Last week of my internship!

From next week, I would start the countdown to the end of my internship, and then it would be time to move on to my thesis! I am not sure that I have my topic all figured out yet. But I know it has to do with keywords like: media, culture,impact, globalization, urban setting, display of culture in urban setting, cultural roots of those cultural displays in the urban setting, the study of various minority groups in this regard, the designing of such a venture, the inclusion of the impact of the latest studies revealing the impact of creative industries on these cultural trends! Well maybe it would find its own pathway eventually! But it is shaping up, don’t  you think so!

Anyways… since I had time before my semester started, I had joined Arif Hasan’s office for internship and he was nice enough to keep me around! And being in his office is like being in a treasure hunt. But you have to make the effort to find the hunt. You just don’t get it like that! But really, even that is not much of an effort. All you have to do is to get your ass of the chair, and stroll to the little room, with the huge steel cabinet which has all of his work stored away! Now it’s not just any work. It’s the work from the time of Romance, and when the entire era marveled at just the right pace of life, when people still made houses for generations and generations to come! I am talking of an era when no computers existed and you had just the paper and you, and the feel of the paper under your skin! Continue reading


The End: Day 4: Leaving Lahore

So Day 4 was all about traveling and seeing Lahore! We had been given 3 options for our city tour that was organized by the THAAP organizers – Walled City, Mughul Buildings, Colonial Buildings – I chose for myself Walled City, simply because I had never ever seen it in my life. Before leaving for Lahore, I had made myself a long list of places I wanted to see again, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to see much of them. I satisfied myself with the idea that I have already seen half of them! But the walled city was an experience I wasn’t going to miss. My tour guide was to be Taimur again, and Mansoor – another wonderful guy who I had the privilege to meet during the conference (Best of luck for your masters)! Anyways I was picked up at around 10 am by Mr. Taimur, and then we set off for the Vandal’s house, from where we were to leave for the tour. I was the only one who had opted for the walled city! From there we went off straight for the Delhi Darwaza!

Inside the Darwaza

Here we were also joined by Mansoor, and then we started the walk… note to newbies : Don’t ever even think of taking your car inside the walled city! That would be a disaster that you would recall for decades ! Anyways so we start our walk! And the first thing that we do is to visit the Shahi Hamam. You can find on the left side as soon as you cross the doors. Once inside, you would be taken away by the intricate details and mosaic work. The original structure has been damaged immensely with the original shape of  the Hamam hardly recognizable.

The Map showing the walled City


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The beginning of the End: Day 3: In Lahore

The proceedings of the second and the last day of the conference were to start from 9 am, and Saba had her paper reading due that day, which meant that we had to get up early morning for it, which meant that I had to take a shower early morning (Honestly, I would never have bothered with the idea of taking a shower, but I was sure that Saba was good enough in her maths to calculate that since I had not taken a shower since Thursday – the day of my arrival – it means that it has been 2 days.. which equals to me being a dirty person) (I guess the word mean has a whole new meaning for me today .. I know lame joke). Anyways after the shower, we got dressed, and for breakfast I had my last day’s leftover lunch sandwich from CTC (told you it was really big) and reached the venue at around 8: 15 am… no one had reached by then! (I would have collapsed somewhere from sleep if only I was able to find a place) but Mr. Vandal and I got some time to talk, and he asked me about my future plans, and we discussed the proceedings of the day before. He is a very punctual man, because at 9 am with still more than half the venue empty he started the proceedings.. he would have continued with it too.. if only Dr.Mubarak Ali, who was supposed to chair the second session would have been on time (he had genuine reasons to be delayed because he is a very punctual man). And as soon as he came the show was on the road.

The first speaker of the day was Dr. Gulzar Haider on the topic “The Historiographers and Pedagogues, with Respect” but he wasn’t able to attend the conference because of some personal issues (I really wanted to meet him though), but his paper was presented to the conference by Dr. Khalid Bajwa.. he started off on a light funny note, joking about his reading speed and all, but it was nice. After him he has Ms. Aisha Imdad, who read her paper about “The Evolution of the Tree of Life as an Islāmic Decorative Element in Fresco Painting in Mughal or Mughal Inspired Architecture of Pakistan. ” I had come to known her in the past one day.. and have to admit that she is a gem of a person. She is very excited about her work and what she is doing in respect of bringing to the forefront many of the crafts from the rural area. – an undertaking by another wing of THAAP, under the title of THAAP Crafts. She was wearing a beautiful shawl made by one such person, and when she talks about it, she has this glow in her eyes. Their exhibition is to take place in Islamabad in this month… so try to check it out! Dr. Sylvia Shorto was not able to come to the conference, but her paper, titled “The Sahlimar Bagh and the Mubarak Bagh: Histories from the garden houses in north-west Delhi” was read out by Muhammad Taimur. And after that came Ar. Saba Samee – I love you Saba! I loved her paper, titled “Lahore – The city of travelers” – and I mean that as a completely objective third-party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter! (:D) It was a nice way to look at history.. checking and tracing it from the traveler’s account. I loved it (Yes I know I  have already said that)!

After the break, it was Dr. Priyaleen Singh’s paper on “Changing Imagery of the Mughals Garden of Taj Mahal”. In her paper she recalled the attempts that are being made India to conserve the Taj Gardens into their glory periods during the Mughal period and how they have evolved to their current condition of being a mere “lawn” – a factor of colonization! Dr. Banu Pekol also couldn’t make it and his paper was also read out regarding the “Architectural impressions between Turkey and Pakistan:  A tightrope between objects and the historian”. Dr. Anis Siddiqui of Punjab University who was the last speaker of the session spoke about “Narratives and Storytelling: Teaching Tools for Architectural History, Theory and Design” and talked about how story telling can be a great tool to awake certain emotions in a student. I agree with him to a point, but I think it is very important to keep in mind that we all perceive things differently and it is not necessary that a story would ignite the same feeling in everyone! Continue reading

And the Conference begins; Day 2: In Lahore

Yes I know, I am very lazy. And that is why it took me two days to write this part. But well here I am . So people stop complaining!

After having a very good sleep – despite my parents astonishment that how I can get so comfortable at some one else’s house so soon – I woke up at 9 am and joined by host to watch the rerun of the American Music Award (hate you Justin Bieber.. the rest of these 40 years old musicians should just go kill themselves, I mean it doesn’t get worst than this right), and to a hot cup of tea. I really wanted to go shop, so Saba at 11 took me out to Liberty and I bought some of the most beautiful Khosa’s from Khosa Mahal. I am an upcoming shoeaholic! After that, we debated for what seemed like forever about where should we go get out lunch. We went to Gloria Jeans’ but after rejecting it, so reasons that I still don’t understand, we settled on Coffee, Tea, Company or CTC, as the Lahoris call it. I have to admit the sandwich was huge and really  good. Recommended for everyone!

We came home, and then after stuffing ourselves with that piece of heaven sandwich – we couldn’t eat more than half of it – we got ready for the conference. The butterflies that I have already mentioned started to take their toll on me again, and I tried to push them to the back of my mind….it was quite a fight alright!

The conference started on time, and with a wonderful introduction from Dr. Pervaiz Vandal, explaining the birth and the purpose of this conference. I especially liked the part where he defined himself and his wife as being proud to be teacher, then being an architect. He explained the conference as to be “for the teachers, by the teachers, from the teachers” .. I felt pretty left out!


The Venue for the Conference

I feel in love with these dogs.. at first I thought I was having dejavu.. it was after a whole fifteen minutes that I realized that the Vandal's had two dogs

While introducing Dr. Mubarak Ali – the keynote speaker – he told this story about how in each and every village of Pakistan, you can go to a shop and right next to the tea, cleaners, soap, etc, you would also find a section on his book. I thought that was such a wonderful thing to say! Dr. Mubarak Ali in his keynote speech discussed the evolution of the study of history. Some of what I remembered emphasized on the different ways that history is looked upon. One of them is that when you consider the past as the Golden age, in this context the future becomes dark. The other way is that we think of history in a constant progress, then this way the past becomes an era of darkness, and the future more promising than ever! He also discussed how when the true history was written about many of the Muslim rulers it was condemned by Muslims themselves for being anti-Muslim, because they had become used to the royal court’s version of the history. This session was chaired by Prof. Nimal P. De Silva, a wonderfully sweet man from SriLanka. Continue reading