Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aitchison Days - Junior School (iv)

When I moved into K-2-A, I had to move physically from Blue Wing to Yellow Wing. Yellow Wing is still on the ground floor, right across from Blue Wing. Normally, all the K-2 boys would be in this wing. However, along with K-2 boys, there are a few K-3 sections which are also present here with the K-2 boys. K-3-A, B, and C would move to Green Wing, but the rest of the sections likeK-3-D, E and F would stay back in Yellow Wing with the K-2 boys. So, that was a different experience having upper classmen staying with us.

We still had our nanny or 'aya' and our bearer to help us in our daily routine. But since we had developed all those etiquette back in Blue Wing, we were not scrutinized that closely every day. Plus, the aya would not help us that much in our clothing or bathing and routine things like the one in the Blue Wing.  So to some extent we were held accountable to our actions in Yellow Wing. We were not able to put responsibilities on anyone anymore. To some extent, we were responsible to make our own beds, keep our dorms, cupboards and drawers clean. We had our dorm inspection almost every week and cleanliness was thoroughly checked.

In Blue Wing, to some extent we were kept isolated from upper classmen to keep us away and closely monitored for any peer pressure. Since Yellow Wing is housed with K-2 and K-3 boys, things changed. The friendships are developed among various classes in the Gwyn House. The sports are played together between different class groups.

Normally, the routine which we were taught in Blue Wing stayed the same in Yellow Wing as well. Waking up early with the sound of the bell, getting ready for breakfast, Junior School assembly, attending classes, break time, then lunch after school, nap time, tea, sports before Magrib prayers, dinner and prep time and off to bed.

More to come...

Expensive Wedding Ceremonies in Pakistan

Our wedding ceremonies in Pakistan are very lavish. For the parents in Pakistan, all their kids are very special. So they show their love and money on their wedding ceremonies. Many wedding ceremonies are very royal. I can only imagine if these are weddings in our times, how they would be in the good old days of Mughal emperors.

I think many families in Pakistan can afford all the bling-bling. However, it creates unnecessary pressure for the not-so well to do families to have equal or better ceremonies for their kids. For a wedding, there are expenditures for the avenue, food, clothes, jewelry, etc.  The average wedding in U.S. costs around $29000 which is around Rs.2500000. According to U.S. Bureau of Stats, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/statemedian/index.html, the average 3-family income is $51,184. This is equivalent to Rs. 4452834.00. However, in Pakistan, a buying a car alone can cost over Rs.10,00,000. According to UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan_pakistan_statistics.html, our national per capita income is $1020.00. This equates to about Rs. 88740.00 per year.  Now we have a tradition of buying a car for the daughters too. I think it is all good if one can afford, but for others, it becomes difficult to meet the expectations of the society. Then they try to emulate others whatever it takes. Sometimes it takes to sell a property, take a loan on the property and putting other necessary items of life on the back burner and  wedding expenses first.

Punjab government in Pakistan tried to put a hold on this by limiting the food to only one dish ceremony. That helped a lot to many people. As the country was facing tremendous loadshedding during this year, the government played its part in regulating the weddings by placing a cut-off time of 10 pm in the country. The weddings were supposed to end by this time or the lights were to be shut down for the ceremony. So, that was helpful in saving some money there for the individuals and the country.

So there are steps which have been taken by the government to limit the wedding expensiveness, but this is only a drop in the ocean. Everybody needs to play their part to show that someone does not have to be on the top of the world to show how the excessive weddings should be. For the sake of argument, if the money saved from all the luxuries are given to the newly weds, I am sure that money will go a long way and help the newly weds to get on their feet for a better financial future. But this is only my opinion. I am sure many individuals will differ from my point of view. But as a society, I think we should ponder about our choices and what kind of traditions and values we are establishing for our generations to come.

Lastly, the weddings should bring peace, happiness and longevity between the newly weds and not the unnecessary pressures on their parents to meet the society's expectations. The idea is to create an environment for our kids to grow and be themselves. The importance of the wedding ceremonies go far beyond the day it took place.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Aitchison Days - Junior School (iii)

Our daily routine was full of activities. We were awaken by a loud sound of bell by our bearer, Chacha Fazal Din, in the Blue Wing, when it was still dark outside. We brushed the teeth, washed, changed into the Winter or Summer uniform. The Summer uniform was pretty simple which included white half-sleeve shirt, khaki shorts, socks and black shoes. Then, there was our uniform inspection before the breakfast. After breakfast, all the Gwyn House classes lined up and leave for the assembly in front of the Junior School academic building. Then we left to attend our different subjects in the classroom. After school, all the boarders would arrive in Gwyn House. Normally, we would change before lunch and after lunch, there was sometime left for nap.

This nap time was longer in the Summer because the weather is pretty hot and humid in Lahore. Around 4 pm, there was a tea for everybody. This tea included a pastry or biscuits with a sharbat in the Summer and a cup of tea in the winter. Then we were off to the games. They lasted for about an hour or so and then we had Maghrib prayers in our white shalwar kameez. The shalwar kameez were inspected for their cleanliness and iron. After the Maghrib prayer, we had our study time which was followed by dinner. And then we were done with the daily routine for the day.

All of these activities were performed by ringing a bell similar to the one below. Sometimes we enjoyed the ringing of this bell letting us know about playtime or sometime other fun event. And other times, we didn't quite enjoy it like waking us in the Winter morning, when it was still very dark and cold outside, or in Summer, because the Summer nights are shorter and we didn't have enough sleep. But we all followed it precisely.