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After 52 years of joining Pakistan Marine Academy

By Brig Masood Ali Khan (R)

It has been now over 52 years since we passed out as a band of brothers. We didn’t know then what was lying ahead for us. We were too young and innocent to know the vagaries of life and the challenging profession we stepped in. Hardly 18 years old with barely shaveable faces, we were put in the PMA kiln, fired, melted, hammered & molded for 2 years into officers & gentlemen.

As I look now, I don’t find those slim, energetic young people. What I see now are baldy, paunchy, ailing, grumpy geezers. Quite a few of us are no more and gone for good.  Almost all passed away. Some of natural causes and some in battle. The ageing won’t stop and so are the ailments which would increase day by day. The only thing you could do now is to retain & maintain quality of life, which warrants a review of your lifestyle and to follow healthy habits. Slowly, gradually and surely, our strength shall continue to decrease till none of us would exist.

We got married, some early, some a little late, and had children. We spent a lifetime raising a family and rearing our children. We did our best to provide them with the best possible education from a budgeted income. There were difficult times to keep both ends met, but we sailed through in most cases. We urged our children to be good human beings and patriotic Pakistanis. We taught them right from wrong. We taught them to learn to walk without crutches in life. We taught them grades don’t matter if they are earned unfairly. That’s the real investment we did in them.

Balancing between career compulsions and family requirements remained a challenging task. The better half was the person who ensured we did a balancing act. They were the Prima Donnas towards the proper raising of the children, which we seldom understood then.

We didn’t realize their importance then, as we do now. We found them to be continuously bickering, cribbing, and complaining, but now we realize whatever squabbling they did, they did for the good of the family. They knew all along about the indiscretions we might have committed in life, but they kept quiet for the sake of the family.

Now the children are grown up, most are married and are gone to their new abodes to lead their own life. We provided them support to learn to walk early in life and gave them wings to fly. Their flight is now solo. They are on their own and would soar higher & higher on their own as they are destined to.

We can only watch & pray they continue to fly majestically and shan’t fail. God forbids, by any chance they do, we spread our arms and catch them to safety before they crash on the ground. What are we now left with? A greying old woman at home, a bunch of old friends/buddies and colleagues, a house we own, and a meager pension or some savings, if we had invested wisely. Now, with the children gone, our wives and friends would provide us company, relief, solace, or whatever and a shoulder to pour out our problems.

Make the best use of them. Isolation kills. We must endeavor to get out of our shells & meet our friends frequently to spend some quality time and remain relevant in life. Meet to eat is not the purpose, but to share our thoughts is. Reach out and do some welfare work, help the needy. That is what the religion tells us.

I earnestly hope we can take care of our own self and our wives without extending a requesting hand to our children. Whatever we save for ourselves, we must spend it wisely. Whatever we own should remain in our name until our demise. Post demise the sharia law shall ensure the distribution of our assets as per Islamic injunctions. Ending on this rather realistic & apparently sad note, I wish my ageing bros the best in life & hereafter.

(Interaction publishes this lovely wright up with special thanks to Brigadier Masood Ali Khan) & Brig. Agha Ahmad Gul (R).

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