Hamid Rashed’s visit to Heera Mandi is an engaging account that demystifies its snazzy reputation:
I visited Texali Bazaar of Lahore on August 16, 2009. I reached the infamous locality at 10pm and remained there until 3am.
A pimpled prostitute, wearing a black bra one size too small, laying on a stained mattress, awaiting the customers in a dusty room overpowered with strong smell of incense is the situation most people assume you into when you mention the name of this bazaar.
Contrary to popular practice of the visitors of this bazaar, mine was an informative trip. My friend Tariq Yar (from PTV) had invited me to Texali. I had a vague idea that the trip will be educational but didn’t know the extant.
Yar, who is doing research on the walled-city of Lahore voluntarily, introduced me to two of his friends. Advocate Iqbal, who also runs the Ustaad Damin Academy, and Mirza Rashid.
Iqbal is from Okara and is living in Texali for the past 28 years. He is a chronic bachelor and has no apparent appetite for facilities the neighborhood can offer at any time of the day.
Mirza is the inhabitant of the walled-city for the past so many generations. He knows the webbed streets of the walled-city like the back of his hand.