Brunch at Mansoor Qureshi's house in
by Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui
I arrived in USA
at JFK airport on the morning of the 8th of May from Riyadh.
Frankly, I was expecting the worst at immigration and security at
the airport. Here I was a Pakistani coming on a Saudi Arabian
Airlines flight coming from Riyadh with a Pakistani passport. I had
braced myself for all sorts of questions and delays. I was really
pleasantly surprised that none of my fears materialized.
When our flight
landed, there were no queues. Ours was the only flight that had
arrived and there were no other passengers. When my turn arrived,
the immigration officer first had difficulty finding the visa, since
the passport was almost full. I had to help him find it. He then
just asked me "Are you here on a vacation?". I said yes. He had no
other question and stamped my I-94 and I was out.
As I stepped out
of the airport, my son-in-law and my little 4 year old granddaughter
were waiting outside to receive me, and we drove straight to
Maryland. I had not seen my granddaughter for the past 2 years, and
it was such a joy to be with her. We talked and sang all the way
until we got to my daughter's place 4 hours later.
My trip in the USA
took me to NY, Maryland/Virginia, Washington DC, Boston,
Orlando(Florida), San Jose/Freemont (California), Phoenix (Arizona),
and Denver (Colorado). USA is such a huge country and it is not
possible to visit all parts without spending at least 2-3 months
with a day in each place. I had wanted to visit Dallas or Houston in
Texas, and the mid-west as well. I just couldnít.
The next gathering
of Petarians I attended was in Virginia. Mansoor Qureshi,
89132/Liaquat had organized a brunch at his home in Leesburg,
Virginia on the day after I arrived in the USA. He picked me up from
my daughter's place (who lives in Maryland) and dropped me back as
Mansoor has a very
nice home mashallah and the food prepared by his wife and sister in
law was really excellent that day. I met so many Petarians for the
first time in my life with whom I had been communicating through
email in the past. It was an honour to meet all of them and to spend
such a nice afternoon.
Mansoor and Imran
have been known to me personally for over a decade, but this was the
first time to meet Shoaib Yahya, Arif and Kamal Qadri. What a
pleasure to meet these young men! We talked about the TCF school
project and all of them committed to support it in a big way and
help out with friends too.
I met the
following at that brunch:
Shoaib Yahya 7899
Kamal Qadri 88125
Mansoor Qureshi 89132
7993 was unable to come that day as he was out of town. Instead he
invited me over to his house the next day over lunch, and Khursheed
Khan N-26 and Ali Jaffery 8046 also came. It was a great afternoon
we had. Adil, Khursheed and I have been communicating with each
other through email and telephone for years, but this was the first
time that I actually met them. We talked of so many good things that
donít have any photographs of that afternoon with Adil and therefore
I am unable to post them.
The next day I
hopped on to a plane and was off to Denver. Waqas Khan, 84120 was
there at the airport to receive me with his typical boyish grin. It
was snowing there (flurries), which was a big surprise. Imagine snow
in May. And the airport is so far out from the city. We got to
Waqas' place and his dear wife had a meal all cooked and ready for
us. We sat up until late and finally I realized that both of us had
to go to work in the morning.
I have known Waqas
since 1999 or 2000 when he used to work in Islamabad at CSoft. Then
he got married and got admission to do his MBA from MIT. He has done
very well for himself mashallah.
The next morning
he dropped me for my meetings and then came back in the afternoon to
drop me back to the airport. The love he always exhibits is
I then moved on to
Boston to attend my son's convocation. We were there only for one
night. And other than attending the convocation, my visit to my alma
mater MIT, the other most important event was meeting
Ali Nasir Rizvi,
kit no. 655/Latif and Iqbal House.
Nasir and I were always great friends. We
joined Petaro the same year in 1965 - he in 8th and I in 9th class.
We were both in Latif House to start with, and he was always so full
of life. He was a nephew of the late
A.A. Naqvi Sahib who
was our Civics teacher, and who became the first Iqbal House Master.
Ali Nasir was one
of the wittiest cadets in its history. And he topped in the Board
Exams. When he passed out from Petaro in 1970, he followed me to
Ankara Turkey and graduated as an architect from there. He is well
settled in Boston ever since.
I had last met
Ali Nasir in 1971
when I moved to MIT. We have been in contact over the phone and
email over the past few years, but somehow we couldnít meet. I
cannot tell you how excited I was to meet him once again.