On 03 Oct, 2012, the Rhodes class of 2012 had their official group photo taken at the Rhodes House. I had initially planned to go dressed in a suit, but on the morning of the group photo, I felt that Shalwar Kameez was the right choice. And so, dressed in a black kameez and white shalwar, I arrived at the Rhodes House. It was a very pleasant day, one of the rare sunny ones here in Oxford. We were all taken to the Rhodes House garden and asked to stand in the order of our heights, which is a always a fun sorting activity. Then the photographer started picking out people for the front row, and he chose me for it too, yippee! After the photograph was done, out individual portraits were taken, and it was around this time that the Rhodes scholars from all the different constituencies started to sing their national anthems. First were the South Africans, then the Indians and then I was asked to sing my national anthem, and so I sang the solo.
"Pak sar zameen shad-bad". Standing there in the Rhodes garden, I felt like a child again, singing the national anthem in my school assembly.
"Pak sar zameen ka nizam". It also felt as if I was reciting the words from my heart for the first time, my first national anthem.
"Parcham-e-Sitara-o-Hilal". That day I went back and found the national anthem in Urdu and put up a print out in my room, to remind me always of this beautiful emotion.