Lahore in Lockdown

Lahore, Pakistan

Spring brings out the best in Lahore, the city of gardens, of ancient architecture, of culture and heritage. In the last decade especially, the academic scene in Lahore has boomed manifold. Spring has been an usherer of all things creative and positive, like Lahore’s first biennale in 2018. Come spring and Lahore hosts its literary festivals and art connoisseurs from around the country gather in places to meet and greet, enjoy art, theatre, literature and music. Lahore brings together all its citizens irrespective of their social status offering a plethora of activities for the rich and poor alike.

Some of the lush and expansive parks in the city hold enormous annual spring festivals with food carts, joy rides for children, handicraft stalls, boat rides and a blooming floral display that could compete with any in Holland.

COVID has also given me more time and opportunity to practise my art. Always a passion, I never gave the craft as much time as I wanted to. Two years ago I started to learn the art of Persian Miniature and now I sit in my – previously scarcely used – studio to work on pieces I have always wanted to create. I am suddenly filled with an over flow of creativity! On the positive side I have also started using my treadmill which had long ago turned into a dedicated towel stand.

As I sit and work on my Persian figures, stroke by fine stroke, chalking out stories from Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the streets previously roaring with the noise of motorbikes, rickshaws and cars seems to have lulled.

The city appears to have slowed as the regular hustle and bustle of life has met a hiatus. The roads look like they have cleared and my regular hood – the neighbourhood parks – full of blooming petunias at this time of the year are uncharacteristically empty. Ultimately, the city that is home to 11 million inhabitants seems to be taking a well-deserved rest.

Khadija Khosa
Teacher. Artist. Academic. Researcher.

The wonderful art in this piece was inspired by this poem by Jalaluddin Rumi

A Moment of Happiness

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but in one soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden's beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land. 

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