Published: July 23rd 2011November 4th 2010
“Where are you from?”
“Ah… Pakistan… Kaardish!”
“Yes… Kaardish… Brother. Brother Country. Long time ago, Pakistan helped Turkey.”
“And now Turkey is helping Pakistan in floods.”
“Pakistani. Thank you and God bless you.”
Pakistani… God Bless You.
If a Turk taxi driver thanks you and gives you his blessings, it’s not because you are too bloody big and have done him some favor. It’s because you are a Pakistani and you are Kaardish.
Since my first day in Turkey, wherever I went and whoever I told that I was a Pakistani, the other person had one word… Kaardish.
In a time of extreme universal refutation of the term Pakistani, in the time of ‘You Pakistani You No Good’, in the time of ‘You Look Like a Terrorist’… Kaardish was a big pleasant surprise.
Beautiful people. Beautiful weather. Kaardish Country.
In front of me is a city of Domes and Minarets. One city with three eras, three faces and three parts.
In front of me is uproar in the water of Bosporus. The sea in Istanbul begs you to eulogize it and fill its bowl with the
(Entrance of the Spice Bazaar)
words of appreciation.
In front of me are the gigantic arena of Haga Sophia and six dexterously carved minarets of the Blue Mosque. The first look of Istanbul can be more exciting than the feeling of being in love for the first time.
In front of me is the place where on 11th May, 330AD, Constantine inaugurated the modern Istanbul and declared it the national capital followed by forty days of celebration.
“What time does the Sophie Museum open?” I asked an old Turk who was reading his morning newspaper.
“I don’t know.” He folded his newspaper and spoke to me. “I never tried going in. The place of worship should be dedicated to worship of the God whether it has the Holy Cross in it or the Azans. It should not be made a garbage pile.”
That garbage pile is still makes immense viewing. Its heavy pillars and huge domes speak volumes of its forgotten enormity. Huge windows still give way to nominal rays of light. All the Turk emperors were coroneted in this building. By changing the people who worship, sanctity of the house of worship does not dwindle.
In front of
(The Blue Mosque)
me are more than six hundred mosques in the City of Mosques, Istanbul. All these mosques are benchmarks in architectural blue print. The gigantic dome of Sultan Ahmed Mosque (aka Blue Mosque) is standing on only four pillars and leaves huge space for worshipers. The carvings and design on its pillars and dome are so intricate that even today’s computerized designing can envy them.
A wave of unsullied cold air touched my face and filled me with freshness. My eyelids failed to bear that green chilliness and closed. At the end of a journey, when the traveler looks back, some of the moments he lived, appear as islands in the ocean of his memory. Istanbul will remain as an island of dreams in the ocean of my memory.
‘What is ‘thank-you’ in Turkish? I had asked my taxi driver.
Tashakkir Turkiye Kaardish. God bless you too.
There are more photos below