Graduation. 25th May 2010. AC 08-10
There was never any silence. There was never any time for that. Instead we set up a magnificent stage. And the show began with the loud banter of pots and pans.There were anxious looks all across the set, but even in that, the excitement hung heavy in the air. And it infected us all.
And in that chaos there was a welcoming. And what a welcoming it was. The wheels of the bus rolled in, and the crowd gathered round. The old welcomed the new with all the enthusiasm they could muster. And so, there was color that exploded everywhere and the set was richer and livelier and fuller than ever before. It seemed as though we had imagined this whole thing, because it was almost too good to be true, and we were left gaping. Had it not been for the hard stones of the castle, we would have believed that this was a dream.
Zainab Syed (Pakistan, AC 08-10)
“O you who believe! the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al Mutaaqun (the pious). (Fasting) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g., an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if you only know. The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which one did not fast must be made up) from other days.” (2:183-185)
The Muslims conform to the lunar calendar for their religious festivities. Ramadan is the 9th month on the lunar calendar. It is this month the Quran (the word of Allah) was revealed through the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The prophet, born in Mecca, Arabia was 40 years old when the first revelation came to him. He was known widely among his people as Al Amin( trustworthy) and Al Sadiq( truthful). Perturbed by the immorality, injustice and degenerate practices of his time, he would often retreat to the cave of Hira, meditating and reflecting. It was on one such night in the month of Ramdan which was revered even then that the holy angel Gabriel came to him. Muhammad (p.h.u.b) was frightened by the unexpected sight of the angel who urged him to recite the first letter of Quran, ‘Read’! In the Name of the Lord Who Has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.’ (Surah Al-Alaq)
Zainab Syed, Pakistan (AC 08-10)
To say that this place doesn’t change you, that the friends you make weather over time, that this isn’t one of the best times of your lives, to say any of that, would be so far from this reality that is ours.
Twenty, Thirty and even Forty years later, older and maybe even wiser people walked through that main gate, once again. And as I sat at the registration desk, they transformed before me into those seventeen and eighteen year olds that didn’t realise what an impact this place would have on them. Decades later, they were returning through those very gates they left to come back to a place that still pulled them in. And though the first set of greetings were restrained, one realised that this castle and its people are bound by a special bond that time does not weaken. Continue reading