Notes from Islamabad: Walkees are out?

Posted by Zunaira on 08 January 2005

Here is an excerpt I sent out in an email to a friend.

I used to visit Islamabad on vacation 10 years ago [until 86] regularly--almost every summer. Me and my cousins used to walk around, a lot. From parks to tea spots to Super Market. Cars were rare on the road but the smell of freshly washed leaves and grass hung in the air and it was always a delightful surprise to see snails finding their way in front of the door. Apologies for unloading so much nostalgia. The Islamabad I am getting used to now is very different. The air seems clean but the smell is definitely that of a big city. Almost every Islooiite seems to have a
car, hence, congestion on roads frequent [a stark contrast]. But more dissappointingly for me, the only pedestrians I run into are chowkidars or security guards.

Why has Islamabad given up on its sidewalks, I ask? When I walk the 25 minute hop to Super from F-6/1, I stick out like a sore thumb among the greens. When I walk between F-6/1 to F-7/3 and further to Jinnah, I am viewed with suspicion by security guards. Today, I was stopped twice by concerned security guards asking if I was lost!! I say, this is blasphemous! Isn't the city known for its walkways? Has that been restricted to 'proper paths' only? If so, what a loss! A number of Islooiites stare at me in horror when I suggest I 'will walk it' for a short distance. If not, horror, there is definitely surprise. Is there something wrong about walking around that I have missed after all these years? Or am I too romantic about utilizing the 'clean, fresh air for a good, long walk'?

The sidewalks, I assure you, are as great to hop, jump, singalong, rollerblade, and walk on, as they were all those years ago.


(latest on top)

Ramla A. said: Ramla A.'s Website
Right. I went to Isloo last November, and decided to pop out of the hotel after Fajr time. Just to take a walk, not to alarm the un-walking fools, but!!! Lo! The annoying hotel van started following me. Each step I'd slow down to deep breathe, the incredulous driver (who saw no reason why BiBi Ji was out on foot and thought either he or I was involved in some sacrilege) would park the van right in my way. It was funny on a different level when I realized it kinda resembled one of those movie scenes in which a husband is out to woo back his "roothi hui biwi" and is aprking and singing in her way. Ugh, you know what I mean.

Funny/ Not funny!
P.S. I saw a man on a donkey "parked" on the footwalk when a traffic light went red.
Sohail Muhammd said: -
What can you say.Lot of people say that people change but i think that people want to stay same but society and civilization oblige people to change and that what occur to you

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