Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Delhi Walla in the fatherland.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Heera Mandi, Lahore’s fabled red light district, is almost dead. Most dancing establishments have shut down. The courtesans no longer pretend to be mere dancers. Operating as full-fledged sex workers, they have set up discrete bases in the city’s other areas where they solicit clients on cell phones.

However, tonight as The Delhi Walla is walking in a Heera Mandi street, while the moon is rising above the minaret of the grand Badshahi Mosque, I can hear the music of dholaks and harmoniums, and the tinkling of womens' pajebs (anklets).

Stepping into an establishment, I find a lady sitting on a sofa. Her face is gleaming with layers of makeup. Dressed in a parrot-green kurta and mullah shalwar, she is wearing one necklace and two finger rings. On the floor, her musicians are waiting for customers. I try talking to her but she is refusing to tell me her name. She is not saying where she has come from. But now she is getting up to dance for me. She is the last of the Heera Mandi legend.

Read more in The Delhi Walla's Pakistan Diary

Pakistan Diary - T2F, Karachi's Coolest Café

Pakistan Diary – Reading Chick Lit in Karachi

Pakistan Diary – At Home in Lahore

Pakistan Diary – The Karachi Kartography

Pakistan Diary – Jinnah's Mausoleum, Karachi

Pakistan Diary – Is Karachi Safe?

Pakistan Diary – The First Karachi Literature Festival

Pakistan Diary – The First Evening in Karachi

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

The Heera Mandi chronicle

Pakistan Diary – The Dancing Girl of Lahore

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look at that smile on your face ! Who do you think you are? Amitabh Bacchan?!

Anonymous said...

What's with this fascination with whores and pakistan?

Anonymous said...

This is journalism with a difference.

bill said...

Fascinating series...

famousannonymous said...

this fascination can be understood by very few people....

Rohan said...

I've read every one of this series, and it's been captivating. Hope there is more to come!

Clive said...

I am new here and beginning to like it. quite some different sort of post.

Ashleshaa said...

Talk about grace under pressure,Soofi,you look like a plucked chicken,never seen you look happier,none the less.

Amit said...

Your camera seems of very low "Shutter speed ???" , pics are hazy.. get it changed.. little amitabh.

Anonymous said...

ya, go to whores now but we know that you are a gay, so it doesn't matter to you since you made this trip to the Heera Mandi just for a stupid article of yours. The girl's face is painted with light foundation (look at her arms and feet), clearly Pakistan's obsession with light skin. Why don't you write an article about REAL issues in Pakistan (it’s a useless trip otherwise)? Try to write about violence against minorities, anti-Americanists, anti-Semitists, anti-Hinduists, cross-border Islamic terrorism, skin colour discrimination, banning Indian movies but still watching them through piracy and the hatred towards Indians in general. I hope you will get serious about journalism in the future, because all you do is write stories based on what YOU want to show the readers of your blog. Be real and be a man.

mao said...

Great story. Did you read the book 'the dancing girls of lahore'. You could mention that if readers want more insight into Heera Mandi.

Anonymous said...

"This is journalism with a difference" - This is sexertainment with a difference

And Sufi, try Peshawar next

SSD said...

Maano,your photo-journalism is captivating. You have never ran away from exploring social-political issues -- this is, yet, another of your wonderful piece - depicting the real life atrocity faced in Heera Mandi.
It takes a "real man" to sit visit the mandi and take interest in knowing the feelings of these women, rather than exploit them -- you have a heart of gold -- keep up the pulse. I, for one, adore you!

Across the sea,
SSD

Sumanta Roy said...

....what item number did she dance on? Some Indian songs?

Bruised Indian said...

No offense - but she looks like a Tranny. She's too big and thick for a 'nautch girl'.

Amit J said...

Did anyone notice the 'Swades' poster behind the tabla player>