Friday, February 20, 2015

School days friends – Lost and Found

Google and Facebook are excellent places to find lost friends and classmates. It has been more than four decades since I left my school and had since lost contact with some of the classmates and friends with whose good company I once enjoyed. Going to the college and joining a professional line which took me to a new place every two years, it was not possible to retrace my footsteps and find some familiar faces.

Thus more than four decades passed. Technologies changed and the Facebook and Google made it possible to find people provided they too were active on these two major social media networks and search engines.
While in school, we were a group of few friends out of which many went out of the country in search of better future. In early 70s, the means of communication were not as good as these are today and thus we lost contact with each other. Since Rashid Mahmood (read more about him in the end) and I were in the same profession, we met once or twice in the 80s but then lost each other.

Farhat Qayyum Naz: 43 years ago (left) and now (right)

Farhat Qayyum Naz who had gone and settled in Sydney Australia, came once in 2008 and I met hin Islamabad where he was staying in a hotel. That was the first meeting with him after school and since 2008 Facebook is the only contact with him.

Zahid Masood Khan: 43 years ago (left) and now (right)

The first 'overseas' contact was established last year when I received a call from England and I heard a rather familiar voice I had last listened to some 43 years ago when I left the school. It was my friend Zahid Masood Khan who found me out on the Facebook and then through a common friend found out my cell number and made contact.

 Tariq Hashmi: 43 years ago (left) and now (right)

Through him, I got in contact with another friend, Tariq Hashmi, presently living in Groningen, the Netherlands. And when I recently went to Germany where my younger son Wahaab Jalal is studying in the Kiel University of Applied Sciences, I made it a point to travel to Holland and meet him. 

Left to right: My younger son, Tariq Hashmi, Me and Hashmi's eldest son at Groningen, Netherlands

And soon our two families got along with each other as we two knew each other many many years ago. I have already written about this reunion in one of my earlier posts: To Netherlands – to meet a friend after 43 years.

And yet again one day I received a message on Facebook from a school days friend Muhammad Khaleeq, messaging from Doha, Qatar. This added a a third friend to the list. Khaleeq came to visit me a few months back and we shared some of the best memories of school days.

Me with Khaleeq with our 43 years old photos

And as if this is not the end. I also got in contact with yet another friend, Malik Tahir Aslam, who had left for another school while we were in the 9th class and last night he came to visit me and I met him after 45 years.

Malik Tahir Aslm: 43 years ago (left) and now (right)

Tahir (left) and I (right) as of last night

This really has been a great experience, meeting one friend after the other. 

There is yet another friend, Rashid Mahmood, that I found on Facebook and have sent him a message to re-establish the lost contact. We were together till eight grade, when he left for the prestigious Cadet College, Hasanabdal. Although we once met thereafter in our professional lives in Karachi, but that was long time back in early 80s.

 Rashid Mahmood: As of now
And the telephonic contact with Rashid has finally been established and he promised to visit me by this month end. This would almost complete my list of friends and I do hope that we all someday meet in Lahore, a place where we last met to share the nostalgia of the good old school days and those four decades that just went by in between our Lost and Found quest.
Tahir Mirza: 43 years ago (left) and sometimes from now (right)
And before I forget, let me recall my dear friend Tahir Mirza. He was a gem of a person to whose house I often went and played vinyl records on his radiogram. His father was a man of taste and class who would often come in and would chat with him. Tahir was close to Zahid Masood, myself and Tariq Hashmi. So when I first established contact with Zahid Masood, I asked about Tahir Mirza. But was saddened to know that he had already flown to his heavenly abode in 2008. I wish he was still here with us but perhaps this is what the Nature had planned for him. Be blessed, good old Tahir Mirza - may we all meet in Heavens one day.

There are still many classmates and friends I still vividly remember. Some of these being Tanvir Hayat (the genius of our class who always topped), Bashir (who was a math wizard), Iftikhar and Dilawar, with whom I used to partly share my way home after the school through Anarkali and famous Paisa Akhbar Road. Then there was Mazhar ul Haq, who later went to NCA (National College of Arts) to do architecture as did Farhat and I recently found him out through my cousin Ibrar Bhatti who is also graduate of NCA. I sent him a message and got a prompt reply. We hope to interact more on Facebook, as he said in his message.
Mazhar ul Haq: 43 years ago (left) - thereafter (centre) and now (right)
So this is how the digital age and the social media is helping out people to find friends, specially those lost since long and bringing them closer yet again. Have you ever found friends through search engines like Google or social media network like Facebook?
Updated 10 June 2018:
I had just one more surprise yesterday when I received a call from a lost classmate Iftikhar. We used to walk back from school through Anarkali where he lived while I continued on foot to my home on McLeod Road.

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