Writing 101 prompt – Day 11: Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you? Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.
Going back to when I was twelve years old. Now that’s a heartwarming, skin-tingling thought. Year 1995 to be exact. City was the ever beautiful and rustic, Quetta (Pakistan). We were in the Army cantonment, the famous Command and Staff College. A hub of Pakistan army’s most brilliant minds at work. Our street name – Sahibzad Gul Road, named after a prominent Army general. It was the fanciest name I had ever heard. Our house was huge with an untamed, unfenced lawn that spread out towards the back and on to vast spans of land.A long winded driveway extended from the front gate to the house entrance. Outside the house was breathtaking. Architecture was in fact from the British ruling days. Inside, it was a different story.
My mom almost cried when she entered the house for the first time. It was the most rundown house on the street. I wasn’t too bothered with its rickety condition. I had other things to worry about. Making Friends. Who was to know! I was to make my closest and oldest friends there. A few of my bestest (this just says it so much better!) friends to date are the ones I made in Quetta. We didn’t have or need the term BFF back then. We had the real thing.
We were adaptable folk. All army families had to be. No two ways about that. One year you were indulging yourself in a developed country playing double dutch, eating ice cream sandwiches and prancing about in Disney Land. The next year it was a remote but heavenly city of Pakistan called Skardu, where bare necessities were hard to come by. When you’ve had an ugly coal heater resembling a 1950’s space shuttle, with a huge pipe placed at the dead center of your bedroom, you can’t possibly complain about anything. Ever. So the house in Quetta was not a big deal. We quickly fell in love with its twisted architecture, its sky-kissed ceilings and its cold concrete that went on to give us the warmest and most loving years of our lives.
Life inside the cantonment had everything a child would want. And more. Our school (Iqra Army Public school) was in a league of its own – years ahead of its time in our country. We had music classes, sports like softball, netball, badminton, tennis, athletics; cultural and dramatic activities; field trips. Our principal, Sir James Last was Australian. I still remember his hawk-like gaze that was enough to keep everything and everyone in line. Outside school we had an equally exciting life. Riding. Swimming. Sailing. Marathons. Hiking adventures. Cycling. Huge birthday parties. Playing in the streets till sunset. No one cared where we were off exploring or playing because that’s how safe it all was. Studying was there somewhere I think, hidden beneath piles of FUN. Army life in cantonments is essentially a social setup that involves a lot of family gatherings, excursions and events. So when the children weren’t creating havoc on the streets, we were spending quality time with our families.
An endless vacation. The adventure never stopped. Never ever.
Feelings of love, anger, hope, fantasy, thrill, pride, competition; all slowly seeped into my existence and I didn’t even know it. All that exposure played a huge role in shaping the person I am today. I could write an entire book on this. The friends I made, the people I met, everything that I learned. But this will have to do for now. Oh how I love you Quetta….