Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Khuld-e-Bareen

It happened to me, and this could not happen anywhere else except AMU!! As a member of the University Literary Club (ULC), I was closely involved in the day-to-day functioning of the Club and the General Education Center (GEC). Initially, I did not have a very good opinion about the university staff assigned for the GEC, however, this incident changed my perspective altogether.

It was my hobby and passion to write, and in those days I wrote on almost anything and everything. I tried never to miss any opportunity to participate in essay writing, self-composed poetry recitation, and similar such literary events. In the sequel to this, I once participated in an essay writing competition on the eve of Sir Syed Day. The even was organized by the ULC, so I was not expecting an award. However, to my surprise, my essay was declared second best, and I won the second prize!! Since the event was organized by the GEC, it also carried a cash prize of Rs. 500.

In retrospection, Rs. 500 was a huge amount at the time!! An average student would normally lead a comfortable life on the AMU campus with Rs. 700 a month. I was rather excited about the prize, and more about the prize money. However, one of the members of the ULC told me that it was not always an easy job to collect the cash from the GEC people. He told me about the different kinds of hassles the staff creates if one goes to collect the cash. And going by my initial opinion about the GEC staff, I believed him.

This, however, did not stop me from walking into the GEC office and putting my claim for the cash prize. Before coming to the office, I had crosschecked and verified that I was carrying my identity card (the ULC ID card as well as the Student ID card)!! When I entered, I was routed to different desks – this in spite of the fact that I was a member of the ULC. Then, I finally went to the correct desk where I was supposed to the collect the cash, I learnt that Mr. Ashraf (I don’t exactly recall that person’s name, but will call him Ashraf, because what he did to me was really Ashraf, GREAT!!) had gone out for his evening tea.

I waited at the desk for some time, rather impatiently and uneasily. It was getting high on my nerves and my patience was giving way when Mr. Ashraf returned back from the University Canteen. He was a middle-aged person, probably in his late 40s or early 50s. Wore spectacles, which were rather old fashioned and just well-suited for a person of his age. At a glace, he looked rather cheerful, cooperative, and ready to help. However, I had my own opinions and reservations about the GEC staff.

I somehow upheld my patience and enquired him about the cash prize. He promptly took out a register, checked into it, took out an envelope from his drawer with my name written on it, and then looked at me. Next, he asked me for my ID card, which I produced. Then he asked me to sign the receipt of the cash and handed me the envelope, which contained the GRAND 500 bucks!!!! And all this happened in less than 30 seconds…

Well, I was so impressed with the professionalism and promptness shown by Mr. Ashraf that I instantly took out a 20 rupees note and passed it on to him. I said, “Here, this is for you. You can buy sweets for your children with this.” Mr. Ashraf looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes. Then he said, “Beta, yeh koi sarkaari daftar nahi hai, yeh Aligarh Muslim University ka GEC office hai. Hum yahan par aisa kuchch nahi karte hain. Yeh sarkaari officon mein hota hoga, par hum apne bachchon se kuchch nahi lete. Aap mere bete ki tarah hain, aur yeh paise aap ko inaam me mile hain. Is par sirf aap ka haque hai. Main ismein se kuchch nahi le sakta. Allah aap ko aur taraqqi ata kare, aap deen and duniya dono mein khoob naam aur shohrat kamayein. Aur main Allah se dua karunga ki meri aulaad bhi bari ho kar aap ki tarah taraqqi kare!!” [Son, this is not like any other government office, this is the GEC office at Aligarh Muslim University. We do not accept undue favors/bribes, which might be common in other government offices, but not here. You are like my son, and you have all right to this money, as you have won it and you deserve it. I cannot take anything from this money. May Allah grant you success here and hereafter, and may you attain name and fame. And I will pray to Allah that my children become like you when they grow up!!]

I was left speechless for a while, and did not know how to react. And when I looked back at my self-made perceptions and opinions about the GEC staff, I could not summon up enough courage to look at him in the eyes. I could feel the numbness slowly climb up my body. So, it’s not always the students at AMU who define what Majaaz proclaims as Khuld-e-Bareen in the AMU Tarana. Surely, a blessed establishment having the stature of AMU should have a mark of consummate distinction at every level!! I had realized this, and with tears in my eyes, but with a light heart, I held his hands for a while, and then slowly walked away towards my hall.

9 Comments:

Blogger Qais said...

Nice start, Sharjeel.

Such memories from one's alma later keep us tied to her despite being away in distant lands and far-off destinations.

Kudos to your start-off post.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Sharjeel said...

Thank you Qais bhai!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 5:30:00 PM  
Anonymous rehan said...

I cannot express the feeling after downloading and listening TARANA, after a hectic day in west africa.
Where its even hard to find ALIG.
It made all the memories of yesterday, live and fresh, the nijam dabha, library canteen, lakaan jelabi, medical canteen, Upper fort "Nahari", list is endless.
Thank you Sharjeel.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:57:00 AM  
Blogger Sharjeel said...

You are welcome Rehan, btw, are you anyways Rehan Wali, my classmate??

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Armu said...

Thank you for bringing back old unforgotten memories. One bhasad or 'activity' as it would be called was related to me by ny uncle who was an Aligarian too. Masood bhai 'Tommy', because of his reputation, had been strictly warned by the VC to keep away from the proposed visit to AMU of the then President of India. He knew that he would be implicated in any activity that occured. Now on the night before the visit, Tommy somehow managed to get a CAMEL up on the roof of SS Hall. He then boarded a train to Delhi and joined the VIP entourage saying that the VC had sent him to recieve the dignitaries.
Now Tommy enters Aligarh with the VIP, introducing them to all and sundry and on the roof of SS Hall there is a camel pacing away! Nothing could be done to Tommy as he had a cast iron alibi.

Arun

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger saif said...

Hey,

When did you graduate from AMU? *just curious*

I completed my 12th grade from the SSS in 2003.

Btw, it would be good it you tried to popularize among people who're currently studying at the AMU. It would encourage them to channel their creativity towards better avenues.

Friday, July 28, 2006 5:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Shabana Guggenheim said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Qais miya~n for all your wonderful recollections..... Reading your commentaries, and reading between the lines, brings tears to my eyes - and makes my heart skip a beat, now and then. It brings back all my memories, some very happy and passionate, and some a little sad,....... but c'est la vie' .... that is life.


I really value the education that I received at AMU, and I always felt it was such a privilege to attend school there.

I always thought , that the opportunity was such a gift from Allah, and I am forever grateful for my parents and my kismet that made it all possible.

I was going to the medical school, at the time, and I met my (then, and my only ) boyfriend, Nadir saheb - he was fair, and soo handsome and so gentle, and we used to have a lovers tryst, twice a week, behind the Kennedy Hall ... and then he would accompany me,( at a discreet distance - ) as his 'cousin' back to the ladies med school hostels.

Bechara, - he was such a passionate and romantic fellow [ ;-0 ] but he could never gather up the courage to 'pop' the final question.......


Dill massoom thaa' par kaleja jera kum thaa.......

That was several years ago, now I am married, to an American oncological surgeon, and we have a little boy, and a busy, and rewarding, medical practice, in Chicago, Illinois, but Kennedy Hall, and my dear, dulaaraa Nadir ( where ever he may be - ) still hold fond memories deep within me - and my heart lightly rises in my throat, at the mention of his name.

Phir kabhi milenge'.

Monday, July 11, 2011 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Shabana Guggenheim said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Qais miya~n for all your wonderful recollections..... Reading your commentaries, and reading between the lines, brings tears to my eyes - and makes my heart skip a beat, now and then. It brings back all my memories, some very happy and passionate, and some a little sad,....... but c'est la vie' .... that is life.


I really value the education that I received at AMU, and I always felt it was such a privilege to attend school there.

I always thought , that the opportunity was such a gift from Allah, and I am forever grateful for my parents and my kismet that made it all possible.

I was going to the medical school, at the time, and I met my (then, and my only ) boyfriend, Nadir saheb - he was fair, and soo handsome and so gentle, and we used to have a lovers tryst, twice a week, behind the Kennedy Hall ... and then he would accompany me,( at a discreet distance - ) as his 'cousin' back to the ladies med school hostels.

Bechara, - he was such a passionate and romantic fellow [ ;-0 ] but he could never gather up the courage to 'pop' the final question.......


Dill massoom thaa' par kaleja jera kum thaa.......

That was several years ago, now I am married, to an American oncological surgeon, and we have a little boy, and a busy, and rewarding, medical practice, in Chicago, Illinois, but Kennedy Hall, and my dear, dulaaraa Nadir ( where ever he may be - ) still hold fond memories deep within me - and my heart lightly rises in my throat, at the mention of his name.

Phir kabhi milenge'.

Monday, July 11, 2011 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Shabana Guggenheim said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Qais miya~n for all your wonderful recollections..... Reading your commentaries, and reading between the lines, brings tears to my eyes - and makes my heart skip a beat, now and then. It brings back all my memories, some very happy and passionate, and some a little sad,....... but c'est la vie' .... that is life.


I really value the education that I received at AMU, and I always felt it was such a privilege to attend school there.

I always thought , that the opportunity was such a gift from Allah, and I am forever grateful for my parents and my kismet that made it all possible.

I was going to the medical school, at the time, and I met my (then, and my only ) boyfriend, Nadir saheb - he was fair, and soo handsome and so gentle, and we used to have a lovers tryst, twice a week, behind the Kennedy Hall ... and then he would accompany me,( at a discreet distance - ) as his 'cousin' back to the ladies med school hostels.

Bechara, - he was such a passionate and romantic fellow [ ;-0 ] but he could never gather up the courage to 'pop' the final question.......


Dill massoom thaa' par kaleja jera kum thaa.......

That was several years ago, now I am married, to an American oncological surgeon, and we have a little boy, and a busy, and rewarding, medical practice, in Chicago, Illinois, but Kennedy Hall, and my dear, dulaaraa Nadir ( where ever he may be - ) still hold fond memories deep within me - and my heart lightly rises in my throat, at the mention of his name.

Phir kabhi milenge'.

Monday, July 11, 2011 12:46:00 AM  

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