I have just finished rereading Bapsi Sidhwas fascinating book titled Ice Candy Man. Ms Sidhwas description of life in Lahore during the turbulent times of 1947, through the eyes of Lenny, the polio-afflicted Parsi girl, who lived on Jail Road, transported me into a time when I too pedalled up and down the same road, as a young boy during the 1950s. Jail Road had not changed much in the decade after independence, from the way it has been described in the book. Stretching from Mozang Chungi to the Railway Crossing, which marked one of the entry points into Lahore Cantonment, it was lined with bungalows standing amidst spacious compounds and a few other structures scattered in between, including the one that gave it its name. The Lahore Central Jail was located where Shadman Colony and a part of the Services Hospital now stand. Surrounded by a massive wall and watch towers, the premises were a source of awe and fear to us children. It was also a place where some of the best carpets and durrees were manufactured. Some of these items are still being used in my family, even after more than half a century. The jail itself had history, for it was here that Bhagat Singh and his two comrades were executed in 1931. The trio were captured and incarcerated for murdering a British officer and throwing bombs in the Central Assembly. More recently, an Indian demand to name the intersection in front of what used to be the main gate of the jail as Bhagat Singh Chowk was turned down by the Pakistani authorities and the spot continues to be referred to as Shadman Chowk. Just short of the jail, a tower bristling with weather forecasting gadgets rose above a building, which was the Lahore Meteorological Office. The facility continues to function to this day, although primitive technology has now been replaced by modern equipment. The vast area of the Lahore Race Club is now the Race Course Park. Sundays were a festive occasion here, as this used to be the race day and it was with some difficulty that motorists could get past the spot due to throngs of punters and bookies. The Lahore Mental Asylum was another 'fearsome building that lay opposite the race course. It was a tall brick structure with arched windows covered with imposing white cage like grills. This was also a stopping point for the Route Number 4 bus and became the source of the well known Lahori phrase: Ehnoo chaar number bus te bhejo, or put him on bus number 4. The building held such terror for us, that every time we were driven past it, we stared at the big barred windows expecting a raving lunatic to leap out and grab us. A little ahead and short of the Upper Bari Doab or Lahore Canal lay the sprawling Kinnaird College campus on the left of the road. Made of red bricks and graceful pointed, arched windows the college remains an institution that Lahore and its citizens can be rightly proud of. Lahores Christian Cemetery or Gora Qabaristan lay on the left and some distance across the canal. Accessible through a beautiful stone archway, a walk amongst the graves was like leafing through a history book. Many of these last resting places were adorned with magnificent marble statues and carvings dating back to the days of the British Empire, and each had a story to tell. The cemetery continues to serve the Christian community of Lahore to this day and visiting it at least once, is an experience recommended for every Lahori interested in pre-independence history. The Lahore Gymkhana Golf Course began where the boundary wall of the cemetery ended. As children, we often wondered at the small groups of people with sticks and bags, who appeared to be searching for some lost possession amongst the grass and trees, while others seemed to be standing reverently on the lush green velvety circular spots marked with flags. It was much later that I found myself standing on one these 'green circular spots trying to 'putt my way out of a 'wooden spoon and a chuckle escaped my lips at the old childhood memory. The massive curving bridge that now spans the south bound railway tracks did not exist then and Jail Road continued past the Golf Course, and the rear wall of the Police Lines, through a rural-looking bazaar, ending at the level crossing, marking the limits of the Cantonment. If Lenny was to revisit her house today, she would find it gone like the other grand residences and their lush compounds that were devoured by commercialisation, turning the once beautiful avenue into a concrete jungle. n The writer is a freelance columnist.