Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Basant and Memories of Pakistan

I was born in the Pakistani city of Lahore.  My family moved to New York before I turned one. Since that time we have periodically returned to Lahore to visit loved ones. For this assignment, I looked for something that reminded me of those trips.

The image below is of a watercolor painting titled Basant. It was made by Dr. Ajaz Anwar, an artist who dedicates his works to perserving the cultural heritage of the city. This particular piece really spoke to me.


Basant is a large annual festival that celebrates the coming of spring. People celebrate by flying beautifully colored kites. On this day, the sky is literally full of kites. The painting helps give people an idea of what it looks like.

While I’ve only been lucky enough to participate in the festival once; the kites in the painting remind me of Lahore. Kite flying in general is a popular pastime in Pakistan. During my trips, on any given afternoon you could see at least a few kites sailing high above the city.

Another aspect of the painting that reminds me of Pakistan is the roof. It may sound silly but it’s true. Large, flat, accessible roofs are a part of most houses there. Not only are they the go to place for kite flyers but in warm weather people like to sit outside on the roof to enjoy the view and cool breeze. A lot of my memories are simply of spending time on the roof of my cousin’s house, enjoying the day and each others company.


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