Beat the heat with ‘lassi’
Most sought after drink in summer, its consumption is stunning
By Dr Sania Chaudhry
in Lahore are soaring fast as the summer season picks up. The heat of June
is being reciprocated by the long hours of unannounced loadshedding.
School children who are at home due to summer vacations are finding it
extremely difficult to kill time. Apart from cable and Internet there is
little entertainment available to occupy our growing societies in healthy
and progressive activities. The streets of Lahore are infamous for its
gastronomic offerings which is the major alternative activity in the name
of leisure and amusement. One such hot spot is a ‘doodh dahi’ shop on
a busy road of a densely populated area which comes to life as the sun
The milk shop offers a
range of dairy products including unpasteurised milk, chilled cardamom
flavoured milk with ‘tukh malanga’, ‘lassi’, ‘kheer’and ‘falooda’.
As the temperature drops in the evening, this shop becomes a hub of social
activity as pedestrians, cyclists and bikers stop by to quench their
thirst with a chilled glass of milk or ‘lassi’. Other customers queue
up around a massive container as they make their daily purchase of
unpasteurised milk for domestic consumption. This milk is measured and
dispensed in a double layer of plastic shopping bags. The customer demand
is generally for 2-3 litres. By nightfall the service lane is filled up by
parked vehicles which block the flow of traffic in an attempt to be the
first to order. Eventually the street is flocked by groups of youngsters
of the locality and families visiting from the neighbourhood housing
As I was enjoying a cool
drink, a couple of workers from the shop brought two huge milk containers
to a medium-sized tanker parked next to my car and started filling these
up with milk. This came as a surprise to me as by the looks of it that
tanker looked more like an oil or chemical carrier as there was no
chilling mechanism visible. How could this milk sustain the heat of the
day for hours and still be safe for human consumption when according to
international safety standards all perishable dairy products must be
refrigerated below 4°C. I called one of the lads who was serving and
asked him a few questions to satisfy my curiosity. During our conversation
some interesting facts surfaced which I would like to share.
The unpasteurised milk
which was being sold at the shop for Rs. 57 per litre was collected from
small dairy farmers in the city of Kasur and brought to town in such
vehicles. The capacity of this tanker was 225 maunds and depending on how
busy the day of the week is the shop will utilise up to 3 milk tankers.
The mechanism that is used to keep milk chilled in the tanker is that milk
is frozen in the form of blocks and dropped into this huge container while
this supply is consumed. As soon as this tanker becomes empty it leaves
the parking to collect more milk from the dairy farms while another
similar vehicle carrying the milk supply for the next few hours is parked
alongside the shop.
But I wonder what
quantum of tax is being paid by such businesses which bear no receipts and
are devoid of any documentation. How is general sales tax charged and
collected from such businesses? How does a Revenue Inspector respond to
such income generating concerns and report them to enhance tax collection
in the country? These are all serious concerns for me as every other
salaried taxpayer receives his pay cheque after tax deduction.
I realised that the
glass of my chilled drink was now empty. Certainly these milk shops, which
were a social hub of the streets of interior city, have provided an
alternative to the cola selling ‘khokhas’ which hitherto had been the
focal point of entertainment in the ever expanding urban outskirts of
Lahore. We paid our bill for the ‘lassi’ and drove away to make space
for the next lot of customers honking behind us for the parking spot.
Not more than a
day ago, I received a WhatsApp message, saying, “Sometimes you will
never know the true value of a moment until it becomes memory,” against
a candle-lit background. We hear quotes like these, again and again, but
with me, they only manage to leave an impact if I ponder hard over them
and this time I did.
This brought back a
sudden wave of nostalgia to me. Around four months back, I was anxious to
finish my undergrad. Couldn’t wait for my final semester to end, always
pulled a grotesque expression at the thought of repeating a course, if
necessary. The moment I graduated, albeit unofficially, was a red- letter
day in my life. In fact, the routine was simple for me. I used to take
classes, and the moment they ended I checked with friends about their
whereabouts and met them. Regardless of classes scheduled after breaks, I
sometimes left the campus in pursuit of pleasure; food, movies, plays or
anything else. This much I allowed myself to stay back at times when the
weather was extremely pleasing; my college was an ideal place to be in
cool breezy weather.
My experiences are not
unique, neither are they so worn and trite. I enrolled at college with a
jovial, laid back attitude of a teen. Gradually met myself operating with
reckless abandon. Then, disillusioned, knocked on my door. And lastly, I
regained my composure and realised when the going gets tough, the tough
gets going. Consequently, I spent my last days there with gusto.
However, I think most of
us have had moments in our lives to recognise that life is not always a
bed of roses. But it is moments like these which bring out the best in
you. They come with a platform to test you, present you with the
opportunity to do your own SWOT analysis and at times also let you know
that adopting the policy of being indifferent is for the best.
Nonetheless, in your indifference, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the
fact that there are many out there to envy you and secretly conspire
against your welfare; just be careful and have a staunch assurance in the
power of God. Sharing notes with others enlightens me that such are the
crucial points in life when one does not always need advice, a hand to
hold, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen a beautifully serene heart
to understand would suffice.
Catharsis on a frequent
basis seems like a blessing then. In my opinion, such facilities can be
provided to one either by family or the best of the ‘best’ friends.
Some people have this amazing capability to make you feel better by making
you believe in your power, your dreams – in short yourself, something
that we lack alarmingly at that very moment. They have been my saviors on
a rainy day.
So, now when I look
back, I am thankful for my undergraduate years, they have been my grooming
ground for the practical world. I made friends, lost some and found better
ones. Couldn’t have been better, I suppose. Academically, I did just
fine. Some teachers with respectable caliber taught me, merit my immense
respect and some; let’s just say showed me that they are not to be
followed as examples. How can I forget I developed the ability to see the
true faces of people behind the exquisitely decorated masks they wear? Or
the will to be deliberately grateful to those who genuinely care? And the
fact that setting the bar unreasonably high for oneself leads to
disappointments and that being ambitious is a theoretical concept under
some circumstances, you are not God and you propose and He disposes.
Moreover, the part that
makes me nostalgic the most is the one which involved ice-creams in
winters. These days a frozen scoop of ice cream is hard to get, thanks to
the load shedding.
Even when I was in the
midst of exciting moments with friends some four months back, I always
knew they would pass. I tried to make the most out of them. Yet, I can’t
fully leave them behind; there is a wish somewhere for their
reincarnation. It is impossible, I am aware. Therefore, I try to make the
best of this time that I have right now as it is surely helping me to take
steps forward and feel the liberation that comes with leaving the
unnecessary baggage behind.
*Play: Brain Masala at
Alhamra, The Mall from 4-8 July at 7:00 pm.
Gate will close at 7:15
Written & directed
the same team
that did Behroopia –
*Comedy Junction: at The
Knowledge Factory (TKF) every Sunday at 7:30 pm
till July 29.
*Faiz Ghar Summer
Cultural School till July 13 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
*Urdu Baithak/Sing along
hour” for children 5 years
and above every Sunday
from 5.00 to 6.00 pm at
*Ballet Basic Course
from June 25-July 30
at The Knowledge Factory
to be with friends at school than to be at home,” says Hassan Qaiser,
15, who has been avidly attending the entire summer camp being held at his
school, so much that he has fluttered from one class to the other with
more enthusiasm than he would normally show on a regular school day.
“I get to learn things
here which are not possible at home, and then I’ve made new friends
too,” continues Hassan.
Despite the heat and the
power outages, this year the schools have seen a better turnout of
students as compared to previous years. While the summer camps were always
a stifling experience for students in the past, and they preferred to stay
cooped up at home; this year a marked change has been observed. There are
more students in school and “that is not because the students have
become more eager to study or the studies have become easier, it’s just
that the summer camps are not the conventional summer camps anymore,”
says Sarah, 29, a teacher at a local O-level school.
The summer camps held
nowadays have so much more to offer than the classroom-oriented rigorous
study environment. There are debating camps, MUN camps, swimming camps,
apart from summer internships that the students can invest their time in.
“It’s a lot more fun now than it used to be earlier, and students are
generally more tempted to come to summer camps now because we do not offer
them the same old-school revision classes anymore,” asserted Saadia
Qureshi, the O-level coordinator at a local school.
trainings are encouraged – and by that I mean, we focus on developing
the different skills of the students instead of encouraging only studies
that they do the rest of the year,” she said.
It is a different
environment that we observe in schools and educational institutes
nowadays; there is a flurry of extracurricular activities that begin
during the middle of summer vacations and continue almost till the end of
the academic year. The students have an urge to participate in all
activities, owing both to peer-pressure as well as the fact that
universities and colleges do give preference to those students who have a
wide spectrum of abilities – and are not just restricted to academics
With the debating camps
and the MUN camps, the oratorical abilities of the students are enhanced
which comes in handy during class sessions, and is also a training for
their future lives where the one who speaks the best leads the way.
“Besides that, the students, especially in higher grades, can put in
more effort in boosting their extracurricular skills at this time of the
year,” said Younas Alam, the Extracurricular Coordinator at SICAS.
Meaning thereby, when the extracurricular season begins, the children are
better equipped with skills to participate in these events without
compromising on their academic time.
Apart from the fun
activities the summer camps have to offer, the children – and especially
the boys – get a chance to get away from home, and their parents can
rest assured that they are not up to any mischief. “There is no pressure
from my parents’ end to come for the summer camp, but they’re
generally happy that I am not wasting my time,” says Hamza Nauman, 15.
“Plus, the summer camps are only for three weeks, so not much of the
vacations are going into it,” corroborated Hassan, a class fellow of
The most important
factor for many students is the consolation that they are not the only
ones coming to school. “We don’t get much of field sports nowadays
since it is too hot, even early in the morning,” complained Abdullah
Imran, 13. “But we do have cricket and football camps at school in the
evening which my mother won’t allow me to attend once the regular school
Khadija, a student of
grade nine, is really excited about being a part of the summer camp at her
school. “My school is allowing us to participate in Food and Nutrition
classes, and that is just like watching Masterchef Australia, only it is
live cooking here which is more fun certainly.”
There are also classes
for Choreography, Music and Dramatics that are being offered at her
school, and according to her, “all girls are really thrilled.”
With the power outages
that have crippled the lives of so many students along with the parents,
it is a good opportunity for young people to spend their time doing
something constructive rather than sit at home and whine about the weather
and do nothing.
“My little ones get so
bored at home that they begin to pester me to go to school after two days
at the most,” complained Aisha Asim, a teacher and a mother of two. She
says that the motivation to send her children to summer camp is generally
the swimming camps being offered. “At least they get to cool off
there,” she added, smiling.
On the other hand,
Maryam Imran, 33, a working mother, is of the opinion that this year the
turnout of the students is better because “with the rise in inflation, I
and many parents like me cannot afford to take our children abroad for
vacations, and I cannot possibly neglect my job too. So it’s a good
thing that my children are in a safe environment and learning
Another mother, Asma,
agreed with Maryam. She feels that things have become so expensive now
that she cannot provide all the activities to her kids at three different
places. “Summer camps narrow down the choice of places to just one
venue, and then it is economical too.”
The weather can be as
unpleasant and the power outages can be atrocious, but summers are
definitely the time to catch up on the things that one desires to do the
rest of the year, and summer camps have made that all the more convenient
for the students to pursue their wishes, and most importantly with
complete approval of their parents.
Study and play side by
Punjab University Football Grounds can be listed amongst the oldest
football grounds in Asia. Their history dates back to 1882; the year the
University of the Punjab was established by the British. Until a month
ago, these grounds were used by the football clubs of Punjab University as
well as the youth residing in the area surrounding the Chauburji
roundabout. These grounds have served as a means of recreation and an
avenue for the youth to polish their sporting abilities. However, recent
events have put the existence of these grounds at risk.
Ever since the
introduction of the ‘Integrated Master Plan of Lahore 2021’ by the
Lahore Development Authority (LDA), the face of the city is being rapidly
transformed by continuous construction work. Recently, this construction
work has extended to the part of Lahore we know as Lytton Road and the
Lower Mall. As per ‘The Master Plan’ flyovers are being constructed on
both these locations; as a result of which the LDA has occupied the
football section of the Punjab University Grounds to manufacture girders
essential for the construction of these proposed flyovers.
The Structural Engineer
for both these flyovers, Bilal informs that this hoarding is temporary;
however, he doesn’t give a deadline. “The construction plan for both
these flyovers as well as the Rapid Bus System that will pass through
these flyovers has not yet been finalised so it is hard to say when the
site once known as the Football Grounds would be vacated,” says Bilal
and adds that the ground has been occupied with the permission of the Vice
Chancellor of the University of the Punjab, Dr Mujahid Kamran.
These grounds are of
great meaning to the city and more significantly to the University itself.
They serve as home ground for Punjab University’s resident team
‘Campus United’. Moreover, they are used as venue for important final
matches of the Punjab University Football League which is contested
between the University’s campuses in Gujranwala, Lahore, Khanspur and
Jhelum. Therefore, for the University and the LDA to let go of such a
sporting facility with such grave sporting significance, is appalling to
say the least.
Even though the
University has alternatively scheduled all of its sporting activities at
the University’s New Campus, the loss to the youth still remains
uncompensated as the Punjab University football grounds aren’t only used
by the University. These vast grounds are flooded with passionate young
boys from the surrounding residential areas every evening. The sounds
echoing from these grounds accompanied by the festive atmosphere made
every evening an occasion. Now it has been replaced by the loud,
infuriating sounds of a construction site.
While I am cognizant of
the fact that the ‘Integrated Master Plan of Lahore 2021’ is in the
best interest of the people, some people are paying the cost and they are
the youth who play here and have been denied an alternative with its
Let’s hope the
government will be quick to make the flyovers and the land will be vacated
for the boys to play there. While nobody in authority gave a deadline, an
official on the site says it may take six months to complete this project.
Hopefully, the government will put the ground in order by which I mean it
will leave it leveled and grassy for the boys to be able to play again.