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Through the hinterland

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While traveling, off the National Highway, not only you travel in soot free and serene environment but you see more too. Lately, I got a chance to explore the lush green plains of Punjab, riding my trusted old motorbike on Band Patri of Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) from Sahiwal to Balloki Headworks. Many new and interesting things came in the way, which normally remain hidden from commuters on the National Highway or travelers in the area. The journey embraces you with lovely colors, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.


I took the side route and got onto the LBDC from Sahiwal, the city famous for greenery and best breed of mammals. The first thing along the LBDC that attracted my attention was Mandi Maweshian (animal market) near Gogera Sadar - one of the largest in the country. It is a complete bazaar where a large number of fine quality animals changes hand every month. You can find makeshift hotels (with arrangements for night stay), veterinary doctors, milk and fodder shops and even provision stores. "It is a complete market that keeps moving from one place to another as per its permanent schedule," told me an astute manager, who establishes a hotel wherever the market goes. "We have buoparis (businessmen) from Karachi to Peshawar, local farmers as well as people working in the market as our customers," he added. Another shopkeeper told, "Farmers sell their live stock here and buy provisions for their homes." The market has its own unique culture.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, September 30, 2020, ,

Deals in dinning

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Gowalmandi Food and Heritage Street has become an enriching experience in Lahore. It is a wonder what a few million rupees spent on the renovation of built heritage with balconies and angular projections lining the street some years ago have done to the ambience of the street. Lahorites have already (and justifiably) stated comparing it with lanes in Rome, Paris and Athens. More so during Jashn-e-Baharan.

Sizzling spicy foods on display in Gowalmandi reminds of what Vasco de Gama shouted after setting his foot on South Asian soils on the dawn of May 21, 1498, "For Christ and spices!" No data for consumption of spices in Gowalmandi Food Street are available but a proprietor of one of the biggest shops in the street told, "On the average I sell about 120 Kilograms mutton and over 40 kilograms of chicken every day. People prefer to eat mutton karahi and chicken barbecued. A milk shop proprietor said, "My daily milk consumption - in the form of chilled milk, yogurt, Kheer, khoya, lassi -- is over 2000 kilograms."
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, September 26, 2020, ,

Chaniot's claim to fame

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Chaniot - the name is enough to start the furniture lovers, travelers and cautiously curious dreaming. Antiquity is the first message of the town. And, international quality furniture "made in Chaniot" is collectors delight with potentials for marketing all over the world.

On the bank of River Chenab in area called Sandal Bar, Chaniot town is an exotic place in the foot of series of hillocks that seem to be man made rather than evidence of old mountains. The town is very ancient. It was inhabited before the time when Alexander of Macedon came in the South Asia and was principal City during the rule of White Huns. Chinese explorer Hiuen Tsiang visited it. Alberuni has mentioned in Kitabul-Hind that Chaniot was one of the there most important places in this part of the world.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, September 24, 2020, ,

Lahore Chapter 55 PMA

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Good man Zahir Khan – the soul of 55 PMA Lahore Chapter – not only keeps a count of strength increase and decrease in Lahore but also keeps track of the comrades who happen to be visiting Lahore. Those who don’t know, earlier Mujeeb Khan and now Ali Raza Qazalbash has permanently shifted their residences to Lahore; Mujeeb’s dine in was so over due. Gentleman Cadet Shakil Nasir, who left PMA in first term, has lately been ‘discovered,’ he was to be ‘taken in’ and the immediate cause was the visit of Mohsin Amir from Rawalpind.


All this and Zahir Khan managed the first ever get together after the Corona crises in DeSOM on 19 Sep 2020. The lunch was hosted by IG Abid Qadri.

Meeting friends with a long and continuous history of 45 year is always a pleasure. There is so much to talk, to update and to remind to each other. Here are some of the  highlights:

Zahir Khan filled in the details from last get together (that was a dinner with Tahir Khan in DeSOM) before Corona environments (we missed Takir Khan there!). Some of us were still masked. Then Shakil was asked to introduce himself. He came out quite a Fauji, inside out. He very fondly and emotionally reminisced his (few) days in PMA and everyone loved it. Then Qazalbash and Mohsin came up and appreciated the spirit of Lahore Chapter and added colors in the history of comradeship of extended family of 55 PMA.

Images by Ali Akbar here

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, September 20, 2020, ,


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