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Petarian Convention 2014

POST CONVENTION REPORTS:

Petarians Convention 2014 – A Report

By GS TPA (Khalid Ranjhani 82125 J)

 

The Petarians Convention was held on 19-21 December 2014. The Event was organized by ‘The Petarian Association’ (TPA) in coordination with Cadet College Petaro (CCP). It was a dream come true as we were honored with the presence of loving, amazing, intelligent and friendly crowd, the world knows as “The Petarians”.

We are thankful to all who registered for the event, participated and made this event a successful ‘mega’ event. We are thankful to all those who were involved in its arrangements and the management. We are also thankful to the Principal, Adjutant and the staff of Cadet college Petaro for their full support provided during its organization. Needless to say that the full support of all involved made this event extraordinary – a hallmark of Petarians having a touch of alchemy, the ability to turn anything into gold and what a gold this event was.
On the first day of Petarians Convention 2014 i.e. on the Friday afternoon, 19th December 2014, registered participants started reporting at the main gate in the afternoon. Love for the CCP and love for the Petarians was the binding force and the common determinant else some of them were separated by over a half of century between their admission years at Petaro. Some of them had to travel only a few kilometers to attend the event and for some it was a journey across the continents. Some of the Petarians belonged to the upper echelons of society while a few had started their journey of professional life just now.

Personal vehicles were not allowed to accompany the Petarians. Upon arrival at Reception Desk, all Petarians were welcomed and were issued with their individually numbered kit bags. The bags were printed with convention logo and comprised a bunch of goodies such as college jersey, epaulets, name tags, T-Shirt with convention Logo, personalized ID cards and a certificate of participation.

Out of 370 registrants in total, 260 reported on the day 1 while the remaining registrants joined on the morning of the next day. The maximum number of registrations were made by the 92 Batch with 43 registrations followed by the 82 Batch with 30 registrations.

The environment around the campus was nostalgic and the Petarian spirit was at display everywhere. Petarians re-discovered old friends and made some new ones along the way as well. Petaro campus became an amalgamation of memories spanned over last 5 decades. Everyone was feeling right at home and were looking for familiar places, signs, roads, trees, plants, rooms, furniture from their own time. Everyone had been transported through a black hole, into the world of yester years, a world which had nothing to do with what was happening outside. All connections including BV (i.e. spouse) & TV were replaced with only one connection which is Petarianism. There was no distinction of age, ethnicity, nationality, status, language etc. Everyone had become a young Petarian again. Everyone was away from the stress of the daily grind. Just plain good old time with the good old friends. Forging new memories while reminiscing on the old ones.

While the atmosphere was generally pleasant, there was a feeling of sadness as well, a sadness brought by the news about the great national tragedy that unleashed in Peshawar. After Jumma prayers, special prayers were offered for the little angels, who flew away too soon to the heaven. Hasrat unn ghunchoan pay, jo bin khile murjha gaye. Candle light vigil was also arranged in the night, as Petarians lit up candles and said prayers for the departed souls in the pavilion next to the central grassy field

After dinner at Cadets Mess, all proceeded to Quaid Hall for watching a movie together. They relived the experience of good old days where that sat quietly in the hall and watched movie – no shouting, no hooting, no blowing whistles and no passing of comments.

Later in the cold December night with temperature hovering around 6 degrees Celsius, many retired in their allocated rooms and hit the bed. Some others, a bit more adventurous of the lot, gathered to play Night Cricket Match, started the game but succumbed to the cold and returned to cozier places. Many opted to go the Canteen instead and chatted in groups while feasting over hot tea, pakoras and samosas. Canteen remained open till 1.00 am next morning.

 

On the Day 2, Petarians dressed up with college Jersey decorated with respective house epaulets, name tags and ID cards, gathered at beautiful mess for a grand breakfast. Parathas with qeema, choley and eggs were served with an unlimited amount of hot chai. After Breakfast everyone gathered outside the mess for the morning parade. Under the leadership of the legendary General (Retired) S P Shahid bhaijan, the cadets march towards the assembly area in front of the college building. The recital from the Holy Quran was followed by a prayer for the fallen angels in Peshawar. Saeed Vohra, another Petarian from 79th batch rose to the occasion and recited a beautiful and melodious na’at as well.

The assembly was dispersed and everyone gathered in the Quaid (Assembly) Hall. The senior citizens of the Petarian community, i.e., those with 2 or 3 digit kit numbers, who left the college 40 years ago or so, were invited to the stage for saying something about themselves and about their life after Petaro. Each one of them was a gem and each one spoke with a spirit that only a teenager from Petaro could muster. Everyone had a blast from the past and everyone enjoyed those untold stories.

It was announced by Rashid Abro Bhaijan, that all Petarians who had completed the registrations process for convention, and who were not life members of TPA will be given free lifetime TPA membership. The participants were asked to complete and submit the relevant forms before leaving the convention. It was a great step by TPA to increase the life membership indeed. It was also announced that the Principal had kindly agreed to provide a permanent office space to the global TPA at the Petaro campus.

 

After the assembly session, all participants headed to the stadium for a group photograph.

After the lunch comprising daal, chawal, mutton karahi and roti, everyone dispersed to enjoy their personal time, a time well spent by visiting all on-campus facilities. The major attractions were Sick Bay, New library, Cambridge Block, Houses, Canteen, Horse Riding Club, Cricket grounds etc. Everyone spent their time by participating in various activities of their own choice.

The evening of the day 2, 7pm was the gathering time for the Banquet. Everyone was properly dressed as it was time for looking at their best. People were genuinely happy. Many of the Petarians were visiting Petaro after 50 years. The convention was honored by the presence of three disabled Petarians who also participated despite all the handicaps. Banquet venue was set on the Parents Day Ground in a five star marquee, with wonderful stage on one side and with festive arrangements and welcoming banners on the other. Heaters were installed all around the marquee to cope up with the cold, wintery night.

At the entrance of the marquee, a photo gallery was set up with the portraits of early days of Petaro. Everyone was amazed by looking at these rare, precious pictures of their Alma meter. Many Petarians who were once part of that era got emotional while looking at their childhood pictures with the founding Principal Colonel Combes and the great teachers of Petaro. A photo booth was setup at the end of Photo Gallery, where everyone were queued to have their memorable portrait as a souvenir of Convention 2014. The seating arrangements were done with the event logo and theme colors, which was presenting a beautiful view and everyone were very much tempted to take pictures with their batch mates, seniors, juniors and teachers.

 

The formal banquet started with the arrival of Chief Gust of the event Commander Karachi (COMKAR) Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini, himself a Petarian, a shining star of our alma mater.

The ceremony was conducted by General Secretary, TPA as Master of the ceremony. Syed Minhaj recited the verses from Holy Quran to formally start the banquet. After recitation, Nasir Mehmood, President TPA welcomed the guests and presented TPA’s plans. Quoting from his speech, Nasir appreciated the arrangements and thanked all the persons who contributed towards it, and said:

“My dedicated team and I have put in a lot of efforts in thinking, contemplating and discussing the main subject of uniting all Petarians and the issues surrounding it. Eventually have come up with the following suggestions:

  1. Petaro will be the center of Epic for Petarians and Alumni.
  2. The CEC of TPA will represent all the chapters around the globe. 
  3. All chapters will be based on geography. Each area can have only one chapter. 
  4. Fine-tuning of the modus operandi of these chapters remains the subject on which further discussion is required as it may involve changing some of the bylaws.
  5. TPA must remain focused on Petaro, cadets, Ex-cadets and the Alumni related activities, the activities that are fun and which bring them closer.

The above-mentioned suggestions may require some amendment to the bylaws. We will soon form a team for the task to put forth suggestion.

Since for TPA College is focus, we are working closely with College administration to facilitate college in improving the education standards for cadets to compete in all fields, improving the college infrastructure and facilities, Along with College administration, we have identified following top priority projects to be completed in coming year or two.

  1. Teachers Training Program
  2. E- education
  3. Installation of new Hockey field (AstroTurf)
  4. Renovation of houses”

On behalf of TPA, President also extended his full support and facilitation to college on completion of above projects.

In the end, he praised and mentioned the efforts by college administration and his team have been put in together in organizing this event. He mentioned his special gratitude and thanks to Honorable Principal Cadet College Petaro; Commodore Mehboob Elahi Malik, Adjutant Cadet College Petaro Major Umar Farooq and Faculty Members for their support and facilitation in arranging this mega event.

President showed appreciation to the Convention Organizing and Management team specially Captain Rasheed Abro, Khalid Ranjhani and Farooq Memon.

He requested Petarians around the globe to join their hands to channel the scattered energies in one direction.

At this occasion President TPA also announced the “Life Time Achievement award” which was awarded to Altaf Shaikh Bhaijan for his professional achievements, for his prominence as a nationally acclaimed travelogue author and for him being a very dedicated Petarian.

Chief Guest of the event COMKAR Bhaijan during his speech to the gathering announced that he was in a process of setting up an endowment fund of 20 Million rupees, whose income will be used solely to help Petaro to raise its standards. If the fund is up and running, eventually the self-finance scheme may also go away. Navy had committed 2 Million rupees towards this fund. He said, he would also approach the Government of Sind to contribute towards this fund. Individual Petarians were also requested to contribute.

Dinner was served with a 10 course sumptuous buffet. It was a grand feast and everyone ate to the maximum extent possible and a few were heard saying “pait bhar gaya yaar magar dil naheen bhara”.

After dinner, there came the fun part – a musical night. The musical night was enjoyed by all and it went on past midnight. Eventually it finished and most of the Petarians retired to their rooms by 2am next morning. Some of them were so excited that they remained awake all night, busy sharing sweet memories with old pals.

On morning of Day three, everyone started gathering in the Cadets’ Mess for a breakfast. Due to late stay because of the musical night, Petarians came in batches to the Mess. After the breakfast, Petarians gathered in Quad Hall and attended a very informative session “Petarians’ Excellence Seminar”.

The presentations by all four speakers were wonderful; it was all about their success stories and experiences. They shared it all with ‘no-holds-barred’ for the benefit of the audience. It was priceless.

Finally the event came to an end with a lunch in Cadets Mess. Everyone left the Petaro with a promise to stay united for the cause of Petarians and Petaro.