AN ODE TO THE TRAFFIC

It bears writing a final note on the traffic since it has been one of the standout features of Lahore, perhaps one of the things I will miss most, oddly.

I love the normal rickshaws, obviously, but the 10-rupees are my favourite – sitting in the road, seatbeltless, part of everything, swallowing the dusty air. My nani laughed that she’s shown me the whole of Lahore on these 10-rupee-ers, I replied that I’ve eaten the whole of Lahore’s mitti (mud/dust).

My experience of a wagon was not all that I had heard it to be – I’d been fed stories of cramped bodies packed together bending and folding over eachother’s limbs – but, in my experience, I was put right up front alongside the driver… I couldn’t help roll my eyes at the feeling that I was “valuable goods” – a young unmarried woman – and thus put in the “safest” place…

A half hour bus ride through part of Lahore with Massi wrapping her arm around me like a seat-belt and my legs dangling out of the open door was one of my favourites. Somebody asked Nani to open the window by her head because it was too hot – she reached to, and saw there wasn’t even a glass pane in sight…

I love being in the traffic, watching the traffic, sitting in it. The fact it forces you to be still, to listen, look, pay attention, watch faces, stories, lives go by. Perhaps I love that it’s the only place, as a young woman, I felt I could be a voyeur without being viewed (although I could dedicate another post to the rearview mirrors…). Amidst the rush and business and noise it rarely felt I could quietly sit on a roadside and watch things happen, but on the back of a rickshaw, through a bus window, or behind a driver’s head I could consume it all.

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