Cantonment Area Hyderabad
It was my first experience that I had to leave my family and stay with strange and unknown people and therefore, I took this news amid mixed feeling of fear and excitement. Col. Shah Muhammad lived in Hyderabad cantonment area which was exclusively earmarked for Pakistan army. The moment we entered the area I felt that it was neat and clean and much better and greener than the city of Hyderabad.
House of Army Col. Shah Muhammad
The house of Col. Shah Muhammad was huge with greenery all around and looked like a palace. I was introduced to his family members who warmly greeted me. In that family there was a boy of almost my age. Shahzad was too happy to see me and we became friends within minutes. He took me to his bedroom and shared with me the cartoons and playthings that he had. During those days there was no television and other electronic gadgets that are available to the children now. And so, the life was simple and we had ample time to meet with each other, play and have fun.
Whereas this modern-day technology has enabled us to talk to people sitting thousands of miles away, we have lost contact with those who are around us. We often notice that household members remain occupied for most of the time on browsing of social networks and they hardly find time to talk to a person sitting next to them.
Col Shah Muhammad Office in Cantonment Area Hyderabad
The next morning uncle Shah Muhammad took me to his office. I was amazed to see the cleanliness of the area which wore the aroma of fresh flowers all around. All people were in military uniform and a sense of discipline prevailed everywhere. As we passed through these people, they would salute the Colonel, but today I was faster than my uncle in returning the salutes. I could see that my uncle was enjoying my innocence and was happy that I was having fun.
In the evening Shahzad came to my room and told me that his father was waiting for me in the lush green lawn in front of the house, as he wanted to talk to me over a cup of evening tea. As we were having tea which in terms of today can be called as high tea, my uncle enquired:
Advice from an Army Officer
“Are you comfortable in this new atmosphere?” And my answer was in affirmative. He then cuddled me with love and affection and said:
“I want you to go to Cadet College Petaro which is the best educational institution in the area. This college is under the management of Pakistan Army and the boys are trained there not only in education but they are groomed to be the future leaders of the nation to lead them from the front. They are trained to join armed forces should they be interested to go there. There are ample playing facilities including swimming, horse riding, playing polo or any other game that one can think of. Living conditions out there are excellent and so is their food arrangement. I am sure you will make new friends there quickly and you will enjoy your stay there.”
While uncle continued to shower praise for this institution, I was amazed at hearing all this which appeared to me like a fairy tale. After a night’s stay, I bid farewell to them and told them that Petaro was my next destination. I had already started day-dreaming and was literally flying in air and anxiously waiting for that day to come.