a. the average LACAS student at the time of publishing
Things never change, and the sun never lets us see it setting. It starts from the left (if you position yourself on one of the red benches facing the stage, which we recommend you do) and makes its way across the turf covered ground that serves as a sanctuary for troubled minds, half full of circle theorems or organic chemistry or some physics formula beyond the grasp of those humanities kids — meaning, well, us — and, very rarely, for us humanities kids are a rare breed, a couplet from some Shakespearean sonnet. A personal favourite on this green plastic grass is the student rendition of Sonnet 18: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/ ‘Cause thou hast no class!’
Science students, usually the focus of these half-Elizabethan burns, can usually be found in the library menacingly chanting their formulas and definitions in hope that something, at least a fraction of what they’re saying out loud, will stick. The reference shelves are better used than fiction ones, which is a shame because they hold everything from George Orwell to James Patterson to Kamila Shamsie to maybe even some Jeff Kinney and his critically acclaimed Wimpy Kid classics. The white walls and white shelves and white tables, it has always seemed, were planted for a purpose: they were to be blank canvases. Ours. This was to be the backdrop for fond memories and friendly quips and the under-the-table passage of notes declaring undying love, (platonic love, of course. We know nothing other than the sort here. Trust us. It’s true enough to move some to tears — and it often has.) Against this white is where our memories would be made. Now, of course, some took this too literally and the tables bear Uniball ink stains, but that’s besides the point.
In only a year, this campus has become home. The A2s with their best of both worlds in Gulberg and JT will never admit it (and please do not ask them for the sake of your own wellbeing)— but they like it better here. The best times they’ve had isn’t, contrary to (un)popular belief, being hit by stray balls (the foot kind and cricket kind and ping pong kind), but being revered by their juniors for not reacting even when it was warranted. But then again, how much credit can you give a tired eighteen year old with seventeen college supplements due in a week? They don’t react; they hustle, a word which here means ‘lean against the textured walls that separate us from mediocrity and complete college essays that should’ve been completed weeks ago — all in between classes’. As 50 Cent eloquently put in God Gave Me Style, ‘A O.G. told me God’s favourites have a hard time / You out the hood, that’s good now stay on the grind’.
We carry on legacies — and the pain of the outgoing batch.
In an unusual trend, we humanities students are often found hanging around with our seniors more than our batch-mates, a fact that can only be understood if you bear in mind our love for History and All Things Old and Worn. We love them because we wish to hold up their legacy — but, like, you know, less problematic. We share these thoughts over cups of tea and bright packets of chips — in fact, most of these conversations stem from these packets of chips:
‘Hey, have you tried this? Patakha Mirchi?’
‘Ah yes. Patakha Mirchi. This is the Louis XVI beheading of chip flavours. Back in our day…’
And so it goes. All against the backdrop of the indigenous JT. When you pit them against several science students and half the humanities herd and all their stiff skinned seniors, the former are, perhaps, the most interesting side of LACAS JT. Why, they give us nearly one third of our name. This group was, and our spread-out sources can confirm, the most excited during last winter when we caught a live barbecue stand for all our desi tikka needs. For us, it was like we caught the flu — annoying but unavoidable. For them, it was like actually catching fish in the Jhelum. Pleasantly surprising.
Amongst all the accumulated smoke and cold winds, they were happy. They still are. The indigenous JT also enjoy games of pool and cricket at eight in the morning and come to school especially for them, even though their classes start at eleven. They are seen either in school uniform or black shalwar kameez and a shawl with big watches, gelled hair, ‘sockless’ socks and car keys dangling out of their tight-fitted pants. JT is, after all, not a place, but a state of being.
We have our differences. Both stylistic ones and idealistic ones. We aren’t all the exact same like our next door neighbours: the boys don’t all have the same haircut and the same shoes and belts and the girls don’t have their hair dyed the same colour or even the same shades of lipstick. And that is precisely what makes us us. Top-down, we strive to achieve not uniformity; but excellence. The science kids experiment with genes. The annoying humanities and debates kids write poetry and make music and engage in abstract and political conversation enough to disorient adults — and we often have. The indigenous JT are unbelievably good at every sport that involves hitting things.
Despite our differences, at exactly eleven fifteen everyday, we all sit on the same green turf, hold the same styrofoam cups and feel the same sun on our backs.