Reflections on Pindi

By Tauqir Ahmad (Brunei)

Tauqir Ahmad, Brunei

Tauqir Ahmad

An article on Pindi, The ‘Gunja Kukkar’ of Super Cafe, Bank Road, Rawalpindi  (Written by Mehmud Ahmed from Canada), has revived a chain of happy memories of this beautiful place. For a couple of moments, I was taken away from the present reality into the past of late 60s and ‘70s. It triggered a nostalgic chain of characters and familiar places (as fresh as ever) on the screen of mind: the artistic ‘Drug Store’ at the corner of Kashmir Road and Haider Road, in the GPO Chowk; Kareem Samosa Wala at Bank Road; the old GTS Bus Stand at Adamjee Road from where one boarded the bus with confidence that it’ll depart right on the scheduled time.

Image of Plaza Cinema,The Mall Road, Rawalpindi

Plaza Cinema,The Mall Road, Rawalpindi

Cinemas had their own charm: the Cirose, Odeon and Plaza, the posh cinemas of Cantt area, with a ‘Khirki Tore Hafta’ sometimes were common places of entertainment… (I can recall easy and handy translations of the names of English films rendered by any one readily available among the cinema crew...Bangkok Kay Sholay, Shaitan Ki Khala, Qatil Haseena...and many more). The mention of films naturally reminds me of Garrison Cinema on Abid Majeed Road. Being tax-free and with nominal rates, Garrison Cinema was the obvious choice when we were short of money. But seeing a film could not be without keeping my father informed; we used to start building a case for film couple of days before the event…”Abba Jee, Bari sabaq aamoze film lagi hoy aye”, which would eventually extract a permission from him. By the way, there was a bond of trust between we brothers and Abba Jee; he knew we won’t cross the red lines marked by him. I have to mention an interesting episode in this connection: Once, my elder brother nearly dragged me out of the cinema as soon as the half-time was signalled. I was still wondering what had happened when he yelled at me, “Oy!! tu namaz nain parni? Asr ja rahi aye”, and we actually offered Asr and came back to the hall to resume.

Once I was given a treat of tasty Tooty-Fruity at Super Cafe in my school days (since then I cherished a hope that I would spend half of my salary on ice cream when I grow up. But when I grew up there were other things to worry about).

The college days in the Gordon College had their own charm. I was in M.A. English class of 1976-78 session which was extended to 1979 because of political unrest. I still vividly remember we used to wait endlessly for a ‘Farmaishi’ song in the students cafe outside Gordon College. The request for song was usually written on a discarded empty packet of cigarettes and passed on to the ‘Disc Jockey’ arranging large gramophone discs in an order (Now an easy click on my cell phone for any song doesn’t taste the same). Close beside was Lahori Samosa Wala with his secret recipe (KFC and MacDonald’s can’t match it). On some lovely days, the whole class (MA class wasn’t as big as others) would play a truant to another small unfamiliar cafe across the road, from the main gate of the college (teachers wouldn’t expect us there).

Old Books on footpath, Saddar, Rawalpindi

Old Books on footpath, Saddar, Rawalpindi

Everything had an air of love, joy, innocence, and a dignity about it. Sometimes on hot days, we used to drop in the American Centre on Kashmir Road for respite; although we browsed through some books, our main aim was to enjoy the ambient cool atmosphere in the hall. Sunday was the best for such browsing through heaps of old books, displayed on the footpaths, throughout main Saddar, especially on Kashmir Road and Bank Road. Now, people, glued to their phones, computers & TV, rarely read books anymore.

I wish I could travel back in time to the same calm, quiet, and serene Pindi. I think we used to have ‘real’ fun with much less material possessions.

Related Articles:
Rawalpindi Ramblings
Nostalgic Memories of Rawalpindi 
Rare Photos of Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi, as I Remember
Sweet Memories of Rawalpindi         
Precious Memories of Rawalpindi     
Rawalpindi, My Birthplace 
Rawalpindi Will Always Remain in Our Hearts
Good Old Memories of Rawalpindi

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  1. Major(R) Nadeem Ahmad says:

    It was a pleasure to read the article. I remember the Pindi of 61 to 67 wqhen I used to pass through on way to Lawrence College. It was all strange to me as I used to come to come from East Pakistan.

  2. Iftikhar says:

    One interesting English film displayed at Plaza Cinema was “KIss Kiss Bang Bang”. They translated it in Urdu as “Pappi Pappi Tha Tha”.

    • Faisal Adham Office says:

      LOL, too funny. I think during mid 70’s there was also a Punjabi film ‘Thahh’!

  3. Maj (R) Amjid Quamber says:

    In all the writings I have not seen the names that counted in those days in Gordon College. Mr. Mall was the principle, and dear Miss Jane was the English teacher. Hopefully I have jogged more names somewhere.

    • Maj (R) Mujib Aftab says:

      Ask me, I remember each & every moment I spent in Gordon College (1963-68). I used to live very close to the college. I would spend most of my time in the college canteen. It is killing. What a sweet memories. Mr V. K. Mall, Miss Jane Najam-ud-Din, Prof Naz, Prof Xavier, Prof Khawaja Masood, Prof Nasurullah Malik. These are a few names who were popular among students.

      • Thanks Maj Amjid and Maj Mujib for adding well known names to the list. In fact I couldn’t mention most of them because I remained in Gordon College during 76-79 for my MA only (from 1971-74 I remained away from Pindi when I was ‘Y’ Cadet at Military College Jhelum).
        Khawaja Masood and Dr Aziz (If I’m not wrong, he was the brother of Brig TM Shaheed) were the Principals during my MA…though, people did mention all the above names which are part of Gordon College history.

  4. Arif Qureshi, M.D. (USA) says:

    Thanks for reviving old memories, Tauqir Bhai!!!

  5. American Centre was burnt by a mob during Zia regime.

  6. Malik Misbah says:

    Jazakallah, it’s a great pleasure reading it. I remember my own Drug Store what a cool place. I wish I could have it again.

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