We will return and settle in Lucknow, says couple Salim Arif and Lubna Salim - Hindustan Times
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We will return and settle in Lucknow, says couple Salim Arif and Lubna Salim

Apr 02, 2024 12:23 PM IST

Salim Arif and Lubna Salim take a stroll down Hazratganj and talk about their love for the city, theatre and more

The relationship of theatre personalities Salim Arif and actor Lubna Salim with Lucknow goes beyond that of a hometown and sasural.

Salim Arif and Lubna Salim at Hazratganj in Lucknow(Deep Saxena/HT)
Salim Arif and Lubna Salim at Hazratganj in Lucknow(Deep Saxena/HT)

“Mumbai is our Karmabhoomi, but sometimes we feel like we want to come back and settle here!” says Lubna to which her husband smiles with a similar feeling of love for his city.

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During a stroll at their favourite destination- Hazratganj, Salim goes down memory lane, “I am a local guy so have numerous memories but with Lubna, I remember watching movies at Mayfair and savouring coffee, sandwiches and pastry platters at Quality Restaurant. It must be 1990-91.”

Food and masala

The couple savouring coffee at Janpath Market in Lucknow(Deep Saxena/HT)
The couple savouring coffee at Janpath Market in Lucknow(Deep Saxena/HT)

They have a list of must-do activities that includes savouring delicious food, buying clothing, and purchasing spices.

“Lucknow mein aa kar to sabse pahle chaat khani hai! We do that it at several chaatwallas. It’s mandatory to go to Akbari Gate and try delicacies that we don’t get anywhere else. Chikankari shopping is also a must but now intricate works and motifs are very rare to get. And on top of the list are masalas. So, I went to Mata Badal Pansari to buy yellow mirch, kewra itra and hing. I got gujiya from Akanksha store.” Arif’s top priority is to spend time with his friends.

Perfect balance

Salim Arif and Lubna Salim at Hazratganj in Lucknow
Salim Arif and Lubna Salim at Hazratganj in Lucknow

“I love this place not just because it’s Salim’s hometown and my sasural. It’s a vibrating and rich city that is deeply connected with its roots. Every time I come here; I see a new side of it but the most beautiful part is the balance. It’s no longer just that nawabon ka sheher...it’s a lot today! I see youngsters who are modern but are carrying the culture and tehzeeb with them,” says Lubna.

She adds, “I was happy to see the Rumi Darwaza renovated, Imambara lit up and on the same side Hazratganj and modern Lucknow – Gomti Nagar and extension – in its full glory. This balance of maintaining the heritage and new Lucknow is very beautiful.”

Love for Lucknow University

Salim Arif at his alma mater Lucknow University
Salim Arif at his alma mater Lucknow University

Arif says, “With Lucknow University, I have a big nostalgia. When I visited for the 100-year celebrations in 2020, the pandemic cast a shadow over the event. However, during my recent visit, I was pleased to see the culturally rich side of the university. It reminded me of my days, and I was delighted to the younger generation’s eagerness towards the culture that we used to have. Although we may not be known for academic excellence (laughs), we certainly brought laurels to the university in the cultural field.”

Lubna adds, “I was very impressed to read the signboard ‘ragging-free campus’. Besides, I saw a lot of enthusiasm and vibes from the youngsters.”

Lubna on a shopping spree(Deep Saxena/HT)
Lubna on a shopping spree(Deep Saxena/HT)

Dream project

The Lucknowite has a dream for his city. “I want to create a space in Lucknow where youngsters and senior members can come and spend their evening – watch a play and have some snacks. I can conceptualise and execute it by giving my time and energy to create a business model but I don’t have that kind my money. It could be done with some government help and private involvement as expecting too much from government is not also.”

On a signing-off note he adds, “With people like us there is a problem – Lucknowites think we are Mumbaiwallah while people in Mumbai think we are from the North! Still, I am happy that I am part of several local bodies and people here remember us and call often. We love coming back.” Lubna nods her head with a smile

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Deep Saxena writes on Bollywood, OTT, television, food and culture for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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