|Gold Leaf cigarettes|
The two hours before the sun sets are the ‘golden hours’. The time of day when the air is fat with a warm light that makes everything seem if it was trapped in ancient amber. Even in winter this light has warmth and it is not surprising it is one of the busiest most social times of day in the bazaar.
It’s hard to imagine it now, but there was a time when my daily habit was to wander through the cluttered galiyan of whatever bazaar I found myself in with my only companions a pack of Gold Leaf and my trusty Olympus. I had no purpose other than to bask in the light and find the places where it bumped abruptly into shadow. Or made the glass top of a snuff box shimmer.
Some of my favourite bazaars were Gawalmandi (Rawalpindi), Qissa Khawani (Peshawar), Multan’s old city and of course, around Data Sahib’s tomb in Lahore. Though I tried hard, it was almost impossible to take a bad picture in those places especially when the light was low honey. And sometimes the god of photography simply insisted on a scene being captured.
Such is this photo. I just happened to hove out of one lane and into a slight open space to spy this phoolfarosh (flower seller) and his luxurious supply of blooms. Being positioned near the tomb of Data Sahib, the patron saint of Lahore, his stall was prepared for a brisk evening trade as worshippers and well wishers stopped by to pick up garlands to lay on the great sufi’s tomb.
I snapped and this is what came out. It has been a favourite for years. I was listening to a qawwali by the inimitable Sabri Brothers, Main Aan Jago Daata Peer Di about Data Sahib and my memory snapped immediately to this photo.
I’ll stop here.
You can enjoy both the photo and Brothers Sabri tonight.
01 Bhardo Jhoole Meri Ya Mohammad
02 Mera Koi Nahin Tere Siwa
03 Aayen Hein Tere Dar Pe To Kuch Leke Jainege
04 Teri Nazar Karam Ka Sahara Mile
05 Andhere Mein Dil Ke Charagh Mohabbat
06 Main Aan Jago Daata Per Di
01 Milta Hai Kya Namaz Mein
02 Taaj Dar-e-Haram Nighaan-e-Karam
03 Sar La Makaan Se Talab Hui
04 Yaa Saahibul Jamal Yaa Sayeedul Bashar
05 Mohabbat Karne Walo Hum Mohabbat
06 Man Kunt Maula
07 Mere Ghaus Piya Sarkar
08 Kithe Mehar Ali Kithe Teri Sana