Monday, May 21, 2012

Time Passages

You may have listened to the famous Al Stewart song 'Time Passages' by chance because this beautiful song was sung in 1978 - just about a time of which I am going to talk about today. And while I was thinking  of write a post that dates back these many years, this song came to mind. 

When you are finished up reading my post, do play the song, video of which is given at the end of the post just to enjoy this beautiful song, its beautifully worded lyrics and the melody - that hit the charts when it was released.

In 1975, I along with a large number of young and aspiring men embarked upon a journey to the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, near the famous hill station city of Abbottabad, which was to shape our lives into a disciplined way of life and then taking me back to the crowd where I once belonged.

In the academy, we were distributed into various sections, called as platoons - and mine was called the K-4 or the Khalid - 4, a platoon named after the name of famous leader and warrior Khalid Bin Waleed.

We were in all 30 cadets. And from here started an arduous journey spread over two years and all these 30 were to share the joy of comradeship and rigours of training. However, soon the number started to thins, and by the end of six months, seven of us had to leave the academy for good as the military life was too tough or was not tailored for them. although they left their names cannot be erased form the memories. One of these was Sheikh Amir Mansoor (fourth from left - bottom row above) who had applied for Medical College got selected and thus opted out of PMA - I wish if he by chance reads this or anyone reading knowing him directs him to us, we will be too happy to listen from him. Even after these six, four more were to join who were relegated for six months, leaving 20 of us to continue marching together.

By the time, we entered our last six months, due to re-shuffling, we were left only 17, which also included Shahid Qadir, Nauman, Samad, Rashid, Ikram and Shams. Although those who were reshuffled too finally made it out of the academy drill square's last march-in as commissioned officers. 

And wait!! just a few days before the passing out day, another comrade Murad had to succumb to a self-dug grave and was sent back six months to pass out with the next course. I wish I could narrate the incident as it is too lengthy.
Murad sitting second from left was unlucky to dig his own grave days before passing out and Samad  [standing third from the right who left this world for his heavenly abode awhile ago] - all of us with our platoon commanded Major Talat Umar, Sitara-e-Jurrat 

And then, after marching out from the drill square of the academy on a tune to die for, we went different ways, occasionally coming across each other as time passages. Mid way, one of our best comrade and an ace aviation test pilot and my first term roommate Sadar Jahan Zeb from a Bangash family died in an air crash. While we were in the academy, his father was the Frontier Force Regiment Commandant and on weekends when he returned, he would bring us many home made dishes his mother used to prepare for us the 'homeless' as we were far from our mothers and homes.
Major Safdar Jahan Zeb [right] - an ace pilot,  a gentleman and an officer lost forever

And very recently, one of another comrade Samad also passed away as the time passages, thinning us out on ground as no one really knows when the end is!!

And before I forget did I forget to tell you a similar name you may have come across in the bloggers world and blogging? An equally aspirant young man who became part of us was not a man of guns - but was a man of pen. He was to write and become famous and an authority on blogging. New bloggers seek his guidance to become bloggers - and I do not have to tell you that it is he who introduced me to this fathomless world of blogging. Did you get him? Yes of course I am talking of Shirazi - the Doodh Patti and Thatta Kedona fame, the good man from Mandi Bahauddin, who has roots in the rural areas of Pakistan but has his sights set on the world of blogs and blogging.
We meet almost each year as is evident from photo above at Abbottabad, but due to personal commitments, it is now not possible that all of us could get together at one place and time. I shared my memories of the day in one of earlier blogs: PMA Revisited. But whenever we are together, we talk about everyone of us and remember the days when were together with black hair and energetic bodies. But the fun of meeting now with grey or 'no hair' is now more enjoying as we have so much to talk to of the time that has flown away so quickly.
A dimly captured photo of Boys/ night out at Artillery Mess

A few days back, a few of us got together in the Artillery Mess of Rawalpindi on an all-boys night out to reminisce the memories, remembering those who left us too early and of the days we were together - same age, same aspirations, same goals and same dreams. Although these so many years have gone past so quickly and these go falling in the fading light, drifted into the time passages, yet their memories are still as fresh as when were passing through these each day, recalling days when were just young boys and now with grey hair (or in some cases no hair), we have nothing but memories that reverberate deep within us when we have once again become part of the crowd - but hinged to the memories that we so eagerly want to get back to.

Updated 20 April 2015
A 'few days ago' mentioned above was a few years back. To update since that day, see the photo below of some of us who met at Nathiagali where we had gathered together to celebrate our forty years of comradeship:
You may see the difference these 40 years have made - the black and white photos were taken in May 1975 and the photo below a month less than forty years just a few days back. I will continue to update on the 'few days' for as long as I live to remember that time passages and never returns.

Although we were too happy to find Jamshed with us once again after a turmoil of some six years - we surely did miss our friend Muhammad Abdul Qadir Khan Shahid who is undergoing a difficult life these days. We pray for his health and early recovery and hope to find him back with us in days to come.

Updated 13 March 2016:
The latest of us with Col Talat Umer SJ at Lahore Get Together

Read about our recent get together at Lahore here

And now yo may play and enjoy the song by Al Stewart 'Time Passages:

If you like Jaho Jalal, please follow us on Facebook


S A J Shirazi said...

Miss you all a lot. Wish I was there.

wiganfootie said...

I bet it was great to meet up xx

Jalal HB said...

Yes it was - thanks wiganfootie

Zaffariqbal Durrani said...

Nice to read. I was taken back in time. You surely know how to write and nice choice of song.

سعید مرزا said...

Good Jalal

Syed Ali Baqar said...

What a nostaLgic narration JHB.How well have you taken us through those four decades.

Jalal HB said...

Thanks Saeed Mirzia, Durrani and Baqir - yes it does take me back into decades old memories. The nostalgia is too strong

Zahir Khan said...

We cherish all these years of comradeship.

Muhammad Athar said...

It is hearting to read about the days we.passed in very close association