I recently got the chance to experience the culture of Lahore along with four of my friends, where we discovered an unusual type of mithai (local sweets).
I’ve been to Lahore many times, but in this trip we decided to discover the traditions and culture of the interior streets of Lahore.
We left from Karachi to Lahore, and booked our hotel in the Old Anarkali area, adjacent to the Pakistan Tea House.
In the evening, my friends and I went to take a tour of the city. We crossed Old Anarkali and reached New Anarkali at the Lawari Gate, where we saw the narrow streets of Lahore, which were built during the British rule.
We weren’t familiar with the streets, so we asked the people around and finally reached Lahore Fort. We glanced at the colorful balconies of the buildings; they reminded us of the red light area of Lahore which was built in the Mughal era. This was the same area where there were brothels, and where musical performances were common. The area had now been converted into a food street.
After strolling in the streets of Lahore Fort, we decided to go back to our hotel on foot. When we crossed the street and went on the road, a person asked us, “Brother where do you want to go?” We told him that we need to reach our hotel, which is located near Anarkali.
We asked him the directions and thanked him. When we were about to leave, the same person called out to us in a soft tone, “Brother, do you want mithai?”
At first, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He said that all types of sweets are available. We stopped and discussed about what the man was saying.
The agent was looking at us so confidently, as if we were desperate to have some mithai, and he was the one giving us the mithai.
The person once again said to one of my friends, that girls of all ages will be available and started to tell us about the different nationalities of women he has. When we understood what he was saying, we rudely told him to leave, as none of us had interests of that sort, or the courage. He left us, and we went back on our way to the hotel.
On our way back, we laughed and cracked jokes with each other and discussed about the unusual conversation we just had. When we reached the hotel, we decided that we would go to the same streets during the day, so that we can see how the area looks at that time.
The next day we reached the same area, and found shops selling musical instruments. A young boy was sitting in one of the shops, making a drum. He did not pay attention to any of us, and continued to prepare making the drum. His hands were evident of his expertise in making the instrument.
When we went a little far, we heard a melodious voice. We followed the voice and reached outside a house on the corner of the street.
The voice was coming from a house where someone was practicing a song. My friends wanted to go inside and meet the person with the beautiful voice, but I told them not to, fearing that it would be another case of mithai.