When carrying out research on a country or society, you need a sample size of the population being studied, which is somewhat representative of the characteristics of that population. However, sometimes you get readymade samples when you land up in places like last night. Now I know why my previous anthropology professor was carrying out research on elite women of Lahore, your so called (and sometimes self proclaimed) socialites.
Exhibit A is in a mid-thigh length ruffled dress, creamy white legs, straight black hair, bangs, a goblet in one hand, a smoke in the other, dancing alone at the edge of the stage. Some say she is the reason why H and his wife got a divorce. I’m not one to believe in hearsay but am telling the story as I have been told. You have your profusion of dead straight hair, hair-sprayed curls, fringes glued into place, open toed wedges, tie-back halters, pearl strings and stained mouths. Pungent breath, misplaced bra straps, stilettos, and too much kohl. Hey, I liked your hat though. Very original (this is not sarcastic). I stand in the ‘whirpool of humanity’ as my sister once wrote in her 10th grade essay; only her essay was about a mad man escaping paramedics on a busy train platform. I rest against a pillar, wishing I had the strength to push it over, just to get a reaction out of everyone. Wondering what I am doing there, everything seems slow, languid, almost sluggish, although I am not the one intoxicated.
Who are these people? Who is this man in the paisley printed shirt who is dancing in sync with his wife? Only, this isn’t his wife, I am told, but a colleague from work. Two newly divorced couples brush shoulders, perhaps unknowingly, while they chat up their respective newfound (perhaps temporary) significant others. The woman in the beige dress slips on broken glass into the arms of another man. I turn away just in time. I watch some foreign couples enjoy the band, while another singleton pulls off some ghastly moves and flying kicks on the dance floor.
I’m not impressed by your red lamps and exquisitely decorated lounges. I just stand and wonder what I am doing there, and where all these people came from. Whose houses they live in, who their families are, and what they eat for breakfast on a Sunday. Its almost like people transform into the night, and take on their alter identities, reflective of the dual life most people are living in this country. But then again, who am I to talk? After all, I was also a trash collector to the world, only a few hours ago.