LOCATED next to the parking area designated for hikers coming to Trail-5, shadowed by the towering trees at the feet of the imposing-but-serene Margalla Hills is the kiosk providing a resting point for hikers and is famous for the Pakoray it offers.
Since the weather mostly remains pleasant at Margalla Hills and it rains often as well, Pakoray remain a hot-selling item at the kiosk. The stall also provides basic supplies for the hikers, which includes juices, water bottles, chips, biscuits and other such items.
The kiosk, which marks the start and end for the hiking Trail-5, is run by Mir Dad. Now in his 30s, Mir has been attached with this business in one way or the other since he was a child. “My father used to run a tea-stall. As I grew up, I decided to take his business further,” said Mir.
The kiosk is not big and things inside look congested as the fryer he uses to get his Pakoray crisp and ready takes a lot of space. Yet this stall has all the basic things you might need before heading for a hike.
Other than the big fryer, there is a small gas cylinder with a stove on it. When asked, Mir said that the cylinder was his first investment when he started to run his own tea-stall. “Things have changed now. I have a fryer too. But I have kept this stove, and I use it to make tea for myself,” Mir said with a bit of nostalgia in creeping in his words.
Mir’s kiosk has become a hangout spot for the youths living nearby, and they throng in numbers even if they don’t plan to go hiking. This kiosk is the only shop for a few kilometres as it is all a residential area across the road. This makes Mir’s kiosk a natural go-to spot for all the nearby residents.
There is a lot of open space around the kiosk and it has been managed in such a way that it can accommodate a lot of people who frequently visit for a cup of tea or crispy hot Pakoray, or both!
Since the place offers a lot of peace and silence, many students show up there for group study as well. The place gets abuzz with chatter and hassle in the evening, but as soon as the sun sets and the birds return to their nests. The affairs at the kiosk come to a halt as well.
This happens when you live or work so close to nature. You have to abide by its laws as well. So when the sun sets and darkness spreads, those at the kiosk also call it a day and head to their homes ... to rise again the next morning like the sun.