call me a Lahori Pig and I will be proud of that title. This is how much I love Lahore. And speaking of “fat” and pigging out, I did all of that, or as much as the time allowed me to do. The truth of the matter is that I started gaining weight even before departing for my vacation. It is true (a scientific fact) that Pigs gain weight in anticipation of being fed. Now back in the shack that is my temporary home away from home, I am becoming what I was before I left. So, the food was excellent.
    Relatives. They are so many in numbers and come in all shapes of “fat”. To see my nieces and nephews becoming young adults is kinda scary. Parents and siblings are a delight and the love that is shared is priceless but moments so brief, so each moment filled with a ton of affection. Relatives are good.

    Lahore. Yes it has changed a lot in appearance, the avenues much wider and cleaner and traffic a bit more orderly than the last time I visited. People have not changed for the most part. They never will, and that’s the way it should be.

    Politics. Nothing that you can’t read in the press. All the same. Those that have influence live a life of luxury and those who don’t live without it. Life goes on. The biggest divide among the ordinary and the elite is perhaps the Air-Conditioner. I was amazed to learn that to run one AC for about 5-6 hours a day requires electricity that costs about half the salary of a working class person. I preferred to stay without such luxuries, as my bros and my parents are not that wealthy. But they do live a pretty good life and are thankful for what they have.

    Xtreme. This is a little bit for today. I will write more as I get free time and will be sharing with you. Tomorrow I will tell you more specifics. Specifically my trip to Hira Mandi and what new things I discovered. There is always something new to discover in Lahore.

    (originally posted in the General Forum)

    Yar Ahmadi, there are so many places that I didn't visit so much when I lived in Lahore and now when I look back, I kinda regret that.

    If I would to go back to Lahore, I'll definitely spend a lot of time Indroon-e-shahar, Anarkali area, Wahga Border (this is mainly due to Chann ji's long accounts of his parents' village there that made me realize how little I know about that area) and Baghbanpura where I grew up.

    Sometimes I feel like just sitting for hours on the stairs of Government High School playfield where I used to play Cricket as a kid. Life in America is too damn reminiscent!


      Well, I only a have one relative from Lahore through my older bro's in-laws but his family are also 'fat'. The food is just too damn good. Luckily for pretty girl admirers (not me mind you) there are loads and loads of Lahoris who are in excellent shape.

      Lahori punjabi is slightly different to the punjabi we speak in my district. Slightly more refined; they say 'kistara' instead of 'kiddhaN' - the snobs!

      It's really nice though. What about the shopping centre that Imran Khan built? It's supposed to be really posh, but I heard that prices are sky-high and that only the fatcats do their shopping there. Did you see it NYA? Maybe your missus did her shopping there?

      How's my favourite place Shalamar gardens? Run down or is it being maintained in the manner that it deserves?

      We need a description of every restaurant/run down cafe you visited, every piece of health-hazardous delicacy you bought from the raidhi-wala...c'mon man - we're punjabis!


        An evening with Friends.

        I usually try to keep my visits to Lahore a secret. But thanks to my corner cigarette shop guy, where one of my buddies come, it is hard to remain hidden from my Lahori buddies for long. So, on the insistence of my Wife, I agreed to be invited to a party thrown by one of my old college buddies. (All names have been changed to protect the identities).

        It’s Friday and I am invited to Machar (mosquito), my old college buddy. I drive down Canal, through the Ferozpoor Road underpass to the Jail Road, right on Jail, and right on the Main Boulevard. Right again after the McDonalds and 4th palace on the right. I honk my Suzuki FX (my brother’s car) and the Gate is opened with a moustache guard carrying a Kalashankov. “Tell Machar, Ahmadi is here”. OK Saab. Machar is called on the intercom and I am escorted in. His driveway is long enough to land a small single engine plane. There is a fleet of Pajeros with license plates that read LXX1 thru LXX9. In Lahore, the smaller the license plate digit, the more influential a person is. I am escorted in the living room, and I have never felt as cold as when I entered there. Greeted by Kareem Bux, a servant of Machar. “Saab, have a seat, Machar Saab will be with you shortly. Saab what would you like to drink?” “What do you have?” “there is scotch, wine, Belgian Beer”. “Give me a Rooh-Afza”. “OK Saab”. The living room is bigger than any of the houses that I have been, and I must say, is artfully decorated.

        Machar enters the room, wet with a towel around his waist, straight out of his indoor swimming pool. “Oye, you sister ****er, you think you can hide from us?” “Naheen Yaar, I wasn’t trying to avoid you, just that I am here only for 2 weeks and my mom is really sick and I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could”. “But Yaar, you know that we are your family too”. And all of this is said with a great big wet hug, ruining my neatly ironed white shalwar kameez. So where is everybody? Where are your mom and dad? “They are spending summer in Switzerland”.

        Machar’s dad was the head of customs in Lahore back in the 70s and early 80s and they lived in a modest house in Shadman. Now they have two factories and live like royals in Lahore with a huge house in Gulberg.

        “Where is everyone? I thought I was going to meet a lot of your friends?”
        “They should be joining us soon. Oye, Karim Buxa, have you offered Ahmadi a drink?"
        “Saab, I am making Rooh-Afza”.
        “Rooh-Afza? Come-on yaar, have a cold beer”
        “Machar, I don’t drink alcohol”
        “Yeah right. Since when?”
        “Since I got married”
        “You are one big bull****ter”
        “How about a J?”
        “May be later, Yaar”

        Machar goes up to his room to change. And while I am in the living room, a big guy, as wide as he is tall, comes barging in, and gives me a hug as if I was his longlast son.

        “I am Mouta (fatso), and you must be Ahmadi. Any friend of Machar is my liver”
        “Thank you Yaar. How do you know Machar?”
        “It’s a long story, but we have been friends since 92. What do you do in NY?”
        “I work for a small consulting firm”
        “How much do you make?”
        “Just enough to live modestly”
        “Nahin Yaar, tell me how much in dollars?”
        “Well, I make X amount per year, and then there is some year-end bonus”
        “That’s all? I make that much in a month”
        “What do you do?”
        “I have 4 petrol pumps, 2 car dealerships and 4 properties in Firdus Market that I rent out. I make about 10 lakhs a month. My daily expense is about 10 hazar rupees”
        “That’s impressive, that sounds like a lot of money. How do you spend all of that in one day?”
        “Well, I play flash, visit a Russian girl (that is 5000 rupees a day). Yaar her Butt is white as a moon and I will be willing to pay 5000 just to hold her butt”
        “Yaar, my Butt is pretty white too, I will be happy for someone to hold it for one Hazar rupees”
        “Ahmadi Yaar, you are funny”
        “No Yaar, you are funny”
        “No you”
        “No, I insist, you!”
        OK, let’s ask Machar.

        Machar enters the room in his Black Jeans, GAP shirt, and NIKEs. He looks like a college Junior, only until he opens his mouth.

        “Oye, Moutay, have you met my old Yaar Ahmadi?”
        “Yaar, Ahmadi is so funny”
        “Yes, he is, but he is a shareef admi, so don’t try to make him kharab”

        Nusrat FA Khan is playing in the background. Sounds very clubby and popish. I haven’t heard this one before. Machar tells me that it is mixed specially for him by his friend in London and not sold in stores.

        Later in the evening, I meet 20 or so other characters.

        Xtreme and Rom Yaars…….. As I get more time, this will be continued.







            '...tell machar ahmadi is here...'
            the funniest bit

            we want more NYA plssssssssssss


              Ahmadi, yaar, that's a great story but these bigshot types aren't really my type of people. They sound like a Paki version of the Saudi family but with a sense of humour. Still, they're your friends so you will know them better than me.

              let's hear about the other characters as well when you have the time. It's a good topic and very educational as well.


                While Mouta, Machar, and Ahmadi are chitchatting, comes in Chipkali (lizard).

                “Chipkali, Meet my college friend Ahmadi. Ahmadi, this is Chipkali, our neighbor. Her father is a High Court Judge. They are ZimiNdar family from your part of Punjab. Chipkali is going to England to take some graduate courses in Arts. She is the one who decorated our house”

                “Nice to meet you, I must say that you have done a beautiful job furnishing this house. Usually, Lahoris tend to have ugly taste in decorating. I like how you have introduced Baroque and Late Gothic into indigenous materials. I am particularly impressed how you have gone for small Persians than big lounge ones. I have my eyes on that Asfahan. You think, Machar will give it to me?”

                “Nice to meet you too and thanks. Not many people appreciate the way I decorate. Even my Professor at the NCA didn’t think much of my ideas to mix periods. Some people are Cultural Heavy, others like a little bit of excitement. I am really big on taking risks”.

                “When do you leave for England, and what will you be studying?”

                “I leave in a few weeks, I have a grant to study for a Diploma in Art History with the Royal College. I want to study the Italian Renaissance.”

                “That’s an excellent place, and I know a few people who have done that”

                “Really? Could you please give me some contacts? I am a little nervous of going overseas. This will be my first trip.”

                “Sure, I will give you some contacts.”

                Chipkali is in her mid 20s but her mannerism and ease of conversation suggests that she is very bright, intelligent, and is not one of the regular friends of my buddy Machar. She has not used a profanity in our conversation and has requested Mouta to take his cigarette elsewhere, as she finds is bothersome. Mouta looks irritated and whispers something in Machar’s ears (I can only imagine what he said, so can you).

                It is very refreshing to see folks like Chipkali. Karim Bux brings in a glass of water for Chipkali. She asks Karim Bux about his family and how is 15-year-old son is coming along in his studies. Karim Bux replies that his son is not interested in school and is more interested in going to Dubai to make money. But he will have to wait until he is 18. That’s the law. She suggests to Karim Bux to send his son over to her and she will talk to him and give him a piece of her mind. I thought that was so nice that an Elite is taking a genuine interest in the wellbeing of a small potato.

                As the chitchat progresses, more people and more Pajeros have started to arrive. There are girls looking like Benetton models and Guys with backward baseball caps. Loads of pierced ears and rings. Tattoos, and one naval ring on the Halle Barry look-alike. This is Lahore scene, yet so un-Lahori.

                Xtreme… this is for today. Tomorrow you will meet another Lahori character. Yaar.. they are not my kind of charaters eithers. It is just a small and pretty insignificant group of people. I only know Machar because we went to college together. He wouldn't be my friend otherwise. Tomorrow you will meet more "real" people.


                  >>There are girls looking like Benetton models and Guys with backward baseball caps

                  Well that rings a bell. I was at a world cup cricket match in Durham and I met a pakistani overseas student from lahore. Very smart, goatee beard, hippy beads round his neck and swigging a can of Foster's lager. He was smoking as well, but he wasn't holding the cigarette in the old desi fashion (between first two fingers Hookah style), he was holding it like a movie star would and he looked very cool.

                  Anyway, he claimed he was in England to study and he would be going back to Lahore once he had his degree. I think he had a very rich dad and he probably wasn't too bothered about his degree.

                  Anyway, this chipkali sounds very nice. Where do they get these nicknames from?


                    Xtreme Yar.. I made the names up, to protect their identities.


                      Good Good, let it come, I am sure juicy stuff is next. If not, get to that whatever that place called some Mandi...arrrr Lal Mandi or Subji Mandi or Hera Lal Mandi, I don't know.. I am waiting and enjoying, Good stuff.



                        These episodes are very good ...are they for real or you made them up.


                          Originally posted by NYAhmadi:
                          While Mouta, Machar, and Ahmadi are chitchatting, comes in Chipkali (lizard
                          lol, u sure have a healthy fantasy.

                          yara Ahmedi did u also meet REAL rural people? We have enough Pajeros,Mercedes and Lexus in the states and europe.

                          BTW we call ur chipkalis Kurkirkale (i wish i could attach a sound file attached with this word. Wada Saien Gee, kia geaal he is bare?)

                          [This message has been edited by pathwari (edited August 25, 2000).]


                            let me guess whats next...............a disco party with dj murgha?!


                              Pathwari bangs a frying-pan on Rani’s head and tells her: “Yes it is all real, the only thing that Ahmadi has changed is the names to protect privacy as he is a believer in protecting people’s privacy and individual freedoms”.

                              Pathwari Yaara.. just started a new job only a few days ago. After I get my feet wet, I am going to look into coming to see you for a couple of days. We also call it Karkili. Yaara, I met a lot of "real" people, and trust me, these people are also "real".

                              Without boring you any further, let me wrap it up.

                              The party at Machar’s house is getting crowded, with 20 or so people, mostly young guys in their late 20s. Every color is “in” so long as it is a shade of Black. Most guys could easily fit into Greenwich Village. Even though Machar is divorced in his late 30s, but he easily maneuvers with the younger crowd. I am talking to Darinda (wild beast) about India and Pakistan. Even though the nuclear issue is pretty much behind in the press, but I have noticed that Lahoris get more excited about talking about nuclear things than any other topic.

                              Darinda tells me about the “initiation” parties in Lahore when Pakistan exploded its first atomic bomb. “Yaar, it was such a wonderful feeling. My friends and I were drunk and stoned for 2 straight weeks after that. The whole nation was celebrating. We should be proud of this achievement. Our scientists are top notch. And this thing about Chinese help. It is not real. It is a trick by our ISI to keep the attention diverted. We did it on our own.” “Just shut up, I say without saying”

                              “Who do you think will use it first?” I ask Darinda.
                              “I think, India will use it first”
                              “what will they blow?”
                              “I think their first target will be Lahore”
                              “No. I think it will be Islamabad”
                              “Why Islamabad?”
                              “if Islamabad is first nuked, Pakistan will be crippled since all important decisions are made in Islamabad”
                              “that’s a good point, but since Lahore is near India, they will go via Lahore. But we will also use one in return. I think we will nuke Delhi”
                              “I don’t think that Pakistan will use nukes under any circumstances”
                              “why do you say that? Why have we made it if we are not going to use it?”
                              “we made it to let India know that we can match her, but we are too small in size and our military is much smaller than India’s”
                              “I will support nukes no matter what. I hate India. We should destroy India. Oye Karim Buxa, make me another peg. Make it suchi (without water) and little burf (ice)”
                              “Yaar let’s forget about nukes, tell me do you have a steady girl friend?”
                              “NahiN Yaar, I have a couple of girls that I occasionally go out with, but my parents want me to marry my cousin”
                              “what do you have to say to that?”
                              “well, I will honor my parent’s wishes. I am that type of person. Sacrifice is written all over my body. But even when I marry, I will keep company with other women. It is important. Do you see other women in New York?”
                              “NahiN Yaar, I am too old for that. I did a fair-share of my wild things in my youth and before I was married”
                              “Ahmadi Yaar, Dil Jawan hona chi da ay (one should be young at heart).”

                              The room is smelling like a pot factory by this time. Young and rich Lahoris are drinking their pegs. Smoking charus. The conversations in each little group of 2 or 3 revolves around new cars, latest Hollywood movies, fashion, and other regular gossips as to who is sleeping with who in the influential circles.

                              After a half dozen more one-to-one chats with Machar’s buddies, I decided that it is time to go.

                              “Machar Yaar, Ijazat dey, I should be heading back”
                              “Ahmadi tera dimagh kharab ay? (are you out of your mind?)”
                              “we haven’t even started yet. And there are lots more people who will be coming and you will like them”
                              “Machar Yaar, I came just to see you and give you a hug, but it is very nice of you to introduce me to your friends. They are really nice people.”
                              “Ahmadi Yaar, do you remember the college days? Remember when you and I would ride on your Honda-70 through the narrow alleys of Androon Shehr (old city). Man, I can never forget when we had a fight with this polcia on Beaden Road. Man, I was afraid you were going to kill him.”

                              “Machar Yaar, I remember all the wonderful times we shared and I really wish that some day two of us (without your entourage) sit together and reminiscence.”

                              “Yaar, I am will come and visit you in New York.”
                              “and I will love that”.

                              After good byes, I leave Machar’s house and drive back to my Parents hut. All of a sudden every thing seems so small. Small living room. Tiny porch. Tiny little bathroom without a fleet of fresheners from Paris. No servants to order around.

                              It’s late. Past 2am. Everyone’s asleep. I peel and mango, chop it in small pieces, and eat it with a Rooti.