Search This Blog

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pakistan Visit (Part 5)

We were at Hasan Abdal, where Gurdwara Punja Sahib is located. The first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, is said to have stopped (with his punja or hand) at the precise location where the Gurdwara now is, a boulder rolled downhill by a Godman, Wali Qandhari. He is supposed to have been quite unpleased by the fact that the Guru had asked his followers to dig for water, which he had refused to allow them to take from a pond he owned uphill. The digging is said to have caused a stream to appear and Wali Qandhari's pond to disappear, hence leading him to react so strongly.

Not quite the thing my brother and I would have done though, exasperated as we both were as we followed our mother through the narrow lanes of Hasan Abdal's main bazar, one evening. For the uninitiated, our Ma's idea of tourism, of being at new places, is mainly to browse through the main markets and bazars and our job obviously is to lug around all that she purchases or rather manages to purchase within the short time span of the trip, with our Pa making the payments.

Anyway, that evening it just so happened that we noticed something we could purchase for ourselves, namely a pair of black, Pathan-style, leather sandals. So, we promptly asked Ma dear to step into the shop with us. As soon as we had picked our respective pairs, began the tedious process of price-negotiations. Now, we are quite used to seeing this happen, right from when Ma purchases vegetables to, well, lots of other things. This, however, was quite different from anything we had seen before. The shopkeeper spoke such perfect Punjabi and was so exceedingly polite that after a while I found myself joining in, on the shopkeeper's side!

This incident, besides the one at Lahore when a shopkeeper refused to accept payment for three large tumblers of lassi that we had consumed and that was second in terms of taste only to the one I used to drink at my maternal grandmother's place, shall always remain among my most cherished memories of the trip.

This is despite the fact that we were overcharged for a number of products and services we purchased, while we were in Pakistan, right from fruit juices and soft drinks to rides in buses and motorised rickshaws. But then, we have been similarly overcharged while visiting an Indian city or town for the first time.

1 comment:

Sidhusaaheb said...

I just came across your blog and its been great fun reading about your stay in Pakistan ….especially for me as I too am a Punjabi in Pakistan whose grandfather migrated from Ludhiana.He still talks about those streets with nostalgia.Anyway thanks for a good read.
RA | 11.07.06 – 10:12 am | #


The pleasure is all mine!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 11.07.06 – 8:42 pm | #


I am going to make me some lassi. brb!
Roop Rai | Homepage | 04.21.08 – 8:48 pm | #


Loved this one, especially the bargain, the lassi part, and your mom’s shopping.
Manpreet | Homepage | 08.25.08 – 3:45 pm | #