By Nazahat Shakir
Life is a beautiful name of struggle. Struggle to accomplish our dreams, struggle to deal with the hardships of our lives and most important, struggle to overcome the faults in our stars.
The story of my life begins in the beautiful valley of Chitral, which is one of the peaceful valleys of Pakistan. Being a calm and humble person, I feel as Chitral has placed a deep impact on my nature which gives me immense pleasure to connect myself with the valley I adore the most.
A flashback to my childhood reminds me of my odd nature among my siblings and cousins. My mom usually tells me, I used to sit in the front stairs of my home’s entrance noticing people busy with their lives giving a node of yes or no without talking to them directly. She teases me with the fact she thought of me as a dumb girl which for sure I am not. It was my introvert nature which distanced me from the people around.
The episode of my childhood which is completely different from my present is my lack of interest in studies. It is usual with children but my case was more complicated. Being the daughter of a teacher I was expected of more which always irritated me. The worst experience was studying from my dad. I used to find pretends to escape studying from him.
Fortunately, he has inherited a short temper which I feared the most while studying. I used to pity myself on one side being weak in studies and on the other side monitoring by a person playing a double role of a father and a teacher. I considered him the cruelest teacher of my life but to be very much honest he is the one to shape my life. He is the first person in my life whom I credit the most not only for being my father but my as my first teacher. He brought me up as a strong girl both morally and educationally.
His support as a father means a world to me. He is not only the best teacher and the best father but more appropriately the best friend of my life. He is such a nice and friendly dad that we can share anything with him. We can talk about any topic which I have seen other girls being not able to do. In a nutshell, my dad is the best person in general and the best father in particular.
My story would be half revealed if I don’t consider my life changing experience at the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School Kuragh (AKHSS). Memories can fade with time but my days at the AKHSS would be alive forever. It was a matchless life which I spent at the AKHSS and made me able today I can express myself. Excitement was on its peak on the very first day of schooling at the AKHSS apart from attending one of the best schools of Chitral to meeting different students throughout Chitral. The inspirational session with Madam Sultana, the principal of AKHSS, was the key towards our success. She holds the position of one of the inspirational women of Chitral. She always encouraged us to do our best and played the best role of changing our lives. I feel so blessed to have her as a part of my life.
My teachers’ description would be the miracle workers in my life. It will not be an exaggeration to say I would require half of my life to be able describing them. They polished us in such a way that we started believing in ourselves. They inculcated in us the wings to fly towards our destiny. Their purpose was not more into making us a literate person but educated. We started learning at the AKHSS. It proved to be a trampoline for us where u stand and can jump to a better place. Those five years at the AKHSS would be cherished by me as long as I have this life. I am grateful to AKHSS, Madam Sultana, my every single teacher and my friend who are the greatest part of my microcosm.
With a glee in my eyes and a smile on my face, I stepped into the University of Peshawar which added another chapter to my life. Being surrounded by Pakhtoons was an entirely new experience for me. I found the Pakhtoons very respectable and caring people and I made very good friends for lifetime.
I spent my one year at the UOP but staying there was a bit challenging for me. Coming from a liberal environment of AKHSS to Peshawar, I felt like I was caged. I couldn’t express myself and thus I could not study. When limitations are put one cannot do her best no matter how studious one is. I was not happy and dissatisfied and in that condition what exasperated me the most was when people expected me to cover my face. Once I went out with my dad he asked me to cover my face with my duppata. I did not accept that, I told him I go out without my face covered so today in front of you why should I pretend. I have to live my whole life and I can’t maintain it and especially when I don’t believe in covering the face can make any difference . I am not intended to offend anybody’s emotions but I was not meant to hide my identity. I know my dad wanted my safety but just because of the bad intentions of some people we cannot stop living. Women have always been the symbol of sacrifice but common man, how long we will scarify things! Instead of caging us in veils why don’t you change your bad intentions? I will not hide my identity rather I will shine as the brightest star in the sky. We need to change our society where freedom of women is forcibly taken away. We should not wait for the change to come but be the change we want to see.
I was in a constant quest of adding colors to my life. Suddenly, a twist came in my life in the form of Asian University for Women (AUW), Chittagong, Bangladesh. The AUW is a liberal arts university having students from different countries of Asia. It is best known for its diversified environment which gives more opportunities to learn more. It was a hard decision for me to leave my family and friends back in Pakistan and come to a different country. We know these types of hard decisions can lead to success. Here at the AUW, I feel much satisfied and look forward with a great hope to become a successful woman after all I have a big Pakistan to serve. I believe that a woman with dreams and determination is always powerful, thus with a determined mind I have a dream to better serve and bring credit to my valley chitral and my beloved country Pakistan.
It would be injustice with her great self if I don’t consider the contribution she made in my life. It feels strange to talk about her in a very formal way because that great personality is my sister, Rakhshinda Shakir. There are very few people I am inspired of and she is one of those few. The way she cares about people, no matter how much people hurt her, I have never seen harsh feelings in her regarding those people.
Thanks for being one of the greatest support of my life. One reason I am here in AUW is you. The people who are part of my life no matter how far I am you are always special to me. You are the reason of my smile. Thank you for being the beautiful episode of the story of my life.