In this day and age, opinions matter. Subjective in their entirety, we all cling on to our predisposed thoughts and feelings. Some claim the earth is flat — a notion that has been ridiculed by many but continues to thrive because it seems to be on the news pretty much every day.
Just last week, in conversation with a good friend of mine, I was introduced to another opinion, one that made me wish dearly that the earth was, in fact, flat. That way I could walk off across the face of this earth and perish into nothingness forever.
Lamenting to my compassionate companion I remarked on how depressing I feel about the winter season finally coming to conclusion. The past few months of endless chai was now going to be eclipsed by the seemingly never ending summer season (I call it ‘sweat season’) in Pakistan. To my utter disbelief, my friend responded, with zero empathy, “Stop whining yaar, garmian in Lahore aren’t that bad, to be honest!”
First of all, in that moment, my immediate reaction was to strike my friend so hard that he also perished into nothingness. But I was more taken aback than anything.
Winters in Lahore are beautiful, to put it simply. The cold weather is complemented by bright sunshine and even the pollution in this city takes a backseat. While that may be because we Lahoris are now unable to differentiate between an actual fog and smog — there is only so much for us to cherish in the city of concrete. And the hallmark of a normal citizen of this town is that in winters, he/she easily spends a large part of their day basking in sunlight, snuggled up in layers with a hot beverage in their hands to keep them company. Even writing about such days brings a smile to my face. I can get used to this kind of nostalgia.
But what I cannot for the life of me get used to is how people can think summers in Lahore are fine. Is ‘fine’ a synonym for ‘hell on earth’? Have we all become delusional, like the current government in power when it claims to making Pakistan a welfare state? I fail to understand how people can even begin to put summers and winters on equal footing.
Perhaps, they are not unaware that even in the coldest of weather one has the luxury of putting on as many layers as one can muster; what are we supposed to do in summers, when the temperature hits the 40 Celsius mark and we are already buck naked waiting for WAPDA to return us electricity so that we can start being civilised members of the society again. Are we supposed to enjoy the vicious cycle that is forever repeated during the blistering heat each summer season in Lahore when there is water but no electricity? And when there is electricity, there is no water? The only constant — and, perhaps, the only thing to enjoy as we are slowly micro-waved like cheap popcorn — is falsa. But there is a limit to that, too.
Sadly, however, it seems there is no limit to global warming and the increasing months of summers we will have to endure in the depressing future. And by ‘we’ I mean those whose brains haven’t yet been fried completely to publicly state that summers in Lahore are enjoyable; the ones who stand under the shade provided by the soon-to-be-extinct trees in our city, and invite you to join them — proudly stating the weather really doesn’t seem worse in that spot.
But the grass is not greener on the other side. It burns, and it smells. Because somehow deodorants also become a delicacy during summers in this part of the world. Imagine constantly praying for a breeze to come through your way to tackle the humidity levels, but immediately regretting it as the wind brings in odours that your nose never wanted to entertain. There is no escape. Neither from the heat, nor from opinions.
P.S.: I’ve come to realise that I might lose some friends by writing this column. But I’m not worried because summer season is here anyway, and that means hibernation.