Daniş Murad Erguvan’s non-fiction story got the second position in the ‘Youth Stories’ category of the PakTurkFile Arts Competition titled ‘My Life in Pakistan’. We publish 16-year old Daniş Murad’s story as is:
I have lived my whole life in Pakistan and studied in PakTurk almost all my education life. I learned a lot from my teachers and friends at our school. On some days, good memories come to my mind, albeit occasionally. I wanted to share some of these memories with you.
Mr. Kazım was the vice principal of our section while we were in Class 6. He was also our Biology teacher. He was very gentle and intelligent. He would not only show close concern to me and my friends in the school; he would also invite us to take part in various social programs after the school. Remembering the food and the drinks he treated us with and the advices he gave, I cannot help but smile fondly. Once a month, we would go swimming or have a picnic as a class. We considered him not only as our teacher, but also as a friend of ours. One day, when I got cross with my “buddy”, Teacher Kazım reconciled us in his room and ordered us drinks to “settle the matter in a sweet manner”. While telling us how important true friendship and brotherhood were, he said we should learn to forgive without exaggerating the mistakes everyone had, and that we should “not commit the mistake of not appreciating the beauty of a forest because of the trees”. On that day, possibly just for the sake of making peace, we had nodded and said “Okay” to him. When I look back now, neither our teacher Kazım is here nor many of my friends including my buddy. It all boils down to the hard truth that we had to know the value of what we had at that time.
Similarly, our mentors who lived in the hostel opposite to the school building in the campus were very sincere. Whenever we were bored, we would find them and had a chat. We used to rely heavily on them to find solutions to our problems. They would protect and watch over us. In the conversations we had, we used to discuss both the daily issues in our fields of interest and the topics of religion and faith that would benefit us at the next destination we would reach after this worldly life. I miss those conversations and the times we spent together. Whenever I remember the soccer matches we played together on the AstroTurf of the school, I both smile and ask myself if those days will ever return.
We were delighted when our teachers told us we could spend a part of the long vacation with our friends in a boarding program. During that program, our teachers had also organized an inter-class AstroTurf soccer tournament. As the sixth graders, we had beaten our opponents one after another and we were going to play the final against the eighth graders. When we arrived at the field for the match, the players against us seemed older than they could be in Class 8. Our teachers supported us from the galleries, but we were still nervous. When we started the match, the rough playing style of our opponents proved us right. Seeing how we had been broken and scattered with some of us playing in tears, Teacher Kazım stepped into the field and joined our team. Our other teachers cheered more in our support. Even that did not slow down the pace and ambition of the eighth graders and as a result, we lost the final match 7-2.
As friends, each of us grew up with our schools. Since we sometimes did not have any minders in the school, we would sometimes enter the classes holding the hands of our teacher parents, sit quietly in the back of the classroom and ‘play student’ with the papers and pens our parents had given to us. In those days, our schools were in villas and bungalows. We used to think our school building was the home of a friend of our parents. When we grew up and were about the finish the primary school, we were also excited to be studying in the newly-built school building. I cannot forget the first time I saw the main campus in Islamabad. It was so beautiful that from that day on, I kept on drawing the pictures of our new campus during breaks and after homework at home. After a while, I learned the Sketchup software so that I could draw it more properly. Later, I drew the building models of both the new boys and girls school buildings on the computer for hours. As if that was not enough, I also crafted a scaled model of my school on Minecraft and online-invited my friends from different countries, with whom I had studied together at that school, and the friends I later met online, to visit our school. When some of my friends considered this as an overemphasis, I used to say, “What can I do? It is as if I opened my eyes to the world in these schools!” Their parents were educators who, like my parents, worked without minding an overtime regime and, due to their workload, took us along wherever they went. I must have visualized the issue a little bit more, that’s all.
I loved my school. I also liked my teachers who made my school into a ‘school’. I realized the value of my friends, with whom I had bittersweet memories, when they suddenly left Pakistan. Years have passed and we have grown. Now, we can return to those days in our memories which we can only revisit at times our hearts sink in excruciating yearning. In these days while I am studying at another school and look forward to the future, I say, “I am glad I studied at PakTurk and I am fortunate that I had my best years there.”