Brunch at Leesburg, VA – 9 May 2010 in honour of Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui
Brunch at Mansoor Qureshi’s house in Leesburg, VA
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 couldn’t.
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 well.
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:
Kazi Zulkader 671
Khursheed Khan N-26
Arif Mahmood 7633
Shoaib Yahya 7899
Ali Jaffery 8046
Kamal Qadri 88125
Mansoor Qureshi 89132
Imran Qureshi 91152
Adil Baloch, 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 afternoon.
Unfortunately, I don’t 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 marvellous.
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.
Ali 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 couldn’t meet. I cannot tell you how excited I was to meet him once again.