There is no job that I enjoy more than dropping my kids off to school every day. First thing in the morning we bundle up Amin, Salwa and Taha and we are off. Eleven miles and thirty five minutes of music, Winnie the Pooh stories, reactions to passing buses, colors, traffic and Taha breaking out in a song. There are days when Fawzia says she will do it because she has to take the other car anyway and she does and somehow my day feels as if I got off on the wrong foot.
There is only one more thing that comes closer to being the second best job in the world. In a way it is like dropping my kids off to school, but different kids, different school.
It’s touching lives at SP Jain.
It didn’t start that way. The first time Professor Grandhi asked me to come in and teach at SP Jain, we wanted to build bridges. I love to teach, but there was something truly exotic about being a Pakistani professor at an Indian school in Dubai. More exotic because over the years the students grew beyond being just Indians and Pakistanis and turned into Iranian, Burmese, Chinese, Vietnamese, South African and Thai. Students who remind you of Bob Marley, who remind you of dreamers you taught a long time ago. Faces that mirror yours, pitches that you wished you had made, dreams that you had dreamt, and the same heart that that still makes you take crazy bets.
Then you look beyond the exotic, you look beyond the mirrors; you look beyond the dreams and realize that what you are truly addicted to is touching lives. The one moment you live for when you see a mind ignite and transform in front of you, let there be light, you say. One hand shake, one smile, one conversation and the long hours, the 50 mile commute, and the weariness of months melts away. My aching heels find a cushion of air to walk on and the rush lets me carry on with just an hour of sleep.
While the healing powers of drinking carrot juice and maintaining a steady diet of Houmos and Zatir with cheese may be vastly over stated, teaching 150 students across three batches in twelve days was just what the doctor had ordered. Sometimes you need to be reminded how to dreams dreams again, just so that you won’t forget. Sometime seeing a 26 year old reach out to the world and blow away the skepticism by her delivery makes you wonder about your own cynicism. And sometimes the sparkle in their eyes, the warmth of their goodbyes and the depth of their smiles tells you that you have touched a life that will never be the same again.
To the dreamers in my class and to crossed paths in strange lands that brought us together. Thank you.