and I find my inspiration to become a university level lecturer…
Come January 2002 and the first semester officially started. Donning my new abaya, new shoulder bag, I was ready to enter the place, which will become my most loved place in the times to come.
There is something about Karachi University. Just entering the gate brings you to a totally different world. Carefree, fun, somewhat hectic but energizing and uplifting. That one step taken to enter into the limits of the campus makes all the difference.
First days are confusing. Thankfully I had my school and college Sabeen A. with me. Arriving at the Silver Jubilee gate to start our journey into BS together, we both were equally excited.
At that point in time, there used to be University points waiting for students to take them to the departments. Anyone who has seen KU, knows how huge it is and it takes at least 15 minutes to reach the closest departments to the gate.
We entered, took a point to the first stop, the gym. The gym is a huge shed, used not only as a gym but as an event hall as well. Opposite to the gym is the post office and a branch of United Bank Ltd. And from there goes a road to what previously was the Computer Science Department (now shifted to a new place).
The Department was housed in two and a half buildings. We shared half the building with ISPA (Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics) and called that building the ISPA building. One of the remaining two was the BS building, and the third one was called the MCS building, and God only knows why. The MCS building housed 4 computer labs (2nd and 3rd floor), teachers’ offices (1st floor), one class room and the chairperson’s office (ground floor).
The MCS building and ISPA building used to be hostels at some point in and were converted to department buildings, which meant there were a lot of uncalled for pillars in the rooms. These pillars were hiding places when you did not want to be pointed out by the teacher for talking in the class or maybe even sleeping.
In that small compound (sort of) , there were two other departments, but we were in greater number hence ruled like kings. The BS building had a lecture hall, which could house somewhere around 200 students, the place where we first went and sat down waiting for the orientation. Some guys came, and drew a timetable on the board, which included music and dance sessions (yeah). I suspect it was the final year batch of that time, one of them is now a faculty member at the same department. I so wish to ask the teacher, what happened to those classes 😛 ?
Anyhow, like always apolitical party came in and hijacked the session, and we left the room, only to be taken by the real teachers to another classroom, all the way up in the ISPA building to be introduced to our “Introduction to computer science” teacher Mr. Khalid Jamal, known as KJ.
I always stereotyped university level teachers to be old, white haired, “kharoos” type, but KJ was young and energetic, nothing like the image in my mind. I sat in the class, and KJ started teaching us. That was the instant I decided I want to teach and I want to teach at least for sometime at Karachi University. My stereotypical university teacher image shattered that day. In the next few days , I also found that except for a few teachers, most were young, nothing like the old, white haired, kharoos person I had in mind.
We were around 80 people in the class with one fourth of them being girls. At that time we were most probably the only department which had more male students than females. In rest of the university, majority of the classes comprised of female students.
And we got to know the sweetest teacher I know, Sir Nasir Tauheed, NT for us. NT was the chairperson of the department, listened to all our problems and also took steps to solve them. It was a whole day of discovery, exploring the huge world of Karachi University. It was the start of the love affair with KU, the flame of which never dies.