A Two Part Account From Lahore
Part One: A Brief Introduction (and a few warnings)
Author’s Note: This part of the article is meant to be quite comical. So laugh out loud once in a while, I’d appreciate it.
‘The action or practice of spending time idly observing people in public places.’
By definition, it seems harmless enough: something one might do as they await for their friends to join them or while procrastinating. However, Lahoris have mastered this skill so much so that it has become a novelty art form. It’s no longer a passive activity, rather, its taken on a very active form. Partakers often see things hidden to the eye, weave intricate tales and spread them virtually at the speed of light.
I call the individuals that practice this art form, the People Watchers. They usually hide in plain sight, concealing their menacing personalities behind a pleasant and seemingly innocent facade. If you are a resident Lahori you will have absolutely no difficulty spotting them. Heck, you might even be one of them! Over the years, their numbers have increased at such an alarming rate, posing a threat to the delicate nature of our society.
Recently, there have been reported sightings of the People Watchers in the other major cities as well, but still, Lahore seems to remain their central hub. I make no exaggeration when I say that this city is plagued by them.
Below, I have elaborated where one might encounter them:
People watching initially emerged as a form of street art, therefore this seems an appropriate place to start off. As you disembark from your vehicle, you will be given a very slow and deliberate once over by the gents around. These noblemen often reserve their attention for the opposite sex. They are not very particular in their tastes and tend to treat everybody will the same graciousness.
“Your best defence is a swift knee to the groin”
Threat Level: Minimum to Moderate.
Author’s Advice: They might try to get a bit handsy so keep an eye out, especially in the narrow galis of Liberty. Your best defence is a swift knee to the groin.
“These women are blessed with unlimited wisdom and knowledge, allowing them to call you out on a manner on issues.”
This novelty art form might have originated on the streets but by no means is it limited to them. Be it weddings, dinners or parties, you will find that the People Watchers attend these gathering en masse. You can often spot a posse of elegantly dressed ladies who always have a trained eye fixed on their unsuspecting victims. These women are blessed with unlimited wisdom and knowledge, allowing them to call you out on a manner on issues. It is advisable that you remain cautious around them otherwise you might find yourself shunned from society.
Threat Level: Moderate to High
Author’s Advice: There is a risk of getting ensnared in a never ending interrogation session but you must face the music. You could go for the jugular and use all dirt you have or you could rise above it. I’ll let you decide.
“Cut one head of the Hydra and two will grow in its place”
Such gatherings prevent this genre of art to die out, although its common for the People Watchers to hunt solitarily in this setting. They are the true masters of this game. Its easy to be fooled by their apparent care for your wellbeing and concern about you. But as soon as you turn your back they morph into monstrous beings, spewing lies and gossip everywhere.
Threat Level: Very High
Author’s Advice: Cut one head of the Hydra and two will grow in its place, so strike carefully and tactfully.
For your sake I hope you didn’t think that the People Watchers were only confined to the above scenarios. Oh no no no, they’re everywhere. At the cinemas, at restaurants and possibly standing behind you right this moment. You can run but you can’t hide, the People Watchers see everything.
“you might not be watching, but you are definitely being watched”
I hope I have managed to enlighten you somewhat regarding this particular art form. You might not be an art connoisseur, but you must have found yourself dabbling in it from time to time. A word to the wise, stop yourself before you’re hooked. Once you cross that invisible yet enticing borderline, it might not be so easy to come back. However, if the above has you intrigued and you want to know more about this fascinating art form, then I suggest you wait on Part Two. If you’ve already had your fill, then kick back and relax. Maybe stream something on Netflix (I suggest GirlBoss).
Either way, remember to keep an eye out, you might not be watching, but you are definitely being watched.