Moving away to a quiet, small town in England did not seem like such a drastic change until it happened
There are countless things no one tells you about leaving home. You think that the ‘independent life’ is all perfect and glorious with unicorns and rainbows, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth.
Lahore has been home to me for nearly eighteen years. I’ve grown up around the buzz of the city life, the constant traffic no matter where you go, and the different construction projects changing the face of the city time and time again. However, no matter where an underpass or an overhead bridge pops out of, Lahore never loses itself completely amongst all the cement and rubble.
Moving away to a quiet, small town in England did not seem like such a drastic change until it happened. I wasn’t used to living in a house that wasn’t close to a main road and close to train tracks. I forgot what it ever felt like to sleep without ambulance sirens blaring in the distance, trains chugging somewhere close by, and the constant flow of traffic on the main road.
No matter how hard I tried to adapt to my new home, Lahore stayed firmly in the back of my mind, constantly reminding me of the life I left behind. I rambled about the beauty of Lahore to anyone who would listen to me; the beautiful structure of the Badshahi mosque, the constant crowds in Joyland, the noisy yet most alive MM Alam Road, and the Sunday market in old Anarkali with every book you could’ve ever dreamed of at your feet.
I hoped that someone else would feel the same way I did, to understand Lahore like I had these past eighteen years. Many of the people around me lived away from home as well, but I happened to be from the select few whose home wasn’t a two-hour train ride away. I had no choice but to sit and reminisce from far away about the city I left behind.
It wasn’t just about the traffic or the noise, it was the culture I left behind. Growing up each one of us is coddled and spoilt with our many servants doing all our work for us. There I was, a thousand miles away from home, with no one to remind me to wash my dishes when they started piling up, or to do my laundry and remember to add detergent in the machine.
Surrounded by a constant stream of rain in cold and gloomy England, I couldn’t help daydream of early spring days in Lahore when the sun has just begun to creep out, to push away the last of the winter days behind us. No matter what England had to offer me, Lahore stood firm in my head beckoning me back home, reminding me of all the luxuries I left behind when I decided to pursue my further education.
Despite the war in my head over which city to choose, I realised there wasn’t much of a battle to fight anyway. Lahore, in all its glory, even with all its flaws, stood miles ahead of any other city in the world for me. No matter where I go, it shall always be home, a place that shall take you back, welcoming you with open arms.
I could count on this city to be there every time I returned, no matter what superficial changes it had undergone. Lahore is and always will be, my constant.