Saturday, May 11, 2013

MAY 11, POLLING STATION, MY ALMA MATER AND NEVER ENDING MEMORIES!



A DIARY OF A VAGABOND



MAHTAB BASHIR


ISLAMABAD



Many moons ago in mid 90’s I was successfully passed out from my Alma meter i-e Federal Government School No 18 located in sector F-6/4 of federal capital, (now Islamabad Model School, F-6/4). With the humming of a song from one of my all time favorite band BoyZone ‘This is where I belong’ I was more rejoiced internally that I was standing still inside the lush green lawn of that school than being here as a voter.



Here I stand in the northern rain

And I can't believe I'm home again

And I can't believe how nothing's changed

I'm finding my way

Old park bench where I carved my name

But now it doesn't stand alone

Cause now the trees have over grown

Many a road that I've travelled

That's led me a stray

Here's where my heart's gonna stay



Today after a couple of decades I am here again. As soon as I entered into a polling booth I met with a presiding officer (PO) Malik Sher Awan who happened to be my class teacher not in this primary school but in a little higher level FG Model School, G-6/4, Embassy Road, Islamabad. I was surprised as how quickly he recognized me asking, “Oye tum media may kab se ho.” I told him since 2007 and started the conversation slowly… “Polling is sleazy here but good to see prevailing calmness,” I said. He shook his head and said smilingly yes, you are right, but people will pile up as the day progressed. I handed over him my CNIC card for casting vote. He promptly voiced a young man ordering him to go through the list and search my name while I was busy with peeping through the whole procedure and also cudgeling my brain to memorize his name. I sat on a couch and asked that Youngman what’s the name of this PO, he whispered Malik Sher Awan. He was my
class teacher who taught me Pakistan Studies and other subjects. I came back to him and started asking about Maroof sb (who used to be a biggest fan of my hand writing and used to write ‘GOOD’ on full page of my note books on daily basis), Farooq sb, who was my English teacher and known as a strict on discipline), Zamir Ijaz sb, and few others name I could count. Farooq sb is no more, he surprised me. I stood up in shock as he was perhaps the first person after my dad who taught me ‘present indefinite tense’. How and when, I asked. “His health was dwindling, you know,” he wrapped up the conversation marking on voters’ list.


Here I met few of many old classmates, street mates, and colleagues. After casting my vote, I had a quick view of interior of my first educational institution. “It looks stretched now, at that time it was hard to hit a six playing in this ground, but now it looks as equal to 20 meter circle,” I shared with one of my old classmate. He laughed out loudly saying “us wakt to ‘assembly ka rukh doosri taraf hota tha, ab change ho gia hay, or ye slides aor swing bhi nahi thay, sir aik jhoola hota tha jisko permanent basis pe zanjeer wala lock laga dia gia tha,” do you remember, he asked me. And I said yes very much fresh in my head and heart.



As my home was in back street and all it took were merely few seconds to enter into classroom. Now if I recap memories Madam Safia(class teacher in 4-5), Razia (known for preparing chaat in ‘recess’), Fouzia (who actually for the first time taught me English) and few names I could never erase out of my brain cells. While studying here, I availed the opportunity of being a student appearing in ‘Fifth Grade Scholarship’ conducted by FDE. My Centre for appearing in this examinations was G-6/2, and I was ordered by class teacher Madam Safia (who expired in a car accident) to meet her and share details as what I have done in each examination. After each ‘Scholarship Examination’, I met her in exciting mode and in response of her every question--- I used to tell her “Bohat acha hua hay paper, Is sawal ka jawab to pooray ka poora theek hay, ye to ap nay bhi bataya tha islye iski achi tayri kit hi, or is sawal ko to maine subha achi tarah tayar kia tha, etc.” ..and after a couple of months, when result of that examinations announced Madam Safia called me in her room and started …. “Us wakt to kehtaythay bohat acha paper hua, sab sawal theek hain, is mein to pooray marks aien ge…….” and I left her room as if I would never up lift my eye lashes!    

  

This is where I belong

This is where I come from

No need to shed my tears

Or face my fears anymore

So I won't walk alone

Taking things on my own

All of the lands I've roamed

Memories of my home

They keep beating strong

Cause this is where I belong!