The General Assembly Parade, leading to the General Assembly, was a treat. Senior Aitchisonians waited at Barry Block as smaller boys paraded in from the Junior School and the Prep School. It was, indeed, not difficult to comprehend why some E-1 (Class 6) boys would break their file, sprint with bated breath, and come hug former Junior School teachers, who were accompanying the Junior School contingent. Today, four decades later when one contemplates, one realises that maybe it has something to do with the “mamta” of female teachers as opposed to male teachers. The nature of the latter, we were to understand some years, as well as many years later. A few names that readily come to mind include, but are not limited to, Ms M.Z. Bukhari; Ms Gore; Mrs Francis; Ms Ghazanfar; Ms Rabia.Close friends of mine from those days yonder included the brothers Nusrat Ali Shah; Zafar Abbas Bukhari (Badar Wing/Khyber Wing) - who later went on to claim and win the coveted Full College Blazers. Ghulam Hussain Bugti, a much liked classfellow, who had reached our grade most likely after slipping a few and had legs too mature to wear shorts! However, school rules were school rules and difficult to work around, except that Ghulam Hussain never followed them.The activities of Cubbing (Scouting) were supervised by Mrs N. Abid - “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and to my country; to keep the law of the wolf-cub pack; and to do a good turn to somebody every day.” - under the almost-humungous tree near the stables that has remained 100 years old for about 100 years now.Ignorance was bliss…….in the Junior School Assembly (K-1 to K-5 - all sections) we were asked the school motto and only one, yes - only one, boy knew - “Perseverance Commands Success”. With so much bliss around, days started and ended as though it were a merger.Day-boys were ragged and scoffed at, while day-boarders allowed some semblance of acceptance - I will not say respect - by the little boarders (as opposed to hostelites), with spindly though strong legs - a result of their sporting activities both after classes on the sprawling lawns of their schools as well as developed through a regimen of diets, exercise, genetics, and emphasis by belonging to affluent village backgrounds. To be honest, and in a physical sense, day-boys shat their pants as regarded boarders despite their, or maybe, as a result of daily molly coddling by “loving” parents! We were constantly made to believe that not only were we lesser Aitchisonians, but also inferior humans! Perhaps correct!Morning assembly, chaired by Ms Gore, was prayed by many to last a wee bit longer so that classes would begin with a delay. However, disappointing as it was, assembly began and ended (with many little voices singing vociferously and aloud the National Anthem) at the scheduled time almost as though by clockwork. A sight worth mentioning was the boarders of Junior School, the eldest being in the range of 10 years, dressed up in their black sherwanis and karakuli topis leisurely walking toward the college mosque for Magrib prayers, every now and then when I was late being picked up after evening games. The Junior School premises sported a 200-meter running track, containing as well as edged by an athletics’ ground, both together enough in terms of area to encompass the entire premises of many a school of renown in Pakistan today. There, where many found their playground, in my times raced a young sprinter and class fellow Arif Hussain, who later became a proud Pakistani Olympic athlete, not to mention participated in track meets astride the likes of Carl Lewis (World 100m record holder during the early 1990s) and Lee Roy Burrell. Difficult would remain to forget the un-tiled swimming pool with frogs, broken leaves, and fungi on the edges.Sufi Sahab serving daal and roti to Junior School day-boarders. Recently, when an American friend asked me, quite certain to receive a reply in the affirmative: “You must have learnt eating with a spoon and fork as a very little boy at Aitchison College.” He was surprised to learn, when I remarked: “As little boys at Aitchison College, we generally ate with our hands!” Names were flung, rung, and echoed by teachers as role models and shining examples that we, Class 5 students, should strive to, if not manage to become - firstly as human beings - “achaa insaan”, - they always insisted, and then as career or lifetime pursuits. I remember distinctly Ms M.Z. Bukhari (Class teacher for K-5-A), mentioning, back in 1978: “Even Imran Khan has been my student and I see no reason why all of you cannot be shining stars even to outshine him.”Other reminisces worth the recall are little boys in riding breeches, and sporting turbans larger than themselves - firozi in the winter and dark grey in the summer.

The writer is a financial consultant and a teacher; and still pursues the Pakistani dream.Email: