How to Not Survive Summer in Lahore

It was a Wednesday, when I finally convinced my otherwise immovable and unbudgeable friends to visit Anarkali bazaar with me. They simply didn’t want to go. For one thing, it is June. June in Lahore is like living inside a tandoor, with brief spells of respite when rain or breeze arrives, uninvited. The tandoor bakes you and wrings all the water out of your very bones. So, it was that kind of day.

The weather was fair, doesn’t discriminate. Everyone got equally scorched. Crows, cats, sparrows, and pigeons., people.

So as we traveled from the outskirts of Lahore to its center, the heat got worse. The air conditioning in the cab did not work. The windows had to be rolled down at some point. Hot bursts of air leached what was left of hope inside our boiling heads. By the time we reached our destination, we were rather unsure what we were doing there at all. I can’t tell you where we went as it was so long ago that I have forgotten, or the summer has altered my memories beyond repair. So we went. We reached a building full of offices upon offices upon offices. For some odd reason, a page had to be signed by all of them. There, we were baking in the June heat, slowly but surely. From one room to the next, like mad clerks with the left half of their brains mysteriously gone, we went. Waiting, sweating, feeling as though what remained of purpose was leaking out of us in the form of sweat. By four pm, the matters of signatures were complete.

Were we at court? No. I can’t tell you where we were because I don't know either. The June sun has erased where part.

All I remember is that it was a century ago at least. I didn’t know my name. Some friends and I ventured into the center of Lahore. In the evening when we arrived in a cool room, the only strength we had left was spent in gulping down bottles of water. One thing is certain, I won’t ever forget seeing those slumped figures on staircases, a man scratching letters in the hot sand with a stick, and dismal slumped people who walked with the discomfort of a lifetime spent in the wrong spaces.

I wish I could remember where I was, who I was. I have forgotten.

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Fizza Saeed

Fizza Saeed

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