AS part of the UNT-NUML Partnership program, I arrived in Islamabad yesterday to start the in-house teaching and training sessions with the NUML (National University of Modern Languages) English department.
This is a sort of special return for me: many years ago I had walked the halls of NUML as a young captain studying Japanese as part of preparation for an army course in Japan. At that time, I could have not imagined that one day I will return to NUML as a scholar and teacher of literature. But this is one of those turns that life takes and sends one to unimagined journeys. This journey back to an institution that I have always admired is dear to me personally as well as professionally.
Over the years I have taught numerous American and international graduate students, but I have never interacted with any Pakistani students. Thus to return and teach at a Pakistani university is a first for me and also one of the most exciting turns in my life. I am so deeply excited about my class tomorrow that I cannot sleep and am writing this brief note at 2:00 A. M.
Besides teaching, this arrival has also put me back in touch with the characteristic hospitality of my Pakistani brothers and sisters that I had almost forgotten. As a scholar working in America, I am used to traveling for conferences and doing everything myself: it is part of the job and one does not expect much from one’s hosts.
But since I arrived here, I have experienced an undconditional welcome from everyone on NUML campus. From the top administrators to the security guards outside the hostel, each one of them have made me feel welcome and shown me, without words, that they are delighted that I am here and that they will do anything to make my stay comfortable. This does not only reflect the general functioning of NUML but also displays the general hospitality that our culture possesses and that does not usually get acknowledged.
So, on my first night at NUML, I am delighted to be here, am grateful for every kindness shown to me, and hope that I can provide the best possible service and training to NUML faculty and students.