Farewell; moving forward!

I still remember the time when I entered here for the first time. I was as carefree as always, even though it was a matter of my career. Just as I crossed the gate, a green campus with red-bricks’ building came in front of my eyes. It was raining, so the greenery looked even more ravishing. I, along with all students who came for the entry test, headed towards the auditorium. The place was giant and beautiful. It was so cold that even the warm auditorium couldn’t take the chills off. Shivering in our seats, we took the test. Just as we finished the test, we headed to cafeteria to fulfill our crazy wish of having ice-cream in that cold. What we didn’t know that time was that it was a just the beginning of all the craziness and the journey that awaited us would be filled largely with crazy stuff. Sukkur IBA truly mesmerized all of us that day.

Time has flown so hastily ever since.

Whenever I go back to the flashback and return to the present, I find two differences.

That day it was raining; today its 46 C 😛

That day it was my first test; today it’s my last exam 😦

Such a bittersweet feeling. To be sad for the end or to be happy for a beginning, that’s the question. 4 years spent. It was different yet beautiful, uncertain yet amazing. I can’t ever forget my group of friends without whom the journey would have been like an lost match, the classroom jokes which kept us alive during the boring-est of lectures, the hunger emergencies which used to occur to me more often than others, the library which we seldom visited, the time in IBA and then outside, there is so much we all would miss.

In these last days here, I want to do so much – deal with undecided matters, mend the broken hearts, and complete the underperformed acts of wisdom. On my mind today is all what has started and ended in the past four years. I’m thankful to IBA who made me realize what I am and what I’m not. I got my first chance to be a trainer, traveled to Turkey, became the most seen anchorperson of IBA (I remember people telling me that they are tired of watching me on stage again and again) and received bundles of applauds and millions of criticisms.

People asked me today whether I was sad on my last day or happy. I’m happy to start a new phase of life; however it might turn out to be. But I’m sad to leave such respect-giving (read the exact opposite) friends who generously filled my life with so many colors; the yellow color of brightness, the red of love, the white of ease (the unmatchable comfort), the blue of truth and the green color of self-growth. My life would have been colorless without them and I’m sure no one can add the same colors to it. They are the greatest gift IBA could have ever given me.

The entire 4 years have been unforgettable and for that, I believe some credits are in order. To all my teachers, you’ve taught us more than the subjects; a way of life. You’ve chiseled our abilities and played a part in bringing us up to where we are now. To all my classmates, we’ve come a long way together. I wish you all fight well in the big wide world, touch the sky and still remain just as humble. Farewell buddies. Trust me, each and everyone of you is special and will be missed.

It is never easy for me to say goodbyes. So I’ll just ask everyone to stay in touch. See you all on reunions every year. All my good wishes reach out to you. These moments will never return, all we can do is never let the memories fade away.

Thank you once again for four very happy years!

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Elections 2013; my first vote

I casted a vote yesterday. My first vote ever.  The feeling of casting my first vote was so different. I felt so responsible, felt like I was literally doing something for my country, something for myself.

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A night ago I was so excited for I felt emotionally attached to Imran Khan. Our family was going to vote for a local candidate (based on the caste, language, area) but I had pledged that my vote would be for a vision, not for a person. I was asked again and again by my father to vote for the candidate they supported but eventually he stopped insisting, realizing that their candidate was going to win anyway and my passion will subside after I see the results.

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The election morning, everyone got ready to put their right to vote into use. The right to decide who would rule upon us. I checked my facebook’s updates, tv channels, tweets. The voter turnout was beyond expectations. Everyone I knew (except my language and area-bound relatives) was voting for IK. I knew he wouldn’t win from our area because all people saw here were candidates, not parties but I wanted to satisfy my heart that at least I didn’t vote for the wrong guy. So I went into the polling station, inked my thumb blue, and secretly voted in against of my family’s will and in favor of my heart’s.

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Till the evening, the news channels had started announcing the results. They were disappointing but I was still happy because I knew a leader still exists amidst us. Even if IK did not win, in IK I trusted and I’ll continue to do that.
At this point, I can’t imagine the state of country for next five years but to lose heart now is not the remedy. I agree that change does not come overnight but IK has ignited a spark and this spark will go a long way. IK has given us enough hope to keep us going. Let’s not prove to the bystanders that this passion of ours was just a fad and let us not allow it to subside. People! Let’s wear this new outfit of democracy and hope it suits us this time. But along with that, let’s keep the struggle going and come back next elections with even more force.
All those who are still drenched in sadness, read this lovely post by Mango People:

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https://www.facebook.com/MangopeopleComics?fref=ts

Autograph please!

I was reading this diary my classmate Maria gave me for an autograph. There were a number of other classmates who had scribbled in that diary before me. I read the reminiscence of the best moments of their university life and went down the memory lane. I remembered the times our classes were cancelled suddenly for some un-announced seminars and workshops (oh how I loved those unexpectedly gotten free classes), I missed the times when we missed the bus and stayed in the university till the evening to eat and chatter, I wondered whether the fear of entering the library (looked like a haunting place to me), the joy when a teacher was absent, the thrill of those lovely exam days, the fun of those class activities and so much more that was a part of our routine would ever come back. I love being a student. It’s only a week remaining to our graduation and we’re going to enter a new phase of life. But that means I’ll have to grow up and be mature and act rationally in matters; some things I don’t really prefer. But only if we had an option. I remember the movie “Hook” where Peter Pan and his friends lived in Neverland and never grew up.

 

May for us is the month of final exams, farewells and lots of autographs. For those who find it a bit difficult writing autographs, I’ll tell you how to do it. If you like the ideas, take them. If you don’t, please be kind enough to let them stay here for someone else might come to take them.

 

  • Don’t be all I-wish-you-this and I-wish-you-that. It’s good to include a little wish in an autograph as a gesture of goodwill but don’t just fill a whole page with wishes. Your friend does not see you as a priest.
  • Don’t be formal as it isn’t a letter to the Dean or a proposal to the investor. Write as if you’re talking to that person in real. If you call him “yaar” or “jigar”, please don’t go with clichéd “dear” in the autograph.
  • Don’t forget to quote concrete incidents that happened with your friend. When the friend reads the diary in the later period of his life, those exact scenes will go through his mind and he’ll smile like nothing else. That’s what you want, don’t you?
  • Paste pictures, draw cartoons, or even make a little comic strip. There an uncountable ways where you can add flavor to your autograph rather than just writing everything in plain writing.
  • Remember it is bogus to write “Remember me always”. Instead, you can write “I won’t ever let you forget me” or “If you forget me, I’ll be after you like anything”. Add a personal touch to everything.
  • Last, don’t ever refuse if anyone asks you for an autograph. Those few pages will be a part of you he/ she will always remember. PLUS it will serve as a gift from you to your friend. What’s better than giving a gift you don’t have to pay for? 😛

Writing autographs in diaries and slam books is something that will never be old. This custom is actually a part of farewell that’s exactly why it still prevails in spite of the growing trend of text messaging and social media. After a few years when your friend will come across the diary while going through her shelf or clearing material from his room, he/ she will definitely go into a flashback (read Dumbledore’s Pensieve) and smile for a long long time.

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Love her, Love her not?

You must have heard that dialogue ‘when you get injured, it hurts me’. I’ve always heard heroes telling that to heroines. But yesterday I really felt it. Not for my hero (though I’m in an awesome relationship) but for a heroine. Don’t think I’m THAT type *wink wink*, I’m proudly straight from origin. Coming back to the point, the girl was my SISTER. My always-annoying, fat-like-a-hippo, kid sister.
I thought I literally hated my sister. I mean she downright irritates me to the core when she keeps laughing for hours for no particular reason, when I’m talking to my fiance and ask her to get lost but she remains standing there grinning, when she wants to wear my clothes and jewelry but ends up destroying them. Her pampered ego is already such a tough nut to crack, above that she manages to gain baba’s sympathies and undeserved attention.

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But yesterday when she was standing there with her wounded finger making one of those innocent faces and faking her crocodile tears, it came! I saw the blood dripping and it hurt me! I was surprised at the feeling and then it dawned upon “I love her, maybe”. So I ran to help the brat and yelled at her to shush down. And it was all settled in no time. The blood, the bandaid, the sisterly love, everything!

Today, I think I love her. Or maybe loathe her a little less. I’ve seen her turning into a nurse when I get ill, turning into an adviser when I can’t find matching shoes and jewelry and remaining a brat all the remaining times. The tom-and-jerry fights we have are irreplaceable, the secret plans we make to surprise mama and baba on their birthdays could not be the same with anyone else, the way I find her beautiful when she wears my clothes is unexplainable (though I tease her a lot :P) and the relation we share couldn’t be more special.

Sisters are precious!

This goes out to everyone! Sisters are not THAT bad. Trust me. Been there 😀

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If you think you love your siblings a little much, go and hug them right away!

Impeccable Interview, anyone?

Just as we got free from our exams and a ray of happiness touched us, it was blocked by the Career Development Department and we were told about the mock interviews to be held the next day. With most of us going to appear in an interview for the first time, a wave of mixed emotions passed through the crowd. Some started preparing for the questions that might be asked, some started making their resumes for the very first time, a few started planning what will they wear (that’s my type :P) and some were just plain confused! Having studied HR subjects, we had a little privilege over others that we knew the attitude and dress code to be adopted, and the common questions to be asked in the interviews.

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The interview day: morning

At 9am, everyone arrived at the video-conferencing room where we were to be given instructions on how to improve our CV and which rooms to go in for the interview. All girls dressed up in sober colors  wearing light make-up and hair tied in a ponytail and all boys suited in crinkle-free dress shirts and dress pants, awesomely cologned and gelled back hair walked to the waiting room in right postures. It was heartening how everyone took the interviews seriously and looked professional. The guys looked specially very handsome 😉

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The waiting room

We talked about each other’s preparation and gossiped about random things until our turns for the interview came. We had a facilitator assigned who arrived late and we, in fact, facilitated him to what was going on 😛  He was a quiet fellow who talked nothing other than the repetitive “who’s next?” in 4 big hours. Each interview lasted for around half an hour due to which the time we had to wait looked never-ending. I was nervous but managed to hide it with my continuous chatter. Luckily, I was the second candidate whose name was called and I didn’t stay back to hear the fear stories of other interviewees.

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THE interview

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I entered the room imagining the incidences told to me by other people wherein the interview room was portrayed like a cellar. I thought of a dungeon with yellow lights hanging from the roof, a crude face waiting for my arrival to bombard comments on and suck the blood out of me. But what I saw was a totally different scenario. There sat two interviewers (a male and a female) who beamed at me when I entered and asked me politely to sit. Remembering my teacher’s advice of not laying back even if the interviewer was welcoming, I kept my shoulders straight and sat with poise. First and foremost, they asked me the million dollar question “define yourself” to which I replied with my well-rehearsed answer that included my current qualification, my most prominent experiences and most recent projects (point to remember: the answer shouldn’t take more than 1 and a half minute). Some other questions asked were “why do you want this job?” and “why do you think you should be hired?”, to which I just replied with matching my skill sets to the job’s requirement. The hardest question asked is the one whose answer you don’t know, so I just went with saying “I’m afraid I’m not sure about the answer so I’d rather not guess” and the answer was liked by the interviewer (which she told me later). Some pointers I would like to add here for my readers are when asked your strengths, tell them the ones you can back with concrete instances (e.g. I’m a public speaker. I came first in the HBRC’s presentation competition); when asked your weakness, tell the ones not related to work (e.g. I love chocolates, I love shopping); and when asked about salary, either just say the clichéd term ‘market-competitive’ or if asked a figure, answer with a somewhat greater salary than the market is offering (for that you’ll have to go with prior research). This is done because interviewers and interviewees often negotiate on the salary and the interviewee gets a chance to further market himself.

Hooof! Okay too much pointers here!

I must also mention that I didn’t ace all the answers and stuck specially on the salary question. Stating less salary than I deserved, underrating myself was the cardinal sin I committed. But my confidence, correct expressions and learning attitude remained prominent throughout.

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The exaggerated drills

After the interview finished, I had a sigh of relief and a sudden realization struck me. The interview was nothing like people told me, it wasn’t a hard confrontational investigation. To me, it was like an oral college exam (only with interview-etiquettes embedded). For all those who are reading this and have not given any interview before, I wouldn’t say it’s a piece of cake but it isn’t a very hard ball either. Interviews just require a bus load of confidence and the right way to communicate your answer (ofcourse knowing the answer is necessary too.)

That’s all for now.

Happy interviews! 🙂

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My recent brush with NIMUN ’13

12 highly motivated students boarded the bus to cover a 17-hour journey from their small town to experience what were going to be the most exciting 4 days of their life. Looking forward to take many memorable moments from this experience, off we headed to NUST International Model United Nations 2013 (NIMUN ’13).
We passed the journey singing songs, sleeping half the way, watching “The Pink Panther” and getting challaned by the motorway people once 😀

The first ones to arrive at the hostel, we were given the privilege of choosing which bed mattresses we wanted. By the way we were staying in a hospital ward-like room common room and 30 girls were to be accommodated with us in the same room. Not really happy with the accommodation, I still looked forward to the next days sessions and the social events.

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OPENING CEREMONY

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The opening ceremony was decorated aesthetically with white tents; green, blue and white balloons representing the NIMUN logo colours; packed with around 1000 students coming from around the world. We were welcomed by a number of experienced speakers, where Mr. Aizaz Chaudhry told us the surprising fact of MUNs coming into the world before the League of Nations itself. Something out of his speech that stuck in my mind was “students who come unprepared find themselves severely handicapped”. I don’t know why it felt he was pointing to the category where I belonged 😛

The Chief Guest Akram Zaidi who was next to speak told us very interestingly why they focus on organizing MUNs “we have United Nations (UN) with divided nations, we have security council that creates more insecurities, so MODEL is what we’re still commending.”

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GLOBAL VILLAGE

In the evening, everyone dressed up in the cultural dresses of the countries assigned to them, ours was Iran. It was a treat to visit stalls of other countries displaying their culture, food and performances. An amazing first-time experience for us was to walk on the ramp portraying Iranian cultural apparel.
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COMMITTEE SESSIONS

When I entered the committee, the environment was so learning-oriented that I realized I have to kill my heart remain concentrated towards the chair (the moderator) and the fellow delegates (coming from different countries) all the time. I was really surprised to see the professionalism and the rules of the game strictly being followed. “Let diplomacy be your argument” was the tag line and that’s exactly what everyone practiced  I realized the truthfulness of the statement “Diplomacy is to tell someone to go to hell in a way that he looks forward to the journey.”
Every day, we used to buckle up and refill our energy bags to attend the committee sessions. They were so thought-provoking yet so tiring. But some events awaited us daily in the evening which refreshed us for the next day’s sessions.

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CARNIVAL

A festival of fun and frolic, girls and boys screaming their lungs out on the giant wheel, people savoring their taste buds with delicious BBQ and some just giving the dose of beautiful music to their souls; the carnival was charmingly decorated like the small town melas. Girls dressed up in colorful and vibrant colors while boys relaxed in jeans and tees. The event ended with Punjabi and Pushtu rap by the students and very unwantingly, we left for our hostels.

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FORMAL DINNER

The formal dinner was no less a delight. We met in a ravishingly decorated area, all glammed up for a 1920s theme dinner. I was awestruck at the first sight of the place, there was an antique-looking car (I wonder where they managed to get it from), mannequins dressed in silk and chiffon, ladies eloquently dressed in flapper dresses and men looking handsome in tux, the red fluorescent lights adding the wow factor to the place and everything that made it ‘pure vintage’. Sinking in the beauty of the area, I moved towards where the aroma of food came from (had to mention it being the foody I am :P). After feeding my stomach, I took some pictures of the area and the 1920s themed me and off we headed to walk through the cold roads to our hostel.

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THE SURPRISE EVENT

On the last day, we got ready for the surprise event. The arena awaited us!
The tableau on “Peace” performed by NUST Dramatics and Debating Society had all the audience to their feet and lauding. The flying lanterns, which followed the performance, was another move by the organizers to inflict the gesture of unity and peace.
And with this, 4 exciting days came to an end!

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The organizers truly deserve a lot of appreciation for all the effort they put in. The event organised by a team of NUST’s final year students pulled off amazingly.
The decor team never ceased to surprise us with their creativity and the photographers covered the proceedings so well, relentlessly taking amazing pictures. All in all, the event was a huge success, a platform where ideas were shared and bonds were formed.

NIMUN ’13!

Hip hip hurray! *screams*

The anonymous answer

Back in 2010, a luxurious airplane of “Air Blue” crashed in Islamabad and resulted in deaths of hundreds of people. The whole nation was deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident and prayed unconditionally for the deceased. In those days, I remember, there used to be news broadcasts of the family of deceased telling their traumatic stories but some interviews which specially gained my attention were of those few people who had decided at the eleventh hour not to board that airplane. One of those lucky fellows said, “I just had the gut feeling that something was not right.” Another one said, “My mother told me she felt something terrible was going to happen.”

Intuition as seen by Bill Gates

Intuition as seen by Bill Gates

This gut feeling which some also call “intuition” is actually an anonymous answer that comes to people from unknown sources and in this case, it became the life savior for some.

Some call it sixth sense, some say it’s a psychic ability and some consider it magic. In actual, intuition is backed by an experience or number of experiences which have occurred in the past and remain in the subconscious throughout the life. At the time of decision-making, people can’t identify the base of this answer and if this decision proves to be right, they term it as miracle or prediction. This capability, however, is not anything more than connecting the dots. It is only the power of understanding things and linking the relation of ‘A’ and ‘B’ without thinking about it. Just because the intuitive ones do not go through considerable thought process, they feel they have made baseless decisions. But if we critically analyze (to be very formal :P) “intuition”, it does have a base and it is a product of a bunch of experiences that stay there in your subconscious without you knowing it.

Intuition, when asked to define by my mother, was that ‘weird feeling’ that she had when my sister was young and she rushed to her bed in time to catch her falling from bed. Intuition was that unknown worry that caught me when my aunt called me to ask about my baba’s whereabouts and  half an hour later, we got to know of his accident. Intuition was when the all the experts at P&G concluded after thorough research that a certain product should be launched but the CEO went against them all and the decision brought high profits to the company. These and many other instances suggest that no matter how insignificant or silly the intuitions seem, they should be considered in decisions.

Concluding with a statement I read somewhere,

When the intuition yells at you, listen to it!

intuition
Trust your gut