Noor Does LUMS: Workshops and Hauntings
I recently had the honor of being invited to attend the Young Writers Creative Writing Workshop at LUMS. The workshop provided accommodation for me within the LUMS boys dormitories and I spent a week there. Prior to my arrival, I was slightly nervous about the people I would meet and the proceedings of the workshop. A peasant is anxious in the lap of luxury. I am obviously referring to myself.
As I entered through the gate I texted my host, R. She came to receive me and was vividly shocked when I introduced myself. She asked me twice if I was really Noor. I feared that they might have shortlisted another ‘Noor’ and that I would be asked to head home. Turned out, I had been allotted a room in the girl’s hostel thanks to my name. I was slightly embarrassed but immediately relieved that they had managed to find me a spot in the boy’s dorms.
MY LUMS ADVENTURE
On the first day of the workshop we, the young writers, had dinner together at the Pepsi Dining Centre. The hall was full of continuous chatter as introductions were made and banter was initiated. I participated briefly and ate gently, as one does before strangers. Pepsi Dining Centre is a favorite among the LUMS students for its inexpensive food items. Throughout my stay at LUMS, I went there for my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It might not be the best food you’ll ever have but it is wholesome and homely. I also consumed copious amounts of cinnamon tea throughout my stay.
Almost every evening, after the workshop, we sat at the famed Kokha. Here we’d smoke cigarettes and discuss our shared love for literature. I took endless walks around the well-lit roads. One night I saw a ghost covered all over with black hair. It was either that or a monkey and I’m not entirely sure whether I was dreaming or not. I often see monkeys in my dreams.
LUMS BOYS HOSTELS
The boy’s hostel is a multi-story building. Every room comes equipped with metallic cupboards, beds, foams, and study tables. There are no air-conditioners in the rooms, but every floor has a hall with air-conditioning. The boarders slept there as the heat in our rooms was irremediable. The cleaning staff took good care of the hostels. We could have had no complaints, save the heat, which was heavens sent.
The workshop itself was amazing. It clarified that writing is not a hobby that you flirt with, instead, it is a lifestyle in which you must immerse yourself to succeed.
LUMS is a fine bubble for students to study and live in before they come out to see where the rest of Pakistan stands. On some slippery slope. This is what the LUMS alumni told me while referring to themselves as burgers. I guess the whole burger jibe has lost its sting now. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at LUMS. It is a fine university with discipline and refined values. And loads of books. And ghosts too. Full stop.