“Life was all amazing with a long hanging bag on my back, rubber shoes my feet and a catapult in my hand. Grazing hundred goats along with my uncles over the hilly mountains and pastures during the day and sitting next to my father at night and learning the basic calculations from him in the dim light of the lantern and sometimes in the hardly found candle light, were the most joyful and exciting activities of my childhood. Living in a joint family of three dozen people and beating everyone in the arithmetic questions in the dining room was a daily routine. My most respectable and ideal, but illiterate parents were highly enthusiastic to literate me. They enrolled me in a private school in my village and I remained unbeaten throughout the six years in that village school.
The story changes. My father gets admitted at Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi and remains admitted for half of the year. Meanwhile, my mother tells me the story of my five elder brothers who lost their lives one after another reaching the age of playing football and grazing their goats in the pastures of the village. Crisis hits my family and I am getting my 6th class education at my home. The boy who was just acquainted with the English education, changes his route to a government school which was supposed to be of a low standard at that time.
Seeing boys going to English schools and speaking English was inspiring me to the heights of the Himalayas. I was all confident to join these schools, but the financial constraints were keeping me silent. Off the door, I was dreaming myself to be the part of these prestigious institutions one day, but stopped to dream when once again my father got admitted in the most expensive hospital of the country and spent a whole autumn there. The family went into another phase of severe crisis.
I was in a manic depression about the quality of education that I was getting from the school. I shared my strong will to get a quality education with my cousin and he became a source of hope for me and migrated me from the village to the city. Government Boys High School No.2 Jutial Gilgit became my next destination. The school was all good for sunbath in the freezing winter and discussing the most favorite reliogi-o-political circumstances of the city with the teachers. A real miracle happened when I stood first in the whole district in grade eight exams and also qualified the admission test of the most dreaming institute [Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gilgit] of the entire region. That was the life changing point of my life.
I had just vigorously started my pre-secondary education at Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gilgit, my father – my real mentor, my source of inspiration and, on top of everything else, my reason to accomplish something big in life – took his last breath in front of my eyes and departed from this world, leaving me all alone behind to face the bitter challenges of life and to bring out the family from the decades long suffering and crisis. This was the most difficult phase of my life, but the last words of my father about my education were the guiding stars and encouraging tools for me to continue my education at any cost.”
(Shakir Hussein, Ghizer)