Each year towards the end of the spring semester, seniors huddle in front of the iconic, immemorial academic block at LUMS. Each year, the academic block witnessed something surreal. Students, having evaded each other’s gaze for a good part of four years, now come together, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder and look up towards the sky. They want to get a picture taken. The camera man stands and signals on the second floor of the PDC, and almost instantly, the chantings begin. It’s a countdown. Ten…nine…eight…and just like that, the picture fails to capture the nostalgia, the depression, the ecstasy, the gloom and other innumerable feelings that hundreds of people are going through or have gone through, together. These people are all joined in unison by the colour they are celebrating. For the years they went to the same university together, they enjoyed the liberty of not dressing up in uniforms. After all, university is not like school. It is something much more special. These colours – blue, white, yellow, red, green, orange, purple and some more – are uniforms they wish they never wore. For four years, they wanted out. The sleepy 8:00 AMs, the exhausting evening classes and all-consuming stress of examinations and grading instruments: my people thought they would have it better once they leave. No heed is paid to accumulating suggestions from the batches above them repeatedly saying that good-byes are not so exciting once you come closer to them, even if they are beautiful. Why would a freshman, a sophomore or a junior occupy his mind with the end-of-days festivities? It would not make sense. Anticipation cannot do justice to the moment felt in time, and every batch lets that moment come to it at the time it is due. Today, as I look around my peers all dressed in the same colour, much like a uniform, I understand that the time has finally arrived. If you look closer, the eyes reflect a weariness, a gloom that the rest of the body is oblivious to. It has not been stirred just yet. The good-byes are dormant but they will be ceremoniously performed, and that realization is starting to dawn upon everyone.
The ‘I need Feminism’ campaign at LUMS has propelled me to think about a lot of things that I feel are wrong or inappropriate in our society. No, they do not pertain to the status of women in Pakistan, or anything that has to do with what feminism stands for, but it is about the way a certain ideology is being propagated in a medium.
Unsung thoughts, I would like to call them. With music slipping through to your ears as you enjoy the comfort of laying back in bed, earphones on, and just silently thinking and evaluating life, never ignore the grandeur of this moment; it is significant.
Often in our lives comes a point where we need an escape. There is just too much going on, and while caught in this robust flow one tends to feel a little nostalgic even over the little peculiarities that he or she once enjoyed in a relatively static moment of life. I would call that robust flow of events ‘college’. I would categorise my escape to be this very blog, because its been quite some time that I’ve actually written something, about anything.
I really don’t know what I’m going to talk about, but I’ll keep writing till this post morphs into something worth reading, and hopefully by then you’ll be there to read it through as well. But really, this isn’t for you. This is for me. This is my escape, and even though it sometime bothers me that no one would read my post, this insecurity won’t last long and this won’t matter for long. This is my space, my escape and that’s about it.
In two days, a new equilibrium will be established. People of Pakistan have decided and are ready to cast their vote for a better Pakistan.
One thing is for sure; no matter who you’re voting for, your intentions are clean. All of us want to see a better, brighter Pakistan. All of us, however, have our own opinion on how that goal could be achieved and this is where the divide settles in.
Before I go on and announce my own political inclinations, I would urge you all to at-least cast your vote. Even if you do not believe that a vote possesses its hyped worth, still cast it. If you do not support any of the political parties, then instead of wasting your vote by sleeping all day, just visit your polling booth and cancel your vote.
Second grade – and I can’t utter a word. Something trickles down my forehead – sweat? Rain? Blood? I can’t tell – though my brain tells me I must be imagining it, my heart knows otherwise. For surely I must be bleeding – surely this is a river crimson flowing from my skull, a scarlet lake gathering on the ground, a pool carrying within it all the dirt and filth of a liar’s sin – surely I must now suffer a slow and agonising death, all the dark penury of Adam, for having lied to my own parents?
Fear is my companion, the only one I can trust to stay. Isn’t it fear I feel every time I look into my mother’s eyes and tell her – falsely, cheerily – that I have done well, better than anyone, in my exams? Isn’t it fear that makes my muscles limp, my legs loathe to move, my heart racing every time my father asks me genially how my day has gone? Fear lurks in corners, creeps with the shadows, looks out of paintings with eyes that laugh at my burning shame – because I have lied, and it knew, and I knew, and it knew I knew it. And I cannot stop: this is the worst part, the thing that makes my lies almost gruesome, blasphemous, a slight against all that is good and great and noble. Each time I utter a lie, it hovers above me, a dark, heavy cloud that diseases the air – and I go on uttering it, because once spoken I cannot dare retract it; because I am not a bright student, have never been a great student, and I – only seven, at the time – have not the courage to hurt them with the truth. Did I have a choice? An excuse? Only that I was a prisoner to love; only that I was a slave to fear. I went on nearly failing my exams, and I went on telling them I had done well, hating myself each time I did.
I have a confession – one that isn’t so dodgy or isn’t as surprising as one would expect – but no matter, it still is a confession, which makes it exciting. I have lived for eighteen years now, and I do not know how to drive. There you go, the inflated balloon has now flown past you with such a demeanour that it doesn’t even deserve a second thought, but whatever. I modestly know how to code, I modestly know how to solve calculus problems and I can even cook the hardest things on the menu, but I have not learned the art of manoeuvring the modern vehicle.
To every confession, there is an underlining story often ignored. The story actually forms the gist of that confession; makes it exciting and gossipy as it should be. Why is it ignored, then? Simple. You don’t question about the ingredients of a Lindt chocolate that you enjoy – you merely consume it, revelling in it’s seemingly everlasting taste that can lift moods. I can safely assume that you are all smart enough to recognise the potency of this analogy, so may be I won’t draw the connection to an obvious point; not by the words at-least.