Lahore
09 Aug, Tuesday
39° C
TOP
Model Town

Model Town on Wheels

 

Unbiasedly speaking, it just so happens that I live in one of the best neighborhoods you could find in Lahore. Yes, your one and only Model Town. Over the past two years, I have found bicycling around the area immensely delightful. Call it a quota not fulfilled in my childhood, or a welcome change from the usual chaos; either way, it keeps my wheels rolling (I don’t even need to intend the pun here).

 

I don’t mean to go all “our urban structures have taken away the spirit of human life and its close relationship with nature” but, in fact, I do mean to go ‘all that’. Because it’s true. And sad. Considering the ‘I am deeply connected to the pumped up soul in me’ person I am, I have had the strong need to revitalize myself by scavenging the city (if Model Town can pass for ‘the city’) for corners that help me refocus on my centre, and help me connect with humanity both internally and externally. No, this isn’t too philosophically abstract a concept.

 

Living in what is known as the “fast lane” cuts all your ties to a healthy, nurturing environment.

 

I know that because it just happened one evening, when the sun was halfway down the horizon and the heat of the day had subsided. I took my bicycle out for a spin (for me, that is very uncommon because I only learnt to ride one in 2013 and got one for myself in 2017). I’m not quite sure what made me delay for so long. All I know is that my body was taking me towards something it thought it needed. And indeed, it was just the kind of indulgence I had been looking for. Nevertheless, I knew that biking would keep me going.

 

Model Town

 

Luckily, Model Town is one of the remaining localities which still maintains its perfect balance of Mother-Earthness and urbanization, something that makes bicycling in its veins is akin to peeling rust off your body. You pass by so many strangers without your Spidey-senses tingling, many of whom are familiar faces just because they have lived within the same parameters.

 

Youthfulness is alive and kicking (literally) on every turn as children leave their houses to make an evening out of sports, banter or made-up games.

 

Residents are running errands on foot or are taking their daily stroll on the road. Model Town’s security guards at various corners smile at you and greet you, sometimes making small talk. Cats and dogs, in particular, are seen in abundance, seemingly having a little me-time. Passing through the shade cast by aged trees, ones that I have seen since forever, I sense the cool air caress my face and my neck; it passes through my hair and tingles my scalp, almost as if to shampoo it. Visibly, everyone lives like they are one unit, each one being a small fraction of the same organism.

 

In times like today where despair pervades human lives, the experience and sight of community living like this is heartwarming. It might be thought of as nothing rare to witness, and for valid reasons. Still, it doesn’t fail to restore hope that is otherwise fading and take the driving seat of your thoughts, relegating the usual noise to the backseat.

 

Model Town

 

I further use this hour or so to sing. Not like off-pitch shower-singing but genuine sing. Since I like to keep this part of me under wraps (hello shyness, my old friend), I don’t get the opportunity to let the bird out of its cage at home. Whether it’s because I’m a little loud or that my house is not built for privacy, my singing is dialed down to zero. But here, on the streets, I can not only sing as I please but I can make my own renditions of each song, tweaking the vocal technique or the melodic structure for experimentation. Release, oh what sweet release it is to let myself be the jukebox!

 

This is what really stands out for me: I can feel clammed up anxiety leaving my body, blowing away with the wind in streaks of color.

 

In those kinetic moments, I am physically present, not trying to navigate overpowering, body-paralyzing thoughts. My errands are not nudging me to be done. My deadlines are not waving at me from afar. I’m tranquil and slowed down, in the best possible way.

 

Oh wait, did I forget to mention that I don’t take my phone with me while I’m out tuning out the world? (Seems like even describing my ventures around the block made me keep my phone aside while I do it!) Because that is essential. Like cold coffee on a hot day. Like Cards Against Humanity on a sleepover.

 

If you’re out to clear your head, your phone certainly will not help.

 

So might as well chuck that little fellow under your pillow for an hour and check it when you come back. Hell, it’s more fun to come back to a list of unseen notifications.

 

While meditations, good music and engaging conversations are worthy antidotes for the oft-tense brain, leaving your four walls on two wheels holds its own, exercising a kind of powerful dosage like no other. You might think being out on hot evenings is an extremely unpleasant thought (and well, I don’t blame you non-Model Townies) but surely, when you’re trying to keep your balance so you don’t fall, you get a boost of self-assurance that once you’re home, you can perhaps control the chaos with the same kind of effortless control.

 

 

A skinny, silky-haired human. He's a writer, actor, civic-educationist, music enthusiast, and occasional poet when emotions run too high. His favorite fashion choice is wearing his heart on his sleeve. And you will never find him dancing around the room because he does it only when no one's looking.

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