We’re all used to sitting in plush office spaces that not only ensure comfort, ease and an optimal working environment but a place where we’re served a seething cup of tea with the snap of a finger. We have people at our beckon call who tend to our whims and a never-ending segue of requests. It’s fairly easy for us as we slave away in our four walled abodes adorned with air conditioners that have all the basic amenities we need. We tend to forget the travails people have to face in outdoor professions. Working in the last mile company that imbues the mantra of timely delivery, the backbone of Cheetay.pk is our delivery staff. Our riders brave the inclement weather to deliver the orders but all their efforts hide behind a veil of anonymity and ambivalence. We can only surmise what it takes to ride a motorbike, traverse vast distances, deliver orders and deal with customers. Why muse about it when you actually step into their shoes! To shed light on the significance of tasks the world deems menial, we thought why not be a Rider for a day and live the experience. It was a particularly hot Monday morning as I readied myself to leave and drive the immaculately polished bike as it glistened in the fierce September sun. I straddled the seat of the motorbike to find a comfortable position, feeling a little out of place given we sit on cushioned office chairs every day. The rider accompanying me whisked himself on the seat behind me in an agile pounce. We glanced at the App to view the incoming barrage of orders to see where I had to go first. The first order we had to pick up was from Khalifa Khatai, located deep in the heart of old Lahore, in the boroughs of Mochi Gate. As we sped to our destination, the horizon for me shrunk to a vivid but constricted rectangle. The stifling helmet beleaguered my face in a tight embrace as I could hear my breath under the muted clamour of the traffic. As we approached the Badshahi mosque my eyes feasted on the splendour of the mighty obelisks adjoining the gargantuan walls of the edifice. The bike gyrated on the cobbled street as we snaked through the streets swarming with people. I could feel my shirt drenched in sweat cling to my skin, as the garish yellow of the Cheetah uniform turned dull. We picked up the order and had to deliver it to a house in Johar Town. At that very moment, it dawned on me that this job takes massive conviction and stamina. Once the Khatais were delivered we checked the Rider app to see our next order. Our next destination was Cosa Nostra. Someone from Gulberg had ordered it to their office. I heaved a sigh of relief because it was a welcome reprieve from the previous order. I parked the bike near Mall 1 amidst the tempestuous traffic where my senses were assaulted with a multitude of blazing horns, rumbling engines, and billowing smoke. I went inside the restaurant and was greeted by a blast of cool air with trailing fumes of fresh pizza and mozzarella cheese. Upon placing the order I took the opportunity to have a diet coke as I waited for the Caesar Salad and Roast Beef sandwich to get ready. I felt considerably rejuvenated after a drink and waiting inside the air-conditioned confines of the restaurant. Upon reaching the destination in Gulberg, I called the customer to inform him of our arrival and he sent a peon to retrieve the food. As I flicked through the cash, I realised the amount was less. I told the peon of the issue and he just stood there fidgeting with a confounded grimace as my words seemed to not make sense to him. His answer was in fluent Pashto so I tried to explain the current predicament. After repeated attempts to articulate the issue, I called the customer and explained him the matter. What ensued was more back and forth and more calls to clarify that the delivery charges had not been accounted for by the customer. I rode out thinking how taxing this experience was and vexing for the mind. Already tired and exhausted, we had to go to pick up an order from Packages Mall from Howdy. My stomach grumbled in protest as it was 3:30 p.m and I had yet to eat lunch. The banality of the ride was lessened by the overcast weather. Before we knew it, we were slogging through gusts of wind and dust as we were suddenly swathed in torrents of rain. Soaked and wet we tried to find a spot to park the bike for the weather to clear out a bit. A bus stand on Ferozpur road was the nearest stop but we decided to continue. The deluge made it all the more difficult to commute, as each passing car charged ahead in ramming speed. Their bravado tested our patience as each car sent water cascading onto us. The ordeal continued until we reached the mall and entered. We tried to hurry it up since the order would get late, soaked and wet we scurried to the restaurant and placed the order. The long queue of people made my heart sink since I was cold, hungry and completely drenched. Once we got the order, we just wanted to leave. On my way to DHA to deliver the order, I just wanted a respite from this ordeal! Being so close to home I wanted to make a run for it. Once we delivered the order I requested the rider accompanying me to take the reins and drive the bike since we had to go back to the office. We all get to vicariously live through other people’s experiences but in doing this I learned how immensely difficult it is to do these tasks we hardly pay attention to. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2018.