Yes I am a Lahori .. just like 90% of Lahori people who claim this title for just being there for past 2 or more generations. Heck! Even Karachities call themselves Lahori once settled in. Honestly, if you had asked me then, what is this so-called ‘Lahori’ and all the racket, I wouldn’t have been able to tell!
For me, however, my Lahori-pana took hold in the late 90’s, when I came to Pakistan for higher ed.
While adapting to the life of Lahore, I learned the KEY items which certified me as Lahori for that time
1. You must be ready to eat ANYTIME
So this was the time that M.M. Alam road started getting commercialized. People had started to branch off from Copper Kettle, Salt & Pepper, and of course Cafe Zouk. The next big thing was to dine out at Freddie’s Cafe or UNO (Yeah do you remember this cool Chicago Pizzeria which dared to open and soon closed?).
Anyhow, when I started to adapt, I learned that to EAT is to be Lahori. Tell me if I am wrong? We can go to Liberty Capri Cinema for Halwa Puri, follow it with a late lunch in Gulberg somewhere, and end the evening with driving to old lahore to eat karhai!
I think for us food is so important, that it holds a key place in analyzing a wedding, party or an event. Food is everything FULLSTOP.
2. You must own white shalwars and duppattas for summer
Before the craze of these designer lawns, I honestly loved the adventure of seeking out prints, and using our own brains in designing clothes. Who said you needed to purchase a 3 piece all the time? Just invest in a couple of white bottoms; shalwar and/or churi daar pajama, and a few white duppatas; plain or Chunna huwa! You are set for the season! Just spend under 500 PKR for a nice printed shirt, and finish with a nice kaula puri chapal! I tell you… we had it easy and fun!
3. Understanding the social strata of Colleges!
I did not know that attending a certain college could mark you for life, before coming to Lahore! The hierarchy was pretty straight; Kinnaird College at the top! Lahore College to follow. My alma matter College of Home Economics was a class of its own… which only insanely dedicated and hardworking girls dared to go. Or in my case, my mom refused to pay the fees anywhere else as this was her dream (sorry mom). However, I soon learned that if you God-forbid, attended Gulberg College or Queen Mary, you were stricken from the list. Honestly! now I think of it, how silly was it! How many girls could actually get into one college? And wouldn’t the connivence of going to a college closer to you be more sensible?
4. Be ever ready to party!
One thing is for sure. Lahori gals even in 90’s loved to party! I can recall the excitement and energy of everyone to not only participate at our own college functions, but also, attend any and every event at other venues. Concert at Services Club? here we come. Concert at Defense Club, here we come. Concert at Gymkhana, how can we miss it?
Then being girls, we must attend the dholki,mehndi and shadi of all the lucky girls who are getting married before us. (shaking my head)
Overall, I think I was lucky to be in a time where fashion was you turning up and being charming. Otherwise, I could never have gotten away with wearing so many of my mom’s formal clothes. He he (thank you mom)
5. Tea is life!
I know that most people will claim that Karachities have the claim to leading the chai-life. Yet, even Lahori gals are not far behind. I knew so many gals who survived on tea, and couldn’t function without it. Of course, in all honesty, Lahori gals tea couldn’t be swallowed without a healthy company of biscuit and pakoras. Anytime my friends would come over, our kaam wali would put on chai and start making pakoras.
6. Be ready to Laugh at other and yourself.
One of the key attributes that I learned about being a Lahori was to get ragged by anyone as a norm. I do understand now that somehow, it was akin to bullying. Yet, getting teased and as they say in urdu ‘Kit lagana‘ by cousins was a normal part of meeting up. Even at college or meet ups, its a trend to pin point one person and start teasing her. This was done in good humor, provided that the one getting ragged understood that! I soon adjusted and learned to use the art of using ‘Mahawaras‘ and fast-paced jokes, to fight back with such banter. Yet, believe me this, this kind of talk can totally go wrong when talking to Karachities, as I soon learned when interacting with my cousins there.
Overall, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, this wondrous title of ‘Lahori’ , as it showed me how to be colorful in my talk, and lively at heart. Oh and the kismet of getting a hubby who is a true Lahori tied the deal ;).
So tell me… are you a Lahori? Or detest one 😉