The “Travel Sketchbook” and the “Sketched Travels”

From real to reel: A two-part creative response (post-Glasgow trip)

Part 1: The “Travel Sketchbook”

It is endearing how cities elicit the same desire to chronicle and render a similar violence of inability to aptly do so. It is humbling to know we stumble the same before the Glasgow Cathedral as we do before the Badshahi Masjid of Lahore. We etch the same hurried lines and shakily record every nook and cranny. It is comforting that we fail the same each time. It is ironic how we traverse miles only to return home to say that, لاہور لاہور اے, Lahore is Lahore. There is truth to it, Lahore is Lahore, how Glasgow is Glasgow, as every city is unique to itself.

But Lahore is Glasgow as Glasgow is Lahore, because beyond the cartographical differences, every city is any city. It is brick and mortar, it is revving engines and meandering crowds, it is the canvas of claim for unruly youth, its walls vandalised with their feigned immortality, a plastered shout of: I came, I lived and I shall not be lost within the cervixes of an unforgiving time. These walls are for the citizens to disparage, desecrate or decorate, the semantics of aesthetic categorisation varies from observer to observer, but then where does the visitor dwell? Does the tourist not have a claim to the land they see? I argue they do, but not on the walls they see; rather they build their own infrastructure of claim: paper walls, digital walls, metallic walls. They pick apart the brick and mortar, crush it under the weight of their experience until it turns to charcoal and then paint their own claim of the city onto paper and reel alike. This response is an ode to the human fallacy of belonging, it is a city reclaimed.

4th October 2023 - 12:05 AM
Headphones? Check. Phone? Check. Bags? Check. Jacket? Check. Ticket? Check. Passport? Check; And the list keeps running in an unprecedented loop, sometimes tethering on ludicrosity; Shoes? Check. A book solely to appear mysterious whilst travelling? Check. Overpriced airport bought chewing gum? Check. My travelling partner? On her way!

3:30 AM
The clinical smell of the aeroplane: metal, anticipation, worn out seats and an artificial freshener. Bags? Stored overhead. Window seat? Secured. Passport? Packed into the carry-on. Boarding Pass? Scrapbooked. Track of time? lost.

5th October 2023 - 9:30 AM
Is this the part where we begin to masquerade as locals? For the authentic experience? And then miserably fail at the illusion when we struggle to insert the ticket, or stumble into the carriage because we do not possess the comfort of routine that affords the accurate measure of the step’s height.

6th October 2023 - 9:35 AM
Green. Brown. Rooftops. Cows. Green. Brown. Rooftops. Car Parking. Cows.

10:00 AM
A day in Edinburgh. That is all we get. The lack of illustrative remembrance is not for a lack of want but rather reflective of the pace of experience. Had we to scribble it onto paper, it would be a whirlwind of squiggly lines to match the pace of our feet as we traversed centuries in hours.

6th October 2023 - 12:00 PM
Shoes? Zipped. Notes? Opened. Speech? Memorised.
Breathe? Breathe.

The Presentation Day. The anxiety is novel, perhaps, because for once it is not just our work that we are to present, no, we are to become the voice of ten. Ten individuals who came together to make this project a possibility. How to encapsulate months in minutes? People in sentences?

8:00 PM
What are the vegan options?
Does this have alcohol in it?
Is salmon halal?
This reminds me of Bamboo Union, only quieter!

8:10 PM
The lull of conversation is scary. The surroundings cease to be foreign. Minutes pass, food is served, remarks exchanged, and we could swear beyond the door was Gulberg. We could swear Readings was a 10 minute walk away. We could swear we heard a Rickshaw pass. We swear we heard the horn of our car. We could swear we were back home.

Home then must be a warm dinner and an old friend.

7th October 2023 - 1:00 PM

Decolonize the museum.
Museums must recognize their exploitative curation.
But must not return what is stolen. Language has power, there is no denying the factuality of that claim. But language cannot alone undo the imperial superstructures. What difference does it make if the label of an artefact bears its history of exploitation? Conversation. And who holds that conversation? White folks or those masquerading as them. The object still remains isolated oceans away.

8th October 2023 - 2:00 PM Etched reclamations

11th October 2023 - 8:00 AM Eternity was always immeasurable until it became a week in Glasgow.