Open Letter To AMU, My Alma Mater | Syed Zahid Kazmi

It was June 2016 that I entered Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, for the entrance examination for the admission in M.A. in Sociology. I was in Delhi for an entrance test at Jamia Millia  Islamia. One of my friends who was also there for the test insisted me on coming to Aligarh as I was preparing for the entrance examination of Jammu University. Both entrance exams – Jammu University and Aligarh Muslim University- were scheduled on the same day.‘I am totally unaware of the environment of AMU, I told him. “So I am not coming here”. Somehow he won the argument and convinced me to write for AMU entrance. We started our journey from Delhi to Aligarh.The journey was apprehensive, but at the same time adventurous and learning too.

Results were declared. But to my dejection, I was among the waiting students. I was ‘sure’ that I would not clear this wait list. One of my friends whom I met for the first time in Aligarh encouraged me nonetheless to stay and wait for the final list. I told him, “I will not be able to get through in AMU”.

But with the mercy of Almighty I got selected.
Another man with a golden heart whom I met at Turning point (canteen in front of department) helped me to get my forms filled. Later I found that he was going to be my class mate and a lifelong friend. And thereafter, it has been very common to find such people – benevolent, kind and caring. I can’t name them all because they are in hundreds.

In the beginning, I lived with a person from Rajouri in MM Hall who was also pursuing his masters in sociology. Latter I shifted to one of my childhood friend’s room in SS Hall North who was pursuing his masters in history.

In the beginning, I didn’t like anything in AMU; the scorching heat, oily food, the dress-codes all was distasteful and dis-interesting for me. In fact I didn’t like anything at all in AMU, except the Tarana of AMU and the ” Chole Batoore” in the dining.

AMU has given me a chance to be friends with hundreds of great human beings from across the country. Luckily, I have had the chance to live with some of those students, who inspired me a lot, and also met many of the people who disgusted and disappointed me a lot.

I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time looking back, and for good reason. What an exciting time these last two years have been. With late night trips to food cave and Sonu Bhaiya's dhaba at Aligarh railway station , early morning study sessions before a test and the feeling of pure happiness after turning in an assignment that took forever to finish. Reminiscing on the good, and even the bad times, is a beautiful, often combo bitter-sweet experience that leads to hugs and a lot of tissues.

But something you [AMU] have given me is the ability to look forward, something that used to scare me. In fact, the unknown has always been a real fear for me. I like having a plan and knowing what the future holds, but you taught me that sometimes the best surprises in life are well surprises.

Some opportunities can’t be planned.

So thank you for giving me the courage to be bold and take those opportunities when they arose. Thank you for not letting me hold myself back for the fear of failure. Believe me; I have experienced my fair share of failure in my time with you. Now I understand that failure is not something to be ashamed of, but should be celebrated because that means I tried, and I know how to improve next time.
Thank you for the people. What a wonderful community you offered to help me grow with.

Thank you for the memories you have given me and the ones I will make because of you. If I could go back to the very first day I arrived on your campus and stand next to the boy who was me, I would envy him, as he is about to begin the most exciting journey of his life.
Thank you AMU once again.

About the Author: Syed Zahid Kazmi, department of sociology Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh.2016-2018

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