Day 01, Bahawalpur…..

I believe every place has a history, an untold story, a tale, rewritten and proofread by history and the passing years. Living in the heart of Nawabism (for the lack of a better word) was proving to be pretty boring for this Army Wife.

The Nawabs, had they been alive and present in my brown textured walled living room, would frown upon me with looks of displeasure and disgust as I sat there complaining of boredom to a somewhat sleepy and humidity stricken Sajjad.  “You think this city would have more entertainment! It doesn’t even have a cinema!” I proclaimed in a dramatic voice. This, followed by a ranting of how busy the Husband is and how we have not “explored” the city yet and how hot it generally is, as though we had just shifted to a cute little town in Italy.

The morning passed away with the usual happenings. Planning of how we will decorate “our” house while knowing that dreams are only dreams, calling the parents and gossiping about the family, giving free and not so much asked advice to friends, answering the one hundred and fifth million question of the Boney Son since morning and waiting for the too oily yet it’s a blessing, Mess food.

My mobile flashed and I saw it was the Husband calling. “Hello. Yes there is a Light and Sound show at Darbar Mehal tonight, we’ll go and see that. I will go early since you know our Unit is the one arranging the whole thing. I’ll send a car to pick you up. No, you will not drive. I’ll see you back home. Get my white shirt ironed.” Click. Husbands! Bah!

After deciphering and foreseeing which white shirt was demanded, I selected my own wardrobe and thrust it upon Sajjad to iron the clothes like they were his own, while I sat down to watch another episode of Downton Abbey. Maybe I had Nawab blood also. I certainly act like one! Hmph! Nawabzadi Eman, the first of her name, Nawab of the Andals and First Men! Its Game of Thrones meets the bored woman in the city of palaces! Phew!

After successfully getting the Husband dressed and gone for the event (success is when there are no complaints and the occasional Hmph or Huh), I dressed, my mind flashing over the rich history and culture of the Darbar Mehal. The nostalgia associated with history was mixed with a bucket full of sarcasm. The Army? Lights and Sound show? Really? As in Seriously? How can the Army even have the intellect to understand something this modern and technical? Thinking of a few good points of critique and an unimpressive show, which I would later pitch to The Husband, I got into the military Vigo, escorted by two guards. While my brain was busy criticizing the intellectual capabilities of the “Fauj”, my heart was swelling with pride that my husband had sent a vehicle with protocol just for little old me. The classic heart versus brain conundrum. Too much sentimentality, back to being a sarcastic bitch.

We arrived at the Darbar Mehal amidst total darkness. Wondering if it was dark for effect or because of load shutting, The Husband ushered us (me and a friend, generally we Army Wives tend to attend functions with other army wives since the husbands are too busy gossiping like high school girls) to our seats, giving me a look of utter smugness which said you’re in for something. Ignoring the smug look and believing that I will not be proven wrong, I waited for the show to begin.

After twenty minutes of absolute awe striking heart wrenching historic review, I hate to admit that The Husband was right. It was twenty minutes of sheer pleasure for a history enthusiast, with a passion for architecture. The 3-D imaging, the beautiful lights, the transition of history, the splendor of old architecture, it was an overwhelming twenty minutes.

People walked here, talked here, and had families here. The whole show echoed of a simple yet rich time, full of manners, traditions, style, smiles and beauty. The times where just a hidden look from the jharokas would send the heart racing, when strolling the gardens was recreation, when the ghararas were raised from the ankles while running around fountains, when tehzeeb and tarbiyat were priorities. It was sad to come back to reality.

After a good dinner and much needed caffeine break we arrived home. The Husband and the Army Wife exchanged a look and smiled. The “Fauj” had done it. It won my heart like it had five years ago. It proved once again that you can always expect the unexpected when it comes to the Army. Sometimes, words are not required. The eyes speak.

Bed and Downton Abbey, I guess I like History.

E

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