Parties in Lahore are an enigma. Sometimes you get a formal invite, sometimes your invite is passed onto you through the grapevine. Some will be at someone’s house, some will be a farmhouse so far into the outskirts of the city that it feels like you’re driving towards imminent death. Regardless of the type of party you’re at, there will always be some top indicators that you are at a Lahori party.

The first thing that hits you once you get out of your car is the pungent smell of tobacco violating your nostrils. Pretty much everyone at the party is smoking a cigarette, except the hardcore party goers who have invested in a juul. Once you enter the farmhouse or house, you hear loud mainstream music but no one is dancing. We haven’t hit the 1am benchmark yet so people are still trying to maintain some semblance of sobriety at this point.

The bar will be either self-service or there will be a bartender. The latter is more likely, primarily because the party hosts have zero trust in their guests who are going to get very drunk very soon and may end up spilling or breaking a precious bottle of alcohol; the cardinal sin.

Throughout the sea of scantily-dressed women and designer clad men, you’ll undoubtably come across various stereotypes of Lahori party-goers. First, there are the people that you know. Either colleagues, batch mates or friends of friends, it’s likely that the women in this category will squeal and scream in excitement (they’re already very drunk) and the men will give a polite nod of acknowledgment (their tolerance is higher). Aside from that, you might be lucky enough to bump into some girls going extra hard because they’ve unlocked the ultimate achievement: sneaking out of their homes to come to this party. (At this point, you lower your head in shame at the fact that you’ve definitely been this girl at some point).

As the night goes on, you’ll most probably come across a couple who are so out of it they have no sense of social etiquette, either having an intense fight or an intense make out session. You’re not sure which one is worse.

If you’re unfortunate enough however, you’ll come across some Lahori “celebrities”. These are the people who believe they are at the pinnacle of Lahori society because their families own so-and-so business and they’re always pictured in so-and-so magazine and when they were younger they dated so-and-so Aitchisonian or Grammar girl. They will never speak to you or acknowledge your presence, even if they know you, because the number one rule for them is: never speak unless spoken to. You’ll be able to identify them because they’ll be walking around the venue with an expression of distaste on their faces because naturally no party will ever meet up to their standards.

At this point we are well past the 1am mark and things are getting louder, blurrier and more disoriented. The lines outside of the bathroom are long and rowdy; men have bought their drinks and cigarettes to the line so as to not waste valuable party time and women are now entering the bathroom in twos so that they can have a quick gossip session or rant about some frenemy or ex. Although the bathroom is probably in a condition that you don’t even want to envision, in their hyped up states the party-goers don’t seem to notice or care.

This is the point when people finally start dancing. What ensues now is nothing short of a circus; liquid courage having finally hit them, men are taking this opportunity to hit on any girl in their line of vision, a group of girls are in the corner scream-consoling a friend sobbing over some guy not liking her and there will always be those fallen soldiers heaving in some vicinity of the party.

Perhaps the most tell-tale sign that you’re at a Lahori party is when someone switches the mainstream music to the latest Bollywood song. Following this is sheer pandemonium with people screaming and attempting to sing along as loud as they possibly can while also drunkenly trying to show off their mehndi choreography to this song. This is the point when you can safely say it’s time to leave. Lahori parties are a fascinating sight, they may be monotonous but you can also never really predict what might happen. Nevertheless, it is always a thoroughly entertaining experience to attend one.

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