Foreigners in own land
With friends from Kenya
When we first landed in the Lahore Airport, late 1972, we were skeptical but excited. Our uncle, Khalu Islam had come from Sialkot to pick us and drop us at the Kinnaird College. We were impressed that the administration had strict rules about not allowing any male guests into the premises as it was a Women's College and the Hostel was inside the huge compound.
We soon discovered that there were many international students and to our delight we met girls from Kenya.
In our hostel room
Our abode in the hostel was a large double room as we sisters were sharing it. The simple furniture had two single beds, two study tables, two chairs and two small cupboards. The bedding and curtains were provided. It was a spartan life!! But the room was cleaned every day and the laundery was done weekly by the workers who were very humble and polite.
There were two British Hostel wardens - Miss Preston and Miss Bradshaw - they were really kind, sensible and caring ladies. They chose us to become 'chaperones' to younger students when they wanted to shop in the town.
Singing in the College Choir
Every Friday morning was special assembly for all the students. Apart from the Hostel students, there were many day scholars as well. They hailed from all provinces of Pakistan and represented all religions including Muslims, Christians and Hindus. There was no discrimination in any sphere. The medium of teaching was English and a wide range of subjects from the Arts and Science were offered. The teachers and professors were competent in their jobs and offered assistance readily.
Land of our birth
Our Science Project
Outside college dining hall
Meals were served in the Hall near the Hostels. The breakfast was almost always a watery porridge, bread and tea. Personally I hated it. Many students went to the college canteen to have naan, omellette, kebabs or burgers. Of course you could not always go there as you had to be frugal with the money sent to you by your hard working parent abroad!
Lunch was around 12.30 onwards, tea at 4.00 and the dinner gong went on 7 p.m. The food was nothing to brag about - usually the seasonal vegetables, rice, daals, rotis and the ocassional chicken, fish or beef. We persevered and luckily never got sick!
With Sabeeya in Sialkot
During the holidays we travelled by mini bus to Sialkot accompanied by our beloved Uncle Slaam. It was a short drive that took about 2 hours. We usually stayed at our Naani's house, Bijli Ghar, Sialkot. It was an antique, small double storey house that had been built by our grandfather in the 1940's. At that time uncle Slaam, aunt Minnie, their three small children, uncle Jooshi, aunt Fijan and their two little kids, and our old grand-mother (Africa wali) were residing in that house. They all loved to host us and all the children became attached and very protective towards us.
Naani's house Sialkot
A few time we visited Suragpur, on the outskirts of Sialkot City. Our Tayaji Yusuf lived there with his family. We experienced village life there - without electricity or toilets. But the love that we received was uncomparable. The saag, makki ki roti, fresh makhan, kheer with sugarcane juice and the special achars....the thoughts are still mouth watering!!!
Rasheed's wedding, Suragpur
Naani with grand children
Shahda, Zahida and Tara with Bebeji. Our grandmother doted on all her grand children and cried for her son and daughters who were in Kenya. She longed to see them and got extremely depressed in her late years. To our chagrin she passed on while we were in Pakistan. We still miss her and pray God blesses her in her heavenly abode.
During the summer holidays, we visited our family friends in Rawalpindi. Mr Akram Niaz, his wife Saeeda, children Khalid, Naima, Shahida and Bilal used to live in Nairobi but decided to settle back in Pakistan. We enjoyed remembering old times, the picnics, house visits in Eastleigh and Park road and the family gatherings in Nairobi. We went to Muree and Ayubia with them and experienced the air chair lifts, the local markets and the beautiful sceneries in the chilling weather. Such unforgettable memories!