A Sunny Winter Day In Islamabad

Posted on March 5, 2008
Filed Under >Mast Qalandar, Travel
23 Comments
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Mast Qalandar

Islamabad, PakistanIt was one of those cloudless, crisp and beautiful winter days that one sees after a spell of rain in Islamabad.

The pall of dust that usually hangs over the city and the hills during the early winter months had lifted. The rain had washed the dust and everything looked bright, fresh and clean. The hills emerged out of the haze and seemed to fall in sharp focus as if placed under a magnifying glass. One could even count the pine trees on the hilltops.

Islamabad, PakistanIt was the kind of a day when, in the words of John Milton (paraphrased),

“it is an offense against nature to stay indoors — and not go out and partake in her rejoicing with Heaven and earth.”

Islamabad, PakistanHeeding Milton’s advice — and armed with my digital camera — I set out to enjoy this beautiful day and capture some of the sights, which I would like to share with you:

By mid December most deciduous trees shed their leaves (see photo just above). But some cling to their flamboyant autumn dress until January (See photo to the right)

Islamabad has more sunny days in winters than, say, New York or any other city in New England but mostly they are hazy. Clear and cloudless days, though, don’t happen that frequently. But when they do it is truly an “offense against nature to stay in doors” —- both for humans and animals.

Islamabad, PakistanIslamabad, PakistanIslamabad, Pakistan

Getting a long overdue haircut or getting groomed is a good idea on a sunny day like this — both for men and animals. Getting it in your park out in the sun from an itinerant barber or a friend is a luxury you won’t find in New York or anywhere in the US.

Islamabad, PakistanIslamabad, Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan

Photo of Cafe’ Monal below

Islamabad, Pakistan

Islamabad, PakistanMargalla Hills come into sharp focus after the rains.

Photos for this post are by the author himself. His full collection can be seen here

23 responses to “A Sunny Winter Day In Islamabad”

  1. MQ says:

    Ahmed 2: You have so beautifully and accurately captured the scene in your description. It’s like a painting. It will be interesting to see if or how our very own professor of literature, Tina, comments on your prose.

  2. Adnan Ahmad says:

    Ahmed2, Your prose gives as much insight about the city that evening as pictures would.

  3. Ahmed2 says:

    Dear MQ:
    Your post has revived memories which were long forgotten. I ask forgiveness of ATP readers for inflicting on them something I had scribbled in pencil in a notebook on 25/1/1968 (yes, forty years ago) while sitting on a small rock across from Margalla Avenue in Sector F/6 on a winter evening.

    ” A rock overlooking the vast panorama of the Islamabad yet to be. On one side are the mist-laden hills of Murree, range upon range, glowing with the whiteness of snow. On the other the undulating green landscape towards Pindi.And all around me, the stillness of a winter evening, cold and bleak.

    “Occasionally people pass— someone on a bicycle cloaking his face in a shawl, another pushing a reluctant donkey carrying an impossibly heavy load of bricks. The pariah dogs abound, scavenging for whatever they can get. Below me stretch the newly-built white palaces of the bureaucrats and colonels and majors.

    “There is very rich peace here. Too much of it!

    “Soon Islamabad will be bigger and its roads will echo with the noise and pollution of cars. A modern city with modern amenities. Today it is innocent in its smallness. Tomorrow it will seethe with the sordidness of a modern metropolis with its crime, accidents, murders. Monsters of brick and concrete will abound. ”

    Yes, Islamabad has indeed grown. Then, there were only Sectors G/6 and F/6. Now Islamabad seems to stretch into infinity. The rigours of modernity have overtaken those who
    live there. But there is still peace, quiet, colour and beauty for those who seek it. As the photographs in this post so amply show.

  4. MQ says:

    AHsn: Your comment is a bit esoteric. Could you say some more before I could comment on it.

    Adnan Ahmad: You are right. Looking at the pictures it does give an impression of both fall and spring. The reason is that we have plenty of coniferous and evergreen trees here in Islamabad, which don’t shed their leaves in fall and winter. Therefore, you see plenty of green as well as bare trees at the same time.

    Ahmed 2:
    Good to see you back after a long time. I appreciate the lines you have quoted. Here are some more from the same poet, which echo my feelings whenever I go on a climb on the Margallas:

    That blessed moment
    In which the burden of mystery
    In which the heavy and weary weight
    Of all this unintelligible world
    Is lightened

  5. Greg S says:

    Very beautiful! Sadly the weather in my part of the US is snow and -20C.

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