It is a pleasant evening on the streets of Islamabad and we are getting ready to embark on what will decidedly be a series of eventful journeys. Our long drives will always begin on Margallah Road – to which the mind so often turns when in a contemplative mood – and end with a promise to return.
Moving along at a comfortable speed between 50 and 70 kilometres per hour, we will lounge on black rexine seats, take in fresh air and watch pine trees go by. Our vehicle of choice, our gaari, our F-16, will be none other than the 1977 Toyota Corolla – a living legend and family heirloom. It is said that on Sunday afternoons, its silver frame can still be seen making the rounds in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Yes, our destination may not always be known, the gas may run out occasionally, and perhaps the radio may throw us a pleasant surprise from time to time.
A world of thoughts will cross the mind of your driver, and some of those he will share with you. The discourse will involve situations from everyday life, often with a humorous twist. There will be book reviews, poetry, and sometimes we will just turn up the volume and listen to the radio on the working speaker. Current affairs and politics will be analyzed, for we must be aware of the times in which we drive. The objective of our conversations though, will be intelligent debate and construction of hope for a prosperous future.
As the car’s vibrations lull you into a contemplative mood, our minds may revisit times gone by. At other times, we will pick up friends and take them along, listen to their stories, and enjoy good company.
On good days, the corolla will start on the first key-twist and there will be some fuel sloshing around in the tank. On others, a couple of people may be seen pushing it down the road with all their strength before the engine kicks in! (dhakkastart!).
Bring along your humour, political savvy, memories, and sense of adventure. Take in the scenery and enjoy the ride.