“Dear Rawalpindi, some of your streets took me back to Italy with the vibrant colors”
I first met you in 2009, and the moment I set my foot in your streets that were lined with colourful houses and beautiful buildings, I knew it was love. Then I had to leave you and when I came back in 2017, your charm made me feel lost in my childhood, and very quickly I left like I was at home. I never knew that one of the most crowded and busiest cities in Pakistan could give me a humble, small town feeling. You feel like coming back home from a long trip. This is a letter to you, for being forgotten but still standing strong after so many years.
Your busy streets with wires making a spider web
Your narrow streets with light peeking through the broken windows and playing hide and seek
Streets that took me back to my childhood when I used to go out with my Nana Abu to buy candies. And hide in the corner only to be found by him.
Your dark alleyways where nature has taken over architecture, while the walls block the light and makes a perfect contrast, just like a painting by Michelangelo.
You are different from big cities and loved less, yet you have survived so beautifully and gracefully.
Your building facades, where I can close my eyes and smell the yellow paint of the house I was born in.
Where I could almost smell the freshly done laundry. Making a pattern against the building with the clothes lined up. Yellow and oranges against blues.
Your every corner has a colorful story waiting to be heard. Like the Minar of a Masjid peeking out from the backstreet. I like how people take pride living in your houses and how everyone would stop me and tell me stories about you, about your love, about your struggles and how you have survived over time.
You have grace in your architecture, which kept me longing for more time to explore your neighbourhoods, eat more food on your streets and photograph you more.
Walking through your streets, I’ve experienced interacting with the most amazing people that love you just as much I do.
Some of your streets took me back to Italy with the vibrant colours.
I got lost several times in the beginning trying to explore your streets. You taught me that no matter what, things would work out and I will always find a way.
Your balconies and windows tell stories of each house, where people have lived and died.
The vendors moving along the street with the wooden carts, going back home only to wake up again. I’ll never forget the feeling of comfort that you give me when I walk down your streets, the same streets I was lost on, in the beginning, felt like home now.
The best way to explore you is by foot your narrow streets spread like veins giving life to each corner. The crowded metro stations, the beautiful parks and the busy streets. I love that every time I walk along you, I feel nostalgic, like I’m walking into my childhood.
I love how quite yet chaotic you are, you taught me how to enjoy silence in busy streets, how to not lose my mind in crowd.
I kept praising your buildings until I saw your parks. your parks have colours that makes them look like a paining on a canvas.
I remember the day I discovered Ayub Park and how I would sit by the lake for hours just looking at the waves and waiting for sunset so I can see the changing or colors.
As the autumn came, I said goodbye to summers.
Sitting by your lakes have always reminded me of happiness and sorrow. The green park turns into yellow, the leaves start to change their colours into beautiful shades of gold.
The construction that looks almost surreal against the clear blue sky. The new buildings taking over the old ones and changing the palette of your vibrant architecture.
Your sunsets are my favourite, I can sit for hours just looking at them, making paintings in my head.
Art is present everywhere around you, from the patterned façade to vibrant sunsets.
And now when I look back on these 6 months that I’ve been with you, I can sincerely say that not a single day was wasted. I hope you remain the same and I get to explore you more with time. Goodbye until next time.
All photos are taken by Feroza Gulzar.