Friday, February 10, 2006

Pakistan Diary (Part IV)

Never got around to writing anything in Faisalabad. Actually, there really wasn’t anything to write on the godawful city/town. Faisalabad really sucks. It’s like a cross between Kanpur and…what…maybe Visakhapatnam (dunno, never been there). The ground was easily the best place to be in the city. And though the Test match was the most boring I have ever watched at a ground, it was worth hanging around at the ground simply because there was absolutely nothing else to do.

But I did manage to take some time out to get around to the Lasoori Shah Road around the Ghanta-ghar, where Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was born. Well, he wasn’t really born there, but went across almost immediately after Partition when still an infant. The house is bang in the middle of a really busy industrial belt in Faisalabad…but it’s like a haveli. Huge, with a lot of lanes and passes through it.

The most interesting part of the set-up is that there is the Lasoori Shah’s dargah just opposite Nusrat’s house, and apparently wherever in the world he was at the time, the great man would make sure he went to the dargah on the 7th of April every single year (an auspicious day for some reason) and sing his throat off. Or, at least, that’s what everyone in the locality vouches for.

And then I managed to get some time with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Not a patch on his uncle (obviously) as a singer, but seeing that he has become substantially important in India as a playback singer, it made sense to meet up with him. He sang for me too, but it really wasn’t memorable by any stretch of the imagination. He is okay. But really not much more. He is a sweet guy though, and has a really, really sweet cousin/manager, a chap called Khushnood, who misses no opportunity in treating you to kebabs and various sherbets.

But that really was all that Faisalabad had. Nothing else. Which makes it imperative that I move to talking about Karachi next. Karachi, absolutely the best city in Pakistan. More on it in some time. Or some days…

Allah Hafiz as always.