Man on the China Chowk Jet

Man on the China Chowk Jet

Man on the China Chowk Jet

While going to drop my brother to his office & my sister to her college, I saw a rather unusual scene at China Chowk, on Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat between The Mall & Jail Road in Lahore. It was something I probably wouldn’t do even or a dare. But not even then. This middle-aged man, with his salt ‘n’ pepper hair & dusty clothes, climbed over the low steel fence & onto the moth-balled PAF F-6 jet (Chinese variant of Russian MiG-19) parked on the green belt.

Once he was on the wing of the Jet, began pacing across the length of it, sometimes raising his hands above his head, as if in ecstasy at his feat, & sometimes shaking his head. He, then, took off his Peshawaris (sandals) & tossed them onto the Lawrence Road. I was parked at the signal, coming from The Mall, & only saw him there briefly, but he kept me thinking all day & wondering what was going through his mind as he walked on the F-6’s hot, metal wing barefoot. Was it the heat that drove him insane? Poverty? The uncertainty? The political instability? Had he lost a child? His wife? Was he on drugs? He didn’t seem to be on drugs. Was he just an eccentric just doing it because he wanted to? He seemed lucid in his movement, in control of his body but certainly not entirely in control of his mental faculties. Or was it the heat? 

As I turned onto Lawrence Road, I saw his black bicycle parked, rather, carelessly on the road on the other side of the F-6. It was very hot yesterday morning, even by Lahori standards.

I feel this will be one of those random events, one of those mysteries that will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life.


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