Each year towards the end of the spring semester, seniors huddle in front of the iconic, immemorial academic block at LUMS. Each year, the academic block witnessed something surreal. Students, having evaded each other’s gaze for a good part of four years, now come together, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder and look up towards the sky. They want to get a picture taken. The camera man stands and signals on the second floor of the PDC, and almost instantly, the chantings begin. It’s a countdown. Ten…nine…eight…and just like that, the picture fails to capture the nostalgia, the depression, the ecstasy, the gloom and other innumerable feelings that hundreds of people are going through or have gone through, together. These people are all joined in unison by the colour they are celebrating. For the years they went to the same university together, they enjoyed the liberty of not dressing up in uniforms. After all, university is not like school. It is something much more special. These colours – blue, white, yellow, red, green, orange, purple and some more – are uniforms they wish they never wore. For four years, they wanted out. The sleepy 8:00 AMs, the exhausting evening classes and all-consuming stress of examinations and grading instruments: my people thought they would have it better once they leave. No heed is paid to accumulating suggestions from the batches above them repeatedly saying that good-byes are not so exciting once you come closer to them, even if they are beautiful. Why would a freshman, a sophomore or a junior occupy his mind with the end-of-days festivities? It would not make sense. Anticipation cannot do justice to the moment felt in time, and every batch lets that moment come to it at the time it is due. Today, as I look around my peers all dressed in the same colour, much like a uniform, I understand that the time has finally arrived. If you look closer, the eyes reflect a weariness, a gloom that the rest of the body is oblivious to. It has not been stirred just yet. The good-byes are dormant but they will be ceremoniously performed, and that realization is starting to dawn upon everyone.
It seems to me that every developing country has a similar story about the priorities it has for arts and humanities. A lot of people in Pakistan, for instance, disregard any career associated with art as “thoughtless” and “suicidal”. Sure, the market is a little tough. Artists aren’t exactly in great demand. Its the engineer and the doctor, the computer scientist and any other type of scientist that inspire great respect amongst the individuals in our society. If you want a shot at getting rich, don’t waste your time with art. Art is for losers. Go to a science school, graduate with flying colours and you may have your chance. There is still no guarantee, however, for you see, the market isn’t changing so much. My experience in taking courses from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at LUMS has been brilliant. I have dared to dream, aspire, and all that jargon the school promises. More importantly, I have felt the yearning for creativity and art to be completely side-lined, as there is always a desire to produce the next big app, product, start up and all the other ways to “truly make a mark”, as they say. This is the place that tells me, “hey, you can be rich”, and to be honest, I see all other motivations pale in front of this tantrum.
The ‘I need Feminism’ campaign at LUMS has propelled me to think about a lot of things that I feel are wrong or inappropriate in our society. No, they do not pertain to the status of women in Pakistan, or anything that has to do with what feminism stands for, but it is about the way a certain ideology is being propagated in a medium.
I stumbled onto a proof that defies the static state of life. Its called ‘letting go’, and there are times when someone eventually, painfully, decides that somethings in life that they once loved, or may be love in present, needs to be ‘let go’ of. That something loved could be writing. That someone could be me. Just kidding. It is writing and it is me.
The Riddler stands with Jason Todd. Well, yes – this was supposed to be a costume-type party. A farewell party, to be more precise.
Life is so strange. At one point in time, when exams lurk around your head, you seldom find something that cracks you up. The atmosphere, no matter how rosy it could be, no matter how strong the winds blow or no matter how good of an aura exists around you, you don’t feel satisfied, and happy, when all you can think is of the grade letters on a result card. Strange, isn’t it? Strange isn’t the fact that when we envision happiness, usually a Hawaiian Island pops up, with all those beautiful coconut trees and warm sunshine complemented with a soothing breeze, and completed with a perfect woman.
But does happiness really come from outside? No. Even a simple circumstance in life, like the exams, can prove us wrong. YOU have the key to your own happiness.
So when I think of leaving my school, and leaving all those sweet memories behind, I find hard to reconcile with myself. I’ve been admitted to a reputed University, but even then, the thought of leaving my school just doesn’t feel right. I thought humans only loved progress, but regress in this case seems more valuable. Why? I do not know.
DISCLAIMER: This post does not apply to all those crazy people who get great SAT scores.
Most of us students who carry the weight of our ambitions to study at a good university in the United States face what we dread the most, the SAT’s.
Considering my bad performance on the test (I got 1960), I decided to express my feelings through a poem. Yes, believe it or not, I’ve written a poem inspired from my experience of the SAT’s. Please be merciful too – I’m new at rhyming words.
A click to woo them – the monsters
called upon by thou, to plunder thy mind
with a sum paid – to kill by sword – to drown in seas
met with valor, with swollen chest and burning pride
of a glimmering hope, and with the shadow of dreams