It was after the announcement of the result of the examination, that we thought of holding a picnic party at Jahangir’s Tomb. The main subscribers to the party were Razi Abdi who stood first in the aggregate and Zulqarnain Qureshi who feared failure but was. promoted. Others who participated in the party contributed Rs. 300 each. Duties in connection with making arrangements were distributed. Ismail took upon himself to arrange for a cook and three chickens. Jabbar ran to the bazaar to bring, crockery, kettle, and other utensils. Farasat and I hurriedly made for the market to purchase fruit, meat and spices.
All these things were collected near the Railway Station and put in the baskets. Thereafter, a van was hired and the articles were loaded. Ismail was requested by all of us to accompany it. It was amusing to see Ismail in that state sitting in the van among a heap of articles. He looked like a person who had quite recently vacated his house and was in search of a new one. We then purchased tickets for Shahahdara Bagh and followed him in a bus.
Ours was a party of eleven boys. Soon after our arrival on the premises of Jahangir’s Tomb, we felt as if we landed in the lap of Nature. The spacious lawns smilingly welcomed us to be their squatters for that afternoon. The little birds celebrated our advent with their melodious songs. Flowers, on both sides of the garden paths, were all gay in our reception.For a time, we felt that a little breathing in such an open space was much better than years of life in the crowded city of Lahore.
Au things are artificial, for nature is the art of God. (Sir T. Browne)
Farasat then suggested that we should go to the river and enjoy a little boating and bathing till our meals were cooked. His suggestion was hailed with joy. We entrusted everything to the custody of the cook and then we went out of the large historic building. Crossing the Ravi Bridge, we hired two boats. To our great delight, Zulqarnain and Ismail knew boating, both being active members of College Rowing Club.
No sooner did our boats reach the middle of the river than some of the boys took off their clothes and plunged into the river for a swim. They swam about and dived under the layers of the water for about a quarter of an hour. Hashmi had the maximum limit of loading in his breath underwater, 3 to 4 minutes. All were now feeling tiresome and hungry. It was with difficulty that we rowed towards the bank. After making prompt payment to the ‘boatman’, we dashed towards the tomb.
In the meantime, the cook, who happened to be an expert in his profession, had prepared the meals. Bar-b-que items were hot and ready to be devoured. A mat was hastily spread on the green grass, and we sat round to do full justice to the meal and fruit. We had everything to our hearts’ content, but still, a lot was saved. The cook was, therefore, permitted to separate his own share, and distribute the rest to the beggars and poor people of the neighboring villages, who had gathered there.
Then somebody proposed ascending the minars of the tomb. But his proposal was readily turned down as, with heavy bellies, none of us favored the idea of such exertion. Every one showed an inclination to lie down on the grass and have a little bit of chatting and singing. In their ecstasy, some of them began to dance. Farasat was then requested to tell us the funny tales. He narrated these tales in such a light way that we were beside ourselves on account of too much laughter. At about 5 p.m. Razi Abdi entertained us with his self-composed short poems. His recital was frequency intercepted by ‘Mukarrar.
Thereafter, it seemed as if our day’s programme had ended. We, therefore, returned home a little before evening.