Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu (May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon all of you.)
Respected Principal, Mohammed Shaheed Mohammed Hussein; Chief guest, The Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, M. Fazlul Karim; Saad Mohammed Bin Amer Assiri; Distinguished guests; Teachers; Parents; Friends and fellow BISES 2010 graduates; it is an honor to speak to all of you today.
“What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks”, therefore I wish to suppress my tears, and merely speak the tongue of my heart. Let me proceed by stating in no uncertain terms that I am, as I have always been, proud to be a student of Bangladesh International School, English Section, Riyadh.
In a few moments inshAllah we will be receiving our school diplomas and very soon our ways may part. But already, this institution – with its men and its souls and its rain and its shine, is forever etched in a warm and comfortable retreat in our heart of hearts. So even though every last one of us were looking forward to this moment, now that it is actually here, I personally am placed at perhaps an emotional quandary: I cant help looking at the light that is to come: the light that brings future hopes and even illuminates the absolute unknown that awaits each and every one of us. Yet at the same time my heart seems to overflow with the thought that I actually have to cut ties with this premises, so some kind of an emotional force, dualistic in nature, has restrained me.
High school has been a lot like a movie. In the beginning you don’t know what to expect, and before you know it, you’re right where we are right now: the credits. How did the time go by so fast? Whether school was about kicking and screaming on the soccer field or fighting with friends over small issues, today has for years has been school’s final destination. It seems like high school has gone by in 60 seconds amidst study pressure. After all those rocky days, the super good and the super bad, we now face both the prestige of graduating and the inconvenient truth. It takes a brave heart and a beautiful mind to follow the pursuit of happiness through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I have been more than eager to squeeze my way through high school and leap out to the real world. These years have been very hectic – regularly bombarded with homework, consecutive exams, piles of undone past papers and what not. I have wanted nothing more than skip across this stage, grab my diploma and move to a new world. I thought that being a graduating senior meant that I was so close to finally escaping the immaturity of high school. Being a senior meant that I could move on and let go of all the things that have been holding me back. But now that I am actually standing here on this stage, I realize that being a senior means saying goodbye to so much of my past that I know I will want with me in the future. After I graduate, the familiarity of the life I have been living will soon begin to fade. When I leave here tonight, I may never again see so many of the faces that have followed me since I started school at age five. I have grown older with all of you and have watched you change and I only wish I knew what you will be like in the years ahead.
A little over 12 years ago I was 6 and I remember my first day of school. I was excited with my new Zorro lunchbox. My parents were there with me trying to place me in the right classroom and trying to make me feel excited. And I met really cool kids at school. I have a lot of memories with them, starting from water balloon fights to sharing notes right before the exam day. There are moments of extreme joy and some moments of sorrow which indeed created a great bond between us.
Here I am today. I didn’t bring my Zorro lunchbox but, my parents are here with their camera, snapping pictures and happily see me graduate out of high school.
Today, I know that I am standing on the brink of a future that is the rest of my life. As Alan Kay says “The greatest way to predict the future is to invent it.” I think it is important to realize that our future is not just something that happens to us. It is up to us to create.
As I now stand at the end of this journey with my school, I cannot help but look back at my past and ask: what a new has awoken within me? What message? What thought, what philosophy? What dawn of realization has shone within me? Life has to have a purpose. I realize the fact that I have the burden of accountability on my shoulders. That’s how things work with men: they change, they discover, they create: but all these are initiated in the subtlest of manners. That’s how history is made, Legends are born, and Tales of Bravery and Courage are told. All these have that same lone beginning within one’s own soul. I am certain that all my fellow graduates feel the gravity of this realization within them.
Now the question is what prompted this? What led all of us to such a realization?
Faced with this question, I am emotionally compelled to look back at the faces that pulled me to my present stature: parents and teachers, who made me discover the spark that I held within and inspired me to constantly fuel it with ambitions, the friends, whose obstinate determination to never leave my side has illuminated my journey to this day and the premises, with all its rain and shine. These have claimed thrones of their own in the Kingdom of my memory.
As we all are aware, like a shadow lurking in darkness, the future too is unknown. However let one think about the fact that any result is only as good as his or her efforts. So let not any of us become lax in our constant struggle against life. Life can perhaps be likened with a flowing stream, within which the beauty of the ripples is only caused by the harshness of obstacles. Life plays its sweetest tune when a sincere effort is made. And trust me, every sincere effort pays off. Yes, there would be times of heavy rain. But clouds only exist in our skies to Glorify the Valiant Sun. “For verily, with Calamity comes ease, and again, with Calamity, comes ease.” Keep these words of encouragement of the Qur’an in constant remembrance to learn to resume walking once you trip and fall.
John Updike said, “You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it.” So let me in the same breath emphasize the fact that education is a Universal toolkit to build a perfect future, and perhaps a perfect world. Our learning has reached a momentous landmark, and it is time we take the world in our own hands and leave our own thumbprints on it. Only the Grace of Allah, combined with the sincere effort of the slave, can succeed in such a struggle.
Special thanks goes to Class of 2011 boys and girls, who have worked hard in making this evening worthwhile. At last but not the least, I would like to thank Almighty Allah (swt) without whom I couldn’t be a grain of what I am today. My parents for their struggle to cherish and shape me into what I want to become. Teachers, my fellow classmates and the BISES Faith foundation members, who have worked hard with me in everything I did.
I also want to contemplate on some old classmates, who have left us at various times and whom we really miss and will never forget and who will continue to live in our hearts: Khan Oyshik, Shoaib Shahzad, Waleed Hussein, Abid Arif, Opu, Mohiddeen Zakaria, Obaid ur Rahman, Saptarshi Chowdhury, Imran Patwary, Tahir Husainy, Hussein Warfa, Nihad Talukdar and Ridoy Hossain.
Nevertheless, I want to thank the people who have been an integral part of my life: Brother Yafees Sarwar, Raiiq Ridwan and Hassan Uz Zaman Shamol, who are no less than ‘brothers’. I love you all.
It’s a Mad Mad Mad world, but wherever you end up in the rat race, I wish you the best of luck on the glory road. So, fellow graduates, I urge you today to embrace the opportunity before you. Take what you have learnt at BISES and put it to good use. It’s a wonderful life, so don’t waste it. Thank you all.
MOHAMMAD OMAR FARUQ (MILKY)
BISES Class of 2010
Senior Year Head Boy, Bangladesh International School, English Section-Riyadh, KSA
Founder & President, BISES Faith Foundation.