Cover Photo: LAHORE by Nick Hahn


The cauldron of Pakistan

The first time I visited this bustling city I was captivated, her sights, sounds and smells seduced me like an exotic dancer.

Lahore is the industrial hub and commercial center of Pakistan but don't let that fool you, she is also beautiful, mysterious and enticing, the perfect first date.

She heightens your senses and speaks to you in a cacophony of dialects and sounds. Her personality embraces you one-minute and insults you the next.

I spent six months living with this woman, we worked, we played, and we loved. We shared our passions and dreams in a mélange of intimacy and secrecy.

The merchant on the corner selling birds in a cage, the spice dealer perfuming the air, the women in burqas negotiating for a plucked chicken and the trucks, buses, and tuk-tuk tricycles covered with graffiti as an art-form, a cultural expression not vandalism.

It all comes together in a kaleidoscopic assemblage of bits and pieces, some smooth and colorful others sharp and dull but when twisted together their attraction is electric.

I was enthralled by all this, the city had a personality of its own, I couldn’t get enough of her, I was in love.

Lahore became my teacher, my muse, my constant companion and yes, my lover.

I was having an affair, as intense and passionate as a doxy in a Paris Pied-a’-Terre.

Being attracted to a woman outside of marriage is like walking the cobblestones of Lahore at midnight, exciting and dangerous. There’s fear, tension and arousal and the constant channeling of sensations to a separate silo of your mind, hidden and secret from those you love.

My love affair with Lahore was not physical, it didn’t violate trust, but it was as intense and self-satisfying as that left-bank lover who couldn’t get enough of me.

Lahore isn’t Paris, London or Rome those fine ladies of Europe whose discipline carefully defines their guardrails. Lahore is a proletariat, a woman who’s passion spills over in a cascade of undisciplined enthusiasm.

I’ll return to Lahore; her siren song is irresistible.

Nick Hahn started his career as a writer while a student at the University of Notre Dame. He went on to become President and CEO of New York-based Cotton Incorporated (Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives). Leaving Cotton in 1997, he formed Hahn International, LTD, an agribusiness consulting group focused on the Third World. For 20 years, Nick has lived and worked among indigenous peoples from Africa to Latin America, his travel diaries often reflecting social and political unrest. Under the Skin is his first novel.

Nick makes his home on the E CT Shoreline where he writes and narrates audiobooks