“I have never, ever, in my life, been to or participated in a convocation, whether mine or anyone else’s…”,
… gripped, I hung on to each word, staring wide eyed to the lean, enigmatic figure before me, wearing the traditional striped green and golden susi robe of the IVS, showing off a white crisp kurta-shalwar gracefully beneath it.
Two years back, I had stared skeptically at the gigantic book, hardly able to envision myself ever able to study it. Not much to my disappointment, ( as its natural for me to expect the unexpected from myself and that I don’t know whether benefits me or not) I had made the payment and brought home a challenge which actually was delusive.
“It seems like a telephone directory, the difference only that there are no spaces in between and hardly any relief in comprehension one could find.” My sister would retort with such disapproval that she would half convince me of my absurdity of a self imposed punishment due to a heinous crime! Neverthless her remarks gradually made me all the more adamant and focus my attention to what the book read.
Much to everyone’s dismay who found me pathetic and suffering with it, I didn’t give in… and on the contrary got so gripped to it, that I read and re read many things, a number of times… (I wonder what expression my sister will give if I ever reveal that I had actually re read the book and many other parts a number of times!)
Issues in Pakistan’s Economy: A Political Perspective by S. Akbar Zaidi had become my life for at least three straight months. I had had the most scrumptious of the food, the most ordinary meals, a few nights of sleep, made it wet with the raindrops, put roses and daisies in it, highlighted with colours of yellow and orange and at times been emotional feeling helpless and at the same time hopeful of the affairs of my country. I practically honeymooned with the book and even took it with me in my travel bag to Islamabad. Such was the affection I had developed out of the very ordinary motivation I had for passing my MA Exams in Economics this year.
Leaving the past solved papers aside and all the recommended quick fixtured syllabus prescribed to reach my destination, I found myself ironically in love with the journey itself, something which my challenging schedule would admonish me for!
& then suddenly one day, much to my surprise, while studying, the name took all my attention: S. Akbar Zaidi. I Googled and found him an important man contributing lavishly to the political climate of the country. I would wonder of the kind of man he must be! Serious, painfully methodical and calculative… By the end of the third reading of the book, I could some how understand the pattern of his thoughts. I would understand where he would criticise something and at times even predict the current situation, for the base of my thoughts on Pakistan’s economy, only he had helped me develop through his writing.
I remember while writing my thesis paper comparing the agricultural developments with industrial and chalking a future action plan, I had paused for a moment ( a moment is the understatement of the year) many times, to think … “What would Akbar saheb say to this?How would he have provide a carefully planned solution?” I in my own minor capacity would envision myself as the shrewd, only economist I had ever known. I somehow took much pride in being able to do that. Right or wrong is what I didn’t care about, but it helped me get a perspective and that mattered the most. I have much to thank him for.
It’s been four months I gave the exams, but the book never leaves my bedside drawers. I open it randomly and read a few excerpts from time to time. However time has its way; an artist it is, skillfully clouding deep emotions and interests leaving them as hazy images of the past. Working round the clock, busy with young minds, a teacher’s life is not something thats hard to imagine… my routine blurred my passion for economics and shackled me to the everyday compulsion of life.
I never looked back till today, when I saw The Political Economist at an art and architecture convocation ceremony! It had to be fated.. My presence today wasn’t just a mere coincidence as I wide eyed stared at Professor Syed Akbar Zaidi live in front of me!
S Akbar Zaidi
‘Never been to a convocation ceremony’ is what he had said and I was the second person absolutely endorsing the fact… I didn’t attend any too… not even mine! ‘rebellious, a non conformist and even confrontational to tradition…’ all these words rang a definite bell! It seemed for a while as if the man spoke for me and to me in a gathering of the many.
Recollecting moments from today I am swept away by the thought of how fortune and fate works… It comes in packages that leave us at times spellbound…