David Chalmers Alesworth

“Desi Unday” Bilal Gunj


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I went back to “Bilal Gunj” Lahore’s massive used car part market for a second sound sampling, a few days ago. This time with Huma’s 4 channel Zoom recorder.

In over an hour of walking the lanes I got reasonably varied ambient sound from the breakers, welders, paint-sprayers and a great many gas and kerosene burners heating food and tea. On this trip I realized there was a tremendous culture of food going on here.

Fish, tea, sweet-potatoes, chena, monpelli, carrot juice, egg-fried rice, subzi and dal, roti’s of every description and finally hot, boiled desi-unday. I’d almost given up on the eggs. I kept asking where the sellers were, because it was their presence selling these beautiful subtle-hued, small precious des-unday (local-eggs/free-range eggs) in the context of these ancient and smashed oily wrecks of cars and trucks that had given rise to the egg and engine photographs.

Suddenly they were there running through the lanes, two sellers I’d never seen before. They both carried padded bags to keep the boiled eggs warm, their cry was garam-desi-unday and I realized this would give a somewhat different spin on the photographs. They’d be read as engine heated eggs, not what I’d intended.

I’d intended the teeming living eggs as nature amongst the toxic waste of the man-made, the guts of the engines.

I produced a 12 minute mixed edit of the garam-unday criers and the ambient sounds on my stroll through the richly varied soundscape in the lanes of this market. Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh‘s shrine minarets can be heard throughout the work, a constant accompaniment at Bilal Gunj. This shrine to the patron saint of Lahore, lies right in front of the car market.

“966th URS Shareef is on 3 Feb 2010 Inshallah”
966 Urs Mubarak Of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri Will Held On 19 Safar al Muzaffar And 4 February 2010 (Approx) At Data Darbar , Near Bhatti Gate, Lahore. Pakistan
Days Remaining In URS Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh

His birthday is being celebrated today which a holiday in most of Punjab.

(….haven’t been able to upload this clip as yet)