Life in the Fast Lane: A Lahori’s LUMS by Mohammad Basit Khan & Abdul Wasay Ali Khan
Escaping Lahore’s crazy traffic is a blessing every time I feel the asphalt beneath my car turn to smooth tarmac, gliding past the LUMS In-Gate. It’s almost as if the thousands of traffic lights littered across the streets and the wayward motorcyclists on the main roads know exactly when you’re in a hurry. Luckily, I had taken to winding through back alleys and narrow side streets, making my way like I do every day.
I quietly let out a sigh of relief as I realise I’ll be able to make it to Atif Rahim’s Management class in time after all; I’d be cutting it close, but at least I made it to campus in one piece.
It’s usually a hassle and I immediately chalk it up to a stroke of marvellous luck. I take a few moments to take in the sight of the Aquatic Centre, one of the more peaceful spots on campus where the swimming pool is always a treat when the heat of summer begins to creep in, but I can’t stay for long. I start to break into a light jog and move on.
The road by the volleyball court is an extremely popular spot for countless food streets and fairs that seem to pop up from time to time all year round. It’s always a fun time: going out on a stroll with friends, taking in the ambience, trying out all sorts of delicacies at the food vendors from grilled sandwiches to gol gappay, Saddam’s shami burger to Frozi’s ice-popsicles. However, I can steal only a fleeting glance, as I’m trying my best to pick up the pace and get to the SDSB building before the auditorium doors are locked.
I start to slow down near the marble SDSB plaque and begin seeing my reflection in the huge glass windows, silently rejoicing at the two minutes I had left to comfortably reach the auditorium in the basement. The elevators are an extremely convenient way of travelling across the many floors of the business school, but I quickly notice a large group of students clambering through the doors to get to one of the upper floors and sprint to take the stairs instead. Taking two steps at a time, I reach the doors of the B-1 auditorium and rush to my seat to catch my breath before the lecture begins.
After an exhilarating hour and forty-five minutes with Sir Atif, I step outside and breathe in the fresh air; my schedule is clear for the evening and there’s only one thing to do — time to head to the Khokha and hang out with friends. I quickly drop a text in our WhatsApp group and slip my phone into my pocket.
Unencumbered with any assignment deadlines for the day, I stroll along the paved pathway at a leisurely pace and take a look at the towering LUMS Masjid. I feel a cool breeze picking up as I slow down. The architecture of the buildings on campus have always inspired in me a sense of awe but the minimalistic design of the Masjid and the sharp edges of its concrete minarets captivate me in an inexplicable way. The trees lining the sides of the pavement add a touch of colour to the scene. I take a few moments to admire the view as I continue along the path.
As I amble my way to the Khokha, I come across the library lawn, a place of relative calm. I always feel at peace here, as sparrows chirp in the background in a melodious yet incoherent manner and the falling leaves bid farewell to the sweet summer and beckon the autumn in.
If it weren’t for my friends right now, I would have sat on one of the benches here soaking in the winter breeze while resting my eyes on the perfectly trimmed grass that lay there, and casually scrolling through my instagram feed. This also is the best spot to get some pictures with the library building plastered with green creepers giving you a picture perfect backdrop.
The Law School, often referred to as SAHSOL is often associated with the dreaded expansive exam halls, the venue for a number of exams at LUMS. I have a Pakistan Legal System class in this building tomorrow. I also have to prepare for a quiz for it and I can feel the anxiety kicking in steadily.
As I make my way through the matt green benches I am soaked in the cacophony of the vibrant community. From the colourful society stalls blazing local indie music or the screening of the much hyped Lahore vs Karachi PSL match on the LCD at Baradari, you can always expect something or the other to keep you engrossed here. As I navigate my way to an empty table, I run into several friends and strike up a small conversation before I finally spot my clique on one of the tables.
Now that my friends are here, we did something that we do best: coming up with a spontaneous plan. We make plans for a quick visit off campus to get our hands on some ice cream cones and everyone jumps at the idea since I have my car around as well.