In June 2012 I wrote about the Wanderlust. And I didn’t really have any solid plans to materialize that lust. But it just happened out of blue.
Chapter 1: Karachi to Islamabad
I was nominated for a 3-week official training in Islamic Banking at NIBAF Islamabad. When I was asked whether I’d like to go for the certificate course, I didn’t think twice and said yes as I had never had any course in Islamic Banking before and that it was opportunity to rove around too.
After my village, I must say, the other place I’m in love with so far is Islamabad. The city is well planned and has almost everything to offer, especially the natural landscapes, wider roads, less or almost-no traffic jams, and better law & order situation. One has the freedom to stroll through the roads anytime of the day and night. Though the markets in Islamabad shut down well earlier than in other big cities, yet the city never sleeps, its well alive with its serenity and stillness.
The course happened to be, quite contrary our assumptions, tight-scheduled. Every day the classes lasted till sunset (sometimes even beyond) accompanied with the tests every next morning at 9. However, this didn’t stop us (Umair, Ali, Babar and me) from having fun and making most of the time we had away from our workplace. While most of the participants remained stuck to their rooms, we walked out to a near market for a cup of tea every other night. On a bright sunny Sunday (first weekend) we were driven to Monal (Pir Sohawa) for an officially- sponsored brunch. I had never been there before. I enjoyed every bit of journey and stay at the site. I did little trekking, took photographs, enjoyed the scenery, but didn’t quite like the food. It was a Sunday well spent.
One fine day it was raining softly, I asked the three to go out and have lunch. They agreed and we headed towards Rahat Bakers for pizza. We had it out in the rain. The pizza was hot, spicy and awesome, and so was the weather.
Next Sunday we went to Lake View Park, the park had not much to offer, still we roamed around and had some pictures taken. Then from there we headed to Jungle Café where we had a very nice cup of tea. Sun had set and we walked towards Jinnah Super Market. Another Sunday went just fine.
Chapter 2: Islamabad to Azad Jammu & Kashmir (On Bike)
Umair hails from Kotli, AJ&K. No sooner did I express my desire to visit AJ&K that he asked me to go with him. It was a dream-come-true. And when he told me that we shall be going on bike, the excitement doubled as it meant to be more adventurous. We left NIBAF at 1330. I enjoyed every moment of journey. I adored the zigzag, low-high-low road through the mountains and the elegantly built homes over the hills. It was first time ever that I was driving through such a lavish landscape. Having had two short stopovers at villages for tea, we finally reached the destination Kotli at 1700.
Besides all the scenery and adventure, the most beautiful thing about AJ&K was the hospitality that I received from the Umair’s family, friends and relatives. They were all so welcome and kind. They were all so loving and so caring that I felt at home. An unforgettable time-out it was.