22 Memories only a Punjab University student can relate to
“PU is more of a lifestyle and ideology than of a place”
Manzoor PC dhaba
I still remember the queue outside Manzoor PC dhaba, located in a peaceful street of Punjab University residential colony, covered with trees all over. That dhaba was such a peace after the hectic class schedules. Be it the staff, students, or outsiders. People loved the biryani made with tremendous spices and the daal curry with a flavor of desi ghee has always been my favorite served with crunched onions on top and freshly baked roti in a clay oven. One can’t simply have enough of that savory taste. Now it’s located at the boy’s hostel.
The Time Square in Lahore
From a walk to Quetta hotel to buying new t-shirts, Barkat market was a time square for all Punjab university students. Just a few minutes away if you take an exit from the hostel gate. Five minutes and you are already in the hub of one of the most economical student markets. All around one D of Barkat market. From eatery, attire, pastime, and whatnot? The market meets the needs of all students from backward to elite backgrounds.
The never-ending chats of students while walking on the Jannat road of the university are surely one of the best memories that a graduate takes home. The lush green fields around the university skirts brought it closer to nature and made it echo-friendly. Entering the university at Gate 7 in the morning to breathe in the freezing December breeze. Sipping a cup of tea in a cloud of fog around has been an Amsterdam tour of every Punjabian. Summer was neither any less memorable. That tube- well, near the fish farm was worth visiting to put the soul in a shadow and rest.
How many of you relate thousands of stories when I say ‘hostel’? And what do you all exactly recall when I say Punjab University hostel? Mess, distance, bridge, missing items, teaming, wars, warden, canteen. I name many and you remember it. I used to visit my one and only friend (Najva) there and remember sneaking into her bedroom from a secret exit. Even when it was illegal to allow visitors an overnight stay, we always made a way to be there the whole night while being day scholars.
I remember the cheerleaders, I witnessed in the common room, a room full of thrill whenever a final cricket match went on air. Biryani is cooked in mess and it’s a festival where you survived on biscuits rest of the week. The bridge over the canal between the hostel and departments always seems to be a Pul Sirat on burning summer days, but I assure you of the joy of this walk in winter. A cube was always and dream. The dormitory had all colors of diversity. Roommates would fight the outsiders for each other’s rights and still accuse the fellows once an item is missing. Warden just had a title and the rest of you were the bosses.
You see guys on university premises wearing white traditional eastern dresses with very rude looks on their faces. What do you call them? Law College walay. They have been known for being leaders and aggressive students. They took pride to represent the university in politics and renowned leadership platforms. And many departments owe them their sports trophy as they always lend their ground to half of the campus.
A walk to the atm was never worth the hassle. It was no use except that white kittens found a new air-conditioned home. Punjab University students forget the function of the atm. They used it to chill their sun-tanned skins and rested in for a while. You are at the mercy of fate if you ever find them operational as there was no concept of a door lock. Some of them don’t have a name or mention the respective bank even. You got it so I am not mentioning the name. To our surprise, the few newly installed ones do work now. What a bitter killing of a tradition of our time there!
Fee depositing queues at HBL
Toughest time of the year when students had to submit fees and piled up messy bills even when half of them never studied and the rest of them never ate food at the mess. Starting from the counter, the line would go to the main door of Habib Bank Limited. You are lucky if you got a friend to keep your place secured when you went off for a water break. Whereas male classmates are officially responsible to submit the fee of their female classmates while trading assignments throughout the semester. After all, they were responsible enough to understand their moral duties to the female folks, perhaps the only “moral” value they remain alert to bother.
High-end buildings fell into an inferiority complex finding Punjab university students loving the Faisal auditorium more than any monuments. Whichever department you study at. IER was a must-go once a week. It had an amazing bunch of people. The wide open ground at the IER front and yellow lights reflecting through the blue glass walls of Faisal auditorium is worth a site on December evenings. That is the main stop of all shuttle buses, it kept it crowded most of the time.
Name the most significant landmark of the new campus, and undisputedly that is Faisal Auditorium. It is a place for all university official gatherings like conventions, seminars, and meetings. Blue glass windows reflecting the lights inside are a beauty to watch and stay by for a long time to look at in the winter evenings. Entering from the main gate of the new campus attracts everybody to stand stunned looking at the masterpiece created by a mindful architect.
Other than the human-thrown trash and wrappers, it is a benchmark of garden maintenance. Located in the right corner of the VC house. This place is a favoriteof bookworms. Do you have a group study to do? Dhaba food to eat? Games to play or any possible task in university, and nearby roses garden to treat the smell buds, VC ground is your Gloria jeans.
Rifts between old and new departments
Not only that many kilometers lie between the two areas, but both different universes exist at both poles of the university. The old departments are known for never servicing ACs and conventional mindset. Whereas you all remember many calling the new departments a ‘paradise’. Whereas the baby boomer departments have always been criticized for being modern and trendy.
The number of political parties in the whole country is less than alone Punjab University’s student council. One defending human rights and another one beautifully protecting a particular race. All they have in common is the University to which they all belong. They work in a structured way without making chaos, this mock cabinet performance helps them sharpen their leadership skills so they serve the nation afterward. Naming a few, PUSF, PEDM, IJT, and others. Their efforts and dedication though critical but sometimes are appreciable.
If you plan to revenge on someone, leave them at one gate of Punjab University and ask them to memorize their numbers and find a way out to others. Only a university student can name each gate with a linking road and nearby famous landmarks it’s known after. They might never be on a world tour, but still, they are masters at navigating someone to any gate of the university. The university is free of security botheration, one semester in university and all guards already recognize you. The moment you enter university, you find some guard saying, jany do, IBIT walay, attaching your department as a surname.
Catching a Point
You can surely find a chance to represent at UN but you can’t ever find a seat to sit in a shuttle especially when it’s a shuttle to the old campus. The only chance to enjoy the journey without bumps is standing next to someone whom you know will leave at the next stop. If you are someone like me who never had a bus pass and always relied on a single statement ‘that you are a newcomer’, you are in trouble. One day the conductor is surely going to charge you a fine of Rs 20 and relax, nothing much for a distance of about 15 kilometers between both the Old & New campuses.
Tour to old-campus
Biggest luxury. Old Campus had this old Gothic style aesthetically constructed building. This blend of art displays a red ancient bricked tower with a clock on the top always attracted students to click their pictures with it. Exit from the back gate of PUCIT and you are there in one of the oldest markets of Lahore. A tour of the crowded streets of Anarkali never hurts the feet if you end up eating a snack at a food stall there. The bano bazaar within the Anar Kali bazaar is a favorite spot for female folks to buy dresses, jewelry, and all feminine stuff.
Finding a table at the main cafeteria
Remember playing musical chairs in school? It’s the next level. Despite always turning off fans and greasy tables complimented by dusty broken chairs. This place happens to be the topmost preference of university students to sip a cup of tea and take a lunch break there. Their trademark serving is juice, rice, and tea.
Jamia Masjid Punjab University
Males can relate more to this place than females. To my record, on Jumah Prayer, it was impossible to find a free inch to step near this place. This place beautifully eradicated race, color, and status differences by accommodating every possible human in it. Only a place where a student stood fearless next to anyone and prayed for their impossible exam clearance. This white-themed heave on earth looks mesmerizing after rain. One has to visit it to strengthen their faith in peace.
It was your mall for the whole shopping. The only thing that you did not shop from here is your dowry stuff. Rest you build a complete home in your hostel room from this market alone. A long corridor right next to the girls’ hostel, starting from a juice corner has around 12-15 shops ending at the boundary wall of the west underpass mostly used by students as a bench to sit and enjoy samosa in the evening.
Punjab University main library
I am sure half of us never had the library card and the rest of us went there to enjoy the always-turned-on AC. Also, you can spot bookworms there, a very few of course. Whether you utilized this facility or not, you are bound to get a library clearance while passing out. This ‘thanda kamra” (cool room) is made up of white tiles and believe me if libraries are this beautiful, no one needs any other historical place to visit in the summer at least.
Protest and walks
Just to mention the worth of Punjab University, I would mention the activities we never restrained to participating. It is a pride to mention that Punjab University plays a role in opinion formation. A number of surveys were conducted on national levels. I don’t remember any issues ending up unattended by the university. Be it a peace walk or consoling any deserving lots. Students always stood firmly with the nation.
Myths about gym and pool
Sound like the paranormal creatures use these two places as headquarters to conduct all evil deeds. Places are known as semi-haunted, which means that cowardly students avoid but the brave accept the challenge. Who knows the fact but it’s heard that people get vanished and injured in these two sports complexes. Little do we all know that someone is at least naughty enough to play Halloween all year and enjoy looking at our scared faces.
Punjabian for life
Wherever you go and whatever you may become. It’s never easy to take Punjab University out of our thoughts even when we passed out of the place. Some of us are probably enjoying an amazing and bright career with zero worries about upcoming exams and assignment deadlines. We still want to relive that experience at least for a day again. With the same people, place, and moods but unfortunately not the age. On a personal note, I am fortunate enough to pass a time at the most elite LUMS university in the country, but the Punjab university stays at the top in my sweat memories.
Many of us desire and plan the whole year to arrange a get-together at university, just to get a flashback of the wonderful student life we had in Jamia Punjab. For the ones still living this lifetime experience, live it to the fullest. Cherish the little ups and downs. Who knows when life will treat us such nicely again? Little do you know how many faces you will never see again after a farewell. A family, that scatters, not to meet ever again, perhaps!