As residents of a city synonymous with pandemonium — be that on our streets choked with every sort of vehicular transportation imaginable, or the undying cacophony of shrill noises and the hustle bustle of an overly active population currently hovering around the 10 million mark — it’s evident that our senses are constantly occupied in trying to absorb a plethora of activities occurring all around us. Consequently, we are always on edge — sharp. And as we fervently scavenge through our lists of everyday mundane activities, Nature — uninterrupted by our misplaced gaze — takes its course. The sky grumbles and then it pours.
It pours for minutes. It pours for hours. And in the case of September 23, it poured for a whole day in Lahore. Enthralled by the rainy weather and soothed by the cool breeze, we found ourselves brought to sudden halt. Our senses became mellow, swayed by this change in weather. No longer did we find ourselves on edge but, ironically, more alive. And so the sun eventually set, giving us a chance to rest, while the rain poured and stayed on due course — washing away the city with all its chores.
Having read this up till now you may be wondering why I’m writing about a phenomenon that is clearly not groundbreaking; it’s just another rainy day after all. My intent, however, is to give you a context to what is to follow. So, on September 24, a day when the sky was so blue, its light made me look at Lahore in a completely different way.
It also made me wonder as to why a sight such as this one felt so rare. Of course, belonging to a generation that is intent on capturing every change of scenery, I took a picture of the all too clear and sparkling blue sky for Instagram. No filter did it justice. I felt bemused as to why I had felt so hesitant about posting a picture such as this one. Even more so, I found myself preoccupied with another thought: how many people in Lahore were able to recognise the drastic effect that the clear blue sky had not just on our city but also on our moods that particular day. There was a vibe, an endlessly refreshing one that we mostly find ourselves devoid of.
Stating that the day resembled something out of a Disney movie in which the trees are literally alive and singing, with the birds chirping in unison, and the animals, void of viciousness, playing with each other in harmony, would be a downright overestimation. Nevertheless, it did feel like the sky had suddenly pulled apart a curtain of haze, and revealed its true colours that could only be appreciated if you were living it in the moment.
The sky, littered with wispy clouds stretching for miles across the horizon, made me unfix my gaze from the physical litter overflowing the streets of Lahore, as I drove to and fro from my university. Every song on my overused music playlist felt like a remastered version prepared specifically for the ‘day.’ I felt lighter, happier, and unperturbed by the day’s activities – constantly finding myself alleviated with the light from the bright blue sky.
But I was aware that the day was eventually going to end. And in the city of Lahore, pollution would take its due course and envelop the sky with cancerous smoke the very next day. That the sunlight would become unbearable and our gaze shall eventually return to the ground where the dirt and the clutter will direct our footsteps back towards the mountain hill of deadlines, meetings and everyday work.
Nostalgia set in, as I anxiously waited for the sound of thunder, and wondered if the bright, blue sky will show up for an encore.