I’ve been living in Lahore for almost two decades and just like any other place in the world it has its pros & cons, but I’ve always loved it; no matter how crappy it gets sometimes, it’s home.
For the first time in 25 years, two nights ago I felt unsafe in my own home. I felt genuine fear– something I have never actually experienced before. I mean, sure, I’ve been worried about things that now seem so, so trivial. But I have never felt as terrified and alone as I felt last Sunday night.
Before I go on to narrating what happened, I’d just like to put a “disclaimer” out there and say that if you’re going to tell me that whatever happened COULD have been avoided or that I should have handled it better, then please do yourself a favor and just fuck right off.
No hard feelings, I promise.
Okay, here goes:
My friend and I were working the night shift and we had plans of going out for a quick bite- like we usually do once we are done with all our work and all the patients are stable and asleep. We finally decided to leave Ganga Ram at about 10:30 PM on Sunday- which is really not too late, considering the fact that a) it’s not the fucking 16th century and b) we have been out as late as 2 AM during Ramadan. For those of you who don’t know, there are usually a lot of drug addicts and “shady” – for lack of a better word- people outside SGRH on Queen’s Road. We’ve never had a specifically unpleasant encounter with anyone and just like we usually do, we left the hospital in my car and were busy talking about god knows what when suddenly, right as I was about to turn onto Jail Road, two drunk guys drove up really close next to my car and started banging on my window. We were both startled, but we didn’t react and i sped the car up. Just to be clear, this was literally two minutes after we left work- and in those two minutes, I know for a fact that I did not hit anyone or anything with my car, nor did I honk at anyone or anything. So as i’m speeding up and we’re trying to make sense of what just happened, I see the same guys coming after us in the rearview mirror, only this time they had another friend on another bike. I tried driving even faster, trying not to fucking crash my car, but they managed to sandwich us at which point I was forced to hit the breaks, causing the car behind us to come slamming into my back bumper while I bumped into his bike infront of me. I look up to see them get off their bikes and walk towards my car and in that moment I was so ready to see him pull a gun out so I did what I thought was best and quickly reversed and drove off as fast as I could. Again, I kept driving straight at about 100 km/hr- which is definitely not something I’m used to since I usually never go above 70. I finally thought they had given up when they surprised us by driving up on both sides and slamming their fists on my windows and trying to open my door. When I accelerated even harder, one of them managed to break my side mirror off before we sped away. When I got to the end of Jail Road, they finally managed to corner us, forcing me to stop my car. This was when a traffic police guy got involved and stood there watching them harass us- violently screaming at us, slamming the windows, trying to open the doors, swearing at us. After about 5 minutes of uselessly watching the show, the policeman finally came over and asked me to pullover to the other side since there were cars lined up behind me, angrily honking at me as if I was enjoying this insanity. (We’re such a great, unified and empathetic nation, aren’t we?) Once on the other side of the road, they kept yelling at me to roll down my windows, which I continued to refuse to do- for obvious reasons. I called a friend and told him what was happening because I knew I needed help and he asked me to note down their license plate numbers and tell them that I’d called “15”. When I said that, the policeman said, “Madame, aap kisi male ko bulayein.”
Can we just fucking pause for a second? This fucking statement triggered me on SO MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS.
What is the point of the fucking police if I need to “call a male” to fucking “rescue” me? ISN’T THAT YOUR GODDAMN JOB, YOU USELESS PIECE OF SHIT? The only reason we were in this situation to begin with is because these worthless, pathetic fucks see two women alone and think they can do whatever the hell they want.
And honestly, we are all to blame for that. We let them get away with this crap.
Getting back to the story:
When they heard that I’d already “called a male” they suddenly decided to “graciously forgive me” for their inability to think with their brains instead of their dicks and drove off.
Whatever happened afterwards and how my friend helped us deal with it is a whole different story that I may, or may not share later.
But god damn, Lahore.
I’m so disappointed.