My family thinks that it must have been the fall I had when I was a child, or perhaps it was the wall that collapsed on me when I was a restless boy of eight. Whatever be the case, it was rumoured that my wanderlust and footloose temperament were likely to get me into big trouble someday. Among other things, it was the sight of old pre-independence government rest houses known as 'bungalows that drew me with the irrepressible urge to explore them. These structures fell into two categories - the 'dak bungalow and the 'inspection bungalow. The first got its name from the word 'dak or 'mail and represented staging points along a mail route, where travellers could be accommodated overnight and mail dropped or picked up. The 'inspection bungalow was a rest house similar in design to the 'dak bungalow, but used by canal, public works and forest officials on their tour of areas under their jurisdiction. Many years ago, with clouds hanging low over the Margalla Hills and overcome by the desire to be amongst the outdoors, I set out for a place mentioned to me by a local friend from Pir Sohawa village. A few kilometres past the barrier he that told me that I was entering, what was then the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), I stopped at a place called Sangri Gali to get directions. Beyond this point, the road ascended between pine-covered slopes with an abundance of natural springs, to a vast and flat saddle-like area that sported a general store and few houses. Low clouds covered the scene and a sharp chilly breeze swirled these into a mist, creating a magical ambience. Peering to my right I spotted my destination - a densely wooded knoll that played hide and seek, through the moving curtain of white. I trudged up a winding track that led through fir, ivy laden walnut and batang trees, to the top of the knoll and stood in front of a small forest inspection bungalow and stretching as far as my eye could see, was the magnificent view of two valleys flanked by forested ridge lines. The rest house records showed that the two bedroomed structure had been constructed in 1924 and was regularly visited by British forest officers until 1947. Post-independence entries, however, indicated that only a few Pakistani officials had ever visited the place and this neglect was perhaps causing the place to fall apart. I was welcomed enthusiastically by the caretaker, who magically whipped up a chicken curry and some rotis, followed by steaming doodh patti. As I explored the surroundings, I began to realise that what I was looking at was an area that could be developed into a beautiful hill station and holiday resort by the government, just a mere 30 minutes drive from the federal capital. Some years later, on a pleasant spring morning, I found myself on the road from Mansehra to Balakot in search for more 'bungalows. We drove uphill amidst the pines and the pleasant smell of wild flowers, till we turned right into a narrow side road marked by a small sign indicating that we were headed towards Baagsar Forest Rest House. At first glance, the building and the surrounding lawns appeared to be like any other forest property until one began to notice that the structure and the garden were very well maintained. I stared at the building with awe, in the knowledge that I was standing in front of a place that had the honour of being the overnight abode of none other than Pakistans Founding Father Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was no wonder then that the caretaker here took pride in keeping the rest house spotlessly clean and the lawns in perfect shape. Babakwal was a small village that lay in the vicinity of Shahdara close to the River Ravi. When I visited the place more than four decades ago, Shahdara was a small sleepy rural town away from the hubbub of the Lahori metropolis. A small canal carrying water from the Ravi passed close to the village, but what made the spot worth the visit was the canal rest house on the banks of this water channel. This pre-independence building was surrounded by tall shisham trees that resounded with the cacophony of birdcalls. I soon discovered that the place was bird watchers paradise because of its habitat conditions. It not only had an ample and never-ending supply of insects and water, but also a benign caretaker who ensured that his leftover scraps of food were fed to his feathered friends on a daily basis. Birds had become so used to the old man that they would hop fearlessly around his feet, as he sat on his cot smoking his huqqa. I do not know if this 'canal inspection bungalow is still standing or if the old bird lover is alive, but for me the 'Babakwal Canal Lodge has always generated nostalgia and the memory of an old man in perfect harmony with nature. The writer belongs to a very old and established family of the Walled City. His forte is the study of History.