Being a Pakistani, and a Lahori at that, means food is a major topic of our lives. The subcontinental palate is exquisite and bursting with flavors, from sweet to savory to a mix between the two (I’m looking at you, halwa puri). Here, food is almost a religion; good food is reveled in, certain dishes mark certain ceremonies (saviyaan on Eid. Yum!), and people are ALWAYS hungry for more. Quite literally. Food culture is always something to be admired in cities around the world, because it relates to the history and traditions of the place, but here in the heart of Pakistan, it is truly something else.
But life is not always easy on you when you love food a little too much. Especially when you’re a university student. Being a food enthusiast and a full time student has its own special set of challenges, which you’ll relate to if you are one.
- You’re Always Hungry
Studying requires a lot of energy; it’s not just sitting in front of a book for hours on end (that is pretty torturous too), it’s also rushing to class, walking around in this blistering heat, dealing with people, and the stress of completing assignments before the deadline. Long story short, it’s pretty nerve-wracking and you might be a compulsive eater who eats away when worried, or procrastinating having to do yet another assignment, or you might simply be craving something, but trust me, after a while all of it blurs to become one giant ball of hangry.
- You’re Always Broke
Managing your money between clothes, makeup and food is a real struggle many of us deal with. So you wear that new khaddi kurta you’ve had your eye on, and buy that new Mac lipstick or do you want to be able to afford food for the rest of the month? Always being on fleek and satisfying your foodie alter-ego is an extremely hard thing to do, and is not appreciated enough.
- You Always Hang Out in the Café
You know the inside out of this place, which dish is the best and which ones to avoid. University food is generally good, and have A LOT more variety than your regular schools and colleges, so why not hang out here, where all the food is. Chances are you feel a lot better in the café than you do anywhere else, and you run into your friends there as well, so it counts as being social right?
- You Think About Food ALL the Time
Quite literally, food is one of the top things on your mind. You’re always thinking about the next meal, and it helps you get through boring classes. Just picture a boring lecture with the teacher droning on and on about some concept and you suddenly have flash of a steaming plate of biryani in your mind. It’s so good you can practically smell it, and you immediately begin craving it, and thus you know what you’re buying once the class is over.
- You Even DREAM About Food
That is when you’re not having nightmares about finals and assignments you still haven’t gotten around to finishing, you are dreaming of food. Not every day, but it does happen occasionally. Heck, if you could control your dreams you’d probably dream of it every night. I know I would.
- Having a Normal Conversation is Nearly Impossible
Let’s face it. Conversations are pretty hard to hold, especially when you have a short attention span and your mind keeps interrupting it with thoughts of food, even more so when you’re hungry. What is be funny to you might not be so to the other person, and so conversations with people become downright painful. It’s okay when you’re with your friends, and even better when they are foodies like you, but it’s torturous when you have to talk to a stranger. Apply the “Mom said don’t talk to strangers” rule and go eat that burger that’s been calling your name.
- Ramadan is Blissful and Painful at the Same Time
It’s a real struggle. On one hand you’re super excited to be fasting because all that food in iftar is making you drool already, but on the other, staying away from your one true love; *ahem* food, is not something you prefer. The euphoria and misery might even cancel each other out in the end.
- You Know More About Food Than Studies
In this case Gandalf was almost a visionary when he said, “You shall not pass.” Studies are hard and the mumbo jumbo you read in it hardly makes any sense, so why should you remember it anyway. On the other hand, you have food, the love of your life; it’s easy, simple, uncomplicated and makes perfect sense. Food is life. (Literally)
- You Have Accepted the Fact That You Will Never Have an Instagram Worthy Body
Okay, first off: HARAM!
Secondly, you know you love food to much to go on an actual diet. You might be one of those people that can eat and eat and never get fat, but not everyone is blessed with such genes. For those that aren’t, we’ve simply accepted the fact that IG body is never going to happen. We could exercise, but…it’s way too hot.
- Why is the Fridge Always Empty?
Okay, so maybe I ate it all. But that won’t stop me from complaining and maybe pinning the blame on someone else. I was studying for exams and got midnight munchies. Happens to everyone.
There simply isn’t enough junk food in the house, and definitely not the certain thing you were craving when you were supposed to be hitting the books. To cook something would take time, and sometimes you’re willing to go the mile and sometimes you’re not.
- MasterChef is Love
Anyone else have that weird phase in their lives where they watched every season of MasterChef Australia and America and secretly wanted to be a chef? No, just me? That’s fine.
But the food was so ridiculously good-looking. I’d have married that soufflé right there and then.
Despite all of this, every once in a while, you know you’ll be okay, because everyone around you is a diehard foodie too.